Weekend Listening: The Album Leaf - Lost in the Fog

Originally from San Diego (I'm not sure where they're located these days), the Album Leaf are back with Between Waves, which just came out! I've loved the music Jimmy LaValle has been involved in creating for a long time. And The Album Leaf, in particular, was a go to when our two oldest kids were small and we were trying to get them to go to sleep. Stoked about this new album.

Something New and Beautiful

Brooke posted this photo last night as we walked by my new office in downtown Houston. After a week here, we went out on a date. Just the two of us. As she wrote in the post, it was a rough week. The kids have been troopers but getting set up in new schools was an uphill slog for all of us. Brooke in particular. By yesterday afternoon, though, things were beginning to turn a corner. All three of the kids seemed to like their new schools and were making friends. I woke up this morning without the sense of dread I have woke up with every other day this week--as if a two ton load of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders.

Change is not easy. It can often be terribly difficult. That doesn't mean it isn't good. In our pain-adverse culture, we can easily be convinced that challenges, hardship are evidence that a wrong path has been taken. This is not always the case. In fact, every new endeavor I have been a part of--whether that be a job, an enterprise or relationship has a moment of frailty in its newness in which it has felt almost certain that it was time to walk away. In each case, that sensation--that desire to flee, when rejected led to something new and beautiful.

So, if you're in the thick of something new, whether that be a new city, new job or new whatever I know it might hurt for awhile. Don't let that convince you it was a bad idea. Give it time. Something beautiful might be on the other side of that uphill slog.

Article for Diolog

I had the privilege of writing an article for the Diocese of Texas's quarterly magazine, Diolog. Since my title is, as my buddy, Mike has put it the "missioner for missional missioning" it seems appropriate that I tackled the meaning of the term, "missional" in the article:
The term “missional” is thrown about in Christian circles a lot these days. It often seems to be a synonym for evangelism. At other times it is used to describe Christians doing good deeds in their communities. It is neither. “Missional” is a description of God. We serve a missional God. We serve a God that is not confined to certain places, practices or moments.
Read the rest in the print edition. I'd love to know what you think.

You should also make to sure to check out Alan Bentrup's (co-founder of Missional Voices) article in this edition as well!

UPDATE: If you are not a Diolog subscriber, you can read this issue here.

Weekend Listening: P.O.S. - Wearing A Bear

The latest single from P.O.S. Geez, this guy's next album is gonna be amazing!

YouTube | Spotify

Two Kinds of Schools

My wife and I are deeply invested in our kids' lives and therefore their education. If you know us, you know how involved we are in their schools–especially Brooke. We believe that a better education experience for everyone means a better education for our own kids. We have always been willing to roll up our sleeves and help make that happen. So, what follows comes from someone that really cares and is willing to back up words with effort–someone that has spent a lot of time in many different kinds of schools. But, really, all that should matter is this: I'm a parent.

Yesterday, I visited two kinds of schools. Both types of schools have been successful. Yet, both have apparently forgotten what made them successful.

In one scenario, a type of school has forgotten who it is they serve. If you have forgotten who you serve, you're no longer enticing to those who might potentially want your service. You put people on the front line of service who don't understand who it is you serve. They don't value those people. Those people go away. Your success is now your failure.

In another scenario, a type of school has forgotten how to scale up success. Success at one level never ensures success at another level. In this scenario, those that made something overwhelming desirable are not making the decisions on managing the response. The ingenuity and creativity it required to thrive at one level is required for making the transition to a new scale. If you shirk it, redirect or ignore those that are so excited about what you've achieved... Your success is now your failure.

If you want to grow, you have to know who it is you serve.

If you want to thrive, you have to answer the question: What happens if this works?

One last thing: never lead with the process, lead with the goal. The process is not the vision. It will not inspire, it is not enticing. School's are notorious for leading with the process. It is one of the most mind-numbing, infuriating exposures of how rudderless school's can be. Lead with the goal and then offer a map (process) for getting there.

One (really) last thing: this is not simply a school thing. Churches often do this as well. Yes, ultimately you serve God but if the people that darken your door don't feel valued, they're not coming back. And if folks respond positively to what God is doing in your congregation, you better be thinking about what happens if they start telling their friends.

We Made It!

Due to a variety of reasons, we left DC much later on Monday than we had anticipated. We didn't get too far that night and knew that the next two days would have long drives in store. Honestly, we all just desperately wanted to be here. By the time we stopped for lunch on Tuesday the five of us made the collective decision to power through and get to Houston early this morning. Crossing the Mississippi River–as we've done a few times now–has always been a cool moment. This time it was just heartbreaking as driving through Louisiana you can still see the damage of the recent flooding. Today has been breakfast tacos, lots of coffee after driving through the night, unloading our van, hitting a grocery store, taking naps and watching the Olympics–something we haven't been able to do much of until today. We're staying in a little place in town until our house in Houston closes (Oh yeah, we sold our house in DC and bought a house in Houston already). Tomorrow we'll visit the kids' schools and get them set up for Monday.

Missing many people back in DC but looking forward to settling in.

Ira Glass on the Creative Process

Saw this first when Paige and I attended Jad Abumrad's lecture this summer. Encouragement to those creating something new. Don't stop, give it time!

Why Do I Blog?

When Andrew Sullivan quit blogging it made me question whether it made sense to keep doing this. As a medium, was blogging dead? Did it matter? I've been blogging since 2001. Not always at the same location. I wish I had been wiser to export those archives before blowing them up. But I didn't. Two platforms I've used for blogging no longer exist. There have been stretches of times that I've avoided blogging but I've always come back to it. But Sullivan's exit made me wonder.

Eventually, I decided I didn't care what the popular notion about blogging was. It didn't matter to me whether or not it seemed relevant. I decided, as I've always done, that I blogged primarily for myself. I know that sounds selfish but it's the honest truth. It helps me flesh out ideas, clarify my own thoughts. Maybe you've read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. If so, you're familiar with the idea of "morning pages." Blogging has been a riff on that for me.

Blogging has helped me become a fan again. You've likely noticed I share a lot of music. After years of playing music myself, I became critic of music–I couldn't enjoy music. Not even at church. I would find myself critiquing everything. It was an unhappy pattern. Part of the reason why I started sharing music I discovered was because I had to work at becoming a fan of music again. I had to train myself to simply enjoy it. (And then I started doing the same thing with podcasts.)

Which leads me to a secondary reason for blogging: I want to share things I love with anyone interested. I could simply post through social media platforms but I am increasingly annoyed by the noise of these mediums and I don't like the control they're able to exert for the sake of profit. Blogging off of such platforms, as the primary source, allows a freedom I prefer.

Sullivan may have given it up but there are a lot of great blogs out there. I don't follow as many as I used to but I still find it more enjoyable and beneficial than scrolling through most social media feeds (call me old fashioned). As this coming fall approaches–with all of the transitions it brings for our family this year in particular, I've found myself thinking about what I want to write about. The jury's out on music and podcast shares. That may have run it's course–still feeling that out. In any scenario, I plan to keep writing and sharing. If you don't blog, you should–in one form or another. If you do, please share a link with me. I'd love to see what ideas and creative expressions you're offering the world.