Thursday, December 21, 2006

Federated Family Christmas

Family TrioMy parents and sister sang a special number at the Federated Family Christmas last Sunday, December 17.

The program also included songs by children, bell choir, band, and the choir.

If you click on the photo then it will take you to a bunch of photos that were taken that night. Be sure to check out the other sets on the site.

Federated Family Christmas
Rehearsal Photos

Ean sang for the first time in our church during the service in the morning. While the photos we took at the rehearsal don't show Ean having a good time. If you had seen him during the service then you'd have seen him dancing next to his buddy Carter.

Christmas Ingathering & Fellowship

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seasonal Crime Prevention Tips

I got the following information emailed to me today from the Beaverdale Neighborhood Association. It was so full of great information that I couldn't resist sharing it with others. We spend a lot of time thinking about the great things surrounding Christmas but seldom think about the darker side lingering in the shadows.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

John Stark

Happy Holidays from The Des Moines Police Department!

During the year-end holidays, people are often busy, excited and sometimes a little bit careless. The following holiday crime prevention tips should be shared with others:

At Home:

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes.

  • Lock garage doors and windows.

  • Don’t display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Store gifts before you go away on a holiday

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Updating Website Today

Today I finally got around to doing a little maintenance on this website. It has been several weeks since I event posted another entry but I regularly visit the homepage for access to the sidebar links.

I'm still using Wordpress to manage the website so keeping the software up-to-date requires some attention every couples months as enhancement and security issues are addressed. I've gotten pretty comfortable with upgrading the software which Wordpress has made pretty simple. It also has become the time I back everything up off the server in case something goes wrong with the upgrade.

Today I also worked on implementing a plug-in which will automatically update my sidebar links from a RSS feed coming from my account. While it took a bit of work to organize the links into, keeping the links updated will be a lot easier since they are directly tied into Basically, whenever I bookmark a webpage with a specific tag that link will automatically show up on the sidebar.

I also added a plugin to create a sitemap specifically designed to work with Google. I registered the website with Google and provided them the link to the sitemap for them to utilize when indexing my website. It was interesting to look at the information Google provides to those who register their site with them. If you maintain your website then I'd highly recommend you check it out.

There were other things I checked out today. I learned that I can automatically publish to this blog from Google's document editor after configuring it properly.

Anyway, the worldwide web is pretty amazing. I'm continually amazed how far technology has come since the late 70s when I first played with one of those early Apple IIe machines.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Thank You!

Thank You CardsI recieved many cards and notes from the congregation at First Federated Church during the month of October for Pastor Appreciation. On October 29th I also recieved a custom gift package with a popcorn popper, popcorn seasonings, fancy popcorn to use, Almond Joys, and Herseys candy bars. These were all things I enjoy to eat and do.

I've used the popcorn popper twice since it was given to me and it works pretty good. Someday I hope to figure out how to make my own version of kettle popcorn at home. Yum, Yum.

The following people sent me a note or card:

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Federated Fall Fun Night

Evan at the Fall Fun Night

On Friday, October 27, First Federated Church hosted another Fall Fun Night for preschool and elementary children.

There was free games, activities, candy and a whole lot of fun for everyone.

It took a huge team of volunteers to make the night possible. Jeni Baugher did a great job as the director of the event this year. She even joined in the fun by being part of the action in a horse costume.
Last I heard, we had over 850 guests plus a whole lot of volunteers. I know my kids had a lot of fun and I saw a lot of other happy faces too.

Fall Fun Night Giant SlideThe coolest thing at the Fall Fun Night this year was the giant slide. If the line wasn't so long throughout the night I might have given it a try myself.

Click a photo see all the photos I took.

Ean turns 3!

Ean 3rd Birthday-019

Ean turned three this month. He had a lot of fun at his birthday party opening presents, blowing out the candles on his cupcake, and being the center of attention.

This year the theme behind all the gifts were trains.

He got a pretty big train table, lots of track, more trains, and a bunch of things to unwrap. Ean is now old enough to get really excited about presents and his enthusiasm was contagious.

Click on the photo to see more photos taken in October of our family.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pastor Mike Rose begins ministry at FFC.

Elders of First Federated Church pray over Pastor Mike Rose and his familyToday Pastor Mike Rose officially began his ministry at First Federated Church. His message to the congregation was all about "A New Beginning". Over the next four weeks he'll be sharing in greater detail the four foundational priniciples First Federated which will guide our efforts in the future: Truth, Grace, Transparancy, and Grace.

You can listen to the message at

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beaverdale Fall Festival Parade

Beaverdale Fall Festival ParadeFirst Federated Church participated in the 2006 Beaverdale Fall Festival Parade. A lot of great volunteers served to make the church's float in the parade such a great success on Saturday, September 23.

Todd Pierce and a crew designed and built the float. Kay Pierce and her crew organized the walkers and the items distributed (candy, etc.). Nancy Jones and Womens Association served refreshments in our parking lot where the parade forms up. Bob Heemsbergen provided the truck and hayrack. Many played a part in making this one of the biggest parades in Iowa with over 105 entries.

Click on the photo to see photos taken at the parade.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Men's Retreat

The men of First Federated Church spent the weekend of September 22-24 at the Des Moines YMCA near Boone, IA for a fall retreat. Through teaching, activites, games, and team challenges the men discovered they are not alone in their journey through life.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas Tank Engine (43) The family went and saw Thomas the Tank Engine today. The boys had a lot of fun.

The had a lot of activities for the kids to do while waiting for Thomas. The actual train ride was less than 30 minutes, but it was long enough. The expressions on the boys faces was precious when the train first started to move. Their eyes got really big as the train slowly moved away from the train station.

Thomas Tank Engine (132)There were a lot of other families to visit Thomas as well. We ran into two other boys named "Ean" which really surprised mom. The weather was pretty great too.

If you ever get the chance you'll need to ask Jayne about what Ean said when he first saw Thomas pulling up into the train station. It was pretty cute.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Neighborhood Picnic

Last Sunday the boys had a lot of fun at the Neighborhood Picnic our church held September 10. Even though it rained and moved everything indoors everyone had a great time.

Ean was brave enough to give the bounce house a try with mom. He loved it.

I took a bunch of other photos and put them on Flickr. I made some of them public. To see them all you need to be one of my friends or family member.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 links for 2006-08-16

Monday, August 14, 2006

Josh and Julie Berry start a Blog

Our friends who just had their first baby boy, Conrad, started up their own blog this week. Even though several hundred miles separate us from each other we love them dearly.

It is really exciting to see how God has blessed them with a wonderful son.

Kudos on starting up a blog Josh!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Alissa Gardner | Hi

Alissa Gardner

Alissa loves to read about herself online so I thought I'd give her a little something from me.

It can be a little embarrasing to know that the whole world could potientially see whatever is posted on the internet. The reality of the internet is the fact that most websites have few if any visits. Who knows... maybe someday my blog will be read by someone other than my wife.

Alissa is finally became an official aunt this week. Not only does she have two boys but also a brand new nephew to think about. Becoming an aunt is a pretty big responsibility. I'm sure Alissa will be a good aunt even though it means you're getting older. I'm not even an uncle yet and I'm 9 years older than her.

Well, I think I've written enough tonight to embarass Alissa a bit. Perhaps I should have edited this photo to show some rosey checks.

Tomorrow I may write about another friend of mine whose now the proud father of his first son.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Me and

Today I visited with two friends in my office about The first had never heard of it, the other is using it like me. In the near future I hope to grow my network with other friends who like to bookmark and tag interesting sites they visit.

A lot of people probably have no idea what is. Until I started using it I didn't either. I still don't think I know everything there is to know about it, but I do know enough to know how useful it can be in keeping track of various sites I find of interest. There are all kinds of services that provide similar features but this one has been really easy for me to use.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

First Federated Church Splash Party

Splash PartyLast night was the second Splash Party held by First Federated Church at the Clive Aquatic Center. I took a bunch a photos which are now posted on a special Flickr account I set-up for photos taken at church events. This photo here links to the the website.

You need to be one of my friends (eg. someone I know) with a Flickr account in order to see all the photos taken tonight. I'm not comfortable making all the photos I take available to the public at large without obtaining permission from those in the photos. I tend to make the photos that don't show anyone in particular public so some of the photos are available.

The events was attended by a lot of people. I was amazed at how many people I didn't really recognize (which is a good thing.)

It was a fun event which I probably should have enjoyed myself a little more. I ended up taking a lot of photos of other people having fun while following my son Ean around the park. He wasn't extremely thrilled with getting into the water, but he did love exploring the entire place.

Church informed of special congregational meeting August 13

On Sunday, August 13, Mike Rose will visit First Federated again to speak in the morning service. In the evening a special congregational meeting is scheduled at 6:00pm for the congregation to vote whether or not to call Mike Rose as the next Senior Pastor of First Federated Church.

This morning following the worship service Bob Sorensen, Official Board chairman, informed the congregation that Mike would be returning. He also informed the congregation about the current status in the youth pastor search. Currently the youth pastor search committee is looking at three different individuals from around the country for the position. Bob also let everyone know that our transistion between Senior Pastors is influencing who actually will consider the position.

Based upon the applause that I heard following these announcements I believe the church is excited for the future.

Friday, July 21, 2006 links for 2006-07-22

Church asks Mike Rose to candidate for the position of Senior Pastor at FFC.

Wednesday night, July 19, the official board gathered along with the staff and senior pastor search committee to decide whether or not to call Mike Rose to candidate for the position of Senior Pastor at First Federated Church. The vote at the end pretty much reflected the direction of the dialogue... all the board members voted to extend the call with one person abstaining from the vote.

As far as I know, the next steps in the process included announcing to the congregation three different times that a candidate has been selected and when a vote of the congregation is to take place. Mike will come back to Des Moines to speak again at another service, possibly have a town hall meeting in the afternoon for people to ask questions of Mike, with a vote of the congregation in the evening whether or not to call Mike Rose as the next Senior Pastor of FFC. These are pretty much the last steps in a pretty difficult and extended process.

I personally doubt that the congregation won't call Mike Rose to be our next Senior Pastor. The only thing that would keep this from happening is to discover some terrible bit of information that has yet to be discovered by anyone. I've never remembered a vote of the congregation going against the recommendations of the Official Board... at least in the last decade. Yes, you always have a handful of people who vote no for some reason but 98% of the people always tend to agree with the board.

I keep praying that the right decisions are made by the leaders of the church. For all I've seen and heard about Mike he appears to be a great fit for the church. The months ahead will be full of change regardless of what the outcome may be in a few weeks. New leaders always bring change. Some only those in leadership really will notice and other the congregation may notice as well. Regardless of what may come I must remain faithful in trusting the Lord with all my heart and leaning on him for understanding. He has always proven Himself worthy of my hope, trust and faith. I may not always understand His purposes but His ways are definitely higher than mine. He cares for me and knows me by my name.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 links for 2006-07-21

  • (tags: restaurant local ames iowa)
    The family ate here on Thursday night. Even though it seems like Ames would be pretty far to drive to eat, it takes a little less time to get there than it does to go to West Des Moines. The prices are pretty reasonable for the quantity and quality of the food. Evan eat everything... Ean picked at his food. Mom and Dad almost cleared our plates. Hickory Park also serves a whole lot of ice cream. We just could leave without sharing a dish.

  • Albany Baptist Church | Pastor Mike Rose
    (tags: work church)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 links for 2006-07-20

I've been gathering up all the places to submit events to local community calendars.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blackout at Target

Tonight the family went to Target for some shelves Jayne wanted for the boys rooms. We didn't plan for it to be a long trip to the store; however, we did up there for over an hour because the lights went out.

The power in the entire store went out just as we were heading towards the checkout line. It was the first time any of us had been in a store without any power. We weren't in the dark for long. Target must have a pretty big back-up generator because a bunch of lights in the check-out area and throughout the store came on within a minute of the power outage.

We later found out that the entire neighborhood was experiencing a power outage. On our way home we thought the power at our home might be out as well. Thankfully, our lights were still on.

I don't know what caused the power outage for sure. It was probably demand and heat related. All weekend the heat and humidity were pretty high compared to how it has been for most of the summer. We just wanted to stay indoors with the air conditioning on.

It was pretty interesting to see how Target reacted to the power outage. It took them about 10 minutes to get their registers up and running so people could check-out and leave the store. They had a few bugs to work out; however, I was surprised you could check-out at all. I even saw one family use a gift card. The cashier had to make a phone call to determine the balance on the card. It took a little longer than usual but she made it happen.

The other interest thing to note about the experience was some of the attitudes customers had. Some people just have no respect or common sense when things don't run as smoothly as they expect. Blaming Target and their employees for a power outage is pretty pathetic. Yes, Target conspired with the power utility to turn off the power so people would have to stay a little longer in the store.

I guess I should have taken a few photos with my phone. How many times have you seen a department store without all the lights turned on?

Sunday, July 16, 2006 links for 2006-07-17

These are the favorites we had on our home computer. Some we haven't used for quite a while. links for 2006-07-16

I've been trying out as a place to bookmark the places I visit. It is pretty cool.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

First Federated leadership meets with Mike Rose

Mike Rose answers questions

This morning the church leadership of First Federated Church met with Mike Rose, a possible candiate for the vacate position of Senior Pastor. For three hours Mike fielded questions on many topics that the church leadership had to ask him. Mike was not alone in answering questions since his wife answered a few as well.

Tomorrow, Mike will be bringing a special message to the church in the morning worship service. People will also get the opportunity to meet him and his wife following the service.

It was just last week that our church said good-bye to our former Senior Pastor Roger Poupart. Good-byes are particularily tough for me and this occassion was no different.

The next person to become the Senior Pastor of First Federated Church will be the fourth pastor to serve at the church since I first started attending with my family in 1979/80. I knew each of the former pastors pretty well during their years of ministry at the church. They each brought unique and different attributes to the position. In the process of seeking a new leader it is extremely difficult not to reflect upon those years in formulating an opinion on a prefered future.

I was asked today, and I'm sure to be asked several times in the coming week what I think about Mike Rose becoming the Senior Pastor of First Federated Church. At this time, I honestly don't have a strong leading in any particular direction. I'm not even sure what additional questions Mike could even answer for me to come to any specific kind of conclusion. Thankfully, the decision is not mine to make. It would be nice to think my opinion in the matter would make a significant difference in the process; however, I'm more inclined to sit on the fence unless God calls me to specific action. Don't take this to mean I don't care; however, in this particular case I don't have enough information to make or discern what my position should be.

In the end, I know God can to do great things when we look to Him for guidance. After all, the church is not about who the Senior Pastor happens to be; it is made up of those individuals God has joined together in community. So far, I think Mike would fit into our church pretty well; I will have to work along side of him for a while to know how well that fit will actually be.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The American Flag

Sanctuary of First Federated Church Des Moines, IAI don't have all the answers to this question, but I do know it is a tough one. Does the American flag have a place in the Sanctuary of a church?

This is a question the staff at our church considered for several minutes today. Opinions were shared. Our thoughts considered. Further contemplation definitely required.

In seminary one of my professors definitely had the opinion that the symbols given any space in a worship service must be carefully considered. He didn't believe flags were appropriate.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Wife

Jayne and Evan StarkMy wife wrote a really nice blog for our wedding anniversary this year. I think she was trying to embarrase me a little with a few of the things she was saying.

After seven years of marriage I can hardly believe all that has happened between us. It really doesn't seem that long ago that we first started making "eyes" towards one another. We still do. Sometimes the eyes speak nicely; other times they say something entirely different.

Jayne is a pretty special lady. It really does go without saying that I don't deserve her. But, I think it is pretty cool that we have each other.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Seven years of marriage to John Christopher Stark

John and Ean Stark eating some popcorn. Ummy!Well, John has wanted me to blog for a few day now. I said that my first one would be on our 7th Anniversary and that it would be sappy. This moring when I got up a card was waiting for me with 7 Take 5 candy bars. They are my favorite right now! (if you have not had one yet, they are awesome!!!) I must say that I was impressed that I got my card right away in the moring because I get them most of the time at 11pm at night. He thought of me before hand and that means a lot to me!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

I want Jayne to blog with her account.

Someday Jayne might write a few things on our website. I hope she will. I think it is pretty cool.

Urbandale Fireworks with the Family

Jayne, Evan, Ean with John's Parents

This fourth of July we once again headed towards the Longstreets' place. I'm not sure how many years we've been going there on the fourth but I think it has been close to 15 years now.

For the first 8-10 years I was a single white male... then I went a few years as a married guy... and now I'm going with two boys! This year it seemed like once of the things to do was to keep an eye on the boys.

This year, like last, we watched the fireworks from my parents house now on Meredith. This year Urbandale shot the fireworks off at the middle school instead of the high school. It didn't make much difference since my parents kindda live between the two schools.

Urbandale IA Fireworks

Ean spent most of the time inside because he didn't like the booms. Evan spent most of his time on my dad's lap having a great ol time.

Before the fireworks I also found myself helping my mom with a project on the computer she needed help with. She was pretty happy for the help. It helped pass the time away while waiting for the fireworks to start... which was at 10pm this year.

The most depressing part of the whole day was at the end when I realized that in the morning work needed to be done at the church. While going to work wasn't a bad thing, I did find myself needing just one more day to recup from all the activity of the holiday weekend.

One more thing... this was the first time I've ever taking photos of actual fireworks before. I experimented with the shutter speed a lot. A few of the photos turned out okay; however, I definately need to do some learning on how the pros do it. With a digital camera it was good being able to see the immediate results of the photos I took... with my film camera it would have taken days to get the same kind of feedback.

If you haven't signed up to check out ALL our photos on Flickr I'd highly recommend that you do so. We love it, and I think you would too. Click on any of the photos on this blog to check it out.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Ean loves to see Carter

Ean checking out the action at the Clarks

Last Sunday the family spent the evening at the Clarks. Ean had a really fun time playing with Carter.
It is pretty neat seeing him getting to know other boys his age and observing how they interact.

If you look closely at this photo you'll see the new haircut Ean's grandma gave him a few nights before. She used clippers for the first time with Ean's hair and it came out pretty good. I heard Jayne saying later that night that after the haircut Ean really looked like his dad. It probably had a lot to do with them giving him a similar haircut to mine.

Ean is definitely growing up. When you are growing up with him it is hard to see the changes without taking some time to reflect, ponder, and consider the progress he has made. Just tonight I was amazed at his increased vocabulary and quickness to learn new words.

Pretty cool!

Evan makes his father proud

Evan sitting in his scroller

Evan is now about 14.5 months old now. He is just about to the point of walking on his two feet instead of crawing to go from point to point. He is saying new words that we’ve never heard him say before. He loves any attention you give him.
In the last week, Jayne and I have noticed that Evan now wants me whenever I’m around. He wants me to hold him.

This morning Jayne set him down on our bed and as I was walking around the room about to leave he wanted me to pick him up instead of mom. It was kindda funny. A week ago he wouldn’t have cared who picked him up as long as he was by someone.

Evan definitely needs physical touch on a regular basis. Ean likes hugs and kisses before going to bed, but he doesn’t crave physical touch like Evan does. Our boys are really different in this particular area.

The other funny thing we’ve noticed lately is how Evan always wants to do what Ean does. If Ean is eating something, then Evan wants some too. (It would be nice if Ean would be the same way! He might eat more kinds of foods.)

It still amazes me that I have two boys. Three years ago I didn’t have any children. Raising two boys can be a lot of work. It is a huge responsibility along with being a great character builder.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Moved everything to WordPress

Today after some consideration over the weekend I rebuilt my personal website with Word Press blog software. Up until today I was using Joomla, a CMS (Content Management System). Why the switch?

The simple reason was for simplicity.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ean gets a tricycle

Ean pushing his new tricycle

Yep, dad though the ol son needed to get behind the wheel. A friend of ours gave us a really small bike but Ean just couldn't figure it out. So, I thought maybe something a little closer to the ground would help.

He actually was able to steer and make himself go a little the night we got it. I haven't had a chance to work with him since.

He's at that age where you either want to put him in his room for a little disciple or shake your head in amazement at how much he is learning.

Dad is starting to wonder he can start teaching him some phonics. The world will only open up the day he starts to read. I sure wish I started reading a lot earlier in life.

Oh well... just one life to live before heaven.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Upgraded Joomla and Removed Community Builder

I upgraded Joomla tonight. Other than following the instructions I think everything is working okay.

I also uninstalled Community Builder. It just isn't a feature I'm going to be utilzing at all for a while. Instead, I just need to focus on getting some content that anyone can see up and running.

I've had a lot of fun working with Flickr, so I might see if I can get to automatically show the photo feed from our Flickr account.

This site really is a learning experience for me. I don't anticipate anyone looking at it very often. There is hardly anything here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

See our photos on

This weekend we started using Flickr to make our photos available online for our friends and family. Yes, it may be a pain for some because they have to set-up their own account to view the photos. However, long-term, Flickr will be a lot easier for us to manage. In addition, they'll store all my photos forever at a pretty reasonable price. Most online back-up services cost a whole lot more than Flickr.

This weekend we started using Flickr to make our photos available online for our friends and family. Yes, it may be a pain for some because they have to set-up their own account to view the photos. However, long-term, Flickr will be a lot easier for us to manage. In addition, they'll store all my photos forever at a pretty reasonable price. Most online back-up services cost a whole lot more than Flickr.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A day of rest | Re-reading a book

I had a great day resting. I avoided anything remotely connected with work... it has been nice.

I began re-reading "Conquistador" by SM Stirling again. There is something about that alternative history and relationship to current times that interests me. In addition, this particular book has some interesting insights into privacy issues I think are going to be true sooner than anyone thinks.

The family went swimming this morning... my mom sold most of the items we gave her for the garage sale she had today. Getting rid of the stuff that doesn't fit in our home feels kindda good. The garage now has more room for the cars!

I got a busy day at work tomorrow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Checking out the xanga thing...

A friend of mine has a Xanga account, so I thought I'd sign up and check it out myself.

In the last month I've been looking into a lot of the social networking sites to decide where I should hang my hat. Not a whole lot of people I know are into the social network thing at this point in their lives.

Someday I'll land myself into one zone... if you check-out my website you'll find the links to the current spots you can find me.

At this point in my life I'm just trying to hook up and stay in touch with old friends. Technology has made this a whole more feasible since snail mail.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A day with the family

Today I spent the entire day with the family. Actually, I did sleep in a while...

We took my oldest son to "Cars" today. It was his first experience in a movie theatre. He did pretty good. It was occassionally too loud for him and a couple times he had to be held by his mom or dad. In time I think he'll come to like the movie a lot more than me.

We also went to a park tonight. It is kindda weird having a kid doing things I remember doing growing up. How time flies.

Tomorrow night we are going to the Glen Beck show at the Civic Center. I have no idea what the show will be like. His radio show is funny so I anticipate him giving a few laughs. We shall see.

At work I'm going to try and tackle a few projects I've been waiting to do for several months. At this point I think the project will end up being hard to start than to finish.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

One Busy Day at Work

After a twelve hour day I'm sitting here wondering where the day went. Wednesdays are typically busy; however, today was kindda weird. I was able to spend a few minutes with the family. They stopped by for a Summer Family Fun night we had at church tonight. Even though the boys are a bit too young to enjoy outdoor games, they had fun being outside.

I worked on expanding the church drawing in the CAD today. We needed to create a map for an upcoming activity that is happening outside. So, I took the ol blueprints and started to add sidewalks, parking lots, and streets to the drawing we've been updating over the years. The nice thing about drawing in a CAD program is the flexibility in keeping it up-to-date and drawing it life sized.

This weekend I'll be providing some media support for a home school conference. The work will keep me busy, but it won't be overly difficult. I'm mainly there in case something happens to keep things running smoothly.

In the coming week I've also got get some proposals put together to implement some new software modules we use. I'm not used to journaling much anymore, so I better quit before I fall alseep.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Checking out the LiveJournal

I was updating my LibraryThing tonight with a new book and ran across a link to this site. I'm kindda into the journaling thing; however, I haven't done much of it intentionall for quite a while.

The one thing I like so far about this site is the ability to enter both private and public entries.

I explored setting up my own blog on my personal website; however, I wasn't that crazy about installing the software, learning how to use it, and keeping it updated and working all the time. It would also be limited to just me.

If LiveJournal is anything like the LibraryThing I will like it. Using tags is pretty neat for organizing things...
Anyway, I'm not sure if I know anyone else whose using LiveJournal. If it turns out I like using this service I'll recommend it to some of my friends. It isn't quite like a MySpace account... or another kind of blogging site.
We'll have to see how it goes.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

My Gallery

For several months I've thought about adding a gallery to On several different occasions I looked at the extensions on Joomla for integrating a gallery into my Joomla CMS.

I tried installing a couple different galleries; however, I ended up choosing Gallery2. There is a bridge that integrates Gallery2 with Joomla which simiplifies some of the administration of the site. Installing Gallery2 wasn't extremely easy; however, I've been learning a lot in the process of working on which helped.

Right now the gallery is up and running but I've made it available only to those with a valid user name and password. I still have a lot of things to learn about incorporating a gallery into my CMS website. I also need to do some work on learning how to modify CMS templates.

Friday, June 2, 2006

See John on MySpace

This week John signed up for a MySpace account. Quite a few million people have got a spot of MySpace, so John thought he'd join the crowd. He already has a few friends and wouldn't mind finding a few more.

Check his page out at 

Thursday, June 1, 2006

ACS Technologies Conference in Orlando, Florida

I've been in Orlando Florida this week at a conference. I've been attending about six, hour and a half, classes each day. I'm learning a lot, but I'm getting really tired! [so why in the world am I up so late writing in this blog?!!]

ACS is the software my church uses to manage information about our congregation and bookkeeping stuff. They also have other products I've been learning about this week that might be a benefit for us to start using in the future. The system has a lot of different modules and features to help churches manage information. The biggest challange most users of the software face is integrating the whole system as a church.

While in town, I've had dinner with Derrick a couple times. He has been living in Florida now for 5 years after moving from Des Moines. It has been great having the chance to hang out with him. [He's also saved me a bunch of money by picking me up from the airport and driving me around town.]

Oh yea, I forgot. I stayed my first two nights in Orlando at the Disney Dolphin Resort. Dolphin was entirely booked for my last night in Orlando so right now I'm at another Disney resort (Port Orleans Riverside). Yeah, I took the boat ride to downtown Disney today/yesterday. It was busy. I'm not much into buying stuff but if you are... downtown Disney is the place for you to visit with a huge pocket of money.

I saw Mickey Mouse on Tuesday morning at the Dolphin resort. I was sitting at my table in the convention room and Mickey walked by and patted me on the shoulders. He wasn't very talkative, but I know he was very glad to meet me. :) I didn't have a camera with me so I don't have any photos to remember the occasion.

Well, I've got a class to attend in about 5 hours so I better go. I got a long day ahead of me. Hopefully, I don't miss my flight back to Des Moines tonight and get back safely. It would be terrible to be stuck in Florida for another day or two.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Well, I heard on the news last week that quite a few million people have a place on I'm adding myself to that number.

I'm not exactly sure how active I'll be on MySpace. It will greatly depend on how many of my friends will use the site. (And how many of my friends will accept my friend requestsSmileys Calm). (I know Derek loves his MySpace.)

If you are an old aquantance checking out my profile it would be nice to hear from you. If you are an old friend I spent any time with in my ever expanding past then I'd REALLY like you to touch base.

It truly is a small world after all.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Evan turns one

Mom, Evan and Ean get ready to blow out some candles!

Jayne did a lot of work preparing for Evan's first birthday. She sent out invitations, got a cake and some balloons, and wrapped quite a few presents. She even worked with both Ean and Evan on blowing out candles in the weeks prior to Evan's party.
The evening was a lot of fun and I took a huge amount of photos of the event. Evan had a good time, but I think Ean couldn't contain his enthusiasm. Watching Evan eat his cake was pretty funny too. Mom let him get really messy.

Sunday, April 9, 2006


Doug Applebee, an old friend of mine, pointed me toward Joomla the other night as a possible content management system to look at for work. Well, I decided to give it a try at home. To my complete and utter amazement I was able to download and install Joomla without any problems.

Ive been searching for a template to use. For now Im just looking for freebee options; however, if I end up sticking with Joomla for a while I might look into customizing something.

In addition to loading Joomla, Ive installed the wordpress blog compentent. Im still pretty new to the blog thing so it will take some time for me to get used to how things work. There are several blogs Ive come across in the last few months Id like to link to.

I'm not exactly sure what the ultimate purpose of our family website will be. The biggest reason we obtained the domain was for getting a static email address. We can switch internet providers and still keep the same email address. In addition, Im also able to create unique email addresses for a lot of the business we deal with at home. (Companies beware, I know whose giving my email address away.)

Another reason for working on a personal website is to learn. Ive done a lot of work over the years learning how to work with video, print, and visual graphics; however, working with the web is still new to me. Designing for the web is a little more difficult for me to get my thoughts around. There is a learning curve involved and Im working my up the mountain. I dont think Ill ever have an interest in mastering the underlaying programming behind the creation of webpages; however, I do want to learn enough to understand the broad ideas of how things work.

Goodbye Scott and Jane!

FED Group Photo taken April 9, 2006

Tonight our F.E.D. Group, a small group of First Federated Church, celebrated the friendship and love we have for Scott and Jane Larsen. Scott is now the director of Twin Lakes Christian Center. The entire family will move to Twin Lakes in the near future. We will miss them. Our camp themed get together included snacks, music, and elements typically found in a camp environment. Many thanks to the Sheltons who hosted our get together.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Day of Dialogue

Today I participated in an all-day staff retreat to go over the upcoming ministry calendar and the next budget for 2006/2007. It was a long day. How well it was spent will be determined by the outcomes of our planning.

Throughout the day the most significant moments for me were those in which the dialogue moved beyond the details of event planning to those unlying priniciples which guide our decisions. Ive increasingly found myself dissatisified with anything not done with intention. If you are going to do something, then really do it. If you dont have the capacity to do something with significance, then focus your efforts on those things which you can.

As the media director at my church, Im continually presented with information in which to communicate to the masses. It is amazing how much of my communication theory background and formal education keeps coming back to my awareness. The entire communication process from them sender to the reciever is truly an amazing thing. Today, the act of communication has only been complicated in the last decade by the increasing number of channels in which one can use to communicate a message.

Several months ago I gave the staff a quick and broad picture of the various channels of communication available to transmit a message to others. Youve got print, video, television, email, websites, flyers, posters, billboards, direct-mail, press releases, t-shirts, buttons, pens, etc., (add others that come to your mind), and the king of them all word of mouth. Im not sure Ive ever seen any organization able to afford to transmit a message through every possible channel. Would it even be possible? In a non-profit organization I believe our best and most effective channel of communication is through the network of individuals which makes up our organization. The challange is to get that network of people to communicate the message you want transmitted to those who need to hear.

One strategy Ive encourage the staff to use is to intentionally communicate one message, through multiple channels, in a short duration of time. If we can communicate a message 3-5 different ways on a Sunday morning, then I believe that message will have a greater chance of successful transmission. Relying on only one avenue of communication is always a recipe for disappointment.

I do have all sort of ideas related to this issue, but I think those can be left for another day. Ive done quite a bit of thinking today already.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My First Blog

Just loaded by first piece of blog software onto my website last night. So far things seem to be working.

The last several months Ive been thinking about how to add information to our website to keep our friends and family in the loop. Weve got two young boys who are growing like crazy. I think it would be neat to share some of that.

I did a little searching for WordPress plugins last night. Being able to easily add photos to my blog would be pretty neat. I may experiment with adding gallary to my website but the blog may be easier for me to implement at first.

I probably should start thinking about what catagories to use in my blog. There will be stuff from home to talk about, probably work related items, and I might even venture into a little politics. Im sortta a talk radio junkie. I dont listen to it at work, but whenever Im in the car that is typically what Im listening to.

For several years I used to journal quite a bit so my blog may end up being my place to keep all my thoughts together in one place. I may have to censor some of the ideas between the ears, but Im fairly honest. I dont keep that many secrets nor do I try to keep a tight lid on whats going on in my heart. My wife would probably like me to verbalize it a bit more. But that is for another day.

Im pretty new to this blog thing. So if you have any comments or suggestions Im wide open. It might be nice to know someone out there is checking in on me from time to time.

For a while I am sure blog of mine will be my little corner in the world few if any will know about.