by Alexandre Dumas

January 25, 2018

‘Twas a long long slog to read through this with my two youngest kids. We took it a few pages at a time before bed many (but not all!) nights, and I think we were in it for over a year.

Truth be told, we were glad to be done when we finished, and I think we struggled to remember some of the narrative arc after so long. But there was a certain level of reward to finish, and they were exposed to quite the classic English vocabulary, as well as some French words that they’ve started tossing in conversations within our family.

by Winn Collier

January 20, 2018

Look, I’m going to be completely biased on this one, because Winn is a friend — the kind of friend I wish I got to see and talk with more. So, by way of brief review, let me share the brief email I sent him the day I finished this one:

Finished your book earlier today … can I tell you how much I loved it? And I knew I would love every bit to come when I highlighted “my give-a-shit’s broken” in the first chapter. It felt like you took the good pieces of Wendell Berry and Eugene Peterson and channeled them through the best parts of Winn Collier!

Thanks for writing in a way that celebrates and elevates that heart and voice of a pastor who wants nothing less than to lead and walk alongside a people in a given time and place. I felt both seen for who I try to be and reminded of who I want to be.

January 16, 2018 10:18 am

When I am grappling with ideas which are radical enough to upset grownups, then I am likely to put these ideas in the story which will be marketed for children because children understand what their parents have rejected and forgot.

January 8, 2018

The first sermon to kick of a new series for a new season of Austin Mustard Seed. Excited to settle in for the five weeks to follow as we talk about our newly articulated Mission & Methods. Outline points (and sub sub sub points) included Jesus’ ideas about the church that didn’t yet exist, thoughts from Lesslie Newbigin, and super thick glasses as the ultimate author smack talk.

by Marie Lu

January 8, 2018

Another book that found it’s way to my list after being recommended at multiple young adult panels at the Texas Book Festival. (And probably the last YA I’ll read for a while…)

I call this kind of book a kinder, gentler dystopia. (And another new genre that I would include with Version Control.) It’s a near future book where there hasn’t been any kind of cataclysm, but slow change that has led to a not quite as ideal society.

The premise of this book is fun and interesting enough, with a clever overall premise. I can see why it was a popular recommendation at all the YA panels. But it was also YA, and I roughly imagined how the ending would go before I got there.

No regrets though — my oldest daughter and I were able to have a number of conversations around it since she’d read it just before me.

by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

January 2, 2018

Two former Navy Seals have built a brand based on their lessons learned as commanders in wartime. The result is a book where each chapter tells how they learned a principle as commanders in wartime, a statement of the principle, and a follow-up scenario from their consulting for how the principle plays out in business. By the second or third chapter, I found myself skimming the wartime stories and business scenarios and just reading the section describing the principle.

I expected the book to be about how good leadership leads to ‘extreme ownership’ by those being led. But, it’s more about how a leader has to maintain extreme ownership of the project/business/organization they lead. I appreciated that there was a level of permission for me as a leader that came with that view, but also wondered, as I often do, if there is an expectation of leadership here that fits in wartime or a start-up culture but is less sustainable for long-term leadership in a maturing and developing organization.

by Jason Reynolds

December 30, 2017

I scrawled the names of many books in my iPhone during our annual family outing to the Texas Book Festival last month. Since I was with my kids, many of those books were Young Adult books, so this might be the first of a few YA that show up here in my recent reads.

Several authors raved about Long Way Down, and we went to two different panels that Jason Reynolds participated in, so here it is. Fit this in the category of books that take me totally outside my experience as it chronicles a minute in the life of a boy who is preparing to take revenge out on someone who he thinks murdered his older brother.

This “minute in the life” takes more than a minute to read, but I read it in one sitting. It’s a short read because it’s written in verse, but also because it keeps pulling your forward in the story.

December 30, 2017 10:38 am

At any rate, the creed is necessarily something we say together, something we can only truly believe together. … We’d have to keep asking each other whether or not we believe. I assume I’d hold you up on your weak days, and you’d hold me up on mine.

Just started reading this book by my friend Winn. I imagine there will be many passages I highlight as enthusiastically as I did this one.

December 28, 2017

I’ve been working with ShippingEasy since 2013, when the relocated to the United States and launched a massive update of their product. I was hired to create their marketing site in WordPress, merging a design that they provided with a Bootstrap template they liked. A year later, we rolled out a new site using a similar process, and it’s had many revisions along the way.

A few weeks ago, we launched an entire new design. They had a designer work up a new site from scratch, and then I built out the code on top of their existing site structure and content. A few of the interior pages are still getting facelifts, but it’s a fresh new look that was a lot of fun to build.

December 28, 2017 7:36 pm

The primary function of my blog when I began, oh so long ago, was to share thoughts about the many books I read. (Well…and also to get some Amazon Associate links going to help sustain my reading habit.) I’ve not kept up with that for the last few years, but I’m working my way back to that.

I created a new post format for my blog to post thoughts about some of the books I’ve read. I’m not intending to write reviews or even synopses, but just to capture some thoughts after I finish each book and it’s still fresh in my mind.

An example of the first post of this kind is below…

by Dexter Palmer

December 28, 2017

I’ve been loading up my library wish list with all the books I’m finding on all of the “Best of 2017” lists. All the while, I’m still working through the books that I added from all of the “Best of 2016” lists. Case in point… Version Control, by Dexter Palmer.

As science fiction goes, I hereby declare there is a sub-genre called Science Fiction Realism. Yes, it’s a close kin to Magical Realism. It’s the kind that takes place in our known world within history or the not too distant future. The setting is familiar, but events are introduced which are outside the usual reality.

I make this declaration in order to state that:

  1. This is my favorite kind of science fiction
    I don’t as much enjoy the labor of forming mental constructions of whole new worlds and alien races that science fiction often requires. But I like the idea of a story that stretches the boundaries of this known world in a way that I can identify with the story but also imagine a different reality.
  2. Version Control is this kind of science fiction.
    It’s a near future story that mixes elements of mild dystopia due to the reign of social media, broken relationships and racial tensions with mild elements of science fiction. It will be one I remember to recommend to others. In fact, I did earlier today.

December 19, 2017

I’ve had a tenuous relationship with the enneagram for 10 years or so. I’ve appreciated the framework of it more than any other ‘personality’ profile, yet I found myself often switching around how I thought I best fit within it. Most often, though, I came back to the Enneagram 5. This podcast conversation hosted by Ian Cron offered the most helpful explanation of 5 I’ve heard in a way that I can finally, and firmly, plant my 5 flag.

December 19, 2017

Had the pleasure of beta-testing Scrivener 3 over the last many months and it’s just right. Often, useful software bloats and complicates over time. Scrivener 3, while adding a bunch of improvements, is still Scrivener. When you open it, it looks better, but familiar. The core purpose that I’ve used it for is still what it does best — break down a writing project into maneagable pieces and reference material. My only gripe is that I don’t have any longer form projects going at the moment to use Scrivener with.

December 4, 2017 8:11 pm

I’ve long had on my list to update the website the blue and orange for football season. But the Broncos are such a mess right now, I’m content to keep Angels colors in play and look forward to the spring.

December 4, 2017

Can’t think of a sermon where I’ve gotten as much positive and kind feedback. Also can’t think I’ve a sermon where I’ve gotten more grief…mostly nice grief. Listen and see for yourself — unless you hate history.

December 2, 2017

Chris Morton and I continued, and finished, our Catechesis series with a conversation through a few more of the questions that were submitted from the aMS church community.

November 28, 2017

We took questions from our church community to close out the Catechesis series. There were more questions than there was time to answer. I was glad to have two others from our leadership team — April Karli and Shane Blackshear — join me in responding to the questions.

November 14, 2017

Golly. When I was lining up the sermons for this series, why did I give myself this one? Truth be told, I did a similar topic the week before Easter, but there was still plenty to talk about this time around. And I’m thinking there’s still plenty more to be said on this one…

November 7, 2017

I forever enjoy hearing the creative processes of others — especially hearing how some of the most creative and outside the box thinkers thrive in the most structured rhythms. This whole interview is interesting, but especially Cuomo talking about how he focuses on a specific and different element of songwriting each day of the week.

November 1, 2017

This one ties closely to the sermon the week before on God’s role in creation. A lot of focus on Genesis 1, with some included thoughts from Vishal Mangalwadi, John Walton, and Anne Lamott.