Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thanksgiving at Christmas

Well after 3 and a half months and seven temporary homes we finally got our own home! Oh Yeah!

I remember about 3 years ago, just before we ended up moving to Kenner saying to Dina "Youe've got to be crazy to live in the New Orleans area!" At that time two small hurricanes had just rolled through just grazing the New Orleans area and southeast Louisiana. I was perfectly content living in Hammond. We were in the proccess of looking for our first house and were ready to put our roots down further there. I had really come to love Hammond with its combination small-town/college-town vibe and was ready to spend many more years there. Little did I know then that I would be moving to the New Orleans area within the next month. So I guess I've become more crazy over the last few years. I think it's particularly crazy to be buying a house down here right now but here we are.

We are really humbled by God's blessings on our lives right now. Throughout all of the craziness these last few months his grace and provision has truley been upon us. A friend of mine, Doug Anderson, recently spoke at our church. He said something to the effect that when you are always seeking stuff you can never get enough, but when you seek God's kingdom first you are freed from the attachment to stuff which in turn allows you to enjoy any stuff that comes along. Stuff is just the icing on the cake, or lagniappe as we say down here in Louisiana.

I can honestly say that Dina and I had pretty much decided we were going to be renting for a while but that it was worth it because we felt like we belonged here in Kenner. We both have really had a deep sense of fulfilling God's purposes for our lives here in Kenner, a sense that we are supposed to be here, that our destinies are some how tied in with what God wants to do in this area. Sure it has made more sense financially to move somehwere else and commute to Kenner, but we have come to realize that we don't want to be outsiders or vistors who work here and live elsewhere, we want to effect this area from the inside out. That seemed like a very tall order though. We have been renting ever since we've lived down here and have only met discouragement every time we have tried to look for houses in Kenner. We just could never find anything we liked in our price range. Back in August, after another bout with disappointments over the housing market Dina and I had a talk and came to the conclusion that we would rather rent and be where God wants us than live where we could afford a house and miss out on God's purposes for our lives. We also had really come to love our neighborhood and our neighbors. Over the past years there has been a real sense of community that has developed between us and our neighbors and we really didn't like the idea of giving that up. Well, God has done some huge miracles in our lives in recent days. Not only have we been able to find a house we can afford but it's in the same neighborhood as our old apartment. We are so very grateful for our new home. It's a simple condo about a mile from the church but it is so beyond what we had in mind. It is so great to have a little space of our own. I've missed alot of the simple things over the last few months, like making coffee in the mornings, cooking dinner, and being able to have a room alone with my wife. My daughter has missed being able to sleep in a bed without here brother. I feel like we are freed to enjoy this house in a way that would have never been possible before because we weren't living for it or even looking for it. God gave us something we couldn't get on our own, so as a family we approach this Christmas time full of thankfulness at everything God has done in us, for us and through us.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Adopt-a-Block Launches in Kenner

Well what a day it was for bar-be-que-ing- light rain, windy, and cold. I spent the afternoon cooking up chicken and sausage on the pits for our first adopt-a-block outreach. Around 5:30 we went into a neighborhood right next to our church where there are a whole lot of Fema trailers due to flood damage. We distributed hot meals and explained to folks that our church is adopting their neighborhood for the remainder of Decembed and that on every Tuesday and Thursday night we will bring them hot meals. Our first attemp went over real well. We are definately meeting a very real and practical need. Our initial plan is to get the church staff to do the first 2 weeks and then get families in our church to adopt their neighborhoods. Exciting times!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Top CDs of 05

On a lighter note, here's my top CDs I came across in 05. They were not all new in 05 just new to me at least.

1. Chris Lizotte - Falling From The Sky
Earthy and spiritual songs for everyday life. I contacted Chris recently to see if his CDs were available at any outlets and he told me they shoul be available on I-Tunes soon. Recommended Songs - Falling From The Sky, God Help Me Through This Day, I Will Trust You.

2. Elvis Costello and the Imposters - Delivery Man
This CD is too cool. The production is gritty, almost trashy but it works well. This is Costello's venture into roots rock. I've never been a very big fan of Elvis Costello. As a matter of fact i picked up this CD by acident, but I'm glad I did.
Recommended songs - Country Darkness, Bedlam,

3. Willie Nelson - Teatro
A friend of mine and fellow admirer of Daniel Lanois - Ben Manuel turned me on to this CD. Daniel lanois produced this one a few years ago. It's real cool. One of the best songs is Willie's cover of the Daniel Lanois song - The Maker.

4. Daniel Lanois - Shine
Well written songs all around with the very no-conventional and slightly sparse production you would expect from Lanois. The dude is not just a killer producer but quite the musician and songwriter. It seems that Lanois is really finding his voice on this one better than on other releases. cool tracks - I Love You, Falling at Your Feet

5. Daniel Lanois - Beladonna
I bought this one at the same times as Shine. It's all instrumental featuring Lanois' beautifully warm tones on the pedal steel. My favorite track is called Frozen - a pedal steel drenched slightly regea vibe.

6. Ben Davis - Crown of Mercy
I know I'm partial to this one because I helped out mixing and playing music on it but it's a great CD. Ben's a great songwriter with a nack for a good chorus. My Favorite tracks - Alive, Crown of Mercy, I Need You, Wonderful

7. Coldplay- X & Y
Each Coldplay CD takes a bit of getting adjusted to but never fails to deliver. This CD is no exception. While I'm not sure it tops their previous 2 releases it's still killer in a different way. The songwriting is definatly improving and the whole band is showing a bit more diversity. I love the first 6 tracks.

8. Bebel Gilberto (Selftitled)
This is a date CD. Songs in english and portuguese over brazillian rhythms. She has a very cool voice. Favorite track - Baby (My Daughter loves that one too).