Two years ago my son Milo dressed up as Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon for Halloween. This year? Same thing.
It is a pretty great costume. Here he is two years ago:
I kind of love that he’s re-using his costume. It’s only because he’s completely obsessed with dragons and since the sequel came out this summer he’s all over it again.
My wife makes awesome Halloween costumes.
Walking into a church for the first time can be pretty scary. Churches aren’t very good at making people feel welcome. Which is why I’m proud to be part of the new book, Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors by Jonathan Malm.
It helps churches realize where they’re dropping the ball and scaring people away, whether it’s over-eager greeters hugging people (yikes!) or a cold congregation reserving seats (icy!). Jonathan offers practical tips and ideas, drawn from his vast church experience. He’s got funny stories that make the medicine easier to swallow.
You can grab some sample chapters at UnwelcomeBook.com to get a taste.
“‘Narthex’ sounds like a creature from a Dr. Seuss book. Make your signs visible and understandable.”
My Role in Unwelcome
This is the first CFCC book I didn’t contribute anything to, but I did handle the editing, proofreading and I’m very involved in the marketing. Rather than being bummed I don’t have my name on the cover, it’s kind of cool to see other folks’ stuff getting out there. Jonathan has a lot of great insight and experience (this is his fourth book this year alone!). I was also thrilled to get Kem Meyer to write the foreword.
“Don’t ask what it can hurt. Ask how it can help.”
Unwelcome Launch Week Sale
We’re also doing a big push this week only, so if you’re interested in Unwelcome, grab it now. The digital version is $7.49 and the print is $9.89, this week only. Next week they’ll go up to $9.99 and $12.99 respectively.
“You can’t force your congregation to be welcoming, but you can cast vision.”
Apparently this is the year I blog about local election politics. Sheesh. I didn’t intend to get into these discussions, but it’s been so frustrating to get misleading information. It’s hard enough to research local elections, we shouldn’t have to wade through misleading info as well.
197 Referendum Facts
So School District 197 (West St. Paul, Eagan and Mendota Heights) has a referendum on the ballot to approve levies for three separate things—technology, security and a new stadium.
You can get the full details of the referendum here.
The technology portion covers student iPads and other equipment, as well as software and training (there’s lots of personalized instruction that can happen with technology these days, but you have to pay for it). The security levy is to upgrade school entrances and minimize the risk of school shootings. The stadium portion—which can only pass if the other two pass (very smart)—is to build a multi-use stadium at the high school. Currently the football team plays 2.5 miles away at one of the middle schools.
For a $200,000 home, this referendum will raise property taxes by $32 per year. The district has some helpful graphs showing our property taxes compared to surrounding districts, before and after the levy.
Continue reading School District 197’s 2014 Tech/Security/Stadium Referendum
Have you seen the story about the Green Bay alderman quizzing a Muslim about terrorism before answering her question? Crazy.
Here’s the full blown exchange and the USA Today story, but basically the woman, Heba Mohammad, emailed Green Bay Alderman Chris Wery asking about free public transportation on election day. An innocent question, especially considering Green Bay offers free bus service on Packer game days, and not a bad idea. But beside the point.
Instead of answering, Wery asks Mohammad about her background with a local Muslim student group:
I just want to be assured that your group in no way promotes or defends militant Islamic ideology or Sharia law. Do you and the MSA condemn both of those as well as terrorist groups such as HAMAS?
Wery has quickly apologized, brushing it off as being busy with too many things at once. He realizes he was too blunt and phrased it poorly.
I’ll say. Give the guy the benefit of the doubt, sure, even Mohammad was impressed he called to apologize.
But let’s treat each other like people, OK? You don’t grill someone about stereotypical associations before being willing to talk to them. Especially when you’re an elected official.
Nobody asks me if I condemn the KKK before taking my questions.
I think perhaps Austin Kleon has reduced my book on reading down to 33 quick points. My book was pretty short anyway, but if you’re too busy for that, Austin’s version will work.
Austin Kleon is the creative mind behind Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!—both are good kick-in-the-pants books for creatives.
I can really get behind his points:
1. I will make time for reading, the way I make time for meals, or brushing my teeth.
4. I will read whatever the hell I feel like.
20. When I find an author I truly adore, an author who makes my gutstrings vibrate, I will read everything they have written. Then I will read everything that they read.
21. If I hate a book, I will keep my mouth shut.
Some of it is advice I’ve had a hard time following (though it’s still in my book):
8. I will not finish books I don’t like.
But this past week I really put it into practice. If a book isn’t doing it for you, move on. No obligations. I quit about four books in a row last week before finally settling on one I liked.
And I’ll let it go that some sound like he’s quoting me (steal like an artist), because it’s the best advice ever:
2. I will make an effort to carry a book with me at all times.
24. I will keep stacks of unread books at the ready.
25. The minute I finish a book, I will start a new one.
It’s a fun little post on reading. If you want to go deeper, you can check out my book, but this probably has you covered.
(I’ve posted my thoughts on the 2016 West St. Paul Mayor race here.)
Local elections are usually yawn fests, but this year the race for mayor in the Twin Cities suburb of West St. Paul is heating up. incumbent West St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller is facing off against former West St. Paul Mayor David Meisinger.
Zanmiller has served as West St. Paul’s major since 2005 and ran unopposed in the last election in 2012. Meisinger served as mayor from 2001-2002. (You can see Zanmiller and Meisinger together in this 2013 photo from a gathering of past West St. Paul mayors.)
The contentious issue in the 2014 West St. Paul mayor race? Robert Street.
Continue reading West St. Paul Mayor Race: John Zanmiller vs. David Meisinger
Finally caved in and turned on the heat this afternoon. After a couple days in the 70s and 80s, temps have sunk below 60 consistently. The cold, overcast days haven’t allowed anything to warm up in the afternoon, so it’s been a high of 60 in our living room.
That’s probably ridiculous.
The forecast has temps dipping into the 30s at night and never getting above the high 50s. So it’s time.
We had a very cool summer this year, rarely getting those hot and humid days when we hit 90. Now the fall seems to be following suit, going cold pretty quickly.
Here’s my annual breakdown: