This week I gave two presentations, which is funny considering how much I hate public speaking. The first was a demonstration of the social networking site the Table Project to a small crowd at my church (I blogged about that for the Table). The other was a Q&A on writing copy for churches at the Social Phonics Summer Camp in Minneapolis. To my amazement, the Social Phonics talk went on for an hour and a half.
I made it through both events (though nearly lost my voice after both) and people seemed to like what I said. I actually got some laughs and some tweetablecomments at Social Phonics. That always helps.
I initially turned down the offer to speak at Social Phonics, but eventually I gave in to the pleading from Tony Jones. He offered to do the presentation as a Q&A if that’d be easier for me, and I was amazed at how much easier that was. It probably helped that Tony has some pretty good emcee chops, but I felt a lot more comfortable and actually knowledgeable as I talked and didn’t have to feel like Mr. Presenter Man.
I actually found all this presenting rather stimulating. I had some really good conversations afterword and was able to make some good connections, both network-wise and idea-wise. My list of articles to write for Church Marketing Sucks just tripled. Not that this introvert will be starting a speaking tour anytime soon, but sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and discover that it’s not that scary.
Plus with techno-wonder Nick Ciske speaking before me and the aforementioned Tony Jones, it was like a Billy Graham reunion. Back in the day I used to edit the BGEA site passageway.org, Nick would code it and Tony was a contributor. We just needed Steve Knight and Matthew Taylor.
What are we to do in response to little Abdifatah?
Abdifatah is a victim of the famine in the Horn of Africa. They’re calling it the worst drought in 60 years.
My wife teaches in a school full of Somali children, many of them named Abdifatah (it’s a fairly common name, like John in the U.S.). Most, if not all, of her kids have family back in Somalia.
While famine has been officially declared in parts of Somalia, the crisis extends into Ethiopia and Kenya. Much of Southern Ethiopia, where my son Milo was born, is in a state of crisis or emergency. Families are starving.
How about a story about a grill for the Fourth of July?
About a month ago grilling season began in earnest (we had a rainy spring around here) and we discovered that our grill had finally succumbed to rust. Of the two burners, only one would stay lit and the flames were iffy at best, spilling out of the rusty burner in such a haphazard fashion they were barely safe for hot dogs. Which is a sad state of affairs for grilling season. Trying to replace the burner went nowhere. The grill was done. Which is a sad end to a good grill.
The grill was a wedding present from my brother. But we lived in Minnesota, he lived in Michigan and the wedding was in Wisconsin. The car he drove to the wedding was too small to transport the grill, so it stayed in Michigan until the next time we visited. No big deal. But 11 months later when we returned to Michigan we no longer had the truck I was driving when we got married. We were now driving a little four-door sedan with a non-grill compatible trunk. So the grill came out of the box in order to fit in the trunk. This was back before grills came ready for “quick assembly.” We had a thousand grill parts wedged between our luggage. Remarkably we managed to get all the parts in the car and were finally able to take our wedding present home.
Home to our apartment that lacked a balcony and a patio. The grill parts went into the closet.
Two and a half years later we bought a house and were hosting a painting party with promised grill food for anyone willing to help. I was still at work, so one of the volunteers, our friend Lance, was assigned the job of assembling the grill parts. Cries of “‘Le grille’?! What the hell is that?!” could be heard all day long.
And so three and a half years after our wedding the wedding present was finally put to good use. Grilling season had begun.
Last week we realized we’d lost enough of grilling season with nothing to show for it but poorly cooked hot dogs. So last night we picked up a new grill and Abby assembled it today (yes, I do enjoy sub-contracting my grill assembly work). We christened the new grill on the Fourth of July with grilled chicken for pizza that neither of our kids would eat. We convinced Lexi to try a piece of grilled chicken and she actually spit it out and declared it gross. Except for the hot dogs, grilling season is lost on her.
So we have a new grill. It doesn’t have as cool of a story as the old grill, but it provided flame-cooked meat on the Fourth of July. What more can you ask for?
A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.