New Music – Hawk Nelson

A friend told me about this band out of Ontario, Canada called Hawk Nelson…and I checked them out online and have to say they rock. They have a college garage band sound that is similar in attitude and sound to Blink 182 and Weezer. Their debut album, Letters to the President is very strong and I encourage you to check it out. The kids and I have been rocking out to the album since we picked it up a month or two ago. Our favorite song is a toss up between the title track and California.

-Brian 

Mitchell’s 10th Birthday

May 1 was my birthday it was the best birthday ever. First when I woke up on friday my best friend Hunter from Texas was downstairs, but I had to go to school so we couldn’t play. My class put on a show so he came to watch that. after that at 10:00 o’clock I got to go home early to play with my friend. we played on the computer while our moms went shopping. That night Hunter and I baked some cookies with my sister Mary and her friend Blair. After that we where so tired we fell asleep.

The next day some of my friends came over to go paintballing. When we got there it looked scary at first but when I got out there it was so much fun. I only got shot 3 times 1 in the hand and 2 in the leg. But the bruise on my leg stayed there for a long time. When I got home I opened my presents and had cake. I got a socerball, rocket, cd player, harry potter game and a flashback Atari game.

The next day Hunter had to fly home and I was very sad but it still was the best birthday ever. You can check out some photos of our fun here .

-Mitchell

The Laughter Club

A friend from my men’s group and I are beginning to plan out a new life opportunity. We’ve been talking about it for two years and haven’t taken action on it as it always seemed like things would get in the way. From our reading of Wild at Heart and subsequent discussions, we’ve come to believe that this was not just coincidental but an attack aimed at keeping us sidelined in the battle (and I do mean battle) for our hearts.

As we build out our idea I’ll share what our plans and dreams are here. We don’t know where this will take us but we want to flesh it out and see where we land.

Our thought is to create an organization whose mission is to find and help people in our community, region and nation who are stuggling with the problems of the world including depression, chronic illness, death, stress, work, raising children and family and many others issues which hold people back from reaching their full potential.

The first branch in our Tree of Life vision is what we are calling The Laughter Club, and it deals with depression. My friend Tony came up with the idea for The Laughter Club after our pastor committed suicide and he was searching for answers. Tony is a depression survivor himself and realized in talking with others that there were many people in our community who also needed help getting through tough times. So he started this group which meets every few weeks to support those dealing with depression and discuss ways to further the groups efforts. So far the comments from those who have joined has been very positive.

 One of our first goals once we write our business plan and setup our non-profit, is to raise enough money to buy a building/house for the organization to work out of and operate from. We plAn using this setting to provide counseling and meeting facilities for various small groups in a comfortable and safe setting.

Of course we bought the domain thelaughterclub.org and have a place holder up for now (thanks again to my friend Gobie at Kolusu Networks who is hosting our site). One of the members of the laughter club designed us a quick logo for us which we plan on using until we can decide further on our strategic mission, from there we’ll be work out further details for the brand(s). We hope to have an better site up in a few weeks and our business plan underway for the umbrella organization with further details on the way after that.

If you have any thoughts or comments on our ideas, let me know. I’d welcome them. More on this one soon!

-Brian

Wild at Heart

My wife (who has never written a single blog BTW) complained that I started a couple entries with the word "so"…so I won’t be doing that this time. 🙂

I’ve been reading with a group of men from my neighborhood called Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Its a book about the masculine heart and how many of us have lost ours through the warfare within our lives, with our friends, our enemies, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. Its a great toolkit for building a better understanding of the attack our hearts are under, and how we can fight to get our hearts back. Once we do that it gives us tips and tools to fight for the hearts of our spouses, children and others.

I know it sounds a bit out there (and I think that the author uses biblical references more as spice than the meat) I have to say that many of the men in our group, including myself, have taken the essence of the book to heart and are working to see what positive effect it can have in our lives. And in my mind that is all this book should aspire to, motivating men to take action rather than live in fear and self doubt from the wounds of their past.

During our exploration of the book, we have been meeting weekly with an awesome guide, Michael Thompson from Priority Associates. His leadership, experience and sharing have been inspiring and have driven many of us to begin planning to take action on what we have learned…a tough thing when your talking about a bunch of guys with wives, kids and way too little free time.

Another sign that his leadership must be working within a lot of us is that this group of about 15 men has been spreading the word about the reading and learning we are doing, and there has been a lot of interest from others in the area. Both in running through this book again and/or developing other men’s gatherings…beyond the "golf tournament" and "YoYo bar trips", and with a deeper focus on our spirituality and relationships with God and our families.

Recently we set up a meeting to share what we had learned with others and discuss our next steps. We had about 40 new people attend with about 75% filling out cards saying they wanted to join a platoon such as ours. Pretty impressive response rate for you marketing types out there.

FInally, as I went through the class I spoke with Cheryl about the insight I was gaining and the direction it was taking me. It must have had some impact as she just signed up for a study group on the new women’s version of the book called Captivating, by John and his wife Staci. This book just came out a couple weeks ago and the class is being led by Michael’s wife. Even after the first two classes for Cheryl, I think the books have given us a basis for discussions we have never had before and opened us up to more.

As we move into the last chapter of the book and the next in our lives, we’ll see how much impact it can have on our group. I’ll keep you informed and hopefully we’ll see some great changes take shape.

-Brian