A new website project completed

Well, I’ve done it again. Over the past few months I’ve been implementing a new church website for our church, Christ United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, NC. This has entailed not only an entire redesign of the existing site, but moving the site to a new server platform (Unix), implementing a back-end database (MySQL) a content management system (Joomla) and implementation of many add-on services such as podcasting, daily bible verses, bible searches, online calendaring, blogging, live stats and comment systems.

Its been a lot of work…you can just ask Cheryl. 🙂

The site went live a few weeks ago and is now starting to be promoted. So far the comments have been very positive and I’m hoping this helps us reach more people, more effectively.

I even wrote the email promoting the site…here it is:


Grab a seat, buckle up, and go for a ride on our new little piece of road on the information superhighway…all from the comfort of your favorite browser.

Our site has been overhauled and supercharged to incorporate the following new elements:
– Updated look and feel for the CUMC portions and a special look for our Evolution pages.
– Artwork incorporating photos of our buildings and people
– New content sections including church news and missions news
– Ability to subscribe to our sermon podcasts
– New online Church calendar
– Online polls for research and feedback
– Online prayer requests
– Site registration for financial information, commenting on articles, news and event submission.

So click on over to the new site, register, subscribe to the podcast, and take a spin.  And don’t forget to bookmark it for future use.

The address is http://www.christmethodist.org/

See you on the road!

I am currently working with the staff and lay leadership to train them on entering additional content in each of their areas.

When you have a moment, please go over and check it out. If you feel so inclined, feel free to register (that gives you the ability to comment on things, see our financials, and submit church events for approval and inclusion in the calendar.

If you didn’t catch it above, the site is located at http://www.christmethodist.org/

If you know anyone who might be interested in setting up a system like this, email me. I have hosting contacts and can put together a package deal with them for web hosting, email, development, and training. We also have the ability to set up storefronts with a database back-end for web sales and inventory management.

-Brian

Podcasting

OK…so here’s a little secret…I’m trying to get my brother to start a podcast.

What’s a podcast? A podcast is basically a listing of audio recordings you put on the web. The utilize a technology called RSS which makes it easy to subscribe to them and get new recordings as they are made available by the author.

Why would a podcast from my brother be interesting? Aside from being just a very cool and interesting fellow, two recent events have will make the next chapter of his life even more interesting that usual. Let me explain.

First, he just turned 40. You know what that means…"I think my ‘brother’s’ gone crazy!" He’s taking stock of what’s important and what he needs to change up in his life. He quit his job in hopes of restarting his acting career, is taking on a job setting up an drama program at a local school, and taking workshops in hopes of honing his acting skills even further.

On his 40th Birthday I called him up and told him I had a present (an mp3 recorder and headphone mic) , a proposition (start up a bi-weekly podcast about his transition and life) and a plan (setup the podcast and use it as a marketing tool to get agents and casting directors to look at him).

He took me up on all of it and has been playing with the tools since mid July. Now with his gig over at Marksmen and his new life starting, we need to get this moving. I’m thinking this would be a very interesting podcast and if you agree let me know by leaving a comment so I can push him to get moving on this.

I’ll have more soon about my first foray into the podcasting realm (just setting one up…not about my insane life).

-Brian

Darn Hot!

I can’t believe how hot it is! The high has been over 90 degrees for what seems like ever. Actually its been almost 2 weeks . Tuesday it was 101, yesterday it was 100 and today it supposed to be about 95. Two days ago we lost power for about 8 hours, which I’m sure was due to the heat. Luckily it went out about 8:00pm (when it was still 88 degrees outside) and our house stayed below 85 until 3:00am when the power kicked back on.  

From the forecast , it sounds like we’ll finally get some reprieve tonight/tomorrow when a cold front moves through and the high is only in the mid 80s.

The funny part is that I’ve been complaining to everyone about how darn hot it was in TX while we were there and I must have brought it back with me. Guess thats what I get for talking about it so much.

If you have any good heat remedy’s "comment" below and let us know how we can stay cool in all this heat.

-Brian

Its been a while

I know its been a while since the last update and boy have we been busy.  In mid-June we took a two week road-trip to Texas to visit our old neighbors (and 2 of Matthew’s God parents) the Perryman’s. It was a great trip. Texas was hot but there was a heat wave going through much of the rest of the country at the time so it didn’t seem much worse than anywhere else. Each day it was around 95 degrees and sunny but there was a constant breeze so, in the shade, it was very comfortable. Standing out in the sun was definitely another story.

While we were there we took day trips to Austin to visit the Apple store, look around downtown and head to Dave and Busters for a few. One fun fact is that the Texas state capital is a rotunda similar to the US capital and is actually taller than the US captial…figures…it’s Texas.  

We also took a day trip to Ft. Worth (photos) and the historic old town (read tourist trap). They claim to have the only daily public cattle drive in the US. Cattle drive is a loose term at best and while it was neat to see the longhorn steers stroll through the town (all 12 or so of them) I got the feeling this wasn’t the way it went down back in the day.

The kids got souvenirs there, we stopped by the world’s largest Honky Tonk bar called Billy Bob’s for a softdrink and we even brought back some Texas salsa mix. Best of all, our friend Angie’s mom met us there (she lives just outside Ft. Worth) and she tagged along with us and showed us the sites. The highlight of the day was the photographic archive they have in Ft. Worth. We spent some time looking through old pictures of cowboys and the townsfolk from the 1800’s. The neat part was you could buy copies of the photos you liked. We found this really cool old snapshot of a larger family from the time. They seemed to be one of the wealthier families. I bought and scanned in the photo and you can see it about halfway down the page in our Ft. Worth photo gallery . Very neat.

During one of the hot days we took the kids to an indoor rock climbing facility called Boulders where we all tried our skills at climbing up to the top of 35 foot walls without much to hold onto. Hunter and I made it up all the way (Hunter climbs like a monkey) and the whole crew had an awesome time climbing around for a few hours. Here are some photos .

During pretty much every other day the kids played in the Perryman’s swimming pool (photos) where we took tons of action shots of great diving board maneuvers like the triple-lindy and more.

Then one night we decided to go to a putt-putt? mini golf and entertainment center and played a round of mini golf. Everyone had a great time until we went over to the go-kart race track. It was all fun and games and everyone was having a good time…then the Mom’s got behind the wheel. Suddenly kids cars were being driven into walls and flipped around on the track when they were cut off in a corner. If the crew had been watching both Cheryl and Angie would have been ejected from the park.

Speaking of racing, one night the grown-ups went out by themselves and guess where we went…back to Dave and Busters to play games. While we were there, Cheryl and I raced against each other and for the first time ever she beat me…not once but twice. Its a sad day and now I know I must be getting old 🙁 Maybe I was just scared from the go-kart track…yeah that’s it. We played lots of other games and wo n lots of prizes for the kids.

After a week and a half we packed up and began the trip home. Just after we got on the road, the sky opened up and it poured. We thought we were in for a tornado as the clouds were only about 20 feet off the ground we actually saw some clouds that looked like the funnels were forming. We drove through the driving rain and gusting winds for a few hours and finally stopped late that night to rest in Alabama. We got up early and headed home.

All in all it was a fantastic trip. Thank you to the Perryman’s for putting up with all our craziness! If you haven’t seen all the pictures by now. Head over to the photo section and check out the 4 photo albums we put together.

And then there was the bed and breakfast we ran when we returned home…but that the next installment…

-Brian

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