When I started blogging a few years ago, I did it as a release. I have always enjoyed writing and the means of expression it affords me. However, somewhere along the Blogger-induced journaling, my blog became so cluttered with stuff that it looked more like a myspace page than a blog. To me, that is the last thing I wanted.

So here we are. Starting over. When I looked at the various templates available at WordPress, I decided to take the simplest approach possible. No longer will there be all the media I’m consuming on the side of my page. No more long list of websites I visit. Instead, you just get my thoughts. Sometimes there might be a picture, but most likely there won’t be.

I understand this may not make for the most “entertaining” blog in the world, but I’m okay with that. Selfishly, this blog is more for me than anyone else. And in reality, if you check blogs as often as I do, new content is new content.

And with that, welcome to my rebooted blog. Make sure to update your bookmarks and RSS feeders as needed.




Thanks to a recent purchase of a thumbdrive usb camera (only $12 on amazon), I suddenly feel inspired to blog again. I never liked blogging when my photos were just something I found on the internet or worse, no photo at all. I’m hopeful with a camera always in my pocket I can capture the many interesting and in some cases bizarre moments on my daily life.

With that said, in the last few weeks we have just been buried in snow. It seems like every weekend I am out shoveling, snow blowing and plowing. At this point, it is getting hard to even find a place to put the snow. The photo below is while I was riding the snowplow down towards the office and dining hall, eating the blowing snow the whole time.

It’s certainly a bittersweet gift of snow though. I am always happy to see kids enjoying sledding thanks to the snow. I just wish there was a better way to remove it from the places we don’t want the snow.

At least I had a cute little girl to cheer me up when I went inside to warm up. I swear she just keeps getting cuter every day.

Welcome Back Cotter


Anytime I get work in a Welcome Back Cotter reference, I know it is going to be a good post. Especially when it is the title AND the picture.

After another summer here at camp, life is finally slowing down. I am still only getting one day off a week, but at least the stress levels are down. We had a great summer with extremely high numbers in July. So the work life is good.

The family life is pretty good too. Jamie is continuing to show the signs of pregnancy and the child is growing nicely. It has been great to here the heartbeat and see the ultrasound images. In a level of needed prayer, the ultrasound did show the baby had kidneys that are developing too quickly which may result in emergency surgery at the time of birth. Hopefully the rest of the baby’s body catches up to those kidneys.

We also continue to work through the process of Jamie’s mom’s failing health. It is amazing to me how a strong belief in God can change the outlook of so many in regards to this stage of life. The trust in the hereafter is worth so much right now. Knowing that we will all be rejoined one day gives my heart some comfort. I am eager for a big family dinner in heaven.

In less heavy news, I have found a new favorite internet service. Goozex is a videogame trading site that matches used videogame owners to make trades for only $1 per trade and postal fees. A pretty good deal. I’ve traded literally about 15 games at this point. Saving me a ton of money. If you want to sign up, use me as a referral and we both get some free points/trades! (Click here if you are interested.)

Other than that, not much going on. Hopefully this is the start of more consistently blogging from me again!

-8 degrees F


You read that headline correctly. It is currently -8 degrees F here. That is without windchill. I actually read with the windchill we were down to -22 this afternoon. On a weekend when we have about 80 people here at camp, it made things interesting. At the end of today, we had to call the tow company for 3 separate cars that were dead in their tracks. So far we haven’t had any cabin freeze-ups (knock on wood) but we aren’t out of the woods yet. Lots more cold through Wednesday. Fun.

You may also notice yet another addition to the sidebar on the right (the Nick’s shared items widget). While it might look like just generic stories are being posted over there, it is actually controlled by what I think is worth a look. Now that I use Google Reader for my RSS feeds, I can choose what I think warrants the attention of others or that I find interesting and have them show up in that column. Kind of a neat addition I think.



I think Mr. Mark Twain had this pretty much nailed. Right now Leah is teething and it has quickly gone from bad to worse. Our sweet little girl who was sleeping through the night since her first month of life is now waking up numerous times (like on the hour) during the night since her teeth are so sore. Last night it got so bad that Jamie ended up sleeping next to Leah’s door so she didn’t have to walk as far to settle her down. I ended up sleeping with a pillow on my head after getting overly frustrated at 2 am.

We spent the last two days in Appleton, WI on my “weekend.” It was a nice departure from camp and gave me some quality time with my new work laptop. I still can’t believe I was able to get a MacBook for my work laptop, but I think it was the best thing I could get. For doing promotional materials and dealing with all the media of camp (photos, video, etc.) you can’t beat a Mac. Alright, done with my commercial.

In Packer news…what the heck is going on?!? Apparently now that the season is a loss (after 1 game) we are picking up alcoholic WR’s (Koren Robinson) and getting rid of solid performers (Samkon Gado). I know I will still watch the Packers regardless, but it’s much more frustrating as of late.

That’s about all for now. Oh yeah, a message to Tim P.: There, I posted. Quit your crying.

I’m not sure I could be any more sporatic of a blogger right now. I really want to be more consistent, but my work load is so inconsistent that it is hard to get in a groove. I keep thinking, “well next month should be better…” and then it isn’t. Oh well. At least I’m still posting sometimes, right?

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, so bear with me if this is kind of “rambly.” The more time I spend out here in the woods, the more I am realizing that I am changing as a person. It is nothing of huge magnitude, but there are small things.

First, I know that I am becoming more laid back than I have been in the past. It’s n0t that my job is a cake walk, it is actually probably more stressful than my previous job. But the difference is my environment. Being surrounded by nature is so different than being in the city. The fact that I bike to the office past deer and turkeys daily. It’s crazy. It’s as if God is literally walking/biking right there with me.

Second, I am learning how to cultivate my faith without being able to really go to church. This is not to say I’m denying the need for corporate worship. There is nothing I crave more than worship right now. Unfortunately Sundays are a rather busy day here which is kind of eliminating worship from the schedule for the time being. I am hoping to change that next year as I value worship, but we’ll see. For now I am listening to a lot of sermon podcasts and doing daily Bible reading on my personalized Google start page.

Finally, I am realizing how culture and the media really impact their audience. Since we now watch all of our TV on a DVR (skipping most commercials), we have no decent radio stations, and I am removed from year-round youth ministry, I am realizing that I am literally unplugged from most popular culture. Kind of scary for a guy like me.

Thankfully I still have podcasts to help me stay connected. Between the Relevant podcast, several videogame podcasts, and of course every single ESPN podcast.

Speaking of the Relevant podcast, last week they had a great cover of Hey Ya by Outkast. This version is by Obadiah Parker. Since I really wanted the song, but I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere, I used some fancy Mac software to chop the song out of the podcast. Not really a big deal, but I did it so we can all appreciate the song. My gift to you for not posting regularly I guess. Wait…I just found a link so I don’t have to host it. Enjoy!

Hey Ya – Obadiah Parker

It’s amazing how much of a difference a little satellite dish can make. I never thought that I would miss high speed internet more than cable TV, but it’s true. The connectedness I feel with other people through instant messages, email, pictures and blogs is so important to me at this point in my life. Especially now that we live in the middle of the woods.

I know I haven’t blogged in a long time and I have a lot to recap (the first summer running a camp makes for lots of stories including fires, lost campers, staff drama, learning a complex job on the fly, etc.) but that will come in time.

Today the focus is on just reconnecting with my former readers. If you are still checking this site, thank you and I’m sorry. I just couldn’t handle dial-up for posting. It was like going into a time warp and trying to use and Apple II. It was just more frustrating than it was worth.

Once the dish was up on the house yesterday I immediately started downloading podcasts like crazy. I can’t believe how fast satellite internet actually is. Maybe it’s just because I am so used to dial-up, but it was really flying. I must have downloaded 20 podcasts last night just trying to fill my ipod with fresh content.

Well, unfortunately that is all I can think of for right now. I’ll probably be posting daily or bi-daily again, but I won’t promise anything until summer is over and my life slows down a little. Look forward to sharing my experiences with everyone again.

P.S. – Finally fixed that stupid error message that kept popping up. Turns out Google Analytics is more of a pain than a help!

The Pop Culture Hook


After reading Tim’s blog (http://www.timschmoyer.com/2006/05/17/tired-of-da-vinci-code-hype/), it has really helped me realize how desperate Christian culture can be at times. Is it just me or does it seem like Christians are constantly waiting for the next big Hollywood hit that can be used as a ministry tool? Granted, it does make it easier to convey a gospel message, but I wonder why that is?

Really, I have come to wonder if it is more a matter of Christians becoming lazy or the rest of the world becoming so jadded towards the gospel message. Let me explain.

First, the laziness. In general Christians are lazy. Then again, in general, non-Christians are lazy too. To commit to doing straight up evanglism the way Jesus did it would not only be scary, but also tiring. But then again, it worked. Jesus never waited for some great artisitic movement to hitch his message to. He just proclaimed love and grace. Why don’t we do that?

Well, we usually don’t do it because no one would listen. The rest of the world is so sick of hearing the gospel that they typically won’t even hear you out. They just move on as if what you are saying is some annoying telemarketer conversation. As if the gospel had a timeshare attached to it…

But we can’t change the way people are. We can change the way we present our message though. Rather than waiting for the next great Hollywood blockbuster, why not spread the gospel the way Jesus did?

A lot has happened in the last week. A lot.

On Thursday, we loaded up the moving truck and watched as our house went from cluttered to empty. It really helped this whole “process” sink in. The moving company did a great job and I can’t imagine moving without one in the future. Thursday night we went to our friends house and enjoyed a final evening in Mankato. It was kind of a sad night, but at the same time it was great to spend it enjoying their company.

On Friday, we loaded up the turtle, cleaned the house and made our trek from Mankato, MN to Westfield, WI. Leah did a great job as she slept the entire way (4 hours!). When we arrived at the camp, we were both overwhelmed with just how large this house is. I kind of forgot just how large the house is. There are four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a great finished basement. Friday night we spent at a hotel in Westfield as our “stuff” wasn’t at the house yet.

Saturday was the move-in day. After about 3 hours, all of our stuff was in the house. Getting it all unpacked will be a different story. We will be living in a cardboard jungle for several weeks I think. We also went to Appleton on Saturday for my dad’s 50th birthday. It was great to be able to drive home in just an hour and a half and for so many new relatives to meet Leah for the first time. Leah did get a little over stimulated due to the crowd though. She did good considering the overall stress of the last few days.

We returned home on Sunday and I actually started my job yesterday. I spent some time with the previous director learning the ropes of the camp and then spent some time in the office that afternoon. While I don’t understand all the tasks of my job yet, I can see many areas that my skills will be of use. Just in basic organization there is a lot of room for improvement. I could easily spend several late nights in the office just working. I have a feeling when Jamie and Leah go to Ireland I will be putting in some extra hours just to get things to a more comfortable state.

I could go on and on about the life without cable or high-speed internet, but I’ll save that for another day. I also need to figure out a way to get dial-up to my Mac in the basement so I can post pictures with my blogs easier. For now it is just text though. Sorry!

Email Posting


Since I am no longer able to really go on the internet for “leisure” purposes at work, I am going to try and post via email. Hopefully this works. I’m not sure what this means as far as photos either. I’ll try throwing a picture in at the end of this post to see if it makes the conversion, but I have my doubts.

Last night was a pretty good time. Jamie, Leah and I went to the youth ministry large group. We played a long game of dodgeball and a weird version of capture the flag. I personally don’t think sports gets any better than dodgeball. It’s just pure adrenaline and pain. Always fun.

Not much else going on really. Just wanted to see if this email post thing would be worthwhile.