Monday, October 29, 2007

the free-return trajectory

I posted this nearly two years ago and felt like re-posting it today.

Warning: this will give you new insight into my not-s0-well-hidden geekiness. :) enjoy.

ok, the diagram is kinda hard to read, but the green line is what's called a "free-return trajectory".

yesterday i bought the book "Lost Moon", written by Jim Lovell, and made into the movie Apollo 13. I'm a closet science geek. Not so closet anymore I guess, but I love this stuff. There's something deeply poetic about the way the universe works, and I love learning about it.

A free-return trajectory is a path that uses the earth's and the moon's gravitational forces to propel a spacecraft around the moon and back to earth again. It's called a "free-return" because it is, in essence, automatic. With some minor course corrections, a space craft will automatically be whipped around the moon, and pulled back into the Earth's orbit, simply because the Earth's gravitational pull is so strong. The Earth's gravitational pull is so strong, in fact, that a spacecraft traveling at 20,000 mph when leaving Earth's atmosphere will have been slowed to under 5,000 mph by the time it reaches the moon. The moon's gravity will temporarily grab hold of the spacecraft, but as soon as the craft rounds the moon, the Earth's gravity begins to pull it back again.

What an elegant, beautiful analogy for the pull God has, or would like to have, on our lives. Specifically on our hearts and souls. While it's true that smaller, less significant things can temporarily pull us away, God's "gravity" is always stronger. We don't stay away by accident, but by choice. Just as a spacecraft has to make a concerted effort to remain in the moon's orbit, so we have to make the same effort to orbit those smaller objects that try to pull us away from God.

Some people would probably draw the conclusion that the concept of the "free-return" says more about the pull that the world has on us, but I'd have to disagree. The larger object always has the greatest pull, and there is no object larger than God. But the further away you get, even from the largest object, the more you can be pulled and influenced by the smaller ones. The smaller objects don't affect us because they're irresistible. They affect us because we've gotten too far away from the one object that is truly irresistible. And yet, the gravitational pull of the larger object is still there. And when we round the "dark side of the moon" and come back into the light of the lunar sunrise, it will begin pulling us back home. If only we'll let it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The ocean rolls with sounds of thunder.
Something deep is filled with wonder.
"This is who I am," You whisper to me,
The passion and power of the pounding sea.

An untold number-
drops of water,
So untold mysteries make You.
A fine mist
(a gentle touch)
A raging tide
(a jealous love)
A shapeless thing that shapes all things.

If 98% of me is You,
what about the other 2?

Monday, October 22, 2007

take note

what's a few wasted post-it notes among friends?

this is the computer screen of the desktop computer I use in the Genesis office. I know the sticky notes would drive some people nuts, but they make me smile nearly every day.

Some of the notes I've written myself. They're quotes from books or bible verses... but many of the notes have been left by friends. Those are my favorites :) because they're often left when I'm not there. I'll come into my office and find one stuck to the center of the screen.

As you can see, I've been gradually collecting them over the 10 months that I've been on-staff at Genesis. I'm hoping the collection will continue to grow, because I like surprises - especially from my friends.

So the next time you're in the Genesis office, take notes... and leave one for me. :) post-its and pens are readily available... ;-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Merry Ol Land of Oz

Nearing the end of a week that's been long, hard, and at some moments disappointing and sad, there is one ray of light... Ozzy's back.

This week, the University of Nebraska fired it's athletic director (finally) and hired former coach Tom Osborne to be the interim AD.

Finally...a step in the right direction. The recently fired AD had been slowly killing morale and complaints have been piling up - not just from athletes but from alumni and even some faculty. There's no talk of changes to the coaching staff - though it'd be nice if Ozzy could undo some of the decisions that have been made over the last year or two. Still, just knowing he's back - with all his passion for and belief in collegiate athletes - will boost morale again.

The rest of my week has not been quite so bright and shiny. I'm learning that tension is often just a natural part of life. Like it or not... it's there... sometimes I cause it, sometimes others do...
But it's unavoidable.

I finally (after months of being asked repeatedly) agreed to help StandUp For Kids with their communications and public relations. It's a great opportunity to help raise awareness about youth homelessness. Our first big "push" will be during November, which has been named by Congress as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. It'll give us a great platform to speak from, and hopefully get some much-needed attention and support for the runaway and homeless youth we try to help. The trick is that I've never developed a full campaign before. It's one more task that God's calling me to do that I don't really know how to do. Every area of my life is like that these days. I'm pretty clear on the work God's currently calling me to.. but I don't really know how to do any of it.

I'm looking forward to my church's upcoming live worship CD night. I've been asked to help with stage managing/production and it will be nice to do something that's familiar and comfortable.

Of course, I'm sure that things are going better than I think they are. I'm tired. I think I'm getting sick again. I'm overwhelmed. I'm emotionally drained today. These things combined make life feel darker than it really is, I'm sure.

Fortunately, there is a God Who promises that His mercies are new every day. That joy comes in the morning. Mercy and joy. Here's hoping I wake up with both.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

does this look like a wedding party?

If you answered "no" then you clearly don't know my family. :) Last weekend I drove down to Cincinnati for my cousin's wedding. The wedding itself was beautiful and I've never seen him so happy. (Pics coming soon.)

The reception immediately followed the 1:30pm wedding and was done by 7pm. It just so happened that Nebraska was playing that night and the game was being televised. So.. my family being partial to Nebraska football (and sports in general)... we headed to the nearest sports bar to enjoy good company, good beer and (not-s0) good football.

We shared a room and a couple of televisions with another crew who were there to watch the Cinci/Rutgers game. Normally, I'm a Rutgers fan, but it's much more enjoyable to cheer *with* people than alone, so my loyalties shifted for just one night.

Sadly, both Cinci and Nebraska lost (though Cinci put up a better fight). But, at least we all got to commiserate in good company (while watching Stanford beat USC!)

Some of my friends have been surprised to find out I'm a football fan. This might help explain things. :) I was raised on college football. For so many years, our Nebraska team was one of the best... sometimes *the* best... in the nation. I've always loved watching them play, regardless of the outcome. My undying loyalty to the Nebraska team helps me better understand the undying loyalty that so many Detroiters have for the Lions. The Big Red is my team. They always will be.

Sadly, we're going through some slow and uncharacteristically painful growing pains as our new head coach tries to rebuild the program. We've made some bad staffing choices of late. We recently lost the (in my opinion) best defensive coach in the nation, for reasons that I still don't completely understand. But we'll get there. And in the meantime, you'll find me on most fall Saturdays either in a sports bar, at home, or with friends, enjoying one of my favorite sporting events of all time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Santa's summer home is on Washington Ave

laugh at me if you must, but I've seen him myself.

not too far from where Mariam and I live is the house we've labeled the "crazy Christmas house". If you've driven Washington Ave between 11 and 12 mile, you've seen it. All Christmas decorations all the time. I've always wondered what would posses someone to take the "Christmas spirit" to such an extreme, but today I discovered the answer. Santa lives there.

I'm not joking.

Well.. maybe a little.

But the man who lives there *could* be Santa Claus. He's an older man with white hair and a full, white beard.

I'm not joking.

I saw him and it made perfect sense. When Santa gets tired of the cold, the snow, maybe even the elves, he hops in his sleigh for a mini-retreat. The house is big enough that he and Mrs. Claus can have their own space, and there's plenty of places to hide the sleigh. The reindeer probably hang out in the garage, which is not really a garage but a stable.

The good news is that making our Christmas requests just got easier. No need to send them all the way to the North Pole. Santa's got a local address.

Monday, October 01, 2007

flip-flops and tanks tops

Yesterday, I got home after enjoying a great lunch with my friends Drew, Annica and Josh, and no sooner did I walk in my door than I remembered that I had wanted to stop at the store on my way home.

What to do, what to do?

I contemplated getting back in my car. But I had just driven back from Chicago the day before and didn't want to spend anymore time in the metal box than I needed to.

Besides, it was warm and sunny, and we don't have many of those days left... so I did what anyone would (should) do when the temp is warm, the sun is shining, (and it's your birthday) ;)... I walked. In jeans, flip-flops and a tank top - with Misty Edwards keeping me company via my iPod, I took a leisurely 20-minute stroll down to the store. I walked with my face turned slightly upward, hoping to catch the last of the quickly fading fall sunshine, and I was occasionally bold enough close my eyes for a few steps.

There's nothing like the feeling of the sun on your skin, the sound of breeze-rustled leaves, and the smell of freshly cut grass. For a few moments, I was swept away in my own, end-of-summer worship. So thankful that God gives us the gifts of warm, sunny days, friends to celebrate birthdays with, and the senses (and the sense) to fully enjoy His creation and each other.

I'm glad I took the time to walk. That may have been our last "flip-flops and tank top" day for a while. But then again... this is Michigan... so who knows. And of course, there's always Cali... ;-)