19 October 2010

God's Family

I’m not a car guy.  This is a well-recognized fact by anyone who knows me.  Unfortunately, Saturday morning our car decided to not start.  This resulted in me opening the hood, looking at the battery, and scratching my head.  Within minutes, I was texting my buddy Mike, telling him we may want to bum a ride with him later in the day for a party we were all going to.  He called me right back, and said he’d be over in a few minutes to see what he could do to help.  Turns out a simple jump start did the trick.  Not sure exactly what the problem was, Mike offered us his car if ours went on the fritz.    

After working throughout the day Saturday, Sunday morning found us again with a non-starting car.  This was more problematic, as we had a full day of visiting and church activities planned in Lynden, a good half hour drive away.  A quick jump start from our neighbor didn’t get things running, and I made a call to cancel plans for visiting my grandparents that afternoon.  My grandparents (in Lynden) told me that they would drive down and see what they could do.  Thankfully, my car ineptitude isn’t hereditary, and I’m blessed with a Grandfather who is quite handy with all things mechanical.  After a longer charge (and some apple pie and visiting) we got the car running again.  The plan was to drive up to Lynden and bring the car by Grandpa and Grandma’s, where we could check the battery and a few other things to see what the problem was.  

Becoming more nervous about getting up to Lynden to teach the rest of the week, my wife called her former roommate, Yuanita, to see about borrowing her car while she was away on vacation.  The answer was yes (no surprise, if you are noticing the trend), and we stopped by the Bosscher’s to pick it up on our way to Lynden.  Doug, the patriarch of the family, stepped out and tested the battery and cleaned up the terminals.  From here, we continued on and had the battery fully charged at my grandparents.

That evening, we met with our small group from church.  This resulted in multiple offers of rides if needed.  After church, one of the elders walked us to our car to make sure it started, and to jump start it if need be.

What I thought would be a weekend of annoying car problems has really shown the family we have found around us.  Each of these people was willing to do whatever the could to help us.  Even to the point of dropping their own plans.  I love having people I can call family, despite different races, ages, and political leanings.  It’s really helping me redefine what I call family.  

13 October 2010

Return of the blog?

I recently read an article (which I now cannot find) stating that the more means of communication we have (phones, facebook, twitter, texting, IM, blogs, skype, facetime) the less we actually make an effort to say anything.

This is my effort to change that.  Yes, I've blogged twice in the last year.  Yes, I've made the 'start blogging again' effort before.  Yes, I assume that because I just spent 45 minutes changing the background and fonts on my blog that I will pay more attention to it.  Here's hoping.

To start with, I will say that I'm going to spend this evening sitting at Woods Coffee talking with the high schoolers at my church.  I'm a youth leader now.  Weird.

I'm torn between blogging about whats happening in my life and my thoughts on whats happening in my life.  I suppose a little of both would be good.  More to come.  Soon.

The trying again Ogukuo 

04 April 2010

Dr. Bob told me a story...

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who has been a practicing dentist for 35 years.  I'll call him 'Dr. Bob'.  Dr. Bob was telling me of a patient of his, a 34-year-old man, who had literally been seeing him his entire life. 

On one of his last visits, this patient told Dr. Bob that he had googled him to find out what his political views were.  His patient looked at him and said "You're one of those tree-hugging environmentalists, aren't you?".  Dr. Bob acknowledged that he was; and knew by the way his patient said this, that he may be in for a bit of a discussion.  But his patient instead told him, "Eh, you're ok, anyway."

After telling me this story, Dr. Bob made a good point: all it takes is a long-lasting relationship with someone to overcome political differences.

Now I think of that story whenever I encounter someone who I don't see eye to eye with.

_______ of the day:  What do we have to lose?


10 February 2010

New Job!!

To echo my wife, I hate starting a post with "well, its time for another update", but what else can I say after 3 months of silence? Sorry folks!!

The biggest news of note is a new job for me! Tomorrow is my last day at my current job, and I'll be starting at Logos Bible Software next week! It's happened pretty quickly, and I'm excited about the change. I really like my job here, but it was time to make a decision to either try to advance here, or find another way to advance. I think Logos is going to be more in line with what I am looking for for a career. I'm starting in Customer Service, which is kinda bottom of the heap, but I'm hoping to learn the company there and see what openings come up in the future.

So, again, I'm making the claim to blog more regularly. Once I start the new job, I'll be off by 2:30 every day, so I'll be home by 3 most days and hopefully this will give me a bit more free time to do things like blog and read and paint and relax. You know, the things that usually indicate "having a life".

So, again, I'm promising to blog more often, and hopefully even update my blog format, as I realize it is horribly out of date. I think half the blogs I have linked don't exist anymore!

_____ of the day: I really, really want to explore Patos Island!!

The 'new frontiers' Ogukuo

01 November 2009

New apartment!!

After several months of religiously checking Craigslist and Property Management sites, Andrea and I have chosen an apartment to move into!!

Its on the outskirts of downtown Bellingham, on the corner of "H" St and Bancroft, if you happen to know Bellingham.

Its a two bedroom, 1.5 bath, one living room, one kitchen, upstairs apartment. Its got two smallish decks, one of which has a partial view of the Bellingham Bay!!

Its a 15 minute walk from downtown, and from the downtown bus station. Its a five minute walk from a small coffee shop, and has a small community theater across the street. Its a few blocks from the Lighthouse Mission, where homeless people are welcomed in. Its a 5 minute walk to a park with tennis courts, and the church where we have Tuesday night Chorale rehersals. Its a 20 minute walk to the marina, and another park down there.

The second bedroom will be perfect for visiting guests and dignitaries. So come visit!!

I'll try to post pictures once we've moved in (in about 2 weeks).

______ of the day: despite this exciting news, most of my joy right now comes from a wonderful morning of fellowship with friends at church.

The moving Ogukuo

16 October 2009

City of Subdued Excitement

This post is inspired by an email Andrea got yesterday (you know who you are).

Reasons to live in Bellingham:

1. Its big, but not too big. There is pleanty of things to do around town, but is not overly crowded.

2. Its small, but not too small. You see people you know around town, but its not a small-town rumor mill.

3. Its by the water. Sailing, kayaking, ferry rides, and multiple parks/paths along the waterfront to take it all in while staying on dry land.

4. Its by mountains. Mt. Baker is less than 2 hours away, and has skiing, great vistas, and hiking trails (if you want a challange). There are also lesser mountains around that present great hiking opportunities.

5. Its located between two international cities. Seattle and Vancouver, BC are both easy day trips. And they both offer endless places to search out and explore.

6. Its got a decent bus system. Even living in Lynden currently, I take the bus to work every day. Once we move to town, we'll be able to do alot more on the bus system.

7. Its got great places to buy food. The community co-op, Trader Joes, and a weekly Farmers Market. As organic as you want to be!!

8. Its surrounded by wineries. There are at least half a dozen small, independent wineries right around the area. And I know there are more right across the border in Canada.

9. Its got breweries!! I know of two beer breweries in town, both are great places to go tasting, or to eat!

10. Its got great resteraunts. Everything from the aforementioned breweries to gourmet pizza places to snooty Italian resteraunts to great seafood places to small cafes.

11. Its got cultural attractions. An independant cinema, small community theaters, art walks, an annual festival of music, the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, and several community choirs (Andrea and I sing in one of them).

12. Its got seasons. And I mean more than just summer and winter like the midwest gets. Spring and Fall are great, Summer means long days, but nice temperatures. Winter is a bit dark and rainy, but worth it overall.

13. Its near Lynden. Thats right, if you need to explain to any of your Dutch relatives where it is, you just say its near Lynden.

14. Its got an airport. And direct flights to the Bay Area. Or Vegas. Or Phoenix.

15. LinuxFest Northwest. I don't even know what that is, but it may interest some people.

16. Its got great parks. Big parks, small parks, parks with lakes, waterfalls, ponds, parks on the bay, parks with hiking trails, bike trails, frisbee golf, and tennis courts.

17. Its got great downtown atmosphere. Downtown has lots of coffee shops, restaurants, shops, and is very bike friendly.

18. Its got a certain energy. Its not called the City of Subdued Excitement for nothing!

19. It rains here. Alot. Ok, not a direct reason to like it, but it sure makes everything green!!

Ok, those are a few things I can think of off the top of my head. Rest assured there are more.

______ of the day: I get the joy of looking at beautifully colored leaves outside right now.

The Pacific Northwest Ogukuo

21 September 2009

Three steps to giving a sermon guaranteed to start a discussion:

1. Choose Psalm 139 as your text.

2. Add Proverbs 15:3.

3. Start the sermon by likening God to George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ who is always watching for mistakes.

This pretty much describes the sermon we had Sunday morning from a guest pastor. The title of the sermon was “WATCH OUT!! SOMBODYS WATCHING YOU!” Yes, that was actually the title, and yes, it was all in caps lock.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not exactly the image of God I get from reading Psalm 139. I’d recommend reading this Psalm, as it’s a song of great comfort that speaks to God’s steadfastness and constant presence to comfort us. I would say that it is certainly is not a warning that God is constantly watching us waiting for us to make a mistake.

It’s discouraging that a Pastor would take such words of comfort and turn them into a threat to obey the rules because God’s watching. The sermon did not touch on the comforting qualities of this passage, or on God’s grace in any way. There was no call to action, or words of encouragement on how to appropriately apply the words to our lives. It was simply a warning that when we sin, God sees it.

Now, if I understand the bible correctly, Jesus’ message was in complete contrast to the rules and laws of the Pharisees. Jesus did not speak of a God constantly watching us, marking every sin we commit. Jesus taught that God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus taught that our sins are as far from God as far as the east is from the west. Jesus showed us, through his own death, that he has taken the entire burden of our sins and cast them into the sea. If this is truly the heart of what we believe, how can a sermon preach something so entirely opposite without giving a single ray of hope?

_______ of the day: Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be.

The thankful Ogukuo