Friday, December 11, 2009

Schools Out, For Now

YaY! School is out, for now. I do not have to go back until January 11th. This has been a tough semester. I took fewer hours, however, there were many personal distractions. Plus, I have been working a lot of hours.

Praise God for getting me through.

My project for the next thirty days or so is to work on my Greek. By far it has been my toughest subject. I missed a few classes and it put me behind quite a bit. I never really caught up. As Dr. Hood told us last year, "missing one day is like missing a week." How True that is.

So, I am committing myself to working an hour a day translating the rest of First John. To hold myself accountable I am going to share what I learn each day with you.

We are also home schooling my rampantly ADD daughter. Since I have ADHD as well, it has been as challenging as a possum licking dirt out of a hair oil bottle (my fathers favorite metaphor, I have always wanted to use it).
Good Times!



Friday, October 23, 2009


What is VARK, is it the sound of a hair-lipped dog? VARK, VARK!

V.A.R.K. is actually an acronym; each letter represents a learning style: visual, auditory, reading and kinesthetic. VARK is very straight forward. You are asked a series of questions and you tally up the score at the end. You do some handy dandy math and presto! Your learning styles are known!

The VARK system is one of two in which we learned in Ministry of Teaching class what our primary learning styles are.

The Kolb system is the other. The Kolb system was created by David Kolb in the early nineteen eighties. It is based on the premise that we all have four learning styles and experience a four stage learning cycle.

The testing for this is more difficult than VARK. One rates their preferences on a list of statements. Then the scores are tallied not unlike filling out the stats of a baseball program at a Ranger game. The scores are placed in a column, graphed and voila! The Kolb system allows one to rate their learning styles in these categories; Concrete Experience - (CE), Reflective Observation - (RO), Abstract Conceptualization - (AC), and Active Experimentation - (AE). For the sake of this reflection, I will only concentrate on my learning styles.

The VARK questionnaire was easier to fill out than cooking canned biscuits, and tallying the results was just as simple. The following is a brief description of each learning style.

1. Visual – you learn best visually
2. Aural – you learn beast by hearing information
3. Read/write – you learn best by reading or writing information
4. Kinesthetic – you learn best by doing

As Joe Friday used to say, “just the facts ma’am, just the facts”.

The following numbers were my total on the learning scale.

Kinesthetic 8, read/write 5, auditory 4, and visual 1.

These numbers were as accurate as Annie Oakley on the shooting range. I learn best by doing. Like driving to an appointment in a new part of town, the driver never forgets where he was going, but whoever is in the passenger seat will generally not remember how to get there.

The second place finisher (here second place really does count) was reading/writing. This is not only listening and taking notes in class. This is literally writing out what I am supposed to be learning. Knowing these statistics has allowed me to load my learning arsenal with the proper ammunition.

For example, in my Greek class it helps me to recite my vocabulary words out loud in order to memorize them. Since I learn best by “doing and writing” I should be writing the Greek words many times, and actively translating on a daily basis. Oh, for the discipline of Erasmus!

David Kolb on the other hand is another kettle of fish entirely. At first, cynically, I felt Mr. Kolb had way too much time on his hands when he created his learning theory. However once I saw the fruits of the results, and was able to apply them, I made many pies!

Like VARK there is a questionnaire to fill out. It is a little more complicated but once finished you place the results on a graph, and your learning styles are known. Mine turned out to be concrete Experience (feeling), and active experimentation (doing).

This placed me in a category specified by Kolb as accommodating.

“The Accommodating learning style is 'hands-on', and relies on intuition rather than logic. These people use other people's analysis, and prefer to take a practical, experiential approach. They are attracted to new challenges and experiences, and to carrying out plans. They commonly act on 'gut' instinct rather than logical analysis. People with an Accommodating learning style will tend to rely on others for information than carry out their own analysis. This learning style is prevalent and useful in roles requiring action and initiative. People with an Accommodating learning style prefer to work in teams to complete tasks. They set targets and actively work in the field trying different ways to achieve an objective.” (class notes).

Unlike hieroglyphics out of Egypt these are not set in stone. This is not 100% how I learn, there are variations. However, it is fascinating how close it comes to being dead on.

Learning these "learning styles" has helped me in the following ways.

In intermediate Greek it has shown me a strategy in learning the language. Before I was like a rudderless ship, and had no plan for steering myself through the shoals of verbs, moods, and tenses.

Now, I understand, I need to be teaching what I know, writing over and over what I don’t know, and actively translating my Greek New Testament on a daily basis.

I have learned the way others learn as well. To be an effective teacher, pastor, and parent I must learn these variations and adapt them to each teaching environment.

I must be as flexible as an old car antenna, on the one hand not only receiving the signal, but on the other bending in the direction in order to pick it up and process it in a way my students and daughter can best understand.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


Just peeking in for a moment. I have been dreadfully busy at school, work, and family. Life has been hectic to say the least.

Things are looking up. Greek is getting better. One of my problems in posting lately is my inspiriation has not been so good. I sit down, I log in, and... and... and... I log out. Its hard to be inspired when your brain hurts....

Life however, is good. Just the typical ups and downs of family life on campus.

See you soon!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life in the Connected Lane

First off, too funny, the picture of the Blackberry Curve I am using I totally stole from fellow blogger Shirley Buxton. I didn't meant to but I was googling Curve pics and voila, her page came up. So gotta give credit where credit is due. Plus, her entry is an amazing read.

Finally I have a way to stay connected. With my new BlackBerry Curve there is E-mail, Facebook, the net, and phone; most recently I am a new fledgling junior blue bird on twitter. So, now what?

Don't know

Ain't life a hoot?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Magic Shoes

Its amazing to me how we take shoes for granted. They can literally make or break a person's workday. Mine recently died, they split at the heel and toe. Cheapskate that I am I decide to wait a few days to get a new pair. Not a good Idea.
Especially since I am on my feet eight to ten hours a day either waiting tables or tending bar.
I literally started having lower back spasms. The little man with the cheese grater on my spine was back. My feet hurt like maniacs in a padded room, and my shoulders and neck muscles started cramping. Of course observant fellow that I am didn't put two and two together until last night.
I went and bought me some new Wal-mart Magic shoes!
We'll see how today goes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Around that Time

Holy cow, I went back and read all of my blog posts from beginning to end. Three things really stood out to me.

1. I was really inspired.

2. It was easy to see the slide into and out of recovery.

3. Its been four years since I started Hallelujahs.
This is amazing to me. At times I have felt like my blog was an unattended and ungroomed pet. I am so glad to have a record of where I was, where I went, and where I am going.

I feel ashamed that my level of spirituality is nowhere near where it was. The previous post explains some of that. I have developed a blogging routine now. I get up earlier, have coffee, listen to music and just write. It feels pretty good. Next up, visiting my neighbors again!


Friday, May 22, 2009

The Journey

Once a man has made that first move, once he has cast off his moorings, his associations, broken with his school, his church, his village store, and his relatives, it is easy to continue on. It is always easier to travel than to stop.

As long as one travels toward a promised land, the dream is there, to stop means to face the reality, and it is easier to dream than to realize the dream.

Louis L'amour

In the two years since I cast off my moorings and came to school I have found it hard to connect and to put into practice what I have learned.

Finding a church.

Finding a Celebrate Recovery to get involved with.

Finding a ministry to become a part of.

Friendships have been real but semi-shallow.

Focus. (I wanted to throw in another word that begins with F.)

My little family; Lisa my wife, and Alexis my daughter, changed everything to come up here to LeTourneau, and it has been a blessing, and a strange fogged, surreal dream. Our lives are better in most ways but shaky in others.

I have learned much but am adrift. Am I afraid to live the dream? I am realizing it but not living it.

Is it time to stop and face reality, that my calling is going to be messy and dangerous?

Engage or stay safe?


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where is it?

Oh where oh where, Has my Creativity gone? Oh where oh where can it be?
Nice huh? Thats all I could come up with this morning.
Have to blame my wife, she didn't tell me we were out of coffee creamer.
Its a proven fact that Coffee Mate Original Flavor in the liquid form, has it all over milk 2-1.

At least I can have some cereal.

Hope everyone is having a great day! It has been beautiful here in Longview all week.



Friday, May 8, 2009

Backed Up

I have this issue. You could call it an OCD thing but it is this quirk that I have had as long as I can remember.

I hate eating in a restaurant and having my back against the wall. Like an aging gunfighter from the wild west, it gives me the creeps to not see who is coming and going.

There is no rational reason for this. It is what it is. My wife always has to sit on the side of the booth not facing the door. Mabe I read too many stories of how Wild Bill Hickok died or something when I was a kid.

So today I am watching the history channel, they have this program where they do a segment on all 50 states. The portion I caught was on North Carolina. They spoke of tobacco, banking capitols, and how Greensboro was the beginning of the sit-in movement during the civil rights era.

These four African American guys walked into a segregated diner in Greensboro, bought some school supplies, and sat down at the lunch counter and asked to be served. They were asked to leave and they wouldn't budge.

The narrator of the show I was watching said the sherriff stood behind them and smacked his billy club over and over in his hand. It hit me that these guys were some of the bravest people I had ever heard of, and my flesh crawled at the thought of not being able to see what was going on behind me; and what must have been going through those guys minds.

The result? A huge following grew behind the sit-ins and eventually Woolworths desegregated.

Felt kind of foolish after I watched that show.

I think next time I'll sit facing the back of where-ever I am eating.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Out With the Old

Wow, its been a while hasn't it?

I must say this semester has been brutal. My time has been limited and the stress of writing papers, and memorizing Greek paradigms has sapped my strength like a child and a pixie straw.

It is good to be back.
I have learned great things this semester, heck this whole year.

A sampling,
1. How to write a pure research exegesis paper.
2. I articulated my Framework of Youth Ministry (Helping hurting youth)
3. And learned How Greek grammer shows us the proper translation of the Bible
4. How intricately cool the human body is on the microscopic label and that there is no way that we crawled out of the primordial ooze.

Awesome eh?
However I find my thoughts are still scattered like shotgun pellets chasing skeet, and enormous discipline is required to get me through.
Over the next few weeks I am going to revamp and retune this blog.
The appearance will change as I bring it up to date, and I will be writing more.
I hope to return to a daily posting.

To all of you out there who have hung on and kept checking every day thank you!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Mother-in-Law

I know, I know, I said I would start posting at least once a week. But as usual the best laid plans do not always come to fruition.

My mother-in-law, Aletha, had a massive stroke about 12 days ago. All three of her arteries were blocked and she suffered massive damage. My wife has been traveling back and forth to Alexandria, Louisiana and we have been juggling job, school, and baby sitting.

I ask for your prayers. Right now the care she is recieving at the hospital itself is not so great, and Aletha is in a lot of pain, and she is suffering. Please pray for her.

Also, please pray for My wife Lisa, her sisters Gail, Carol, and Debbie, and her Brother Bubba. This is a really tough time for all of them. Let God use this time for his purpose.

The other issue is that my laptop died, and for the first time in as long as I can remember I do not have a computer. It will take some time to buy a new one.

So for now I am relying on the computers at school, which is no problem but access is going to be sporadic.

I will post when I can.

Please pray for Aletha, and our family, for peace, strength, and wisdom in this time.

Love you all


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Dry Place

Life is amazing, and so hard to figure out at times.
Grace is a mystery and hard to accept.

The last two years or so have been so interestingly hard. Like driving on a road in the desert and occasionally stopping at a rest area in an oasis. Its a nice break but once you have visited the bathroom and seen what the vending machines have to offer, it is time to move on to finish your journey.

When Lisa and I took the plunge and moved to East Texas so I could go to school, we had no Idea what was in store for us.

The desert can be beautiful for its scenery but hey, people get heatstroke.

Times have been hard, and I'm not talking about the current "economic crisis". It is difficult to make a living, raise a family, and take 16 hours full time at school. We have been in survival mode, and when you are in survival mode in the desert the only thing you worry about is getting to the next water hole.

However, God has been using this time to prune us. To strip off the things that weigh us down so we can run the race faster and with more endurance. And as a former pastor of mine once said, pruning hurts.

Lately things have been changing. We are now living on campus in a married student apartment. Rent is so cheap with all bills paid. I scaled back a bit on my hours at school, and I'm not having to work so much. God has clicked everthing into place like a budding engineer makes a Lincoln Log House.

I've been looking over my shoulder so long that its kind of freaking me out.

But thats a good thing
O' God you are my God,
Earnestly I seek you;
My soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
Psalm 63-V1
It makes the rest stop so much sweeter.

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