Look out!

I think there might be a blog explosion today. Just wanted to warn you. It’s been quite around here in blogland, and that’s because there have been a multitude of other things going on… which will likely be the content of several posts today… but anyway, just wanted to let you know 🙂

Stay tuned…

(Right now, I have a meeting with a new client/partner… might blog about that, too) 🙂

Alex Campbell: 5 on the 5th

Alex is 5 on October 5th!Today is Alex’s 5th birthday. Yup, he’s 5 years old on October 5th! Aunt Melissa calls this his “Golden Birthday”. I turned 30 a couple years ago on the 30th. I spent the entire day with my family… driving. 🙂 We were on tour, heading home from the west coast.

Well, today, we’re going to celebrate Alex’s “Golden Birthday” right!

It started last night with a free Birthday Burger at Red Robin. Fun! Just Dad and Alex. We had a blast!!! We played loud music in the van on the way there and back, and just sang and played and had a great time together. The food was fantastic, too! And Alex got the customary Red Robin birthday song sung to him by a bunch of RR waitresses. Very nice.

TODAY, being his actual birthday, here’s the planned line up for celebrating 5 on 5.

The party starts precisely at 5pm. That’s when we’ll head out for some fun. We’ll be doing 5 main things for the night.

  • Dinner will be one of Alex’s faves, a 5-piece chicken nuggets at Wendy’s. (With fries, of course)
  • Alex will get to play $5 worth of games at Chuck-E-Cheese (another Alex favorite!)
  • We’ll make a stop at Wal-Mart so he can get 5 Hot Wheels cars (yet another Alex favorite!)
  • Krispy Kreme will be on the list, where we’ll get 5 donuts (one for each of us, and again, an absolute Alex favorite!)
  • And the fifth thing for the night? A visit to the APPLE STORE!!! (no five here, just, the fifth thing, and something Alex wanted to do on his b-day.) 🙂

Should be a really fun night, with a really fun boy. If you haven’t met Alex, I really hope you get to. He’s one of the most fun people I know. Everytime I see him, he makes me smile. He has a great heart, and is super multi-talented. We’re definitely glad God chose to put Alex in our family.

Happy Birthday, Alex!!! We love you!!!

Falling On Deaf Ears

Saturday morning I had set my alarm for somewhere around 7:55am, which gave me just enough time to wake myself up and head out the door by 8:30am to help a friend with his home remodeling project. When I went to bed (and even moreso when my alarm went off in the morning) I really didn’t want to do it… it had been such a tiring week. But, on the other hand, I really did want to do it. Our schedule for the rest of the weekend only allowed for a few hours of helping in the morning, so I was happy I could help. Even if only a little.

Well, being a bit groggy myself, I didn’t get out of bed till 8:30. I got a nice hot cup of chai to take with me, which I hoped would wake me up a bit (as well as just be super awesome… who doesn’t love chai???). I stumbled out the door at about 9:00am, and headed for my friend’s house. It’s about 25 minutes away, so I was kinda late.

On the way there, some other friends came to mind who live right around the corner from where I was going. They had popped into my consciousness a few times this week, so I figured maybe I could sneak out about 30 minutes early and go visit with them for a short time, if they were home.

I kept driving, and finally got to my destination. It’s a bit of an interesting place to park (as in, there are not many places to do so), especially when there are visitors. There were two cars in their driveway, and another parked around the side in their yard. Looked like a decent crew was starting off the morning. I found a spot for my van, and headed to the door.

I knocked on the door, but since there was no response, and I was already late… I figured they were upstairs and couldn’t hear me. The door was unlocked, so I just opened it and went inside. I said the customary, “Hello….” as I walked in, since it’s kinda weird to just walk in to someone’s house. Strangely, as the sound of my voice faded away, there were NO other sounds. I found that quite odd… so I headed upstairs to see what they were doing that was so incredibly quiet.

No one was there. Very strange. Well, I looked around a bit, checking out the work he had done over the past week. It was looking good. I was reminded of our attic project as I looked around. I actually considered just getting to work putting in the insulation that needed to still go in, or stripping electrical wires and connecting them to the outlets and such. But then I remembered, I have no idea what I am doing with all of that.

So I waited.

Actually, I walked downstairs, and said “Hello?” one more time, walking from room to room to see if they were working on some other project at the moment. I opened their kitchen door and checked on their back deck… I looked everywhere… no one. I even called out my friend’s name down to their basement (where they sleep) and there was no response. Now, granted, that was a quieter voice than the other times since there was a possibility they were still sleeping, (though… I have NO IDEA how… I was not quiet before that). But, I used a normal to loud voice… and… no response.

I figured I had two options. One, my friend and his father-in-law were out getting supplies or something. But, what were all of the cars doing there in the driveway? Two, they were both dead in the basement or something.

I really hoped it wasn’t the second one.

Actually, there were three options, but I couldn’t believe the third was true. They really could be just sleeping, but they would be the world’s soundest sleepers, hands down.

So, at about 9:45 I sat down at their computer to type up a quick article for my BuffaloBills.com page that had come to mind on the way to their house, and another friend was online, on their buddy list. Just for kicks, I sent her an IM and told her my funny story. She suggested I call his cell phone. So I finally found their house phone and dialed his digits. Straight to voicemail. I left a message – in a normal to loud speaking volume – and continued writing my article. It was short, so I was done in 5-10 minutes. I closed down my windows and, having seen or heard no signs of life in the house, I decided to go visit those friends I mentioned earlier.

It was just after 10:00 now, and I figured that I could go visit our other friends for 20-30 minutes, and then head back and join the work force which would certainly have returned from running errands, or maybe be awake by the time I got back! 🙂

Well, the story gets even more interesting but it’s getting rather long. So, the rest is condensed.

I showed up at my other friends’ house, and knocked politely (not too loud since I was visiting unannounced on a Saturday morning) and was about to leave following no sign of life in their house. I was heading to the van when their garage door opened. After an initial startle… my friend welcomed me and invited me in. The cool/weird part was they both were just thinking of our family that morning too! (We really haven’t seen each other in months, so that’s really cool and weird that we were in each other’s thoughts…)

Well, we got to catch up on stuff, and got to talk about life in God’s kingdom, and various manifestations of the church. It was great. And long. 🙂 Ended up chatting for well over an hour, and by that time, I figured it was just time to call the morning a wash (as far as remodeling goes) and I headed home.

I got home just before noon and called my no-show friend on his cell again, to chide him for not being there when he told me to be there. No answer. Right to voicemail. Now, I didn’t really think they were dead… but the thought almost seriously crossed my mind at this point. I left a message and hoped to hear back from him soon.

Thankfully, he called back within 5 minutes or so, and we laughed about the events of the morning. Option three was correct… they were ASLEEP in the basement. Neither of us could believe what happened. Dude. That is super, duper, incredibly sound sleeping. I could have robbed him blind! Maybe I should have… 😉

Anyway… let this be a lesson for you folks. Never leave your doors unlocked when you invite your friend over to help you with remodeling in the morning if you go to sleep at two in the morning and don’t plan to wake up, even if your friend comes in and makes a decent amount of noise.

Or something like that. 🙂

I’m Back

Well, after seven days out of the office, I am back here, sitting at my desk with a dozen or so voicemail messages and 100 emails to answer. I already weeded out the spam, newsletters, advertisements, etc…

Isn’t that the fun part of going on vacation?? 🙂

No, that’s not. But I must say that playing football any time of the day with my boys, or reading books with them, or playing anything with Kirstie, or just having fun with Julia or going out to Skyline as a family, or staying up till 1:30 in the morning chatting with good friends, or spending some relaxing time (mostly) with my parents and other extended family… it was all great.

When we got home Monday night, we hosted Wayne Jacobsen for a couple nights, and invited a few “out of the box” friends over to have dinner and just get to chat about our various experiences with God in his kingdom. It was a PACKED house, but tons of fun… lots of good conversations. Great to spend some time with Wayne (especially before and after the little soirée). We have many similar experiences I think, so it was cool to share stories and thoughts on life with God together.

Now I’m back, and I must say that although there was SO MUCH great stuff we did… do you know what was the most amazing thing I did on vacation?

Ate at Skyline Chili a record FOUR times in one trip? No…

Played hours and hours of football and soccer with the boys? No….

Learned a lot about the Spanish-American war? No…

Polished off several pounds of chocolate? No…

Four blog posts in one night (after 2am, no less…) ??? No….

The MOST AMAZING thing that I did was…

I fixed our toilet. Seriously. Like… just me… with Wayne coaching from behind… with a couple wrenches… (and only a minor leak through the ceiling below… but we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen…)

I actually fixed our toilet.


Alright… time to get crackin on those emails…

More as the week progresses…


I have been on vacation since Tuesday of this week and let me tell you, it has been fantastic! We came down to Dayton, OH area to visit with my parents, and attend our 10-year college reunion in Cincinnati. I also made sure to tell me clients I would not be in the office till next Wednesday, nor would I be available for any work on their projects. I have kept to that, and have so totally enjoyed the down time.

Especially the time with my boys.

We have played soccer, football, frisbee. We have drawn on the sidewalk, read books together on the swing (among other vacation-like spots), eaten great food, played with cars, video games and other toys. And I have seen how much they have loved it, maybe especially Alex, our four (almost five) year old. He just can’t get enough Dad.

We are taking one more week of vacation this year at the end of October and I already CAN NOT WAIT.

So, being on dial up, and also just mostly staying away from my regular routine, I have posted a fury of pent up thoughts and writings here today. Be sure to scroll down today as you visit the site. More to read than usual in a blog update. 🙂

Vacation will continue even though we leave Ohio on Monday. We will be meeing a friend for the first time (have emailed, and had severa phone conversations together). He has been through some similar stuff in his life to where we have gone, and we are looking forward to spending the day with him on Tuesday next week.

I’ll be back to a more normal routine on Wednesday, but untill then, I will likely maintain radio silence…

I’ll just be enjoying the break, as much and as long as I can!

Happy reading!


As the time drew near for the “main event” for Friday evening of the Alumni Weekend at our alma mater, Cincinnati Bible College (now called Cincinnati Christian University) I could sense that Jen was as indecisive about where we would end up for that time as I was. We never really made a conscious decision on whether or not to attend the worship service planned for that night, but we did touch on the fringes of the subject matter occasionally. For some reason, we just didn’t even want to go there.

First of all, we really didn’t want to spend an hour to an hour and a half sitting in a room where we were trying to corral our kids so that everyone else could enjoy the presentation on stage that we really weren’t that interested in seeing at all. Add to that the fact that we are still somewhat uncomfortable in those settings, and just in general, we – at least, I – were conflicted.

But the conflictions had only just begun.

When we arrived at the new worship center (new since we graduated 10 years ago) for the evening’s program, we saw a few people we wanted to catch up with, and then got involved in a conversation or two, and eventually ended up hanging out with a friend who was manning his CCU Bookstore merchandise table for the night. That was wonderful. And yet, inside I was still conflicted. I wanted to be in there with our friends, but I really didn’t want to be. You know? I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t “with” them… since we would all just be in there taking in the live stage presentation.

Then there is the way that we parent. That too was causing me conflict. We were there with a bunch of other friends, who are much freer with their kids, and I was wrestling with the idea of letting our kids operate by other folks rules for the evening – what could it hurt? – or, sticking to the way we usually do things. I chose to err more on that side, and the kids remained with us, somewhat to their chagrin. (Though they did certainly find some ways to entertain themselves as Mom & Dad reminisced with their friend.)

But the real conflict in my heart for the night came when I decided to enter the auditorium at the suggestion of our friend in the lobby. He said the third speaker for the night was great, and we should definitely catch him when he goes up. When I saw that he went up, I rounded up the kids and headed up to the balcony to sneak in the back and observe.

(Jen stayed to chat with our friend… perhaps she was even more “conflicted” than me?)

As I entered, I was overwhelmed by the chest-thumping sound emanating from the speakers on stage. The players were in perfect synch. There were three guitarists (rhythm, lead, and bass), a very good drummer, and the lead man – whom I entered the room for – at the piano. Add to the band four fantastic vocalists dressed completely in stylishly simple black, and you have quite a visual eye-catcher on stage.

We took our seats and tried to catch up with everyone else who had been in there for the previous 45 minutes to an hour. We knew the songs. Even the boys began singing out loud the words that were projected on the screen. Alex was beaming, and just taking every little thing in. Music speaks to him. And through him. He certainly connects with music, far more than me or Jen. Kirstie thought it was loud, but was enjoying it. All the kids were.

But I can only describe myself as conflicted.

As the song went on, and as we entered another familiar tune, all I could see was the show. I saw a performance presented as “modern worship”. And immediately as my heart identified the activity in that room as a “show” or a “performance”, my mind quickly condemned my heart for judging the motives of the people on stage. How can I know what they are feeling/thinking? How can I assume that they are “more” concerned with their performance than with an ongoing relationship with God?

I can’t. I definitely can not.

So I had this conflict brewing. On the one hand, my spirit, my heart definitely felt severely uncomfortable with everything that was happening in that room. Something was amiss. On the other hand, my mind (correctly) reminded me that I am not able to judge the hearts of anyone in that room, and though I may not like it or choose it, there is nothing wrong with what was happening there that night.

Or is there?

I left the room just totally drained from the 15 minutes I spent there. The entire time I was waging war on my own heart and thoughts, each one gaining and surrendering ground to the other’s volleys. Neither one emerging either victorious or unscathed. But after a bit of processing, and in a later conversation with my wife, I may have discovered a bit of the source of the conflict in my heart.

You see, when we (believers) gather in those rooms, in that setting, for that purpose… it cheapens, or lessens the reality of every day life with Jesus. Music in itself is not good or bad. The performance on the stage was exhilarating, and I could have enjoyed it had it not been called “worship”. It was also followed up by a short video presentation showing how CCU is raising up a new generation of “worship leaders” (which was then followed by a plea to the alumni for more funds). What made me feel so uncomfortable was that we tag this particular type of musical performance as an essential, even magical part of our relationship with Jesus.

To me, that seems to make the rest of life with him less “magical” or important.

I know, that might be a bit of a stretch, but that’s where I came to. I really don’t know the original source of my frustration and conflict. All I know is that it exists. I think the glorification of a time and a place and a “way” of worshipping Jesus (by singing songs to him at the lead of a band and/or a vocal leader(s) on stage) helps to continue the idea that our relationship with him is relegated to certain “spiritual” events in our lives.

Jesus is real. He was/is a human being, like you and me. I am trying to learn to relate to, and live with him just like that. For real. Somehow those events we call “worship services” just don’t feel real to me (anymore). Again, that’s not to say they are bad, or should be done away with. But for me… I just can’t stomach it right now.

I am hoping for a quick resolution to this. I want Jesus to fix me so that I (like he did) can be around places that feel “religious” to me, and be totally OK with that. He hung out at the synagogue, the temple, at meetings with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses… Jesus was at “worship services”.

I’m not there yet. Asking God to continue to reveal to me where he wants me, where he wants us to be as a family. I am so grateful to know he listens. And equally grateful that he replies.

I just hope I can make it through the next time I am faced with this particular conflict.

(Perhaps this would be a good time to quote Philippians 4:13?) 🙂


Last night we were up chatting with some good friends from college until 1:30 in the morning! That was so great! We shares story after story of what God was doing in each of our lives, and with our families as a whole. Fascinating examples of a loving Father leading each of us individually. It was so great to laugh hard together, and at the same time, think deeply on the stuff God has been placing before us of late.

One question I brought up (because I had just read it with the boys a couple days prior in our trip through the book of Matthew) centered around the question of church leadership.

This post could get SUPER long when dealing with that subject, but it really is a short, cool thought from that much longer conversation…

As we talked about Jesus saying to people that we shouldn’t call anyone Father, or Teacher, or even leader (because we have only One leader), Scott brought up his own personal situation at work. He said that he, and his words have “authority” (or, leadership) with the people he works with because of the way he treats them. His words carry weight because anyone listening has been loved and/or served by him. Jesus said the best way to influence the world – the best way to lead – is to serve… not to be served.

I thought that was a neat way to look at leadership. Scott’s “authority” is not a commanding, demanding one. Rather, it’s a trust built on relationship. Scott was not “appointed” leader or authority over his friends… rather, they just place authority on him and his words because of his lead of love.

Does that make sense? It does to me.

Too often we think of “church leadership” as a position that is filled by election or appointment. But that authority is not earned or deserved. It is a false authority, created by us. I would submit that oftentimes, the real leadership in a church might not actually bear the title. Often, the real leaders are the quiet, humble, unassuming ones who simply love people.

And because they do, they are given “authority” when the speak, or lead someone in a specific direction.

Cool way to put it, Scott. Thanks for the insight.

Too Busy To Write This

This post has been a long time coming. As you might be able to tell from the dates on this post and the post immediately preceding this one. It’s quite ironic that my busyness has been keeping me from writing these thoughts down… 🙂

Something has to go. Maybe several somethings. I am still trying to figure out what.

The reason you have not seen me on here since Sep 12 is because I have been doing tons of other stuff! Seriously. Tons. I feel like I am running in a dozen different directions for most of most days. And, in that I am always trying to cut back… that is almost comical.

How can I be in the same boat as everyone else whom I think are so silly to keep so busy. How can they enjoy life?

Well, what it comes down to I think is that I just try to do toooooo much. I mean really too much. (Like, for example… I am writing this at 2:27am, because, that’s when I can do it…)

Couldn’t I just not do something? Maybe a couple somethings? Between my main job of web design and hosting solutions, to my new Apple computer gig, to my music, to this blog site, to my Buffalo Bills Review show, to the Buffalo Bills blog/column, to the newsvine page, to book sales and marketing… there’s always something going on. Something else to think about.

THEN, I do have a wife and four awesome kids, ya know!

And that’s the part that’s killing me. I love them so much, and want to invest as much as I can in them. So, after a long day of work, I try hard to spend every evening together as a family, and then weekends as well. Sometimes we are doing something (grocery shopping, playing, visiting with friends, cleaning up our house) but sometimes we just hang out. All the time is great, and a welcome change from previous years when we were constantly gone in the evenings, after a long day for me in the office.

But in the middle of the goodness… I am so weighed down by all that I am trying to do that I end up thinking about one, two, or three other things I could be doing while I spend time with my family. I can not tell you how much I hate that. That is the american way perhaps, but I really don’t want that for me, or my family, I guess.

I don’t want to constantly be somewhere else.

So, something has to go. Likely it will be something that I do that does not make me any money. I am constantly asking God for direction on this, because I am personally very grateful for every one of the great opportunities he has given me (even the free ones!). How can I give up writing a column for the Buffalo Bills? Or doing the most successful fan podcast for the Buffalo Bills? Or being an Apple Agent and helping connect people with fabulous Apple systems? Or, writing out my thought processes on life recently lived (or, just relaying fun stories from life with the Campbells) on this blog here and various other sites? All of these things are my offering to others completely gratis.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way! Except… I need to.

I will be needing clarity over the next while as I pare down some stuff, and learn to live more simply… while still enjoying the richness and fullness of life with God, with others – starting with the amazing family he has surrounded me with.

How could I not? Only by trying to enjoy too many things, I think.

Definitely time to simplify.

It’s Showtime!

I’ll be posting an official story/review of the new Apple announcement later on today on my Apple website, but wanted to remind you that today is the day! (I know, some of you don’t care… but I DO!!! And this is my website!!!) 🙂 🙂

Steve Jobs will be making his announcements and big presentation today at 10:00am PDT. You can follow along “live” via MacRumors.com’s live coverage (the page refreshes every 60 seconds with text updates on what is being presented, and sometimes there are links to photos people take and post with their cell phone cameras.)

Apple will be announcing their iTunes Movie store, and probably the infamous “One More Thing…”

Stay tuned for details… if you’d like. 🙂 (also, see the newsvine article below for a preview of what Apple could be announcing.)

Whoohoo!! 🙂

Freedom Tower

The Freedom TowerFound this tonight at wired.com. As part of the remembering of 9/11, they posted some photos (concept drawings) of the buildings that are planned to go into the area where the old WTC was. It’s called the Freedom Tower, and looks pretty impressive. 1776 floors. Tons of security precautions built in. And, it looks cool.

Click the photo to go to the site and see several more concept images.