The Latest

I feel like I haven’t been focusing much energy here lately, so I’m sure you know that when that happens, it has been focused elsewhere. Some energy has been given to writing, so I thought I’d post links here. Other to my web work. And still other to good times with family (Labor Day Weekend, “NOT” back to school day, and other fun stuff). Here’s a few things from my (our) recent past…

  • Labor Day Weekend: Walker Family Reunion
    We celebrate every Labor Day weekend with Jen’s parent and siblings (and all of our kids) and we call it the Walker Family Reunion. Lots of food, the big Labor Day parade, some fireworks, and usually a lot of playing with little kids. (At least, that’s my role, it seems…) ๐Ÿ™‚ This year was fun. We’ll probably put some photos up soon at our WeTheCampbells.net site.
  • “NOT” Back To School Day
    This didn’t turn out like Jen had hoped (I don’t think) but we at least had a little fun on Tuesday when lots of kids went back to school – we celebrated that our kids DIDN’T go back to school. ๐Ÿ™‚ We like that they don’t have to go off to school, and since they don’t get to celebrate “back to school”, we figured we’d celebrate that they don’t have to “go to school”. We had a nice special lunch at McDonald’s. (Happy Meals, PlayPlace and all!)
  • GregsHead at Newsvine
    I posted my Apple article below to my Newsvine page again. I haven’t posted there in a while, but figured I might get back into it as Apple is starting to do some fun things again. Stop by and visit when you get a chance. GregsHead.newsvine.com
  • Apple @ BWD
    I have been doing a little background work on my Apple @ BWD website (GregsApples.com). Soon, there will be two sites. GregsApples.com and GregsApples.info. The dot-info site will be just that… info. Where you can sign up for the mailing list, there are FAQs, an information request form… stuff like that. All the good stuff from my old GregsApples site.

    The new site contains links to my new Apple store (bwd-graphics.com/apple) and a “blog” with news on the latest Apple products, and a podcast with some cool 2-minute tips about Apple products. There’s a bunch of great stuff there. Stop by when you get a chance and check out the new GregsApples.com. (There is a new blog and podcast episode posted there this week.)

  • BBR @ BuffaloBills.com
    If you haven’t heard, the Buffalo Bills gave me a blog on their site. They have a “Bills Blog Squad” which consists of four bloggers including me. (Though, one of those doesn’t seem to be writing any more?) It has been fun to be able to post there and to be encouraged to do so by the Bills. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s a long direct link, so I will just refer you to my personal Buffalo Bills site – the Buffalo Bills Review. There’s a link at the top of every page there to BBR @ BuffaloBills.com.

    It’s a busy time with the beginning of the NFL season coming up this weekend, so there’s a LOT to read there. Have been posting a bunch of stuff there. Check it out if you like. (If you’re not a Bills fan, you’ll want to skip the next bullet point as well…)

  • The Buffalo Bills Review
    This week also saw the official start of the season for the Buffalo Bills Review – our weekly Bills podcast. There’s a pretty decent following of the show, and it continues to grow. It’s been fun to do, to be sure. We’ll be doing the show weekly during the regular season (which begins tonight, actually!) and then we do it sporadically throughout the off-season. There are lots of ways to participate, so if you are a Bills fan, please do! And if you know one, please pass along the link. (www.BuffaloBillsReview.com)

    We hope to interview some former players this year again, like we did last year. Players like Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, etc. We do a nice thorough interview with stories from the past, and a where-are-they-now thing as well. Very cool interviews from last season… hoping for more this year.

    We have a new team member this year, too. Big Dre Smith. My bro-in-law Josh is moving, so he had to step aside for the season and his friend Dre is filling his shoes. Dre is a sports reporter (now sports designer) so he adds some extra expertise to our show.

    It’s certainly a fun thing going on here, and if you’re so inclined, I welcome you to join the fun.

  • WeTheCampbells.net
    We made a few changes to the WeTheCampbells site this week. That’s our personal photos/movies site. Check that out when you get a chance… think there’s a new movie up… maybe some new photos… WeTheCampbells.net.
  • The God Journey
    A few of you have read or heard some of Wayne Jacobsen’s stuff. He’s an author whom I have had the privilege of getting to know via e-mail and phone conversations. We have a similar path in our lives with God. He’s coming to visit at the end of this month, so we are looking forward to spending time with him in person. Well, he has a podcast called The God Journey, and on his website, there is a forum. That forum is chock full of people who are learning to live life with God in a way that does not involve systems as it once did for all of us. It’s been a great forum for sharing ideas, asking questions, and just encouraging one another. I have also been posting there on a regular basis. If you’re interested, here’s the link

SHWOO!! That’s a LOT of stuff! I didn’t even know I was that busy!! And that’s just the past week!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, time to get to work. More to come soon. Don’t forget there’s a big Apple Event this coming Tuesday. It promises to be as big as the announcement of the original iPod back in 2001. More will be posted here, I’m sure…

"It’s Showtime" : September 12th, 2006

It's Showtime!Earlier this year, Steve Jobs alluded to something big on the horizon for Apple. He never does that. Steve (and thus, the rest of Apple) are always very secretive about any new products they are working on. For him to admit that there was something, and to say it would be “very big” (or whatever his exact words were) meant that something like the iPod was about to be announced.

Rumors seem to be circulating that rival the level of secrecy, and the language used in 2001 when the iPod was first introduced. No one knows what the announcements will be next Tuesday, but it’s now official that there will be an announcement.

The invitation sent out to the media (in the link below) shows the Apple logo in 4 Hollywood-style spotlights with the words, “It’s Showtime” below it. Most people know that Apple has been working on the movie studios for a LONG time to strike a similar deal with the iTunes store to what Apple has with the music industry. So far, the movie people want a subscription, or a rental type of service rather than the purchase/download/own model that iTunes has been so successful with. It will be interesting to see what compromise (if any) the two parties have been able to agree upon.

Aside from that, a few rumors focus more on the hardware. Perhaps Apple will release a wireless router that will stream video to a TV? Perhaps a radical update to the Mac Mini line? Perhaps a 23″ iMac that could serve as a living room PC? Perhaps a completely revamped (“true”) video iPod with the full-screen, touch-(or motion)sensitive controls?

There are certainly lots of options.

It took a couple years for the iPod to really gain an immovable foothold in the digital music market, but from the very beginning, the iPod was revolutionary. I have no reason to doubt that Apple and iTunes, with their already sizeable foot in the door with the TV and music video industry, will release another culture-shifting device and service starting on September 12th, 2006.

Stay tuned. It’s just starting to get interesting…

Read The MacRumors.com Article:
‘It’s Showtime’ : September 12th, 2006

What Death Does

Steve Irwin - Crocodile HunterI have been thinking off and on throughout the day about the Crocodile Hunter. I am certain that you have heard of his untimely demise. And the way it happened. Freak accident… never happens… no way it should have happened. I have thought of his family who are without a husband and a daddy tonight. I have thought of what he is doing now.

I have also placed myself in his shoes. OK, so I wouldn’t be diving with giant sting rays, but apparently this time he wasn’t even in that dangerous of a place. And that’s my point. I have thought about what a “freak accident” it was, and how what happened to him could have happened to anyone – but mostly doesn’t happen to anyone. I guess the randomness of it is a powerful reminder that no one can escape death. All of us must some day succumb to it’s hold on us, and no one knows when, or how we will take our last breath.

I was telling a friend tonight that I noticed when someone familiar to you (even a TV celebrity) dies, especially suddenly, and at a young age, there is first shock that they are gone. Then perhaps disbelief. And, depending on the closeness of the relationship, some level of grief. I keep thinking, “I can’t believe that happened… can’t believe he’s gone like that.” But then every time I catch myself and wonder why I can’t believe it. We all die, right? Every one of us. We will all die. I will die. But… I think that perhaps we (or maybe I am just speaking for myself) get lulled into thinking that death will not touch us. We will somehow be the one to cheat death.

Not gonna happen.

So, I think when we lose someone, even a public figure like Steve Irwin, it reminds us of our mortality. Reminds us that no matter how hard we try to escape, how good we are at ignoring it, death will come. Nothing in this life is secure, including this life itself. It’s very easy to forget that.

Perhaps it’s easy to forget it because it’s not right. Somehow, deep down inside, we know it’s not right. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Right? You’re not supposed to just be doing your normal life one moment, and then BAM! next moment your heart is pierced and you’re dead. How can we be that fragile? But we are. Life is not guaranteed. It feels like it should be (because I think God originally intended it that way) but… it is no longer that way.

At this point, it is good to remember that Jesus actually did beat death. And he said we would follow him. And I do believe that. I know that my death is not an end, but a beginning. But at the same time, it’s just weird to think about it, and perhaps that’s why when someone you “know” dies… it is a stark reminder that we will all face that same moment.

Well, I plan to watch a Croc Hunter episode or two in honor of one crazy bloke from down under. I do like the show. It’s defintely sad that he is gone so soon. But actually, it sure seems like he got to do what he loved to do in life. In fact, that’s in the official statement on the Crocodile Hunter website.

And, I plan to remember that life is not guaranteed. Live every moment to its fullest. Death tends to remind us to do that.

Crocodile Hunter: Dead

I actually thought we’d see this headline long before now… but it is still sad. And, it’s even crazier that he was killed by a sting ray, which only happened to three other people in Australia.. ever?! I figured it would be a snake or a croc or something.

Sad for his family, too… he leaves his wife and two young kids behind.

Read the article…

Family

I really love what God created when he made family. There are not many things that get me “choked up” in life, but family coolness is one of them – even in the movies.

OK, so I wasn’t really “choked up” tonight, but there were some real moments of coolness in the movie Cheaper By The Dozen 2. I don’t know what you think of that movie, or the idea of 12 kids in one family, but I don’t really think that matters. You may choose to stop earlier than a dozen for financial (or, sanity?) reasons… and we will likely do the same. But the coolness of belonging, acceptance, and sacrificial love that can happen in a family is so worth all the hardness.

Before I continue, please know that I am well aware that not every family is a great place to belong. I was talking with a friend tonight who has apparently had a not-so-good family life, and another friend came over for lunch and mentioned at some point how she really wants to make sure her child(ren?) have the family she didn’t. And another friend is even writing a book about how his family life was way harder than it should have been. I know. The world is not as it is supposed to be, meant to be. That is quite obvious. But actually, that’s one of the cool things of the CBTD movies.

The family is obviously not perfect, but beyond the squabbling, constant mischief and a few internal arguments, there is that place to belong. Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo in Growing Kids God’s Way call it “Family Identity”. It’s the things that you do together, the things that you are, things that are important to you… these things define who you are. The Campbells are loved by God and want to love others the same way. We want everyone in our family to know they are accepted and loved as they are. And, we want our kids to see that we try to love other people that way – the same way God has loved us. I think that is our identity.

There will be other things like, walks through town in the evening after dinner… Monday nights at the library… trips to Chill & Grill for ice cream… reading the Bible with Dad in the mornings… reading books with Mom… learning math and other book things from Mom… eating meals together (though at the moment with a 4-year, 2-year, and 5mo old that is not all that pleasant…)… holiday traditions like making cookies with Dad, decorating with Mom and visits from the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Three Kings. All of these things add to the richness of who we are as the Campbells.

But the greatest of these is love.

That was so obvious in the movie tonight (they did a good job) and it just seems so obvious to me in life. The most fun people to be around are the ones who have learned to listen to you, and accept you, and help you feel like you’re important to them. Ideally, the people who are that for you the most are your family. Often, we let our busyness get in the way of that. Certainly it is mostly unintentional… but it still happens. Dad’s too busy with work, Mom’s too busy with projects, and everyone else is to busy with whatever is currently distracting their attention from the important stuff in life – relationships.

In the end, that’s what it comes down to. The old, tired cliche is so badly wrong. “The one who dies with the most toys, wins.” We know that’s not true, but sometimes we still pursue it. It doesn’t even have to be for financial gain. My goodness… I have so much to keep me occupied that doesn’t pay me a cent. (Thankfully I don’t actually need more than 6 hours of sleep a night, so I do get to keep doing a lot of those things… and don’t have to sacrifice time with friends and family to do it…) ๐Ÿ™‚

This is not a condemnation. I am not calling anyone out. I was just reminded again tonight of how amazingly I have been blessed with a wife who loves me – a lot – and great kids who are such unique and fantastic creations of their Father (the one who “Art In Heaven”…) who loves them more than I can even imagine. I love the friends God has placed around me, and I even love that I can be a friend to people I don’t even know.

Most of all, Father astounds me. I like to call him that. I’m glad Jesus did. I’m also glad I have a great Dad here named Tom who has been a great reflection of how our mutual Dad loves us. Generous, sacrificial love. My dad’s not perfect. But he’s done (is doing?) a great job. I hope I am, too. For my kids. I love them so much. (Can you tell?)

I really hope you get time today to love someone God has put close to you. You are not where you are by accident. We can take that too far sometimes and say that “everything happens for a reason”. I suppose I don’t know that it doesn’t, but I am pretty sure that God knows who is where. And who you’re with (family, friends, neighbors) are who you can love and be loved by.

It’s not your house, car, job, hobby, church, pets, volunteer work, dreams, or any other thing you can do that will matter in life. What will be remembered of you is how you loved and were loved. The other stuff is mostly irrelevant.

Hope you’re part of a great family today. Blood relation, or Blood relation.

Busyness

Tonight at the grocery store, our seven-year old son Ian saw a poster with a smiling youngster about his own age in full martial arts uniform, inviting him to come take lessons (for a small fee, of course). He asked if he might be able to, and my immediate reaction was, “No, Ian… we’re not going to do that.” It’s not because I have some reason to not like martial arts. Chi knows martial arts, so it can’t be that bad… right?

As I pondered my immediate, and somewhat stronger-than-I-anticipated reaction to Ian’s question, the obvious reason for my rejection of his idea was our busyness. Karate would be just one more thing. It’s obviously not a bad thing, but it’s a thing. We only have so much room for things…

But, you see… in America… we have full access to as many things as we want. We can do anything and everything. Things dominate our lives. We go from one thing to the next to the next… sometimes juggling a few things at a time. There are so many options, and we don’t want to miss any of the things.

I know. I am a super-perp of this.

We are overrun by our busyness, and end up being stretched so thin that the things we are trying to do end up being more of a drain than an enrichement to our lives. That’s not to say we can’t get good stuff from all of the good things we’re trying to do. We certainly do. But the busyness can just minimize the good we can get.

I looked it up a bit tonight, but could not find anywhere that busyness is talked about as a “sin”. I’m certainly not trying to make a list of what to do and what not to do… just want to see if it’s one of the things God warns us about. But I couldn’t find anything topically like that. Hopfeully God will lead me to some scripture that deals with this idea. I am not ready to call the compulsion to keep doing more and more stuff a sin… but perhaps in a way it’s gluttony?

We mainly think of gluttony as being with food, but perhaps it could be with our time, and our activities. We fill every moment with some activity… some busyness. Is that gluttony a “sin”… or just making the most of our time?

I am certainly making no sweeping accusations or judgments. And, perhaps my thoughts tonight are really just for me. Perhaps God wants me and my family to not be busy. But at first glance it sure does seem that our culture is overwhelmingly busy. Going from one thing to another… never time to connect with each other, and just enjoy the people and the life God has given us. Again, it could just be me, take a look around and I think you’ll notice that we live at a blinding pace… just because we can. There’s so much to do.

I have no clever ending to this story. Just processing these thoughts tonight as they enter my head. Of course, I welcome your feedback and insights on the “threat” of busyness to our culture, and to us individually. Would love to hear your thoughts, too.

The Nature Of The Kingdom

In my most recent post, I received a comment to which I was replying… when I realized that the comment was way too long to be a comment. And, I wanted to bring to light some more thoughts I had on that “What If?” article I linked to last time.

The comment I reads:

Mike said…
Greg… So, if i’m understanding what this interpretation is saying, ‘we’ are the Kingdom of Heaven? We are the pearl that the merchant sold everything to get? Are we the treasure that was found, re-hid, and then unearthed again? That’s the one that most intrigues me. The Kindgom of Heaven was found… then hidden again until the finder had sold everything to purchase the land, and then re-found once the land was his. fun!

Perhaps the Kingdom is not the object of the story, but the nature of it. Perhaps the Kingdom is as simple as the God who is love. The three stories have in common the one who is seeking, and then finds, and then gives everything to have what he has found. (At least, the first two stories include the last part there.)

Not sure about the chronology of the analogy… but it really seems to fit my picture of who God is, and the nature of his Kingdom. It’s so backwards. The one who should be served, is the one who serves. The one who should be loved, is the one who loves.

Jen was reading Zaccheus’ story again recently to the kids, and Jesus says at the end of that time that he came looking for the lost. Sounds like that guy who was “on the lookout for choice pearls”.

I love the way that story reads with that different perspective.

The kingdom of heaven is not something to be laid hold of… or taken by force. (Jesus talked about that somewhere..) It’s a reality where we are the objects of God’s love. We are the beloved, and he is the lover. Scripture reveals that over and over.

I do not think that his love detracts from his holiness, or his deity. Nor is it a removed, obligatory love… just “part of his nature”. Rather, I think those attributes magnify the audacity of his love. It’s outrageous, and not what should be. The King should not be the one who is in love with his servants. But the Kingdom is backwards from what it is “supposed” to be.

Everyday in the Kingdom (it would seem) is “Opposite Day”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Know you are loved. It is the good news. It makes all the difference in the world. It makes it a different world.

A Change Of Perspective…

The other day I was reading a blog that Jen & I have been talking about a bunch and wanted to let you in on the conversation. I commented on the blog, so you can just read what I wrote over there, as well the blog and other comments. Basically, it’s another way to look at the parables Jesus told of the “pearl of great price” and the treasure hidden in the field. It’s amazing.

When you get a moment, take a look at the blog, “What If?”