Update from Greg’s Head

I must say this poor blog has been quite neglected for the past couple weeks. It seems that my writing certainly goes in cycles. Sometimes I have lots to say and just can’t help myself, so this blog is full of things to read. Sometimes I am so full of things to do that even though I do have things to say, I am not able to sit down and write them out. Other times, it’s simply time for intake rather than output. I’d say we’re definitely in a cycle involving a little of both of the last two.

So, instead of writing lots of detailed blogs (which I could certainly do, but must tend to other things) I will try and cover a lot of the stuff I’d like to chronicle here in bullet-point fashion.

  • Work
    I have been very busy with web and graphic design, so much so that I am considering expanding. It feels as though the work load has grown too much for one person to handle. (At least, and still have family/free time.) I’m not certain how to work that out just yet, but the influx of clients continues, as well as a regular stream of work orders from satisfied current customers. A week or so ago I felt as though I was cresting the seemingly insurmountable hill of open projects, but then the hill just got a bit taller. So, I press on… Have made a few cool additions to my site (linked above) in the middle of the various projects I have been working on. I seriously need to update my “samples” page though as several of those clients have closed up shop and are no longer on the internet! πŸ™‚
  • Music
    Oh, I finally did take our “Christmas decorations” down at our basicmm.com website, too. πŸ™‚ I forget what motivated me to do it, since it was already late April or May when I did, but … anyway, it’s done. Also on the music front, our trip to Virginia in June may be in jeopardy because our family is too large to house! πŸ™‚ We’ll see what happens there…
  • Fun
    Jen & I both have been enjoying Facebook and the many fun things therein. They added a live chat feature recently which has been extra cool. Realtime re-connecting with people you haven’t spoken with in many years, or perhaps barely even know. Fun! (At least, for me that’s fun!) Also, definitely loving playing the various word games there. I do love word games…
  • Brennan Manning
    Jen cleaned out the attic recently and found a bunch of old cassette tapes. In one of the boxes was a set of teaching tapes we had purchased. It was “Healing Our Image of God… and Ourselves” by Brennan Manning. Manning’s background as a catholic priest (and a monk, I believe) gives him an interesting perspective on the Gospel. But the heart of what he says is so great. It’s the simple truth of the incredible love that our Father – Abba – has for us. We heard Brennan at a retreat over 10 years ago, and got his tapes there. He’s been saying the same thing for decades – and I believe God has been re-emphasizing this basic point to me and Jen in recent years again – because it’s the core of the Gospel/Good News. God loves us more than we can ask or imagine, and invites us to live life side by side with him, as his kids. Great stuff… on tape 4 of 5 right now. More on this to be sure…
  • Friends
    Our closest friends – who are more like family – are moving. Their last day in town is next Wednesday. We have lived in the same town as them since we met in our college years. I moved up here to Rochester area with them right after college. Our kids have grown up together, sharing most of the fun/special days together. We’ve known of the move for a couple months now. That’s kinda nice. Been a nice long goodbye. But it’s still a goodbye, and life will definitely change. Very exciting for them, and I’m sure God will blow us away with the way(s) he fills what we can only see now as a void. But it’s pretty sad at the same time. We’re sure there will be tears next week. In the mean time, been helping with packing and moving as much as we can, and also just visiting as much as we can, while they’re still here. We’ll certainly see them again, but 15 minutes is a lot closer than 6 hours driving time. πŸ™‚
  • Family
    We’ve also been visiting family a lot this month. We got to see my sister’s new house in the Buffalo area. Then went over the next weekend for a big garage sale, and I made a nice mother’s day lunch for my mother-in-law. πŸ™‚ We’re going over again this weekend, and then the next for various family events, too! It’s nice that they are close, but it’s also certainly an expense with gas being near $4.00/gallon!! Yikes!
  • New Friends
    Jen has been going to the community center on Thursday mornings to join (mostly) moms with their pre-schoolers for a couple hours of playtime/funtime. This has been a cool way to meet people we have seen around town (at other similar events) and get to know them better. We obviously have the common link of having tiny kids πŸ™‚ Looking forward to getting to know all of these new friends – who mostly live right around the corner(s) from us – over the summer.
  • Lilacs!
    Whether you pronounce it “lie-lock” or, the proper, phonetic way (li-lac)… πŸ™‚ I am just loving these flowers again this year. Been a neat spring in general. The flowering trees have been beautiful. Our neighbor has several lilac bushes and has generously allowed me to snap of some blooms whenever I’d like. And so, I’ve had beautiful, fragrant lilacs on my desk for the past week or two! Love it!
  • Entertainment
    Almost forgot… been watching the NHL playoffs mostly these days. TiVo has been very helpful as we are usually out for evenings, but then watch the game in fast-forward once we are home! As close as the season was, it was surprising to see Pittsburgh and Detroit each take 3-0 series leads. The other teams both won their game fours, but should be a fantastic Stanley Cup Final between Pittsburgh and Detroit! They’re both amazing.

    And, we’ve rediscovered our fondness for the 80s TV show, The Knight Rider. Our friends, the Vs, enjoy it as well (we loaned them our iPod to watch Season One in its entirety) and Season Two is now coming to our mailbox via Netflix. πŸ™‚ Pretty corny at times, but also pretty fun. Ah, the good ol’ days…

There have been lots of other fun events the past several days/weeks. Really can’t share them all here. As I said, it’s been a time of doing and intake more than a time of output πŸ™‚ Suffice it to say, all of these social events have reminded me again that I am (or have become) a people person. I am not sure why I am doing an office-related job, then… πŸ™‚ But am still super thankful for the provision we see from God in that.

More to come on the stuff I have been thinking through from the Brennan Manning tapes, as well as some good conversations with the church (friends who are fellow followers of Jesus), and just the stuff God has been placing on my heart and mind. So fun to share every bit of life with someone who loves me so much. Hope you know that, and you’re experiencing that, too.

The Path I Have Trod

Going way back to my college years – when I first started to grasp the reality of life with a living and interactive God who loves me more than I can possibly imagine – I have seen God lead me. Almost step by step.

When I was a student at the University of Buffalo, studying English towards the goal of being a journalist as my profession, God began to gently suggest to me that I should somehow make a “career” (my word, not his) out of helping people understand him the way I had come to. He had finally reached me as the living Being that he is, not just the main Protagonist of the stories I heard at Sunday school. Not only was he alive, and reaching out to me, he loved me and accepted me completely, and wanted me to do life together with him. This was fantastic, and he was right, it’s what I wanted to spend my life doing: helping people know him like I had come to know him.

So, following his lead, I transferred to Cincinnati Bible College to pursue some “career” in “ministry”. I have said before, I had no intention of being a preacher, or pastoring a church, or anything like that. I just wanted to make spend my days helping people know Jesus. It was up to God to show me what that would be.

For two years I studied under people who had spent many more years that me studying Scripture. I still very much appreciate those days and weeks and months spent learning from those guys. I may not feel exactly the same way about every detail in Scripture, but I respect them and am glad to have learned from them.

Right about the time we were to graduate, it seemed God had directed me to work with college students, and I had an opportunity to do so at Miami University in Oxford, OH. I was all set to go there when – I believed then and do believe now – he opened another door, and suggested I go through it.

A tiny church in Victor, NY was looking to hire a youth and worship minister, and their main candidate was my college roommate! Add to that the fact that the preacher there was the brother of Jen, who was even then one of my bestest friends. There were many appealing things, and it seemed God was saying, “Go there.” So, I did.

And there were many fruitful years of meeting people, and I think, helping them know Jesus as I had come to know him (and was still growing in knowing him.) I (and later Jen too) worked with a couple fledgling groups at a couple different local colleges. We worked with college and young adult folks who were part of the church who had brought me in to work with them. All good, years well spent. Certainly there were difficulties, but only the fond memories remain.

Looking back now, that seems to have been a season of life working through the “local church”. (I don’t like to use that term, but you know what I mean when I say it.) I was chatting with a friend the other day and realized that God has been “suggesting” new avenues for me to help people know him in roughly five-year intervals. This one was from roughly 1996-2001. In 2001, we began (in earnest) a new journey.

And boy was it a journey! πŸ™‚

2001 was the year that I resigned as the worship minister of that tiny church (which had grown quite a bit in those 5 years!) and began focusing full-time on our music, basic music ministries. God had actually led us back into that around 1999, and we were slowly moving toward it from 1999-2001, but it took several extenuating circumstances in that year to move us fully into the place I really believe he wanted us to be.

Looking back now I can see that God was completely leading that, arranging the places we would sing and share and help people to know him as we were coming to know him. It was really cool to see him lead and provide along the way, and more confirmation that he was the One behind all of it is that now, since we have transitioned to the next five-year phase… the music has almost completely dropped off the radar!

How did that happen? I really did not change that much in what I was doing. The requests to come share our music basically just stopped coming in! Before, they came all the time. But in 2004, God prepared both Jen and me separately for a coming change. We weren’t sure what it would be, but were confident he was “suggesting” again.

We realized in the middle of a tour that it was time to lay that down and see what else God had for us. My only inkling was that I could probably do web design for people. Up to that point I only did my own and two or three others, very much on the side.

But again, God confirmed immediately that we had made the right decision. Almost the instant we agreed with him that we should not schedule future tours, and “lay down” a “ministry” that seemed to be still in its prime… the requests came pouring in. For web design!

Too funny. So amazing to see God provide and lead like this. The year 2005 was spent phasing out of the music “career” (for now, at least) and phasing in the web and graphic design “career”. The other very obvious “phase” that we are in now is the family phase! We have five young kids now, three of whom have been born since Feb 2004. That is certainly another emphasis of this current “five-year phase”. πŸ™‚

So 1996-2001 was local church related. 2001-2006 was our musical phase (roughly, as 2005 was still fairly populated with musical things). And now since 2006 I have been doing web and graphic design for people, and it has been the same as the music – completely at God’s provision. He is the one who has brought every single client to me. Every one. I have not advertised, nor sought out new clients. Haven’t had to! God has again led the way!

But there’s the issue I face today, and have faced recently. Maybe even most of this “phase”. I don’t think I am made to do what I am doing, nor do I really enjoy it – at least, not as much as I had the other things.

Am I just ungrateful? Am I missing God’s blessing? Certainly not that. As I have said, I am completely aware that God is providing this current “career” as a way to provide for our family. And certainly I am grateful for that. I am confused at how it still seems to not quite completely “provide” but I see him providing, and so I am confident that he will figure out the details.

This is the first phase that I am wishing would end sooner though.

Perhaps that is just a temporary glitch with me. Perhaps I am overwhelmed by other things in life? It is a lot to take care of five children! πŸ™‚ Money is always an issue, as I know it is for most folks who will stumble across this blog entry. But really… I am frustrated. Frustrated by the provision I am seeing, and just not really wanting this particular provision.

Maybe it’s like my kids at the dinner table. I most always make meals considering their fairly limited pallets, but frequently they will still complain that the food is “not their favorite”. My typical response is to let them know that the current meal is all the food we have for tonight, and that they need to just eat it. Even though I know they don’t really like it that much, I know it is good, and their little bodies need it.

Perhaps it’s time to eat my vegetables?

I do certainly enjoy many parts of this current “tour of duty”. Really. I obviously love computers, and the internet, and have considerable knowledge and experience that I can offer to people. I also think I have a pretty good eye for design. There are certainly many ways that this current “career” that God has provided fits me well. I’m not sure why it’s not as fun. Could just be these are the vegetables I don’t like so much. According to the path I’ve trod so far, it would seem I have till 2010 or 2011 to figure it out. πŸ™‚

If you’ve read this far you are a true friend, a good/fast reader, or just had some extra time to kill. I appreciate it. One way I process things is to write them out. God definitely – most definitely – made me a writer. A word smith. I look forward to that five-year phase. πŸ™‚ (Certainly, that theme has woven through all of my years so far. But perhaps there will be a season where that is the primary focus?)

The best part of the story, and what keeps me going on? Very clearly seeing that God is leading all of this. This is where he wants me, and I know and love and trust him… and so I know it’s where I also want to be.

Just have to get my heart to match my head on that one.

Back To (The New) Reality

My two week hiatus from my desk job is over. As is my two week adventure of being the primary caregiver for four young kids, as well as taking care of daily household duties and helping Jen & Emma here and there when needed. It was wonderful, and I already miss it, but I am looking forward to moving back into a more normal routine.

I am in the office preparing for the craziness that will be my first Monday back. (Mixed feelings about that, to be sure.)

As I put all the kids in bed tonight, told each one of them how much I love them, and how much I loved spending every day all day with them for the past two weeks. I also told them I plan to take several 5 minute breaks tomorrow to come and give them big hugs! πŸ™‚

Some might think that spending all day every day taking care of four very young kids would be exhausting, tiring, and draining. And, they would be right. But the part that might be missed is that those four very young kids are four of my most favorite people, and even though I was exhausted at the end of every day… it was so worth it!

Tonight (at the last minute) I thought it might be a good idea to get a babysitter for the oldest four and go out for the evening with Jen. I am going back to normal office hours tomorrow, and she’s going back to normal Mom hours tomorrow. Seemed a good way to bring in that next season. It was very nice for neither of us to have the kids responsibilities for this one evening. We just got a sub from Subway, and some ice cream from Chill & Grill, and went up to the community center and played a card game while watching the Sabres (WIN!). So very nice.

And tomorrow, I am hoping that all of this niceness did not exhaust me to where I need a vacation. I don’t think it did. I believe that tomorrow I will be ready to get “back to reality” and move forward as a family of seven!

I’m lovin’ it! πŸ™‚

SLOW Internet

SLOW internet!
Just so you can commiserate … (or, laugh at me…) the above is what I was dealing with today. I would tend to believe the numbers below the graphic. It was disastrously slow. I mean, WAY slower than any dialup I ever had! I should have plugged in the phone line! πŸ™‚

(Except… we have VOIP!!!!)

So… with a big day of remote server work I had lined up, the wind storm and other factors did not make this the best of days.

However, tonight we will celebrate our son Ian with a CAKE, and a trip to CHUCK E. CHEESE with our friends the Vs! Fun! πŸ™‚

Much better than dealing with slow internet!!

They Earned It

Yesterday the boys were just a bit rambunctious to start the day. They were not being bad necessarily… just sort of annoying, and out of control. I happened to be on the phone with my parents at the time (which was part of the reason they were annoying) and was relaying the story to them. Jen said we should send them out to stack firewood. But, since we don’t have any firewood… my Dad said, send ’em out to rake the yard!

“Great idea,” I said.

So, we bundled them up for the chilly morning, set down the ground rules and, truthfully, I expected to be refereeing, and end up doing the work myself.

However, much to my surprise… they did an amazing job. They both worked together. They worked hard. They even had fun, I think. They took an HOUR to do our front yard (Ian said, “How long has it been, cause the bell tower has rung twice since we’ve been out here…”) and they never complained, even though their hands were getting tired.

Near the end of their assigned task I asked them, “Do you guys want to ask our neighbors if they would like you to do their yard? You could ask them to give you $5/each for doing it?” (I just picked a random number out of the air… wasn’t sure what the neighbors would be willing to pay…) At first, they were too tired, but for some reason, Ian was able to convince Alex to try it, and they went and asked.

I checked on them and saw them raking the yard, and learned that they would be paid two dollars each for raking the front yard. They were pretty excited, and diligent in their work. I smiled and left them to it.

I continued to check on them pretty frequently. (The front yard is right near a very busy road, and well, I love my boys, so I wanted to make sure they were still there!!!) They were doing great! And they took almost another hour to do that yard!! They never stopped, just kept at it till it was done. I have to say, I have never “felt” more proud of them. It was a fun parental moment.

When the task was complete, I saw them go to our neighbor’s front door and receive the payment. Alex got his first and ran away from the house cheering and saying, “Dad!!! Look what I got!!!!!!” while waving his two dollar bills firmly gripped in his right mitten. Ian was pretty excited too, but Alex couldn’t stop talking about his TWO DOLLARS!!! πŸ™‚ I told him, “That’s great, Alex! And you earned it! You did a lot of hard work to earn that.” Next thing I knew he was headed to the basement to find mom, saying, “Mom!! Look what I earned!!!!” πŸ™‚

Too cute. πŸ™‚

So last night, after telling them how proud I was of them for working together, and doing what we had asked, and then for doing twice what we asked, we went to Wal-Mart and they each got to pick out a treat that they earned with their hard work. Alex paid for his and the cashier gave him his receipt. He couldn’t have been happier. He said, “I got a receipt!! This is my receipt!”

Pretty sure he’s keeping that one for a while.

Looking (Linking?) Back

What a week! I’m sitting here on my porch with a nice hot cup of tea, at one in the morning, following an hour of trying to restore the network here in my house… have I mentioned before that I have four routers on my network for six or seven computers? Yeah… I need an IT department…) and I finally feel relaxed. πŸ™‚

It’s been that kind of week. I actually don’t think I took any sort of real break today. I know I didn’t eat anything until dinner. That was kinda crazy… I just couldn’t stop. Too much to do. At least, that’s how it felt.

I mentioned earlier this week that the blog has been silent not because there’s nothing to say, nothing to share… just simply because there was no time where I could sit down and share. Here’s a quick overview of the past while for the Campbell family…

Some people still have no idea what I do, but if you look at our income taxes, you can see that the majority of our money comes through my web design business. Just a couple weeks ago that picked up again big time! I got a few new clients (The Center For Body Wellness, First Church of Christ Binghamton (still their old site), and I’m working on a brochure for Angel Eyes Security), and lots of new work for current clients (Houston Nutraceuticals, The Scarlet Thread, Orient Express Band, Christian Way Farm, and Project URGE) and some stuff that I have not gotten started on yet for other existing clients (In House Graphics, Cross Creek Church, and Aussie Hill Alpacas.)

Whew! And the crazy part is, I’m sure I forgot a few! (By the way, if you clicked on all those links, you should get a prize. I’m not sure who you’ll get it from, but you should get one.) πŸ™‚

Add to that all of the hosting accounts that I must regularly maintain (email problems, hosting questions, domain renewals, hosting invoices, technical support, and the list continues) as well as my OWN sites I need to maintain (GregsApples.com and BuffaloBillsReview.com get the majority of my attention. Though, my blog does get updated now and then. My web design site is horribly neglected, however. I did post a few links to the ol’ Link-O page I maintain this past week…

Apple Sales
ON TOP OF ALL THAT… I have about a dozen peoples and/or businesses who are maybe at step 3 out of 5 in the purchase process for a new Mac. (OK, yes… I made that up. I just mean they are all pretty close!) So I’ve been doing a lot of research, communication, and question answering there. Even sent out a newsletter last week. πŸ™‚

If you’re interested in a new computer, or even an iPod or AppleTV… stop by my store! Or, shoot me an e-mail. I can probably help you out.

Buffalo Bills Review
In talking with a few friends this week, I realized that some folks don’t know that I – along with my partners in crime Dave Drake, John Dupra, and Dre Smith – am something of an international celebrity. πŸ™‚ OK, not entirely, but we have found a small bit of success with our little show, now in its third season. It’s a fun hour of Bills fans talking Bills football. We have guests on now and again, including some current Bills players like Brian Moorman the Pro Bowl punter. The team is 0-3 this year, but that hasn’t stopped our downloads, and iTunes ranking from continuing to rise. Guess we’re doing something right. πŸ™‚

And, it’s tons of fun. πŸ™‚

Well, as I said, we must be doing something right, because all of a sudden we have had three websites contact us to purchase ads on our website! That’s great! The site is finally not only paying for itself, but even making a little money. (Just a little, mind you… but it’s a start!) I’ve been busy the last couple weeks setting up our various advertisers as well. (And of course, keeping up with all the latest Bills news. Anyone aware of all the insane injuries the Bills have sustained through only three weeks this year?? It’s just nuts!)

AS IF that all was not enough… we still have four kids to take care of, and boy do they need taking care of! πŸ™‚ Hehe… πŸ™‚

One good thing, family-wise, has been that Jen & I have been trying to get one night (or even daytime) out per week. We have an awesome babysitter, and we try to take full advantage of that. πŸ™‚

Oh, and I mentioned this before, but I must say I am enjoying the wonder that is Facebook. I have reconnected with – and stayed connected with – so many folks through that site over just about a month’s time. Very cool. Almost too addicting, though!

Oh yeah… the other thing that has taken some of my time over the past several weeks… we’re Monk junkies! We’re most of the way through season four now, and looking forward to seasons five and six! We are getting them on DVD from our library system! AWESOME! Free Monk! πŸ™‚ The show is hilarious (we think) and such a breath of fresh air compared to just about EVERY other current TV show. Even though it’s about a homicide detective, it’s not over the edge as far as graphic grossness. The language is tolerable. It’s just nicer on the soul. And, it’s funny. πŸ™‚ (Plus, it has revealed the OCD in me. I find myself straightening things all the time, and cleaning things… pretty funny.) πŸ™‚

Man. No wonder I never post anything here anymore. πŸ™‚

Anyone Still Here?

It’s been a quiet week at GregsHead.net, but as I’m sure you all know, that means it has not been at Greg’s House. The Campbell home has been busy with everyday things that a growing family of six has to do. Regular everyday things. But Dad has been super busy with lots of new work! This is a super blessing (which I mentioned here on the blog some time recently) but has left my head spinning at the end of most (abnormally long) days last week. And I’m still behind where I want to be.

This week promises to be more of the same, but I do think I shall chime in here with a link or two, maybe time enough to post an original thought or two. Or three. I do love to (almost need to) process life here on the blog, and love that you join me in the process. I have been reading many blogs (that belong to many of you who read this one) over the past week or so. Perhaps it’s more of a soak in time than a release out time?

What I do know is that BuffaloBillsReview.com is certainly keeping me busy, but less happily so! Our team is a dreadful 0-3, and has sustained such an incredible number of injuries as I have never seen for any NFL team in my history of watching. Crazy.

I’ll check back in later. Hope your week is full of Life.

A Bunch of Good News

It’s time for some good news on this blog. Enough of this pessimism! You’re bringin’ me down, GregsHead!


But anyway… it’s been an interesting week of goodness. It was highlighted last night with a wonderful evening with my wife. She arranged for a babysitter and we went out for a couple burgers, and later a stroll (well, ended up being a “sit) by the Erie Canal with a raspberry chai in hand! It was a wonderful evening of conversation with my wife, and just nice to be with her without the many needs/interruptions from the kiddos. (You know I love them, but… I really do enjoy evenings with just Jen) πŸ™‚

This followed a strange week of LOTS of new work! I mean holy cow… like eight new projects! A few of those are brand new clients, a few are fairly small jobs, and a few are some decent sized projects for existing clients. Add to that the fact that we finally sold our trailer!

On top of that, Mac sales have picked up, and we’ve even gotten a few affiliate and other sales payments.

It’s been a long dry summer. And I don’t just mean the weather.

So, thanks for the super amount of work, God. I am grateful, though a bit overwhelmed. He’ll help me deal with it. It’s a good problem to have, to be sure.

Oh, we also celebrated selling the trailer with a special dinner at Red Robin. We all love that place, and it was a very nice treat!

We even got a call from some friends today that they are going to be picking up their (adopted) son on October 1st! They hvae a date! And even better, they will be back home in California in time to visit with us when we are out there next month! Double bonus!

So, it’s been a good week!

I wanted to share, cause it’s always fun to share goodness. Hope you’re smiling, too. πŸ™‚


Every once in a while… the blog gets all backed up. I have about 5 or 6 blogs in the queue… at various stages of completion. It’s been a full week of working on various things (like an interview with Brian Moorman for the Buffalo Bills Review tonight) and now working on a video project for some friends. They just got back from a trip to the Dominican Republic. Plus there are a few new jobs I am setting up, as well as still trying to sell our trailer.

Stay tuned… there will be a content explosion sometime soon at GregsHead.net…

Just thought I’d warn you. πŸ˜‰

Report From The Home Office…

I absolutely love that I can work from home. It’s fantastic. I can regularly see my kiddos… take breaks and be with my family… I have access to everything I need at home (or at the office, I suppose)…

But man are there days it’s hard to get stuff done!!!

Today I have:

  • played basketball (that was before office hours)
  • read the Bible with the boys
  • started dinner (in the crockpot)
  • helped the window/door installer guy a bit
  • made a trip to the post office, and later, a second trip to the bank
  • made lunch for la familia (jen was not feeling up to it today… usually that’s her gig)
  • tried to arrange a birthday dinner/party for a friend
  • and oh yeah… did complete one graphic design job today, and delivered the final product to my client

But man is it hard to stay focused sometimes!! πŸ™‚

I’m back in the office, and trying to get a few more projects completed today. But it’s already 4:09!!! Where do the days go???

(Oh yeah… read above…) πŸ™‚