Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14"Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 1:1-20

Monday, November 16, 2009

On! On! U of K!

John Wall.


I am so glad basketball season is FINALLY here. After what seemed like the longest dead period between the end of last year and the first official game on Friday, I finally get to indulge in my favorite sporting season. After several dismal years (in UK terms), it looks like we will be good this year.

Maybe even great.

But not if we keep playing like we did tonight, barely surviving Miami of Ohio. We should have beaten them by 20 points, but instead we get a last second shot by John Wall at the buzzer for a 72-70 victory.

We were warned (in a prescient pre-season conversation) by Coach Calipari that there would be games like this, and I'd rather they happen now than against UNC or Louisville.

But now that we got that out of our system, I would love for us to crush every single opponent in our way on the road to Indianapolis for the Final Four.

And you better believe I'll give just about anything I have to be at those games. I'll sell a kidney if I have to.

ON! ON! U of K!

Championship Banner #8 awaits.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Behold... The Dominator

This sandwich will crush your taste buds. It will make your mouth water so intensely you'll become a cure for droughts. It will rock your face off.

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair. I give you... the Dominator.

Would you like to make this tasty morsel yourself? I bet you would. Behold, ingredients:

1 bun, toasted
1 grilled chicken breast. I grill mine on our George Foreman, and give it a heavy dusting of Mesquite seasoning.
3 potato and cheese pierogies (we use Mrs. T's brand, because they are the only ones available here in Terre Haute that don't taste like boiled death). You can grill these on the Foreman too. 6.5 minutes to perfection.
1 slice of smoked provolone cheese
a few slices of paper thin smoked sharp cheddar cheese
3 strips of turkey bacon (because, you know, it's healthier)
Kraft Hickory Honey Smoked Barbecue sauce.

This sandwich will ruin all other sandwiches for you. Eat at your own risk. You can thank me later.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Small Town Cultural Review: Covered Bridge Festival

We're starting a new feature here at my blog*. It's called Small Town Cultural Review. Wherein I will review aspects of small town life.

Today's topic: The Covered Bridge Festival.

Jill and I moved to Terre Haute in June of '08. Around September 2008, we started hearing about Covered Bridge Festival. Evidently, it's THE place to be come mid-October. We were thoroughly excoriated and almost shunned when word got out that we did not attend this illustrious social event. Pariahs, we were.

With this deep scar on our social standing**, Jill and I set out on Saturday to remedy this glaring omission in our small town Indiana resume.

The Covered Bridge Festival celebrates the bajillion covered bridges in the Wabash Valley area, especially Parke County. There are bus tours that take you around the county, showing you covered bridges. Having grown up 15 minutes from a covered bridge, and sure of their lack of life-changing majesty and or wonderfulness, we eschewed the tour and made our way to Bridgeton, a tiny town with its own bridge and collection of colorful vendors selling everything from giant ceramic ducks to severed Ronald McDonald heads taken from old school McDonald's drive-thrus.

Exhibit A:

 Additionally, and perhaps more germane to the interest of my reading public (all three of you) would be the collection of various foodstuffs in which one could indulge. Among the varied delicacies offered at this conglomeration of haute cuisine (did you see what I did there?), one could feast upon smoked turkey legs, kettle corn, homemade ice cream, biscuits and gravy, taco pierogies (which I regretfully only discovered after having stuffed myself with other goods) and more.

For my part, I had a mediocre barbecue chicken breast (I believe I could have outdone this pedestrian effort and I've never barbecued in my life). I also had a giant pretzel made by what appeared to be a contingent of Amish ladies. Looking back, I think the Amish persona may have been affected merely to enhance the ambiance of the consumer experience, as they were using a commercial oven to cook said pretzels, and I was under the assumption that the Amish generally tend to forgo the use of modern technology. Never deterred by this anachronistic touch, I foraged on, devouring my chewy and delicious pretzel with gusto. No lie, it stands easily as the second best pretzel I have ever had, denied the top spot by the tiniest of margins by an even larger pretzel that I had at an outlet mall near St. Augustine, FL. That pretzel was ginormous, to use the common parlance. Perhaps there is a correlation between pretzel size and pretzel deliciousness that we may examine at a later point.

The piece de resistance, however, was something that only could have come from the twisted and demented minds of Americans. This delicacy, this tastacular experience, nay, this little piece of heaven was...

Yes. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green, it is what you thought it was. And crown it we shall.

The most regal of all fair food: a deep fried candy bar. A deep fried 3 Musketeers bar, to be exact. My favorite candy bar. Deep fried. I had heard rumors of such mischievous morsels on TV shows, and had seen them advertised at the county fair this summer, but much like the chupacabra, Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster, these mythical creatures are hard to find. They were sold out during our day at the fair this past summer, and alas I went without experiencing the rapturous delights that such a treat promises.

But my mouth was not to be denied on this day.

Like a bloodhound on a scared racoon, I tracked my way through the teeming masses and located a vendor whose signage indicated the presence of this wonderful concoction. I made my purchase, and scurried away to find Jill and to share this experience with her. Plus, if it gave me a heart attack, I wanted someone close by to call the ambulance.

As I bit into its chewy outer coating, my tastebuds were gently and lovingly massaged by the sweetness of the melty chocolate contained within this doughy encasement. It was truly heavenly, and proof of a benevolent deity.

Of course, I had to promise Jill that I would only have one of these a year. I'm already a prime candidate for a heart attack- no use adding a 10 gallon can of gasoline to that smoldering fire.

We also bought a bag of kettle corn to take home. I always forget how much I enjoy kettle corn, that bag full of sweet and salty exploded kernels tantalizing and confusing my senses.

Jill and I made short work of the kettle corn. The bag is empty now, a hollow reminder of what once was.

Much like my heart shall remain until next year, when I can once again feast upon that glorious delight known as the deep fried 3 Musketeers bar. If for no other reason than the fact that Covered Bridge Festival finally brought me together with such a wondrous creation, then I must call it a success. I give it 4 coronaries out of 5, losing a point due to the ridiculous number of bees that swarmed us whenever we stopped moving.


*No promises as to the recurring nature of said new feature.
**Not really. No one shunned us. Just told us we should go next year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm not dead yet!

I'm not dead yet, I promise. But until I come back with something else, here's a video for Thrice's "Come All You Weary," an awesome song.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blog Changes/Redesign

I'm thinking about redesigning this blog, or perhaps even moving it over to wordpress. I created a blog for the youth group I work with on wordpress, and I definitely prefer the format and variety of options they have compared to Blogger.

Anyone out there have any ideas or recommendations for this overhaul? Ideas definitely appreciated. I don't have to skill to really design my own stuff, and we don't have to money to pay for something so any suggestions with that in mind would be helpful.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

This is the best pizza ever

(photo credit to

And I will fight anyone who disagrees.

Chicago Stuffed Pizza. With Pepperoni. The best pizza ever. It's clearly my favorite, and next weekend, I'm going to eat as much of it as I possibly can as Jill and I venture to Chicago for her uncle's wedding.

There was one place in Atlanta (Nancy's over in Buckhead) that had this type of pizza. And there is no place here in Terre Haute (which is WAY closer to Chicago, what's the deal with that?). My first taste of it was at Giordano's in Chi-town, and there was a place in Lexington that delivered to Transy that had a pretty good imitation. But I haven't had it in over 3 years.

But next weekend, oh next glorious weekend, I shall dine on the best food in the entire world. And it shall be marvelous.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Disc golf is awesome.

Played today for the first time, along with one of my youth and her dad. We had a great time. I was pretty bad, but not horrible for my first attempt. I've got this wicked right hook on my throw though that I need to fix. My mid range game is pretty good. Putting, well, could be worse.

You should go play. You can get a set of basic discs for like $20. And playing is free on nearly all courses, so it's a whole lot cheaper than that good walk spoiled, as Twain called golf.

I'm lucky- there's a park with a course right by our house. I can walk there, it's that close (and those of you who know how lazy I am, well this should tell you something).

Anyway, go play. I'm trying to convince Jill to go. We'll see if that happens. My guess is no.


Friday, May 15, 2009

In which some faith in humanity is restored...

I was (finally) mowing the yard on Tuesday, and I saw something that helped reassure me that humanity isn't entirely the rotten mess it gets made out to be in the media. I was minding my own business, mowing away, lost in some random thought (likely the eternal debate ove pirates versus ninjas), and out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the neighborhood kids standing on the sidewalk near our house.

Normally, our front lawn is the equivalent of a local playground- the neighborhood kids seem drawn to it like moths to flame. If the weather is good, they'll be out there, playing and enjoying life.

I stole a glance and saw the kid walk onto the grass and start picking up random small branches and twigs that are ever-present in the yard. Without being asked or bribed or anything, he just decided to help me out by moving them out of my way. Then, he left.

No real reason for him to help me. He didn't even say a word to me. Just walked by, saw that I was mowing and that the rest of his friends weren't in our yard playing. Instead of just walking away, he decided to help.

I don't know the kid's name. I didn't even get a chance to thank him. But his actions helped reinforce my belief that humanity isn't totally screwed up. There's some hope.

Thanks, random kid who picked up sticks from our yard. Thank you for, at least that moment in time, being a decent human being and helping someone out. A random act of kindness. It did not go unnoticed.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them:

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again?"

Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.

But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home

Amazed at what had happened.

-Luke 24: 1-12

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finding the Holy in Holy Week...

Is really hard to do. For clergy, it's a busy week full of services and ideally contemplation. I wonder what the people in the pews think about it- is it any different to them, except for perhaps a new outfit on Sunday, because we all know Jesus can't be resurrected if we aren't dressed in three piece suits and frilly dresses adorned with floral patterns.

Maybe I'm just being snippy. It's just that it's hard for me (and I'm assuming others in ministry) to find time to really dwell in Holy Week when we're running around coordinating 3-5 services, all while trying to keep up with the rest of our day-to-day tasks in ministry. And I'm not even leading any services! I just have to show up, and it's tiring. It leaves one tapped out, which for me makes it hard to tap in to the beauty and mystery of this sacred time.

For example, yesterday I worked in the am, then helped Jill and others at her church prep for a Seder meal, then I jetted back to the church where I work for Maundy Thursday service. I'm getting ready to leave our house to go back to Jill's church for their Good Friday service. Then Sunday, I've gotta be at church starting at 6 am for the sunrise service, then two more after that.

Wow. It's a busy time.

But in this time, I'm trying to really get a sense of what it is all about, instead of just rushing through it. I'm trying to get my mind around the fact that today, what we call Good Friday, Christ is dead.

Christ is dead.

And now we wait, holding on to a blessed hope. We wait. We wait for what was promised. We wait for the Kingdom. We wait for God.


Friday, March 27, 2009

The (UK) world all atwitter...

The UK world has been all atwitter over the last few days (weeks), with rampant speculation about what will happen with current coach Billy Gillispie. Some want him gone, some want him to get at least another year, some just want this march of madness to end.

My favorite UK sports site, has been crushed under the weight of millions of hits. They've had to resort to a twitter account to get out the news (hence that cleverly worded title). So, despite my reservations about a program that facilitates the broadcasting of an abundance of minutiae, I signed up for an account. You can reach me @ rcoreyhoward (wow... such a creative name!).

I have been able to find a few fraternity brothers, though, so it's a nice way to keep in touch with some of those guys who I don't get to talk to often.

Back to this UK craziness...

I want the administration to give BCG another year to show improvement, personally. I think two years is not nearly enough time to dig us out of the hole we were in. However, the team regressed this year, getting worse as the year went on. I think that the tryanny of the new is weighing heavily on this decision, as the most recent events regarding the program haven't been overly positive (although the team did show some passion and hard work during the NIT).

But BCG is the same guy who went 12-4 in the (much tougher) SEC last year. The same guy who donates time and money to causes like Dance Blue, and the same guy who evidently bought a car for some woman in need. The same guy who was hired because of his passion and devotion to basketball. The same guy who managed to convince Patterson to come to UK after the last coach change.

This guy deserves AT LEAST another year. Give him that, and see if we don't have some improvement. I don't think we'll win a title next year, but with a full lineup (assuming Meeks and Patterson stay), we'll cause some havoc. Patterson, Meeks, Orton, Miller, Hood, Harris, etc. sounds like a good option to me. Let's see what BCG can do with them.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

I hate colds...

Yep. Hate 'em. And I think I have one now. The head congestion, the sinus pain, the "giant head" feeling. The running nose. It's all just a hassle. I'm fighting back with lots of sleep, vitamin C and a barrage of over the counter meds. I'm worried the DEA might come busting in, thinking I'm running a meth lab (For the record, I most certainly am not).

Enough whining about being sick.

It's been a busy few weeks. Between work and home stuff, I feel like I haven't had a lot of free time recently. I'm sure it's not the case, but it's like I've been running nonstop for a month. I realize that I'm a big slacker and I really enjoy being a bum.

Okay, enough whining about... well, anything.

I've been working on planning a retreat for our youth ministry. I think the hardest part was just juggling schedules between all the stuff our youth have going on in order to find a weekend that would work for the majority of our group! It's really ridiculous how busy everyone seems to be. I don't remember being that busy when I was in middle/high school. Anyway, we have a date, and a place. Now, I need to get working on praying, planning and all that stuff. In our youth ministry, I'm trying to build a real sense of community, to tighten the bonds among our youth and between our adults and youth. I realize that you can't force community (believe me- I've seen that tried before, and it does not work). But one can help to cultivate it. And that's what I'm trying and hoping to do.

Speaking of community, it's been a weird adjustment moving from Atlanta where we were surrounded by people our age, with whom we had much in common. Now we're here in Terre Haute, and it's been a difficult time trying to find people here our age. I'm sure I've written about this before, but it's been on my mind a lot as of late. Just how important community is, the value of great friends. It helps me value the friends I do have, even if they are states away. For example, some of my fraternity brothers went to Punxsutawney, PA over Groundhog day. A random trip, but I'm sure they had a great time. I had wanted to go along, but just couldn't get away. I miss ridiculous events with them.

This blog is depressing...haha.

Life's not bad at all. I suppose I use this place to vent, now that I think about it. In the future, I'll have some more substantive posts. I've gotten involved with some different things that involve me doing book reviews, so I'll be posting reviews here in the near future. I'm reviewing books for Thomas Nelson Publishers (the first of which I'll be reviewing is The Faith of Barack Obama, by Stephen Mansfield) as part of a blogger review thing. And I'm also doing reviews for the Transforming Theology project. I think the first one I'll be doing is John Cobb's Reclaiming the Church. Of course, I've got to finish reading them first. But you can look for those in the near future, if you're interested in my take on them. It's pretty exciting, getting to take part in something like this. And it's only made possible by the rise of social media like blogs and internet forums, things like facebook and twitter. I'm interested in seeing what the next step is in this technological revolution as it changes the way the world works. I'm especially interested in seeing how it impacts the church.

Okay, I've rambled on for quite a while now. I guess I'll get back to being bored to death as Jill subjects me to the Oscars...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This made me laugh...

I saw this picture on another blog, and thought I'd share it with, well... I suppose no one.

When I downloaded the image, it was titled "True Love." If (or I should say, when) the zombie apocalypse occurs, I hope my loved ones would do this to me.

Okay, kidding aside. It's been a busy week, and most of it because things all around me seem to be breaking.

Our TV was dying, but now I think it might actually be a problem with the xbox's GPU, after doing some research online.

Then, last Wednesday, our garage door would not open. It has a broken spring. Jill's car was in the garage at the time, which meant it was stuck in there. Fortunately, someone from her church came to help us open the door so we could at least get the car out.

Out into the 2 degree weather. That was the high one day last week. So, here we are, our cars stuck outside during the coldest week since we've been here.

We have under-appreciated our garage.

Oh, and Thursday morning, Jill's car wouldn't start. Dead battery. Fortunately, I didn't need my car, so she was able to use mine. We got her car jumped and got it a new battery. So now that's fixed. The garage door should be getting fixed on Friday.

I've always heard that bad things come in threes. So hopefully we're good for a while.

Other than that, I guess things have been going well.

I think I'm done for now. I think I'll go read some Lord of the Rings while Jill incessantly watches Inauguration coverage. It's a very historic day, but I can't stand just sitting there watching all the hoopla and hype leading up to it. Really, do we need to watch Dick Cheney make his way to a car, or watch the Obamas walk into the White House? Is that part really worthy of continual news coverage? Wake me when he takes the oath. That will actually be important. That is news. We don't need to know who designed their clothes. It's a waste of television time that could be used for something important (like me playing Left 4 Dead...haha)


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our TV is dying...

I was playing some Left 4 Dead, just doing my thing, killing zombies and having a good time. Then the picture started getting darker and fuzzy. Then it just quit. I tried to fix it, changed cables, tested the receiver/xbox to make sure it wasn't causing the problem. Isolate and attack, right? The TV is the problem. Of course, I'm not surprised. I bought it my sophomore/junior year of college, so it's been over 5 years. That TV has been used in 2 states, moved around numerous times. I supposed it is to be expected. But it's frustrating, none the less.

So, we're left with the question of what to do about the TV? We have another one in the house, but it's pretty tiny. Just 20 inches. Not the best option for playing games, nor watching movies.

I suppose we could start looking for a new TV. A new HDTV, perhaps? Of course, they're expensive. On the bright side, we have a friend from Jill's church who works for Sony and I'm wondering if he could get us a good deal on one.

Maybe we'll have a nice new awesome HDTV soon? Assuming we can afford it. Donations gladly accepted...haha.

In other news, there isn't much other news.

Jill and I went to see the movie "Doubt" last night. It was very good. I recommend it. Complex, nuanced, well-acted. Of course, the whole time I was watching, I kept trying to picture Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin (currently floating around the interwebs as a rumored casting decision for the next Batman movie). He'd be awesome, I think. I'm already anticipating the next Batman movie. The Dark Knight was fantastic (though it did have some minor plot holes/issues).

That's all I have for now, I think. Back to watching the UK game. GO CATS!


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Be it resolved...

That I will be much better at updating this thing in 2009.

That I will not go 4 or 5 months between posts.

That I will instead go no more than a week or so without sharing something with you. All one of you who read this thing.

Since the last time I wrote, it's been a busy few months. I have a job now (which is a big part of the reason I haven't updated more). I'm the Youth Director at Mount Pleasant UMC in Terre Haute. It's going very well. I've been working there since 9/15/08, and at this point I'm starting to get to know the youth better, building relationships with them and hopefully teaching them something. Last night we had a lock-in, with almost 40 youth, mainly middle schoolers. I feel like I spent 14 hours herding cats. But we had a good time (though they didn't seem to like the Zombie Tag game I adapted for our use). Overall it was a great time, but I'm exhausted. I feel old- I used to be able to pull an all-nighter with just a headache to show for it. But today I feel pretty much worthless....haha.

So, I'm going to wrap this up for now and go watch the Colts with Jill. And our dog, Kole, the mini-schnauzer (we didn't pick the name or the ridiculous spelling). We got him back in September. He's a character. I'll talk more about him later.

For now, I'm going to try to not fall asleep on the couch. I'll be back soon with something of more substance.