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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Where do Introverts fit into Ministry?

Well Blogger works now.  They seemed to have a bug last weekend, I did some research, and even sent them some feedback.  All is good now and now I can blog!  I've missed it. 

So some updates.  Ninja mouse, well, ninja mouse has disappeared.  After finding the two remaining places I felt they could get in we haven't had a problem at all.  Of course the exterminator came too, so between the two our little friend has to find someone elses indian corn and candy corn to nibble on! 

Last weekend Ginger and I went to the Art Walk in Tyler!  They've moved it from Thursday's to Saturday's which allowed us the opportunity to go and visit the local artists.  Ginger was running into alot of Tylerites she knew and I, well, I was checking out the art!  Found a young lady who does graphite portrait work and it was really good!  She's actually a senior in high school and just started drawing one day.  But by far my favorite of the night was a place we ran upon by accident called the Coffin Shop.  Yep, you heard me right.  We were walking to a vendor and Ginger noticed iron grate doors open and a guitarist inside.  We walked in, turned left and there it was.   Talked to someone there who gave me a little history of the place, it was indeed a coffin factory at one time and one of the oldest buildings in Tyler.  When we walked in Ginger said, "This is right up your alley."  Indeed.  The ambience, the feel of history.  All through the night I was doing my best to be social for Ginger but my fun meter was getting pegged, then we walked in here and I felt, well, comfortable.  Some of the art was a little on the dark side, but I get that.  Sometimes its pain on a canvas, or exploring the outer bounds of what is "acceptable."  And well, anyone who knows me knows I walk on the edge, breaking free of stereotypes and being original.  And I came in contact with one of the organizers of the event here.  Got her card, got in contact with her by email, and who knows but maybe one day some of my art (drawing or photography) will be at an Art Walk or Art in the Park. 

And it seems one of the areas I've taken a liking to is the moon.  Specifically through the tree shots where the moon glows.  And I've started taking pictures of the sun too, coming up during the golden hour (when light is at it's best).  I've got lots of ideas running through my head.  I've been so busy with work and such but I still am able to etch out time each day for a couple of photographs.  I'd absolutely love to take a picture of the bats that come out at dusk, but like lightning, it will be an exercise in patience.

So the other thing that I wanted to talk about was about introverts.  Specifically where does an introvert fit into ministry?  I've posed this question to others with no clear answers, even from leaders.  Usually I get people who say I'm not an introvert.  Sigh.  Glad people know me better than myself.  So an introvert primer.  Introvert does not mean recluse.  Introverts can be social, can talk in front of crowds, and basically do the things that extroverts find natural.  Which is the key there, it is natural for an extrovert to be social.  Ginger is an extrovert.  She knows no stranger.  Striking up a conversation with someone is second nature.  Introverts however are different.  Oh, we can fake it good sometimes, but it takes energy, work to do it.  Extroverts charge up by being around people, introverts charge up by being alone.  And when introverts start running on empty they close up, they shut down to conserve their energy, at least that is the way I am.  We turn off.  I use to do that when I got off work when I was first engaged to Ginger.  Our premarital counselor told me to stay "on" for a little bit so when I came around Ginger I was engaged and we could communicate.  It worked wonders.  Ginger knows, however, when I'm at a point I need to rest.  She understands I'm an introvert. 

So the problem is that in ministry, everyone wants me to act extroverted.  They want me to delegate (I hate delegating, I'd rather do it myself, this is not codepedency, it's preference).  They want me to organize people get someone to do this, or do that.  Look, that isn't my gift.  I can get up in front of people and speak, and usually don't have a problem with that, unless I'm worn down.  Where an extrovert can kick into their second nature, I don't have that.  So where do my strengths as an introvert lie?  Give me a task that doesn't involve delegation, or lining people out, etc. and I will be as dependable as you can be.  Once I know the task I'll do it without being told.  Tasks that don't involve organizing, talking to people much, like writing, or even photography, setting things up, tearing things down, building things.  Being a helper, being the man behind the man or woman is where I really excel.  Because usually your given tasks to do.  Unless of course that task is, go find 3 people and do this.  No, get a people person for that.  For example.  Lead maintenance where I work and I are putting in a door.  We get the door there and get the tools.  If tools are missing I'll go get said tools.  Then as he begins doing the work I know the steps and hand him the tools he needs as he needs them.  If he leaves, I know the steps and continue them without being told.  He doesn't need to ask.  The helper.  It makes things go quicker.  And the bonus to that is, I know how to put in a door, I've done it myself before, and all because I was a helper and learned.  Which is the best way for introverts like me to learn.  Watch, help, implement.  I know that has nothing to do with ministry but these principles apply outside of ministry too.  And that is how I learn.  Don't give me a 5 minute primer and then sink or swim leave me alone.  Spend some time with me so that I understand the new task.  But in this fast pace world where everyone has 50 things going on at once, no one has time to spend time with anyone like that it seems. 

When an introvert gets comfortable around people, say like at my job, then we get comfortable and talk and act normal.  However, before that time they are quiet.  When I first started working at my job I was known as the quiet one.  Which I was.  But as I've gotten more comfortable, I've opened up a little bit.  When that whole mess about someone saying I wasn't trustworthy and don't tell Paul because he'll tell it came out I closed up.   Natural reaction for an introvert.  I'm opening up a bit more now, but people don't realize that what you say inevitably gets back to the person your talking about (like someone was sharing my blog and facebook posts with another person who came to me and told me about it, thinking that I was talking about them.  Lots of boyfriends and girlfriends and they think I'm talking about them. Sigh, could have saved the person alot of aggravation if they'd have come to me.  Instead I'm told by someone else about it.)

The funny thing is that when Ginger and I are together and she is feeling bipolary and we are out, she will shut down and I will instinctively become the extrovert so that Ginger's mood can level out.  When her mood is fluxuating, stimulation from talking is hard, so I step in.  Funny how that works.

So all this said, where does the introvert fit into ministry?  Does an introvert have to step out of their comfort zone?  No is the answer to that.  God made me this way.  I want you to hear that again, God made me this way.  Don't try to change me into what you want.  Yes, God works through me in weakness but I don't think that means going against my nature of how God made me.  I have strengths, and want to utilize them as God intended.  I think sometimes people try to force people to become what they want, usually because they have a need they need fulfilled.   I'm great one on one, and Ginger swears I'm a great counselor and encourager.   One on one I'm great because then I get to know the person.

Ginger and I stepped away from ministry for a season.  We were tired, burned out, and I had questions in my heart that I needed to seek answers to.  This was one of those questions.  If you haven't figured it out I love writing.  And I know lots of introverts that do.  It helps me to get my thoughts out and organize them.  You may not agree with all that I've said, and that's okay, but I speak from experience because I AM an introvert.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ninja Mouse Returns and meets Sensei

Okay in my last post I stated I was trying to make an orange glowing water.  You don't know how hard that was. First of all, most orange highlighters do not work because they do not glow.  Water based fluorescent dilutes too much.  However, gel ink works absolutely perfectly, as you can see.  My quest is officially completed.

So our little ninja mouse decided to return.  This actually is a rather good thing.  Ginger was dealing with a depressive swing and was slowly coming out of the pit, as she calls it.  When we discovered that our little friend was back it did wonders for her mood.  She was Happy with a capital H!  Ninja mouse is back!  It's the little things.  And suddenly the depression was gone.

However, our little friend, or friends, had evaded the traps.  Instead they loved the indian corn and candy corn we had out.  So I decided to do some intensive investigation.  I upends the couch, moved it back and noticed we had a cracked open window.  Below, on the floor, a pile of indian corn.  Gotcha.  Closed the window.  But I hadn't found any candy corn.  Then I looked underneath the dish washer.  Yep, you guessed it, candy corn.  So I moved it out, Ginger watching amazed and found a hole that I had missed.  A little spray foam, I love that stuff, and we had eliminated what I believe was their stealthy entry and getaway.  Some strategically placed traps, and now the chess move is on the grasshopper ninja mouse.  Ginger lits up talking about ninja mouse, go figure.  We have disinfected everything and are ready to see what this week will bring.

Oh by the way, the photograph group I am friends with on Facebook, well I tied for first on the last photo challenge (technology past or present)  and had my photo put on the header photo for the group.  I was pretty stoked about that.  Who knew?  So the next challenge is a photograph of boots, any boots.  And I already have an idea.

Well, time to get ready for bed, but thought I'd give everyone an update on how Ginger and I are doing.  God is good!


P.S.  Green Apple Candy Corn Rocks!!!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Happy Haunted Apartment

So it is fast approaching Ginger and I's favorite time of year.  The fall and winter holiday season.  Of course for us the season officially kicks off with Halloween, and we've started a tradition of doing our fall shopping on the labor day weekend.  It is the time when our wonderfully historical house turns in a Victorian style haunt.  You see Ginger loves the fun Halloween (lots of glitter) and I'm more of a spooky type.  I like the ghosts and goblins, but we both agree that gory and just plain extreme is not our cup of tea.  You won't see any skeletons in our home, but you will, at least this year, see lots of black lights, glow in the dark spider venom, a glowing fireplace (see above pic), and lots of glowing spider webs!  And the minature house my Dad built for us, well it has an orange light inside and eerie strobe lighting going off....I think it's haunted....(hee hee hee).

This year Spooky, our resident ghost, has a new friend, Stefan.  He glows and changes colors!
 Stefan is Ginger's favorite that we've picked up this year.  He didn't smile, Ginger wanted him to smile, I made him smile!  And she is loving all the black lights.  We also have a table now that has our decorations on it,
 and on our dining room table are decorations for our theme this year, candy corns.
 I still have more webbing to put up and to find out how to get a orange glow in the dark water, after all, liquid phantom just isn't the same unless it's glowing and the spider venom is already yellowish-green.
And once again we will be having a Halloween party.  Just a small get together with family and friends.  Good food, games, and some of THAT music!  Bark at the Moon!  (If you get that reference then welcome to my world!)

I'll be posting more "night" pictures as everything gets finalized and I get everything looking the way I'm liking it.  I did find out you can make glowing ice cubes out of tonic water but, well, have you tasted tonic water?!?  Here is to lots of laughs!


Saturday, September 1, 2012


So last night was the blue moon.  No, it wasn't blue, for those who don't know a blue moon is the second full moon of a month.  Was I taking pictures?  You know it.  Here are a fw of my favorites:

I was able to take the top one in a RAW format which allowed me to play around with it in Photoshop Elements and learn a few things.  Slowly but surely I'm learning about Post Processing.  Still like the natural shots though.

So it seems I've been bombarded about abstinence.  You'd think from alcohol right?  No, people are asking me about abstinence from sex before marriage.  It's not a big secret that Ginger and I waited until we were married.  This was a personal choice that was heavily influenced by our faith in God and personal convictions.  We've made no apologies for our decision.  But the question I'm asked most frequently is how we did it.  I mean, I courted Ginger for a year and 3 months and we were engaged for a year after.  And when people find out that I waited 5 months before kissing Ginger (though I remember the date, March 7th, the day after my birthday!) some think we have fallen off the looney truck. 

So here is how we did it, and it has to do with our faith.  We believe that God developed our relationship like this, emotionally and spiritually first.  We spent many a night talking for hours, about, well everything.  We developed an intellectual connection, we developed good communication habits, and the closer we got, the more personal and private we could discuss.  As well, we discussed spiritual matters and what was important in our relationship concerning God.  We both had a desire for abstinence and with communication we expressed not only our desire for that but came up with a plan and boundaries to accomplish our goal.  The boundaries were common sense. 

But the fact is we talked.  I looked at Ginger as a God send, a beautiful, innocent angel that God had given me that I was to cherish.  Regardless of either of our pasts, in the present, God had sent me this person to be my beautiful bride.  We wanted the wedding night to be special. 

Here is the problem.  I have too many people who I tell the above to, Christians mind you, and they say that is nice, that's great, that's what I want to do, and then a week later they are in the sack.  I've heard excuses like, well God gives us grace, or we are in love (try lust).  I'm not talking about people who don't believe in God here, I'm talking about believers.  But I think part of the problem is with the church.  Yeah, I said that.  No one in the church wants to talk about sex.  It's a bad word.  We grow up in church hearing, it's good when your married, but right now it's bad, bad,bad.  So know one talks about it.  You have these feelings, but then who do you talk to about it?  And then, when you do get married your marred by the fact that it's bad.  And if you did go out of bounds in your life you feel like damaged goods.  And by the way, what is right and wrong when your married?  And when you are courting and you have these desires, who do you talk to about it?  Because quite frankly your going to have them, I mean can we be real for a minute?  

Ginger and I had each other.  We communicated.  We discussed those desires, we didn't push them down, or try to hide them, we acknowledged them but looked forward to waiting for the right time for us.  This is what worked for us.  Of course our parents were happy, her's especially.  I have a funny story that Ginger is going to kill me for putting in here....

About, I'd say 9 months into our relationship Ginger was having stomach problems, especially in the morning.  Her Mom comes in one morning and asks Ginger if she's sure she isn't pregnant.  I could just see the look on Ginger's face!  No, Mom, you have to do something for that to happen, and that hasn't happened.  Which is true.  There was no way, barring a divine act from God, that she could have been.  But funny, I think that her parents were relieved!

Look, I'm not here to cast a stone, to judge, to tell you how to do your relationship.  These things come up because I'm asked.  Ginger and I put a lot of time and effort into our relationship not only with each other but with God.  This journey that we are on, we are accountable for and your relationship is the same way, between you and that person and God.