27 August 2011

10 years onward

 This month celebrates a decade in the Go for me. And likewise it is also the 10 year anniversary of Harvest Community Church- one the big reasons I found my way up here.
Let me recount the early days of my time here and especially related to this church I aided in starting.
Things were not going well in the Twin Cities where I worked- they could not afford to keep me on board. Well that opened a few possibilities. I accepted the invitation to join a group of U of M Morris grads in pioneering a new church in Fargo, North Dakota.

I took a summer training course in Morris and then moved up to Fargo- with no job and little money. I was pretty distressed and took up running.
The first meeting of the church was in an apartment a few blocks away from where I now work. I eventually ended up living in the apartment but that was after the church changed locales- first to NDSU then to the basement of the Black Building. Harvest stayed in the Black Building spot for a few years. It wasn't the greatest space but was workable. The photo with the chairs and the guitar player is from the Black Building days. There was this lip in the front of the room which was at about 6'2" and made being up front awkward.
We wanted to get out of the basement since it provided little visual presence in the community. We found a spot a few blocks away at 608 Main Ave. After cleaning and painting we moved into the vastly larger space.
Over the years there has been plenty of remodeling. The storefront was redone and the metal awning removed; new carpet installed; lobby furniture added; and finally newer and comfortable chairs.
Of course I am glossing over plenty of history. We have done outreaches into the community, to the homeless shelter and the Perry Center. We also are involved with world missions in numerous places around the world including Kenya, Russia, and Ireland. I recall one summer when about 80% of the members were involved in some world mission project.
Then are some memorable things I recall- the police coming to investigate a noise complaint on Sunday morning, over 8 Christmas "Radio Show" programs produced, sending our first full time missionary out, Albert Svenddal visiting and playing his lap steel one Sunday, moving the credenza, and making videos starring Nathan and Aric and the elders.
But most of all I recall all the relationships that have come about through Harvest. There is nothing like a going out with a troupe from Harvest after church or staying in and having smorgasbord. If there is anything Harvest is good at is being authentic.
Now just 3 of the original 13 are left but don't let that dismay you. That's rather atypical- usually no originals remain after 5 years.
So have we learned anything in 10 years? I am sure we have. It think it may be something we had not set out to learn in the first place. Perseverance.
Sure there have been setbacks and challenges. We came into the community with virtually no connections. And then we discovered those least expected connections. We are still learning- learning to lean on Jesus and abide in him. The good things won't just appear because of some nifty gimmick but because we cultivate the presence of God in the community. Likewise, the Master Gardener is tending and pruning us so that we may be fruitful.

26 August 2011

Ugly Online Ads in paradise

Now another installment of my look at ugly online ads that are on the 'nets. Now that campaign season is underway anything that attractions the disgruntled citizen is sure to be fair game. And official Obama ads are cropping up right next to the ugly ones. Albeit the real Obama ads are fairly clean cut stuff usually tempting the viewer by asking them to "join the team" or "Obama needs your help." For some reason the opposing candidates don't get into that stuff. Perhaps if Tim Pawlenty begged for help in an online ad he would not have returned home sad and morose.
Well, here is an interesting riff on one we saw not too long ago. It is the super hero first lady but not she has become even more super by having a rotating light on her noggin. It must have been the illustrator's day off at the ad agency. Joe decided he knew how to make another ad by using his photoshop skills.
Viola! Emergency Super First Lady. And all it required was a few clicks. 

 Not more home loans! I thought home ownership was in the tank. Not in California where there are magic beans which allow you to grow money on vines and make a delicious shiraz.
Not sure what this ad is suggesting about the citizens of California- are they usually in a drug induced stupor when thinking about paying off their homes. Bonus- it is an old guy. And a new model. I have not seen this fellow before.

 Poor kid. He must have been terrified that his visage would be published like this on the Internet. Is he remorseful? Is this even a mug shot?
Well, I can find the criminal record online. But wait- it costs money and I sure am  not going be throwing that kind of ching out the window looking for this dude whose only crime may have been jaywalking. Crying won't change the crime, boy!
Fact: you can find more interesting mug shots online without taking out your wallet.
Finally the cure the skin doctor was afraid to tell you about.
Is it really about becoming an egg sucker? How in the world does that affect your skin? Maybe it is more protein or something.
I wonder if its a duck egg?
Quackery just keeps shilling these adds to us.

15 August 2011

Angels overhead

The Blue Angels were in town this weekend but leading up to their performance at the Fargo Air Show they practiced in the skies above. They screeched over my workplace numerous times. I actually had a pretty good view from my upper windows. It was hard to photograph a decent show since they zoomed by with lightning speed. But let me tell you, they came pretty close. It seemed we could hit them with a rock if they were not moving so fast.

04 August 2011

Sweetie, our friendly neighborhood cat

Today we will miss one more cat.
Sweetie, an appreciative feline, who battled on despite he fading health will be well remember not only for age - she was nearing 20 years - but for being a fixture amongst our community. 
Sweetie kept us entertained with her antics especially when it came to computers.

 Even though popular by most people's standards, Sweetie shunned further popularizing her fame. She had no phone nor blog, and posted no tweets or Facebook status updates but instead left us with a myriad of memories and experiences. I guess if she did have Twitter it would probably say- "Hungry, need food!" most of the time. Sweetie would have had tons of friends on Facebook. And her blog would probably be about gourmet cat food and Catherine's room mates.

Today I memorialize Sweetie who lived all 9 lives to the fullest and made life just a bit more bearable for many. Through many close calls this past year we stuck near you and you made it through.
Now I say goodbye one final time.
You're a good cat. Meow.

01 August 2011

Not another Ugly Online Ads post

An now another exciting installment of Ugly Online Ads. In our last post we were seeing the Obamavertment making a comeback and the old also getting more ads. Well we got a little more of that and then some.
Our first is a scary looking lady. I think this was used to sell a miracle wrinkle cream or perhaps a sleep reducing program. I think it may do better as an advertisement for a Star Trek convention. The make-up job on this lady reminds me of some alien that Captain Kirk romanced.

Next we got an old guy and an ad invoking the powers of the chief executive of the United States. The thing about this ad that I can't capture for this blog is when you hover over it the old guy begins to turn into a line drawn version. Makes it rather eery and odd further creating the disconnection to the object of the advertisement but drawing us to the ad because of its sheer weirdness.

Our final ad a friend brought to my attention last week. It was on Yahoo for a day or so and I haven't seen it since. Ugly- yeah. Creative-definitely. So here is the premise for this ad- a mostly naked running out of shape bespectacled guy (wearing what look like the iconic New Balance 990 series) with his privates tactfully covered by ad copy. The guy looks a bit like the Jared from Subway fame or some guy from Freaks and Geeks. It catches your attention because as you load your page the running guy streaks through the page. Clicking on "Follow this Guy" takes you on a pseudo journey of the guy running through some fake web pages and grabbing some of the items on the pages until he gets to the actually ad sponsored website home page. It is actually kind of a hoot.