Monday, December 31, 2012

My talks from Denver Winter Conference

The last few days I've been in Denver for the Denver Winter Conference. I had a really great time, met some awesome students and saw some of my good friends.

Here are the sessions from while I was there, complete with my talks. This first talk is one you may have seen at some point, it's from Luke 5, about Simon Peter and what he knew about Jesus when he chose to follow him. I take the stage about 15 minutes in:

Here's my second talk. It's a new one, and this is the first time I've done it so it's a little rough around the edges. It's about the Holy Spirit. I come on stage about 43 minutes into this one, and then I harass the MC for a while:

Numero Tres is about the Great Commission and has a modern retelling of Luke 15. I come in about 31 minutes in:

Enjoy! And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday: Dance for your cola

Why is it that most "Wonderful Wednesday" posts come from Asia? Because Asia is wonderful, that's why. But usually it's Japan that makes a big splash here at BHR. Today, it's SOUTH KOREA with this awesome Coca Cola machine that gives out free sodas to anyone who can dance as well as a boy band.

No, really:

What's that you say? You want to know more about the K-pop sensation whose dance moves are featured here? Okay, fine, here's a video from boy band 2 PM:

And, just in case a young person was nearby who started shouting JUUUUUUNHOOOOOOO while you were watching, here's your score card for keeping track of the boys (stolen from a commenter on YouTube):

Nickhun - the one playing golf
Wooyoung - the one who's in the airplane
Chansung - the one lying near the pool
Junho - the one who wears shades and smiling
Jun K./Junsu - the one who looks like a DJ
Taecyeon - the one who makes this hand poses in the cam and is the one who entered into the yellow car

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Little Pigs, little pigs

Merry Christmas everyone!

Right now 3 year old M and I are playing in a fort we made on the couch. It's not quite large enough for me to fit in (so I may have to stay in the stable).

Also, I think I have some catch up to do either with telling M more stories or working on her listening comprehension, because this is the conversation we keep having:

Me: Knock, knock.

Her: Who is it?

Me: The big bad wolf! Little pig, little pig, let me in.

Her (cheerfully): Okay!

Then the "door" swings open and she lets me in. Tomorrow's lesson: The three little pigs, natural selection and when to open the door.

But for today, it's Christmas! And even the big bad wolf should get invited in sometimes.

Okay, we're on our way out to a big Chinese meal for dinner! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Storymen Episode 3 is up!

I was out all day today and didn't have a chance to tell you all that the third episode of Storymen is up and available for your listening pleasure. You can listen to it here or subscribe on iTunes. This was a fun show... we had Latifah Al-Attas Phillips of Page CXVI and the Autumn Film on as our guest, and she talked about pop culture, Twilight and shared some music with us.

Anyway, if you enjoy podcasts, check it out. And if you don't like podcasts, pretend it's one of those drive time radio shows and enjoy it anyway.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exciting New Adventure for Young Fantasy Readers!

Well friends, the hard copies of Sword of Six Worlds are out there now, worming their way into bookstores... and your heart. Ha ha ha.

Here's a poster from Logos bookstore in Nashville, which is carrying the book:

Any day now the paper version of the book will be available on Amazon, as well, and I assume Barnes and Noble and other bookstores can't be far behind!

In the meantime, you can go pick up a copy at Logos!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My three year old makes me laugh

In the evening I lay down in bed with my three year old. Lately she has taken to putting her head at the foot of the bed (having moved her pillow there, too... I suppose making it the head of the bed, actually). I lay the other way, with my head on a stuffed owl.

We usually read a book (tonight was Curious George) or sing a song (often Eidelweiss, which I sang EVERY NIGHT to the older girls for many years). M will talk a bit, say things about the days, sometimes says terrifying things about scary creatures (two nights ago she had me close her window shade because she "saw a creeper" out there... a bit of information she delivered with absolute calm). Eventually, just before she goes to sleep, she says, "Good night, Daddy" and I say good night to her and then she sighs and falls asleep.

Tonight, she said, "Good night, Daddy" and I said, "Good night" and she said, "You have to say my name," so I said good night again only this time with her name.

About a minute later she said, "Is it time to go to sleep?"

That was an odd question, and didn't fit our nightly ritual, so I said, "Yes, it is."

Then she laughed and said, "I know, Dad, that was a joke!"

Good one!

And now she's asleep!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My daughter constantly surprises me

My (almost ten year old) daughter, "A", has been having some trouble with one of her friends at school. In fact, this happens pretty much every year. They start and end the year the best of friends, but somewhere in the middle they both drive each other crazy. We talked some about that, and although A was unhappy, I could tell she was thinking deeply about what to do.

Later, she came downstairs from her room and said, "Dad, I've been thinking about the problem with my friend, and I was thinking that perhaps trying diplomacy would be a good idea."

I was, to say the least, surprised by this appeal to diplomacy. I don't know if I looked shocked or not, but she went on to say, "The way diplomacy works is that I would go to her and tell her what I have done wrong, and then tell her what I feel she has done wrong. Then we would try to come to a conclusion that would make both of us happy."

I asked her if she would like to try diplomacy and she said yes. I wanted to ask her if she would teach a seminar on diplomacy for me and some of my adult friends.

I also asked where she learned about diplomacy, and she said from the book Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. So, thank you, Ms. Hale.

She also said that she had checked the school library and couldn't find any more books about diplomacy, a topic she finds very interesting.

I think I just met the future U.S. Diplomat to Chile.

Monday, December 17, 2012

President Obama's speech at the Connecticut Prayer Vigil

If you haven't already seen President Obama's speech at the Newtown, CT, prayer vigil for those killed last week, you should take a look.

I was surprised by the amount of scripture in it, and was moved at several points. It's about 18 minutes long, and well worth your time.

I'm still processing this all (as I'm sure we all are). My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy (as well as the shooting here in Clackamas).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fasting Day 467: Twice the Man I used to be

You may recall last summer when I wrote about my forty day fast. Earlier this week I had a special moment that reminded me of my fast.

Dramatic re-enactment. 
I went to exercise before going in to work, so I threw on my workout clothes and grabbed some clothes out of the closet. After my work out I took a shower, dried off and went to put my clothes on and discovered... that I had grabbed the jeans I bought when I was fasting because all my regular clothes had become too large.

Pants meant for me when I was about forty pounds lighter.

So. It was either wear my work out clothes or find a way into those pants.

I'm happy to report that with correct breathing, impressive upper body strength to pull the button and button hole toward one another and a minimum amount of discomfort I was able to put those pants on. I looked like a rock star with painted on jeans.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Christmas hilarity from my three year old daughter

Apparently my three year old had made herself an English muffin the other day. It was not split open and it was not toasted, but it was slathered with peanut butter and jelly across the top. She had taken one bite out of it and then left it sitting out on the counter all day.

'Struggling to finish - Traditional Parma - Pugg Mahones AUD18' photo (c) 2010, Alpha - license:
I left this for you, Santa.
I asked her: M, are you done with this? Can I throw it away?

M: I don't want it. You can just leave it out for Santa.

Me: No, if you don't want it I'll throw it away.

M: Just leave it there and it will be gone in the morning.

Yes, that's right, kids. Every night when you go to bed, Santa comes and eats everything you leave on your plates. Then he washes your dishes and cleans the kitchen. He's a swell guy that Santa.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday: Arnold's Christmas Party

This party looks crazy. I would go to a Christmas party reunion with these people.

My favorite part is when Arnold shares stories from the Old Country and talks about how Krampus came at Christmas and terrified the children.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New MAN OF STEEL trailer is officially awesome

Yes, it's official. I have sent a note to the Office of Awesome and they have confirmed it.

I will be going to this movie. In my Superman Underoos.

My three year old and why she thinks she should get dressed up for Santa

Seems like Santa could get
dressed up a little bit too.
I came home last night and my three-year-old M was all dressed up in a shiny red dress. This is surprising, because usually she likes to wear a t-shirt and underwear and no pants.

I asked her why she was all dressed up, and she said, "For Santa." I asked her why she thought Santa wanted her to be dressed up, and she said, "Because if I dress up he will bring me the presents I want."

Hmmm. I might have to wear nicer clothes tomorrow.

Also, for some reason, M is very focused on what Santa wants her to wear. Also monsters.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What if God sent the flood again today? -- A guest post from author Daniel Keohane

Today's guest post comes from Bram Stoker Award nominated author Daniel Keohane. You can find out more about him and his books on his website. I think you'll find the book he discusses here interesting... what if God decided to repeat himself and have another flood? What if he did it today? And what if there were quite a number of people he decided were worth saving?

Big thanks to Matt for letting me share his spotlight for the day, inviting me to talk about – well, whatever I’d like, related to my recent novel Margaret’s Ark. Though it took a long time (years) to get this novel to where it is now, writing it was such a joy it was easy to pick a specific topic: asking for help from complete strangers.

Briefly, in Margaret’s Ark thousands of people around the world have the same dream, telling them to build an ark on their from yard, the town square, anywhere they can, then convince thirty others to join them before a new flood occurs. I know, I know, most of you reading this are thinking, wait! God said He wouldn’t.... but I actually addressed this issue in the book and, at least I hope I did, to avoid nasty-grams from fellow believers (I must have succeeded, since I really only had two people slam me for the concept).

There were two moments (among surprisingly few) where I found myself staring at the page and wondering – what do I do now? One came early on when my main character Margaret Carboneau stood on the grass of her hometown common (what we New Englanders like to call the town square) staring at a load of lumber with no idea what to do with it all. I had literally been typing this scene when it dawned on me I had no idea how to build a boat, either (obviously, back then I didn’t outline). I had one requirement: everything used must come from the local Home Depot or other home goods supply store.

I went online to a popular message board for writers and posted my question: anyone know how an average person might build a seaworthy boat for 30 people using only Home Depot supplies? I got a couple of brief suggestions, then a man I still have never met named John Craig emailed me directly after reading of my plight. He explained the type of wood to use, how to bend and shape it, then waterproof everything. He included hand-drawn diagrams (scanned into jpeg’s)! I could tell he was having a great time with these emails, being deep in his element (John was an amateur ship builder who visited the message board occasionally). I used almost EVERYTHING he told me, detail-wise. Some of his other suggestions (“You’ll probably have kids on board, so don’t forget to build some compartments for children’s books.”) made so much sense I worked them ito the story, too.

In later drafts, I added a significant setting in the Arctic Circle in order to better illustrate some “scientific” concepts (quotes deliberate – I’m a writer, Jim, not a scientist) used in the book on how the earth could be flooded. In Googling websites on the town of Resolute Bay, I came across a man named Dave who blogged about his year living in this northernmost town. I emailed him, explained I’m a writer working on a scene in the town. I understood he lived there for a time and could he answer some questions. (This is key – if you explain you are a writer most people will be happy to answer questions... through email, phone calls or in person.) He replied and after about three back-and-forths, I had what I needed. He was very detailed, too, having truly enjoyed his stay there. His love for the town came through in his descriptions and when my characters stepped into the town in the book, it felt very real to me and my readers.

So, as we hear often in church and Sunday school: God provides when you ask, as long as you ask for the right thing. Just remember that sometimes you need to step outside and put your question to the people around you, knowing He’ll get the right person to see the question and answer you. Sometimes the burning bush comes in the form of an email from a stranger you may never talk to again, but you will get your answer. It’s how Margaret’s Ark gained more depth than my own imagination could muster – it’s even how I got my new washing machine... but that’s another story. J

What do you think, folks? Questions or comments for Daniel? Leave 'em here and we'll get him to come by and respond!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Secret Novel update: FIRST DRAFT IS DONE!

As of right now!

I overshot the ending... there will be editing to be done without doubt. But here's the ending word count!

76582 / 65000 words. 118% done!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Star Trek Into Darkness trailer is here!

I hope in this movie that Kirk screams so loud that it's heard from outer space.

Who's going?


I think we need to add this trailer for comparison's sake:

My three year old daughter sends her first emails

My three year old was playing with Krista's iPad the other day and then started sending me emails. She has never sent email before, certainly not without help, so here are the three emails she sent me. All of them came with pictures.

Number One. 

V b bc m c.  .  L $ m. .cv l @huh bm'c.    $!3 e?)?$3&?hvkfdncn.   C. X. C. V.  C.  C. Bvbnngngnfnnfnfnngngnvnnnnvbnv@ bdbnnmv vf, nmcnvnvn ,hbbbgtngkrgjgjjkkjjkylykjffhfbdbdvbfdvgdbngbnbfdjfbffnfbfhfhhhhghhghhghhgbnxj. Bd nbmcbnd. N 

Email number two:

Email #3:

Congratulations, kid, on your first three emails! Now they are immortalized forever on the internet.

QUESTION: How about you? Do you remember your first email?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bethlehemenian Rhapsody

Christians can Christianize anything. Here it is... Bohemian Rhapsody redone as a loving Christmas song. Be sure to at least wait for the entrance of Baby Jesus!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Top 5 posts in November

Here they are the top five posts (by traffic, of course) from the month of November. Number one, unsurprisingly, was my interview with Rachel Held Evans, the author of A Year of Living Biblically.

Second place was this post, where I made fun of Netflix for their description of The Crucible.

Third place, the 1491s and their hilarious skit about Native actors trying out for the parts of Native werewolves in Twilight's "New Moon."

Fourth place, an episode of Eavesdropping with Matt!

Tied for fifth, two goofy stories from my kids. A cute pet name my daughter calls me. and lastly, my three year old explains why monsters are scary.

How about you? And favorite blog posts you saw last month?

Monday, December 03, 2012

This is the song stuck in my head this morning!

Where are you, Crowded House?

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! Storymen Episode 2: The Apocalypse Strikes Back!

The new episode of Storymen is up and running, with special guest Jason Boyett, author of The Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse.

You can go listen to the podcast on the Storymen site, subscribe on iTunes or, for those who would rather watch us hang out in Google Chat, you can watch the whole thing here (audio is better, by the way, on the audio version. Go figure).

Be sure to check out the awesome new logo and banner from M.S. Corley on the site!