Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two Cute!

Well, maybe just one. But we'll let you all decide.
Thanks to Kathy Shubert for the pic from Belleville DYC!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ignite Your Faith (Igni!)

What an amazing, energetic, prayerful, fun, and inspiring weekend we had with the Diocese of Belleville this weekend. Oddwalk had the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles as part of Belleville's Diocesan Youth Conference. I was invited, along with Ann Nicholson, to be one of the animators of the weekend. In this role, I served as a co-emcee and helped to move the weekend along through announcements and prayer. This was a lot of fun! From joking around with the band, to announcing the "pick-a-prize" winners, to commenting on the ill-fated "theme"banner,("Ignite Your Faith" became "Igni"), it really was a great time.

Orin joined me on Sunday and we had the chance to serve as presenters for the morning Keynote session. What an incredible experience! Joined by members of Karl Zimmerman's house band, Orin and I did a 45-minute set of songs like "Matilda the Gorilla" and "Just Because You Can", as well as new songs like "Get it Together" and "Let the Children Come To Me". The band and the teens were rocking! Orin and I felt really good about the set and, since we recorded it, plan to use parts of it for an upcoming part live/part studio CD due out in the fall. This experience was especially wonderful for me because I grew up in the Belleville Diocese and attended this conference each spring.

Thanks to all who made this weekend a special one for us. Thanks especially to Colette Kennett, Susan Knapp, the DYMAC team, and all of the many volunteers involved in the conference. We look forward to spending more time in the Belleville Diocese in the future.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Friday, March 24, 2006

Orin's niece and Godchild a star!

By clicking here, you can see photos of Maddie Mishler in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in Mountain Lake, MN. She's the younger, blonde one.

Orin's sister, Gwynne, directed the musical. Congrats to all involved!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Lubbock Follow-up

Here's an email we received from Greg Ramzinski, diocesan director of youth ministry in Lubbock. Before reading, recall that Lubbock first had a 100-day drought, then downpours, then hail. Now read:

Hey Shannon,

Thank you for all of your support and great work. I will read the blog here in a bit. I hope that you were able to take some time and get all rested up from the experience. Believe it or not, it snowed here yesterday. We had about an inch and there is still some on the ground. We shall see what happens here in the next couple of days, who knows what the weather will do. . . .

Mmm hmm, snow. If we didn't know better, we'd say the apocalypse was upon Lubbock. Thankfully, we know better.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Hail, Mary?" or "Just our Lu(bbo)ck"

This is the story of our trip to Lubbock, TX. Everything you are about to read actually happened. We CAN'T make this stuff up:

Orin and Shannon traveled to Lubbock, Texas this weekend to be part of a music festival called "Praise on the Plains", which was sponsored by the Diocese of Lubbock. Orin had commitments in the St. Louis-area on Friday night which kept him from flying to Lubbock until Saturday morning, but Shannon headed to Texas on Friday afternoon. Friday evening was relatively uneventful. Shannon met up with Greg Ramzinski, the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Director for the Diocese of Lubbock, met Jessica Volcanzik of Entertaining Angels Ministries, and re-connected with Matt and Jason of Catholic Remnant Apostolate, who we had met at NCYC in the fall.

The next day, Shannon, Jessica, and Greg made their way to the site of the festival. The morning was overcast, drizzly, and cold, which ordinarily wouldn't warrant a mention, but this wasn't to be an ordinary day. At the time (and even stll now), much of the state of Texas was experiencing a terrible drought. Therefore, even a little rain would have been a great answer to a lot of prayers...just not ours.

The sound and light engineers spent much of the morning battling the rain and cold to get the festival ready. At 11:30am, while ! we were actually running about 1 1/2 hours behind, the first band was on stage and getting ready to do a sound check. That's when the weather took a turn for the worst. All of the sudden, the skies opened up and released this unbelievable hail storm. That's right, I said HAIL! Within about a minute, the ground was nearly white with little BB-sized pellets of hail. Needless to say, the event was cancelled, disappointing about 100 people gathered underneath the concession/merchandise tent who had braved the weather to hear some Christian music. At that point, Shannon decided that they should get to hear something, so he gathered musicians from Remnant Catholic Apostolate, The Rock Band, and Jessica from Entertaining Angels Ministry and played about two hours worth of music. They basically played anything they though the concert-goers would know and be able to sing along with. Generally, people left with smiles on their faces. By that point, Orin had arrived and, after a quick lunch, they made their way back to the hotel to rest for a while. The rest of the evening was fun, getting to hang out with Greg, Samira, Scott (almost the emcee of the event), Matt and Jason from Remnant, Matt's wife Angela, and their son, Sebastian. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for (what we thought) was a good nights sleep before a 7am flight to Dallas and then on to St. Louis.

At 2:30am, Orin's cellphone rings. The 7am flight had been cancelled. After some discussion and near-arguing with the agent, Orin and Shannon got afternoon flights set up. The weather in Dallas had really screwed up the airport though, so much so that our 4:30 flight didn't leave until 8pm! In Dallas, we missed our connection (obviously) and luckily got on the last flight out, supposed to leave at 10:30. At 12:15 the next morning, it finally got off the ground. We landed in St. Louis about 1:15, Orin got home about 3am, Shannon at about 5am. Ack.

So, nothing against Lubbock or Texas in general, but we're glad to be home. And not stuck in a Texas airport anymore. And glad we're not flying again anytime soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Keytar Debut!

Last night, Oddwalk had a wonderful night playing a coffeehouse-style concert for the teens of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne Parish in O'Fallon, MO. We began by leading them in some Praise and Worship favorites before getting into our themes of Community, Participation, and Mission. We were struck by the spirit of the young people and their willingness to participate in anything we threw at them. That goes for the percussionists too. (even though all they did was sit the whole time!)

Our proudest moment came, however, in the long-awaited (at least by Orin and Shannon) debut of THE KEYTAR! During "Get It Together", a relatively new song for Oddwalk, Orin performed an eighties-style, no holds barred, note-bending solo that would have made Eric Clapton jealous. (or break the keytar). Rock on man!

Thanks again to Gretchen Pacheco, the parish youth minister, and all of the support staff in the parish. Their youth ministry efforts, called Soulfire Youth Ministry, are alive and well. We can't wait to go back.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Just Letters" and "Scratchpad"

Hey -

Coolest flash in a while, I think. At "Letters" you drag around fridge letters to spell whatever. At "Scratchpad" you draw with your mouse on a blank slate.

But -

Others are signed on, doing the same thing! Stealing your letters, adding to your drawing, or obliterating it! Can lead to some interesting interactions... (So, you've been warned, you may bump into "unChristian" behavior of some sort.)

So go have fun!

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Remembering Kirby

Growing up in the late 80's in Minnesota, I (Orin) remember a lot of MN Twins baseball, especially the '87 and '91 championships. Kirby Pucket, who just passed away, was a big part of those teams.

We might all remember the stadium announcer introducing him as Kirbeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Pucket! And the exciting ends (and those leaping catches at the wall) to those world series games (in '87, against Shannon's STL Cardinals).

He may not have been off-the-field the best role model at times, but still, as an icon of my youth, I thought he deserved a mention here.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Praying Lent

Thanks to Jared & Elise for the link,
a wonderful internet resource to pray through Lent.

Oddwalk visits Monroe City, MO

Thanks to the super youth and adults in Monroe City, MO - Oddwalk had a great time last night sharing faith and singing songs. Everyone was in such a fun mood and ready to jump up and sing silly songs, doing all the motions - youth and adults alike! It's really great to see a whole community across generations and ages come together for a night of fellowship and faith.

Hope we can visit again soon!

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Turn away from sin...

...and be faithful to the Gospel.

Or, put another way, give up what separates you from God, and put your trust in your Christian community, Jesus' cross, and his new creation.

As we all hopefully are aware, the penitential season of Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, this year March 1.

The season of Lent is closely connected with the transition from Winter to Spring, the name itself coming from an Anglo-Saxon word lecten meaning springtime. Lent is also a period of preparation for Baptism (and other initiation sacraments) in the Catholic Church, celebrated at the Easter Vigil liturgy. It has a length of 40 days, modeling Jesus' fast in the desert as well as other prominent old testament 40's (Moses, Elijah, and others).

We'd like to take a moment to offer a few suggestions on ways to celebrate (yes, celebrate, albeit in a somber way) Lent as a time of transition and preparation in our own lives.

Fasting and abstinence from meat (on Fridays) has long been a tradition in the Church. Self-denial promotes self-discipline in one's faith. It also allows one to give to the poor and hungry what one has denied to self. Perhaps take some time during Lent, especially on days of abstinence to make donations to food pantries or homeless shelters.

Many of us come from a tradition too of "giving up" something for lent, another form of self denial, be it chocolates, TV, soda, or the like. Perhaps consider giving up something a little less tangible, and something that doing away with will improve your life: give away your angers, your judgmental attitudes, or your fears and anxieties. Perhaps even give away some of your security, as any sort of growth is difficult in a place of comfort.

One last, important, suggestion: take some time to explore what your church or (secular) community has to offer over the next six weeks. Being a part of one's community, however it is defined, is vital to an understanding of faith and our place in God's creation.

Welcome Lent this year with an attitude of progress and change, and the season will become for you that very time of growth. Let this be our common prayer for one another this coming season.

In Christ,
Shannon and Orin

PS - some of the info in this post came from a book titled "Catholic
Customs and Traditions" by Greg Dues, published by Twenty-Third
Publications, (c) 1992