Friday, June 30, 2006

Mentos + Soda = Fun

Because Shannon asked...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Workin' in St. Louis

This week, Erin (Orin's wife) and Shannon, are in St. Louis, helping with a service/learning trip called Young Neighbors in Action. This program, run by the Center for Ministry Development, exists in cities all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico giving teenagers the opportunity to serve the poor and needy, while also learning about Catholic Social Teaching.

Oddwalk will also have a chance to entertain the youth at the end of their busy week, friday night. All are having a great experience and we will definitely write more about it after we return home on Saturday.

How to Tell a Catholic is Driving Too Fast

Just some light-hearted humor...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Reality Check

"It often happens that I wake at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope."
-Pope John XXIII

A quick update on the hair situation

Because I know you're all very concerned:

It's coming back pretty quick actually...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Reflecting on YSP 2006

"Youth Sing Praise 2006: A Journey to Sainthood" is now behind us -- the youth put on a wonderful show, packed up their things, celebrated Mass one last time, and took off, most for home, some to other summer destinations.

I had a very different role this year at YSP. Usually I'm assistant music director, helping on the theatrical side. While I still did a little of that this year, my main role was to coordinate the prayer life for the week. What an awesome responsibility.

Everything went wonderfully well, crafting different services with the youth and trying to create a week-long journey to sainthood. While its nice to hear people come up and say they appreciated you, the prayers, the music, its even more gratifying when you can see the impact of the prayer-life without needing to be told directly about it. And I did.

It was sad for me, yesterday, cleaning up the chapel where we spent the most time praying. Taking down decorations, removing symbols, straightening chairs... It truly said to me "This is over, at least this year."

Our main symbol for our prayer for the week was a trunk, the sort you might pack up for a long journey. (Sorry, no pictures of it yet.) Best $1.61 I ever spent, I think, at a second-hand store in downtown Belleville.

May the effects of the wonderful week of YSP linger on in our youth and in our Church!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Pertinent Scripture Passage

Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up, baldhead," they shouted, "go up, baldhead!"
The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the children to pieces.
- 2 Kings 2:23-24

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good Times In Beaumont

Hello from Houston, Texas!

What an amazing few days I've had here in the Lone Star State. Starting on Wednesday afternoon, the Diocese of Beaumont in Texas has been holding it's annual CYO Convention at the JW Marriot in Houston. Here are just a few highlights.

The conference began with a great keynote from Sean Forrest. Sean is a fellow Catholic musician and speaker who came all the way from Connecticut to be here. After about forty minutes of sillyness, which included a "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" sketch and a sing-along featuring Sweet Home Alabama, Sean got into the meat of his presentation. He spent the rest of his time talking to us about an experience he'd had growing up with a classmate named Patrick. He told of how his friends tormented Patrick, how he had reluctantly (and sheepishly) protected Patrick, and how all of this ended with Patrick committing suicide in his garage. Pretty heavy stuff. Sean challenged us all to be stronger in what we believe and look out for the people in this world who are abused or even marginalized. His presentation had a tremendous impact on a lot of people.

We then headed to Minute Maid Park for a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins. The park was cool, the game was good, and the teens cheered their hearts out. I had the good fortune to be in the first row of our section which meant that I got to look over and see the Astros' bullpen up close.

I was also pretty close to Tal's Hill, which is a strange bump built into the park in straight away Center Field. Tal's Hill is in play. I don't really understand it, but here it is.

The girls pictured below, while they cheered loudly for their Astros, spent a good part of the game sweet talking the servers at the restaurant just below us. Their mission was to get a free dessert. You can clearly tell by the picture that they succeeded in their quest:

The Astros won the game thanks to timely hitting and a solid inning of relief work from their closer, Brad Lidge. We then headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Well...I did, at least.

This morning, I got up, got myself ready and headed over to the ballroom. We had mass at 9am, and I started my keynote at 10am. After my presentation, we had lunch and then two rounds of workshops. In the session that I led, I focused on Mass and what the congregation's role is within the Mass.

After the workshop, some of the team headed to a local seafood restaurant called Pappadeaux's. It was great. We ate, laughed, told youth ministry stories, and relaxed.

Tomorrow will be a busy day for me. I'll lead a third workshop at 9:45am, eat some lunch and head to the airport. My flight leaves out in the afternoon. I'll get into St. Louis a little before 9pm, and I'll drive to Bass River Resort in Steelville, MO where my cousins are gathering for our annual float trip. Whew!

Please pray for the young people of the Beaumont Diocese. They are a wonderful and enthusiastic bunch, and I've had a great time spending the last couple of days with them. Thanks to Tommy Chatlosh, J.D. Parden, and all of the amazing volunteers and adult chaperones in the diocese. Keep up your excellent and important work.


For the Sake of the Kingdom

Orin shaves his head to make a point about "Transformation" at YSP 2006.
Wish I could be with Shannon and everyone in Beaumont, Texas! -Orin

Monday, June 19, 2006

Behold Earth Man and Weep Even More

Behold My Keytar and Weep, Part II

Orin as "The Other Guy" at the OLS Earth Day a couple months back.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Father's Day

As I'm sure you are aware, Father's Day is Sunday. While I can only to claim to have a little over a year and a half's worth of experience as a Father, I can say that it has been wonderful. Here are some observations about the girl who made me a father.

Madeleine runs to the door and laughs when I come home. If both Erin and I are home, she will come to me if she wants something to drink. She has become a fan of "Matilda the Gorilla". She has learned to wait in suspense as I count 1....2.............................3, and then tickle her. She will hold a blanket over her head and invite me under it by saying the word, "tent". She has learned that the word "fart", and the act itself, is really funny. She will bring me my shoes when she wants to go outside. She has learned how to turn on the cheesy demo that comes with my keyboard. She tackles the cat. She talks in her sleep. She falls asleep while eating. She dumps buckets of water on her head (for ten minutes at a time) while taking a bath. She becomes wild-eyed and determined when she hears the words "ice cream". She will walk to everyone in the room and shake their hand. She will then walk around to everyone in the room and tickle their feet. She finds food around the house. I don't mean that she opens cupboards and eats the food she finds. I mean that she FINDS food in lots of places. We're convinced she's hiding food from us. There are no real words to describe her. I know that sounds a little schmalzy, but it's the truth. She's great, and I love her.

Next year, We'll have two!

Happy Father's Day,
Shannon (and Orin too.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Benedict XVI Visits St. Louis, MO!

Well, Eureka, MO actually.
Well, not really, but The Onion, a satirical newspaper, says he enjoyed his visit to Six Flags. Enjoy!
*warning* There is -one- naughty word if you read close enough, and while the other content is probably really funny too, just be careful if you start poking around.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Stephen Colbert & Liturgical Dance?

Never thought you'd see those together?

Always funny on the Colbert Report, check out this clip from "Strangers With Candy" a few years ago (click the post title).

Thanks to Cribbs' Chronicle.

Shannon's Other Life

As many of you know, in addition to Oddwalk, I work as a full-time youth ministry director in Jefferson City, MO.

This week, my parish teens are in Waveland, Mississippi doing their part to help rebuild that community from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. They are working very hard and are having an amazing experience. If you would like to follow their efforts and pray for them, you can do so by going to our Youth Ministry Blog. I will be updating it daily.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Freeburg Fun

Yesterday evening, Oddwalk traveleled to Freeburg, Illinois for to help with a night planned for the teenagers of St. Joseph parish. Our responsibility was two-fold. The first part was to lead music for their "Youth" Mass, which coincided with the parish's regular 5pm, Saturday evening Mass. Even though we introduced them to a couple of songs that they had never heard before, the congregation responded very well. This was especially evident on our song for the Presentation of the Gifts, a relatively new song by Tom Booth called "Sacred Silence".

After Mass, we all made our way to the Parish Center for some pizza and a concert. Oddwalk did a lot of its regular stuff, but also threw in songs like "Pharaoh Pharoah" and "The Cubs Song". We wrapped up our set with Shannon's story about his experiences in Tijuana, Mexico followed by a prayerful singing of the new Oddwalk song, We Will Go, Lord.

Thanks to Georgia, Huelsman, Jeff Smythe, and all of the wonderful people at St. Joseph Parish for making us feel so welcome, and coming with an open heart. We look forward to seeing all of them very soon.

Friday, June 9, 2006

A Wonderful Insight

13 nights and 12 days in Costa Rica and the conclusion:
All suffering exists because we perceive ourselves differently than God sees us.
See more about his trip to Costa Rica at Gene's blog.

A New CD is in the Works

Last night, Orin and I spent a few hours laying down some tracks for our forthcoming CD, tentatively titled "Here We Go". We're really excited about this project. It's going to be a mixture of live and studio tracks. The live tracks were recorded at the 2006 Belleville Diocesan Youth Conference and the 2006 Jefferson City Diocesan Youth Rally. They will include favorites like "Lord, I Lift Your Name On High" and "Let the Children Come to Me". There will also be relatively unheard tracks like "I Give My Spirit" and "Let Us Go Rejoicing".

We expect to release the CD in late September, early October. Please pray for us as we continue to put the finishing touches on this project.


PS - No, we never even considered naming the CD "The Beauty Shop Sessions" -- maybe you should look more closely at the picture...