It wasn't my reunion year, but it was a time of reuniting for sure. It is always nice to make plans to see old friends, but sometimes surprises are even better. The surprise of seeing Ked Frank for the first time in a few years was my highlight of the weekend. I couldn't hug that kid enough! I've seen the other guys from our apartment in the past few months, and see two of them almost daily. Since Ked relocated back to Kentucky I haven't been able to connect with him.

Eric and I were already there, so I texted Kevin and Mark when I saw Ked. Kevin was able to come over, so that four of the six apartments mates could spend a little time with each other. I quickly made my way to the 586 to purchase 4 IBC cream sodas. We popped those tops off of the bottles and remembered a day when we got together weekly to enjoy those delicious drinks, as well as each other's companies. We called it "Beer and Bull", the IBC Cream Soda being the beer. So many good conversations, great fights, deep questions and honest reflections came from those times... and a lot of laughs.

It was one of the primary ways I learned about community at my alma mater, through a group of guys committing to nothing more than a block of time together with a good drink to share. That continues to be a good starting place for community.
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Traveling Mercies/Anne Lamott

This is what I have been reading as I traveled. The books has been sitting on our shelves for a long time, but I never picked it up. When I prepare for a trip I always try to bring a book that I think I might feel like reading, on the plane, or during quiet moments, or while riding in the backseat to some destination. The ritual usually begins with me selecting whichever book I am currently in the middle of, and scanning the bookshelves at work and home for other options. I then try to pack all of the options I have selected until a moment of reality hits me. I look at the books, I think about the extra weight (when flying) and I know I need not bring all of these options. I need to make a decision.

I can't recall the larger selection that I pared down from this time, but I did end up bring a few along for the ride (we were going to be in transit for over 48 hours on this trip).

The Bible

The Book I am Currently in the Middle Of: The Selfless Way of Christ- Henri Nouwen
* Not that you can actually be in the middle of this book. The book basically is a middle. It is all of 80 or so centered, larger font pages. I am taking it in slowly we will say.

The Theology Book: The Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard
Dave Ballenger gave me this book to borrow over 3 years ago. Until this post he has probably been looking for it under his bed and in the dusty corners of his bookcases (not that Jenn would allow there to be such a thing in their house). Now you know Dave. I have it. I have read a portion of it, but not enough. I think it is the size, so large in my hands... but I keep picking it up and keep it beside my bed for that day that it grabs me... which I am sure will be soon.

The Fiction Book: Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters - J.D. Salinger
I always include a non-fiction book. It only wins once our of every 3-4 times, but Salinger always has a chance at winning.

The Non-Fiction Book: Traveling Mercies - Anne Lamott
Donald Miller, Rob Bell and others fit this categories. People who teach with their lives. They share their story and reveal truths as they talk.

To win the book of the trip you have to grad me and Anne Lamott did this. Not physically of course, but with her words, which I guess did grab me physically. Through the first 150 pages of this journey I have laughed dozens of times, I have cried a few, I have said "hmmm" many more and I have read section to Kelly too many times to count. I realize why some Christians hate her and some love her and I realize why everyone knew I would love her.

What I love most about her is her authenticity. I realized that this is what I love about Donald Miller as well. They don't hold anything back. For Christians, I have to say this is the exception. It is easy to write about theology or ecclesiology or hermeneutics (in some sense). It is easy to write about your life through prim rose glasses and ideological reflections and edits. Miller and Lamott lay it on the line. They share the dirty, the gritty, the painful and even the questionable or just plain sinful. And they draw us in...

Because we crave authenticity and we love stories...
And we were made for both.

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