our CHRISTmas gifts

i am so proud of my boys for the gifts they gave this CHRISTmas. advent conspiracy has been a huge thing for helping us as a family celebrate the birth of JESUS in a proper way. it has redefined how we give gifts. this year the boys put an amazing amount of time, creativity, and love into gifts they gave. i could tell you some of them but i don’t think you would recognize how great they were because these gifts involved a great amount of intimate knowledge of the person receiving the gift. pam and i have great kids. i hope your gifts and your celebration of the birth of the SAVIOR was just as meaningful.

SIDE NOTE – we have raised around $1,000 for the house we are building in nicaragua. we don’t leave for nicaragua until the 9th so there is still time to give if you would like to. of course, if you want 2010 tax credit for your contribution you need to do so before january 1st.

SIDE SIDE NOTE – thanks to my recent discovery of our local library’s online audiobook website i am presently listening to “the blind side: evolution of a game” by michael lewis while i run and walk the dogs. this is the second book of his that i have gone through and i really like his style of writing because he reminds me of john krakauer’s style of writing. i’m going to have to read/listen to some other works of his.

movies and reading

it is CHRISTmas day. i’ve had a wonderful time with my family (my wife and boys are amazing). i was pumped by the very well thought out gifts that the whole family gave. it has been a wonderful day.

this is not really CHRISTmas related but i thought i would post about a couple of the movies and books i’ve read recently.

first the books

the hunger games: book 1 – this is the first book in a trilogy that our whole family is into now. i recently heard it said that we were in a new golden age of children’s literature. this book would help prove this statement to be true. the themes in the book are adult enough and developed so well that the university professorial book club that pam is a part of read it for discussion. all of us have loved the first book. we gave the family the second and third books as CHRISTmas presents because it wouldn’t have been right for them to be considered one person’s gifts since we were all going to read them. i would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

true grit – i had never read charles portis’ book until a week ago. i’ve loved the original movie ever since my dad introduced it too me. the book is absolutely amazing. powerful characters and a great story. it is told from mattie’s perspective and done amazingly well. i understand why reviewers have called it an american classic. it is so much better than the original and the new movie. i would give it 4 ¾ out of 5 stars.

the movies (the family and i always see movies during the CHRISTmas break)

little fockers – we saw this on CHRISTmas eve. this is probably the weakest of the three focker “meet the parents” movies. it was a little slow for the first half but made up for it in the second half. the fight scene at the end had our whole theater laughing adubilly. this was not my favorite comedy ever but i didn’t feel that i had completely wasted my money at the cinema. i would give it 3 ½ out of 5 stars.

true grit – we saw true grit this afternoon. i was real concerned about it because i love the original movie. you should never attempt redoing an original movie unless you are sure you can do a good job. the original was a GREAT movie and it involved one of john wayne’s best performances ever (he won his only best actor award for his performance in it). the new true grit is very good. in many ways it is not as true to the book as the original movie was. yet, i believe it captures the tone of the book better than the original movie. the west of the new movie and the book is raw and not very romantic. no pun intended but, like the book, the new movie is gritty. jeff bridges, matt damon, hailee stenfeld, and josh brolin were all really good. damon was TONS better than glenn campbell in the original movie, who i believe was by far the weakest link in that movie.  i would give it 4 ¼ out of 5 stars.

the 2010 CHRISTmas card & letter

2010 CHRISTmas card - for 4x8 copy

Every Terrell in Plover liked Christmas a lot…
And they couldn’t conceive of those who did not.
They were excited about Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
God coming to us? Why, what a great reason!

We thought for the 2010 year in review
That channeling dear Dr. Seuss just might do
So with sincere apologies to ol’ Theodore
We’ll recap the Terrell adventures and more.

First… Tapestry church, the plant from 2008
Was growing and serving and doing just great!
We saw many friends come to faith this past year
And be baptized in 40 degrees without fear.
The ages have branched from just 20-somethings
To babies and seniors and boomers with gumption.
In August we trekked to Nicaragua, you see
with our Tapestry crew and entire family.
Children were fed and Jesus was shared
All of our lives were changed too–no one was spared.

As for Robert, he’s still quite a running fool,
Regardless the weather: rain, snow, or just cool.
5Ks and five miles were the general style,
But also two half-marathons–13.1 miles!
ther hobbies were curling, fishing, and hunting of ducks

But alas with the gun, he had not much luck
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that I prayed with my might.
(To see cute little ducks blasted forth from the sky?
I’m not gonna eat them–it would just make me cry!)

I also took up the running lifestyle this year
And finished 2 5Ks and a 5 mile run with a sneer.
I pretty much hate running and the whole running season
But I like that it allows me to eat food that is pleasin’
In February I went to Nicaragua with OpSmile
And did speech therapy with kidlets in Español style.
May found me in Brazil, 15 students in tow
To see cleft palates and observe surgery, you know.

As for Adam, he is now a 16 year old punk
Busy with a girlfriend, band, school, and other such junk.
Still playing electric bass and moving onto percussion
Head-banging so hard, good thing no concussion!
Video-taping, editing, and curling have been his thing
With college tours beginning for him in the spring
Our prayer lives have improved as he drives in the snow
And we’re learning hard lessons of how to let go.

Noah has recently just turned fourteen
And surpassed me in height–that boy’s tall and lean.
A videogame controller is oft found in his hand
and he’s constantly asking about dinner plans.
He eats like a horse and he smells like a boy
And he cracks goofy jokes that bring us such joy.
His height comes in handy on the basketball court
As he dribbles and shoots with the junior high sort.

As we think back on you, dear family and friends
We’re left with sweet thoughts as the year draws to an end.
We hope that you, like the Grinch, get the real Christmas reason
Not the gifts or the trees or the family time at this season.
Born in a small stable as E-mman-u-el
“God with us” came to hang out and with us to dwell.
Jesus changed all of time and history too
Because He loves me and because He loves you.

So as you sit down for your big Christmas feast,
Regardless of who carves your fancy roast-beast;
We wish all of you the hap-happiest Christmas
And pray that you have a New Year that is blessed!

The Poem/Newsletter is by my amazing wife, pamela.

exit through the gift shop


during my lunch break today i watch the majority of banksy’s “exit through the gift shop” and then finished it later. while i have mixed feelings about street art, i do like a lot of it. my mixed feelings are, i disagree with using someone else’s property for your self expression but i love much of it when it is done on spaces where the owner is cool with it. i loved this documentary/mockumentary – no one seems to agree concerning whether it is real or fake. the content and message was really cool. thank you netflix for streaming this.

the street artist in this documentary/mockumentary are amazingly creative people. some of the artistic connections they make are truly incredible.

SIDE NOTE – you can still contribute to building a house in nicaragua. if you want 2010 tax credit for it you need to do so before january 1st. we go to nicaragua january 9th.

SIDE SIDE NOTE – i’m watching arrested development season 2 with the family and buster just had the first line “You lied to me… you said my father was my father, but my uncle is my father. my father is my uncle.” oh how we love arrested development.

marriage & family counseling paper

this past week has been pretty busy with my normal stuff, quite a few tapestry related gatherings, and i had to finish my last paper for the pastoral counseling d. min seminar that i took in october. i don’t think it is my best work but it will do considering they stuff that was going on and the fact that i’ve been fighting a cold. while i don’t think the paper is my best work i am fascinated by the national marriage project’s annual report the state of our unions.

anyhow here’s my marriage and family issue paper for anyone who wants to read it.

snow storm = hurricane

snow thrower

being raised along the gulf coast i had a love/hate relationship with hurricanes. the love part was that usually they were no big deal – a lot of precaution and then typically nothing major. everyone had to prepare for the potential hurricane. it was important that you planned for the worst. so you bought a good bit of food, made sure that everything that could be blown around was safely put up, generally prepped your house for the storm and then talked with your neighbors about all of their precautions. the hate part of the relationship was that every now and then the hurricane would actually end up being as bad or worse than it had been predicted. when that happened it was awful.

it turns out that snow storms in the midwest are kind of similar. we’re in the midst of a minor blizzard and it has been quite a bit of fun with the family. it also made for a very challenging run this afternoon and at least three times of using the snow blower to clear our driveway.

SIDE NOTE – i doubt seriously that the weather will affect tapestry tomorrow but if it does i will make sure and send word out to everyone.

whiting mill closing

as many of you probably know by now the whiting mill is closing. adam h told me about this first and then immediately asked “what can we and what can the big “c” church in the point area do?” i think it is a great question and something that we should respond to as followers of JESUS CHRIST. between now and february 360 people will be losing their jobs. how does the bride of CHRIST respond? i don’t have the answer right now but i am open to ideas and invite all of you guys to pray with the tapestry leadership team and i.

i sent the following email out to all the local pastors whose email addresses i have.

hey guys & girls,

the tapestry leadership team and i have been praying and talking together since the news of the whiting mill closing. we have been wondering how the bride of CHRIST could respond in a way that glorifies JESUS by meeting the needs of people created in HIS image. so i am turning to you guys. do you think there is a way that the church in the point area can respond together. i am sure all of the churches we belong to will respond individually but i was wondering if any of you would be interested in exploring ways that we might could respond together? i don’t have any plans right now other than trusting that GOD has placed all of us in leadership within our congregations to equip HIS people to do HIS works.

in HIS love and mine,


i’m open to everyone’s ideas no matter how extreme.

SIDE NOTE – don’t worry mom, i used capitalization in the actual email. 🙂

helping with weddings


monday i was listening to a talk of the nation episode discussing the increasing trend of young couples without higher education to postpone marriage but not kids. the trends have swapped between people with higher education and people without higher education. those who have four year degrees or greater are now more likely to get married and less likely to get divorced than those without four year degrees. while there are multiple reasons for for this trend the one that has been bouncing around in my head deals with the cost of wedding ceremonies. many of the couples postponing getting married said that a large part of their wait was because they could not presently afford the wedding ceremony they wanted.

this has been killing me the more i think about it. tapestry has been involved in advent conspiracy because we believe that the present manner in which the u.s. celebrates CHRISTmas needs to be challenged and confronted. obviously there are probably issues other than the cost of a wedding ceremony that are keeping many of these couples from getting married that should be dealt with. yet i wonder if the church needs to begin confronting societal expectations concerning the costs of wedding ceremonies while also dealing with these other issues. for example, the average cost of a wedding in plover is between $14,030 and $23,384. shouldn’t the bride of CHRIST (i.e. the church) offer a different and more reasonable model of what a beautiful wedding ceremony is? how can we expect young couples to start healthy marriages when many are going into debt for their wedding ceremony?

the most beautiful wedding that pam and i have ever been a part of is also one of the least expensive ones we have ever been to. it was the wedding of the daughter of two of our friends in missouri. the ceremony took place on a small hill overlooking a wheat field and it was amazing. it was also very inexpensive. the whole thing depended upon the creativity, love, and effort of their family and friends. it would be a wonderful example and model for others hoping to have a meaningful yet inexpensive wedding ceremony.

i’m beginning to contemplate whether there is a way that tapestry can offer something different to our community in regards to wedding ceremonies. we have 3 pro photographers and tons of wonderfully creative people in our church. what if churches began to offer their resources to young couples in such a way that the expectation of an expensive wedding ceremony was challenged? i don’t know what it would look like for us to confront the cost of wedding ceremonies in our present age but it is something i am interested in exploring. i do think that the community of faith has a ton to offer in regards to “creativity, love, and effort” and i have already seen the beauty that those three resources bring to a wedding ceremony. again i am not sure what they would look like but it is something that i am pondering and would like to enter into conversations concerning.