The Briefing

I grew up listening to “The Bible Answer Man” (Hank Hanegraaff) as a little kid. My mom would pick me up from school and on the drive home his program would be on and he would be discussing all kinds of different news events, theology, Biblical history, etc. It was a great show actually, and one that taught me a lot about studying the Bible and understanding good principles of Biblical interpretation. But recently I’ve been turned on to a new program, one in which I think picks up where the Bible Answer Man leaves off, and one that I hope (Lord willing) will be around for a very long time — that is,“The Briefing” by Albert Mohler.

I’ve shared articles and links for Dr. Mohler before (because honestly his blog is fantastic too), but Bethany and I have been sitting down nightly and listening to his podcast “The Briefing” and we have been very blessed. It’s really no more than 15 minutes long, with absolutely no commercials, and it’s 100% free. Every podcast starts with “…this is The Briefing: A daily analysis of events from a Christian worldview.” And that’s exactly what it is. He walks through some different news items from various publications and basically gives a good, Biblical, Christian perspective on all of it. It is very helpful in understanding all kinds of news items from politics, culture, and religion. Dr. Mohler is incredibly intelligent and I’m probably going to write him a personal “thank-you” letter to tell him that his show is a great blessing to me and my family.

I would highly encourage you to listen to his program whenever you get a chance. Before launching his podcast he was on the radio for years, but it was distracted by callers and commercials. Now with his uninterrupted podcast, I believe he will reach a wider audience and help Christians discern through our own times.

Technically he is doing two podcast now, the one I didn’t mention is called “Thinking In Public” and is also fantastic. They are linked below.

Podcast #1: The Briefing
Length: about 15 minutes each
Topics: various
Frequency: daily

Podcast #2: Thinking in Public
Length: 1 hour
Topics: usually one
Frequency: about every other week.

Shutterfly Christmas Gifts

It’s simply because I love my wife that I’m writing today about Shutterfly’s Christmas stuff. And since I know you were just thinking, “Hey, I wonder what company Shay uses to get all his Christmas cards and photo books?” — I have the perfect solution: Shutterfly.

A few months backs Bethany got a little coupon or something for a Shutterfly photo book and so we decided to create one of our son Titus. As a photographer and a designer, I’m always a little skeptical to venture out using some kind of propriety software to create photo books or any photo gift, especially from a mainstream company like Shutterfly. Normally, I would just get my prints done from a professional photo house and then create my book in professional software like InDesign, but since we had the coupon, I figured we could check out what Shutterfly had to offer. To my surprise, their stuff was pretty well done. The software they provided to create the book was user-friendly, the designs for the book were modern and up-to-date, and the options were endless for your book. Everything from the front to back cover, including the book spine, were customizable and we actually had a lot of fun making it. We created a “0-4 months of Titus” book and plan on doing more in the future.

So if you’re looking for my stamp of approval (and I know you were), then I can honestly say we have been satisfied with Shutterfly’s products, at least the photo book. They’re great, simple, inexpensive gifts for parents and grandparents and we like them.

Obviously, they don’t just do photo books. They’ve got everything you’d need, and here’s just a few that you can check out:
Christmas Cards
Photo Mugs (great for the grandparents)
Greeting Cards
And all different kinds of photo gifts

Just A Warning

My next blog will be my attempt to received 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly. As such, they have regulations on how the blog should “feel” with specific links and such. So… needless to say it will contain advertising speak. I apologize in advance.

Christmas Tree 2010

On Saying Goodbye to Friends

A long week came came to a close tonight with the above photo. Hands down it was the hardest night I’ve had a in while — surprisingly hard. We all look happy, and we are, but just a few minutes later everyone in this photo had tears in their eyes (minus the babies). Happy hearts turned to bummed hearts because we had to say goodbye to one of the families. Due to a great new job opportunity for the husband, the Lord has willed that they move across the country. We really don’t know if they will every move back to California or what the Lord would have, all we know is that tonight would be the last night we would really see them for a while.

I actually didn’t think saying goodbye to them would prove to be so difficult. It’s not that we haven’t known for months what God’s plan was. We even made arrangements to spend the last four days with them, just to get our time in. And it’s not that we don’t trust God’s sovereignty, because I believe we all do. The truth is we are friends, and in many ways we are closer to these people than our families. We have grown together, laughed together, worshiped together, camped together, ministered together, and enjoyed our families together. These are the kinds of people you let watch your kids, and you do the same for them. They are kind of people you give your house key to, and the ones that loan you their truck when you’re moving across town. They are ones that let you live in their place for six months before you get married (rent free) just because they want to bless you. They are the ones that open their home up once a week so a college-aged Bible study has a place to meet, complete with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. They are ones that invite you over to watch the World Cup and cook bacon wrapped hot dogs. They are the friends who you share struggles with, joys with, and the unknown with. They’re the ones you ask to pray for you and know they will. They are friends who love God and love people, and the kind of people you want to be around. That’s why it was so hard.

I don’t know what the future holds for my friends, but I know that I can’t be selfish with them. I’m sure there are other people across the country who need them and maybe God has sovereignly moved them just for that? Sad or not, I have to be OK with God’s plan. I need to learn more and more to trust Him even when it’s hard. I hope and pray God will use these good friends in their new home and new community to bless others the same way He has used them to bless me.