Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

All Hallows Eve
All Saints Eve

Whatever you want to call it, I hope yours is spooky, fun and safe. I just purchased Garfield's Halloween Adventure, one of the greatest animated Halloween movies. Andi and I will be watching that tonight.

Try to experience the day, not just see a costume or kids trick or treating. There is so much more to Halloween than scares and frights.

"It will be morning soon. Halloween Morning. It will be a very busy day for me."
-Halloween III

Cool Illusion

I love illusions and this is one of the coolest I have seen in a while. Click here and follow the pink dots in a circle for a while, like 20 seconds. Then, stare at the cross in the middle of the circle. The pink dots disappear and now there is a green dot going in a circle!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Haunted House Rules

I love haunted houses. If done correctly, not only are they good for a scare, but they add an atmospheric touch to the celebration of the holiday. However, there are a couple important rules to follow if you want to genuinely enjoy the spending of your $10. So, here they are:

1. Allow yourself to be scared. Without question, the first mistake haunted house rookies make is trying to act like they are macho man. (I am speaking to guys here). No one cares if you can go through the entire house without being scared. Why waste your money if that is your ultimate goal? Get into the moment, act like you are really there in that situation, and let yourself enjoy the house, scares and all. I almost always work my way to the front of the line in a house because I want to experience what the house has to offer.

2. Don't yell back at the workers. This drives me crazy to no end. In a desperate attempt to hide the fact that we might actually be a little uncomfortable, we will show everyone in the group with us how cool we are by yelling and screaming back at the workers throughout the haunted house. In my opinion, this is a wonderful way to discern the character of a person. Go through a haunted house with them and if they scream in the face of someone who is working the house, then immediately cut off all ties with that particular person. They are not worthy of your time.

3. Don't say the name of the person who you are with while in the house. Unless of course you want to get even with them for some reason. If you make the mistake of saying a name, then the workers will make sure that they haunt you with that name the rest of the house. Whispering over your shoulder your name, or hearing it screamed down the next hall. Haunted House workers are trained to listen for names, to make the experience more personal and terrifying.

4. Have fun! That is the point.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sunday night, October 23rd.

Our Sunday night youth group meeting is called Frenzy. It meets at 5:30 pm, followed by a 6:30 pm discipleship class called "Experiencing God." Parents and students have been taking Experiencing God together for 4 weeks. Frenzy is typically a fellowship time, we play games, hang out and just talk.

Well, Sunday night, Frenzy kicked off as usual. I played a quick game with the students and handed the winner a bag of Swedish Fish (my favorite). I then wanted to challenge the students to encourage each other. I had all the students sit in the floor and I turned off the lights, so the only lights were the colored bulbs that are in the youth room for effect. I asked the students to look around the room and simply encourage another student. I of course figured I would need to pry the students to do this and I might get 2 or 3 to participate. Well, what happened next was on the most touching, God-centered experience in my 7 years of student ministry. The students took everything very seriously, and they just started right up, without me saying another word. They would go one at a time, just speaking from their heart about how other students had made a difference in their lives and how God was using them. Tears were present, love was present, and the Holy Spirit was present. When we finished, it was almost 8:00 pm. We had talked straight through our Experiencing God class. I had to go explain to bewildered parents waiting for us in the other room how we had encountered God and I didn't want to rush it. They told me that they knew something special must be happening, which is why they didn't come into the room to see what was happening. It was just one of those moments where God says "see Philip, I am still here. Now keep moving."

After we dismissed, students were running up to parents explaining what God had done. I have never seen students so excited about the presence of God in their lives. I have been reading the blogs of students today, and all of them are talking about church and the blessings of friendships and the importance of a daily walk with God. I can't wait till Wednesday, to see my students again.

Friday, October 21, 2005

All thanks goes to mom

She started the ball rolling with my love of Halloween. I can remember our house at at Halloween time, it was perfect. You see, it's all about atmosphere. Mom could make a room come alive with Halloween flavor with just a candle and a pumpkin. I remember sitting in the living room, just soaking it in. Every year, my love for the holiday grew stronger and stronger.

When I was in the 9th grade I believe it was, I started the first annual Meade's Haunted Mansion at my house. On Halloween night, trick-or-treaters would have the chance to go through a haunted house that mom and dad allowed me to create in our downstairs. All my friends got in on the fun and we spent hours creating the rooms and going over the script.

Word of mouth spread so much, that by the 2nd year, we had children lined up through our front yard, and the police had to come and make sure everyone was safe because parents in their cars were creating a traffic jam. We did Meade's Haunted Mansion for 4 years. When I left for college, kids were asking where the haunted house was on Halloween night. I was sad to let them down.

To this day, I visit every Haunted House I can and my home is always filled with spooky things. Tonight, I purchased with my wife something I am very excited about. It is a lamp flicker music thing. You plug your lamp(s) into this bad boy and it play spooky music. The lights then flicker with the music. Incredible. I also dress up every year. Last year, I went as the famous pirate from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. You can see my pic above. I'm not sure about this years costume, but I have a party in just a couple of days, so I better get on the move.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here comes the Halloween Blogs

It is tied for my favorite holiday. (How can Christmas not be the greatest holiday?). I find myself transforming into a Halloween obsessed monster once October hits and the weather is so perfect. The memories are endless of my past Halloween adventures and it is rare that you will find a minister who is so in love with the holiday. I'll tell you more on that later.

In the next few days leading to Halloween, I will provide you with some memorable Halloween quotes from the movie series (the original of which is the best horror flick of all time), offer some explanation to the confused history of the holiday and provide some stories of my favorite Halloween experiences. Oh, and be sure to support your local haunted house this year.

"Was that the Boogeyman?"
"As a matter of fact, it was."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

HTML. . .Friend or Foe?

Well, I just spend roughly 1 1/2 hour trying to complete the image scavenger hunt found at "Inn of the Last Home." Needless to say, either I am really missing something that is supposed to make this putting images in the middle of the blog easy, or I am just flat out stupid. At this current time, I am leaning toward the latter. I am open to any suggestions. Have a wonderful day.

The World of Illusions part 2

Well, there I am standing proudly next to the World of Illusions sign. A sign that they have not updated in roughly 30 years. As we walked through the WOI, I realized that this place really is pretty sad. It smells, the illusions literally have not been updated in years, and they make no effort whatsoever to give you a "I got my money's worth" feeling. So why do I love it so much? Andi was precious in that she pretended to enjoy it, but I know it must have been 30 minutes of her life she would have loved to have spent in a different way.

So, I decided to get the PO Box to the WOI and let them know what a great fan I am of their establishment (they couldn't have received many of those in the last few years), but then also let them know that is time to make some changes. I also want to know a little of the history of the place. I did ask how long they had been there, and she told me over 30 years. I did not know that the people who own the WOI have owned it since the beginning, and they also own Earthquake The Ride and the Indiana Jones Indoor Golf right directly across the street.

As soon as I get some information back from my letter, I will be sure and post that info right here on The Beast's Lair. I'm sure you will be counting the seconds.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Email that made me laugh. . .hard

I received an email today that caused me to have to take several minutes to just laugh. It was from an old friend who was able to make it to my wedding and we have been catching up of sorts. By that I mean we have been swapping movie quotes and old stories. See if you can tell me what movie these two quotes are from, and if they cause you to laugh as hard as they did me.

1. "I wish I could belive you, but unfortunately I can't."
2. "I think the kids really appreciate it when I 'get down' with them verbally."

By the way, stay clear of Nebraska. You don't know what you are getting into, trust me.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Wedding

You dream of the big day, the day when you will give your life and heart to another person, and they will give you theirs. Everyone wants a perfect, story-book wedding. Well, here's the thing. In my case, the wedding did not have a chance to be anything other than story-book, simply because of who I was marrying. I have never, nor will I ever see someone as beautiful as Andi that day. As devastatingly beautiful as she is, her heart and character is what continues to dazzle my mind, and leave me thanking God once again for blessing me with her as my wife.

The ceremony was simply perfect, with our families and friends present and a church full of supporting smiles. Andi's friends were completely there for her, decorating and providing continuing support in every other way imaginable. It was so good to see her surrounded by people who loved her and wanted the very best for her. In my corner were the few people who I know I can always count on. My brother, my other brother Andy, James Aaron and Jason Baker. I want to let you know something about Jason.

We had not talked in over 2 years. But, the three of us (James Aaron, Jason and myself) were best of friends in middle and high school. We did absolutely everything together, and they lived at my house half of the time. It was the trio that we thought would live on forever. Well, once I headed to college and got into the "real" world, Jason and I drifted apart a little, not because of any negative reason, it was just life. He got married and things were busy for both of us. But check this out. . .when he heard I was getting married, he told me he would be there no matter what. His wife is 8 months pregnant! But nothing would stop him from being there with his friend. So, leaving his 8 month pregnant wife at home in Kingsport, TN, he set out to Nashville and we had such a great time together. Friday night, we all went out and hit go-carts, laserquest, and bowling till 4 in the morning. It was great! It was really like no time had passed between high school and getting together again years later. It meant so much to have him there with me.

James Aaron and I have remained closest of friends throughout the years, and he is of course in Judah First with me. JA (James Aaron) and Jason almost did not make it to the wedding (which was a bit of a scare since JA was in the wedding party!) due to a major wreck on I-24 in Nashville. It took them hours to get out of it. But, they did make it and JA gave me a hand written letter when he got there. It was just minutes before the wedding, but we spent a few minutes together, just him and me, and it was very special. The letter meant so much, it said how much our relationship has meant to him and how it will never die. He then sang the best song he has ever sung in his life during the ceremony, absolutely breath taking.

My brother Rex was my best man and he has been so good to me. Rex and I are an interesting pair. Our lives have taken us down very different roads. We view the world very differently. But, we connect with each other in a powerful way, and I suspect that our up-bringing, from the best parents in the world, is still what drives the both of us, and we both come from the same school in that department. Gary gave a toast at the wedding that was heart felt and brought tears to the entire reception party, including Gary himself. I won't forget it. I always look forward to the next time I can see Gary.

My sister Melissa (Missy as I have called her since I was born), is the most defensive sister in the world. She is always looking out for me and genuinely wants the best for me and my life. It was such a relief and blessing to be backstage before the wedding and have her tell me in tears how happy she is for me and how Andi is the perfect lady for me. I have dated 2 other girls before and she never told me that about either. Missy and I have a special relationship that is unique. I was so happy and blessed to have her at my wedding. She married such a great guy in Andy, and he and I have developed a strong connection, thanks to the force. Andy is another person who I know I can count on, and I was so glad he was a part of the Friday night fun and the wedding party! I am so happy to know that Bella has a great father in Andy. And I have never seen a better mom than Missy. (She is even up there with our mom!)

Which brings me to mom. Apart from Andi, she is the person I love most in this world. She still is so important to me and I still learn from her. I still feel "safe" when I am in her presence. She looked so beautiful at the wedding and I thank her so much for all the help. She loves Andi so much, which is so important to me. I know it was a tough night for her, I am the last of the children to get married and it was a lonely pew next to her.

Which brings me to dad. I found myself alone a few minutes before the wedding and I was going over things that dad would be saying to me. He had the most amazing way of being able to balance treating me like a man, with solid advice. . .and treating me like his son, with a hug and tears. He would have found Andi before the wedding, he would have told her she looked beautiful and then he would have found his wife. I miss him more than I even realize. But something amazing happened tonight. Andi and I were working on our apartment, and I was leaving to take a load of trash to the dumpster. As I left, I yelled to Andi in the other room, "baby, come lock your door." As I was walking down the stairs, I realized that I had stolen that line from dad, verbatim. Even the inflection he used to say it in. I was smiling as I got into my car because I realized that my dad lives! He lives through me. And what a responsibility I have to take seriously the name of my father, as a son, as a brother, and most importantly, as a husband.

If you are still reading at this point, I am impressed. I am writing this for my own selfish archive of information, which I guess is what a blog is for. I guess.

To all the people who made my wedding day the perfect day, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are loved.