Belief

belief

…Seems to be the theme of the day. I did a good job catching up on my Google Reader subscription list last evening. Then when I opened my Google home page this morning, the only two new entries were both entitled “Belief”.

At first, I was really scared. I thought someone was trying to tell me something – someone was challenging my faith.

Then, I realized that Gene reads the same blogs (Seth’s for instance) that I do.

In case you’re too lazy to click:

People don’t believe what you tell them.

They rarely believe what you show them.

They often believe what their friends tell them.

They always believe what they tell themselves.

Where does faith fit into this? At what point does the ‘faith of our fathers’ become what our hearts start telling us? How does evangelizing differ from marketing?

Uncle Widget (the real deal)

I’ve got big plans for Uncle Widget.

What started as a way to replace the horribly pedestrian music that continuously played in my daughters’ rooms has become a core component in my vocational adventure.

The first CD, Bedtime on Mars is meant to foster peace and creativity in your sleeping child. It gets them accustomed to the orchestration of harmonies, rhythm, and it helps block out the threat of incidental noise. The idea is that if they’re accustomed to regular sounds the interruptions of incidental, irregular sound will go unnoticed.

The second CD will be a playtime and dance CD. I’m working on this music now.

After that, I plan on following my oldest daughter’s learning process – focusing on the State standards for curriculum.

Check out the CD, and if you’re an iPod wielding parent, or if your kid has a MacBook Pro in their room, the CD is also available on the iTunes Music Store:


Uncle Widget - Bedtime On Mars

My Current Career

I haven’t talked much about my career. I’ve got a pretty good theory as to why this is. When I was in software, piddling unfulfilled in a cubicle all day, I had plenty to complain about. Now I don’t have time to complain because I’m busy doing the work that I absolutely love.

What do I do? I’m a youth minister. I’m entrusted with entertaining, enlightening, and listening to high-school aged teenagers.

A large part of my work play is marketing (which I really love in the small-scale sense that I do it).

An even bigger chunk is learning (learning about stuff I love – theology, history, and the ministry of Christ).

And the most fun I get to have is the time I get to mentor, teach, speak, sing, hang out, and talk with the young people. There’s so much they can teach me about life and how I don’t have to get old.

…but wait, there’s more

I’ve just recently decided that I’m being strongly called to being a guest speaker/musician/singer/storyteller (I’ve got to get a shorter name for it – comment if you’ve got something). The idea is that I’ll come share my stories, insights, and music with participants at youth rallies, retreats, conferences, etc.. This sort of thing really excites me. I’ve been in youth ministry (in some form) for the past 6 years (I’m 27), and I’ve been playing liturgical music for the past 15 years. I’ve taught executive training courses, middle school, and elementary school.

The trouble is, I don’t really know how to get started. The first gig is always the toughest to get “well where have you done this before?” One lucky part is that I have a captive audience of teenagers that are very supportive of me. Teenagers are honest. They also have very little tolerance for mediocrity.

Here I go again into uncharted waters…

Clear Like Tar

Contrary to my normal behavior, I’ve been a stranger lately. Not just because I haven’t been communicating much. When I have communicated, it hasn’t been deep. So I’m going to treat everyone to a few posts that are deep.

  • Family Life – what’s new with the family?
  • Career – it’s funny how I don’t complain when I’m enjoying it.
  • Uncle Widget – what’s the real story, what’s the process?
  • Bingbit – why I’ve been quietly calculating my next move.
  • …much much more! Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks.

I started this blog over a year ago. My modus operandi is sharing. I just haven’t been fully utilizing this venue lately.

I’ll be back soon!

Uncle Widget + iTunes Music Store = Crazy Delicious

bedtime on marsHold on to your iPods, Uncle Widget Fans! Bedtime on Mars has finally graced the iTunes Music Store. Bedtime on Mars is available as an entire album for $9.99 or as individual song downloads for $0.99 each. I need your help to spread the word! As a reminder, if you’d like a physical CD, you can purchase from CDBaby. It makes a great baby shower gift or first birthday present.

Related Links:

Recent Review of Uncle Widget’s Bedtime on Mars

Official Uncle Widget Website


Uncle Widget - Bedtime On Mars

I’m Giving Lulu a Try

You’ve all heard of Lulu Self Publishing by now. For a while, I’ve managed to overlook Lulu’s eBooks. Here’s how that is relevant: I’m working on a big liturgical music planning resource. There aren’t many good free ones around (certainly none that will allow community editing like mine) and it’ll be a good way to introduce music ministers around the world to my music.

If the second hope is to come true, I need some distribution method. I’ve just recently started turning my sheet music into Lulu eBooks and putting them up for sale for a very modest price. Along with that purchase, you’re entitled to a year of use for a particular church – trust me, it’s a steal.

One of the best parts of Lulu is that I had a storefront up in about two and a half minutes. If you’ve got something to publish, I suggest giving it a shot. You’ll get the full review once I’ve actually sold some pieces.

The image-link on the right is a shameless plug for the Mass Setting I just completed today. The bingbit store is here: http://lulu.com/bingbit.

“My Webwhat?”

Since I spend about 90 minutes a week with a large group of high-school students, I get to spend time picking their brains about the ins and outs of culture and the vast teenage wasteland. Even with myspace being “so wicked awesome” and pervasive, I’d guess that 50% of the high-schoolers I know don’t even use the Internet. At all.

This is astounding to me. We’re not talking about nonagenarian Luddites. I’ve been out of high school for nine years now. I am and early adopter (read: freaky nerd boy), but I used the internet all four years. This is the mid-nineties we’re talking about. I’m dumbfounded.

I imagine that this is a pretty good representation of the general population (the number of teenagers on the ‘net certainly isn’t any lower than the rest of people). I like numbered observations lately, so here we go.

  1. If you don’t have an email address right now, there’s an issue. I know you aren’t reading this if you don’t have an email address though (about 30% of my high-schoolers have email addresses).
  2. If you don’t have a website right now, you’re slowly being left behind (100% of my teenagers who use the web have a website – as long as you count their MySpace profile).
  3. The transparent nature of the web is dangerously beautiful. Parents need to be concerned. Parents need to visit the websites of their kids. Parents need to build their own websites that are appropriate, responsible, and that their friends and colleagues know about. So do you.
  4. Go do it now. You can do it for free. I don’t care if it’s MySpace, Squidoo, Blogger, or WordPress.

No, really. Go do it now. There’s a strong chance that every last soul reading this article has a site (of some sort). Print it and give it to your siteless friends.

bingbit

bingbit.com The “coming soon” banner has been placed at bingbit.com and I’m working on getting the catalog digitized and forming a plan for the e-commerce side of things.

bingbit’s first official offering will actually be available from CDBaby in a week or so. Bedtime on Mars by Uncle Widget has been out for a few months now, but distribution has been limited to people I run into on the street. This will allow purchase of the CD from anywhere in the world and the album will make it onto the iTunes Music Store in 2-3 months.

The eventual plan for bingbit is to be an online resource for liturgical music planning, along with a for-profit source of rare and custom music for use in Liturgies. bingbit will also be responsible for publishing and distributing family and children’s entertainment and for creating custom modern soundtracks for video games, presentations, film and advertising.

The King of Side-Jobs: Bad Dad

…I don’t want to become the bad dad.

It seems like I read a lot of “don’t be defined by your job” or “unfortunately, the first question asked upon meeting someone new is ‘so what do you do for a living?'”

“But Bryan, the work I do doesn’t really define me.”

Well, maybe you’re doing the wrong thing.

My current work situation probably hits closer to the definition of me than any other snapshot in time. I’m teaching, writing music and sharing my spirituality. A few weeks ago I configured a network, this week I’m doing web design, and next week I might do some software testing. This is a perfect definition of how bad my ADHD really is.

In my adolescence (some would argue that I’m still there), one of the biggest aids to productivity, progress and success was structure. “Bryan needs rules and framework to work effectively.” Sometimes I feel like working effectively meant producing black and white cows.

A simple example: In High School, just after diagnosis, I was regularly dosed with time-released Ritalin. The point was to get me to focus on one task at a time and finish it. As a member of the Jazz Ensemble (and coming from a family who reared talented jazz musicians), one of my favorite things was jazz and blues improvisation. While my medicine was doing its thing to get me to focus, I couldn’t find my zone while playing piano. Off the medicine, improvisation was creative, fun and entertaining. It was different enough that others could tell.

Ritalin was structure. Specific rules about when homework or chores needed to be done were structure. Getting a job with a large corporation: structure. Structure is necessary for me to overcome my obstacle. Disciplining myself to create my own framework, rules, and protocol to provide this structure is even better.

So now I have systems. They don’t kill my creativity. They don’t keep me in a 4’x4′ box all day. But I’ve learned how to effectively manage multiple side-jobs quite effectively. Then my systems break down.

It’s hard to put your family in a system.

The wires in my brain need to be shorted out because I haven’t been able to systemize the #1 priority in my life on earth. It isn’t a chore, it isn’t work. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to play with my daughters. It’s really difficult, however, to remember in the midst of getting things done, that soon my little girls aren’t going to be so little anymore. It’s time I can’t get back. Most of the work things I do aren’t time critical. I really think it’s the act of checking an accomplished task off a list that pushes me towards urgency.

Time to reprogram the noodle. I’ve been doing hypnotherapy for weight-loss (I’ve lost 10 pounds in less than a month). I’m thinking about getting the hypnotist to work on relaxing my sense of urgency.

I believe it’ll help me out a lot.

And now it’s time to go play kitchen with a wonderful toddler.