Spotlight Archives

Every so often we’ll profile a different member of the house church. You’ll get random facts, never before heard stories and answers to all those burning questions you’ve just been dying to know.

Check out some of the Spotlights below that you may have missed-it’s well worth it!

Volume 1

This week’s spotlight is on…

JESSICA THORNE

Full name, birthdate and place of birth.

Jessica Christine Thorne, birthday: February 23, 1981, born and raised (and also went to college) in good ol’ Marion, Indiana

Tell us about your job. What do you do? Do you enjoy it? Etc…

I teach first grade at Fishback Creek Public Academy in Pike Township. I really love teaching. I mostly love just being with the kids, believing in them, loving on them, laughing with them. Getting hugs all day is pretty great. Plus, I get to teach kids how to read! How cool is that?! Don’t get me wrong, it can be all kinds of frustrating and dealing with the politics and administration can be rough, but at the end of the day I can honestly say I’m making a difference in a child’s life. That’s pretty amazing.

What is your dream job?

It used to be singing backup for David Phelps (formerly of the Gaither Vocal Band….yes I love me some southern gospel music…it’s the IWU in me!) These days, I think it might be to sing backup for Karen from Over the Rhine….that, or run a safehome for kids who have been victims of sex trafficking.

What is your earliest memory?

Who knows if this is really my earliest memory, but it’s the one that just came to mind… I remember when my brother was born…He was born on July1, and for some reason, mom was still in the hospital on July 4 and I remember calling her from our pool party at my uncle’s house (on this cool american flag phone that he had) asking about my new baby brother.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

This might sound a bit cheesy, but like it here 🙂 I like being close to my family and my good friends, and it feels good to be in a place where you’ve put down roots for a few years. Who knows where God will call me in the future, and I LOVE to travel, but as for now, I like living here!

What is something you enjoy/appreciate about our house church?

Oh so many things! Where do I begin? 🙂 I love that anyone can come to our HC and feel welcomed by everyone. I enjoy that people hang out all the time and truly enjoy each other’s company. I appreciate the depth and passion with which people follow Jesus and the desire to serve and love people. I love that I can always count on laughing at some point, too! 🙂

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

That Scott didn’t always ask me what I wished was different about our house church…

Name a character from a movie you can identify with. Why?

– Jess chose to not answer this one – which is just fine, but now I’m curious as to why she avoided it. Hmmm…

Tell us about a hidden talent of yours.

I am a pretty good tap dancer 🙂

What is something you have a fear of?

Heights. Especially on ladders. Also big dogs. I’m afraid they are going to jump on me and bite my arm off or something.

What is one website (we may not know about) that you’d like us to check out?

http://www.change.org/ There are tons of great resources on this website and action steps you can take on many causes! I personally like the Human Trafficking section, http://humantrafficking.change.org/. I subscribe to their blog, which is very informative and interesting!

Bonus Question – What was the last illegal thing you did?

Is speeding a lame answer? I did steal some chapstick from a gas station when I was 5….I’m sure that was the last illegal thing I ever did 🙂

Volume 2

This  spotlight is on…

MELISSA HAUGER

Full Name, birthday and place of birth.

Melissa Nees Hauger (yes, that is my legal name) born July 16 many years ago in the lovely city of Lafayette, IN.

Tell us about your current job.

I usually dislike this question because there is a common [mis]conception that your job defines who you are as a person (some of you who are unhappy in your job might agree). I receive a paycheck from the State of Indiana, working in the Office of the Inspector General. I do anything and everything from graphic design, online learning, project management, and event planning for our office. But I am also an artist, and my passion lies here. Last month I began cutting back my hours at work so I can devote more of my time to exploring new opportunities. I’m now spending 1.5 days a week at the Indianapolis Art Center, currently focused on learning the many methods of printmaking.

If you had the time and resources to start your own business, what would it be?

[see the end of question #2] TBD. It would probably be a hybrid of 1) studio time/income from creating/selling my art, 2) something with a public benefit (teaching? non-profit? mission work?) and a splash of international travel.

Any hidden talents or abilities?

I make a mean batch of guacamole and I can shovel 6+ inches of snow from our runway, I mean driveway, by myself in less than 1.5 hours (and not be in pain the next day).

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Courageous: now that’s a heavy word. The summer after my junior year in college I signed up for a study abroad program in Spain. I boarded the plane without knowing a single soul, headed to a country where they didn’t speak English, lived with a Spanish family (that didn’t speak English), and took classes (for college credit) all taught in Spanish. I don’t know if that’s “courageous,” but it took some guts. It was also one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What is one challenge of being married?

Convincing Jason he needs to get a cell phone. I would also throw in not being selfish. Putting the needs of “us” and your spouse before your own wants/needs. When you’re single, you can do what you want when you want, and spend your money however you want. But when you’re married, you have to think about how choices will affect both of you. (For example, Jason thinking, “How will the purchase of this huge can of fake cheese affect my wife and our health?”)

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

That people genuinely do care about each other and enjoy spending time together both at HC and outside of HC, and genuinely do care about our community and helping others.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

*eek* I’m going to say it: I wish we were smaller. Not that I don’t care about everyone, but I miss the closeness (or openness) a smaller group can offer. And we need more boys in the group. (Sorry, that was two things.)

Jacob or “Esau/Man in Black/Smokey”?

Esau. I don’t care for Jacob’s weird touching fetish.

Do you have any fears/phobias?

Large insects and stinging insects freak me out. I also fear violence (against myself and loved ones, well, I guess anyone, really).

Tell us about a place outside of Indiana that is special to you.

Three-way tie here:

Madrid, Spain: First trip outside of North America where I was greatly challenged in many ways and experienced the most personal growth. Had a TON of fun too.

St. Lucia: Married Mr. Hauger here.

Kathmandu, Nepal: First third-world country experience, saw many good and bad things, met wonderful people, and experienced God working in many inspiring ways.

What are 3 of your favorite books?

Letters to a Young Artist (Julia Cameron)

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Donald Miller)

What is one website that you’d like us to check out?

http://christinekane.com/blog/

Christine Kane is not only a musician, but writes/speaks about living creatively, with intent, and being courageous about our life decisions and goals. Probably sounds corny to some of you, but I always gain something from reading her posts.

Bonus Question – What is the last really funny thing you experienced?

Our office is hosting a national conference for a group in May, and one of my co-workers was looking at a website that sells various promotional items you can give away at the conference. Apparently you can buy squeeze/stress balls in any shape you want (with your group logo added, of course). We were scrolling through the many pages of stress ball-like items and we came across a boob! You can buy a stress ball in the shape of a boob! I won’t get into details, but it was hilarious. When my other co-worker saw it she said, “It looks like chickenpox!” Quote of the day.

Volume 3

This  spotlight is on…

Jeff Dunbar

Your full name, birthday and place you grew up.

William Jeffrey Dunbar

12/23/1976*

Terre Haute, IN

*Editor’s Note – I am fairly confidant in the accuracy of the month and day Jeff has listed as his birthday. However, the year is, at best, suspect.

What do you do for a living (vocationally)?

I work for an investment company that is a subsidiary of Conseco, Inc.  My job entails settling all corporate, mortgage, muni and commercial paper trades.  I also handle all of our derivative trades, CDS, Interest Rate Swaps and Options.

You win the lottery. After the initial craziness has settled down what
would you spend most of your days doing?

After I win the lottery, I would probably take a long motorcycle trip across the country.  I would like to ride to Maine, New Hampshire, New England during the fall.  Also, a trip out west would be next.  After that, I would take a vacation and go to all of the places I want to see, Europe, Africa, Israel, etc…I would off course travel by ship to these places.  After my lengthy holiday I would retire to my compound, I mean my place in the country.  Where I would build my own timber frame house and work shop.  Then I would plant a garden, fruit tree’s, nut trees, fruit bushes and my tree farm.  Then I would spend my days reading, working in my shop, taking care of the property.  During that time I’m sure that I will have met a nice young Amish woman to marry.

Name 5 of your favorite bands/musicians?

Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone  *but I have to add my love of 80’s music as well.  Def Leppard, Van Halen, Madonna, Phil, Cyndi, etc…

Tell us about the best vacation/trip you’ve ever been on.

Best trip was probably my motorcycle trip down through the Florida Keys.  It’s hard to describe how much fun it is riding on the seven mile bridge, being that elevated, with ocean on both sides of you and really no land in sight, except maybe in the distance.  Best vacation. Probably the Bahama’s on Abacco. It was very quiet there. We didn’t have a TV and only a radio. Only family restaurants in someone’s house if you wanted to eat out. Everything closed early, shops were closed on Sunday. It was during the NBA finals and the Bulls were playing the Lakers in the championship and everyone in the area would gather and watch the finals in this big clubhouse. It was really exciting because there was a player for the Lakers who was from the Bahama’s and they were really rooting for him.

What aspects of working with wood (bowls, chairs, etc) are so appealing to you?

I enjoy the creative aspect of making something that will be totally unique.  No one bowl or chair will ever be the same as the other.  I like taking something that someone was going to throw in a land fill or burn and making something that will last at least a lifetime or two. I also enjoy working the way that craftsmen did hundreds of years ago. Making things by hand is much more enjoyable. You can talk to people as you work, listen to music or just think. You don’t have all of these loud and dangerous machines running. Plus I like to read about how God is a craftsman and he is always working and shaping us into what we were intended to be. Plus, Jesus was a carpenter so when you are making something, a bowl, table, chair, a bookcase (he probably made a scrollcase), it was something that he did as well.

What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?

Other than Tall, Dark and Handsome?  I’m not sure what I would say.  Good friend, loyal, patient maybe. Just like a St. Bernard

If you had a do-over, what is one thing from your past you would do differently?

Mistakes, I’ve had a few (Sinatra)  But if I could choose one it would probably be not going to church for about 18 years after high school.

Is there a particular story or section from the bible that you identify with? What is it and why?

Jonah is a good one. God asks him to do something but he doesn’t want to do it and runs away. Even at the end I’m not sure if Jonah is glad that he did what God wanted or not.

Besides traffic offenses – what is the last illegal thing you did?

Probably helping Bill Rowe bootleg a dozen cases of Fat Tire Beer from Winslow Arizona to Indianapolis in a box van.  It was just like Smokey and the Bandit, except we didn’t have a Trans Am and no one was standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona as we blew out of town.  But before that, I’m afraid my legal counsel will not let me say what I may or may not have done.

Any hidden talents or abilities?

I think I’m a pretty good cook. Also, I used to be a pretty good baseball player and a decent golfer.

Outside of the bible, who is one historical figure you really admire?

The easy answer would be Abraham Lincoln but there are a couple of people that I admire.  I really don’t know them but I remember hearing about them in the news and I remember reading both of their obituaries in the paper.  They were two people from different walks of life who did God’s work.  Here is a link to their stories.

http://www.archindy.org/criterion/local/2008/08-08/anna.html

(See attached file: 2010021813031372.pdf )

I like the beginning of the obituary on page 3. *

*Editor’s Note – For some reason the blog isn’t letting me attach this file. If you would like to read it, email Jeff and ask for a copy.

What’s the deal with the parallel time lines in Lost?

I think it’s going to show how castaways lives could have been either better or worse than their lives on the islands.

Bonus Question: If you could have one super power, what would it be, why?

Since I like the TV show Heroes, I would say Time Travel, just like Hiro.  That way I could go back and see all of the things that happened before and have only read about in books.

Volume 4

This  spotlight is on…

Robin Soendlin

Your full name, birth date and place of birth.

Robin Ruth Soendlin

August 14, 1977

Indianapolis, IN – St. Vincents Hospital

Tell us a little about your job.

I’m a call monitor for Accu-Chek Customer Care, a part of Roche. Whenever you hear someone on the phone say “This call may be taped for quality assurance purposes,” you can think of me – I’m one of those quality assurance people who actually listen to the recorded calls. 🙂 The basic mechanics of my job are to listen to phone calls – a lot of phone calls – and write reviews of them and then offer feedback to individual call center agents to help them do a better job of being nice to our customers over the phone. I also help with training and on various projects. What I find most satisfying about my job is the opportunity to meet and work with a great variety of people. There are anywhere from 60-80 agents at a given time in my particular department, and yes, you guessed it, I make it a point to try to get to know each of them on some level and to be a positive part of their day. If you’ve never had to do call center work it’s TOUGH, probably one of the toughest jobs I’ve experienced, and it’s easy for the agents I work with to feel overworked and under-appreciated. I make it my goal to treat everyone I review with respect and appreciation – I suppose in some small way I am trying to live out that dream job I once shared with my house church long ago of being a “professional encourager.” 🙂

If you won the lottery, what would be the first 3 things you’d do with the money?

1) Pay off a lot of debt – not simply my own debt, but the debt of a lot of friends and loved ones. It would be nice to be able to help relieve some of the stress I see so many people I care about struggle with when it comes to money.

2) Much, much traveling. I seriously have a huge, long list of places I would love to visit someday…Australia, India, Russia, Ireland, England, France, Italy, China – I should just skip the individual countries and list the continents: South America, Africa, Europe, Asia…I suppose I won’t be heartbroken if I never make it to Antarctica. It’s sort of funny that I dream of all of these places I want to visit, yet I’ve never had a passport or flown in a plane. I guess It’s always been sort of a “someday, in the distant future” kind of dream.

3) I don’t feel very creative with the money thing – I feel like I already have what I need. Maybe buy a nice car. Or a little house with a big library. Or a bicycle with a banana seat and a basket on the front.

Revision – As of today (3/1), if I won the lottery the first thing I’d buy is a new car. A nice new car. With a warranty. An EXTENDED warranty. 😉

Name 4 of your favorite movies.

ONLY 4!?!?!?!?! How cruel!!!!!

Ok, here are 4 that quickly come to mind, I can’t think about it too long or I’ll want to add more!

Amelie

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Dan in Real Life

Yesterday

What is your earliest memory in life?

I have a rather vivid memory of my childhood going all the way back to before preschool, probably when I was not quite 4. The interesting thing is that, sitting here sorting through memories and trying to figure out which was my earliest I realized that they primarily consist of memories from the church my family attended until I was 7. I do remember my 4th birthday and sitting at the table with my family there about to blow out my rainbow colored #4 candle thinking “wow, i’m getting old!”

One pretty cool memory I have, though it’s not my earliest, was looking at some pictures from a Sunday School lesson in the preschool room and getting excited thinking that one of them was going to show me a picture of what God looked like. Then I saw the picture and it was rather cartoonish and looked like an old man in a white robe surrounded by lots of white clouds and I thought, “THAT’S not what God looks like!” and feeling rather disappointed.

Do you have any phobias?

Falling down from a great height. Being up really high with nothing to hold onto. I went out west one summer with the graduating class at the children’s home I worked with and we visited a lot of fantastic national parks. The kids liked to terrorize me by standing very close to the edge of cliffs with no railing – I couldn’t look at them, I was always afraid that they were going to fall off.

If God allowed it, what is one part of the bible that you’d take out or change?

I struggle with this one because my logical brain keeps telling me that taking something out of the Bible doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have happened. And many times wrestling with the “tough” stuff leads to really good conversation and insight…I think it’s a very GOOD thing that the Bible so often seems to raise more questions than it answers and that it never seems to provide a simple answer. It means that, to understand the Bible better, we really need each other – we need conversation and the research of scholars and the insight of friends. It’s another reason we need community.

One thing I would ask God to add, if I were to make a change, would be that there would be a lot more insight into the role of women in the early church, and that some of those tough passages regarding women (not speaking in church, being saved through childbirth, etc.) were better explained or put into clear context. I’ve read the work of several scholars who believe that there were a lot of strong women leaders in the early church – Priscilla, Lydia, Junia (who some say was an apostle) – I wish we got to read a bit more about them as well as the many women leaders who aren’t mentioned in the Bible.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I appreciate that, no matter how long I’m absent, how many times I’m late, or how grumpy I may be, I always feel welcomed and missed and loved and accepted.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I agree with what Melissa wrote – there are times when it feels a bit big and stretched. I don’t know that I’ve ever really experienced a small House Church before, though.

What is something you’ve done in your life that you’re really proud of?

Taken a few risks and blazed my own path. I don’t know that my life seems all that risky to most people, but I come from a family where people find their niche and stick with it and I’m pretty proud that I’ve tried to do what is best for me and not just what others have expected me to do, starting with waiting a year before going to college. I’ve tried different careers, lived in a variety of different situations, made really tough decions, and emerged a stronger, wiser, and more confident women for it.

What is one thing in your life you wish you’d done differently?

Not waited so long.

Learned to manage my money during and/or right after college.

What is it about Gus and Betty (or cats in general) that you enjoy so much?

Um…because they are cute and give me so many reasons to pull out my camera phone? 🙂

I actually put a lot more thought into this question – I couldn’t immediately answer it.

I like having pets (I grew up with cats and I like how they require minimal work vs. dogs which is pretty much why I’m a cat person) because it’s always a reminder that there is someone else beside me. No matter what kind of day I’ve had or how unfair the world seems or how low I want to sink into a pity party – there are still these fuzzy little beasts in my home that require care and feeding and love, and I am forced to remember that there is more than just me to worry about.

I particularly like my two cats (and cats in general) because their personalities are distinct and the are very independent – they aren’t going to change to please me. Which makes it all the more thrilling when one chooses to curl up beside me to take a nap.

Cats live in the now. For as much as I’ve been teased for times I’ve been giddy like a little kid when I play around with the cats, I can honestly say that in those moments I am not thinking about work or money or the past or relationships or worry – all I’m focused on is my crazy cats being, well, crazy, and all I’m usually experiencing is silly laughter. I think that’s a pretty cool thing. 🙂

Is Sayid gonna go crazy from his “infection” like Claire or will Jack save him?

Eek! I don’t know! Ask me again after Smokey gets to the temple…

I just want the poor guy to find PEACE.

What is the hardest thing about being a Christian?

Trusting that God’s grace is sufficient and knowing exactly what that means and looks like. Forgiving myself.

What is one website you’d like us to check out?

Believe it or not, I had a really hard time coming up with one – most of the sites I visit are silly or you already know about them. But I’d really encourage you all to check out my friend Joel’s website. He is one of my heroes. He tends to work only as long as it takes to earn enough money to go on another trip and take photographs, and he’s had some pretty profound experiences. His primary goal seems to be simply making connections, meeting people, and building relationships. Rather than linking you to his homepage, I’m providing the address that will take you directly to his photographs – very awesome stuff:

http://www.joelcarillet.com/places_gallery

Bonus Question: What is one thing you think God really likes about you?

The way I notice so many little things and the many sincere whispers of thanks I offer up when I notice them.

Special Edition Spotlight On -A.L.

This is a special guest edition of our Spotlight On series. You’ll get random facts, never before heard stories and answers to all those burning questions you’ve just been dying to know.

This special edition spotlight is on…

Abraham Lincoln

Full Name, date of birth and place of birth:

Abraham Lincoln, Feb. 12th, 1809, near Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Tell us a little about your job.

I’ve had lots of jobs…store clerk, postmaster, surveyor, rail splitter, lawyer, State Legislator, U.S. Representative…I’m probably best know for being the 16th president of the United States.

What is your dream job?

I’d like to be an inventor. I never did perfect my designs for a device that would alter the buoyancy of steamboats. Although I did get the patent on that one…first president with a patent. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Washington!

Or maybe a comedian. Have you heard the zinger I threw out when I was accused of being two-faced? I said, “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”. Boom! Roasted!

Pretty much anything besides being the president again…that was a little stressful.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, several. Two dogs named Fido and Jip, a turkey named Tom, two goats named Nanny and Nanko,  a horse named Old Bob and lots of cats. Speaking of animals – I hear some of you are interested in having a farm someday. I highly recommend having goats…gotta have goats!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I was a good wrestler in my younger days. I’m also pretty handy with an axe.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I realize it’s a little vain, but I appreciate how you guys bring me up now and then when there’s a lull in the conversation. It’s nice to know people are thinking of you on occasion.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I wish you’d all take a group trip to the Indiana State Museum. I hear they have some kick-ass exhibits up right now.

What is something you’ve done that you’re proud of?

That whole Emancipation Proclamation thing was pretty cool.

What is one website that you’d like us to check out?

Just can’t get enough of this…

http://abc.go.com/shows/lost/episode-guide

Do you have any phobias?

Yeah, secession and theater balconies! No, no…I kid. I suppose I did have a fear for a while that I wouldn’t accomplish anything to make my existence worthwhile. I got over that though…ya know, after I won the Civil War and helped put an end to slavery.

What are 3 of your favorite foods?

Lamb shanks, chicken casserole and scalloped oysters….mmm….oysters.

What do you think of organized religion?

I never really took part in it as an adult. It just wasn’t for me and I think I turned out alright.

Bonus Question: Any words of advice for us?

Well, my mother died of milk poisoning, so I’d be careful with all this “drinking raw milk” business. I’m just saying.

Volume 5

This  spotlight is on…

Megan Beck

Your name, date of birth and place of birth.

Megan Elizabeth Beck

7/18/85

Mishawaka, IN

Where do you work and what do you do?

I am a contracted lab tech at Eli Lilly

I do anything and everything to help the scientists, from cleaning the lab to collecting data and taking care of the cell culture.

If you could make a living doing anything you wanted, what would it be?

Toss up between raising Golden Retrievers – the absolute best dogs in the world! – and traveling the world as a photographer.

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

My mom yelling from our house at wild turkeys in the woods behind our house “Turkeys!  You stop fighting, Turkeys!”  It sincerely bothered her that they were fighting because she is so completely mild she can’t stand any fighting.  We still joke about it every now and then. 🙂

What was the last thing that really surprised you?

Getting an interview at University of Colorado.  I wasn’t sure I would get any interviews, and I heard from them a lot sooner than I expected, so I was a little shocked.

Excluding anyone mentioned in the bible, who are a few of your role models/heroes?

I definitely strive to be more like my mom.  She shows the love of Christ so thoroughly!  She loves everyone without prejudice, and it takes a lot for someone to even begin to offend her!

What is the nicest compliment you ever received?

Two things stand out in my mind

1. Being called wise at House Church

2. Telling a coworker that I wouldn’t get an interview for grad school at IUPUI for genetic counseling, and him asking seriously aghast “Do they know who you are!?”

These may not seem like much, but they’ve meant a lot!

What is something you like doing that most people don’t?

At work I enjoy taking samples from the tanks.  It’s a simple, almost mindless, job that can take a while and most of the scientists don’t like to do it.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

How accepting everyone is, but also the continual, healthy challenge to grow!

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

If I go to grad school in Colorado, I wish everyone would move with me to Denver!  Seriously, just consider it…Denver church plant. 🙂

Any hidden talents or abilities?

Sometimes I can sing well, but it’s not consistent.  And I did my friends’ engagement pictures, and helped with photography at a couple weddings.

What is one question you’d like to ask God?

If I could ask it right now instead of waiting for Heaven, I would probably ask what His plan is for the next 5 or 10 years of my life because I’m feeling like my future is so uncertain right now.

Name 3 of your favorite places to eat.

Olive Garden, my mom’s kitchen :), then I don’t really have another favorite.

What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

It was probably more stupid than brave, but I think the bravest thing I’ve done is not give that guy my purse when he had what I thought was a knife.

Bonus Question: Who is one celebrity you have or have had a crush on?

You might laugh at me, but I thought Billy Boyd was really cute in Lord of the Rings.  Pippin was such a fun character and his accent is great!

Special Edition Spotlight On – O.P.

This special edition spotlight is on…

Optimus Prime

Full name, date of birth and place of birth:

Optimus Prime – technically I am millions of years old, but I was dormant for a good chunk of that time here on Earth after our space ship crashed. On May 8, 1984 an earthquake woke up our ship’s repair systems wich in turn repaired me. So I’m either millions of years old or almost 26…it’s all in how you look at it. I was born on Cybertron.

Tell us about your job.

I am the leader of the Autobots. Primarily I lead the fight against the Decepticons and help save the earth from destruction. That kind of thing.

What is your dream job?

Are you kidding me? I can transform into a truck and I get to wail on bad guys all day…I’m living the dream! But I guess if I had to choose something else I’d like to be the guy that does the voice-overs for movie trailers or monster truck rally commercials.

Do you have any phobias?

My one fear is not being able to save the human race from the evil Decepticons…or running out of gas. Get it? I’m a truck!

Any hidden talents?

Seriously?

O.K., any hidden talents besides being able to transform back and forth between a giant robot and a semi?

I can retract my right hand and replace it with a glowing energon axe.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I can tell you what I don’t like…rap. It drives me crazy when Blaster and Jazz play that stuff. And don’t even get me started on that Soundwave guy and his creepy bird/dog/little robot cassette tape things.

What is your favorite sport?

I love basketball! I even set up our own court outside the Ark – that’s the name of our spaceship.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I appreciate your desire to fight evil in the world. To stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I wish you all could help each other completely transform your hearts to be more like Christ’s…what?….too cheesy? Yeah, that was too cheesy…my bad.

What is something (other than saving the world) you’re really proud of?

I’ve actually done quite a bit of acting. There was the original movie back in ’86 based off our original show. Then the other two films in 2007 and 2009 – although I’m not sure how particularly proud of those I should be. I’ve been on several different t.v. shows too – Robot Chicken, Scrubs, Family Guy and South Park.

Bonus Question:What was the last thing that really surprised you?

Grimlock and the Dinobots. Did not see that one coming.

Volume 6

This  spotlight is on…

Joe Garner

Full name, birth date and place of birth.

Joseph Ryan Garner, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tell us what you do as an occupation.

5th Grade Teacher-Mary Castle Elementary

If you could get paid to do anything, what would it be?

If there is such a thing, I’d like to work for an expedition company where I could travel with a group of kids (ages 10-18) and take them to areas around the world, simply to admire and appreciate all the beauty that is around us.  A lightning storm in Africa, Poppy’s blooming in Poland, the jungles of South America.  Areas we rarely get to experience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhwrBs96Kgk&feature=related

Do you have any phobias?

Snakes-more of their bite.  I don’t mind touching them, it’s just the part about their fangs digging into my skin and penetrating my muscle tissue and not letting go.

Name three of your favorite books…and I hope you know better by now than to say, “the Bible”.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

What is something you’ve learned about God in the past year?

The art of time-His, not mine.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

That we don’t wrap up the life of Jesus/God as a “nice, pretty package” that can be mass produced-rather it is explored together as a group of friends-learning, questioning, and exploring it all as one.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

In the summer I would like to meet outdoors sometimes on Thursdays.  We could go to Eagle Creek, the area around the zoo, even sitting at one of the many monuments downtown.

Tell us about one of your proudest moments.

When I was walking along the beach and came upon a seal giving birth (normally they do this in the water), I noticed there was a problem, so with my own hands I helped bring a beautiful creature into this world and then helped it to swim away in the ocean…

Okay, that never happened…but really I would have to say the last year we were able to take our 5th graders to Bradford Woods.  The whole time I was there I knew we would more than likely never be able to go again, so I spent the entire time relishing in every activity they were able to take part in-enjoying every bulls eye with the cross bows, every fish one of the kids caught, watching them make sparks in their mouths with wintergreen lifesavers on the midnight hike, and of course, the scary story I told in my cabin to the boys-of which one of them cried…awesome.

What is one thing you wish you could go back and change about your past?

The whole sliding doors thing and this question always scares me.  If I were to change something, would I be different today?  So with that, I want to stick with what’s going on now-this walk is pretty cool.

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have rolled my sister up in the hide-a-way couch…I think that kinda freaked her out…

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

Some of you know this story, but it still makes me laugh.  One time we were in Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I put one of those massaging things up to my grannie’s belly…of which she said, “JOEY! Stop, I’m gonna pee!” (said with Scottish accent of course).  Then looking down…her capris were wet…front and back.  We immediately left the scene.

Tell us about a time you were really scared.

I got a phone call from my dad once and all he said was, “Joe, you need to come home.”  I was at a friends house and my whole drive home was filled with thoughts that Chelsea, our dog, had been hit by a car and was gone.  Turned out to be worse than that, when I got home, he then told me my Aunt Lilly had died in the plane crash.  I went into the bathroom, starred in the mirror and had no clue of what to do with what he had just said.

What is one place, outside of Indianapolis, that is special to you?

I’d have to say the area around Lake Lemon/Morgantown Indiana.  There’s a deep organic connection to that area with my family.  I feel at peace when I’m driving on the country roads with farms all around-especially in the summer and the smell of the corn fields in the cool evening air.

So is Locke/Man in Black the bad guy or the good guy? Or maybe both?

Bad.  He tempts people with what they desire to hear only for his own gain-of which I think they will regret in the end.

Bonus Question: If given the chance to preach one Sunday at Common Ground, would you do it and what would you talk about?

Yes, with a topic revolving around the fact that we don’t have to have our junk/mess all figured out before coming to God.  He desires to love us where when are, when we are…something I think is hard to grasp at  times.

Special Edition Spotlight On – G.Z.

This special edition spotlight is on…

Godzilla

Full name, birth date and place of birth:

– My name was originally Gojira – which is a combination of the Japanese words for gorilla and whale. Over time the pronunciation changed to Godzilla.

– I have been around since prehistoric times (with the occasional hibernation and re-awakening from hydrogen explosions).

– Japan

What do you do for a living?

For a while I just destroyed stuff, ate and slept in the ocean. Later on I became more motivated and now I protect Japan – and let’s face it, the whole earth – from other bad monsters and aliens.

If you could get paid to do anything, what would it be?

Advocate for the benefits of atomic and nuclear energy.

What is something that really annoys you?

Easy one…Godzuki! Seriously, am I right? Do we need to have a small cutsie version of everything?

Use 3 words to describe yourself.

Bad Motha Fu…uhhh…let’s go with…King Of Monsters.

Do you have any phobias?

I use to be a little creeped out by bugs, but killing off Mothra took care of that. Not much else. Maybe a fear of heights…ok, I’m kidding. When you breathe fire and spend your life fighting creatures taller than skyscrapers and monsters from outer space there isn’t a whole lot of room for phobias.

What is one of your proudest moments?

Destroying Mecha-Godzilla. I mean, it’s pretty impressive that they were able to build it, right? But it just couldn’t compare to the real thing.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

Your love of manatees. They’re a distant cousin of mine.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I don’t know how I feel about the whole “no animals in the house” policy…a little hurtful, to be honest. I mean, I’m hypo-allergenic, I’m house trained, I try not to scratch the furniture…what more do you want? I have feelings too, you know?

Name 3 of your favorite books.

The Lost World, Daikaiju and Horton Hears a Who……what!?

What is one website you’d like us to check out?

http://www.giantmonstermovies.com/monster-index.html

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

The way people just stop and stand there screaming as my foot is coming down on them. Why the hell don’t they just move? It takes like 20 seconds for me to take each step…I mean, what are they doing?! Just run! By the time my foot is on the ground they could be 3 blocks away. Hilarious!

Bonus Question:What are your true feelings on King Kong?

Not that impressive. He’s really just a big monkey when it comes down to it. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a nice guy and all, but to lose your mind, go crazy, get caught, escape, freak out and in overly-dramatic fashion climb to the top of the Empire State Building…and all over a girl? A little too cliche, if you ask me.

Volume 7

This  spotlight is on…

Stefanie Huffman

Give us your full name, birth date and place of birth.

Stefanie Nicole Huffman, May 25, 1982, Marion, IN

Tell us about your current job…what you do, where you work, any really hot co-workers who happen to also be in our house church, etc…

I currently work at the Yellow Pages Group as a graphic designer. The only person I work with that is in our House Church is sir Scott Rice. 🙂

What was your favorite job you ever had?

I don’t know that I’ve had a “favorite” job yet….If I had to choose one, I would say the job I had before this one was good in the sense that I enjoyed being able to be more creative and designing with a good purpose for the end result. (I designed signage etc..for schools to help promote healthy eating habits & positive thinking).

If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?

I would probably do something with photography. I think it’s more of a passion than design is. I love tropical places, weddings, & cute kids…so combine those and voila!

Your best guess – what will your life be like in 10 years?

Well I HOPE it is being married and having a couple kids by then. And enjoying whatever my job is and the people I work with as well as being a part of an amazing church.

What is something you’ve had to overcome in your life?

One of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome in my life is dealing with anxiety & panic attacks that began right before college – present. It has taken a long time to get to where I am now, but it has also been a huge test for me on how to learn to rely on God, be patient, and to deal with change. All things I don’t enjoy! Presently I am better in this area, however it still comes back from time to time to test me.

What is something you’ve learned about God in the past year?

One thing I’ve learned over the last year is that things don’t always go according to your own plan and how you think they should be. As well as trusting God in those moments of change or uncertainty. There doesn’t have to be one set way of how things should be done and that’s ok.

Do you have any phobias/fears?

I’m a wimp and have TONS of fears!! My 2 biggest fears are probably the fear of feeling like I will vomit (or actually doing it). And my other one (related to the first) is the fear of feeling fear-having panic attacks.

Tell us something about Tommy we might not already know.

He’s amazing. 🙂 He is very intelligent and very perceptive. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He can memorize lyrics or movie quotes after only hearing them once. All Mom’s/families LOVE him. He’s really laid back & easy going. He really is the best “catch” someone could ask or hope for.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I enjoy how much of a community we are & how well we all bond/mesh together. There is true acceptance in our group. I love how we can all talk about anything and everyone has different viewpoints to bring to the table, and they’re all great to hear/share.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I wish more people would actually R.S.V.P. on whether they plan to attend things or not. (Including myself sometimes!)

If you were given all the time and money you needed, what is one thing you’d like to invent/create?

Hmm…maybe a magic wand that fixes whatever needs fixed, cleans whatever needs cleaned, or can take you wherever you want to go in a matter of “poof!” you’re there.

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

There are many. The 1st things that come to mind are funny stories of my dad when I was younger: My sis running closely behind my dad down the hallway, him stopping suddenly on purpose, and her face planting right into his…behind. 🙂 Dad misjudging the distance between the front of his huge Oldsmobile and an object in front of it, Example 1: a large rock-him driving up on top of it, sis & I in the back seat looking out the window w/ a new “view” from on top of the rock. Example 2: Dad running into the side of the house w/ the same car when trying to pull into the garage.

What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?

I don’t know that I’m necessarily “proud” of myself, but I’m happy that I accomplished college in 4 years. I’m happy to have worked through my anxiety issues. I’m happy that I’m still trying to seek God even though I didn’t “join” Him until late high school.

Bonus Question: What is something you like to do that most people don’t?

I LOVE to take pictures!!! I know a lot of people get annoyed by it, but I love being able to capture moments in time that can never be recreated in any other form to the exactness of that very moment and being able to keep that moment forever.

Volume 8

 

Volume 9

This spotlight is on…

Marilyn Schulte

Your full name, birth date and place of birth.

Marilyn Schulte 11-25-1977; Russiaville, IN (a.k.a.) Russiatucky!

What is your occupation?

Professional educator

Happy gets a multi-million dollar deal to become the newest spokes-cat for Friskies’ new weight control cat food. How does your life change?

I knew Happy was destined for greatness!  First, I stop teaching and give my house away (after I fix it up).  I move to a farm where I can have lots of rescued animals, a house and support people in need, and live in an environmentally sustainable way.  I also travel to lots of exotic and amazing places as well as hire someone to clean my house!!!

Any hidden talents or abilities?

I don’t know if this is a talent or not but I can stop a student from doing something inappropriate with only the power of a glare. Also, I’m pretty good at navigating cities (especially with public transportation and walking) after spending only a little time there.

Tell us about the last time you were really scared.

Twice this year I thought my life was going to change in a way that would make it really different than I thought it would be. I was really scared because I wasn’t sure I could handle it or that my faith could handle it.

What is one of the hardest things about being a Christian?

Throughout the time I’ve tried to follow Jesus the “hard” parts have changed. For me, right now, one of the hardest things is releasing control of my life, my decisions, my will to the plan of my Creator.

Jeff Krajewski asks you to preach at CG next month. Do you do it? And if so, what is your sermon about?

At this point, I can’t imagine the situation that would actually compel me to do that. Saying that…you never know though. God seems to pull people out of their comfort zones.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to say to someone?

Interestingly enough, telling my parents I was going to get baptized was very hard. I’d been baptized as an infant and it was hard for them to understand why I needed for it to happen again.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

There are several things from college that are not appropriate for this blog. Several years ago, a woman came to my door. She was hurt (from being thrown out of a car she told me) and needed to use my phone. I let her in and then I talked with her daughter who told me she was a crack addict. She had no way to get home so I took her home. The whole time I was driving she played with my hair and kept her hands near my neck. I dropped her off and then realized it was a really crazy thing to do. On another note, recently, I took all my students out to eat by myself. I don’t know why I should it was wise to not take some parent chaperons with me. It was crazy chaos, but it was worth it.

What is one website you’d like us to check out?

I’m not really into websites (I’m mostly on the IUPUI and Indiana Standards websites), but if you haven’t already checked out www.ijm.org, which is International Justice Mission, take some time to look at it.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I appreciate that our house church works as a whole body because of the unique talents and passions of each individual.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

Like I mentioned on Thursday, even though I know it’s hard, I wish each of us would address concerns or questions directly with the person or people it involves.

What are 3 of your favorite books?

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennen Manning

Hoot by Carl Hiassen

What is the last embarrassing thing that happened to you?

I used to get really embarrassed, but I’ve lightened up quite a bit. But last year when I was teaching 2nd grade, I was walking backwards in the classroom towards the door with all 40 students walking in two lines facing me. I tripped over a box that was sitting on the ground and landed right on my rear halfway in my classroom and halfway in the hallway. So, not only did all of my students see me fall, so did the students in two other classrooms who were walking down the hallway. That was embarrassing. But on a good note, my crazy class from last year handled it beautifully. They didn’t laugh at me until I started laughing!

If you could change one law in our society, what would it be?

The first thing that came to my mind was the death penalty. I would end it. I don’t think it prevents crime and I don’t think it’s in line with the Jesus I read about in the Bible. But away from a specific law I would like to eliminate laws that perpetuate the discrepancy between those who have and those who don’t have in our country.

Bonus Question: Other than a traffic violation, what was the last illegal thing you did?

Can’t think of anything…though in Washington, D.C. I nearly drove onto the lawn of the Capitol Building. I’m pretty sure that would have broken lots of laws and possibly classified me as a terrorist.

Special Edition Spotlight On – S.M.

This is a special guest edition of our Spotlight On series. You’ll get random facts, never before heard stories and answers to all those burning questions you’ve just been dying to know.

This special edition spotlight is on…

The Spider Monkey

Your full name, birth date and place of birth.

Ateles Fusciceps, you’ll have to ask Mr. Charles Darwin about that one, Central and South America.

What do you do for a living?

Oh, I just kinda hang out in trees eating leaves, flowers, insects…that type of thing.

If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?

I think I’d like to have my own business. You know…a monkey business…get it?…monkey business…or maybe dabble in the barrel industry…right?…barrel full of…C’mon! I got a million of ’em!

O.K., so I gotta ask…why are you guys called spider monkeys?

Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it has something to do with our long limbs, but honestly…not a big fan of spiders. Never have been. Spiders and clowns…don’t like ’em.

What is one of your earliest memories?

I had this uncle – big, tough guy. You know, the Clint Eastwood, manly-man type. Anyway, long story short – he ends up getting kidnapped, put on a boat and taken to the big city. He escapes though. Only the thing is – he’s in the city, right? I mean what’s a monkey gonna do in the city? Freaks out, grabs some woman, climbs to the top of this tall building and starts swattin’ at airplanes. Crazy, crazy stuff. Sadly, he didn’t make it. You probably heard about. It was in all the papers.

What is something that makes you laugh ever time you think about it?
Headphones or speakers required…
http://www.entertonement.com/clips/vvyrtphqyg–I%27m-Gonna-Come-At-You-Like-A-Spider-MonkeyTalladega-Nights-The-Ballad-of-Ricky-Bobby-Grayson-Russell-Texas-Ranger-sound-
What is something you appreciate about our house church?

Jeff almost always has bananas at his house.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

Way too many people taking pictures! We get it, o.k.? You wanna cherish the moment. But are you considering the potential consequences of your actions? Take a look…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f78LrJO5QYw
Any phobias?

Logging and land clearing.

Oh yeah…and clowns.

Any hidden talents?

I can bark like a dog and sustain loud piercing screams. Little rough on the vocal chords though. Don’t like to pull that one out too often. Mostly if I’m provoked. Or at parties.

Any website you’d like us to check out?
http://www.zazzle.ca/eat_sleep_spider_monkeys_bumper_sticker-128974123436034701
Bonus Question: What is something you’re really proud of?

Spider monkeys are considered to be the most intelligent of the New World monkeys, so I got that going for me.

Oh, and that it’s perfectly acceptable for me to urinate on people if I don’t like them. And I got pretty good aim.

Volume 10

This Spotlight is on…

Tommy Francis

Your full name, birth date and place of birth:

Thomas Clyde Francis, February 31st 1982, Nashville, Tennessee: Otherwise known as God’s backyard.

What do you do for a living?/Why haven’t you been at house church much for the last year and a half?

Whatever no one else wants to. Technically, I’m the executive assistant for the Atlanta Dream, the WNBA team in Atlanta. For that reason, I spend most of my time in Georgia, which makes it a little bit harder to get to Common Ground each Sunday. I’m there in spirit though!

Larry Bird hears a rumor that you’re going to write a tell-all book about him and the Pacers organization and gives you $2,000,000 to keep it to yourself. How does your life change?

I would decline the offer, knowing that the book would gross well over that amount, and my share would be much larger. However, with that money, my life probably wouldn’t change much. I would get a big iPod touch with a camera on it, and maybe a 2009 Dodge Challenger. Other than that, I don’t really have a wish list, and I’m a fairly simple dude. Job wise I’d still stay in sports, I might just be a little further up the ladder 🙂

Have you found a church down in Atlanta you like?

If yes, what is one thing you appreciate about your church? What is one thing you wish was different?

I have not found a church yet. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried near as hard as I should have. I’ve been to a few, but there really isn’t a happy medium of what I found at Common Ground. I don’t want mega church that I have to have binoculars to see the preacher, and I don’t want to meet everyone in one Sunday. Some didn’t align with my beliefs either. Should have done more research before visiting. I most definitely miss all of you as individuals and as a group. I miss the support, conversations, fun, etc (and that’s not just me being cheesey because I know you’ll be reading this).

What was the last thing that really surprised you?

Having my leg go numb! You never realize just how much a little spaghetti sized feature of your body can take away the power in your leg…. indefinitely. With that being said, I’m also surprised at how the body can compensate and help out the part that is struggling.

Tell us one thing about Stefanie that we might not know.

Well one thing that Scott usually doesn’t know is how to spell her name (I just made him double check the spelling in the question before he posts this). She likes to take pictures…. jk, that’s no secret. She makes great spaghetti and carrot cake. Anytime she makes those, I’d be happy to let you try my portion so that you can feel the same delight that I do. I’m not sure that there is anything about Stef that is a super secret.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Well I used to tell my sisters that I remembered my birth. When asked how, I would proudly say “from pictures”. However, I think my first real memories came when I was around four or so; birthday parties and camouflage clothes.

What is the latest news on your back?

Well I’m still a hobbling cripple, but I’m learning to deal with it, and continuing to work on my strength with hopes that one day things will return to normal (as normal as I get).

What is something you’ve learned about yourself over the last year?

Well, I’ve learned that I’m a proud uncle. While I know I was supposed to be in the picture of myself above, I cheated and sent two. If Scott chose not to include the picture of my niece, then he is cold, heartless, and should be forced to work the toddler room at church for the next three years… weekly.

If Jeff Krajewski asked you to preach at Common Ground in a few weeks, would you do it and, if so, what would you speak about?

I don’t do well in front of people, and I’m not sure that a few weeks would be enough time. I’m much better at writing, and would much rather right a paper about things and then let someone else read my findings. Oration is not for me, unless it involves movie quotes. Maybe that’s it. I could create an entire sermon of movie quotes. “Dear Lord, thank you for this smorgasbord that you have so aptly lain at our table….”

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

Haha. Ask Marilyn. It usually annoys her at an inopportune time during HC. Then I get the eye (see her spotlight for further details). I laugh when I think. Period. Usually it’s something funny, at least to me.

Do you have any phobias?

Not that I know of. I don’t like unsecured heights, but I think that’s fairly normal. Even though it’s not really an answer to the question, one thing that is weird is this: If I see something that looks like it would hurt, if I picture myself tripping, anything like that, I feel it in my dead leg. It’s quite fascinating.

Other than traffic violations, what was the last illegal thing you did? Nobody likes to answer this one, but I have high hopes for you.

Very few people know this about me, but when I was 17, I actually stole a car, picked up my girlfriend at the time, and drove to Texas. Well of course I knew the car thing was illegal, but boy was I thrown for a loop when they told me that taking my underage girlfriend across state lines was a felony. It’s a good thing I was tried as a juvey. No, I’m really boring. My biggest crime is having blood that runs orange (and a lot of pirated music). Good Ole Rocky Top!

What is one website you’d like us to check out?

hulu.com. I’m sure most of you know about this, but since finding it, I’ve done away with my monthly cable bill. Also, pandora.com. Create my own radio station? Heck yeah!

Name 3 of your favorite movies.

The Shawshank Redemption (If I could list this three times without being boring, I would), Jurassic Park, and Saw. So many to choose from, I really can’t do it justice. These are just the first three that came to mind. — My own Bonus Question: TV shows you haven’t seen, but should: The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Honeymooners.

Bonus Question: How is the alternate time-line in Lost going to conclude itself?

Marty is going to bring the DeLorean to the island, tell us he is Jesus, and that Dr. Emmett Brown (God) will be generating 1.21 jiggawatts of electricity to send the black smoke back where he belongs, into a pile of manure (he hates manure). Then Abraham Lincoln will resurrect a dead bird. No, I have no idea. I just hope that they give us a different lens through which to watch the entire series again, finding things we never saw before.

Extra Bonus Question: What are your predictions for the Dream’s and the Fever’s seasons?

I think that the Dream will lead the East, as the Fever fall to third place after a late run by the Connecticut Sun. The outcome of their series will be quite in-con-se-quen-tial, as the Dream move on to the Finals. After that, my crystal ball gets a little hazy. Ask Daniel Farraday.

Volume 11

This  spotlight is on…

Angie Smith

Your full name, date of birth and place of birth.

Angela Michelle Smith, April 16, 1980 in Columbus, Ohiooooooooooo!

And what, pray tell, do you do for a living?

For the next two and a half weeks, I will be teaching phonics, reading, grammar, handwriting, writing, arithmetic, French, History, Geography, Science, Catechism, and Recitation to four beautiful 6 and 7 year old girls at Walnut Grove Christian Preparatory School. I am also a recess monitor, janitor, cook, gardener, event planner, disciplinarian, nurturer, discipler, nurse, and I answer about 2,500 questions a day.

You decide to make some space in your room by selling off your giraffe collection only to discover that one is a rare antique worth $3,500,000. How does your life change?

Yippeee!! First, I would invest some of that money in hopes of making more;) Then I would pay off the debt of all my friends and family and move us some place warm and beautiful, buy a large plot of land, build some houses and plow the ground turning it into an environmentally friendly farm that would provide a sustainable living for us all. We would have an area out back for Marilyn and Scott to rescue their cats and dogs, and I would adopt lots and lots of babies in hopes that everyone in our community would help me raise them.

And I may splurge a bit and use some of the money to fix my sweaty hand problem, but that would depend on the side effects.

What is one of your earliest memories?

My earliest memory is nothing more than a snapshot in my head. I was probably four, living in our house in town (we moved from that house when I was five). I can see the bunk beds my brother and I slept on in our bedroom (which I actually still sleep on today!) and in the background I can hear the song Bread and Butter playing on the little record player we had…. I like bread and butter, I like toast and jam, that’s my baby fixes me, cause I’m her lovin’ man, na na na (or something like that).

What was the last thing that really surprised you?

On my 30th birthday, just a couple of weeks ago, I was really surprised at school when I walked into the cafeteria and everyone, kids, parents and other teachers yelled surprise and had cake and ice cream awaiting me. I really had no idea that was being planned behind my back.

I was kind of surprised yesterday when I watched Avatar and I actually liked it, really liked it, can’t stop thinking about it liked it.

Besides the bible, what are 3 of your favorite books? Why?

Jane Eyre, her journey is amazing, inspiring, and I wasn’t expecting her to encounter God and His mysterious ways, which made me love the book even more. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, I was wandering around the little Eagle Creek library one day a couple years ago looking for a book and that one caught my eye. I didn’t know anything about it, but soon realized I had stumbled upon a hidden treasure, which it is now no longer hidden! I appreciate reading inspiring true stories. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, because the characters use words like amiable and felicity, how I would love to speak as they did.

What is one of the biggest challenges of being a Christian?

One of my biggest challenges is trying to relate to friends and family who are not Christian. Knowing that when I share with them something that the Lord has done in my life, they don’t quite understand. It makes me sad, because I long to be close with them, but there is a barrier between us because they don’t understand the most important part of me. As well as, watching them go through hardships that could have been prevented or at least filled with a peace and hope had they submitted to Jesus.

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

The results of Angela, Marilyn, and I trying to get our pictures taken in one of those small photo booths on our way back from Florida.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I appreciate sharing life with like-minded people and not having to travel this faith journey by myself, which I know from experience is much more difficult. I also appreciate all the laughter that takes place when we get together.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I wish we would be free of all insecurities and fear that hinder us.

Besides being with your family and friends, what is something you enjoy about spending time in Ohio?

It is a place that I feel completely comfortable and safe. There are people there that I have 30 years of memories with and there is something incredibly meaningful about sitting around with them and reminiscing. I appreciate knowing there are still people in my life that have memories of me when I was but a young pup. I also enjoy parts of the small town culture and spending time in the country. And I really truly do love my parent’s dog, Maddie.

What is something you’ve accomplished that you’re really proud of?

I believe God called me to use my time during the summer wisely a couple of years ago. I am proud that I was obedient and used that time to travel to Uganda and care for children.

Name something you do that either most people don’t or something you don’t do that most people do.

When I read a book, sometimes the voices I hear in my head have Irish accents, even though the book is not set in Ireland. Oh and when I watch a movie, if there is a scene where people are underwater, I will hold my breath without realizing it, or if they are dancing my body will twitch because I want to dance with them.

Any phobias?

Descending, I think I have a problem with depth perception, my legs get shaky and I usually have to sit down on my bottom if I am going to go down anything steep without stairs. I am also afraid of the elevator door closing on me, as well as getting sucked into the escalator or those walky things at the airport (just ask Marilyn). It causes me a lot of anxiety thinking about holding hands with somebody else, the whole sweatiness problem.

What 3 characteristics do you think people who know you would use to describe you?

Oblivious, princess-like, and most humble.

Bonus Question: Which of the characters from Lost (living or dead) can you most identify with?

Hmmm, probably Hurley.

Volume 12

This  spotlight is on…

Maggie Spicer

Your full name, date of birth and place of birth

Margaret Veronica (Coleman) Spicer born May 17th (year undisclosed) in La Mirada, CA

What do you do for a living?

I am a Munchkin Rules Lawyer- not really, but close. I help people understand and interpret the laws and procedures that apply to medical research in drug development. (Official title: Global Medical Quality Representative)

You win the International  Settlers of Catan competition and take home the five million dollar prize. What changes do you make in your life?

Since five million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to… First, I visit a financial planner and set up an annuity. (Given a modest 4% return, that gives me $200,000 a year to live on.) Second, I quit my job, but replace it with activities that are meaningful. Finally, I insist people stop calling me “crazy” and start calling me “eccentric”.

Tell us 3 things you love about Max.

I love that he is so mechanically creative. He makes the most amazing contraptions! I bought him a Lego monkey that climbs across a wire. He turned it into a stirring machine, then turned it into a fighter that punches… He also made a lamp out of legos that actually worked and didn’t melt. I love that he is considerate. I love his afro! (Even though it’s gone now.)

What is one of your earliest memories?

Michelle and I flew by ourselves from California to Indiana when we were three. We were given dolls to take with us. The dolls were huge; they were almost taller than us. I remember sitting in the airline seat with it.

What was the last really funny thing that happened to you?

I told Max that I would take him and two friends to the movies, then I offered to take to more kids, whose parents were dealing with a family emergency and I forgot that I agreed to take my three nephews for the night, so I ended up with eight kids- seven boys, one girl, ages 11-19. It was quite an evening.

Name 3 of your favorite movies

-Death to Smoochy

-Life is Beautiful

-Afterlife (The Japanese Movie) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165078/

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

You are all very patient with me.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I wish I was there more. 🙂

What is one of the hardest things about being a mom?

You can teach your children all the important things that shape their values, faith and character, but ultimately, they make the choices. It’s hard to watch when they make choices that are not what you were hoping for.

What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?

I made it through college with a 3.6 GPA/4.0 in major GPA. (Stinkin’ chemistry!)

Is there a website you’d like us to check out?

www.thinkgeek.com

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

Is there something specifically that you would prefer I was doing, aside from what I am doing now?

Any hidden talents?

I have mad spatial reasoning skills! I can arrange furniture, pack a truck and play tetris like nobody’s business.

Is there a specific motto or a quote that inspires you?

“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” Booker T. Washington.

Bonus Question: How is Jack going to stop Loche/Smoke Monster?

Silly, Jack won’t stop the Smoke Monster, Hurley will. Alternate-universe Hurley will feed Smoke/Locke a bucket of tainted Mr. Cluck’s chicken and he will die of salmonella poisoning.

Volume 13

This  spotlight is on…

Heidi Scott

Your full name, date of birth and place of birth.
Heidi Marie Scott born in Washington Court House, OH on April 19, 1979
We know you’re taking some time off work, but what have you been doing professionally for the past few years?
When my lungs are functioning properly and my immune system is not waging war against me, I am a physical therapist at St. Vincent’s.  I love being a PT.  When working w/ kids, I enjoy the challenge of turning functional activities into games to encourage participation.  And w/ adults and kids I enjoy helping them return or gain function lost due to illness/injury/disability and being an encourager that they CAN do it!  I pray that my recent experiences of my own health greatly limiting the level at which I would like to participate in life will make me an even better, more empathetic cheerleader.
While sorting through all your Christmas decorations you discover that you have a rare antique snowman worth 7.2 million dollars. Upon further inspection, it’s revealed to now only be worth 5.2 million dollars because Scott accidentally knocked it off your t.v. a couple of years ago and Marilyn hastily glued the broken pieces back together to cover up his clumsy mistake, but you, in all your graciousness, decide to forgive them because, hey, what’s a couple million to someone as rich as you? How does your life change?
After giving Marilyn $100,000 for fixing the snowman instead of throwing it away and hoping I didn’t notice, and then investing/saving the proper amount, I would pay off my debt and the debt of my close family and friends.  I would travel and fulfill my goal of visiting all 7 continents, 50 states and bike across the country and I would pay for others to go with me b/c traveling is way more fun with company.  I would donate money to get the community center up and running and would volunteer there, but I really do think I would like to continue working as a PT.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time in Alaska?
Experiencing nature in less conventional ways- hiking up a glacier, rafting down a rapid flowing river, flying in a small plane around Mt. McKinley.  Also taking opportunities to explore and go off the beaten path.  Spending time with my family and taking tons of pictures.  It is so incredibly beautiful there.
What is something you’ve learned from living with Angie the last couple of years?

I could make some light comment about amount of sleep needed and/or cleaning/organizing habits, but I think I’ll go deeper.  I never planned to buy a house or have a roommate until I got married, but God in His infinite wisdom, had a better plan. Having Angie as a friend and roommate has taught me that the benefits and joy of living relationally, letting people in and trusting they really want to be a part of your life far outweigh the risks.
What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?
Angie falling off a lawn chair, quite dramatically, I might add.
What is the bravest or most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

*NO ANSWER*

Do you have any phobias?

While some fear having their arm ripped off by a dog, I fear being pecked or winged by a flock of birds… Canadian geese, sea gulls, pigeons, bats.  I have traumatic stories involving all them and prefer that they stay far, far away from me at all times.
What is it about celebrating birthdays that you enjoy so much?
Well it is something that should be done all year long but I love the fact that it is one day each year to make a specific point to tell that person (in one way or another) “Yeah! I am so glad you are here, and that you are a part of my life! You are special! Thank you for being you! You are very much worth celebrating!”
What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?
I appreciate how everybody cares about each other and wants to be invested in each other lives but also cares and want to be investing in the community at large.
What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

I am really not a fan of the topic of splitting/birthing/dividing.  Whatever you want to call it, its like considering breaking apart a family.
What advise would you give to someone who has just become a Christian?

Know that Christianity is not a list of rules or activities that must be accomplished  to earn God’s love. Reading your Bible and praying are important ways to know God and grow in relationship with Him and not meant to be seen as an obligation, but more as a privilege. But also there are many others ways to know/experience God too (Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas).  And I would emphasize the importance of being invested in a community of believers. We are not meant to do it all on our own.
You have just returned from Jess’s house where the two of you have secretly been watching episodes of Lost. As you pull into your driveway you see that your house is on fire. The Holy Spirit descends upon you like a dove and tells you that He will grant you the time and strength to retrieve 5 items from your house before it is engulfed in flames. What do you bring out? By the way – Angie is in Ohio for the weekend so you won’t need to worry about her.

First off, Jess and I are very proud non-Lost watchers.  So with the songs of Glee and American Idol running through my head,  I would grab my computer (b/c it has tons of pictures stored on it), my current journal, my tea set collection (does that count as one thing) (b/c there are so many stories/connected to each set), and artwork made/given to me by friends.  As for number five, either something for Angie that the holy spirit leads me to save for her or my camera (so I can take pictures of the fire once I am safely out).  All others things are eventually replaceable.
What is one of your earliest childhood memories?
We lived behind a Stuckey store in Ohio until I was 5.  I have lots of memories of living there but many are in my backyard in Ohio spending hours playing on the swing set and on the huge LP gas tank that my sister and I pretended was our horse. Thinking back and knowing how security minded my dad was, I have no idea why we were allowed to that!
What was the last really embarrassing thing that happened to you?

*NO ANSWER*

Bonus Question: Which t.v. or movie star from the past or present would you like to go on a date with?
I have actually never thought about that because those people are not “real”. I have always thought it would be fun to meet the man I married in some random way (while hiking in Ireland, on a train…) as often portrayed in romantic comedies and then going off on some random adventures w/ fun mishaps along the way.

Volume 14

This  spotlight is on…

T.J. Edwards


Your Full Name, date of birth and place of birth.

TJ (Tara Lynn) Edwards 11/14/1974    Muncie, Indiana – Please don’t call me Tara.  I don’t like it and it is one of the only things you could tease me about that would actually make me mad.

What is your current occupation?

I work for The City of Indianapolis, Department of Public Works, Environmental Resources Management and Compliance – I am a Project Manager in the Water Compliance group.  I mostly work with grease blockage issues in the City sewer and illegal connections into the City sewer.

One day while climbing around in your attic you stumble across a treasure chest you’ve never seen before. As you are regaining your consciousness from having fallen through the garage ceiling yet again, you realize that the treasure chest has come down with you spilling onto the garage floor the $3,000,000 worth of gold doubloons hidden inside it. How does your life change?

I would definitely quit my job so that I could spend all my time volunteering for programs like Purchased as well as lending aid to those who need it.  I would pay off all my debt and that of my family.  I would give some to CG to pay off the mortgage of the midtown site and buy a building for the Community Center on the West Side.  I would also buy myself a modest bungalow at the Walt Disney World Resort :o)

What is one thing you love about Samurai? Asia?

Well I love that Samarie (you spelled his name wrong) does not just lay down when he’s tired, he falls out with a loud thud to the floor every time like he couldn’t possibly take another step.  It always makes me smile.  I love that Asia snores as loud as a 300lb man.  You can nudge her with you foot and she is sleeping so hard she doesn’t even feel it.  It cracks me up!

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

Most recently I would say every time I think about Marilyn almost driving us straight into the Capital building in D.C. I just crack up.

What is the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Last November my Mom was in the hospital with some internal bleeding issues that they could not figure out.  They were going to run some tests thinking that cancer may be involved.  I think that might be the scariest thing I have ever experienced.

What is something you’ve done that you’re very proud of?

I am the first person to go to and graduate from college in my family.

What is one of your earliest childhood memories?

When I was little I remember hearing people talk about tic tac toe.  I guess I never thought to ask what it was I just assigned my own meaning.  So for me when I would smell people burning brush or whatever outside, you know that really distinct smell it always has, I would say “I smell tic tac toe.”  Once my family figured out what I was talking about they never corrected me, they thought it was cute.  They let me start school with out the knowledge that tic tac toe was a game not an odor.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

I love that we are so service oriented, both to one another and to people/events outside our HC.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

Sometimes I wish there was a little more scripture involved in Thursday night discussions.  I love our lessons/topics but often wish there was more scripture referenced.

Name 3 of your favorite movies.

Crap, that’s a hard one.  Lonesome Dove, Sister Act II, Twilight movies, and Little Miss Sunshine… sorry that was four.

What is one of the hardest things about being a Christian?

Why must you keep limiting me to one answer?  I have found one of the hardest things for me is understanding how to forgive myself for the mistakes of my past.  Mentally I understand that God forgives me but sometimes it’s difficult to let it go and trust that I am washed clean by Christ’s blood.

Is there a website you’d like us to check out?

Yes there is… www.journeythroughfaith.org Please take some time to read up on this ministry as it is very important to me and I hope to talk all of you into participating in this fantabulous retreat!

Your best guess – why are you so put off by other people’s feet?

They’re filthy!  We walk on them so they pick up all the crap on the ground and the floor, they’re calloused, dry, some have bunions… um hello feet are gross.  I am ok with the feet of folks who are 3 years old and under.

If you could add or remove anything from the bible, what would it be?

Sometimes I think I would remove that whole unequally yoked thing.  I have met some really great men who were not believers so therefore I wouldn’t date them long less marry them.  Problem is, it’s hard to maintain a Christ centered relationship when only one of you knows Christ.  Guess I’ll never be a missionary dater.

Bonus Question: Both Lost and 24 are now officially over – First off, are you o.k.? Secondly, now what are you going to do?

Dude, this is a really difficult time for me.  Thankfully all the major networks are starting to realize that summer programming is important so they are beginning to pick up a few new series.  I’ve been trying a few out like Happy Town.  We’ll see what happens but my love for the TV in all its glory will not die.  After all, I just watched the very first episode of 21 Jump Street on Hulu the other day.  AAhhh, Johnny Depp in the beginning before the crazy…

Special Edition Spotlight On – Croyts

This is a special guest edition of our Spotlight On series. You’ll get random facts, never before heard stories and answers to all those burning questions you’ve just been dying to know.

This Special Edition Spotlight is on…

Chris & Angela Croyts

Your full name, date of birth (year optional) and place of birth.

Christopher Michael Croyts, born 11/29/1970, Santa Monica, CA.

Angela Clorissa (Bryan) Croyts, born 4/20/74 in Kokomo, IN

Chris, tell us about your job(s). Angela, tell us about your average day (if there is such a thing).

Chris – Currently I’m a server and part of the management team of Karma Sushi.  I also serve as the minister of The Refuge…What I enjoy about Karma: I get to work with “real people”.  They have absolutely no pretension of trying to put on a Christian façade…What I enjoy about The Refuge (and really ministry in general):  I love the vantage point I have to see God transform people, and the (small) role I have the opportunity to have in that process…I usually get up early (hopefully before everyone else…but with two small children in a small apartment, that’s easier said than done) to spend some time with God.  I usually have morning meetings about 3 times per week.  I work about 30+ hours at Karma. The Refuge meets together on Sun and Wed evenings.

Angela – An average day…..hmmm I awake at dawn for a 90 min devotional time with my Lord. I follow that up with a 45 min run in God’s beautiful creation of Flagstaff. I then prepare my family a warm, healthy breakfast and we partake of it together while sharing our daily goals together…HAHA-I totally crack my self up! I have no set routine. At this phase of life, with Sophia being out of school and Zeke sporadically sleeping, the day just starts when it starts, we roll with the attitudes, situations and opportunities the day presents us with and bedtime is as religiously at 8-as possible.

Being the proud parents that you are, you put up 5 of Sophia’s paintings in a local art show at the Shane Knight Gallery. As chance would have it, a wealthy, eccentric art collector is in town, falls in love with her work and gives you $2,000,000 for the entire collection. How does your life change?

Chris – We’d probably give half of it away immediately. (Not trying to sound all spiritual or altruistic or anything…just wouldn’t want that much responsibility. I hear there’s a potential community center in Indy that maybe we could donate to J)  We’d probably buy a home…about the size of our old place in Indy. I’d probably get a bigger motorcycle.  Then we’d invest the rest in education (the kid’s college fund, perhaps myself and Ang going back to school, maybe get a pilot’s license…because I’ve always wanted one, and we could fly to see our friends in Indy whenever we wanted J).

Angela – Well, then I would have to struggle with the desire to buy a home or live in an apartment. That’s a struggle because we would actually have the resources to do something different. I would have to buy the silver KIA van that seems to be haunting me and we would have health care covered for a while. My stresses would be much smaller! Other than that I think we would keep on doing what we are doing. Oh wait, my daughter is of the age and savvy enough that she would say-“that’s my money!” So nothing would change…

What makes you laugh every time you think about it?

Chris – I had the opportunity to read Angela’s “Spotlight On” before she sent it…and I must concur that Sophia’s rendition of “Jesus loves the little honky…” is pretty stinking funny…as well as her (unwittingly of course) dropping the F-bomb on one of her school assignments.  Oh, and my and Angela’s snow-shoeing experience.  (If you’ve never heard it, we’ll have to tell you about it sometime.)

Angela – “We don’t have any extra pillows.” I was told this at a woman’s retreat-in a hotel, with a lot of vacancies. I almost (or maybe I did) spit on the woman as I tried to hold back the laughter-I thought it was the funniest thing ever! I’m sure you had to be there, but really-no extra pillows, in a hotel!?!?!?!
And of course Sophia singing “Jesus loves the little honkies…” it’s a long story, but hilarious!

What have you learned from being married to each other?

Chris – I’ve learned that the goal is a home full of laughter and song, a home full of friends that become family, and a home that is a place to make good memories.

Angela – Some of what I have learned is how selfish I am, and how expectant I am. I think being married to Chris has taught me what perseverance looks like. Seeing his perseverance in his relationship with Christ, with other brothers and with my craziness is pretty amazing. I mean this in the best way, but I’ve learned that marriage is a lot more logical and less feeling than I thought it would be. I’m thankful I have Chris to navigate this world with.

What is one thing you appreciate about your church/house church?

Chris – The people are real…no BS…at least when it comes to faith/spirituality.  They don’t feel the need to impress anyone with their faith or come off more “Christian” than they really are.

Angela – It’s flexibility. We don’t have a lot of rigid rules, ideas, policies to work around. I appreciate that the people who attend the Refuge really do find refuge with us. They wouldn’t walk into a church structure, or big church mentality-it’s nice to feel we are different yet relevant.

What is one thing you wish was different about your church/house church?

Chris – The flipside of the above comment is that our people aren’t necessarily the most mature or committed to Jesus as I’d like to see.  While I’m glad they don’t feel the need to “fake it”…it would be nice to have a fewer more mature people in the bunch…particularly to help share the leadership load.

Angela – Ugh…besides the fact that people always leave Flagstaff-which I wish were different because then I could feel like I have a deep long term relationship, I would say; I would love to be able to attend the Refuge and not worry about the kids. It would be really nice to have my full attention on the hot pastor and not distracted or consumed with what the kids are doing. (and by hot pastor I really mean the message being discussed)

What has surprised you about living in Flagstaff?

Chris – First, people don’t seem to stay here long-term.  This can be really tough from both a relational and ministry perspective, because time is one of the key ingredients to building trust/credibility.

Secondly, while there is so much really cool stuff to do in Flagstaff and the surrounding area, it is surprising how life gets so busy that we lack the time (and sometimes other resources) to enjoy it.

Angela – I had no idea relationships would be such a stressful part of life. Once I feel comfortable in a relationship it seems they move-to a different state. I didn’t realize Flagstaff was such a transient town, or maybe I didn’t realize how that would play itself out to me personally. I am also surprised at how much I like it here. I can’t see us living anywhere else, even though there are struggles-it still feels like “home”. (I always assumed part of me would long to be back in IN-to live. I actually only long for my IN friends to move to AZ)

Tell us something you love about Sophia? Zeke?

Chris – I love both of their smiles and laughs.  I love Sophia’s zest for life…she just wants to go, go, go, do, do, do.  I love how relational she is.  It’s very common for her to ask, “so who’s coming over tonight?” She really gets the idea that our “family” is bigger than the four of us, and life is meant to be shared with others.  Of course I love the fact that she’s very smart, but I’d love her just the same if she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.  I love how artistic and musical she is (which she definitely doesn’t get from me).  I also love how competitive she is (which she gets from both her parents).

I love that Zeke seems to be a thinker/analyzer (I like to think he gets that from me).  He is very much a people-person…which is good if you’re going to fit into this family.  He, like his sister, seems to really enjoy having other people around.  Zeke is also very flexible/adaptable…he goes with the flow pretty well…again, an important trait to have in our family.

Angela – I love Sophia’s intuitiveness. She just knows certain things-can pick up on things that a person her age shouldn’t understand. I love that she likes to learn-asks questions. She’s reading now and it’s awesome to hear her read or try to spell something. Last thing, I love her smile. We were tubing together this past weekend and I hope to never forget the smile on her face. We were laughing and hanging on for dear life, and her face just beamed with happiness….until she said I was taking the fun out of it because I kept telling her to “hang on to that handle!”
Now Zeke….I haven’t known him as long so this will be shorter… I love having a son. There really is something about a little boy that melts a Mama’s heart. I love that he smiles so freely at people when they talk to him. I also love that he, at times, gives his father’s stoic look to new people. He seems to really study and take in what’s going on around him, but with a pretty light hearted, happy spirit.

Angela, tell us something about Chris we may not know. Chris, tell us something about Angela.

Christ – Believe it or not, Angela is actually a pretty pessimistic person.  She typically thinks that people don’t like her, even though she’s one of the easiest to like people you’ll ever meet.  It actually takes a lot for her to really trust someone likes her.  Ang is also pretty intuitive when it comes to people’s sincerity/genuineness.

Angela – He is really funny. It’s surprising at times. Chris is always so quiet or serious that you really wouldn’t expect a silly comment to come from him-so when it does you are usually caught off guard. And he is extremely caring. If he knows of a burden you are carrying he will pray for you and be consumed with this situation until he knows you have peace, or sees God working in the situation.

Bonus Question: Is there a website you’d like us to check out?

Chriswww.cmaresources.org That’s Church Multiplication Associates—they’ve got a lot of good articles and resources who are practitioners of what we (the Refuge) are trying to be.

Angela – I’m lame I admit it. I really have no cause I defend or issue I support…. but I really love this chicks music. JJ Heller-check her out!  http://www.jjheller.com/home.asphttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qon4vgyThRc&feature=related
Bonus Picture of Chris…

Volume 15

This  spotlight is on…

Barrett Hartley

Give us your full name, date of birth and place of birth.

Barrett Shane Hartley   Born:    May 7, 1982  Columbus, Indiana

What are you currently doing to earn a living?

Right now I work with my family at J. Hartley Co.  It is a printing shop founded by my grandfather James M. Hartley in 1937. After WWII he came back to his business and began engineering printing presses from machine parts, and still used them into the late 80’s.  If you’ve seen the Will Smith movie “Seven Pounds” (very sad) the Heidelberg press of Rosario Dawson’s that he fixes is almost identical to the letter-set press we still use today

Tell us what you’re in school for. What is your dream job after you graduate?

Currently I am in school working towards my B.S. in Math Education. Basically, it’s a math degree with a concentration in education. My dream job is to teach calculus in an Indy area high school. More than just teaching, I have a great passion for being a mentor and role model for underprivileged, mistreated, and neglected teens.

After you and Hannah get married she reveals to you that she’s secretly rich and didn’t tell you so she could trust you weren’t just after her money. As a reward for your undying love (and rugged good looks), she gives you $1,000,000 to use however you wish. What do you do with it?

Unfortunately, Hannah’s inheritance already went towards her seven years of student loans.  But, I would certainly use some for Hannah and I to travel throughout Europe, as this would be an awesome experience for only a small chunk of the change. Being debt-free would be a great way to start out our marriage. But honestly, I would love to see the community center become a reality, and so would do whatever I could to help it move forward. While there are certainly great needs to be met all over the world for the Kingdom, I feel that we must first look to the “mission fields” in our own backyards before sending money off overseas. So…

Rumor has it you’re a one-man band. What instruments do you play?

I play bass and six-string guitars, the piano, and can play drums if need be, though not all at once, which I guess is what I think of as a “one-man-band.” Admittedly I’m a bit rusty on the kit though.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

I remember having the worst ear infections as a toddler (I had to have tubes on two different occasions). I remember my Grandma and Grandpa Johnny coming over to be with me when mom (and dad) went to the hospital to have my younger brother, Tyler. I guess I would have been about 19 mos. old.

What have you learned about yourself from being in a relationship with Hannah?

I have learned that I am more O.C. than I originally thought. I’m extremely particular about how things must be organized etc., and so it is a challenge for me as Hannah and I move forward together.  However, the greatest thing I have learned truly is how loved I am, not only by Hannah, but through her I can’t help but fall more in love with our LORD also.  As for myself, I have learned just how much I have longed to be loved the way that our GOD and Hannah both love me.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Hmmm… I can throw some pretty nasty junk from the pitcher’s mound.  I will accept any challenge at table-tennis (it’s not “ping-pong”).  And all things culinary, musical, visual, and language arts.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a Christian?

For me, the hardest thing about being a Christian was summed up perfectly by RD two weeks ago.  I always feel inadequate and many times ineffective for the Kingdom. No matter what I do, I always feel like I should be and could be doing more. I have told myself that I need to focus on the positive implications of this self-perception. After all, I never want to get to the point where I feel that I can’t do anymore or be any more for GOD. And so, I aim to constantly seek The Holy Spirit in order to prepare myself daily for what GOD has prepared for me and prepared me for. As Yoda tells Luke in Empire, he was always looking elsewhere, his mind was never on where he was or what he was doing.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

Aside from the incredible welcome I have received, which I’m still not sure hasn’t just been an attempt to butter me up so that I wouldn’t “take” Hannah away once we’re married (just kidding!), I feel that as a HC we genuinely seek to engage one another in truth, and engage/invoke the Holy Spirit seeking our Father’s will for us in our community and The Body.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

Hmmmm… Maybe a little early for me to answer this one, but…I love it when we pray together for one another’s needs and for the need’s of others. I guess in this regard, “the more the merrier.”

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think of it?

The incredible things my nieces say and do!!!!  Seriously, it is amazing to see GOD use children in such a powerful way to impact people’s lives.

Is there a particular story or section of the bible that you can identify with?

I can definitely relate to Paul, specifically in his conversion on the road to Damascus.  A long story short, (which could be elaborated upon if anyone wants to know) Paul was blinded in order to see.  In His infinite wisdom and perfect plan, GOD put my life on a crash course where I would, like Paul, encounter Jesus Christ on my own “road to Damascus” in such a way that the truth was undeniable and overwhelming, “blinding” me so that I could see!  Hosanna!!!  Praise GOD and our LORD Jesus Christ, and for His Holy Spirit!!!!!!!!

Tell us 3 of your favorite movies.

Okay, first…easy:  Star Wars – I will leave it as the whole saga because there is not enough time or space here to debate the merits of each episode, and so to try and rank them or choose three would be ridiculous.

Two others:Equilibrium and Dark Knight (although I must say that Maggie Gyllenhall is a terrible actress!)  Sorry Baby!  Pride and Prejudice didn’t make the list…YET!

Outside of traffic violations, what was the last illegal thing you did?

Can I be pursued and prosecuted for answering this?  In my B.C. days, I used to rent DVD’s and burn a copy (for my personal collection ONLY!  I know it was still illegal, so thank you Father for forgiving me!) By the way, I have gotten rid of the last of these movies, so don’t try to come after me, please.

Bonus Question: If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Flying would be awesome, but as a soon to be married man maybe the ability to time travel would be nice considering all of the stupid things I am bound to say and do.

Volume 16

This Spotlight is on…

Brian Deakyne

Full Name, birthdate and place of birth.

Brian Jeffrey DeaKyne September 12, 1978   Lafayette,Indiana

Tell us a little about what you do for a living.

I am an audit manager for a CPA firm.  I have several different clients whom I oversea the completion of their audits.  In addition I am in charge of all the training at my firm.  Those are my major duties at work.

A famous movie director here’s about your family’s rendition of the Nativity scene and pays you $3,000,000 for the book and film rights. Do you keep your job? What do you do with the money?  

I think if I didn’t have my job I would get bored quickly.  I probably wouldn’t endure busy season hours anymore but other than that I don’t see a reason to quit my job.  I would probably give away a lot of the money.  I have come to the conclusion that a large sum of money at one time is not a good thing.

What is one of your earliest childhood memories?

I vaguely remember my brother Mike being born, I am 4 ½ years older than him.  Other than that I remember when my other brother dropped a chisel for splitting wood on my foot.  It hurt pretty bad and I still have the scar which helps with the memory.  Not sure how old I was.  Most of my earliest childhood memories involve my brothers some way.

Other than a traffic violation, what was the last illegal thing you did?

I don’t know, but probably trespassing of some sort.  I got in some big trouble with that in high school and know I have done it to a lesser degree since then.  All and all other than traffic violations I am a law abiding citizen, sorry to disappoint.

What is something being married to Lisa has taught you?

That I am naturally a selfish person and I have to really make an effort to put my wife first therefore I don’t do as often as I should.

Tell us one thing you love about each of your kids.

This is as of today and could change tomorrow.  Matt – I have really enjoyed watching him learn to read.  It is fun to watch the process click for him.  Katie – I would have to say her hugs, that girls hugs like she is trying to squeeze the breath out of you.  Jamie – Easy one, that I am her friend and she calls me “friend”, hopefully that will last 15 more years.  Nicholas – When he decides he is ready to go to sleep and tucks his arms in and buries his head and pretty much his whole body into you.  He also does it some when he is unsure of someone and is trying to hide from them.  His laugh is pretty good too, he has a reverse laugh where he laughs while inhaling instead of exhaling.

Looking forward, what part of the Training School are you the most excited about? Nervous about?

I am excited about being intentional with God and having space in my life to pursue him.  I probably haven’t had this much “space” since college.  I am also super excited that Lisa and I are doing it together.  Related to that because I (we) will be intentional with God he will have more of our attention to show us some things He might want to do or change in us.  Not knowing what that is can be nerve racking.

What is one misconception you think people have about you?

That I am an intense person.  When I tend to have an idea I go after it or let it be known and it can be offensive or abrasive at times.  I don’t mean to be but that is how I am perceived.  I like to call it passion, but I am probably just putting a positive light on something that at times is not so positive.

What is one thing you appreciate about our house church?

That you love me and my family and you accept us despite not being in the same life position as everyone else.  TheHouseChurchhas done an amazing job of showing and demonstrating that love to us and not just giving it lip service.  It means a lot to me that my children would rather hang out with the house church than their Nana and I know how much they love her.  Kids return love when they receive love so that is proof to me that you guys are really loving on us.

What is one thing you wish was different about our house church?

At times I wish there was a more natural relationship with some of the guys.  I don’t think this is reflection on the house church as much as a reflection on me as well.  There have been a handful of guys over my life that I have just had a natural connection with but I don’t think it has ever been in a house church setting.

What is something that makes you laugh every time you think of it?

The many things my kids do:  Matt’s Jack O Lantern smile, the way Katie plays with Nicholas, the way Jamie eats corn on the cob, and the way Nicholas tilts his head to the side randomly during dinner.

Any hidden talents or abilities?

I used to be able to dunk, but now I am in my thirties. I can juggle, but nothing sharp or on fire.  Everyone knows my mad thespian skills as the innkeeper so that isn’t hidden any longer.  I am certified in SCUBA but it isn’t very useful in Indiana.

Tell us something about Lisa that we may not know.

Lisa is very good when she is mad at not vocalizing her anger or sharing the mean thoughts in her head.  I know and appreciate this first hand as it is many times directed at me (and very much deserved) but arguments that we have are diffused much quicker because she is a lot better at this than I am.

If you could add or remove anything from the bible what would it be?

Shoot I don’t know, my pride would say add me to the bible, as long as it is something good or neutral.  Even if I were just one of those random names that Paul adds at the end of his letters or one of the random people in the genealogies, to be mentioned in the bible would be pretty cool.  Hey kids, that was your old man that Paul mentioned in that letter to the Romans.

Bonus Question: If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?

I would do my current job half the time and be a handyman the other half of the time.  I like doing work to my own home but lately it has been helping other people and I have enjoyed doing that as well.