Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas, Have Some Garlic

I suck at posting. But here's a little something for you to enjoy this holiday season.

Check out that wrist action.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holiday Spirit?

Thanksgiving is coming up in just a few days, but we've been hearing Christmas music and even seeing Christmas decorations go up all month long. It's hard to believe that "the holidays" are here again, it seems like they come faster each year. Christmas and Thanksgiving have always been my favorite holidays. There's nothing quite like that "holiday spirit" that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's a shame it takes a holiday to get you in that mood. 

I was driving in my car recently and of course Christmas music was on the radio. The same songs they play year after year, sung by the same artists. I love Christmas music, even before Thanksgiving, but listening to it this year, I realize that the music doesn't have the magic it once did. It doesn't get me "in the spirit." The more I reflected on this, the more I came to realize that the holidays don't really have the same magic they once seemed to have. As a kid you start thinking of Santa Claus and all the gifts you'll get and everyone being in a really good mood and it just makes you happy. But something about getting older makes that magic fade a little bit, kinda like when you go to Disney World as an adult. The holidays begin to "sneak up on you" and before you know it you're making comments like "Wow, is it Christmas already? Where has the year gone?" -- typical "adult" comment. The holidays can even seem like a burden or something you have to "get through." 

This is still my favorite time of year, but for different reasons than it used to be. Now I look forward to the holidays because it brings the family together and you get tons of great food. Starting with Thanksgiving, my family begins what I've come to call a "holiday marathon" of parties, get-togethers, and just lots and lots of eating. I'm blessed to have a close family that genuinely enjoys being together often. Our favorite holiday activities include arriving late, eating, eating more, taking a group nap, eating more, then sitting around the living room talking about anything you can imagine. Then we do it all again the next day, and on like that for about a week or so. 

And of course I'm able to better understand and really take in the significance of Christ's birth, which is what we really should be celebrating. My favorite Christmas song is "I Celebrate the Day" by Relient K. I think it best sums up how I feel about this time of year:

Here's to friends and family, good food, and a real reason to celebrate!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Behold, Ye Christmas Tree

I made this is in Illustrator today, thanks to an online tutorial.

I'm amazed at my own awesomeness.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why I'm Not a Graphic Designer

Recently I discovered that camp owns copies of Adobe Illustrator, PhotoShop, Indesign, and all that neat stuff. I was really excited to find out about it, because deep down inside I've always seen myself as an amazing graphic a Brian Turney or something. OK, not really. But I did download all the programs on my work computer with visions of me creating some amazing pieces of digital art.

The reality is, I can't even get the spacing right on MS Word documents. What made me think I could master Adobe all by myself? I'm not sure, but I have definitely tried. In fact, I'd say I've wasted approximately 20 hours at work clicking aimlessly around Adobe programs. Maybe more than that.

But my attempts are futile, and I have yet to produce even a square with a shadow on it. That's why I invested in some books that should teach me the basics. They are currently being shipped, and I will soon know if I wasted 40 bucks.

Graphic designers of the world, I salute thee.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

(Business) Relationships

I think this may be the first serious post I've done in which I actually sort through some thoughts.

As a camp director, I find myself riding the line between business and ministry quite often. We're a ministry, so we want everything we do to be in the spirit of servanthood and to the glory of God. But we are also a business, and at the end of the day, we have to pay the bills to keep the lights on. Problems arise when the line between ministry and business aren't so well defined.

For example, one of my primary responsibilities is booking and hosting retreats. Easy enough, right? Not always. The majority of the groups who retreat at Camp Oak Hill are ministries themselves. Every day I receive calls from people interested in having a retreat at Oak Hill. Great! But these conversations are often awkward for me when I have to list rates and policies. Most of the time there aren't any problems, but every once in a while you get someone who wants to negotiate, or tell me that the rates are too high, or they want a deal because they are a ministry, too. As a fellow Christian, I want to help my brothers and sisters out and give them a quality experience at camp for the best possible price. But the reality is, there just isn't too much room for negotiation. The prices have been set because that is what it costs to operate.

This may seem like no big deal, but it bugs me. I'm all about relationships. But I'm finding in my current positition that I have to sometimes sacrifice a relationship for business, and this troubles me. If I give everyone a deal, I'll have great relationships with everyone. But at the end of the year, what do I say when we look at our budget and realize we didn't make it? Were the relationships worth it?

Currently I'm in a situation where I have to decide if its worth it to sacrifice a long-standing relationship with someone for the sake of business. The business side of me says we should go with whats cheaper. The relationship side of me says it'd' be a slap in the face to end our current relationship. So what do I do?

Business and ministry. An awkward partnership.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mister George: A Tribute

You came with surprise

what a wonderful gift

We were down to the wire

but our spirits did you lift.

Blue and white stripes

what beauty, what color

We knew without a doubt

we were meant for eachother.

Oh, how we loved you

your comfortable seats

And your bed in the back

on which we oft did sleep.

Though old, you had spirit

surprisingly low mileage, too

we always knew in tough times

that you would pull us through.

You never complained

But with determination pushed on

Even when you were in the shop

your energy was never gone.

Over mountains and through valleys

across land til we reached the sea

How could we have known

What fond memories there would be.

We will never forget you

though the years pass us by

with fond remembrance

we recall why:

In the summer of '06

'round this great country did we drive

In you, Mister George

Having the time of our lives.

In the fall of 2006, Mister George was donated to Wheels4Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides families in need with a reliable vehicle. It was thought that Mister George would never be seen again.

But alas, on October 30, 2008, for the first time in nearly 2 years, Mister George was spotted on South Saunders Street in Raleigh.

Here's to you, Mister George. Still pressin' on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Avett Brothers

Apparently the Avett Brothers have been around for a while, but I was just introduced to them this weekend. The following song is one of the prettiest I've ever heard.

Ah, music from the soul, for the soul. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I want to learn to play.

Watch it all the way through. And smile.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am a camp director by profession. One of my primary responsibilities at this time of year is to book retreats. This means that retreat inquiries come through me. Groups, usually Christian, call and are interested in holding their retreat at the good ol' COH. I'm new, but I've been told that sometimes we get some strange calls. Well, today I received my first strange call. Here is the condensed version of the call:

Caller: Hi, my name is John and I'm from a Unitarian church in Morrisville and I'm interested in having a retreat in January.

Me: OK, about how many people will you have?

John: 45-60. Do you have accommodations for couples?

Me: No, sorry. We have cabin-style housing with bunk beds.

John: Is there a policy against couples sleeping together in cabins?

Me: Yes. We separate men and women.

John: Oh, OK.

[I tell him more about camp and what we offer, he interupts:]

John: Well, I guess there's one other thing. See, we're a Unitarian church, and we're having a couples retreat. 10-12 couples will be gay or lesbian. Is that a problem?

Me: [caught off guard] Uh, um. Well. I tell ya what, let me get back to you after I talk to my boss.

John: OK, sounds great. Thanks.

[end of call]

I proceed to tell everyone in the office about my strange call. I don't know what to do.

Long story short: My good friend HUFF in Indiana was playin' a prank on me. But the whole office was in on it and they thought it was hilarious.

I must admit, I got punk'd.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


ma - li - cious : given to, marked by, or arising from malice

ma - lice : desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another; intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse

I just learned that the good folks over at Facebook have identified my blog as malicious. Given that the only public link to this blog is through Facebook, I applaud you if you have made it this far. Facebook won't even give you the option to click on the link and continue to this site. 

Do you feel harmed yet? 

I'm not sure why, but I'm just gonna guess it has something to do with "b-ho" being in the title. I dunno, does that sound dirty? Maybe so. I've never really thought about it. 

Facebook, I salute you. 

The following website has been identified as malicious:

The link you have clicked has been identified by Facebook as a malicious web site. For the safety and privacy of your Facebook account, we strongly suggest you avoid visiting this address.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


So last Friday I was merging on to I-40 on my way home from good ol' Chapel Hill, and the oddest thing happened. I turned on my blinker to merge, and my car cut off. Let me say that again. My car cut off when I turned on my blinker. Didn't even die, just cut off.

Now, I've had many a car problem in my day, but this one is definitely the oddest. How a blinker turns off your car, I'll never know. Actually I do know, because I just had it towed to the dealership to get fixed. Apparently a switch in the steering column connects all kinds of things, like your turn signal and your starter and breaks and everything else. Who knew? So for a mere $400, I can now start my car.

These car problems got me thinking. It's about time to be an offical adult and buy a car. A dependable, reliable, don't-have-to-get-it-fixed-every-month car. So thats my plan. How I'll pay for it or what I'll actually get, I dunno. But this is what I want:

Keep dreamin', Brian...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Josh Wilson

Just discovered this guy, you should buy his album. I really like this song:

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I like books. I even enjoy reading them. The problem is that I have a hard time finishing them. I think I might have book ADD. 

Sometimes I wonder if I like the idea of having books more than reading books. I tend to buy a group of books, then they sit on my shelf and look pretty. 

I find that I have to be in the right mood to read, and my mood often determines what kind of book I want to read. Given that my moods change from time to time, its hard to stick with one book. When I'm feeling contemplative or reflective, I want to read something that makes me think. When I'm feeling bored, I want to read something that entertains me. When I'm feeling spiritual, I want to read about religion. When I'm feeling philosophical, well, I want to read philosophy. 

The last book I actually completed was Intimacy by Henri Nouwen. I enjoyed it. Most of it, anyway. It combines a lot of psychology with spirituality, both things I'm a big fan of. I also read and finished In the Name of Jesus by Nouwen in one day. I recently started a memoir called The Glass Castle, which was given to me over a year ago. Its entertaining so far, but I haven't gotten hooked on it. I think the last book I read that I was hooked on was Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. GREAT book. Read it. 

These books I've started over the past few months, but haven't finished:

American Jesus by Stephen Prothero (Religion/Academic)
The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg (Memoir)
Running on Empty by Phil Anderson (Spirituality)
Generation Me by  Jean Twenge (Sociology/Academic)
The Trial by Franz Kafka (Fiction/Literature)
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (Memoir)

Books I bought recently but haven't opened:

The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll (Religion/Academic)
UnChristian by David Kinnaman (Religion/Culture)

Books I want to buy and (eventually) read:

The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
More stuff by Henri Nouwen

Monday, September 29, 2008


I spent the majority of last week at camp, which meant I had a lot of time to myself. What struck me while I was there is how quickly the seasons are changing. It was pretty cold there for a few days, it almost seemed unnatural, or maybe just abrupt. It reminded me of how quickly life changes. 

I was feeling a bit nostalgic there by myself. It finally hit me that summer is over. The kids are gone, the staff are gone, the people and things that make camp "camp" are gone. And a new season is being ushered in...retreat season. Quite different than summer camp season. But great in its own way. 

I love Fall. Its probably my favorite season. I guess it reminds me that things have to die to be made new again, and sometimes there's beauty in the dying. 

*photo courtesy of Megan Cates, a "baller" photographer. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Camp can be tiring, but things like this remind me why I love it.

This picture if from the summer. The one this evening was even better.

I love Fall.

Monday, September 22, 2008


If I could take on person in the world to dinner (or lunch, whichever is less awkward), it would be Jon Foreman. He is hands down my favorite musician. The man has a gift for writing songs. His lyrics often capture the way I see and feel the world. I'm tempted to ramble on and on about his lyrics and music and everything else, but that might make me an obsessive fan. So just go to and buy the 4 EPs (it's only $20). Best decision you'll ever make.

While we're at it, listen to this song that I just discovered. It's called "Sorrow," and while Jon Foreman didn't write it (it's originally by Bad Religion), something about how he sings it is just beautiful. Don't let the title fool you, its a song about hope.

Every single one of Jon Foreman's songs deserves its own post. You'll see more in the future.


You would think that creating a blog and giving it a name would be easy. It is, actually. Unless you want to customize it. In the event that you actually want your blog to look unique, you have to pretty much learn HTML and go through hours of painstaking attention to detail, along with quite a bit of trial and error, to get it almost close to what you had initially wanted. So here we are. I hope you like my tree. If you don't, lie.

You'd also think it would be easy to get the URL that you want for your blog. For example, if you call your blog "The Mind of Brian," it would be great if the site address was "" But of course that name has to be taken. And who took it? Our friend Brian over at Head on over and check it out. Leave a comment, even. While you're at it, check out Another winner.

So here we are. Thanks to my good friend Glenn, I happen to have a nickname that, when applied to blogger URL, happens to not be taken. Who knew? Gotta love nicknames. My nickname happens to be a ingenious combination of the first letter of my first name, and the first two letters of my last name.

Glenn, I salute you.

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