Pottery, nonprofits and for-profit consulting. Exploring synergies between the three and ideology specific to each.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Large Corporate Potter?

Assuming that my pee-in-a-cup drug test comes out clean, I'll start as a Business Analyst for Target Corporation two weeks from today.

It may very well be one of the largest adjustments that I'll need to make in my short lifetime - shifting from a consulting firm that maxed out at 8 employees and finished at 3 to a corporate I.T. gig with a technology organization of somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 FTEs.

That said, I'm excited about the opportunity and look forward to working within the Pharmacy division of the organization and focusing on the Business Analyst skill set for awhile. I have loved the opportunity to wear many hats over the past 8 years in consulting, but am at a point where stability and routine has moved up the priority list for my little St Michael clan.

It was actually a great experience to have to make the decision - talking with each other, bringing our concerns to our God, and having Him unify us in the process. Can't ask for much more. Not to mention the other three organizations that graciously left the door open for future employment opportunities just in case something goes awry in the land of red.

I'll be spending much of the next two weeks making pots for a small backlog of commission requests and spending a few bucks on more corporate-esque clothing. ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mainstreet Family Services, Rogers, MN

The church I'm attending formed a nonprofit a few months back - here's the one-page placeholder we put up while they continue planning for a more robust web presence.

Based in Rogers, Mainstreet Family Services will be focused on leveraging a local church (aka, Main Street Station) building as a community center and will contain multiple nonprofits capable of serving the needs of local families. Good stuff.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sojourn Art Journal Arrives

Well... it took awhile, but my contributor's copy of Sojourn arrived today. I'm thinking the pieces lost a little when they were printed in black-n-white, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to be published at all. Not sure of the journal's circulation, but it is the 18th anniversary edition, so it's good to know it's been around for awhile.

The cover art caught me a little off guard, but hey, it's an Art Journal - I guess an eye-grabbing cover is pert-near obligatory...

First image consists of the front and back cover, second consists of pages 113 and 135 of the journal... Both of the pieces can be seen in Gallery 2 of my pottery site.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Empty Bowls 281 - Robbinsdale MN

The Empty Bowls 281 site is alive and kickin'... still a few tweaks to be done, but check it out if you so desire. It's a great little event to teach kids about poverty and raise funds for a worthwhile local nonprofit... check it out when you have the opportunity.

If you'd like to leverage the site design for your own Empty Bowls event, let me know - I'd be happy to share it with you. pba.

03.15.2008 - Update: the original link is now broken - here's a link to the site structure that was in place while I was developing it

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Your What Hurts? {Screamin' Yellow Zonkers}

The end of 2005 brought with it an opportunity to revisit times gone by with family friends from my youth.

The visit was quick, but it included an evening of exchanging gifts with family and friends, one late night yappin' about reconciliation and forgiveness, a visit to a sibling's garage to check out the progress on his '69 Harley, and an enjoyable lunch at Applebee's on our guest's way back out of town.

As part of the walk down memory lane, we downed several boxes of Screaming Yellow Zonkers - perhaps the finest sugar-infested glazed popcorn treat we've ever had - and listened to Crystal Blue Persuasion (Tommy James & the Shondells) waaay to loudly - this time via iTunes instead of the reel-to-reel that we originally heard it on in the 70's...

Ummm... Pete? What's your point?...

Can't say that I really have one. I just hope that you have family friends that can bring a smile to your face by merely existing. If you do, then give 'em a shout and let 'em know they still warm your heart - even if you haven't talked for years.

Take care. pba.

Pottery in Church?

Yup - you read correctly - pottery in church... I started the New Year on stage with my buddy Ben (aka, Pastor Ben @ Northridge Fellowship in Rogers, MN). We spent about 25 minutes or so exploring the potter/clay metaphor that is found in Jeremiah in hopes of giving attendees the opportunity to view their spiritual walks in a new way.

In short, we broke it down like so...

1. Throwin' - it's tough to throw a piece of pottery with extra-stiff clay or extremely soft clay. It's also next to impossible to make a piece if the clay isn't centered on the wheel. The spiritual walk is pretty much the same cup o' tea - our hearts can't be so hardened that we're not open to direction, nor can they be so pliable that we can be swayed with little effort - we need to be steadfast, centered, and balanced in our pursuit of our Maker.

2. Refinin' - alot of folks see a 'finished' piece on the wheel and think we're done. The time on the wheel represents about 10% of the commitment the piece requires. While the time on the wheel establishes the pieces basic form and function, it doesn't represent what it will one day be. The piece is set aside to firm up so that text can be imprinted and so that excess clay can be trimmed off and its final form established. Spiritually, refining can be a painful process. It's hard to be the clay as God trims away the things that are not of Him. We have the option of remaining fat-n-sassy, but we don't achieve the potential (or the beauty) that He has placed within us if we do.

3. Firin' - two firings with some glazing in between. 1800 and 2300 degrees respectively. Ouch babe. What struck both Ben and I about firing is the fact that, while the potter has a vision of what he or she is going for with a specific piece, the kiln can alter the final product in a heartbeat - place a piece in a cool spot or a hot spot and the outcome can be very different. While the spiritual metaphor breaks down a bit (God knows exACTly what He's going for with each of us), it is a good reminder that our preconceived notions are rarely God's exact vision for our lives. Being open to the surprises - both joyous and painful are what we're called to do - obedience and trust are the recurring themes...

So there you have it in a nutshell... another deep moment with Uncle Pete at the potter's wheel....