Thursday, December 31, 2009

12.31.09 - how to change your blog layout

A screen shot of what the old layout looked like...
(yes its off center, thats what happenes when the picture is to big for your layout)

A few people have asked how I changed my layout so here's what I did.

Pranne Loffer gave me this link this past summer after I asked her the same question.

For the new layout I'm using 900px as my outer wrapper and 900px as my main wrapper with no sidebar. Just mess with all of those numbers and see what each one does and see what you like.

Hope that helps? If not feel free to ask more questions and I will do what I can.

I changed the comment section so everyone should be able to comment now too. (you should try it out!)

Happy New Year!
JIM baker

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12.30.09 - just come home

I saw this video on Perry Noble's blog which was recommended to me by Justin Joyner at starbucks yesterday.

I went up to The Flip Side last night in Bemus to lead worship for the Camp Mission Meadows Staff Reunion. Their theme for the summer was "Now What?!" And 4 months after camp is over the theme really hits home. As I prepared for the time of ministry God led me to the story of the prodigal son.

Luke 15:11-24
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.

What great imagery into the character of God. God does not have his arms crossed, waiting to scold us when we return in repentance from our wandering, He leaps off the porch and runs towards us the moment we are in sight.

Secondly the son, says that he's no longer worthy to be called his son. The father's response? To give him everything that his son deserved, because no matter what this son did, the father KNEW that his son was still his son. I long for us to really know the extravagant love of the Father. And to know who we are as sons and daughters of the king of kings.

"Identity creates destiny" - Kris Vallaton

JIM baker

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12.29.09 - Robert Park... wow he did it.

taken at a Korean-American young adult missions conference 2007

If you don't know what I'm talking about... the article is here.

But basically Robert Park a 28 year old Korean America went into North Korea and was detained. "He did this to bring awareness to the situation in North Korea, alert the churches around the world to the atrocities and human rights violations — not pay lip service, and (to) do something about it," Benson said in Tucson. "Drastic situations call for drastic measures."

Well... you've got my attention. But... what do we do now?

I always knew koreans were crazy. Go to any 4am morning prayer meeting and you'll see. Crazy in a good way. Most of the time. :) I have some Korean-American friends that have done missions work in North Korea. They don't really talk about it much, like its no big deal.

I was thinking just the other day... where are the revolutionary leaders? Where are the people like Dr. Martin Luther King who had a dream and changed history? I don't feel like we've seen a leader like that since, maybe we have and I'm just ignorant to it.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

JIM baker

A quote from Hotel Rwanda.

I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.

Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

I think if people see this footage they'll say, "oh my God that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners.

Monday, December 28, 2009

12.28.09 - provision

jamestown audubon 2008

Matt 6:26 - Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Mark 8:14-21 read it in context here.
14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."

16They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."

17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Twelve," they replied.

20"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
They answered, "Seven."

21He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

* * * * *

Uh, Jesus... yeah... I guess I still don't understand.

I've seen your hand of provision over and over again. Radical miracles... crazy provision. The kind of stories that people put in books.

I knew you told me that I'd have a new camera to go to Africa with, but it just didn't look possible so I began to doubt. But in your PERFECT timing, you gave me a gift, something you knew I really wanted, to celebrate YOUR birthday.

Our financial situation looked BLEAK for 2010, but in your faithfulness, you are providing more than enough.

As a son of God, I don't live under the curse where I sow and do not reap.

I do not even live in sowing and reaping, where I solely reap what I sow.

I live in Your blessing, where Your GOODNESS is made known to me in every area of my life and as a GOOD father, YOU provide for me.*

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matt 6:33

JIM baker

*a Kris Vallaton teaching

12.28.09 - what the blog?!

a gift from my mother-in-law. it has a ball in it that lights up too.

Gary S Chapman tweeted recently a quote that he read in Collide Magazine.

"Use social media because you have something to say, not because you want to be heard."

When I met with Stanley Leary this past summer and we were talking about blogging and push/pull marketing, he said that a blog had to offer people something for people to keep coming back.

Michael Hyatt, whose blog I just started reading wrote a blog entitled "Do you make these 10 mistakes when you blog?" Lets just say if this was a pop quiz... I'd fail. You can see the cached version here since his site is under construction for the new year.

But I've been chewing on all of this, I redesigned the layout of the blog because I want to be a better blogger.

I'm not sure this is at all what Rick Rohlin, the pastor of the church I work at, had in mind when he asked me to start a blog, but this is the result of "Hey Jim, why don't you start a blog."

The only blogs I ever looked at before starting this blog were photography blogs. I guess I did read real live preacher before I was into photography blogs though. The other blogs I've done in the past both had to do with photography. Well over half the blogs I read are photography blogs.
(If you're an avid blog reader check out bloglines, I just set up an account yesterday and am loving it.)

The new layout visually sets it up to be a photography blog. But although a lot of the posts have had to do with photography, it can't be constrained to JUST that. Good blogging would force me to have a separate blog for photography and another blog for everything else, whatever everything else is. Not happening.

So do I blog because I have something to say or because I want to be heard? Google analytics says I had 1472 visits in the past 30 days. 548 of those visits were absolutely unique visits. So I guess people are reading. But that doesn't tell me why I'm writing.

If you're a regular on my blog, what do I offer you that you keep coming back? What are you coming here to see? What do you want to see more of in the future? And if you had to sum up the three things we write/post about what would those be?

(yes WE my wife did post for the first time this month, probably the best post on the whole blog)

Leave your thoughts in the comment section. If you're having problems leaving a comment try using a different internet browser, I know for a fact that firefox has problems with it. If you're a mac user download camino. Its made by mozilla FOR mac.

I don't think I'm ever going to be a good blogger. ;) This was WAY over 500 words.

JIM baker

Sunday, December 27, 2009

12.27.09 - trusty and FAITHFUL

Canon 20d with EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM

EF-S 60mm f2.8 USM and EF 70-200 f4 usm

I woke up to an e-mail Christmas eve saying that someone wanted to buy my photography equipment. An amazing gift because now I can upgrade to PRO gear before I go to Africa in one month.

But I wanted to dedicate a post to the gear that I've pretty much learned to shoot on. My trusty Canon 20d.

Seth and Jamie wanted me to shoot their wedding in 2006 so they fronted me the money to get the gear. At the time I bought the 20d, an EF 28-105 f3.5-4.5 USM II and the 580ex flash.

Its been to 5 other countries with me.


The picture of the 20d has the 10-22 attached. It's the lens that I shoot with most. I've actually realized lately that I'm really sick of the distortion that the super wide gives... but it did pretty good with landscapes. Below is a picture shot at 10mm.

Kailua Kona Hawaii 2008

The 60 was mainly used for portraits and macro stuff. And the 70-200 was used to ZOOM. I've had a couple of 50mm lenses in the past but didn't see the need for one if I had a 60 in my bag.

Its been cool to go and look at professional photographers websites and see that they started out shooting with the 20d too. David duChemin's ebook TEN has a picture on the first page that was taken with the 20d. I just read last night that Jasmine Star started out with a 20d. And one of our friends and supporters and professional photographer Rachel Barker started out with the 20d too.

I'll be sure to give a full update on the NEW gear when it gets here.
JIM baker

12.27.2009 - new blog layout

What REALLY seems to separate the boy blogs from the MAN blogs is simply LARGER pictures. So I moved some stuff around so I could accommodate larger pictures, got rid of the boring sidebar, and am using an awesome pic for our header of Jess and I by Pranne Loffer who was in my school of photography in 2008. Here's another pic that she took of us in Columbia South Carolina this past July. Are you guys digging the new layout? I am :)

JIM baker

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

12.22.09 - Christmas Newsletter!

Hey everyone, here is our Christmas Newsletter...
if you want a copy e-mailed to you so you can actually read it e-mail me requesting one

JIM and JESS baker :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12.20.2009 - Christmas and stuff

Jim and I watched this video clip the other day and I thought it was definitely worth sharing. Aside from the fact that it's an entertaining twist on the typical nativity play, it completely changed my outlook on the Christmas story as we picture it. It hit me when the angels came in... and notice the chorus keeps repeating "i've been waiting my whole life for this one night." I mean, how awesome is that? I have no idea how time works in heaven, but I am of the understanding that heavenly beings are at least aware of the passage of time here, and I bet they were up in heaven watching all of humanity waste away in our own sin and just waiting for the day when we would be redeemed, and then the day came!!! And think of the Jewish believers, the shepherds and even the wise men; all these people who have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of a savior who would bring them freedom. All that time waiting, hoping, and then finally to witness his arrival!

I think that sense of excitement is completely lost on us. I mean, we get jazzed about waiting a year - or more likely - about a month for Christmas morning to arrive and that's usually just so we can eat cookies and receive that expensive toy, phone, camera or whatever we've been wanting for the past six months. It's easy to miss really, because Jesus already came for us. We don't have to wait for anything. Which is actually probably for the best, as we all have short attention spans anymore anyways.

But these people were waiting for GENERATIONS... their WHOLE EXISTENCE for this one thing to happen! And when it does... can you even imagine the party in heaven?!? After all the build-up of excitement, the anticipation of joy... the celebration must have been unbelievable. I bet they danced their halos off. Literally. A completely unrestrained explosion of joy.
I'm all for reverence and honor and respect. But it's an absolute crime to miss out on the excitement of the celebration. Party on, world. Party on!

JESS baker

Friday, December 18, 2009

12.18.09 - Rick Rohlin's fam!

Rick, Sandie, Zachery and Jason all decided to get in on the deal too.



Brotherly love.

JIM baker

Monday, December 14, 2009

12.14.09 - Rohlin Family shoot

So Janie was one of the two people that took me up on my I'll do photography for your family in exchange for support towards our Africa trip deal.

The group shot went MUCH better than I had hoped, I was a little intimidated shooting a group of 14. I used a wingback chair (Stanley Leary
would be so proud) I used my 580ex fired through an umbrella at about 1/2 or 1/4 power triggered via my PW Plus II's. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to light the whole group of 14 with just one light, but I did. This was the biggest group portrait I've ever done and the family did a GREAT job.

Here's a pic of the kids.

Sidique, Jadenne, Rashad and Julie Fofana.

Mike, Lily, Meridith and Megan Rohlin.

Zachery, Rick, Sandie, and Jason Rohiln.

JIM baker

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12.09.09 - pirate duck



What would your life look like if you could stop trying to be something your not and just be yourself?

Be free to be who God created you to be.


JIM baker

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12.08.09 - patience, goodness, kindness

april 2008

God you're so patient. You are the best thing, yet you never force your goodness on anyone. You never demand the respect that You deserve. Why? Is that because you just want people to recognize your goodness on their own? To come to their own conclusion? I guess respect comes in its purist form when its given freely, and not done out of obligation and duty, guilt or coercion.

You were silent as they mocked you and crucified you. You even prayed forgive them father for they know not what they do. You are the king of kings and the lord of lords. You created man, and man tortured you to death.

You did it because you love us. You did it to expose our ugly sin, the depravity of our humanity without you.

God you loved us so much that you made a way for us to walk in relationship with you even though we messed it up. You are the initiator.

Help me to know this love better, and to love with this same love.

JIM baker

Saturday, December 5, 2009

12.05.09 - xmas traditions

some of our Christmas decorations on our mantle

It looks fine in this picture, but on our mantle it looks kind of sad, because the mantle is so big and the things on it are so small. It looks a lot better now that we super glued Joesph's head back on. I said we should probably go buy green army men to protect Jesus and that would make it better but I'm not sure Jess thought that was a good idea.

our advent calender that my parents made for us

While we were in MD over Thanksgiving my parents gave me our own advent calender. It was one of our family Christmas traditions growing up. To take turns each night reading scripture that told the Christmas story and then putting on one of the small ornaments on the tree.

As we were doing the readings that went along with the calender I heard Jess read this statement and I got really excited. :)

"Of the
increase of His government and peace there will be no end."
taken from Isaiah Chapter 9.
(italics mine)

I also heard Dwayne Roberts from IHOP (international house of PRAYER, not pancakes) preaching the other night and he said how sick he is of hearing how we should be "afraid" of radical Islam. He simply stated that our God is so much bigger. Yes and AMEN.

So how is God choosing to increase His government in the earth right now? Through His ambassadors. Do you know who those are?

You and me.

JIM baker

Thursday, December 3, 2009

12.03.09 - what's the point?!

part of my photostory assignment for School of Photography
Kailua-Kona Hawaii 2008

Dude... Christmas is in 22 days. Thats crazy.

Anyway, last monday at Higher Calling I encouraged the kids to ask themselves what is the point in every area of their life. And then ask themselves if the way they were living matched up with that purpose. The room got silent when I asked that about church. The kids got real honest too. It was good for them to just think and answer their own questions. Sometimes you simply have to present a question and let them draw their own conclusion.

At the beginning of the meeting we always share testimonies and two people shared how God had healed them in the past week miraculously. During worship I felt that God wanted to heal people that evening as well. So I went forward and I asked if people who had pain in their body to come forward for prayer.

I prayed for one student's back and asked him if he felt anything and he said no. I then reminded him that even Jesus had to pray twice for a blind man. (mark 8:22-26) So we prayed again and I asked him to test his back out and a grin came across his face as he was moving his back in ways that he could not before without pain.

I came up to another student an laid hands on him and asked him what was wrong, lower back he said. I prayed for him and asked him what he felt. He looked at me surprised and said as I prayed he felt heat running through his whole body and felt his back pop like fifteen times and the pain left.

Jess prayed for a girls ankle and felt tendons moving around as she prayed. She asked the girl if she was moving her ankle and the girl was like no, and she tested out her ankle and the pain was gone. The girl that just received that healing then prayed for another girl with a right ankle sprain that had kept her out of dance and that girl was moving around her ankle without pain and tears in her eyes surprised and grateful at what God had done.

It was interesting to me that it was two lower backs and two ankles that got healed that night. That there was almost a theme for what God was doing.

Christianity isn't boring when we're seeing God do supernatural things in our midst.

JIM baker

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12.02.09 - my life savings, and an update from from turkey day

shot to show texture, hard lighting off camera to left SOP Project 2008

So Jess and I went yesterday to empty out one of those large water jugs that you see in offices, the typical gossip water cooler. I started filling one up with pennies in 1995, for some reason at that age I thought if I saved enough change that someday it could be something that I could cash in if I ever needed it. Well we didn't cash it in because we needed the money we cashed it in because we needed the jug. We're going to use the jug to collect change at our church towards the Africa trip.

Anyway, after a lot of noise and having to have a bank teller come over to take change out of the machine because I filled it to capacity the Warren PA Northwest Savings bank gave me a whopping $49.95. That is 4,995 pennies. I guess I wasn't to aggressive in my saving for the past 14 years. :)

Anyway, thanksgiving was GREAT, we spent time in MD with my parents and got to see my sister, brother in law and niece as well. Ate a lot of Indian food, got caught up on rest, had a great prayer time with my parents.

Mike, Lindsey, Jeannie, Mom, Dad, me and Jess

Put in an 11 hour work day at the office today but they did feed me lunch and dinner so I'm not complaining. I'll update soon about some cool stuff that has been happening this week. If you think of it pray for me I've had a headache and body ache for about two weeks with no other symptoms. It's on and off... not sure what it is. Excederin migraine was the only thing that touched it.

JIM baker

Monday, November 30, 2009

11.30.09 - an offer you probably shouldn't resist

Seese Family - Columbia MD 2007

For a donation of $200 (tax deductible) towards our Africa Trip (click on link for more info) I will do family portraits for you for this year's christmas cards and christmas gifts. Final edited photos on cd, you print as many as you want.

Normal photoshoot usually $499
first TEN responders only
1 location, 1 outfit, up to 1 hour of photography, limited to 1 hour of travel from Jamestown NY
E-mail me
to see more of my portrait work click here

Blog readers get first dibs, if I don't get much of a response it's being opened up to everyone else.

JIM baker

p.s sorry for the lack of blog posts, I was traveling and I haven't felt that great, I'll try and get a blog update up soon

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11.24.09 - nuts and bolts and parking garages

oahu - 2009 (for some reason I love doing photography in parking garages)

We're headed to MD today for thanksgiving. My parents have sold the house I grew up in and moved into a two bedroom apartment. Should be interesting. Hopefully nothing like what happened last time on our way to baltimore will happen this time.

If you want to see the
sermon I preached yesterday you can watch it online for another couple of weeks. Or you can get the audio here.

Jess and I had dinner last night with
Tim and Aruna Swauger of Equip India over at Rick and Sandi's house. Aruna brought authentic home made Indian food and it was AMAZING. We met them to hear how our youth group could help their ministry. I will write soon more about their ministry, it's pretty amazing.

Aaron Reinard came and spoke last night to our youth and brought a message of Jesus constantly raising the bar in Matt 5-7. We had our students ask themselves where they were settling in life and where they needed to raise the bar.
That life isn't just about existing and hoping and waiting for the weekend.

Jihan Mora - Toronto Summer 2008

We're meeting up with Jihan Mora as soon as we get into MD to meet up for Indian Food at India Delight. I LOVE Indian food.

Thanks for the recent comments, make sure you check out the comment section after you leave a comment, I always try to respond.

JIM baker

Monday, November 23, 2009

11.23.09 - great day yesterday

haha thanks to jon barnes for the fun graphic

So yesterday was my birthday. I started out the morning by preaching at church which I think went really well. I shared my story with the church and preached a little bit about some things that were on my heart.

Then my wife and I, Sandi Walrod and Eric and Stacey Clark headed out to Erie to see The Blind Side which was seriously such an awesome movie. Then we went and ate indian food (which I LOVE) at the Raj Mahal.

Today my wife and I are going to get some home made Indian food at Pastor Rick's house and we're going to meet Aruna Swauger who works with Equip India.

And tonite Aaron Reinard is speaking to our youth.

A fun filled day.
JIM baker

p.s leave comments i LOVE THEM!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

11.21.09 - random thoughts from today

Natchez Trace - Sept 2008

Someone just commented on this picture of mine on my flickr. So I decided to share it with you all. And this brings me to my most recent predicament.

Someone else bought

I contacted him and asked him if I could buy it back since I've got thousands of business cards out... he said he just did a whole branding process with that domain name so no.

My flickr account and my gmail address for photography is all based around jimbakerphotography too.

I really think it just furthers the fact that I didn't move up here to western NY/PA to do photography. I moved up here to do ministry, so that needs to be my focus, completly.

I don't know why I get so touchy about not having that domain name anymore... for some reason it really really bothers me.

I do really love photography though.


In other news... I went out to lunch with Devone today a student from our youth group. We went to Bob Evans in Warren PA and as we were waiting in line to be seated three elderly white ladies kept looking back at us repeatedly. I guess it is a pretty uncommon to see an african american and an asian in the same place in Warren PA but do you really have to stare? Our hostess sat us without really saying anything to us, no "have a nice meal" or anything, maybe she was just having a bad day.

the flowers in b/w shot with the g11 and off camera flash

Devone and I went over to wal-mart to pick up my wife flowers and we noticed multiple people staring at us. Not just a look, but like a holding gaze. The cart boy on the way in and then on the way out an elderly gentleman kept staring at us, so I waved and smiled and said hello, he waved nervously and walked quickly out of sight.

Oh western PA.

I went to a high school that was 49% miniority so this is a bit of an adjustment for me.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm preaching. We're headed to Maryland on tuesday for thanksgiving.

Jess and I going to Erie tonite for a dinner date and movie. She loves Thai food so we're going to get thai and go see the movie "blindside".

JIM baker

Thursday, November 19, 2009

11.19.09 - "value creates obligation" - Dean Sherman

a Darrell Hill workshop that I took photos for inHawaii Jan 2009

This past sunday was the best church service I seriously have ever been in. It was so evident that God was in the room with us and so sweetly revealing His love. Pastor Rick preached a simple message about our worth and value because we were made in the image of God. He made a bold statement that I agree with that if you take out Genesis chapters 1-16 out of the bible (the creation story) then humans are stripped of their worth.

Simply put, we have value because we were made in the image of God, no other created thing was.

Rick taught about the value of art, and said that these three things make a piece of art valuable.

1. The ARTIST is what makes the piece of art valuable
2. The UNIQUENESS of the piece of art

He related this to us as humans. ALL humans are valuable because we were ALL created in the image of God and the artist who created us is pretty amazing. We are all so unique. And we were BOUGHT at a price, a very expensive price, the blood of Jesus.

These seem like such simple facts, but sit and dwell on them for a while and ask God to make them a reality.
JIM baker

Monday, November 16, 2009

11.16.09 - testing out the canon 100-400 lens

Shot at the Jamestown Audubon with the Canon 100-400L f4.5-5.6

I met my great Aunt Anita and Uncle Dave today at the Audubon before I went into work. I knew that my Uncle had recently purchased the 100-400L lens and I wanted to try it out because I am thinking about renting it when I go to Africa in January.

So here comes a bunch of photography talk... if you're not into gear talk just enjoy the pictures.

The first thing I noticed is that this lens is wicked heavy. Well three pounds isn't heavy, but it sure felt heavy when my heaviest lens is the 70-200F4 weighing in at half that, a whopping 1.6lbs.

The push pull instead of turn to zoom took a bit of getting used to but wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be. I didn't feel like I was getting very much contrast out of the lens but I just realized that it's because it was a cloudy day.

The lens wasn't super quick at focusing at all which was frustrating but I don't know if thats because I was shooting in relatively low light, or it had a much longer distance to hunt, or because of the not so fast aperture or all of those things.

To get shutter speeds fast enough when using this lens zoomed out to 400mm I had to have my ISO set at 800. Instantly I wished I had a full frame camera like the 5d Mark II or even the regular 5d that can pull off high ISO shots. Anyway even at iso 800 I still sometimes was in danger of getting to slow a shutter speed for the focal length but didn't dare kick it up to 1600. I just relied on the IS and fired in continuos. Luckily I doubt cloudy will be an issue while in Africa.

With just an hour of using it my review is this. It is a fun lens to play with and will it be useful in Africa. But it's not a lens I would keep in my bag for daily use. It's much more of a speciality lens for wildlife. So with a price-tag of $1610.00 I will not be buying this lens ever probably, but will be renting it if the need arises, like a safari in Africa :)

JIM baker

Sunday, November 15, 2009

11.15.09 - office pic and mini sandbox/sand garden

my office

We had an awesome church service today (i will blog about it later today) and two of the staff from camp mission meadows where I worked for part of this summer came to our church and visited and I went out to lunch with them after and had a great conversation.

I decided to come back and unpack my office since there was still two large boxes that need to be unpacked that have been here in the church since August. I decided it was probably time to do that huh?

One of the boxes was stuff that I had in my last office which I haven't touched for almost two years. In it was this "zen garden." I worked at a high school in Maryland as the alternative education assistant and worked with all of the at risk kids, mostly supervising in school suspension. My supervisor had one in her office that I often made fun of it but found myself always playing in it, so she bought me one for Christmas. She said she had it in there so that kids could come in and just chill out. Playing in the sand with the little tiny rakes is actually quite relaxing.

So I'm redeeming it... we'll now call it a prayer garden or something and rebuke the zen part. But I wanted to tell you why I had it in my office. No I'm not into zen... and no I don't just have it cause I'm asian... haha. Here's an open invitation to anyone to come hang out in my office with me when I'm here and try relaxing with the... eh, lets just call it a sandbox.

Also we're gonna repaint it and get rid of this obscene border too... I'm thinking grey to match the blog what do you think?

JIM baker

Saturday, November 14, 2009

11.14.09 - productive day!

tonight's dinner

Even though when Jess is away I burn things in the microwave I can cook. Well if you count sauteing up some chicken and then pouring a jar of pre-made tiki masala sauce over it and simmering it and then throwing it on whole wheat pasta that was already in the fridge. Whatever...

Sent in Jess' passport renewal application so it will be under her married name. Cost me like $150+ grrrr. I guess these are the times where I have to really TRUST in God's provision. I feel like peoples natural generosity has already been stretched, which makes me realize that maybe I've just trusting in that and not God.

Picked up some toiletries for work. I find myself getting back to the office often and wanting/needing to brush my teeth after a meal or something. So I picked up some stuff to keep at the office.

Washed and waxed Jess' car, rain-x'd the windows too. I feel like I've cleaned our drinking glasses like a million times cause they never seem to look clean. Does anyone else have that problem with Jamestown water?

anyway, thats it.
JIM baker

Friday, November 13, 2009

11.13.09 - crazzzy day

R.I.P Moscow
(1997 - 2009)

Today has been crazy, setting things on fire in my microwave, being chased down by some guy who cornered me in a store just to tell me I couldn't turn right on red in a school zone, and my cat had to be put down today. It was getting mean, and my parents are moving. (the comments section is not for an animal rights discussion so please keep those comments to yourself, they will be deleted)

I miss jess. Luckily cell phones keep us in pretty good contact. She got knocked over today by a kid when they were doing ministry in a children's cerebral palsy home, everyone is fine though. They did evangelism on the ferry last night and have been receiving some training as well. Hoping that tomorrow will be a bit more productive and a little less crazy for me.

JIM baker

11.13.09 - flaming buttery garlic epic fail

taken with my iphone

Sooo... jess is out of town and I was heating up some left over pizza for lunch and I love little caesars butter garlic dip so I threw that on the plate too since it had congealed in the fridge...

I poke 1 minute on the microwave and walk away and hear all this popping, I turn around and open the microwave to see the dipping sauce in flames...

I stood there for a second thinking this will make a great blog post, I somehow wanted to tie in something someone said earlier this week to my blog and this will be great, and I should really put a battery in my smoke alarm and then it dawned on me... I should blow this out. Four giant huffs and puffs later with ashes flying all over the microwave and no more flaming butter garlic dipping sauce.

I just put a battery in our smoke alarm, (Here's a friendly reminder to GO TEST YOUR BATTERIES RIGHT NOW TOO) and wrote little caesars telling them what happened and told them that they might be able to save themselves a lawsuit if they put "do not microwave" on the dipping sauces. It really never dawned on me that the lid would have foil on it... its not readily evident.

I might write about what I thought this blog post inspired later but I try to keep these short since technology has ruined all of our attention spans. ;)

JIM baker

Thursday, November 12, 2009

11.12.09 - history, how is the story being told?

a gift from jon barnes, he thought it was cool to own something that was made in the 1800s. I took pictures of it to show texture by using off camera lighting.

The words in the pictures of the book have nothing to do with the topic of this blog. I'm sitting in the back of our Thursday night service listening to Mike Rohlin teach about the history of thanksgiving. History is cool, I wish I would have paid more attention to it in school. There is such a need for TRUTH in our history. For some reason I combined thanksgiving and the pilgrams with Columbus even though it was 2 centuries apart. I'm glad I came out tonite to hear Mike teach.

I went and taught at IMPACT today at Southwestern High School, a group of ninth and tenth graders get together during the lunch period with some local youth pastors. We did some worship and then I just brought a simple message of God's love to them.

When I checked in at the school the secretary asked me if I was just in the paper.

The church submitted a press release that Jess actually wrote originally, to the two local papers, its interesting to me how they were edited.

Jamestown's paper.
Warren's paper.

The original can be seen on our church's website.

I always thought if you wrote one number you wrote the other... I guess not...

Jess left for NYC today... its our first time apart for this long. She will return tuesday night.

JIM baker

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11.10.09 - not a whole lot to say

feb 2009 - kailua kona hawaii

so lets hear from you, what is God saying to you through this picture that I took on a morning walk one day, earlier this year in Hawaii? Spend some time and ask God what He wants to speak to you through this picture then share it with us!

To comment click on the upper left hand of this post where it says a number and comment. Then scroll down and type your comment in the comment box. Click on the drop down box that says "comment as" and pick name/url and type in your name and website if you have one (if not leave it blank) and then click continue. Then click post comment.

Looking forward to your responses.
JIM baker

Sunday, November 8, 2009

11.08.09 - more on boredom and a not so boring conversations with my wife

one of my 365's while I was in Kona

I woke up today after my ritual sunday afternoon nap and just found myself bored. I found it ironic since I've been writing a bit about boredom lately. Justin posted a comment on one of the last posts saying boredom is an inability to rest. My boredom today was rooted in that very thing, I felt like I needed to be doing something, but had no desire to do what I needed to do. But there was an internal struggle because I felt like I needed to be doing something.

My wife and I had an awesome conversation tonight about literature. My wife is an english major and she's reading a book right now and I asked her how it was. She dived into an answer that I didn't expect, she started talking about the narrative voice and how its written differently. These are things I would never even consider.

I asked what she thought about some authors that we both know Francine Rivers and Donald Miller, she talked about them as writers and it moved us into a discussion about poetry. She showed me a paper she wrote in college which dissected a Emily Dickinson poem. She handed me the poem first and told me that I had to read it. I glanced over the poem and thought to myself well that's nice. And then I read her paper, and a whole new world opened up because she pointed out things that I didn't even know to look for.

It made me marvel a bit at the intention of a few words. That the author took the time to say so much with so little. Intentional. Being intentional takes time, it takes rest, it takes processing. Maybe it even takes being bored from time to time. I want to get back to a place where I live intentionally and take things in and processing them. I want to walk through life not run.

JIM baker

Friday, November 6, 2009

11.06.09 - I LOVE Indian food

indian food from house of india in columbia md

Not the prettiest pic at all, but it is my most viewed picture on flickr.

Tonite Jess and I are going to Buffalo to meet up with some of her friends from Rochester. We're going to try out Taste of India and I'm really excited because I absolutely LOVE Indian food.

The nearest Indian restaurant for us is all the way in Erie, its called Raj Mahal. It's worth the drive though.

In Columbia MD there is a new Indian restaurant that opened and the owner knows Jess and I because when we were there this summer we went there three days in a row. Last week we were in MD and Dave the owner greeted us and said that he hadn't seen us in a while. It's called India Delight.

Anyway my favorite dish is chicken tikka masala.

Got thoughts on Indian food? Leave em in the comment section!

JIM baker

Thursday, November 5, 2009

11.05.09 - serve the thing that shines

teapot 2007

I have the privilege of joining up with some of the other warren PA youth pastors for breakfast every first wednesday of the month at the plaza restaurant. The waitresses know the group well since they've been meeting for something like ten years, and the waitresses love spilling coffee all over the table when they pour it. But they keep your cup filled, I think I'm still awake now at almost 2am because of it.

Anyway I shared about what I wrote in my last post about my students being bored and Pastor J pointed out that the students we work with are so used to effortlessly being spoon fed new things every two seconds, if things aren't new, or it takes effort it automatically become boring. Hmm...

Jon Barnes, a former Maryland youth pastor and personal mentor, talked about this negative effect of modern technology which inspired a blog that I posted somewhere else probably a couple years ago. I might repost it here if someone asks nicely.

I'm not really saying anything here, I guess I'm just asking how do we engage and teach in this culture?

I don't think its an age thing, I think its an effect of microwaves and high speed internet which feeds our instant gratification and need for new. I find myself right now really bored with something trivial like my profile picture. I think I had more of a variety of pictures when I used to 365.

Anyway, not sure if this makes sense its 2am I need to go to sleep. Got thoughts on this? Leave em in the comment section.
JIM baker

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

11.03.09 - boring christianity

Model - Sophia Dorozio - Kona Hawaii 2008

Last night we were reviewing what Corey had talked about the week before at Higher Calling. Cages that hold us back from what the Holy Spirit wants to do.

One of our students said something to the effect of

"I think we're just bored with the stagnant routine."

I asked them to be honest and raise their hand if they were bored with their Christian walk. Almost every hand was raised.

I asked them if they thought the early church was bored.

They snickered and said no way, they were like healing people and stuff...

Maybe its good that our youth have gotten bored with stagnant Christianity.

One of the biggest things I took away from the conference we just went to is this...

Rivers FLOW and if water is just being poured in and its not flowing out then it becomes dead and stagnant.

What if when Jesus said "ALL authority has been given to me...therefore go..." He really meant it... and we were really suppose to live that way.

Bill Johnson said this at the conference...

"Its hard to have the fruit of the early church when we honor a book they did not have more than the holy spirit which they fully relied on "

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
JIM baker

11.03.09 - wow november is here... and my car is dead, but jansport is amazing!

So... we got the official verdict on the car today... "Play taps" said Brian Adelgren when I asked him how the car was... the whole lower part of the engine is gone and its not worth replacing. Not sure what we're going to do, just trusting God. I am very grateful to the Paterni family who gave me this car in April of this year. In 7 months Jess and I put 30,000 miles on it.

In other news... JANSPORT is AMAZING. I remember buying a jansport backpack because my sister had one when we were both in school. I remembered her saying it was an awesome deal because it had a lifetime warranty even though it was more expensive than other backpacks. Well this backpack has been EVERYWHERE with me but the zipper broke recently so I decided to take them up on their lifetime warranty. I mailed it in and it came back with a new BUFF zipper, you can see in comparison to the other zipper on the backpack. I just love companies that really take care of you.

JIM baker