Time For a Change

August 5, 2011

Well, it’s with both sadness and excitement that I write this. I’ve been procrastinating composing this post for a couple of weeks now, but as I sit here watching the movers load my stuff into the moving van, I realize I can’t put it off any longer. Yes, I’m moving, and it’s not just across town. I’m headed to beautiful Carlsbad, California in North San Diego County! Making the move less difficult is the knowledge that I’m planning on being back in Vegas about every 3 weekends to continue to serve at Central Christian. In fact, I already have a plane ticket back for August 27/28 weekend!

So where am I going? I need to give you a quick history lesson first. In 2005 before I moved to Las Vegas, I co-founded planningcenteronline.com with my friend Jeff Berg, who I met at my last church. Planning Center is an online worship planning & scheduling tool that we developed from scratch to help churches of all sizes stay or get organized. Over the last 5 years Planning Center has become a huge product used by thousands of churches and over a million people all over the world!

For the first 4 years Planning Center was in existence, I was a “contract” worker. I went to conferences to exhibit the product, I made video tutorials, I helped Jeff design and implement new features and I helped answer customer support. Because it was still growing, I was able to do most of the things I wanted to do without sacrificing my full-time music position at Central. But because of our growth, eventually it came to a point where we needed a full-time Product Manager. I really wasn’t willing to have someone else take over the job I had been doing and helped pioneer, so after some prayerful consideration, I decided to shift my jobs. As of January 2011, I have been the full-time Product Manager for Planning Center and I have been a “contract” worker for Central.

It’s been pretty difficult working full-time for a company who is located in another state. Central was gracious enough to let me keep my office, so many days I could work with other people at the church, but since the Worship Department is generally not at church on Mondays and Fridays, I worked by myself from home. During the summer as most people have been on vacation, I’ve been working at home a lot more.

When I took the job at Planning Center, they were planning on relocating from the Palm Springs area to the San Diego area. It is pretty difficult to try and recruit talented programmers and other technical people to a retirement community, so to help continue our growth, we chose the San Diego area. The plan was to relocate sometime in the summer of 2012, but when we found a great building for a great price much sooner, we decided to move ahead a whole year earlier than planned.

Construction on the interior of the building began early this year and is set to be completed this coming Monday, August 8th. I wasn’t sure when I would move, but about a month ago I started looking for a new place to live. After looking at many apartments I took a chance and looked at a privately owned townhome that I loved. The owners are a great Christian couple who will be living one neighborhood away and wanted someone to move in…..August 8th. I decided I really wanted to be in the new Planning Center building on day 1, so I signed my lease at the townhouse and started to get ready to move 3 weeks later.

So after the movers are done today, I’m going to a “See Ya Later” party my friends are throwing for me tonight. Then I’ll be at church this weekend, and drive out to California to start my new life on Monday morning. Did I mention that my parents and 2 brothers will only be an hour away? Plus I’ll be moving much closer to many of my college friends and I’m looking forward to seeing them more often.

I have absolutely loved my time in Las Vegas. In fact, I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my entire life! I’m made wonderful friends, found an amazing church family, and I’m sad I won’t be around that as much. But at the same time, I know that I plan on coming back frequently, so it’s not really goodbye!

Dropped Calls & Restaurants – Aaron’s Aautomobile Aadventures

August 22, 2010

Carwash – Aaron’s Aautomobile Aadventures

August 9, 2010

5 Octaves – Aaron’s Aautomobile Aadventures

July 19, 2010

Aaron’s Automobile Adventures – DollarTree

June 30, 2010

(I’m looking back and forth in the beginning because I’m backing out of my parking spot and I couldn’t see very well. I’m not trying to crack my neck or inventing a new dance move.)

Driving Video Blog

June 28, 2010

Starring in Someone Else’s Story

January 18, 2010

Well, the Golden Globes are on tonight, and even though I’m a huge entertainment junkie, I’m not sure if I’ll watch them or not. Okay, strike that. I wanted to make sure I had my facts straight, so I checked to see if they are in fact on tonight, and lo and behold, they’re now playing on my TV as I write this post. Horror of horrors! A commercial just came on and I can’t fast forward through it! Oh, live TV how I haven’t missed you. But I digress.

Two of the award categories are Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress. These awards are given for excellence in portraying a character that isn’t the protagonist, but who is very often pivotal to the story. Who would Batman be, for instance, without the Joker (Oscar for best Supporting Actor, Heath Ledger)? Or what was the most memorable line (aside from “You had me at hello”) from Jerry Maguire? That would be “Show me the money!” spoken by Cuba Gooding, Jr. who also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. But as much as I like my pop culture, it’s not actually what this post is about.

I’m currently reading through Genesis in my devotional time and was reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac. Let’s see if I can summarize this a little. Abraham & Sarah desperately wanted a child. God promised them a child, but made them wait a ridiculously long time for it, until it was laughable when it finally happened because of their old age. After their son Isaac was older, God told Abraham to kill Isaac to test Abraham’s devotion. At the last minute, after Abraham proved he would obey God no matter what, God told him not to go through with it.

So obviously Abraham wins the award for Most Devoted Christian in an Attempted Slaughtering, but I’ve always been interested in Isaac’s perspective here. As they approached the mountain where the sacrifice was to be made, Isaac asked what they were going to sacrifice, to which Abraham replied, God will provide. Nice answer, Abe, you’re off the hook for now. But what about when they reached the top of the mountain and Abraham finally revealed to Isaac what was really going down? I wish I knew what happened there!

Did Abraham tell Isaac just to trust him and God? Did Isaac willingly lay down on the altar and close his eyes as his father went in for the fatal blow? Did Isaac freak out, forcing Abraham to physically restrain him? Maybe Abraham tricked Isaac. “Hey, son. Wouldn’t it be funny to pretend YOU are the sacrifice? [nervous laughter] Let me tie you up and put you on the altar, take a picture with my phone and post it on Facebook! Oh yeah, this will be hilarious!”

However it happened, Isaac was ultimately saved. In this particular story, he was the supporting character, but later on gets to be the star of his own stories. Yes, Abraham had to be willing to kill his son, but Isaac was the close-call cadaver! It’s gotta be tough to be somewhat of a prop in the lesson God is teaching someone else.

It makes me think of the times I’ve been the supporting character in someone else’s story. Except to be honest with you, I can’t really think of that many. Not that it hasn’t happened, but I’m usually a little too self-centered to be able to instinctively think of it as someone else’s story, or God’s story, for that matter. Instead, I’m usually left stupefied or frustrated that I can’t see the Director’s vision, compounded by my cluelessness that I’m not even the star!

Even when I might be a supporting player in a story where I might never see the big picture, there’s usually a lesson or two I need to learn along the way. My lesson for tonight? The Golden Globes are much better as a secondary character to this blog post than they were as primary entertainment.

The Day I Got My Parade

November 10, 2009

So any of you who attended my CD release concert heard me talk about my recent dental situation. I’ve never really been one to floss on a regular basis, instead opting to floss twice a day for a week before my 6 month visits. Every time I go to the dentist, the hygienist asks me if I’m flossing and I try to come up with a clever way of saying yes without having to lie about it, knowing full well that she sees thru my thinly veiled attempt at dental deception. But then I decided it was time for a change.

At my cleaning 6 months ago, I was in the midst of writing a new song which would eventually become the title track from my new CD, “Resolution”. The chorus lyrics say, “Every day’s a brand new chance to pick another tune to dance to, or just start over. Leave behind procrastinating; no excuse is worth the waiting. Today’s the day for a resolution.” So that day, I determined to floss every single day at least until my next checkup.

I told this story at my concert, which was fitting because I had my cleaning scheduled for the following day. Unfortunately, I knew that although I had been successful in keeping my resolution of flossing every day for six months, I knew when it came up in conversation with the hygienist, she wouldn’t be nearly as impressed with me as I was with myself. That night I told everyone that though I was expecting some mild accolades, I was secretly hoping for a grandiose gesture of approval and amazement; I deserved a parade! (yes, for flossing my teeth)

The next morning I was informed they needed to reschedule, so I set the appointment for 2 weeks later, knowing it must have been very inconvenient to the marching band, acrobats, and circus clowns who must have been standing by to surprise me. When the two weeks were up, my emotional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon was quickly deflated at the following conversation with the hygienist.

“So, have you been flossing?”


“Great, let’s get those teeth cleaned.”

What! All I get is a “great?” Where’s my spectacle? What happened to the cavalcade of pop stars lip-synching songs of congratulations and amazement? Where’s my parade? Oh well, the satisfaction of healthy gums would have to be enough.

But then something funny happened. The next day I was already planning on attending the grand opening of the new Galleria Drive overpass and exit off the 515/93/95 freeway (yes, it ridiculously has 3 names and should probably star in Doogie Howser, MD or Sex and the City). So I showed up with my friends and coworkers from Central to celebrate the extra one and a half minutes of sleep I’d now be able to claim.


To my surprise, upon arriving, I found out that those of us from Central were to be given mustard-colored commemorative t-shirts to wear as we marched in a parade as a part of the festivities!

As I stood behind the marching band, waiting to march across the bridge, I couldn’t help but remember the parade I jokingly wanted the day before. I mean really! How many times in your life, whether or not in jest, have you said you wanted a parade in your honor? And how many times have you marched in a parade? Almost exactly 24 hours after I missed out on my parade, I was marching in one, pretending it was a celebration of the merits of daily flossing, and utterly joyous in my self-deception.

photo 2

No More Mr. Nice Guy!

October 27, 2009

Yesterday I had the utter privilege of going to the Henderson DMV to have my license renewed. Why didn’t I just do it online? Because apparently every couple of years you have to go and do it in person and have a new photo taken. Now it’s no secret that to most people, a trip to the DMV is somewhat akin to having a tooth pulled, or waiting for CSI: Miami’s Horatio to finish taking off his sunglasses and just say the cheesy opening line, but I have to give credit where it’s due; the Henderson DMV is the best DMV I’ve been to.


So what made this particular visit interesting was not that I was there for 2 hours to basically confirm the information they already had, but that I needed to take a new picture. Time for some backstory. In all of my previous pictures, I always had a well thought out strategy to answer the age old picture debate: to smile or not to smile. I would venture to say that most normal people don’t put a lot of forethought into this particular issue, but in the words of catchy new tune called “Square Peg” (available now at aaronstewart.com!), I’m a little left of normal. I have always decided that if I ever got pulled over and a cop asked to see my license, that there was a better chance he or she would be lenient if they received a smiling reception from the piece of informatory plastic they inspected. Do I have any substantive data to back up this claim? Of course, not, but I figure it probably wouldn’t hurt my hypothetical situation. So the answer is, I smile.

At the end of my glorious DMV experience, I find myself standing in line to have my picture taken, slightly confused by the extremely blank faces people are making to the camera. I didn’t understand why anyone would want their photo to look like mugshot, but regardless of my confusion, each face looked eerily the same. When I finally reached the front of the line, I was able to read the sign posted indicating “the age of facial recognition technology is here.” Interesting…

To my limited understanding, formulated from one read thru of the aforementioned sign, you can’t wear glasses and your ears must be showing in order for the technology to function property. Neither of which were relevant to my current appearance. So the lady behind the counter instructed me to stare at the blue dot for 5 seconds. 5 seconds? Wait, is this the actual picture, or is this the technology leading up to the picture? After watching the people before me, I was pretty sure this was it. Well, I wasn’t going to try and smile for 5 seconds straight and look like a buffoon (not that I’m not used to looking like a buffoon), so I decided I would have to abandon my decade and a half strategy and just put on the most pleasant looking non-smiling face that I could.

And that was it. I don’t even get to see the picture that will represent me for the next number of years until it arrives in the mail in about 10 days. Can’t they have a reverse mirror mounted on the top of the camera or something? Or maybe bring in good old Olan Mills and let you do a couple of shots and then you get to pick the best one. In any case, if I do get pulled over now, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Everyone and their dog has a blog

October 26, 2009

So this is my first foray into the world of blogging and I’m excited that after years of considering it, I’ve finally taken the plunge. What remains to be seen however, is if I will have the discipline to somewhat regularly maintain it. Interestingly enough, I’m usually one of the first people to jump into a new technology, so the fact that I just alluded to blogging as a new technology shows how infinitely behind on this I am.

Okay, fine! The real reason I’ve waited so long is that by entering the blogosphere after everyone and their dog has a blog, I’m afraid I will be admitting that I’m behind the curve. You see, I love to read up on all sorts of technology (especially Apple), and be the first person in my circles to know any rumors or unsubstantiated facts. I love that I was one of the first of my friends on Facebook and Twitter and I love being the “go to guy” for anything technological. So up until now, I’ve always had the excuse that I didn’t blog because I didn’t want to. Or since I never actually made an excuse, I subconsciously hoped people would think I was too cool to blog, or I would retain some mystery by not exposing what a nerd I actually am! Unfortunately my inner weirdo cannot be squelched!

So here I am finishing the final paragraph of my first post, and I’ve already started to think of some funny and interesting stuff to write about in the future. I’m going to need some sort of system to remember things that are interesting enough to blog about. The good news is that there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of blog-worthy material in my life, so I might as well publicize it for the world to enjoy.