Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Musings - A Real Public Affair?

Spending the weekend near Hollywood is a lot like being a hypochondriac in a hospital. The concentration of stars is so much greater than in any other city that after just a short time walking along Sunset Blvd you can’t help but do a couple double takes of people along the street, thinking for just an instant that they look like someone famous. I suppose that because I was well aware of this, I was a bit hesitant to give people second looks while we out and about this weekend. However, as we sat down for lunch in a small cafĂ© on Saturday I found myself glancing at a girl two tables away who was facing me, though her face was partially blocked by the shoulder of someone sitting opposite her. I wondered, “Could it be? It sort of looks like her.” But not wanting to be that Hollywood hypochondriac, I tried to settle back into the conversation at the table and let it go. In the end it was a losing battle. I whispered to the others at the table and after a “strategic” bathroom break, my friend Jordan returned and announced to us, “Yep, that’s Jessica Simpson alright.”

And now the question is – what do you do? Do you go up and ask her for her autograph? Do you walk up to her and say hi? Do you just continue staring at her? Do you pretend you don’t notice her and try to be as normal as you can? With silent agreement, we opted for the last choice, figuring that it was probably the most preferred one and the most polite. Thinking about it now, I realize that regardless of what I did do, what I really wanted to do was just stand up and sit down next to Jessica (I’m sure it would soon be “Jes”) and start talking to her. The reason being that after watching several seasons of Newlyweds on MTV and countless interviews with her, something in me felt like I knew her. No, no, hold the restraining orders please. As fanatical as that sounds as I type it, I have a sense that it all comes back to the reality of relationship.

Relationship at its most basic level is nothing more, nothing less, than shared experiences. Sharing the same “El” platform waiting for a train puts me in some sort of relationship with another person. However apparently remote or self-evident, however unacknowledged, it’s always common experience that places us in relationship to each other. What happens with celebrities, especially those from reality television, is that we feel that by watching their lives we are sharing experiences with them. We feel that we know them. At some level we feel that we have some relationship with them, when in fact we’re merely unconnected observers.

That reality hits me hard. In the weeks since we moved to San Diego and before I’ve started working at the hospital, my schedule has been inconsistent. I’m running around doing all sorts of little miscellaneous tasks, but I’ve felt unsettled, restless, and just sort of “off” much of the time. I’ve been disconnected with everything, finding little solace in a world that seems foreign. What I seem to have forgotten, in part, is that God is really here, sharing these experiences with me. Infinite Mystery is not a detached observer, but a relational partner, sharing in my exhaustion at the end of a hard run, my anxiety in starting a new job, my joy in pausing to remember my friends from CPE. Nor am I a detached observer in this Spirit-filled world, but a real participant in ongoing creation, building emotional bonds, touching nature, making meaning. To share these experiences with God is to be in real relationship.

Sorry I didn’t get the autograph for you Les or the sweet photo for you Anthony, but what I got from Jessica - insight into the reality of relationship, was far more valuable. And for all of you in the Chicagoland area who want to see a (soon to be) famous actor in person, check out Joe Sikora in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline from 9/1 – 11/11/07 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. He might even let you buy him a beer after the show and get to know him in person!

Monday, August 6, 2007

What Kenya Do?

Jambo! (Hello) It feels years ago by now, but I'll kick off the posts with my immersion trip to Kenya in May through school. The day after I walked for graduation (even though I didn't take my last class until last week…) I hopped on a plane with 7 other classmates and our professor and flew across the ocean to Africa and into Kenya, one of its 53 countries, for two weeks. It was an amazing trip – amazingly sad at times, amazingly hopeful at others and all amazingly new to me. I tried to soak in as much of the culture as I could. There are unique stories behind all the pictures I took, and if you feel like checking some of them out paste this address into your browser window:

Most of all I think the trip made me much more globally aware than I was before. Also, now I can appreciate the African sense of “ubuntu” which basically means “we are therefore I am; I am therefore we are”. It’s seeing the world through a lens of interconnectivity that changes the way one thinks about actions and decisions. It’s a community value that I think we did a good job of connecting with last summer. It means something like, if Anthony is in Hawaii, then we all should be in Hawaii, I think…

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Request for Sweet Photos

Calling all Chaplains; former, current, and future: If you have participated in one or more of the following in recent weeks, I want to see some sweet photographic proof:

Relocated to a new city and moved into a house, apt., grass hut, condo, etc

Started a new job/Internship at a hospital, church, or otherwise

Traveled to Africa or anywhere else on an educational and/or missions trip

Ran in any marathons, half marathons, or other organized races, even if you were the sole participant/organizer

Climbed the Alps or simply ordered hot coco and lounged in Switzerland or at home with anyone of Swiss descent (I'll accept Swedish/Italian/African/German/Irish/Danish/Other descent as well)

Ran with the bulls, drank cocktails, pondered Gaudy art, or any other activity in Spain

Taken a road trip

Welcomed a new addition to your family

Went Camping

Watched or Played Soccer

Anything randomly summer entertaining such as sharing shave ice with a loved one (see example photo)

Ok, that should cover about EVERYONE. Happy posting!!!!!!!!!!!!! Peace-a-

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rene' Full of Grace or Expanding the Genogram

I could tell you about walking around in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya this year or running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain the other week (and perhaps they'll find their way into a future post), but they'd probably just make you yawn after bigger news for the CPE: The Movie crew. Some might have thought we were getting together because it was the last week that the Sikora's will be Evanston residents before they head back to San Diego, some might have thought it was to celebrate the anniversary of the Scorpion necklace, but in truth Les and I and our spouses gathered for a much more significant reason.

It was to celebrate the big news from Rene'. She is pregnant! She's expecting around New Years and I'm sure she's contemplating right now which chaplain from last summer she'll name her child after. If you have a chance, drop her and Andrea a congrats email, or put in a gratitude prayer request for morning report at the hospital for her. Hooray for Rene'!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Mother Cheers, Dad Snoozes

In the lull between checking out of their Waikiki hotel and hitching their flight back to Central Illinois, parents of one chaplain featured in CPE: The Movie finally sat down for a viewing nearly 7 months after its release. Apparently the numourous acclamades, media attention, and pending lawsuits were not enough to spark curiousity with Anthony's parents until a need for filling time arose. Upon suggesting a viewing of the film, his mother and step father finally gave in after realizing the famed Honolulu fabric store, Fabric Mart, was closed. "It seamed obvious that this was going to be our only option for the afternoon, so we just decided to sit down and watch it", his mother said, tossing her aloha print fabric coupons in the trash. Both his mother and step-father appreciated the film's heartfelt summer memories by all chaplains, but questioned the film's off color humor; the quote, " very interesting music;" and the need for pick-up lines in a health care setting. In between cat-nap two of three during the 35 minute feature, Anthony's step father was jolted awake by the "Not So Glad You Came" sing along portion. "For a second I thought we were going to watch a Cheers re-run," he said before dozing off again. Overall, Anthony's parents said they enjoyed the film, but when asked if they would watch it again, quickly looked at their watches and headed for the airport.

(This report was only loosely based on actual events that took place on the afternoon of July 5, 2007......Have a good weekend everybody.......:)

where have all the chaplains gone?

Hello friends! I think you all need to start posting! Today was my first full day in the office and it was great. I think I'm really going to love this church. Going to be busy and have a lot to figure out, but they've been wonderful so far. Preaching the first time this Sunday, so still have to work on that. Anyway, just wanted to say hello, life is going well, and you all need to start posting. Seriously.

Monday, June 18, 2007

pics and link to the best blog ever

Here are two very special pictures taken from when Anthony was in town. I've got to work on figuring out the placement of the pictures, but they're pretty funny. Carrie's wedding was this past Saturday, and if you want to see some pics, you should check out my new blog at It was so much fun to see Joy and Jake there! Hope you're all doing well, and I'll talk to you later!

Monday, June 4, 2007

back in MN!!!

Hello all!! Sorry for being absent for so long. But I am now back in MN, hanging out at home until my house goes through (hopefully). But I have graduated, have moved, have been to Nashville for a preaching conference, and have been commissioned as a probationary elder in the UMC--wahoo!! Please refer to me as Reverend from here on out....actually, don't. :) But it is fun to joke about, except at parties where people don't know you. I had two retirement parties and a birthday party this weekend and some eleven people must have apologized to me for swearing or using phrases like "praise the Lord" when they were happy about something. We need to change this, or else parties are going to get really LAME really soon! I'll post a grad picture of me and Carrie, and maybe she'll post one of commissioning. I'll try and post some of her wedding when we get back, though I don't know how many I'll take with my camera. This isn't a very funny post, but this might make it funny: in Nashville, on my last night, I told Jenny (my former associate pastor at WCC) that I really wanted to ride the bull at this bar we had been to earlier. So we went and did, and I got rug burn on my back and a huge bruise on my thigh from falling off. Unfortunately for you, and fortunately for me, the pictures did not turn out. haha! a quote from someone without their ID "can I just get in? we're all pastors and I just want to go in and watch them ride the bull." she got in. Miss you all! Come to Minnesota anytime!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Happy June & Chaplaversary

Hello Friends! Just wanted to drop a few lines as we say in the biz (?) to wish you a happy June and blessed summer. If this were a yearbook, I would say something like "Stay Cool" or "Have an awesome summer" or "I'm sorry about the whole prom thing, I should have warned you I can't dance, hope we can still be friends........." I would then do my best to draw the Van Halen logo. Thankfully for some of us, we're home sweet home in 2007.

Can't beleive its been a year since our Lutheran adventure began! It has been wonderful staying in touch this year despite the distance. I look forward to seeing how God continues to grow and use us as the journey unfolds. I pray for those moving on to new chapters, cities, ministries, adventures in marriage and parenthood; and for those moving into the next phase of seminary: for God's continued care and guidance in your life. I wish you all the very best.

Here's a pic from Volcanos Park on the Big Island. We are standing on what used to be moltan lava in the middle of a, pardon my french, freakin huge volcanic crator. Yes, it's true, I am a dork. Christi and I took a weekend to check out the cities of Kona (home of Kona Joe's coffee, mmmmm) and Hilo. Gave us a chance to relax and see some amazing sites. Good times. Take care my friends and "have an awesome summer!!!!!!"
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kenya Believe It?

Well, I’m off to Kenya for a two week immersion trip tomorrow. (Enlarge the picture to see how far away it is!) It’s the focus of my summer class: Social Justice and East Africa. I can hardly believe it sometimes; it seemed so far away, so distant for so long, but time has a funny way of marching forward. So now this adventure awaits. Five needles and a prescription for malaria pills later, I’m ready. I vacillate between excitement and nervousness, between concern and trust. Story of my life in many ways I suppose. Please keep me in your prayers!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Charles in Charge

I had the chance recently to visit Charles up at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, IL. The weather was beautiful and accented the gorgeous grounds that the seminary is located on. (Yes, they do include a well manicured soccer field) Charles was in good spirits as usual. It was his last day of classes which is probably bittersweet as those of us graduating are finding out. With graduation this weekend and then ordination on 5/19 things are rolling along for our favorite LGH hero. Charles will be working at St. Paul of the Cross parish in Park Ridge and that means that....he'll be on the parish on-call list for LGH, so he'll likely be walking the sacred halls again in a couple weeks. He told me that he's also still in contact with the gal who appears with him in CPE: The Movie, as she lives near his new parish. HIPPA worries for the movie producers should now disappear like a bad dream about the morgue. It was great to see Charles on his home turf. Congrats on your ordination Musula!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Neumatics Rock...Again!

Last weekend was another great opportunity to gather, to tell the stories, to break bread, and to sing! We started the night at Goose Island with a solid crew (Les and Kristin, Matt and Nicole, Joy and Jake, Chris and Amy) to sample beers and review Blades of Glory. We cheered and toasted Matt and Nicole’s announcement of a new Kennedy baby coming in November – Congrats! We then headed to the infamous US Beer Company, where, after fighting through slews of autograph seekers and groupies, we met up with Anthony who was ready to rock. The Neumatics cranked through a set of fan favorites with Anthony jumping around as if he had just won Target Force Gold! Long live rock and roll and long live the cast of CPE: The Movie!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stop the presses!

Great to see some people last night at a quality rock show by the Neumatics. Safe travels to Anthony as he returns to his Island paradise (thanks for bringing some nice weather with you).

For those of you who weren't able to join us last night, I'll fill you in on the news here in the Kennedy house. Our little family will be welcoming a new member. Yes, my wife and I are going to be having a baby. Nicole is 9 weeks along, and we're guessing that she'll be due in mid-November. Hold your applause. We're very excited, occasionally scared, but overall we're thrilled.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Friday, April 6, 2007

Easter is Giving Me the Shakes!

Yes, I know it is well past St. Patrick’s Day, but part of my mind can’t leave March 17th yet. The reason? Well, during Lent it’s tradition in Catholicism that people “give up something” for Lent. This often takes the form of sweets, or drinks, etc. It’s very much from the old Catholic asceticism practices and many in the church have tried to reframe it so that people focus instead on doing something positive. But the practice remains and has had some resurgence lately. In years past I have not given up anything, but have tried to do some things instead during this time to focus on the season – journaling, letter writing, praying. Well, this year, I decided to give up something, something hard. Ice cream! Since I love it, almost as much as Nicole, and maybe more, (Read as ice cream eating contest challenge!) it’s been a tough go, but we’re nearing the finish line. Where does St. Patrick’s Day come in you ask? Well, every year McDonald’s offers green Shamrock Shakes for a couple weeks around St. Patrick’s Day. And they are a little cup o’ heaven! So in my freezer are two frozen Shamrock Shakes from back around St. Patrick’s Day, waiting to be enjoyed faster than free hot dogs on Hot Dog Day at LGH. So this year Easter bunnies have given way to leprechauns. 12:01am Saturday night is technically Easter, right?
Mmmm, green ice cream……

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Anthony's visit...

Ola everyone! Well, Mexico was great fun! Though I have to say I'm glad to be back in the land of clean showers, durable plumbing, and beds higher than 3 inches off the ground. One of the highlights (other than UNC losing to Georgetown--wahooo!!!) was when I was called to the front of a church during a concert we were at to demonstrate some dance moves. See picture. I haven't showered in days and I'm wearing my work clothes, but I have to say, I still look pretty hot ;)

I leave tomorrow for Norway, so I wanted us to start thinking about a possible date that we can all get together when Anthony is in town April 16th through April 23rd. Leave a comment or post on the blog mentioning your availability. Here is mine:

April 16th--free anytime except 5:30-8:30 p.m.
17th--free except for lunch
18th--free until 3:30 p.m.
19th--not really free, but could shuffle things around if need be
20th--not free (junior high lock in baby!! giddy up!!)
21st--Anthony's show, I'm going! In the morning I'm busy, but otherwise wide open
22nd--don't know just yet if I'll be free in the afternoon or evening
23rd--not free

What about you? Let's see if we can't arrange a lunch or downtown filming expedition or dinner or something. Anthony, what does your schedule look like once you're here?

Miss you all! I expect to see a lot of posts when I get back from Norway!

Friday, March 23, 2007

OOOOOO Mexico!!!

I'm off tomorrow morning to good Ol Mexico! Our youth group (27 kids and 4 adults) are going to be spending a week in Juarez building an educational wing for a church, among other "surprises" that the organizer has yet to tell us. I'm excited, but hope I get some sleep tonight or on the plane, because I might not get much when I'm there! Then I come back and I'm off to Norway. I'll try to post some pictures from Norway eventually. Mexico might take awhile, as they will be old school--with real film and everything! None of this digital stuff.

some additions to the HATE list:

The shiny gold frames found in hotels and public buildings that make even Monet art look awful and tacky.

That my mom still uses the word ‘tinkles.’

Listening to my own sermons

The scene in Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze is dancing with the whole troupe behind him and he has this very weird look on his face (overall I like the movie, but that scene is HORRIBLE)

waiting for eye drops to actually fall into your eye

when the spicy honey mustard on your sandwich burns your nose AND your eyes

that so many people always want UNC to win FOR NO GOOD REASON

that UNC did win, despite the fact that they were down by 16 points in the second half. grrrr!!!

Go West Young Man

SAN DIEGO, CA. The LGH Television Network has confirmed that Chris Sikora has agreed to a one year contract for the television show CPE: Razor Sharp, which will be a spin off from the hugely successful CPE: The Movie. In the show, set at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, Sikora will reprise his role as chaplain amidst chaos, pic lines, and code blues. Rumors were previously swirling that Sikora might instead join the cast of Vitas Hospice: The Journey. When asked about it Sikora said, “It came down to the fact that I’d be driving all around all the time with Vitas, and without my carpool crew with me, the appeal was really minimal. That and the fact that the hospital setting would give me the chance to be in contact with hand sanitizer much more often.”

Some had hoped that Sikora would continue to carry food in his coat pockets at LGH, but Sikora explained, “After talking with Nicole and Joy about their commutes this last summer, I didn’t really want to commute all the way from San Diego, but I did appreciate Lee Joesten’s offer to let me fly in each day with Flight For Life.” Network executives have indicated that guest appearances by Stan Buglione and Lu Terket are likely.

Sikora follows in the footsteps of fellow cast member Anthony Silano who left LGH to participate in his own spin off CPE: Aloha which has seen Silano abandon his expiration forms and blue coat to don a Hawaiian shirt and battle killer coconuts and sea turtles. Silano’s Aloha has topped Nielsen ratings since its debut in September 2006. Silano had the following advice for Sikora, “When the going gets tough, you just have to click your heels three times and go to the White House in your mind. Oh yeah, and make sure you get good sleep, exercise, and eat well – it helps a hell of a lot with grief.”

Monday, March 19, 2007

My first blog!

Greetings my dear brothers and sisters of fame. This is an exciting day. I am blogging!! I do not usually do this sort of thing, but what the heck. This week is my spring break. Ironically, the seminary chooses to call it reading week and give a lot of work to do. Anyway, I managed to squeeze a little time in to blog. Chris, did they really move the mail room? I can't believe it. I loved that tiny little fish smelling orange colored room. Well, I am out of things to say already. Wow, blogging is sort of hard. Anyway, I miss you all lots. Peace out.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The More Things Stay the Same...

...the more they change. I was in the old neighborhood this week, so I stopped in and had lunch with Rene'. It turns out the rumors of Thelma's retirement were more than rumors. Rene' didn't explicity say that Thelma felt that the place would never be the same again after we left, but....she didn't have to. Stan Kazen stopped just short of retirement after our departure, he took a trip to India and after riding elephants for a few weeks is back in action. They moved (insert the word "retired") the mail room to the chapel waiting area space - see it to believe it and there's now a HUGE hole in the front of the hospital - I suspect where our Duke Award statue is going, though I didn't confirm that with Rene'. And the White House, well....hmmm...wait a minute, the White House was untouched. Okay, so somethings never change.

Our lives have never been the same:


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Friday, March 9, 2007

Cancun? Daytona Beach? Or good ol' Chi-town?

So we're about to start Spring Break here at NPTS. I will be soaking up the rays here on the NWside. Nothing special for me, just hanging out here, working, catching up on reading and getting a head start on midterm papers. Anybody have exciting plans to travel to exotic destinations?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Awards and Code Red Punch Flow for Cast

EVANSTON, IL. Last weekend many of the cast members of CPE: The Movie gathered for what was dubbed by reporters as “CPE: The Party.” The Hawaiian themed party was an occasion to reunite most of this legendary crew, toast Anthony Silano, receive the Duke award for CPE: The Movie, yearn for warmer weather, reminisce about Thelma and her meatball making utensil, and shake a hula hoop like nobody’s business -watch out Shakira! Cast members made a statement with their tropical attire, including grass skirts, Aloha wristbands, and loads of leis. Charles strutted his stuff in a stylish white Armani suit, Carrie created a stir in her Vera Wang coconut bra, and Joy checked her beach bag (of Theology) at the door. Several cast members made heroic efforts to battle the inauspicious and ill-timed ice storm to make the party – God bless you!

Asked about a sequel to the original movie, cast member responses varied. “Talk to my agent,” said Matt as he prepared for a game of Fishbowl. “Where do I sign?” asked Les who was considering whether his grass skirt would clash with a blue coat. “Don’t we still have outstanding HIPPA lawsuits from the first one?” wondered Nicole. "It all depends who they get to play Louis," said Brooke dreamily. Susan Gullickson was unavailable for comment.

A big Aloha and congratulations to the cast members for their award.

The Definition of Irony

So I woke up this morning and in my zombie-like stuppor I was walking around the apartment barefoot when all of a sudden BAM! I stubbed my toe... on my shoe! The very thing that is supposed to protect my toe has injured my toe. Its like getting cut on a bandaid. That's my story.

Friday, March 2, 2007

funny site

Okay, I normally won't be posting EVERY day, but to get this thing rolling, thought I'd share this funny website with you all. It's a guy who makes fun of children's art. I find it hilarious, and showed it to Chris earlier today, so hope you find it just as funny!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

This Blog just made my list of things to do today

Thanks Brooke, what a fabulous idea! Our very own blog, this is so sweet. Wait until the press gets a hold of this! The paparazzi will be out in full force. It will be clown wigs and dark shades from now on. It's the price you pay when you win a Duke. Life just won't be the same from now on, it's just something we'll all have to accept and process. I hope you're all doing well, sounds like you had an awesome time living it up Jimmy Buffett style. This pic is the view from our apartment. Ok, not quite, it is indeed the view from Diamond Head, a volcano turned military base turned tourist hot spot. Natural progression i suppose. I'm excited, i will be in the greater CHi-town area, April 16-23 and i would love to get together with you. We're having a Neumatics show on April 21rst which you're of course invited to, but more importantly, as I know the end of April marks much madness for Seminary folk, I would love to to find a time together and hang out, catch up, share ways to shake the tabloids, reunionize if you will. So you'll have to blog back and let me know what might work for y'all and we'll try and work it. Take care my advocate heros. With Aloha-a-

Welcome to our blog!

Hello everyone! Here is our very own BLOG!! Remember to check in often and post frequently! This way we can keep in touch, I can update you on my hate and love lists, and Anthony can give us a heads up for all the awards shows he's booked us for. Not to mention pictures of beach parties, missing persons, photo shoots on helicopter pads, etc. Can't wait to hear from you all!