Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Boy Scouts and Boise Parks

As some of you know, I've been in scouts since I was 11 years old, and I've enjoyed (just about) every minute of it. There's been super fun camp outs, and hard times when I've had to take up the mantle of leadership and march. I've gotten a lot out of scouting, and as my 18th birthday is around the corner, the time that marks the end of all Scouts' careers, I'm starting to wrap everything up.
A huge part of my Scouting time has been spent working towards my Eagle Scout award. Eagle is not only the highest rank in Boy Scouts, but it is something I can carry on in to my adult and business life. It automatically shows a to-be employer that I have integrity, and a will to work towards something until it's completed.
Getting Eagle is no easy task. I've had to spend hours working on merit badges, days away from friends so I could work on rank advancement, weekends on camping trips, and months in leadership positions. I've had to make sacrifices, and it's been so worth it. Two of my very best friends, Max and Andy, were made in Scouts, not to mention peeps like Kevin and Noah. I've built memories with J.T. and Austin, and I've almost died with Richard. I hiked 50 miles with Mark and Brian, six of those thirsty, and without water.I rafted 100 miles with Steveo, Evan, and Justin. It's been amazing. Yeah, I've been made fun of plenty by other friends, but it's so worth it. I wouldn't give up the relationships I've built, the stuff I've learned, or the memories I've made in Scouts for anything.

The biggest requirement for Eagle Scout is a service project. Now this ain't your run-of-the mill "rake leaves for a half hour" project, either. Every detail has to be planned months in advance, signatures have to be gotten, sign ups have to be sent out, volunteers have to help; and that's just to get to the actual project. After, the entire thing has to be written out, including a record of the hours that everybody helped, a blow-by-blow account of the events that took place...oh, and did I mention that I have to lead this whole thing? The whole idea behind an Eagle Project is that it's really hard. It tests the leadership ability of the to-be Eagle Scout by putting him in charge of people, paper, and yes, a project. After the project is written up, it has to be approved by your troop, and by the Boy Scouts of America before it can actually be counted towards the Eagle rank. It's no easy task.
And by the end of next week, if everything goes according to the plan I have set out, I will be done with all of my requirements for my Eagle Scout award.

What project did I do? Actually, that's really what this blog post is about. I finally get the opportunity to share my finished Eagle Project with everybody that wants to see it! I've worked many long hours (60-something by myself, 120 or so altogether) to get this accomplished.
For my Eagle Project, I decided to do a short documentary about four of the major parks in Boise: Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, Kathryn Albertson Park, and Camel's Back Park. But before I spoil everything, take a look for yourself:

Boise Parks from Colin Mansfield on Vimeo.

So, now the countdown begins on my final days in Boy Scouts. I'm sad in one sense: I've loved my time here. I'm happy in another sense: I'm ready to move on.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed the video!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ramblings at 3am the day before Easter

I've wanted to write something for several days, but haven't been able to find a good topic, or a good chunk of time to devote to writing about said undetermined topic. I've wanted to write something mysterious and thought provoking. At one point I even was going to write a fictional short story and call it good. I enjoy fiction, and I enjoy coming up with plots.
But none of those seemed to cut it for me. Why? I'm really not sure.
Call it writer's block I suppose. Some sort of inability to think in any kind of organized manner about writing.

And now it's 3am on the day before Easter, and for some reason I'm sitting here typing. I think I may just need to dish some thoughts out. Feel free to try and sort through them; also feel free to do something more interesting. I'm sure you have a better way to spend your time.
No? Okee dokee then, good luck.

So I saw Clash of the Titans tonight, and I have to admit, I had pretty high expectations going in to it. I hoped for some kind of mixture between 300 and Avatar I guess. To put it bluntly: the movie sucked. Predictable plot, static characters, and really bad Greek mythology (somebody should have given the writer's a high school textbook on mythology.) After looking on Rotten Tomatoes, it appears as though this movie was a pretty good remake of the original. I guess I won't be seeing the original.
Earlier tonight my family had a Seder dinner at my house. A Seder dinner is essentially a traditional Jewish Passover meal. The night consisted of lots of B.C. tradition, with much recognition of the A.D. implications of such tradition. The food was excellent, and even more so the fellowship. Talking about our recent time in Israel, and how so much tradition is built in to the Jewish culture and religion made the evening come alive.

I have to ask this question, because it's been bothering me ever since my return from Israel this time around:
do people really believe that because the Jews don't believe in Jesus that they are all damned to Hell?
This doesn't sit right with me. The Jews, who worship THE God of the Bible, without whom Christianity would never exist, are Damned to Hell because they don't see Jesus as their messiah. Am I missing something here? Yeah, go for it, throw scripture at me. I've been to Israel, and I've seen the Jews bring in Shabat at the Western Wall. I've seen them bob to the Torah, and I've heard their songs before meals. They have a passion that I can't fathom and a Love for God born out of more pain and sorrow as a people then I can imagine.
In fact, the whole notion that somehow Protestant Christians have everything "figured out" is hard for me to imagine. I don't get most passages in the Bible when I read them for the first time. There is background and history that I may never know to Exodus and to Ephesians. I don't get a lot. Maybe it's because I'm young; fair enough. Do you think Billy Graham would say he knows everything there is to know about the Bible or about God?
I feel like I'm largely surrounded by arrogant believers who are closer to Pharisees then they are to Jesus. Even things like the "sinners prayer" are curious to me. I understand that the intentions behind the sinners prayer are pure and good: a non-believer entering into the Kingdom of God through prayer is definitely not a bad thing. But what if someone doesn't say the prayer, and goes before God? Obviously it's up to Him to judge that person's heart, most would say. I would agree. But what about Mormons? What about Buddhists? What about Jews for that matter? Isn't it also up to God to judge their hearts, and not up to us? That's why I love the line in the Shack where Mack asks Papa if all roads lead to Him. Papa replies no, but that He will meet people on any road. I've heard so many people reject that because they claim it is simply a restatement of "all roads lead to Heaven." I don't think that's the point behind it at all. I think the writer was communicating that Papa will meet us where we're at in life. He'll love on us regardless of stature, placement, grades, relationship status, employment, or state of living.
And yeah, I know, the Shack isn't the Bible. Neither is the Screwtape Letters, so please chill out.

I tried to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on Instant Watch Netflix the other night. I fell asleep half way through with the computer on my lap. I've heard it's a great movie, so I'll have to try watching it again some time.

The iPad comes out tomorrow, and that's pretty cool. I really want one, but at the same time could care less. I really don't have any money right now, so getting one is completely a pipe dream. Plus, I'm going to West Point in like three months and will be at Basic Training all Summer. Also, the 2nd gen iPad will probably be loads cooler. All the same, I really want one. Yep, consumerism at it's finest.

I've enjoyed the last couple rainy days, but I have to be honest: I didn't really enjoy the rain today. I went to Barnes & Noble (one of my favorite places to read and study) and that was cool. What wasn't cool was when I went outside in the pouring rain only to realize I had locked my keys in my car. My dad picked me up, but my car is still at B&N. Guess I'll have to figure out how to break into it tomorrow.

I have yet to see Alice in Wonderland, but I've heard it's spectacular. My sister and my dad really want to see it. Maybe we'll go tomorrow.

I'm currently reading Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner and it's really good. Non-fiction is, in general, harder for me to read then fiction. I enjoy stories, however, and MPT is doing a fantastic job of telling his. I'm also reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis for English class. Well, I didn't read it this week because of Spring Break :) . Also, I've been enjoying using Calibre to get news and RSS feeds on my B&N Nook e-book reader.

Music-wise I've been listening to Angels & Airwaves, Mae, DC*B, The Color Morale, and Family Force 5 lately. Also, my buddy Austin's band The Dude Abides just posted a new song on their myspace profile. I've listened to that once or twice.

It's 3:45am now and I should probably be heading to bed. If you read this far, I owe you a big high five :)

What have you been processing lately? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Exciting News From the Mansfield Family

Hey everyone!
This post will probably come as a shock to many of you, but I didn't want to spoil the surprise before we got 100% confirmation.

For years now I've prayed that one day God would bless me with an opportunity that has seemed impossible for so long. It's so amazing to see those prayers finally come to fruition, and to have this new blessing reveal itself to my family.

Yesterday my family received confirmation that my mom is pregnant and I get to be a big brother!

We don't have much more information at this point, but I'll keep you updated with pictures and videos in the future. I am so excited! My sister is excited too, and it's crazy to think that Cole will have an uncle or aunt younger then him!

Please keep my family in your prayers, and get the word out!