Saturday, August 29, 2009

How was the Bosnia Trip?

From Bosnia Youth Workshops 2009
Youth Workshops

The main workshop was the digital storytelling workshop. The youth (ages 10 to 15) were divided by the Novi Most staff into three teams. They were told that this is a contest. They were to make a three-minute story that would tell an new kid about their home town, Capljina. Each team had a Novi Most staff adviser but they all created their own projects.

The three teams all made very good projects. I was able to provide limited guidance since I was unable to understand the actual story in their native language. They all finished their stories and then on Friday evening they were all shown in the city square. Everyone had a good time. One boy even said that he already knew what he wanted to do for his next project.

Encouragement and Support

We spent a good bit time with both Bernard the pastor and with Mick and Ali of Novi Most. They are on the front lines of the battle to bring the light of the Lord in that country. They really appreciated our presence and the fellowship time we had.

All in all, it was a good trip. All the travel went smoothly and all our connections went without a hitch. Will I go back next year? I'm going to wait to see how the Lord leads me. So I can't really answer that now.

Link to: Bosnia Youth Workshops Blog and Bosnia Youth Workshops Picture Album.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

North Point Online

Coming August 16th

LIVE webcast from Buckhead Church! Check out North Point Online

It will be awesome. I'm sorry I'll miss it. We will be in the air heading to Bosnia.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

But Officer...

"Here come da judge..."

Well, I got a little bit in a hurry and I got timed doing 62MPH ( 100kp/h) in a 45 MPH (70kp/h) speed zone.

So I got dressed up in my best suit and headed to court. What amazed me is that I could FIT into my suit! This is the suit that I got married in 17 years ago. Also, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a nice dress shirt and tie that went well with it.

Since I had (had) a squeeky-clean driving record, they reduced the charge to "driving faster than conditions." But I still had to pay a good sized fine. The good thing is that charge won't be reported to the State of GA and appear on my state driving record.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Sad Plants

Sad Plants in July 2009

We had lots of rain in March, April, and May. Then in June we had virtually nothing. Consequently, my plants were not happy. Even the daphne was drooping badly.

So I got outside with the hose and gave them all a good dousing. They started responding in a few days.

A Loss

We grieve anytime we have a loss. I have just been reading Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge. This is the Wild at Heart book for women. They are talking in the chapter I'm reading that every woman has a beauty to unveil. And that she brings that beauty to the relationship.

While watering the plants, I was reminded about how much beauty Trudie used to bring to my life. She brought beauty through the plants she planted. She brought beauty through the decorating she did in the house. She brought beauty by bringing her own beauty to our relationship. Thinking about the beauty that is no longer here I got sad. I stayed sad for a number of days. It's probably the closest I've been to actual depression.

Beauty Replaced

I took my sadness and pain to the Lord. He has taught me that He can handle anything I'm feeling. After a while, He taught me to look to Jesus to see beauty. I see beauty in His creation. I see His beauty in the variety of birds and animals. I see His beauty in the variety of plants He has put around me. I see beauty in His love for me that sustains me every day.

I've climbed out from my sadness. I know that I've lost a beauty but I am now more aware that there is so much beauty around me and that it is a gift from God.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Big Dogs Anonymous

Hi, I'm Patrick and I'm a yip-dog hater,

"Hi, Patrick."

I have to admit, I've had a relapse. I fell off the Big-Dog wagon.

But the yip-dog was so cute. And she snuggled right up to me. And she was soft. She was almost like a cat - in fact, my daughter has cats that are probably bigger than this dog.

It wasn't a REAL dog. A REAL dog is a dog that you can body slam.

But I did stroke her. It was a "slip."

I will take my white chip and pledge to only be friendly to REAL dogs from now on.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountain National Park - June 2009

A Day in the Mountains
I took an extra day on my recent vacation and spent the day driving through the Rocky Mountain National Park. It as a great day. The weather was unseasonably cool. The high was about 65F/18C at the park entrance. But by the time I reached the summit, it had cooled down to 30F/-1C. The wind was really blowing. And when I was at the Trail Ridge Store it started snowing. It was great.

Emotional Ambush

I took my camera and, as I usually do, I took lots of photos. [Click the image above and it will take you to the web album of those photos.]

That night I downloaded them to my laptop and started to look through them. Then it struck me - I'm the only one in the photos. Boom. Trudie and I used to really enjoy traveling together. So my sadness was about not having my favorite traveling companion with me. This was a great opportunity to grieve another area of loss. Yes, it was tough - but I've learned that tough is part of the territory and that Jesus is walking with me.

So I let myself feel the sadness and I had a good cry.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm A Man

The Beard Story Morphs

My first digital story was about My Bosnia Story. It was a project that I did during my Basic Digital Storytelling workshop.

My second digital story was supposed to be about shaving my beard and mustache after my having them for 27+ years. I wrote it and liked part of it but I was not satisfied with how it ended. Over the course of six months I would struggle with it and then put it back on the shelf again many times.

I got the chance to take the Facilitator Intensive Training offered by The Center for Digital Storytelling. This workshop gave us perspectives on how to facilitate a digital storytelling workshop in our environment.

So I brought my "Beard Story" to be mulled over by the collective of instructors and fellow facilitator trainees in a story circle.

I was asked deep probing questions about what was the story really about?

This was tough right-brain work that I'm not used to doing. Issues were being uncovered like "what makes a man?" and "do I know I'm a man?" and "how do I know I'm a man?".

I rewrote it and then shared it again with my classmates and the lead facilitators. More layers of the story onion were probed and revealed. I rewrote it again.

Over the course of four days, the Beard Story morphed. It was hard work and my brain felt like mush but I really like this revised story.


I'm A Man from Patrick Bartkus on Vimeo.

My thanks to Daniel, Amy, Kayann, Christina, Corinne, and all the great folks in our group last week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bosnia Trip 2009

May 16th, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Last year I decided to go on a short-term mission trip sponsored by my church, North Point Community Church. I went to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of July. It was a great trip and God used it in my life to help me come to know Him deeper. We also made great friends with those doing ministry in that country.

This year I’ve decided that it will be good to go back. The ministry team in Bosnia and Herzegovina needs our encouragement and support as they try to bring the love of God into the lives that have been deeply scared by past war wounds. We will be working with the same team at the Novi Most Center conducting Youth Workshops for the week of August 16th - 24th. We saw last year how the hurts of the past are impacting the kids. They are living with the baggage of their parents and their grandparents. The Novi Most Center is bringing the light and love of our Lord into those hurts.

I need your help. I need you to be part of my team. First, of course, I need your financial support. The total cost of the trip is $2,600. I’m tossing in a chunk of change for it but I also wanted to give you guys the opportunity to invest in it too. If you decide you want to be a part of it you can make a check out to “North Point Ministries” and send it to me. Or this year, you can go on line and make a donation through the GlobalX web site. There are directions below.

But the main thing I will need is for people to be on my prayer team. I am going to need much prayer through this whole trip. I need my team to be in prayer before we go, to be in prayer while we are there, and to pray for me after we get back. There will be many opportunities for God-moments. And I will need prayer to make the right choice each time. I will need prayer to get what God would want me to show.

Would you please consider being part of my team this Summer?


Patrick Bartkus

4911 Sturbridge Cres. NE

Roswell, GA 30075

Link to Bosnia Partner:

On Line Giving Instructions - Bosnia Youth Workshops

Go to

Click on the "give" on the top right hand side of the page.

Fill in your contact information.

Select the "Short-Term Mission Trip" radio button.

Under globalX Trip Information:
- select -Bosnia- in the "Country" drop down
- select -Bosnia Youth Workshops- in the "Trip" drop down
- Type my name in the "Individual" field.

Fill in the Credit Card Information. (They accept Visa or MasterCard)

Click "Review Donation Information" and finalize your transaction.

A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you and will serve as your receipt to use for tax purposes.

Thank you so much for your generosity in supporting what God is doing in Bosnia.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

Easter Sunrise Service - Stone Mountain

For many years, I used to go every Easter Sunrise Service service at the top of Stone Mountain Park. I even occasionally brought a few braves dates along. It was certainly the earliest date pickup on record (3:30 AM).

This year I decided to restart the tradition. So I left the house at 4 AM and walked up the mountain. I was there in plenty of time. I forgot 1) how rocky the walk up was, 2) how steep the final part is, and 3) how WINDY it is on top of the mountain. I took a blanket but it wasn't near thick enough to stop the 44F/7C degree wind. Next year I'll take a thicker blanket.

Here's a link to my Facebook photo album.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maytag Repairman Patrick

Old Washing Machine was sick

Well it isn't THAT old. But the agitator wouldn't agitate. It would only sit there while the bottom part went back and forth, back and forth, etc. So I looked it up online and found a "agitator rebuild kit" and necessary grease. Total cost about $32. So I placed the order.

Today, I got around to tearing into it. It was not easy to find out how all the new parts fit together. But I did it. Now it's happily washing away.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hike in the Mountains

Fusion Group hikes Raven Cliff Falls
Fusion is the environment at North Point Community Church where singles get together and do light Bible study and get to know each other.

This weekend our group went to Raven Cliff Falls. More pictures are here. We had a gorgeous day. The temperature was around 60F/16C degrees and it was bright and sunny. The falls were about 2.5 miles (4 K) from the parking lot. It was not a difficult trail but it did have a few "challenging" sections. Most if the trail was beside the mountain creek so it was very picturesque. It was a lot of fun.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Facebook - A God Send or of the Devil?

Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!

Hi, I'm Patrick and I'm addicted to Face Book [Hi, Patrick!].

Yes, I'm spending way too much time keeping up with the minutia of my friends lives. It is a time black-hole. It sucks up my time and never gives it back.

Why did I join?
I heard about how great it was from other FB-addicts. So I thought I'd try it.

At first is started innocently enough. I joined and put the minimum of personal information on there. I added a few really good friends whom I care deeply about. I then met new people at various singles events. So I added them. Then, FB showed me other people whom I may know. Why yes, I am sort-of friends with some of them, so I added them. Pretty soon, I had 50 "friends." And then people started finding me, so I added them.

Now, I have 90 friends. Some post things I DO what to know about - these are the posts that keep me coming back and checking for more. These posts feed my addiction.

A lot of them rarely post anything. A few of the post a lot of stuff. Some I don't even care about. I have even dropped a talkative "friend" or two that I got tired of listening to.

I can share videos that I like by posting links to them on FB. Other friends do the same and I spend time watching them.

I love looking at friends pictures. I see people who are important in their lives. I spend time going through not just the pictures they are tagged on. I look at all the pictures in the album.

Friends show links to events that they are attending. I evaluate the links and see if it is something I would be interested in. Maybe it is, usually it isn't but I need to check it out. We have to keep our options open, you know.

Bottom Line

I want my time back. I am turning it over. I know there is a higher power who can restore my on line life to sanity. I have to continually turn my on line life and will over to Him who is able.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drew is Home

Finally Home Again!

Brother-in-Law, Drew, was released from the hospital on Tuesday evening. My sister, Millie, is ready for some relief. Drew's brother, Casey, has arrived to help out.

Thanks everyone for praying!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Drew still in the hospital

New development

Drew's creatinine level was going back up. It was down to 1.5 and then it was back to over three. They did a biopsy and are changing his medicine routine. He's also getting Plasma Pheresis treatment. This will help him not reject the kidney.

Millie is staying with him and is doing great herself.

They both could use more prayer.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Drew recovering

I'm Home!

I drove back home on Sunday. It was snowing like crazy and the other side of the interstate was mayhem. But I got home OK. Work has been tough. It seems like I've done two weeks worth of work this week. But I am glad to be home.

Drew Update

As Millie reports, Drew seems to have turned the corner. He's constantly on his cell phone now. He has been up and walking around the floor to get exercise. Millie is with him most of the day and then gets home to sleep. I'm glad I was there. I'm glad I'm home.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Slight Set Back

Drew back in the hospital

Brother-in-law Drew developed a partial bowel blockage yesterday morning. He was re-admitted to the hospital. They said that in 80% of cases, the blockage frees up on it's own after two or three days. Drew has been there almost 48 hours. If he is still blocked in the morning, a decision will be made to operate or not.

Please pray for him.

Millie's Doing Great

Sister Millie is doing well. Her pain level is way down and has been a big help and support for Drew during this issue. We will be at the hospital very early Sat. morning since the doctor he would make Drew the first patient he sees.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Millie & Drew back home

"There's no place like home..."

Both Millie and Drew got discharged from the hospital today. They are home and my brother is already there helping. I'll be there later tonight.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Millie & Drew's Surgery


My sister Millie is donating her "spare" kidney to her husband today. They will be in surgery at 6:45 AM. The surgeon will call me when they are done. I will update her blog at Millie's World as She Sees It .


Please be in prayer for Millie and Drew Leonard.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Love Takes Balls

Woman explains salvation to man who threatened her

Pauline Jacobi of Dyersburg, TN bought her groceries at the local Super Wal-Mart. When she got in her car a man also got in and ask her for her money. She told him no she wouldn't.

When he threatened to kill her "I said, 'If you kill me, I'm going straight to heaven. If you kill me, you're going to hell.'"

Read her amazing story here:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Out in the Open

I'm showing the New Face

I'm coming out of electronic hiding. I'm putting my new mug up on the Internet. I got a photographer friend of mine to shoot me at church today. I am pretty well used to it by now. I've been told I look gentler now without the facial hair. I'm probably going to keep it this way for quite a while.

A New Phase

It's a new year and I'm starting a new adventure. I'm going to church singles functions and meeting tons of new people. I'm starting to interact with women more. I'm starting some new friendships and going to lunch with various people. Like all things, it is different and hard in some ways. I have decided to take things very slowly and wait for God to show me what is next.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Goodbye Christmas

Trudie's humor

As you see, Trudie had a bit of humor about things. These are my antique glass ornaments from when I was a child. Trudie labeled them as shown. [Click the image to see the animation.] I had fun creating this animated image. I used The GIMP which is a free graphics manipulation program (like Photoshop).

Putting the decorations away

Storing away the decorations was sad. It is now officially dreary, drab Winter.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hi, I'm Patrick - a recovering Control Freak

Hi, Patrick!

Yesterday, I could stand it no longer!

I have done a lot of work about my Control Freak addiction and most of the time now I can just say "whatever!" But that doesn't mean I'm comfortable with it. I can usually now not mentally criticize how someone else in charge is doing things. And I am grateful for their service.

Now, I limit my expressing my control freak nature by cleaning. When things are clean, I feel that my environment is ordered and controlled.

We used to have a joke about how when I cleaned the kitchen I would deep-clean it to within an inch of it's life. Trudie labeled it "Patrickzizing" the kitchen.

So, yesterday I couldn't stand the driveway and house status any longer. I had to do something. So I got out the rake and the power blower and I blew all the two month accumulation of leaves off the deck, porch, driveway, and - just for good measure - the cul-de-sac street.

I also got out the vacuum and vacuumed the house.

And, since it had been bothering me for a long time, I washed my 240 DL Volvo (yes, in 45F weather).

Ahh! That feels better. Now my world feels more ordered, clean, and more controlled.

I'm sorry for my slip; I'll be picking up another white chip at tomorrow's meeting.