Thursday, December 22, 2005

Last night Benny was wired. Someone broke into our home and gave him caffeine or something. Here is a pic of him in the dark playing with his crib toy, sluffing off some energy. At this moment he is doing the same thing, so here is a typed message from Benny as he continually grabs for the keyboard:


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My favorite getting-in-the-spirit Christmas music is sung by Johnny Mathis. I could sing lockstep every song he has recorded about the holidays. Notwithstanding Amy Grant, an honorable mention is Lindsey Buckingham singing "Holiday Road". It's crazy, but the only words I know are....Holiday Road. If it's good enough for Fletch-it's good enough for me.

We are a travelling family. This is well documented. In the 8 weeks we have had Benny, we have travelled back from Guatemala, flown to D.C., Flown to Denver......but we have never been in a car with him past St. Charles. I am looking forward to him meeting all of his family over the holidays, but I'm wondering how often we'll have to stop....we'll come to think of it, when I drive, I drink coffee. Benny's daddy is said to have the smallest bladder in the civilized world. B and G will probably be rolling their eyes at me.

If you have time, click over to Mike's blog (link to the right). His essay on their family Christmas history will bring tears to your eyes.

Tonight was our Christmas here on Lockett Lane. Here is a pic of our manly boy with bows in his hair. Life is wonderful. I hope you look at your respective lives to find joy. No matter what the situation.

Them's Big Britches

...and you thought everything was big in Texas? Here's a story off today's AP wire about a bouncing baby boy in Oklahoma:
Hospital officials at McAlester Regional Health Center say a 14-pound, 3-ounce baby delivered there is the largest ever born at the hospital. Lillian Elizabeth Ross was born Friday to Adrienne and Anthony Ross.

A hospital spokeswoman said the baby already wears clothes made for children six to nine months old.

"The nursery had to go to pediatrics to get diapers for her because they didn't have any that would fit," Adrienne Ross said. "We've already had to start buying her new clothes. None of the stuff we bought will fit either."

The baby was born by a scheduled cesarean section without any serious complications

Monday, December 19, 2005

If you have time, click on over to Brad Stevens' blog (the link is on this page). He is having surgery tomorrow and would probably appreciate a kind word. He is a warrior for God. Also, click on his son-in-law's link from his blog to see how his daughter, Rachel, is doing in the aftermath of her surgery. To this point prayers are definitely answered.

Today marked a highlight in my business. A builder signed up for our services. This is the official first one-since our original client decided to wait until next year to start using us. I am thankful for having a great mentor in Larry M in OKC. He has been through building this type of business, and has some great insight. Larry and I go back 20 years, and I love the fact that throughout the years we can maintain a good friendship, even when a few years lapse between conversations. I am excited that he has a new son this year. This makes 3 kiddos for him and Susan. I'm looking forward to seeing them next week. I am also anxiously looking forward to seeing family in Neosho, Mustang, OKC, and Woodward.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Here are some precious pics from yesterday. We had a party at the Bogey Club and the Robinson's were awesome to help us in a pinch. We love them, and are anxiously waiting to meet their baby (due to enter this world on Thursday). Benny absolutely loves Grace. He was slapping and cackling when he saw the bathtime pictures with her.

Yesterday was a great day on several levels. Mostly because of the time I spent with Benny. Here are some worthy moments to recap from yesterday:
1. Listening to Amy Grant sing about Christmas. I had tears because we had looked forward for many, many moons to when we would spend our first Christmas with our child. Here we are, and here he is.
2. Watching a John Denver promo on PBS. I had tears because..we'll just because his music hits me on several levels. It's all about the human condition. I was happy to sing to Benny, and it flooded my memory banks. I can't help but think of growing up, just dreaming of the mountains. The mountains were a way to connect with my dad, and a way to reconnect with my mom when we came back from our trips. The exception was when we went as a family (sans Laura who was in Germany). I remember mom crying because we hit a dog on the way out, but all of us laughing on the way back. It so happens we discovered this new bread called "Bagel" in Telluride. For whatever reason, they were good....but were hilarious. Such visionaries, huh? On that trip, I still like to think that was John Denver who we spied at the Aspen airport getting out of his twin engine. It sure looked like him. After G and I moved out there, It was wierd hearing that he died in California. To me, a part of my Colorado "lore" passed on with his death. We no longer live there, but it still feels like home...not to take away from STL...which also feels like home. This is the beauty of making good friends wherever you live.

Fast forward to today. This mornings services were incredibly inspiring. I was on the Praise Team, but feel I was generally ineffective as a singer...but not as a guy just trying to have a relationship with My Savior. I try to dwell on the words I sing, therefore I start to get large lumps in my throat to the edge of crying. My mic is on roughly 70% of the time. I am understanding Gods love in a clearer way. The throat lumps come out when I realize that my loves are miniscule when compared to how God chose to save us. The capstone of our worship was when Mike chose some great words on Christ, Salvation, The Holidays... and ended it with introducing us to a new Christian, and his future family. I wish we would have more services that focus on Praise and Celebration, and de-emphasize an official sermon with the obligatory "invitation". This is not a commentary on preaching. I happen to think we have a stellar preacher. I just think it's good to change things up on occasion to help us focus on God in a different way.

I guess this post is about family. I feel blessed by:
1. The family I have right now with B and G.
2. My family growing up. My parents did something right. I love them, my sisters, my extended family, and most importantly God.
3. My family at McKnight.

Life isn't perfect, and people aren't perfect. I wouldn't trade any of these for anything. Period. Now I gotta work on that crying stuff. You would think I'm a teenage girl.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Shutterbugging is a hobby of mine. Anyone care to guess as to what this is, and where it was taken?

As we found out-Benny loves dogs. My favorite pic of him and "Exa" from Highlands Ranch is unfortunately out of focus (middle pic), but here are a few Pooch Pics to peek at.

Benny is certainly unique and has some very funny mannerisms. One such habit is to lock his elbows and repeatedly slap his knees with his stiff-as-board arms. He does this when he is extremely excited about something-most noteably when we fire up the Baby Einstein videos (ie: kiddy cocaine). He is doing this with Exa in the first pic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Here are a few pics from CO. The first is our great friend Marsha hamming it up with Benny. If you don't know her-Marsha is Geri's proverbial older sister-a pea in the same pod.

I am so glad to be back in the mens class on Wednesday. One of the special aspects of having a mens class is the opportunity to "open up" and communicate. Ed JR is doing a great job in this class. We are discussing the 12 apostles.

Men that have the abilities to open up impress me, and these are the very ones I want Benny to know and emulate. One guy cut from this cloth really shined tonight in class. I was moved by his words. He grew up in a home with an alcoholic father that did nothing to foster a loving relationship. In fact his fathers words were crafted to undermine his self worth as a son and as a person. His father did not approve the thought of his son wanting to go to church and have a relationship with God. Despite all this-this fathers' son has grown up to be a behind-the-scenes warrior for God. Even despite this difficult upbringing, he has an awesome wife and family. I am looking forward to getting to know J on a more personal level. If Benny grows up to have what he does-I consider his life a success.
Twas the night before, it does not seem like Christmas is around the corner.

This past week we were in Colorado to see old friends and clients. I am so thankful for Harry and Marsha. They are family to G and I, and they graciously opened their home and snacks (pretzel rods/corn nuts/peanut m&m's) to us. Not only that, they hosted a baby shower in honor of Benny. The cake was magnificant. The icing was the best! One thing we confirmed-Benny loves dogs. Maybe I can steal Kari's little yapper from Neosho around Christmas.

There were highlights I want to mention from this trip. First, speeding down E-470 to see G and B after 2 days. Second, seeing old friends from our days in Golden-and work. Third, marveling at and reading the homemade blanket from Jenna (my teary-eyed episode #1). Fourth, Having lunch with Chris/Christine-and explaining my take on finally holding your adoptive child (my teary-eyed episode #2). They will have Olivia from China the next time we meet again. Fifth, watching the Broncos pull out a verrry ugly victory over the Ravens. I love seeing the games at Mile Hi, listening to the Rocky Mountain Thunder, and yelling "In...Com...Plete" with the rest of the Bronco fans. Sixth, pulling back into our garage. There is no place like home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

read at your own risk

Ahhh slumber and sleep. For the next few nights I am batch'ing it. My loving family has seen it fit to abandon the Paternal One (that would be me), and fly the coop to "the ranch"...Highlands Ranch, that gold...texas tea..... We'll you can tell I am already stir crazy with them gone. With work behind me, and the evening in front of me, I wanted to let you in on my one random thought on the day.

The day started unlike any other day. The night was long. Benny was slumbering in his usual position (that is until the first of the year)-firmly anchored next to my side, and somewhat cemented to my arm. This is typically a good feeling, except he had a very pronounced nose-whistle all night long-consistently lodging and dislodging his "nose candy". Trust me we tried saliene solution in the middle of the night, and the vaunted blue, bulbous nose sucker. All we seemed to extract were cries of helplessness and frustration-and that was just from me! Needless to say when morning rolled around Daddy was tired. So in a very unkempt state I loaded up all their "stuff" and went to the airport to drop them off.

When I got back home to get ready for work I fixed a nice warm bowl of maple flavored oatmeal to collect my thoughts and ready myself to face the day. This is where my random thought popped in my pineapple-shaped head. Really it is more of a poll that I gave myself. Feel free to give me your preference, but let me first back up to Christmas' long ago. Many kids grew up getting toys, games, etc... not me. There was a period that every year I got a big jar of Dill Pickles. I love pickles, pickled okra, pretty much pickled anything. It doesn't stop there. When I played football, I used to run home and make a salad with vinegar. I can't get enough of salt/vinegar chips. I still can't get enough of vinegar based food/condiments. My wife says I am missing a "Vitamin V" in my diet. I have a serious problem.

On the other end of the dietary spectrum I can't get enough Recees. I tend not to buy them because my self control is always lacking, and I end up sick. Is it the peanut butter or the tasty chocolate? I can't rightfully tell?

Herein lies my random poll:

If I had to give up either Vinegar or Chocolate for the rest of my life, which would it be?

This stupid question had me pondering for a good moment this morning. I was almost in a state of panic until I realized that I can still have both. What is it? Salty or Sweet? I love the peanut butter/chocolate, but man...vineger? There is no substitute. Equally good on different spectrums of taste. My final conclusion is that I cannot, absolutely cannot, live without Vinegar.

This being said, while I have opted to make-believe live without Chocolate, it is going to be very hard to live without the other sweetness in my life for even a few days. Ben and Geri. Of course a pint of Chunky Monkey might chase away the tears for now.

This is a perfect "pre" Christmas day. It's cold and snowy outside.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

When G and I started dating way back when, I was going through a phase in life where the holidays didn't really strike a chord with me. Fortunately over the years I have been drawn out of that holiday funk. As long as we have been married, we have been hit and miss on Christmas decorating, though. When we lived in CO, it seemed that we were always going to OK and MO. Our feeling was why mess with it-or something to that effect. Since moving to MO, we have been battting 100%. That's right 2 for 2 years that the Christmas Tree is up in time for the holidays.

Last year we pondered what the Christmas of '05 would be like. We were in the adoption process, and figured we would be "with child". Today we have soaked it in. It started innocently enough...gradually bringing some boxes up while G was at Costco, and ended up with hauling up the tree, ornaments, and accessories. When G got home, she put on the Amy Grant Christmas CD and we took pictures and shot some film. These days I love Christmas. My Holiday cheer really starts with pulling out the ornaments that Mom and Dad gave me over the years. Mom is pretty good at putting the particular year each ornament was given. One I like is the Oriental Lady ornament she gave in 1986. First of all that is one strange ornament. Second of all, who knew? I think she was kin to Nostradomous or something. Looking at the ornament/year, and pondering the past holidays is one thing I look forward to doing when unpacking all that stuff.

I was one proud Daddy, so I called both Mom and Dad to so they could hear Benny making his funny rasberry sounds. When they started talking to him over the phone, his eyes lit up. I think they will like him. He now knows their voices. I hope they can come up to meet Benny soon. Yeah. I think my days of being ambivilent about Christmas are over.

The picture with Santa was taken with Paul. He is Karla's cute little boy. Karla is G's friend from Dallas, and they spent the weekend with us. Here husband has one of the best Italian joints in the free world. Pizza Getti. Check it out if you live around the Metroplex.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Man, what a week. If you haven't simultaneously experienced a new baby, starting a business, and being sick enough that your lungs feel like they are on fire-welcome to my world the past few weeks. Today I am feeling somewhat on the mend, and my attitude is better adjusted after a brief talk with my mentor (G). Somewhere between the fluid-y lungs, and the ups and downs of sales calls, I forgot that this is a pretty exciting time God is giving me. Give me one more night of R & R, and hopefully I'll have some pictures and creative thoughts to write about.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I think it's Joshua chapter 10 where God listened to Joshua, and had the sun and moon stand still for a day. I wish that these first days of being a Dad could just stand still. Here is a picture of Benny and his cousins on an early Thanksgiving morning.

It's hard to think about yesterday and tomorrow when you are wrapped up in right now. I hope you have moments like these this week-whether your kid has crazy hair or not.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I hope you all had a thankful Thanksgiving. We visited G's brother in DC, and met up with Leslie/Darrel and the girls. While there, we were able to catch up with Jason/Amanda. That was a treat. We grew to love them in CO, and now see them on occasion in DC. Hopefully next time we meet, they will have their little China doll.

While in DC we did a brief tour of the Washington Monument, and the Subway sandwich shop at the Museum of Natural History. I am still enthusiastic about visiting DC these days. I love the history. A highlight was visiting Arlington. I had the honor of finding the grave of Mark's uncle. It is located behind the Tomb Of The Unknown. My patriotic roots run deep, and I am thankful of the men and women who serve. Interestingly we visited JFK's eternal flame on the anniversary of his death. Here are a few pic's.

On a side note. It was great to finally meet Brad and Sue Stevens' daughters after church. What a great family with blessings overflowing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

One of my favorite movies is Caddyshack. It's corny but true when they say "They don't make 'em like they used to". Of all the scenes in the movie, one of the funniest is when they yell "Doodie, Doodie!" when someone notices a conspicuous object floating in the pool. We had one of those moments last night at Uncle Re-Re's house during bath time, only it wasn't a Baby Ruth. I guess it was only a matter of time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

There is nothing like being able to end your day with the IPod blaring out your favorites in sweet solitude. This was the case last night..or so I thought. Before G and B went to bed, I had a hankerin' to just chill and flip through the music selection. John Mellencamp, U2, The Shins, Dido, Elton John. Let me tell you, after a long day/week/month...this is a nice way to tap into your inner musician. My air guitar and air drums were wailing. Of course I was trying to be a good husband and father, keeping my concert-we'll privately between my ears! That was until G kicked my feet for me to turn it down a notch (I'm not sure if she was talking about the air drum movements, or the bleed over from the headphones). Concert's over.

It was bliss while it lasted. So there you have it. One minute I am in a private concert. The next minute I am transported smack dab in a 747, which is precisely what Benny's White Noise machine sounds like. Not to be mentally defeated, I got up and took one big look at Bennys sweet sleeping face. I didn't want my last visions of the day being my lovely wife kicking my feet.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A few have asked about my business. I own a franchise that specializes in new home warranty management. My clients are homebuilders. Legally they need to furnish a 1 year warranty with their finished product. My company goes on the preclosing walkthrough with the new homeowner, and will handle all warranty related calls for the first year of ownership. If you build homes-you want to concentrate on building not servicing claims. Too often their buyers call builders to do alot of extras that aren't warranty, but cost the builders tons of $. This is where I can be of value, along with giving them a legal layer of protection--I won't get into this though.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I have just been reminded by my favorite baby doctor sister that I used to gag if she brushed her teeth in the same room. While the effects of smell have decreased in my overall gag factor, years later these same brushing issues still exist. I periodically need to replace my toothbrush if my bristles happen to brush (pardon the bad pun) against G's. This is somewhat akin to Jerry dumping his belt in the trash because the buckle hit the mensroom floor on Seinfeld. What makes me real mad is if G takes advantage of this, and rubs our toothbrushes together and laughs. Oh, I laugh to...all the way to the closet for another toothbrush. In keeping consistent with my wierdness that my sissy talked about, I also do not like to brush at the same time as G. If you check out her side of the countertop, it has toothpaste stains around the sink and mirror. The thought of these randomized outbursts of airborne flails of mouth stuff make me gag.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

How cool is this. 2 meetings with builders, and 2 positive responses. Thank you for your prayers for building my business. This is an endeavor I started out in order to honor God, and to provide for my family.

I remember my mutual fund wholesaling days...."Sell the sizzle, not the steak" exclaimed a big-wig manager with a large bank in California. This is what I'll do, as long as there is truth in advertising. Hopefully my prospects will see steak in what I'm saying.

My prayers are lifted to the Schnakenbergs. The father of a buddy growing up passed away this last week. Eldon was a great person.

Monday, November 14, 2005 I am relishing the joy of fatherhood, I find myself consistently doing things never imagined. This ranges from changing atrocious diapers to handling various bodily fluids without problems. A top 10 moment would entail gathering and delivering "specimin samples" from diaper to the pediatrician's office. One thing that amazes me is the Smell to Gag Reflex mystery. All my life smelly things make me gag. Not so much any more.

We'll gotta run for now. Evidently it's "din-din" time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Today I have been reminded that not everyone in this world has it "easy". Without making judgements of how people get in their particular binds of life, my challenge is that if you see someone in need-try to help them out.

Monday, November 07, 2005

What a great weekend. Had family over and took Benny to Church to meet everyone. Here is a pic of the kiddos hanging out.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Spring, Fall, Concrete Wall

What a day!

It's going to be in the 70's, and we have relatives coming over this weekend. A glorious Spring-like Fall day. I can't wait to see the gang from OKC--especially Carly and Abby. We had a great time during their fall break last year, but I suspect this is going to be even better. After all, it's not every day you get to meet a new cousin.

This weekend I'll be practicing my "script". I start setting appointments on Monday to begin building my business. I have been praying for success, but now is where the rubber meets the road. Benny's Uncle has a pretty big presentation on Monday as well. It was a sacrifice taking off from work to see us. He sure could use a heavenly boost, too!

Here's a pic from last year.

Kelli (Benny's Uncle's Cousin if readers are curious), thank you for the kind note and gift certificate. We will be sending an official thank you. As usual-you are awesome! I would love to see you guys sometime.

Oh of the funny Halloween traditions in STL is telling a joke before actually receiving candy. We had a trio come to the door. 2 boys and a girl. The boys told their jokes, and the 6 yr old girl had a doozey.

Cute Girl: "What does a fish say when he hits his head on a concrete wall?"
Cute Wife: "I don't know, what?"
Cute Girl: "Dam!"

This is one joke Benny will not know, but it was pretty funny.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

One of my favorite things about being a dad is laying next to Benny trying to coax him to sleep. I am famished and tired, but this is way better than eating and sleeping. It is pure joy to look at his little face and sing him a sweet melody. Tonight with the kids class at church we were talking about Abraham and Isaac. I can't imagine coming close to Abrahams obedience. Genesis 22:14 is stuck on my mind. In our quest to have a child over the years, we have tried to hold to the faith that "The Lord Will Provide". He has done this beyond my wildest expectations. Only God can knit a family of three people, each born on 3 different corners of the earth. How cool is that. For this He is to be praised.
Oh yeah, I am still learning my lessons as a rookie. Most recently is never...Never sit your naked kiddo down on your knee while filling up the bathtub. Probabilities are good that he will observe the running water and react in a similar biological fashion. In this case all over my jeans. I have never done so much laundry in my life!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Last night before bed I caught one of my all-time favorites from the 80's. Family Ties. At the time I thought Alex P. Keaton was so cool. In this episode he had insomnia for 8 straight nights. I can relate on a minor scale. The reason I catch this sitcom sometimes is to listen to the theme song. Just hearing the tune sends me down memory lane. It goes something like this "What would we do baby without us..what would we do baby without us.....". So true whether talking about our immediate family, extended family, or Church family. With so many personalities, you take the good with the challenging times and thank God for those relationships.

Oh's a pic of our pumpkin from last night.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Benny in his Guatemalan hat.

It's fun rediscovering movies that I liked in the 80's. Last night The Karate Kid was on the tube. At some level every guy can relate to Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), whether being bullied and picked on, trying to impress girls, or just trying to fit in.

My favorite part is when Mr Miyagi uses work around the house as a way to teach The Kid about developing, learning and maturing. To him it's stupid. Paint the Fence. Paint the House. Sand the Deck. Wax On/Wax Off (insert 8th grade joke here). Daniel was frustrated because at the end of the day he only saw how he felt. Sore. Sore muscles and being peeved for doing nothing but labor (how is this going to help my karate?). That was until Mr Miyagi connected the dots between his goals of karate and maturity to the physical labor. The internal evidence. The lightbulb suddenly went on. There was purpose to his unglorious and repetitious labor.

I don't want to be a karate champion, but realize that attaining goals in life requires repitition and commitment. This stands true whether I want to be the best dad, a better teacher, more Christlike, businessman, husband, friend...Today, as a dad I feel like Daniel did when he realized his work was paying off. Tomorrow might be a different story at the office. But today It's a great feeling. Oh yeah...I also liked the part when he kicked the mean guy in the face to win the tournament.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I have been trying to find time time to balance the checkbook, go over work, and do the usual chores that seem hard to accomblish these days. First things first we had to watch a bit of Sooner football. Here's a pic.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I remember teaching the book of Job in a class at Golden, and marveling at God's direct words to Job. We are not always able to objectively look at our lives and answer the why's and what's of the storm that goes on within and around us. Oh to have God open his voice to us and tell us events that formed and worked together to shape where we are. Sometimes I feel like a child trying to fly a jumbo jet, than trying to figure out life. This feeling hit me the other afternoon when we were eating at an nice restaurant in Guatemala City. I looked at G and Benny and just cried. I felt like Job-knowing that God is in control, but needing a good talkin' to. During this entire process over the years I sometimes doubted that getting our Benny would happen. God set the stars in the sky, and the universe spinning because He is in control. I didn't quite understand the "big picture" at the time, but looking back I now see God working in our lives leading up to this point. Geri's fear of flying (ruling out China), moving to MO (our mover had used Dillon Int'l twice). These and countless other strands have woven our lives into a beautiful tapestry-compliments of our Creator.

Here are some things learned from Guatemala:

1. If you bargain for prices, don't bargain too hard. The vendors work hard for very little.
2. Don't just stand there admiring a baby boy between diaper changes. The waterworks are spectacular. That's OK, it was on Geri's side of the bed.
3. Benny is "Gordo". This is how the Guatemalans described him. We agree.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And now for a shocking development. Geri is upstairs taking a nap with Benny.

We have been blessed to travel the world over, but this trip eclipses the others in an infinite way. It is a great feeling having a son and getting to know the funny little habits and mannerisms that he has. Interestingly, he seems the same as the boy we imagined in the 6 months of pictures. Benny has a funny way he points his fingers, he has a funny little laugh complete with cooo's and ahhhh's and grrrrr's. He even sucks his bottom lip almost sideways, just like some of his pictures. I am now seeing another dimension that God blesses parents with.

We have talked with, and met many adoptive families on this trip. For each family this has been a long and emotional process, but all agree that the heartbreak along the way just dissipated with the first look at their child. We are among those. Of course my emotional high was somewhat tempered with my first "real" diaper change yesterday in Antigua. Shocking. I give myself a D on efficiency, and an A for not gagging. My hats off to Geri on this category.

While in Antigua, which is a verrry beautiful city, we did some shopping and sight seeing with our guide, Edgar, and another couple from McKinney, TX. They just picked up Joseph. Word to the wise, never go to the bathroom by yourself in a strange place. I walked into a bathroom at the chicken place we went for lunch. My suspicions were aroused when there were 3 guys and 1 kid not using the restroom, but just hanging around. They were looking for someone to buy their gold, silver and chicklets. No matter the country, I have this invisible bullseye on my forehead I guess.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Gotcha Day

4am came early yesterday morning. We have taken dozens of flights and had numerous journeys in our marriage, but none quite like this.

The first leg of the flight took us through Houston. After an hours layover we hopped onboard to Guatemala. The pilot said our flightplan was amended to skirt around the hurricane currently going through Mexico. As Geri was watching the inflight movie Monster In Law, I was listening to the IPod and thinking about...we'll I really had a tough time concentrating. My soul wanted to burst and flood out, so I sat there listening to Elton John with misty eyes.

In my excitement before we landed, I whipped out the video camera and started filming Guatemala City. That was until the militant flight attendant made me put it away. This is all probably caught on tape.

Once we landed, we were herded through a very lax customs dept. They pretty much just stamped our passport and sent us on our way. Walking out of the airport was a sight to behold. It was packed with locals. The interesting thing is they were not loud and respected your personal space. The traditional Mayan dress is absolutely beautiful and packed with colors. We then found our shuttle to the Radisson and took off to check in.

We arrived at the hotel and immediately met Edgar, our translator and guide for the next few days. He is a kind man who spent 10 years in California. We have waited a long time to be parents, but parenthood came very quickly. Before we had a chance to check in, in walked the foster mother, her grandson, and Benny! We cried. To ease the transition, Geri and I went up to the room by ourselves while they changed Benny in the lobby. Once again we hugged and cried. We were a family. It was as though an anchor dropped from my heart and firmly rested on a sun drenched sandbar. It felt good and right.

Once we pulled ourselves together and gathered the presents, we went down to meet them. From the get go, Benny felt perfect in our arms. He took to us like a gull takes to the wind. It is as if God answered our prayers for a laid back boy. He is certainly Chillin Like Dillon, and absolutely easy going. We spent the next few hours going over questions, and taking them to lunch. Benny was a trooper. The foster mothers grandson looked and acted remarkably like Mark Shaffer from CO.

Last night was great. It was recommended that because he slept with the foster mother, we should start out sleeping with him. This is what we did. He had been sleeping from 8 to 6am. He is taking after Geri. With the exception of 45 minutes last night, he slept from 8 to almost 8am. He has a funny Coooo and Ahhhhh when he gets tired. Here are a few other observations. He has a gentle personality like Gabrielle, and has stinky feet like Abby/Carly. He is going to fit in nicely.

I need to get back to check on my new family. Of course they are both napping. Once again, thank you for your prayers, cards, gifts, words of encouragement...God is great.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We'll see everyone when we get back.... and then there were 3

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Come Monday we are hoping to hear when we are able to travel to Guatemala. At this point, the earliest case scenario to pick Benny up will be next weekend. We are excited and appreciate the cards, prayers, emails and calls. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

It was great talking with Geo the other night. We were like kids trying to balance watching the Cards and maintaining a conversation. This has been a good week of touching base with good friends like Chris, Jimmy, Aaron, Mark S., Barry, Jason, Wib...still waiting to catch up with Bennys Uncle. I am mindful to keep his Mom in prayers. She is going through a challenging time with her health. I am also thinking of Zach. Today is his 3rd anniversary at gaining his citizenship in Heaven. He is surely missed down here, but his Grandpa is probably enjoying Zach's company up there. They better be smiling down on the Cards-we are needing it given the score right now.

On a very bright note, some new friends of ours (Thanks to Barry/Jana) just got a referral from Guatemala. They will be getting a beautiful baby girl! Congrats Tim and Shari.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I can't believe it's another Wednesday. Time to gear up to teach the kids tonight. It has been encouraging to read and teach on Hebrews 11. What I try to do with these kids is take these "characters" and make them into real living, breathing people to talk about. After all, can't we all relate to someone that faces rejection because they are doing what is right and not neccessarily easy? (Noah's neighbors probably thought he was crazy as a loon for building that big contraption).

The heroes in Heb 11 were far from perfect. They had triumphs and tragedies in their lives. Just like us. Above all they lived with faith (11:13). I can certainly relate to this. I can also relate to Hebrews 12:1. Am I the best husband I can be? No (I'm sure G will agree). Do I get tangled up with pride, anger, greed...yes. Do I have faith in Christ? Yes. Do I have hope? Absolutely. I have faith, and am continually encouraged by good people around me.

Just like I would ask the kids in class--Are you are surrounding yourself with a good cloud of faithful friends?

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Great Saturday

I grew up in a paternal family of mountain lovers. The unspoken credo recognized there is "pretty", and there is "beautiful" landscape. To experience the latter, you must head westward for 14 hours, into the dusty and desolate mountains of Colorado. Granted it is beautiful there, but this philosophy skewed my thinking throughout the years. Only now am I discovering the true beauty of my home state.

Missouri does not have huge dominating peaks, but it has a majesty of rolling hills, impressive forests of trees, with rivers and lakes that are full of life. We did some exploring of our neck of the woods on Saturday afternoon. Missouri's "Wine Country" is partly located a short 1/2 hour drive out of town in Augusta. A beautiful and small town quite near the meandering banks of the Missouri River. This area has great hills, and a wonderful history dating back to Lewis & Clark. The spirit moved us, so we decided to explore while we still have the chance. Here is a picture of G hanging on a winery terrace outside of Augusta. We were in the middle of a feast consisting of sauerkraut & brats, cheese, and veggies. To top it off we washed it down with a vintage Diet Coke.

Yessir, that was a grand day. Beautiful wife, beautiful scenery, great food....beautiful life. We even cranked Elton John's "Benny And The Jets" on the drive out. Ain't life grand when you love where you live.

As the saying goes: You won't love where you are, if you didn't love where you came from. I came here from CO, via OK, via SW MO. Each great places to be. I certainly miss the tall mountains, but it's the Mountaintop experiences that I don't want to miss out on (whether at 10,000 feet or 740 feet in elevation).

I hope you're experiencing some of these mountaintop experiences in your life. Come to think about it-I experienced alot of those with my Dad and Uncles/Cousins out there in the dry and dusty mountains. Even on those long, flat stretches of road in between. It's nice to be able to appreciate where you come from, and simply enjoy the journey.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Always counterbalancing tough times are lighter moments in life. Here are some nice times from this week:

1. Taught class on Wednesday. Noah was our subject this week. We had some great discussions considering their age. There were ramblings of comparisons to the Titanic. These kids are stuck on that ship.

2. Picked up Avion for church. He is an awesome kid. I loaned him a sleeping bag for his first Boy Scout campout, and quelled his fears of coyotes and foxes attacking the group. It was fun to show him how to use a sleeping bag, and reassure him that it's container is a "stuff bag". To avoid frustration of neatly rolling up the bag and painstakingly trying to fit the bag in the duffel-JUST STUFF IT in there! His only rule was to take care of it, and call me on Monday to give me a report of his trip.

3. Saw G's former regional leader Geoff from CO. He came over last night to hang out and talk life/shop with G.

4. I have it in my mind to compete in a half marathon in the mtns of CO next August. Training started yesterday. I felt like that Ironman dude on the Gatorade commercial. He bonked 50 yards from the finish line. I bonked 50 yards from my house.

5. Remember Fast Times At Ridgemont High? I had to pick up a package at another office in my building. I think I walked in on a 50 year old version of "Brad Hamilton" (Judge Reinhold). Remember the scene when Phoebe Cates walks in on him???? After the STL Cards game this summer, I thought the "Wierd Guy" encounters magically transferred to Mark. I guess not.


WE JUST GOT THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE----GERI JUST CALLED at 4pm-----WHIPPPEEE!!!! one more hurdle cleared

What about you. Any good moments this week?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

We are hoping to hear something from the Agency today. Simply put, we are tired of waiting and hearing about delays. This is very typical of families going through the adoption process. Despite this knowledge, each delay produces a sadness and raises our general level of anxiety. I guess in the end what we have is faith that God is in control-sometimes this is hard to see-but we have it.

That's all folks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Public thanks to Brady W for coming up with the ticket. One of my goals is to have Benny's picture taken at Busch before they tear it down. Granted I don't think it is a particularly pretty stadium, but it still seems pretty nice. I guess STL wanted change for change sake.

My first venture into this stadium was at the 1982 World Series. Tickets came compliments of U.K. I would suspect his family took the tickets for an earlier game because it was a "sure thing". I sure am glad he managed to slide us the 7th game tickets.

Not having an abiding love for baseball at the time, I pretty much never thought about Cards baseball after that. I did have some great conversations about the Series with Mr. Tink (the longtime/greatly loved typing teacher at NHS). As a product of cable TV, I followed the Braves growing up. This was in itself a challenge because they sucked. More than once did I hear the joke as told by Wib:

Eric calling Atlanta for tickets: "What time is the game, tonight?"
Braves Ticket Office: "What time can you be here?"

I loved watching Dale Murphy, Claudell Washington, SId Bream, and a host of others being managed by Joe Torre. When we were living in CO, I had a casual interest in the Rockies. Going to a game at Coors Field was never about baseball. It was about eating and talking. My highlight at Coors Field was catching a game a few days after lasic surgery. I was amazed that the scoreboard was so crystal clear, and the mountains in the backdrop were completely in focus. Well, watching Randy Johnson pitch was another biggie.

Now that I have my wit and senses, I have fully converted into a late-blooming Cards fan. I love the team's history, and how STL truly rallies around the team. Going to the game is about The Game! This is one love affair I will share with Benny. He will be growing up cheering 3 teams with his daddy: The Cards, The Broncos, and The Sooners. The Rams can be his NFC team if he wants, since he already has his Stephen Jackson autographed football.

Here's to big kids hanging out in the dugouts, pop flys, and little kids watching the big kids play a little kids game.
Don't you love it when suprises come your way? I do. One suprise came in the form of a phone call Sunday morning. Some friends from out of town had an extra ticket to the final regular season game at Busch Stadium. When we got there I was dizzy with excitement! Literally. We were on the very top row at mid-left field. No nose bleeds, but we had plenty of jokes about them.

More about this, along with pictures soon.....

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Life Music

Sound Guy: "That was good....what do you call it?"
Drummer: ........."I Am Sparticus".

This is a bit of dialogue from That Thing You Do, a movie directed by Tom Hanks about a band whose wheels fall apart after scoring a one hit wonder. The drummer who just played his "I Am Sparticus" out of frustration, is in the now empty sound room. Despite the bands demise, he still had a passion for his craft. He simply had a passion for music. This is what I love about good music. It permits your soul to submit to emotions you feel from your heart.

Of course my definition of "good" music is subjective. I have been through some doozey crazes in musical flavor. Take for example my Steve Winwood depressive period in college. Man oh man, I thought that was some good music. It was good at the time-unless you were my roommates. Letting me listening to that was akin to giving whiskey to a drunk. Not beneficial. This plays on the simple logic that depressive music will not heal the depressive soul. I guess after the 93rd unwilling time listening to these collectively depressive songs, George and Bennys Uncle finally hit the wall and hid the "offensive" CD out of desperation. I appreciate that bold move of Tough Love. To this day I will not listen to the long-haired crooner. Oh, I went through Winwood Withdrawls at the time, and was pretty mad. Almost as mad as when they put pepper and Tobasco in my Skoal (another stupid habit I had acquired at the time).

Getting back to my original point of music, G and I were having a goofy conversation on what songs I would sing to Benny. I couldn't think of any except "Margaritaville". I was like a deer in the headlights. I wasn't firing on all cylinders with that easy question, and threw that stupid answer back to her. Of course when I asked her the same question, she triumphed in this contest mentioning Mary Had A Little Lamb among some great Godly songs. I gotta get with the program.

Music is such a trigger of emotion, I have spent a few minutes trying to weave important themes/times in my life that seem to be linked by the musical thread. Primarily I need to address Bruce Springsteen. In college, I loved it when Bennys Uncle would announce the next impending Bruce Cruise. It is no suprise that everyone involved in cruising around to Hungry Heart, The River, and all his other songs are still tight after all these years. It was a very bonding experience-with the exception of that night at Lake Hefner. For those not in the "know"-there were no drugs, alcohol, or anything like that. Just a bunch of stupid college buddies showing flashes of craziness.

Other noteables:

Singing with a happy heart from the church songbook in our storeroom/closet downstairs after I was baptized.
The singers at our wedding, even though I don't remember a thing-except background vocals-while watching G go down the aisle.
The CD Bennys Uncle made, that had exerpts from Shawshank Redemption. It helps me remember Zach & perspective.
The drummer at Jantsens funeral. One of the most powerful examples of musical emotion I have ever witnessed.
Listening to Otis Redding while walking the midnight surf at Cozumel. Solitary reflection on life.
Becky Kelley singing "Redeemer" at Easter services in 2004. Moved to tears. The best live song I have ever heard. God was present.
Bob Marley presiding over many years at the apres-ski Steamboat hottub.
Jimmy Buffett singing his kid-oriented songs. I also like Creed's "Lullaby". I'll be singing those to Benny.
Listening to John Denver. Growing up this propelled my dreams of CO. Leaving CO for STL, his music made me cry twice before hitting the state line. I hated the fact he died when we moved to Denver. Always wanted to see him at Red Rocks.
When I first heard DC Talk's "In The Light". Moved me to tears while working a youth retreat in the mountains.
Listening to The Big Chill soundtrack during a mountain thunderstorm, while camping outside of Salida.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Last weekend we saw The Constant Gardner. Our goal was to see a mindless movie that was upbeat. G was stressed out and needed a lift. This was an excellent movie that touched on the plight of many Africans. It was not upbeat and mindless, but very thought provoking. If you see this movie and don't feel a need to do something compassionate for the less fortunate, what a shame.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Tonight is the Christian Family Services annual dinner. I am looking forward to hearing the guest speaker. He was adopted through CFS and has managed to create an interesting career in the Christian music scene. Evidently he is funny. Tomorrow I am taking Avion to a youth group activity. He is a special kid. He lives with his mom in the city-he has a great heart-makes good grades, and is quick with a smile. He just needs a good male role model in his life. We have taken him under our wing, and it is a tremendous blessing.

Some people get in a huff thinking about the concept of "It takes a village to raise a family". (Probably because of Hillary) Don't get me wrong, nothing substitutes "Family", but this principle is surely Christian based. I know of a study stating that it takes 5 men to provide a significant and positive impact on a boys life. I am glad to step into those shoes for Avion, and I will also make sure there are good men in Benny's life to impact him. One thing I am looking forward to is giving him something like a Bar Mitzvah with a twist. A friend in CO took his sons camping in the mountains when they reached a certain age. They sat around a campfire where the dad read letters from other men-addressed to his son. These men wrote to that particular son about their hopes for him, faith, responsibility, honor, making good Christ-based decisions...among other things. When they came down from the mountain, it was understood that dad and mom would treat them in a different way. They were instilling a higher level of accountability. I have a few years before I'll do this with Benny, but I look forward to the day.

Getting back to movies. If we have time this weekend, I want to see "The Greatest Game Ever Played". Generally golf movies stink. They are nauseatingly nostalgic and dorky. This is based on a true story. I saw an interview by the director, who wanted to portray competitive golfers as they really are. They are more akin to gunslingers with a great talent to hit a ball. You don't produce results, you don't eat. I don't know how it ends, but I'm looking forward to finding out. Plus I like Shia LeBeouf. Ever since "Holes" he has been one to watch in my book.

All this talk makes me pine for my favorite course-Boiling Springs. Carved out of the brush country outside of Woodward, this offers beautiful scenery and elevated tees on a few holes. I miss playing out there with Bennys Uncle. Hopefully we can book a tee time one of these days.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Last night was a positive reinforcer on why I like to teach kids. Having such a range of ages is a hurdle that I step through each week. The kids are between 3-6th grade. Some are mature for their age. Some are definitely not. When I "signed up" to teach the class, there was no cirriculum or direction. We pretty much fly by the seat of our pants. Once the lesson is done-we go to Bible Hangman.

I hope those days are behind us in that class. Last night I decided to go through Heb 11 for the next month or so. When we talked about Cain and Abel, the kids eyes lit up. They knew the story but I wanted them to go deeper to explore the attitudes of those brothers. Both to each other, and to God. Before we knew it, the hour flew. It is a great feeling to look in their eyes and listen to their questions/comments, knowing their brains are engaged and learning. Hey, at least no Titanic stories this week. We'll I did field a few questions on the exploration of the Antarctic. Go figure.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Benny is growing like a weed. Here is his latest smiley picture.
Qualities I appreciate in many of those I have met include patience and understanding. It seems rare these days to find those who put into practice a faith that ultimately trusts that God is in control, and while there are trials in life, there are many Gifts From Above to focus on. One such person who embodies Godly qualities now has a blog. He has seen trials abound in his family-but consistently is looking upward. Check it out.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It seems travellers going through the Gutemalan adoption process experience as many delays as travellers at Chicago O'Hare. We rec'd an email/call this morning from our agency to let us know that a GU staff person at the Civil Registry that was caught issuing a fraudulent birth certificate. In steps their government, who decides that every family in que gets to go to the end of the birth certificate line. In other words we are probably delayed another 2 weeks. What we and every other of the waiting families (and there are many) surely are trying to grasp is that God is in control. This is a minor glitch over a lifetime, but it sure seems like a lifetime of wait. It's too bad I don't have the top-secret technology that Austin Powers had, when he went suspended into a big vat tp pass the time away for another couple of weeks.
Quite awhile back I got the idea to start this blog for a few reasons. At first glance I was reading some incredible things that others had to say in own personal blog. I realized it was a very good venue to hack out a few sentences that are rambling around my brain. Second, it is a good way to keep folks informed of what is going on with our lives, since never seem to live in places with family that we can visit on a regular basis. Knowing this, I realize this is a public forum-so on many things I write sparingly to keep personal things personal. This being said it seems my neice is finding the same travails of the blogging world on her own site. Hopefully that won't continue to happen. What can I say-the internet driven world is a crazy place. Don't you agree?

I am feeling a need to reveal a bit of myself through some of my thoughts about family/faith/beliefs/annoyances/joys... In order to stay away from arguments, I used to avoid bringing these thoughts up. This probably reveals a long-standing fact. I do not like confrontation. I'll post a few things here and there, as I have time.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Reality bites

Do you like reality TV? I have always denied any interest. We'll today I am coming out of the closet. I like the Apprentice and a few others. Now keep in mind that I didn't like The Donald's show last season. There was just too much cussing and beeping out words. If pretty is as pretty does, those candidates were...we'll they weren't pretty.

Last night G and I watched The Apprentice, where G kept commenting on the snide "Melissa". As the program wore on, this candidate was not a team player, she was not positive, she was not humble.

Sampling of our conversations throughout the Apprentice:

Her: "Don't you remember that girl at the regional meeting who wore the white blouse?"
Me: "No"
Her: "I bet that's her" "I guarantee that's her".
Me: "Since there is a commercial can I turn it to 118?" (The Military Channel)
Her: "I'm calling Geoff"
Me: "Go ahead then..."

Now, Me, I can't remember where I parked the car at the mall. How can I remember a lowcut blouse at a regional meeting dinner 5 or so years ago?

We'll. It turns out G has the keys to the family memory bank. She nailed it. This same Apprentice candidate that got canned last night evidently didn't cut it as an IR either. Her and G were in the same region.

It's a small world.
Last night I was up late-and just channel surfing. I happened to catch the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice. I like Martha. Forgetting about the felon thing-I think she has worked hard to create a great company. This will be gooood. The candidates have created their own teams. They grouped each other into the "Creatives" vs "Corporates". I would predict that the latter will have someone prevail. The Creatives don't posess much crossover to the rational business side. There was much more crossover balance on the Corporate-types. Like everything else, it is good to be balanced. Of course I usually know this in theory.

This also reminds me of the final "Reality" show I like. Big Break on the Golf Channel. A few seasons ago, I tried to root for a specific guy, Don. He had talent and the drive, but he was one-dimensional. In his lifelong quest to get on the tour, this show was his last gasp to "make it" as a golfer. After he was eliminated he didn't know what to do with himself. The very thought of elimination didn't cross his mind and he was putting all his eggs in this basket. It was even too obsessive even for me (who has been known to obsess about a thing or 2. ie: skiing, CO, WWII, Recees PB Cups).

One reality show I would watch--The Slick WIlly Show. I would love to see Bill Clinton have his own show. Keep in mind I would not vote for him, but I'd still like to meet him. For whatever reason he interests me. When I see him on TV, I tend to analyze him like I'm some sort of amateur counselor.

Did I tell you that we like Survivor Guatemala?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Heavenly Armor

Kids, how many people are talking? (no answer) How many are supposed to be talking? "One" (in unison). How come I always hear way more than one?. Don't you remember what we have been talking about in this class? "Yes" (in unison). Well, what have we been talking about? ---Blank Stares.......a hand raises........"Respecting other people". Yes! Lets try and put that to good use.

Our talk turns to protecting ourselves from the Devil's schemes. We talk about soldiers before reading the Bible. All of the sudden a squirrely hand pops up...

"Mr Eric, do you know what else has armor?"

Why don't you tell the class!

"The Titanic has Armor" "Do you want me to draw a picture of the Titanic?"

The class then breaks out..everyone is fixated on the Titanic. It was unsinkable you know! There's an exhibit coming you know! Can I still draw the Titanic, he asks. Did you know that boulders sunk the Titanic? (from the smallest kid).

And so this is how the conversation went as I was teaching the kids class last night. We were talking about honoring your father and mother, then moved on to putting the Armor Of God.

Hopefully something sticks. They are good kids. At least I'm clued in on the latest "boulder theory" for sinking large vessels.

We ended class with a series of Bible Hangman games. The girls were outnumbered 2 to 4. Of course they won. I don't know many Bible words with "X" and all the other obscure letters the boys consistently blurt out. Was I this squirrely?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

1. My streak continues. I didn't notice G's haircut again... Somewhat like the tendencies of the movie character Rainman, I instantly notice if she touches my toothbrush and WWII books, but can't quite pick up on when she gets her hair cut.

2. Delays. Delays. Delays. The household is a bit downtrodden today, as the GU gov't has changed some rules on issuing Birth Certificates. Looks like everything gets pushed back another week. I am hoping it won't be that long.

3. I hope this is the last mowing of the season. Some days I am tempted to sit on our front porch with a BB gun. The "landmines" are getting bigger and smellier. You should see my shoes!

4. What's playing on ITunes? Van Morrison. Days Like This.

5. I recently sat down and watched an interview with Esther Williams. I like her. She has confidence, gumption and guts.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Life is about making mistakes, and as G constantly tells me- learning from them as well. A benefit of being an "older" dad is that I have seen some "classic" examples of what to do, and what not to do. Several years a good friend thought he would have fun with his newborn babe to see how he would react to the taste of Chili's Salsa. That my friends was a mistake, and I certainly learned at that point not to mix babies with salsa.
I have always heard that great quarterbacks have an ability to mentally view and perceive the unfolding play in slow motion. It is as if they have special goggles on. The world slows down, the big linebackers are slowed down, and their neurons are firing for quick decisions.

In a personal sense, this is what I am hoping will happen this week. We are on the final countdown to pick up Benny, and still have lots of paperwork, packing, and various things we need to do. This week I also sign on the dotted line to purchase a business. This in itself is exciting, but somewhat stressful as well. There are various gov't agencies, bankers, business people, car dealers, phone companies, office equipment salesmen, hombuilders, and others that demand my attention. Life seems to be going at 120mph, and will not slow down for quite awhile. I'm am really looking forward to this chapter of our lives. If you happen to find an extra pair of goggles let me know.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

September Showers

Saturday we had a baby shower that was great. This was arranged by 2 of the sweetest girls anyone could hope to know-Everlie and Kelly. Here are a few pics. Among the guests, I was glad that Benny's Mur and Granddad were there to celebrate. On my side of the family, I can't wait to introduce Benny to NeNe and PaPa.

Born To (re)Run

Here's a great email from Benny's Audiophile Uncle. Times change, but they somehow seem the same.

I don't have the bootleg of that show, but I have many others. Yesterday I built a playlist in iTunes that matched the set list. I've been listening to it today too. Very cool. Just like the old days when I would make tapes for special occasions. Funny how times have changed. In other ways, they have not. Recently, I brought home a boxload of 8 tracks from my parents attic. Yes, there were some "dude sins" in that box (Bread, Linda Ronstadt, Abba). Upon reflection, here's is what has transpired over the past 30 years.
30 years ago - I was buying 45s
25 years ago - Recording 8-tracks from albums
20 years ago - Recording cassette tapes from albums
19 years ago - Buying CDs (first 2 I bought were Born to Run and Born in the USA), making tapes from CDs
10 years ago - recording CDs
3-4 years ago - purchased first iPod. Making playlists on iPod
Today: making playlists/CDs identical to the tapes I made in college

Anybody up for a Bruce cruise tonight?
The overhanging, wet weather seems to match my mood this morning. Fortunately I usually manage to think clearer when it's raining and cloudy. Both of us have a packed and perhaps stressful day, but not too stressful to notice the initial bursts of fall. Just outside my office window, the street is lined with huge trees with an abundance of leaves and gumballs. Today the leaves are starting to turn yellow/gold. I started the day a few minutes ago trying to figure out the things I need to get done. It stresses me just a tad, but if God has the power to paint individual leaves with beauty, he will surely take care of us.

My how time marches on. Twenty years ago last night a group of us drove down to the Cotton Bowl to see Bruce Springsteen. I remember it like yesterday. This was definitely a "bookmark" in my experiences.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

You know you are old when...

Last night we went to a food bank fundraiser that featured the STL Rams. Not that I was feeling old, but I did have a few observations. My mission was to get autographs for Benny's football. Geri's mission was to sample all of the food displays. Missions accomplished.

1. The Ram's Cheerleaders looked like they should have been at home studying Intermediate Algebra.
2. Some things never change. I got a kick observing all the old men and the kids in the room panting to get their cheerleader autographed pictures. Having the hottest date at the function, I wasn't interested.
3. The football players looked like kids. Geri wears a Teens Take America shirt as old as some of these players.
4. As we were standing in a long line to get a particular autograph, we had to ask a little kid who the player was. Incidentally it was Steven Jackson. I'm sure we were considered wierd for not knowing who he was.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I love this time of year. The morning air is starting to crisp up on occasion. The leaves are a' fallin'...we'll I took care of that problem by finally taking down the multitude of Christmas light strands that were choking the trees in the front yard. I digress. The familiar he-men are finding their way on TV to prognosticate their take on the gridiron struggles taking place on campuses around the country. It's finally here. Da Da Da Da...Da Da....NC-Double A Football.

Admittedly the BCS is completely stupid. We need a playoff system. If every other form of collegiate football can succeed in doing this, the big boys can do the same. This is another post altogether.

My lineage is 1/2 Missourian, and 1/2 Texan, but I grew up solely in Missouri. It would be natural to be a big fan of Mizzou, right? Wrong. It would somehow be permissible to root for Texas, right? Wrong. To root for UT and not be 100% Texan, or at least live within the state borders seems odd for some reason. Getting back to MO. Not that I don't like Mizzou, but during my impressionable years, they were always about to "turn the corner". I even tried to like Mizzou Basketball. Norm even spoke at our Freshman Awards Banquet. He saw me get my coveted golf and football letters. Alas, Naaah. His temper and foul language hastened my cause to look elsewhere. That elsewhere was OU. My wife gets livid when I refer to Barry Switzer as "The King". But he is! She also has a problem about me hanging an OU flag off our front porch. I love their tradition of winning (let's forget the 90's), and how most of the state gets behind the Sooners. As for my wife, she thinks her statehoods obsession about OU and OSU borders on Idolatry. I'm glad she's not a preacher. She would make that into a series of lessons.

Watching the Sooners in the 80's were fun. Watching the Sooners were fun and painful. Watching the Sooners this century has been a blast (with the exception of 4 games in the past 3 seasons). Going forward I am somewhat fearful of the year. Two of those painful games have been the start of this year. They were lucky to win against Tulsa. If I were listening to The Sports Animal (WWLS in OKC), I am sure the fans are in a panic.

Conversely, watching the Longhorns have been fun over the years. I love to see them lose to OU at the Cottonbowl. This year is different. The Texas vs Ohio State game was one of the best games I have ever seen. What a defensive show! I will not be a Texas fan come October 8th, but it'll be fun trying to sneak a peak at them throughout the season. My prediction is they will win the Big 12, and seriously contend for the Championship. That's not much of a stretch is it?

Tonight we are heading out tonight to meet the STL Rams for a fundraiser. Heck maybe I can meet Corey Ivy who spent 2 years at OU.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

In an effort to not clutter this blog with what Geri calls, "Weasel Words", I am thinking of topics and ideas to write about that are bouncing in my brain.

Today is 9-11 plus 4 years. Do you remember what was happening on this date in 2001? I remember being in Highlands Ranch. We were having Brent/Amy and their kids staying with us. If I remember correctly, Brent was going to some medical lectures being held downtown Denver. I remember waking up and turning on CNN, while putting on my "armor". That would be my suit and tie. I had an appointment in one of the tallest buildings in Denver. At the time I left the house, I assumed the problems in NYC were just that...problems...mistakes. By the time for my first appt with a broker, he looked at me funny. Greg had been watching the tube, and I had been listening to voicemail on the way to his office. Oblivious to what was happening. Needless to say, that was the last appt for the next few days. I was saddened to hear that the pilot on Flight 93 lived in Ken Caryl.

Looking back I am both optimistic and fearful for Benny. Every day I see so much love in the world, but every day we are reminded that this world isn't all it's cracked up to be. In my life I have felt the bomb blast in OKC. I have lived in the Columbine neighborhood in Littleton, I have lived in a town that had their Post Office shot up, with several fatalities. In my life I have seen children die. In my life I have seen God work miracles. I choose to look at the brighter side. For unwanted pregnancies, I see a chance for another family to be completed through adoption. For children dying, I see grieving parents that understand a clarity of life. Maybe not answers, but a clarity that brings God closer to their walk and testimony.

Yes, I have alot of things floating in my head. Hopefully I can sort them out for a story now and then. However, I will take suggestions. Here are some possible options-weigh in if you want to:

College stories

Adventures with Todd

Interesting work stories

World traveller stories

Friday, September 09, 2005

We should be on TLC

After working our tails off, we finally finished the bathroom. I sure am glad we are running out of projects @ the house. Scroll down a bit to see what this looked like before.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A good friend sent this story to me. My Ramblin' Thought today is that if you are like me-sometimes I hate it when friends are painfully succinct (I am a recovering blurter and to-the-pointer), but at the same time I appreciate it when friends are painfully succinct out of love. Anyways...

I challenge you to read and soak in just how God is working in your life, and the world (as chaotic as it seems) around us.

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what
this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the
women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to
the group at the next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a
silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't
mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity
about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he
held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained
that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of
the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the
impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot
then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner
and purifier of silver! ." She asked the silversmith if it was true that
he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was
being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there
holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire
time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the
flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then
she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully
refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see
my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember
that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His
image in you.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

......This Just In............

Today is a wonderful day.


Once the paperwork is finalized......we fly down to pick up Benny!!!!

God is Great, and thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I needed a bit of cheering up today, and new pics of Benny did the trick. Here is my favorite of the 8 that came across the wire today. I love his big eyes. As someone pointed out the other day, his expressions make it seem like he has something to say. He's finally wearing some of the clothes we sent down.