Thursday, July 28, 2005


We better start sleeping now. Here are the most recent reports on Benny.

1. He talks alot, and is hyperactive.
2. He is awake all day. (ie: no naps)
3. He sleeps all night (8pm-6am).
4. He laughs and smiles.
5. He babbles "alot".
5. He cries when he wakes up, but not at any other time.
6. He is intelligent.
7. He watches TV.
8. He is healthy.

Start praying for G. He sounds like his Daddy's son. As Napoleon Dynamite says...."Yessssss". Only 2 months to go (hopefully).

IRA & Retirement

The war in Iraq.
The war in Afganistan.
Terrorist actions in Egypt.
Terrorist actions in London.

These are typical headlines and news stories we are bombarded with. Important news, but somehow there needs to be a balanced shift reporting the good that comes from the rubble of these tragic events.

Here is an important and encouraging story for the day. Hopefully it will be reported here in the States:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Campfires and Guitars

It's universal. We all like things we are good, and excell at. For as long as my memory serves, I have loved skiing. My second day on skis, I won a bronze NASTAR medal. I like skiing!

Did you ever want to be good at something that doesn't come naturally? That is my relationship with the guitar. As Geri packs to go on another biz trip, I am listening to Jimmy Buffett), and working on my transitions between 5 chords for a particular song.

Earlier this month, Bennny's Uncle picked up the same guitar, in this very room. After a looooong absence from guitars, Fred promptly whipped through all these particular chords (and then some). He sounded good. I think he excels at the guitar for 3 reasons. He is musically inclined, he is excellent at math-the string/note relationship is quite mathematical if you think about it, and he probably locked himself in his room as a headstrong kid (ask his parents), and practiced his adolescent frustrations away.

I don't ask for much, so eventually (after more practice and callouses) my dreams will hopefully come to fruition. What is my dream you ask? It is to be able to play simple 6 string music around the campfire. That's all. I have other dreams-but that is for another post another day.

That day when Benny's Uncle picked up the ax and started playing, was a "highlight" for me. I guess you could refer to these times as being Memory Moments. Here we were, 3 friends reunited, just hanging out, nowhere to go, nothing in particular that was pressing our schedules, our loved ones downstairs.... a "Campfire Moment".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A common misconception about Jimmy Buffett is that he only sings about frozen drinks and the island life. Tis not true. He is an accomplished author of novels, and yes..even childrens books. He has great lyrics about children (mostly inspired by his daughter). One of my favorites is Barefoot Children (In The Rain). His songs make me think of Benjamin, and all the kids that have a grasp on my heartstrings. One kid I am praying about is in Panama.

Now, we have a great preacher at McKnight. We like to tease him because he always looks so beat up. He continually slouches his shoulders, and occasionally looks like he has mentally been in the ring a few rounds. He has an amazing heart. Brian (that's his name) recently came back from mission work in Panama, and spoke about it on Sunday. It wasn't the typical post-mission trip rah, rah. He spoke directly to our hearts with a few pictures of the local kids. They have nothing, and when I say they have nothing....they literally have nothing but a smile and a pair of pants.

There was one boy who caught Brian's attention. At the age of five, he had something, yet on the other hand didn't have something. Let me explain. What he has is Leukemia. What he has is 2 months to live. What he has is a flimsy piece of foam to sleep on. It breaks your heart. What he didn't have was something we take for granted. His family lives in a one room shack, and beds are obviously scarce. At the age of 5, the only thing he wanted was a bed to die in.

Brian's message ended with a challenge to start going to Panama and help the people out both physically and spiritually. I'm going to do my best to go. As your day winds down, you might be thinking of your kids, nephews, neices...They do need your love and smiles, but importantly they need your prayers.

Don't forget to pray for the Barefoot Children in Panama. Whether they are In The Rain or not, they need your prayers at the very least. I'm glad they are In His Reign.

By the way, the boy got his wish, complete with Pokemon sheets.

Power and the Space Race

As a typical guy, I love power. Some examples that get me fired up include hearing/watching jet fighters, feeling the boom of large fireworks, the electro-static crackle of guitar amp's cranked up during a concert. This stuff makes my skin look like a topographical map with goose-pimples. I witnessed one of the most impressive displays of raw power @ 2000 while I was training a large class in Orlando. After we broke for lunch, a few of us decided to get burgers at Hop's Brewery. Sothere I was, standing outside with one of those coaster-shaped buzzers in my hand (that goes off when they are ready to seat us). The crowd outside starts looking eastward, and the buzz level grows intense. All the sudden we see this big fireball streaking across the sky. After a morning of delays, the Shuttle had finally taken off. At that moment, I felt the tingling goose-bumps, and proud to be American. That is a grand display of power that is hard to beat (unless you are in the military).

This morning I am going to say a prayer for the astronauts. CNN was doing an overview of their snazzy space suits. They are a nimble 60 lbs, but are designed for a bailout just in case. An oft overlooked fact about the earlier space race is that Kennedy actually met with the USSR a week before he was killed, and offered a joint US/USSR effort to get to the moon together. That idea obviously never came to fruition after his death.

I talked with B, who saw the launch from the beaches by his home. How cool is that!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Getting back to the parable of the talents, I almost liken the 1 talent Servant to Jonah. I can definitely relate to Jonah. Not that I have ever been in the belly of a big fish, but my gut reaction sometimes is to try to run from responsibility. Not to trust that God has given me certain abilities to run on faith, outside my comfort zone.

Eventually Jonah came through to accomplish what God wanted. So through a bit of Holy strong-arming, he went from a 1 Talent Servant to a 5 Talent Servant. Tonight I am asking God to transform my life to a 5 Talent Servant. I'll be sure to take a shower instead of a bath-just in case.

We'll back to painting stripes in Benny's room. Here is another pic.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

With Pearl Jam played out...on to my absolute favorite Arteest.....Jimmy Buffett. Music comes, music goes (ie: Steve Winwood during my depressive stages in college). Here are some pics to enjoy, as I enjoy hearing that master of 3 guitar chords. These were taken while we were on the Seranade Of The Seas this spring.

Back to painting.

$64,000 question

I have washed the dust off the woodwork, and am waiting for the proverbial paint to dry before I get back to taping off the project.

By the looks of the prose below. Can anyone be the Duke of Lyricism and Hazzard a guess to who and what I'm listening to. A plateful of oysters for the correct guess:

Tidal waves don’t beg forgiveness
'CRASHED' and on their way
Father he enjoyed collisions; others walked away
A snowflake falls in May.
And the doors are open now as the bells are ringing out
Cause the man of the hour is taking his final bow
Goodbye for now.
Today we start taping off Benny's room so we can start the painting. I guess like anything else in life, the fundamental key to success is in the preperation and planning. So here is the start to my prep and planning:
1. Go in room, and wonder where to start.
2. Leave room somewhat confused, and get cup of coffee.
3. Move the remaining sticks of furniture out of the room.
4. Drink more coffee.
5. Take a break to create my playlist that will be blaring out during the day.
6. Tape out everything.
7. Head to the john because of the coffee.
8. Go back to the computer to check email.
9. Be glad I'm not mowing in the heat.
10. Decide to pay someone to do the rest.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Eye of the beholder

Having been the past owner of the worlds best dog...Honey (rest in peace), as well as Bailey (rest in peace-no thanks to Banfield Vets in Littleton), I am convinced that pooches have their place in this world. At one point in my life I thought that maybe, just maybe, when the Bible talked about us entertaining angels, the writer was talking about clever and perceptive dogs. An interesting theory.

Here are some other dog-related thoughts from the corner of my mind:
1. The Crabb's had the most smiling dog...ever.
2. Abby and Carly are still scared of dogs...even little, tiny ones. This is fine, but I still don't get the whole Duck thing with Abby.
3. We will someday have a cool dog for Benny.
4. There is a dog in Neosho at AA and UK's who is a total spaz. This would be Cody. I think my dad is partly to blame because of his constant and funny pestering of this tiny Alpha-male runt. If push came to shove, I would take Cody in a NY minute.
5. As this picture clearly points out, all dogs aren't cute. If owners eventually evolve to look like their pets-it looks an awful lot like the old, smoking nurse in Shallow Hal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Somebody please take the chips and Snickers Ice Cream bars out of the house. I am exercising, and trying to eat right. Where I go wrong is the late night munchies. Here I am, going to bed, and I feel like a pig. Once I get into bed, I'll be a pig in a blanket.

Geri and I had a good lesson for the kids tonight. We talked about Matthew 25. The parable of the Talents. I really need to revisit Matthew. I am married to a 5 talent girl, who knows and acts like she is fully using all talents. I'll write about my self-assesment at another time.

On a good note, we cleared another hurdle with the Guatemalan government today-Family Court. We now have one more court to go. The "PGN" step is a 2 part process that is the beginning of the end of the governmental red tape to get Benny.

Golfers 1-0, Clemens 0-2

Sorry I haven't been posting. Too many things going on, and I haven't made this a priority. We had a great family spend the weekend with us, but I'll get to that in a sec. Saturday morning we picked up the Robinsons on the way up to the CFS charity golf tournament. It was a hot day, but that didn't stop us from having fun on the course. The round was capped with Geri hitting a 35 foot putt.

Little did we know at the time, but that very putt helped seal the deal for a 1st place victory for the Third Flight. Third Flight is golf scramble lingo somewhat like you would see at a beauty peagent. It is designed to not make you feel like a total loser. In this case, we were the Winner of the bottom third of the teams. We did walk away with a nice $30 gift certificate per person, along with various "schwag".

Aaron scored big with the longest putt designation. This in itself has a funny story. By this hole, both girls had decided not to play-but rather chat. Us guys happily putted "in abstentia" for our wives. Aaron had just seen me take 2 putts, and on his first attempt-he nailed it to "capture" the longest putt award. He owes me bigtime for charting the course of that ball. I need to watch it when playing golf with him. I had to "call him out" a few times. He has a habit of picking up balls (not necessarily his) and putting them in his pocket. Golfers beware.

Back to this weekend. We had the Stewart family from Denver aboard. Us guys lucked out, and got 4 tickets on the 16th row off 1st base. The price...get this...$50 for all 4. Of course it was in the 5th inning. This event drew a full circle to my Roger Clemens experience, as he was pitching on Sunday. I originally saw him throw HARD at the Metrodome in July, 1991-this is of course when he was with the stinking Red Socks. He lost both games.

I am excited to meet with the banker on Friday morning. I finally finished my business plan/cash flow projections...hence this post as a reward before RusselinUpSomeGrub. That is-getting lunch.

Other things in the works:
Painting Bennys room
Heading out to CO for a long weekend, to climb Mt Elbert (hopefully with Aaron)
Finishing a sizeable lighting job in Wildwood

Ciao for now.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

This morning I watched "Beyond The Glory". This is a show that features the lives of athletes, and how they have overcame an obstacle to attain success in their endeavors. I thiink it is on the Fox Sports Network. Today was Pete Sampras, and is a good story on how setbacks in life can turn into something massively positive. We tend to idolize athletes, but tend to ignore the price they are paying to be "on top of their game". Tiger didn't just wake up and decide to be a great golfer. Pete didn't decide on a Thursday morning as a kid to play great tennis for the next 14 years. Coach K didn't decide in a moment that he will be one of the best coaches on the planet. It takes preperation and hard work.

I remember hearing a quote from Slammin' Sammy Snead. Evidently people were always referring to his golfing as "natural". He indicated that people just see the finished result on Sunday, and don't understand how many long hours of practice it took for his swing to look "natural".

I believe we are all born with God-given qualities and tendencies that will allow us to massively succeed in different areas of our lives. It may not be tennis, golf, basketball, or leading men/women. It does and will take hard work and effort to find this success. After all, as Geri says, success isn't just being at the right place at the right time. If you are like me, and hunger for more successes in life, I suggest to start praying and doing. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. My first step today will be to start peeling off wallpaper in Benny's room. It won't make for a good episode of Beyond The Glory on TV, but it sure will in this house.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Here's a pic from last weekend.

I love to be in shape. I do not like the process to get into shape. Aside from my infrequent basketball games, and walking with Geri, I wanted to step up my fitness level. Yesterday I went to the gym to lift weights for the first time in months. Memberships to gyms like this are not an investment unless you make the effort. Let's see: $60/month at 1 visit in 5 months equals roughly $300/hr for my workout (newsflash. I only worked out 40 minutes). Needless to say, we will let our membership expire.

Not having an affinity for lifting weights-as those with eyes can attest, I signed up for pilates classes. The first one was today. I have always told Geri that the key to long-term strength is flexibility. Today confirmed that I am as flexible as a crowbar in a freezer. The jury is still out on pilates, but I'll be back on Saturday to endure more pain. There are 3 goals for my fitness. Strength, Flexibility, and Toning. If this doesn't work, there's always steroids....naah. I saw too much of that in college. I'm not into getting bigger at the expense of breaking out like a teenager, having body parts fall off, and flying into a 'roid rage. There's nothing wrong with having a strong, flexible, toned, scrawny bod.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Ponder This Over The 4th

This letter was written by a friend at Church:

Independence Day is here. The typical American might celebrate the coming holiday by participating in a parade, watching a fireworks display, or simply spending time with family and friends. However I would like to challenge our readers to take a moment this Fourth of July to consider not only our nation's rich history, but also its future. What is our ultimate destiny? What does the Bible have to say to America?

We can learn many things about America's possible destiny by looking at the parallels between the US and the Northern Kingdom of Israel as described in the book of Hosea. The Northern Kingdom enjoyed material prosperity unequaled since days of Solomon, but they had sunk to the depths of immorality and idol worship. As a result of their sin God judged Israel and they were destroyed by their enemies.

The United States also enjoys unprecedented wealth and prosperity, but as a nation we have turned our back on God. So why hasn't God judged America? Is it too late? Or is there still time?

We are God's stewards. The future of America is in our hands. God made a promise to the people of Israel that may apply to us as well:

"If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land." -2 Chronicles 7:14

This is not addressed to our President, our Congress, or our population in general: It is addressed to "My people, who are called by my name." It is addressed to the Body of Christ. Our stewardship of this nation does not begin and end at the ballot box. There is much more required of us. We need a national revival - and it must start with you and me.

The moral decline of society is indeed disconcerting, yet it is important to remember that God is in control. Our Lord has power over all that is in heaven and earth and He alone has the power to transform our nation.

"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name."
1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Here are a few recent pictures of Benny (or "Benny Boy" as Abby and Carly like to say). Today we started the process of picking out paint for the nursery. We are going to stripe the walls. For the floor, we found a cute rug to go over the hardwood. Beyond this, I have no clue. All I know is that we are extremely pumped to get everything ready for him.

Days Like This

Can you hear it. It is a big sigh....not of relief, but of relaxation. We have had members of 4 different families staying with us during the past week, for a total of 14 different people. Two groups were sad goodbyes, and two groups were happy reunions.

This weekend was outstanding if I do say. It started out on Friday when the Davis' and Landes' rolled into town. After making Geri's world-famous French Dip sandwiches in the evening, it was time for fun and games with waterballoons. It's hard to beat 5 kids and 6 grown up kids, with a tub full of water balloons. After our waterballoon Olympics, we adjourned into the den for Video Family Feud. Once again, 11 screaming adults and kids having a ball.

Saturday we all went to Forest Park on a picnic. The highlights began as we started throwing the frisbee and kicking the soccerball around, but our energies and attention quickly turned to the hungry ducks. We spent quite awhile feeding the ducks with bread, and watching them waddle to their next morsel. It was then that we quickly learned that Abby isn't just afraid of dogs. She is afraid of ducks! This is sad because these weren't your average ducks. These were puny ones.

After the picnic, we eventually found ourselves at Busch Stadium to watch the Cards. You couldn't have asked for a better evening to watch baseball (except they lost to the ROCKIES). You can tell that Mark has coached his kids to love the Cards. Brook (2 years old) was constantly chattering "go Cards", and "Charrrrge" when the organist started doing his thing. Sadly, Geri's favorite thing about the game was the Foot Long Italian Sausage. I have to admit it was good.

After church on Sunday, Mark, Darrel and I drove out to try and get tickets to the game. After dickering with the first scalper we saw, we ended up getting 3 tickets for $25. Not bad considering they were behind home plate. Excellent tickets, free parking, a game-winning RBI in the 9th inning! Can't beat that. Last night we hung out, ate, and watched some of Shallow Hal before collapsing into bed.

What an excellent weekend.