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.