Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Kindergarten had "Wacky Wednesday" today
"A closed mouth gathers no feet"

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Harry's Last Day in the Office

Well, today was Harry's last day in the office. Harry had a "rough day in the office" yesterday...or should I say a rough day in the rough? He took our guest speaker to the golf course on Monday, so Tuesday was his last day in the office. I did feel bad...I've moved the office all around and he didn't have a desk to sit at his last day in the office! But I didn't want Harry to feel too bad, so I kept him busy with lots of "before you go, can you help me..." things. We took the water fountain apart, fixed a plumbing problem in the restroom, he called and got me on the Home Depot account, we went through some of his files and he helped me fix something on my desk.

As a staff, we took Harry and his wife Arleen out for lunch at Olive Garden. Pastor asked Harry what he would miss the most in the office and Harry said something about giving me a hard time (or me giving him a hard time). It made realize how much I am going to miss Harry in the office. I guess you sorta take people for granted when you get to see them most every day. I've often thought about how much I appreciate Harry and how he challenges me in the way he is so kind to people, but I don't think I realized how much I'm going to miss having him around...not to mention all the "stuff" he did before that I will now be responsible for.

In my new office (formerly Harry's office) I've got one of those picture frames that you can put 20 pictures into the cut out spaces. Below is one of the pictures I am going to put in it.


Harry handing over "the keys" to me on his last day in the office

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I Knew It Would Make My Blood Boil

I'm reading a book entitled "The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today", and I knew it would make me upset. And guess what, it did! Up to this point in my blog I just shared "everyday-family-and-life-stuff" and probably been fairly inoffensive...but I can't do it any longer. I am so SICK of people yelling at me to be "tolerant" when they are the very definition of intolerance! With the homosexual agenda, it's NOT just a matter of them wanting me to be "accepting" of their lifestyle..they want to parade their lifestyle (which the Bible clearly calls sinful) and be totally INTOLERANT of my (Biblical) view of their lifestyle.

Ok, I'm going to limit myself to commenting on just one issue...the one that made my blood boil. It has to do with the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church. Let me state up front...any abuse or immorality by a priest is not acceptable biblically, but let's call it wrong because the Bible says it's wrong. What makes my blood boil is the way the media has portrayed all of this and used it to call into question the celibate lifestyle of priests. The argument goes "if promiscuity were allowed and priests did not have to be celibate, they would not be abusing boys...celibacy (and sexual purity) is not natural." All of this is a smoke screen to keep from dealing with the real problem...homosexuality in the priesthood. If it were just a problem with celibacy, why are 90-95% of the victims (some estimates are as high as 98%) boys? Why isn't there a higher percentage of girls? (Joyce Howard Price, "Predator Priests", Washington Times, April 16, 2002.)

One quote from the book on this issue. "To get a glimpse of why this is a homosexual issue, one need not look any further than the Reverend Paul R. Shanley, one of the most notorious priests caught in the scandal. He has been indicted in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for various crimes. During his time in the priesthood, Shanley allegedly engaged in the following:
  • While on "sick leave" in California, his payroll checks were sent to the Cabana Club Resort, a racy homosexual club in the Palm Springs, California, area. Shanley became an owner of the hotel along with another homosexual priest who was no sick leave as well.
  • He attended the 1979 meeting that created the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA)"
That's right...the media can bash the Catholic church (no, I'm not catholic), but let's not mention the OBVIOUS homosexual connection here! And if the homosexual agenda is allowed to continue, one day not so far down the road I will be fined or in some other way penalized for writing "hate speech" just for brining this up and mentioning what the Bible clearly states about homosexuality. (Of course, we prosecute "hate speech" under the guise of "tolerance"...although penalizing my free speech to proclaim what the Bible says is somehow not intolerant?)

I know some in the Church (Catholic & Protestant) do not want to speak out against homosexuality..."love everybody". Well, God does love those trapped (even if they don't consider it that) in homosexuality and calls us to do the same, but if the Church
(Catholic & Protestant) doesn't speak out now, we are going to lose the right to do so. My blog is not about being political, but my life is about being a Christian and standing up for God's Word. I just couldn't keep quiet on this one.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Office Update

Have you ever worked really hard on something, been proud of it and wanted to show it to everybody...only to wish you had taken a picture of what it looked like BEFORE you did all that work? I had about half of the furniture out of my new office (read previous post for more details) when I had that feeling. And now that I'm sitting here writing this, I wish I had taken a picture of all of my office furniture out in the foyer!

But that's what I did with most of my day Friday. My alarm went off at 8am so I could be in the office by 8:30am to get a delivery from UPS. When the alarm went off, I figured Amanda would be getting up soon or the dog would be hungry and would wake me up in a few minutes, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. At 8:45am, I rolled over looked at the clock and panicked. I was expecting some books to be delivered at the church...books that I needed to hand out at church on Sunday. I got up, got dressed and made it to the office by 9am and was relieved to see there was not "sorry we missed you" note on the door. The plan was, work on the new office for a while, wait for UPS and then go home once the delivery came.

UPS came by 9:30am...YEA! Oops, that doesn't look like the books I was expecting. Long story, but the short version is, the books never arrived, but I did get a lot done in the office. Once started hauling furniture out into the foyer, it became obvious I was committed to the end. Pastor helped me move some of the really heavy stuff, then I took a break around 1pm. We went to get Amanda's bike, stopped by Mickey D's, went by Academy Sporting Goods and then came home. Amanda and I rode bikes for while, I worked more in my office, we all ate dinner, I went back to work in the office some more, we all went to Office Depot to buy a new office chair and I finally finished up sometime that evening.

The office looks a whole lot different. We got rid of a couple things which gave me a lot more space, and we moved the desk to a much better place...also making the office "roomier". I've still got a lot of boxes to unpack, pictures to hang and the like...but the office looks good. Poor Harry...we'll have to find someplace for him to sit his last two days!


A New Bike

Good Friday...AISD is out of school and the weather is nice. Sounds like a perfect day for a bike ride to me! We went to a friends house to pick up the bike they told Amanda she could have. We went and hung out a Christian's house (Amanda's friend) for a while and took the bike with us. The bike needed a new back tire and inner tube. We headed off to Academy Sporting Goods to pick up a new tire and tube, throw in a new front tire so they both looked new, a white seat to match, new handle grips and a new chain. The bike really wasn't in bad shape, we just wanted to make it look all new and shinny. Amanda started out saying her legs hurt too bad from the past few days of bike riding and she did not want to ride today, but after talking about the bike for a while, she could not wait to get home and give it a try.

When we got to Academy, we started gathering the stuff we were going to replace on the bike. As we were looking around, we saw a nice, new Huffy bike (pink and purple no less...Amanda's two favorite colors) that was just $5 more than the parts we were going to buy. Amanda Kay got a new bike. We had to throw in a bike bell and we were ready to go home, tear the training wheels off it and take it for a spin in the church parking lot. Daddy and Amanda biked and Mommy took pictures until Amanda's legs hurt and she was ready to go home. She was tired but couldn't wait to ride again. Here's a short clip of her on her new bike.


Amanda riding her new bike

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Tape Measures and Bike Tires

I started my day in the office with a tape measure in my hand. If you know me, I'm not exactly the handy-man type, so you may wonder what I was doing with a tape measure. I had no intention of building anything, I was actually measuring for office furniture. I have been administrative pastor for three weeks now (counting the week of vacation I took off for Spring Break) and I've been in a temporary office. I've been sharing an office with our church worship leader (and my good friend) Brad. Brad has been gracious to share his office with me, but his desk is not big enough to work on much of anything (it is more of a computer desk) and I don't have room to put my file cabinets and stuff like that in the office. Anyway, today I had the tape measure out trying to figure out how to rearrange what has been Harry's office. Harry's office is also the church work room (copier, paper, paper cutter, hole punch, fax machine, etc) and it gets a lot of traffic on Sunday mornings. Harry never complained about it much, but people ALWAYS rummage through his desk over the weekend. I was hoping to have an office where people could not rummage through my desk and where I would not have to face the wall (which is what happens when you sit at the big desk in Harry's office right now). To keep this story from getting in any longer, I'll just let you know that Pastor David came in, helped me see how we could rearrange some things, got the big desk out of the corner and had a couple ideas how to keep people out of my desk. So...tomorrow I will start moving stuff around in the office. I may need some help since we're gonna move some BIG bookshelves, but by the first part of next week I should have a real office. May not seem like a big deal, but I'm happy. So much for tape measures.

This evening, I ran some errands and ended up at Wal-Mart buying a bicycle tire. If you saw the picture or video of Amanda riding her bike, you saw that it looked something like a circus act...some poor girl trying to ride a midget bike! Amanda needs a new bike, and since she is out of school for Good Friday (of course, the school does not call it Good Friday, but that's why they are out), I thought it would be a good time to "upgrade" her to a bigger bicycle. I shared this with my Life Group (church small group) this past Wednesday, and somebody said they had bike that their daughter outgrew which would be the perfect size for Amanda. All it needed was a new back tire, and that's why I was at Wal-Mart buying a bicycle tire this evening.

Although I had this discussion on Wednesday night, I did not tell Amanda. As a matter of fact, she has no idea when she is getting a new bike. But I did tell Amanda if she made it through the rest of the week (Wednesday and Thursday) without getting a check mark at school, I had a big surprise for her (and I stressed B I G ). Well, guess who made it through the rest of the week without a check mark? So tomorrow, we are going by Christian's house (Amanda's friend), get the bicycle, put the new tire on it and try it out in the church parking lot. Stay tuned here for pictures!


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I'm (still) Painting the Kitchen

It started out seemingly simple enough...just texture the walls and paint over the wallpaper. Brooke wanted to paint our kitchen, the painter said it looked pretty simple, so we began. Well, it's a good thing our painter was a friend and not hired help. Looking at some of the wallpaper he said we needed to peel it off in places first and then paint. We peeled the wallpaper back, I would say to the sheetrock, but that wasn't the case. As the paper peeled, we found our walls were patched with masonite...and masonite with holes in it at that! The holes were made by the rats, who had chewed up the insulation, which in turn made them poop like you've never seen! (Ok, Brooke is embarrassed now) But our walls were a mess, and then, if that wasn't bad enough, one of the rats came running out to greet us! A little handy work with a hammer by our painter friend took care of the rat problem, but the messed up walls were still there.

Well, the short version is, a wall and a half had to be torn down and sheetrock put up, taped and bedded. By the time our painter friend had finished doing that and putting on a coat or two of paint, he had to leave for real work. Did I mention all of this took place in December 2004? Well, ever since then, I have been "working" to "finish" our kitchen. I finally finished the trim and chair rail, touched up a few palces where the texture over-sprayed onto the walls, I painted three doors and painted the paneling over the top of our cabinets. I finished this "stage" a couple weeks ago, but since our Life Group (church small group) begins meeting here tomorrow night, I'm trying to paint the cabinets so they at least look like they are in the process of being painted instead of just sitting there with overspay on them.

So last night, I started painting the cabinets. Holy cow! This is going to take forever!! I really do not like painting, and now I know I REALLY do not like painting cabinets. The plan was to paint them a dark tan color, but once we got the white primer on them, we liked the way the white really makes our kitchen look bigger. At this point, the plan is to paint the top cabinets white and leave the bottom ones their natural dark wood look (after cleaning them with Murphy's Oil). In the picture below, you can see the cabinets with one coat of primer on them from last night. I put the second coat of primer on them tonight and we'll leave it that way for the meeting tomorrow night. Sometime after that (next week?) I'll start puting the nice, shiny, semi-gloss top coat on them. After that, I get to open the cabinet doors and paint the inside of the doors, the trim, etc.

So the kitchen has now turned into my life's work. I guess if I get it finished, my purpose in life is complete (but I jest). Between our busy lives and the simple fact that I do not like to paint, I'm guessing the kitchen project may get done sometime in April. Four months to paint a kitchen isn't all that bad, is it? At this point, I'm thinking that main bathroom would be a good project for 2006!


Kitchen cabinets with first coat of white primer

Daniel is 28 Today

Today is my friend Daniel's 28th birthday. We met Daniel and his wife, Meagan, about three years ago when they started coming to our church. That December, Brooke and I were looking at Christmas lights and saw Daniel ("Officer Dan") directing traffic, so we talked for a minute or two. A few weeks later we went to lunch with them hoping to get to know them a bit better. It's kinda funny now...we were trying to get to know them better and the whole time Daniel thought I was having a miserable time (and hated them?) because he is on the VERY TALKATIVE side of the talking scale, and I am on the VERY QUIET side of the talking scale when I don't know people very well.

But somehow we got past the first meal at On the Border and got to know each other a little better. In 2003, Officer Dan went to youth camp with No Compromise Youth as an adult leader, and that's when he and I became better friends (I was youth pastor at the time).

When we got back from camp, Daniel and Meagan began working wth the youth group and our friendship has grown. They lead the Sr. High Bible Study on Sunday nights. Starting this week, they will be leading an adult Life Group ("cell group" from our church) in our home each week and we're glad to have another excuse to hang out with them.


Rob, Brooke, Meagan and Daniel at church Christmas banquet in December 2004

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Harry Huff Retiring From Vine Fellowship

Our church administrator, Harry Huff, is 85 years old and has been on staff at the church for 12 years. He is old enough to be my grandfather, yet I would consider him one of my very close friends. He is retiring at the end of March so our church had a retirement party for him after service today. Following is a copy of the note I stuck in Harry's card. It was personal to Harry, but I think it tells about the kind of person Harry has been since I've known him.


Congratulations on your certainly deserve it. We are so very happy for you and pray the Lord provides the finances and helath for both you and Arleen to enjoy yourselves.

I guess I've known for a number of years that I would one day be writing a note like this. Being a long-timer myself, I knew the day would come that you would retire leaving a big hole in our hearts and in the office, but I never figured I would somehow be responsible to take over all you do. Now I'm sad and overwhelmed at the same time! This is definitely bitter-sweet for me...I"m happy for you because you deserve a great retirement and sad for me as I 'm going to miss seeing you 3-4 days a week.

Over the years, I've found it interesting that one of the few people I consider a really good friend is old enough to be my grandfather. You have shown your years through your patience and wisdom, but your sense of fun and good humor have kept you young. Of course, there is all that work you do to keep you young too...most people half your age can't keep up with you. You have certainly shown us all what a good work ethic looks like.

Wow, speaking of the things you have shown us...I have learned so much from you. You have demonstrated a hunger for and a knowledge of the Word of God like so very few other people I have ever known. We've spent enough time together that I know some of the things that frustrate you dealing with people, but never in my life have I met a person as loving and patient as you are with people. And what has really challenged me is the fact that you have Holy Ghost discernment, so you know when peope are in trouble because of their own decisions, you know when people are not being honest with you and when they are just trying to sell you something...yet you just treat them with love and respect. No matter who asks you to do what, you are always willing to jump up and do it right away, and you never seem to be inconvenienced by it. And you are always willing to teach somebody how to do something if it will help them.

I didn't know you before you were saved, but to hear you talk, Christ has truly made you into a new creation, old things passed away, all things new. Thank you for being an example of Christ and an inspiriation to me. Most of all, thank you for being my friend. I will miss you in the office! I love ya!


"Grandaddy" Harry Huff and Amanda Kay March 2004

Friday, March 18, 2005

Amanda Learning to Ride Her Bike

Amanda got her bicycle for Christmas last year (2003) and I decided she could learn to ride without training wheels. I remember when I was learning to ride my bike as a wheels were my crutch and did not help me learn to ride at all. Well, when I made this decision for Amanda, I never thought about the fact that Amanda had never been on a bicycle before. She did not even know how to pedal! After 10 minutes of saying (ok, maybe yelling) "pedal...pedal...pedal" and running across the church parking lot all hunkered over trying to hold her up so she would not fall over, I decided maybe training wheels would be OK for a while.

Fast forward to Spring Break 2005. Daddy and Amanda talked and decided Amanda could now learn to ride without training wheels. We took the training wheels off on Thursday and spent 20-30 minutes practicing. By the end of our time together, Amanda went 30 feet or so, downhill, by herself. Because the bike is a too small for her now it is hard to pedal enough to keep going even on a slight uphill grade. Today (Friday), Mommy went with us to see how Amanda was doing. I helped Amanda get started (still the hardest part for her) and she went WAY more than the 30 feet from yesterday. We practiced for another 30 minutes today and she is definitely getting the hang of it! She can now ride clear across the church parking lot and is even learning to turn. She has a "never quit" attitude and gets frustrated when she has to stop or "messes up". Her mother says she gets that from her Daddy...but I don't know.

Amanda is excited to get back at it tomorrow, and we are excited about getting her a "big girl bike" soon. I've uploaded a short video clip HERE if you'd like to see it.


DAY 2 - Daddy helping Amanda learn to ride her bike

What Would Jesus Think

This past Sunday, March 13th, I got to preach. Pastor
David was out of town for the Liberty Fellowship
presbytery meeting in Deleware. I was thrilled to
have the opportunity to preach because I have been
totally consumed with a thought...or a message...for
the past six months. In October, I began reading a
book entitled "Think Like Jesus" by George Barna. The
book was basically about developing a Christian
worldview, but the premis that really hit me was "you
cannot do what Jesus would do until you learn to think
like Jesus would think." I can honestly say this book
has totally changed the way I think and started me on
an adventure trying to think more like Jesus.
Rereading Bible stories I have heard dozens and dozens
of times has brought new meaning when looking at it
through the lens of "What Would Jesus Think". I am
still consumed by the thought as I have my daily quiet

If you are interested in hearing the sermon, you can
listen to it online HERE. If you would rather
download it to your computer, click HERE.


Brooke with Boo, Amanda, Rob with Sully

Spring Break Camping

Spring Break is this week, and we're having a wonderful week. This Spring Break has been different than any other of our last 11 years since we've been married. First of all, Amanda is now in school and doing something together as a family while she is out of school just makes we went camping. But camping over Spring Break was not new to us, but going with just our family is. For the past 11 years we have taken the youth group camping, and the past few years it has been during Spring Break. So in a way, we continued a tradition, but this year it was just our family.

Mom and Dad (Rob's) bought an old, beat up pop-up trailer many months ago. When I say "beat up", that is exactly what I mean. There is no way you could actually camp in it the way it was. But Dad is GREAT at fixing up stuff like that. It was incredible to watch the whole transformation process. He rebuilt the floor, the ceiling, the roof, the cabinets, got help repainting and the whole thing, fixed the materail on the outside, put in an air conditioner...just fixed it up first class. Mom ordered mattresses and cushions for the inside and packed everything in there you would need to camp. We have been waiting to try it out with them, and we got to over Spring Break. Mom and Dad arrived at the campground (Martin Creek Lake State Park) on Friday and camped over the weekend. We joined them on Sunday and the four of us spent the night in the camper Sunday night. On Monday, Mom and Dad headed back home in the afternoon while Rob, Brooke and Amanda camped through Wednesday. We hiked the trails, played in the park, cooked Smores around the campfire, read, watched movies on the laptop, stayed warm with the heater in the camper and slept better than we've ever slept in the tents we usually camp in! We had a great time and are looking forward to doing it again.

We posted our camping photos online with Yahoo Photos. Click on the Spring Break Camping album.

SKINNED CHICKEN DOG - Poor Sully had matted fur right next to his skin, so all I could think to do is shave him and let the hair grow back. Now Brooke calls him "Chemo Dog".

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just Getting Started

I've been reading about blogs for quite a while now, so I thought I'd sign up for a free one and see what happens. I'm not sure what I will actually use this for, but I'm giving it a try.