Sunday, July 31, 2005

Daddy, Amanda and Sully watching TV

A Packed Weekend and Week to Come

Well, it's been a busy weekend. Amanda is now sitting next to me playing a computer game after "the accident". We were sitting down watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which makes me cry EVERY time I watch it) and Amanda announced she wanted to ride her bike. When she got up and turned off the TV, I knew she was serious (she rarely wants to turn off the TV). She wanted to go riding around, but I suggested we go to the parking lot of the church to practice first since she is still in the learning phase and has not ridden in six weeks. Guess it was a good thing since we no sooner got into the parking lot and she W I P E D O U T big time! I didn't see the accident, but as I was walking up the drive I heard her start screaming. She just sat there on the ground waiting for me to get there. She banged up her knee pretty good, so we came home, put ice on it, watched the rest of Home Make Over and cried. Amanda is supposed to start VBS at another church tomorrow, but she may not be walking around too much.

But that was just this evening. On Friday morning, Amanda and I took the bus and drove the Nicaragua team to the airport for their 6 day trip. They flew from DFW to Houston and then from Houston to Managua. I just talked to Brooke this afternoon. They sat on the runway at Houston for an hour so they did not get into Managua until 10:30pm. They were met there and then spent the night at hotel at the airport. They went to Sandy Carter's place (the missionary they are working with) on Saturday, but I did not get too many details about what they did on Saturday. Today, they went to a church and Pastor preached the 3 services they had. They were at church from 7:30am to 1:00pm. This afternoon, they packed school supply bags for kids. Don't know if we'll get to talk to Brooke anymore this week or not. We're already ready for Mommy to come home.

Friday evening, Amanda and I went to the church and helped hand out fliers for our upcoming block party. After that, Amanda went to spend the night with her best friend, Abigail. I stopped by the youth building and hung out with Pastor Shaun and the youth there for a while and then came home and worked on updating the church web page.

Saturday, I got up and met some guys at the church and we headed to Alpine shooting range. We did some 5 stand skeet shooting. I have never tried it before, and although I did not do too well, it was enjoyable. There are 5 different shoot locations, and at each one skeet comes from 5 different locations on the field. So one round is 25 clays. First round I hit 5, second round it was 9. From there, we grabbed a burger at Burger Box and I went to meet Amanda at one of her friend's' birthday swimming party. She had a great time and we got home around 4:30pm. We ate dinner together and watch one of the movies Amanda rented from the library. After Amanda went to bed, I gave both of the dogs haircuts (Sully is "skinned chicken dog" again") and finished listening to The Shark Mutiny on CD.

Today, my good friend Brad Irons preached while Pastor is out of town. He preached an excellent message on the Judgement of God. I know, you would expect that to be a "hellfire and brimstone message", but it was not. The main point is we have to face God's judgement (instead of turn from it or ignore it) if we want to find His mercy. It was an excellent message. you can hear it here (for the next month or so). This afternoon, Amanda and I had one of our favorites when Mommy is not home...chicken spaghetti. Then we took a nap, got up and did all the stuff I told you about at the beginning of this post.

And the rest of this week is not going to slow down much, but that is a good thing since we both miss Brooke badly. Monday night, our new friend George (see post last month) is coming over for dinner. On Tuesday night, our friends the Kings invited us over. Wednesday night is church. Thursday night, our friends the Hankins invited us over for dinner, and Friday...BROOKE COMES HOME! YEA!! So it's been a packed weekend and week to come.


Friday, July 29, 2005

From the Archives: Our little Texan...age 3.

From the Archives: Amanda Kay playing with the hose...age 2.

Patrick Robinson Books

I told you I'm a slow reader, right?  And when I'm reading a book that contains material I may want to share with others, I am painfully slow because I have to underline everything I may ever want to remember or share with somebody else.  I still read pretty slow, but when I'm reading a "fun" book (no underlining required), it doesn't take nearly so long.  For instance, I was able to read a 385 page paperback novel in 4 days while on vacation.

Because I enjoy reading, because I have SO MANY books that require underlining, because I don't get through the underlining books very quickly and because I tend to get discouraged/bogged down taking so long to read these books, I have come up with a plan to keep myself motivated.  I read one "good for me" book (the kind that require underlining) and then one "fun" book (the kind that do not require underlining).  While on vacation, I finished both my novel and the small group book I was reading.  I finished the novel first and then the small group book, so even though I technically started the "good for me" book first, I rationalized I finished a fun book and then a good for me book, so it was time for another fun one!  It is so relaxing to sit down with a good book that I wanted to take some of that relaxation home.

So when we came home, we made a trip to the library because Brooke had finished her books while on vacation, too.  I enjoy reading military-type novels (Navy SEALS, submarines, spies, aircraft, etc) and while at the library, I saw Hunter Killer by Patrick Robinson.  I saw a Navy emblem on the front, so I picked it up to see what it was about.  As I read what the book was about, I quickly saw it was right down my ally.  And then I started looking at other books by Patrick Robinson.  Barracuda 945 was listed there.  This was another EXCELLENT naval novel I had read on my Palm Pilot during vacation a couple years ago.  I kept reading and The Shark Mutiny was also listed.  Yes, I was definitely going to like this book.  You see, way back when we took a trip to Alabama, I don't know how long ago, I got Shark Mutiny on CD to listen to while I drove (we leave at Midnight and drive 12 hours to Brooke's parents).  It is the unabridged version of the book, so I think it is like 12 CDs long...maybe a couple more.  Anyway, I never got it finished, so I've been listening to parts of it on and off for a while now.  I told myself not to get Hunter Killer until I had finished listening to Shark Mutiny, but Hunter Killer looked so good I could not help myself.

So now I am doing something very contrary to my personality...I am "reading" two books at one time.  I am a very systematic (and sometimes legalistic) book at a time so that I can give my full attention to what I am reading.  But now I find myself listening to Shark Mutiny on the way to and from the Maverick Club in the morning and reading Hunter Killer in the evening.  They are both written by Patrick Robinson, they both are naval novels involving submarines and they even have a few characters in common.  Two different stories and different plots which I've been able to keep straight so far.

All I can say is, if you like movies like Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide or U-571 you would definitely like any book-to-movie by Patrick Robinson.  The good news for me is I now know of at least five more Patrick Robinson books I can read in between "good for me" books of course...and definitely only one at at time.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sully Is Feeling Better Now

Our black Cocker Spaniel, Boo, has awakened us from time to time in the middle of the night with that sound all dog owners are familiar with...the gurgling sound, the choking and finally the eruption as the dog pukes.  Boo has a "sensitive stomach" and any time she eats something she shouldn't (a stick, a cricket, etc) it comes back up.  Sully, our black Schnauzer, on the other hand, eats "stuff" outside all the time and never seems to have any problems...until today.  I let the dogs outside before leaving for work and I let them play outside for a little while.  I should have known them, "play" means find something you should not chew on, let alone eat, and ingest it!

It seems Sully finally found something a bit too much even for his iron stomach.  First breakfast came up, and then there were two more eruptions to make sure it was all out.  Between eruptions two and three, I came home to check on him (after Brooke had cleaned up two messes).  I tried to get him to play with his favorite blanket, and he just laid on the floor looking at me.  We knew he was not feeling well when he would not play with the blanket.  Then I took the dogs outside.  He went out and did his business but then he laid down in the grass (he never does that).  We finally coaxed him back in the house where he laid down again.

A few minutes later, we had eruption number three.  That one seemed to purge his system and he seemed a bit more cheerful after that.  He seemed OK enough to go in the crate with Boo and so we got back to work. By lunch time he was feeling much better, and by the time we got home from work he was his typical spastic self.

I'm sure Sully learned nothing from this experience, but we did...we'll not let him "play" outside unattended for so long.  But we're just glad Sully is feeling better now.


And So My Education on Relationships Continues

Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, New Living Translation

I don't think I ever thought of myself as a loner, but I've never been much of a "people person". Because of that, I have not opened up to very many people. I know a number of people, but I rarely share my "real self" with others. The only time this really bothered me was when I got to missing my best friend of the very few people I am totally real with. (Craig lives in Michigan, so we only see each other ever 3-4 years although we talk on the phone weekly).

I guess the change began couple years ago in a men's roundtable group I was in (we met together to discuss a book.) I had finally gotten to a point in my life where I did not feel inadequate around others...I had learned to accept and appreciate the way God had made me and the talents, gifts and abilities he had given me. And then, beginning at the roundtable, I began to appreciate the others God had put in my life. Instead of always being irritated because they did not do things right (read "my way"), I began to appreciate the differences. One guy in particular...he was the quintessential definition of a used car salesman personality. His lack of dependability rubbed me the wrong way (opposite of my personality), but then one night I realized, "Hey, if everybody was like me, our church would never grow. People would come, everybody would feel awkward around the new person, nobody would talk to him and he would not come back because we are an unfriendly church. But with Mr. Used Car Salesman personality type, guests have somebody greet them, welcome them, talk with them and show interest in them...we are all of the sudden a friendly church that people want to come back to. For the first time in my adult life, I truly appreciated the things that made people different from me. And so my education on relationships began.

And then in April of this year, I began studying small groups. The more I study, the more I am convinced that God designed us to have small group relationships in our lives. There are just too many things we miss out on without them. And so my education on relationships continued.

And then today, this verse from Ecclesiastes took on real meaning to me. I have a friend, he's been a good friend for a number of years, and today he told me he needed to talk with me. When we got together, he said, "I need you to hold me accountable in a certain area" and then he told me what it was. I don't if I was more surprised at the area he mentioned to me or if he was more surprised when I said, "Sure, if you hold me accountable in the same area." You see, over the past few weeks, God has been talking to me about a lack of faithfulness in a certain area of my life, and just Monday night I finally said, "OK God, you know why I am struggling with this, but I am going to give you control over this area in my life and do what I know I need to do." And then today, my friend comes to me with a very similar story. So now we are accountability partners in this area. I guess some people would say you need to talk to a person strong in the area you are struggling with, but this is not some sort of addiction. I think we both just need to know somebody will ask, "Did you...". I know I'm not this guy's only friend, so I pretty much took it as a "God thing" that he talked to me about this today. And so my education on relationship continues.


Monday, July 25, 2005

So for Now, We'll Wait

Well, Amanda Kay woke up this morning and made her big decision...she is going to go without the ear rings for now and get her ears re-pierced when she is older. We still don't know what happened, but her ears are all red don't look very good right now, so it's just as well that she wanted to wait.

That's pretty much the highlight of our day today. I worked outside most all day at church working on shrubs, mowing fields, etc. I'm slightly sun burned, but I'm not as red as Amanda's ears! Brooke is busily getting ready to leave for Nicaragua on Friday. She said she had a good day and got a lot accomplished.

So that's it...a boring day with ear rings being the most exciting part of our day. So for now, we'll wait.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Tomorrow Is The Big Decision

Amanda, bless her heart, has had trouble with her earrings ever since she got her ears pierced.  You can read earlier posts about the difficulty when it was time to take out her "starter" earrings.  Well, things seemed to be going better until today.  Because of the previous problems, Amanda has been "super sensitive" shall we say whenever her earrings are changed out.  Yesterday, we tried some pink turtle earrings she got.  Well, something happened with they way they were glued and the turtle part came off tonight and the plain post irritated Amanda's ear.  Taking the earrings out was another ordeal and Amanda said she didn't want pierced ears anymore.  Not liking pain myself, I could understand.  I told her we would keep them out tonight (we=Brooke, she is the earring person...Amanda does not feel I am compassionate and gentle enough!) and then she can make a decision about whether to keep the earrings or wait until she is older when she wakes up in the moring.  She was upset, so I took her back to bed and laid there holding her while she cried and tried to go back to sleep.  That's when she went all "female" on over the difficulties of the decisions we have to make in life (i.e. to keep the earrings or to wait until she is more grown up).  It did not seem to comfort her much when I laughed and told her she was acting like a woman (never seems to comfort Brooke much, either).  I loved on her some more and then her mother came in and took my place.  Both are asleep now, so we'll wait until tomorrow for the big decision.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Our Trip to Mt. Rushmore

I haven't posted to the blog in a week. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine e-mailed and harassed me for not having anything new online. I didn't post because we were on vacation and there was no Internet where we stayed. It was rough, but I lived through it...only because I could at least get e-mail on my cell phone.

But let me tell you about our was quite a thrill. We have some friends who have a lake house on Lake Granbury and they let us stay there for the week (see pictures below). But I can tell you are already getting ahead of me looking at the picture of us at Mt. Rushmore. Lest I lose you with the boring details of the rest of our week, let me jump right to this picture. When we arrived in Granbury, we needed to buy groceries. The store we visited appears to be based in South Dakota, so they were having a drawing for a free trip to Mt. Rushmore...all expenses paid. The trip included airfare, a rental car, two days in a hotel and trip to Mt. Rushmore. They asked us if we wanted to register for the trip (to be given away that evening), we laughed about it and said "sure". They said the winners would be notified that evening, so we gave them our cell phone number.

Monday night we were watching an episode of 24 on DVD when my cell phone rang. Thinking it was Brooke's family or mine, I answered the phone without looking at the caller ID. When the voice on the other end asked for "Mr. Hurt", I figured it was not our parents and I was not happy to be getting a sales call on my cell phone. You could have blown me over with a feather when the man said we had won the contest at the super market! The guy said we could take the trip any time within the next 90 days, which was a bit of a problem since we were already on vacation and could not take another one in the next 90 days. I wrote down all of the information he gave me, took a phone number where I could reach him and filled in the blanks for Brooke who was freaking out hearing only half of the conversation. To make a long story short, we found out we could leave on Tuesday evening, fly to South Dakota, stay Wednesday and Thursday and then fly back on Friday. Man, talk about spur of the moment. And if you've been reading my blog, you know I've been working on being more spontaneous, but this was ridiculous! So we called our families and let them know of the change in our plans, threw our clothes back into the suitcase and headed to DFW late Tuesday afternoon.

We planned on spending a week at a lake house, not in South Dakota, so we did not do too much while we were there. Amanda swam in the pool at the hotel and I had to survive on the Internet I could get on my phone because the hotel's high speed Internet connection was down. We did manage to make it to Mt. Rushmore. Brooke had never been to Mt. Rushmore before, so we got somebody to take our picture with the presidents in the background. Like I said, we didn't do much else while we were there, but it was nice.

At this point, I need to ask you a question. If I had told you at the very beginning of this posting that the most exciting thing we did this week was read, swim in the pool and lake and watch DVD episodes of 24, would you have read about our vacation? I ask, because I have to be honest with you. I made up this whole least about the whole Mt. Rushmore thing. The picture above was taken with a green screen. I spent about 30 minutes this afternoon doctoring up the picture. It looked so cool I had to do something with it, so I concocted this story. Did you fall for it?

In all reality, we stayed at the lake house Monday-Thursday and came home a day early. Amanda watched lots of movies, Brooke and I read, Amanda swam (all the photos below are real) and Brooke and I did watch DVD episodes of season one of 24. I was excited to finish
(finally) reading Making Small Groups Work which I have been working on for a few months now and I read another entire book, a novel entitled Lethal Agent. We didn't fly, stay in a hotel or see Mt. Rushmore, but we did have a good time relaxing and being together as a family. It was fun...although possibly not as interesting as our trip to Mt. Rushmore!


Our little model, Amanda Kay, lounging at the pool while on vacation.

Mommy helping Amanda work on a craft during vacation.

This a view from the back porch overlooking Lake Granbury at our friend's lake house where we spent our vacation.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Got to Visit Flatonia, TX

On Monday I drove a bus load of students to Discovery Camp in Columbus, TX. I already told you about the was a good one, but long. Well, today, it was time to pick them up. I borrowed a van and left at 6:30am to head to Columbus to pick up the bus and drive the kids back. Amanda wanted to go because she LOVES being with the youth group. Leaving that early in the morning, Amanda Kay was not awake. Thursday night, I asked Brooke to lay out some clothes for Amanda and I packed her a few toys and the laptop for watching movies. When it was time to go, I loaded up Amanda's stuff, grabbed her and grabbed her pillow. I put her in the van and she slept while I drove and listened to my book on CD, The Shark Mutiny. Around 9:30am, Amanda woke up and we were ready for breakfast. As we were getting ready to walk into McDonalds, I realized what I had forgotten to for Amanda! A little further down the road we had to make a quick stop at Wal-Mart and pick up flip flops.

So we arrived in Columbus while it was lightly raining after the thunderstorm had blown through. It was about noon and everybody was ready to leave. I hopped out of the van and into the bus, and off we went. Fortunately, nobody had eaten lunch so we stopped at McDonalds (once again) for lunch. Because our trip down wore through the wires that connected the U-Haul trailer lights to the bus, I took a new wiring kit with me and fixed that while everybody ate. I had time to down my burger and fries and then we were back on the road again.

Heading from Columbus to Arlington, one is supposed to take Hwy. 71 West to 35 North to 20 East. Right near Columbus, Hwy. 71 crosses over Hwy. 10, and if a driver is not careful, it is easy to get off of 71 onto 10. I don't must have been 30 minutes later that I was paying attention enough to see the Hwy. 10 sign. The good news was, I was going west, but the bad news..I was on Hwy. 10 and not 71. We ended up on the outskirts of a town called Flatonia, TX. I have no idea what Flatonia is know for (if it is even "known"), but I bet you can't say you've been there. Me, my daughter, 28 students and two adult leaders can say we have. We got to do all of that for the small price of a 25-or-so minute detour!

We had to stop in Austin for gas before heading into SLOW traffic for another 20-25 minutes and then we made pretty good time back to Arlington. Parents were waiting for us when we arrived so everybody unloaded and headed home. I took the U-Haul back, vacuumed out and filled up the van we borrowed and got back in the house around 9:00 PM. It was another busy and full I got to visit Flatonia, TX.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Even With a Few Ouchies

I played racquetball this my "new" racquetball shoes. If you scroll down a few posts, you will see an "adorable" picture of our Cocker Spaniel, Boo, next to her handywork. Yes, Boo ATE my good racquetball shoes, so I had to wear my regular tennis shoes to play. It seems my regular tennis shoes may be 1/2 size too small. I figured this out after I got a HUGE blister on my foot. Ouch!

But if you ask Amanda who had the biggest "ouchie" today, she would tell you it was her. When Brooke and Amanda went to Alabama for a visit about six weeks ago, Amanda got her ears pierced. We've been pretty faithful twisting and cleaning them for the first six weeks. Today it was time to take the original earrings out and put in something else (Amanda got a bunch of cute earrings when she got her ears pierced). Well, the earrings that were in her ears have TINY, LITTLE stones on them and when Brooke grabbed the stone so she could pull the back off of the earrings to take them off, the stone slipped out of her fingers and into Amanda's ear lobe! I'm trying not to give you a super-vivid mental picture, but Brooke almost took them off without having to take the back off. Anyway, once they were imbedded in the ear, it was obvious they had to come out, and Amanda did NOT like that part. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "blood curdling scream"...that is exactly what we heard. Yes, Amanda's ear bled a bit, but I think ours did too after hearing that!

The good news is the earring came out and the cute flower earrings went in with no problem and I should be able to walk on my foot without limping tomorrow. It was a good day...even with a few ouchies.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I have decided that I will play racquetball with the guys from church on Tuesday/Thursday 'cause that is more enjoyable, but I will play pick up games with whoever I can on Monday/Wednesday because that helps me improve my game.  Today, my pick up game was with Chuck (again).  We played 4 or 5 games.  If you've just started reading my blog, you may not know that my high score against Chuck has been nine points.  My goal, for now, is not to beat Chuck...I just want ten points!  My high score today?  Seven.


A Shocking Experience

We been having some late night visitors at the church (i.e. couples in parked cars), so I'm trying to fix/replace a couple security lights we have that either do not work or are broken to the point where they point only down to the ground and not into the parking lot.  Replaced the first one no problem.  Actually, the "first" light I replaced on the Fellowship Hall was the same kind I had used on the Sunday School building, so it was my third one of that type.  When I went to buy one more to replace the one that lit up the ground and nothing else, I went to Lowes instead of Home Depot, so I had to get a different brand.  We get the ones that have the photocontrol on them that comes on at dusk and off at dawn.  The three I bought at Home Depot already had the photocontrol wired for me, so it was easy to connect black to black, white to white and tie in the ground wire.  This new one did not have the photocontrol wired, so I had to figure that out as I went along.

Yes, I did read the directions, but somehow I miswired the thing so that when I turned the breaker back on, the light came on.  If you're wondering why the light coming on was a bad thing, it's mostly because it was 4:00 in the afternoon and the sun was was supposed to sense these things and turn itself off.

Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Besides there being more wires in the light fixture itself that I had to wire together, the wires coming out of the building were orange and white instead of black and white.  I called my Dad and went on the assumption that white is white and non-white is non-white (therefore, orange would be black).  I read Dad the wiring directions from the box and wired the thing like I thought it said I was supposed to (all the time trying to remember that orange was black).  So when the thing came on and stayed on, I had to call Dad again and ask him what he thought was going on (since I obviously had no earthly idea).  He said I had wired something wrong and bypassed the photocontrol somehow...I had wired it hot.  That made sense and so I figured out what I needed to do and "fixed" it.

One it was ready to go, I screwed it into the building and asked Amanda to help me.  "Watch the light while Daddy goes inside the building and turns the switch on.  The light should come on for just a few moments and then go off."  So I went and turned the breaker back on and came back outside.  Amanda said the light had come on for a few moments and then gone off.  All seemed to be going well...until I noticed that the thing came back on.  Upon further observation, I noticed it came on for 15 seconds, off for 30, on for 15, off for 30, etc.  I asked Pastor what he new about security lights and he told me I needed to adjust the sensitivity of the phtocontrol.  That made sense, except for the fact that there was no way of doing this...the thing only cost $15.

So I looked at the old light that was up there, the one that worked but lit up only the ground because it was so old and broken.  I double checked my wiring and then noticed that they had removed the photocontrol from the old one and simply let it dangle from the fixture.  You see, these lights hang under an overhang of the roof.  The photocell is pointed down, and I thought perhaps having a hard time determining how light it was really was.  So I switched the breaker off again, took the whole thing apart (again) and let the photocontrol dangle.  After reassembling it (again) and turning the breaker back on, this seemed to fix the problem.  Amanda said the light came on and then went off when I turned the breaker on, and I put Amanda on my shoulders and had her cover the photocontrol.  Sure enough, the lights came on when she did this.

All seemed well until I did my security rounds last night and noticed that these lights were not on!  I wondered if the dangling photocontrol was picking up too much light from the other security lights, so I covered it up.  Still nothing happened.  When I let go of the photocontrol it swayed a bit and the lights came on.  I'm thinking this is probably not a good thing, so I'll check it again tonight and may end up taking it apart again!

You notice throughout this story I mentioned turning the breaker on and off.  I am no electrician, but my Daddy taught me well enough to know to turn the breaker off before playing with electricity.  Only problem was, the breaker box had nothing labeling the outside lights.  Fortunately, or so I thought, there was a plug in receptacle below the light.  It only made sense that this receptacle would be on the same breaker as the light.  So I plugged in a receptacle tester and flipped breakers until it went off.  It wasn't till I has well into unwiring the old light that I figured out that they were NOT on the same breaker.  It was a shocking experience!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

They Are The Real Heroes

Yesterday, I spent the day on the road...literally the whole day. At 8:00 AM, I did the pre-trip check on the 26 passenger bus the church owns. I checked to make sure all the lights were working, checked the fluids, tire pressure, etc. Then I pulled the bus, U-Haul trailer in tow, into the church parking lot. For the first time in 14 years, somebody else was getting stuff ready to take students to camp.

My good friend Shaun Windle took my place as youth pastor this past March when I transitioned to administrative pastor. He was excited about getting to camp...and I was excited he was going and not me. Now don't get me wrong, I still love students and know how important summer camp is, but God changed my heart when he moved me out of youth ministry, and I was glad to let somebody else carry the torch. It felt REALLY good to come home to my own bed and sleep without the squeak of bunk beds and sounds (both real "how real can I make this sound") of "intestinal distress."

Shaun planned to leave promptly at 8:30 AM, and to his credit, I think we pulled out about 8:45. I say "we" because, even though I was not taking kids to camp, I was driving to camp. There are just two of us in the church who have our CDL and it was a bit easier to get a day "off" from my boss that it was for the other guy.

Columbus, TX is about five to five-and-a-half hours from Arlington. We stopped for lunch, gas and restroom breaks arriving in Columbus around 3:30 PM. There was a LONG wait while Shaun registered everybody (they had about 2,500 students registering...the biggest camp they have ever had), then we had to unload the guys, unload the girls and wait for Shaun to get some more registration stuff take care of. We didn't leave to come back until 5:15 PM. The "we" on the way back included myself, Amanda, Shaun's wife JoAnna and their son, Jordan.

We got home around 10:30 PM. It was a full day, and we were tired after being on the road most all day. It was really hot and not much fun waiting to head back to Arlington, but the trip overall was pretty enjoyable. I was glad I was not going to stay at camp, but it's still exciting being around students before and after camp.

When we headed back, Shaun thanked me for driving the bus and for coming back to pick them up on Friday. But you know, it didn't cost me much more than my time. I mean, I didn't have to take a day off work and I got "paid" for driving (the church paid me for the work day). But Shaun has a full-time job, so he took a week of vacation to be with "his kids". And then there is Wanda, the mother of one of our students. This is her third year at camp as a counselor. Her third year to take a week off of work to be with students. And then there was Ali, a graduate of youth group when I was youth pastor, also taking a week off of work to be with students. If you ask me, they are the real heroes.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Steve Camp Blog

Sometime during my college years, I think around 1990, I got this cd by Steve Camp Doing my Best. I was particularly affected by (read "convicted by") a song entitled "Don't Tell Them Jesus Loves Them".

Here's part of the lyrics:

....And a young girl sells herself on Seventh Avenue
And you hear her crying out for help

"My God, what will we do"

Don't tell them Jesus loves them 'till you're ready to love them, too

Till your heart breaks from the sorrow and the pain they're going through

With a life full of compassion, may we do what we must do

Don't tell them Jesus loves them 'till you're ready to love them, too

I haven't listened to this CD in a while, or any other of my Steve Camp cd's for that matter. This weekend, I was reading my Internet for Christians e-newsletter and came across an article that listed Steve Camp's blog. I went and read the article they were referring to, and then I started reading more. Man, most of his blog is as convicting at this song.

I'm starting a collection of blogs I read from regularly...this is my newest edition. It's worth a read if you're looking to sensitize your heart. If you don't like feeling convicted, you might want to pass on this one.


A Prayer of John Wesley

Oh Lord, take full possession of my heart.
Raise there Your throne.

Command there as You do in heaven.

Being created by You, let me live for You.

Being created for You, let me always act for Your glory.

Being redeemed by You, let me give to You what is Yours.

And let my spirit cling to You alone.

For Your name's sake, Amen.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Friend Like You


Here's the words to the song we played as we ran down the aisle to the back of the church as Mr. & Mrs. Rob Hurt a little over twelve years ago:

The Lone Ranger and Tonto
Laurel and Hardy
Batman and Robin

It was Snoopy and Charlie
Friends through thick and thin

Friends to the very end

I think you would agree
That's how it is for You and me

I want you to know I need You

I want you to know it's true

That there's no way

I could have made it without You

It's so good to know
I've got a friend like You

I tell you it's black

But you see it white

You say go left

But I know it's right

No matter where we go

Be it through the highs or lows

I will be by Your side
Cause You and I are friends for life

Through all of the laughter and tears

Through all the questions and fears

Through all of the winning and losing and trying

I will be by Your side

Cause You and I are friends for life
(from Geoff Moore and the Distance, title song from "A Friend Like U" CD, 1992)

That part about "you see it black, but I see it white; you say go left, but I know it's right"...we knew it 12 years ago, but we've lived it now. A lot of times you see black and I see white, and sometimes that is hard. But I like what our song says..."No matter where we go, be it through the highs or lows, I will be by your side, cause you and I are friends FOR LIFE."

Brookie, I just wanted to let you know that this is still our song for me

I want you to know I need you
I want you to know it's true

That there's no way

I could have made it without you

It's so good to know
I've got a friend like you

I love you,

Everything bad happens to Sully because he is the only one who puts up with all the stuff Amanda tries to do.

Streaming Audio - My Father's Day Sermon

I'm just now getting around to digitizing my Father's Day sermon "Heart of the Matter". It's online here now. Even with a dial-up connection you should be able to stream it.

Since the sermon did not get recorded digitally, I got the tape and did it myself. I used my little portable tape player (thus the quality is not super great) and ran a cable from the headphone jack into my laptop's mic jack. Both ends of the cable had a 2.5mm jack on it. You can find one of these at Radio Shack. I used the free program Audacity ( to do the actual recording.

To create a streaming MP3 file, open up Notepad and type in the address where the actual MP3 file is. For example, the MP3 file I am streaming here is HeartOfTheMatter.mp3 It is on our church server. So I created a plain text file and named it HeartOfTheMatter.m3u In this file is just one line of text... When you click on the link above to hear my sermon (if you do that), the file links to and that file will automatically begin streaming the MP3 file.


Friday, July 08, 2005

What is Up With That?

Last night, when I came home, I laid my shorts by my bed. These particular shorts happened to be one of my "special" racquetball shorts. As you may recall (see picture below) my "special" racquetball shoes did not fare well yesterday when the dog got a hold of them. So as I was picking up my clothes this morning, I could not believe it...the dog ate my shorts! Now as unpleasant a mental picture as that may conjure up, please remember we are talking about my racquetball shorts. This time it was the other dog, Sully, that was the culprit. He basically ate the front pocket out of my shorts...big gaping don't wear them in public gigantic, gaping hole. What is up with that?


We Like Reading Together

It is a little after 9:00 PM, and I just finished reading to Amanda.  If she gets to bed early enough, we try to read for a little while.  Right now, we are close to finishing  "Noah and the Ark".  It appears to be part of a series entitled "Heroes of the Bible".  It is copyrighted in 2000 and was printed in Canada.  I'd like to find more books like this one.  It does a good job of presenting the Biblically accurate story of Noah and the Ark, but then it adds other little things to make it read more like a novel.  For instance, tonight, we read about 20 days of rough seas while the wind began drying up the water...the high winds made big waves making for rough seas and seasick people.  And then there was the fire that broke out when a cow kicked over a lantern.  Noah and his family had to wet blankets and smother the flames.  I know these parts of the story are not in the Bible.  But they don't take away from the real story and they do make for good reading for children.  None of the "extras" try to explain away the miracles of the story, and God is honored throughout the book.  We've only got two chapters left.  After this, we are going to read "God Spoke Tibetan" (The epic story of the men who gave the Bible to Tibet, the Forbidden Land).  We like reading together.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Look cute? Look again. I never buy name brand shoes. I happened to get these Nike court shoes on sale. I wore them for nothing but racquetball...and I loved them. I guess Boo did, too...she ATE them!!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm Trying to be More Spontaneous

Brooke told me that she and Amanda were going to spend time with the Frazier's tomorrow and Heidi asked if Amanda could just spend the night tonight since she would be there tomorrow anyway. When I found out Amanda would be gone for the evening, I thought about our friends who have the Harley and said we could "borrow" it sometime. I asked Brooke is she wanted to see about borrowing the bike for the night so she called. Our friends said that would be fine and so we were set. After our Life Group was over and after Brooke finished up with children's ministry at the church for the night, we went to get the bike.

We got to their house around 9:00 PM. The guy who has the bike was on a business trip, but his wife was home. He had to walk me through how to change out the seat from the single seat to the double seat (over the phone), so we pulled out around 9:30. We headed to Duncanville to see my parents and let Dad see the bike. I took Dad for a spin around the block and then Brooke and I left. This time, we traveled back to Arlington but stayed off the highway. We took the back roads and chilled out to Smooth Jazz 107.5, the Oasis on the bike's radio. The temperature was perfect, riding the relaxing back roads and listening to jazz was romantic.

We hadn't eaten any dinner, so Brooke suggested we stop by IHOP. An omelet, pancakes and hot fudge brownie sundae later we were full and sleepy. We just got home. I wanted to blog this and now I've got to get to bed before I fall asleep at the keyboard. We had a great night. Brooke likes being spontaneous, so I'm trying to be more spontaneous.


A friend's motorcycle made for a great spontaneous date night.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Interesting Fourth

The plan sounded good...we were going to head over to my parent's around 3pm, hang out with them for a while, eat around 5pm, hang out some more and then go see the fireworks at 9:30pm. We arrived shortly after 3:00 and enjoyed relaxing, talking and telling my parents about our trip to the lake yesterday. We had what has got to be the perfect dinner...grilled hamburgers, corn on the cob, chips and ice cream for dessert. It was just after dinner the our plans went south.

Brooke said, "Hey, let's got for a motorcycle ride." I was up for that and said "sure". Amanda Kay heard about this and wanted to go, too, so I told her I'd take her for a ride right after Brooke and I got back. Dad's bike is a 1977 Honda, so Mom (in typical mother form) said, "Take your cell phone in case you have any problems with the bike." We certainly didn't expect any problems, but took the cell phone anyway.

We headed out and swung by Scott and Tanya's house to say "hi" to the fam. Scott and Natalie were out shopping, the boys were gone and only Tanya, Jason, Tanya's mom and grandma were home. We stayed for a while and then headed back toward Mom & Dad's. Coming up to a light, I put the clutch in and thought to myself, "Hmmm...did the the thing die? It's awful quiet." Then I downshifted and heard the engine and thought all was well...until I put the clutch in again and all went quiet again. I realized the engine had died. The light was red, so I stopped, put it in neutral and switched to reserve tank thinking perhaps I had run out of gas even though the trip mileage counter said I should have plenty. It was then that I noticed none of the lights were in the electrical system was out. I pushed the bike to a safe corner of the intersection and tried to kick start it. Nothing happened, so I called Dad.

The first thing I told my parents was, "We didn't have a wreck or anything, but the bike has died." Dad got on the phone and we went through checking to make sure I had not bumped the kill switch, checking to make sure the ignition switch was OK and then on to the fuses. Sure enough, the bike had blown a fuse. Dad grabbed some fuses from the house and came to where we were. We replaced a fuse and turned the ignition switch on. Before I even had a chance to start it, the fuse blew again. Dad had seen this problem before, so he knew what to do. He unplugged the lights (figuring that is where the short was), replaced the fuse and we tried it again. Sure enough, the lights stayed on this time. So Dad got in the car, Brooke got on the back of the bike and I hit the starter. The bike turned over, then the lights went out again (not the unplugged headlights, the engine lights on the "dash"). Oops. So I yelled for Dad (who had not left us yet, fortunately) and we started over. This time, we decided it would be best to kick start the thing so as not to short it out again until we could get it home. We popped another fuse in, turned the key on and I kicked the kick starter. There was no engine sound...the lights just went out again and we had blown another fuse.

Now we had to decide what to do with the bike since it would not start. We talked about towing the thing home as Plan A, but that seemed dangerous since we were a ways away form the house (just a few minutes ride, but too far to risk towing the would not want to run over the rope that is towing you!). Plan B would be to borrow the motorcycle trailer Dad's neighbor has. That might have worked if the neighbor had been home! So, Plan C was to take Dad's glider off it's trailer, set it in the garage, go get the bike, roll the bike onto the trailer (this thing is HUGE and HEAVY), unload the bike at home and put the glider back on the trailer. Sounds simple enough, right? If you said "yes", you've obviously never taken a glider off it's trailer! Dad has a great system and can even perform this stunt on his own if he has too, but there is really nothing quick and easy about taking the glider off it's trailer and setting it in the garage. Oh yes, did I mention it was starting to get dark by this time? Remember, we were going to watch fireworks, too.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention one of the best parts. I had pushed the bike to safe spot in the intersection, but we weren't sure how safe it would be to leave it there. A hundred yards or so from where we were was a nice side street where it seemed the bike would be safer, so I decided we should PUSH the motorcycle to this side street. Dad was a bit more hesitant since the side street was up a slight hill, but I was sure we could do it. He wanted to push from the side of the bike while I pushed from the back, but I insisted he sit on the bike and let me push. Again, this thing is HEAVY and I didn't want us to lose the balance and drop the thing. Dad protested, but I insisted...then I found out why he protested! Did I mention this bike was HUGE and HEAVY? I started out at a slow jog trying to maintain momentum up the hill. By the time we were turning onto the side street, I was sucking wind like a fat guy! (If you know me, no comment, please. If you don't know me, you are overweight and were offended by that comment, I, too, am overweight, so get over it!). As it turned out, it was MUCH more difficult to push the bike to that spot than I had pictured in my mind when first suggesting it.

So then, we headed to the house and ended up taking the glider off the trailer. And it started getting dark. We talked to the girls and decided that Mom, Brooke and Amanda would head on out to the fireworks and we would meet them if we got done in time. Dad and I got the glider off the trailer and headed out to where the motorcycle was. I was a bit concerned about getting the bike onto the trailer. Did I mention that the bike is BIG and HEAVY? I did not want to go through all of this just to drop the thing getting it onto the trailer. I'm thinking Dad did not really want to watch his BIG and HEAVY bike going crashing to the ground, either, and neither of us wanted to have the neighbors come out and say, "Ooohhhhhh..what happened?" as the bike lay in three or four pieces on the ground. Fortunately, the bike went on (and off) the trailer with relative ease.

We strapped the motorcycle down, got it home, took it off and put the glider back in place without too much difficulty. The fireworks started just as we were getting the last of the glider onto the trailer. We finished up, called the girls to see where they were and were told the fireworks would be over by the time we found them. So Dad and I headed in the general direction of the fireworks, found a place where we could see them, pulled into a parking lot and watched what was left. When they were over, we beat the girls home by a good 10 minutes because we did not have to fight traffic.

So things did not really go according to plan yesterday, but it's OK. As it turned out, Dad was going to ride the motorcycle to the glider port Tuesday to tow. Had we not ridden the motorcycle when we did, it would have died on him on the way to the airport. Would have been a bit more difficult to get it back to the house then. So everything turned out for the best...even if it was an interesting Fourth!


Monday, July 04, 2005

It was a Fun Day

It is after Midnight, and we just got back from the lake. Some friends from church own a cabin on Lake Bowie and invited us out to their place with a few other friends and their family. We had a great day. Our first adventure for the day was when Amanda and I got to go tubing behind their boat. They were pretty gentle with us, but we did get some air time! Amanda did not like going airborne, but other than that thought the tubing was a blast. Later, I got to ride by myself and go a little was fun. I also got to drive the boat and pull somebody else...probably the most enjoyable for me. Later in the day, I went out with the guys trying to water ski. I say "trying" because only two of the four of us got, I was not one of them. I tried getting up four times (almost made it the last time), but felt bad making them keep coming back to get me, so I let someone else take a turn. I haven't been on water skis since high school, but I thought I could do it. Guess I'll have to try another time. When the sun went down, we shot a few fireworks before heading home.

Amanda loved tubing and riding in the boat. In the late afternoon, she got to throw a couple of those firework poppers...I don't know what the real name is. They are the little BB size things full of powder. You throw them on the ground and they pop. She enjoyed those more than the sparklers, I think. Brooke went out on the boat when we were tubing and spent some time with Amanda swimming in the lake. The rest of the day she enjoyed hanging out and talking to everybody there. We just got back...and it was a fun day.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Napster is Great

If you're reading blogs, you probably know what Napster is. Napster started out as a file sharing program where people logged on and "shared" their music. Somebody else could also log on, "share" their music and download somebody else's shared music. As you have heard, the music industry did not like this much. After being shut down by the courts as illegal, Napster came out with a for-fee download setup. Instead of "sharing" your music, you sign on, browse through the music Napster has and download any song or album you want...usually 99 cents per song or $9.95 per album. You can preview 30 seconds of any song before purchasing.

I bought a few songs from Napster, but I got excited when they began their monthly subscriptions. Now I pay $9.99/month and I can listen to ALL THE MUSIC I WANT! I log on to Napster, browse for what I want and click "listen to album". I've got some really good speakers hooked up to my computer, so it's pretty much like listening to a stereo. And what's really nice is the fact that I can download the music to listen to on my computer even when I am not online. They songs are copy protected this way so I cannot burn them to CD, but except when I am in the car, all of the music I listen to is on my computer anyway.

Brooke and I got nostalgic the other day and started looking up music we listened to in high school. She looked up all these rock bands I never heard of while I looked up Jerry Reed. I'm sitting here right now listening to "East Bound and Down" (the theme song from the movie Smokey and the Bandit). I found the music from an old Jerry Reed tape I had. Who'd have thought? Napster is great.