Sunday, February 26, 2006

Perfect Ending to a Great Day

Today, our church had singer and song writer Jeff Ferguson minister. It was a good service this morning and again at our Altar (prayer/worship) serice this evening.

The past couple weekends, it has been mostly rainy and cold. We got a LOT of rain this week, but it was sunny and warm today so Amanda and I had to do squeeze a little geocaching in today. (By the way, I found this little six minute video on geocahing if you don't know much about it and are interested. OK, I just watched the video again. It is a little cheezy, but it does a good job of showing what is involved). Amanda likes playing UNO, so she was excited to find this in the cache. We found this cache and a virtual cache (a landmark like this footbridge). We were not able to find one cache and we found another place to hide a second cache of our own. (We have the first cache in place but need to make a few changes before listing it with for others to hunt).

So after our fun in the sun (and thorns), we got cleaned up and headed to the Altar. After church tonight it was time for bed. After Amanda and I prayed, she looked at me and said, "Daddy, I love you so much it almost makes me cry." Wow...a perfect ending to a great day.

- Rob

Thursday, February 23, 2006

True Ministry

I like the bumper sticker that says, "Three best things about being a teacher…June, July, August" but it misses the point of teaching. Empty classrooms may be more manageable, but you can't teach in them. So too ministry, apart from people, is not true ministry.

- Taken from an encouraging article at for pastors titled Stuck in the "Before" Picture

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Fun, Full Night

After work, I came home and Brooke had spaghetti cooking for dinner. We ate soon after and then Amanda and I did homework while Brooke finished up her Bible study for tonight. Amanda did a good job getting all of her homework done tonight, so we needed to go out and do something fun. While Brooke headed over to church for Bible study, Amanda and I grabbed the GPS, the flashlight and a couple bucks. We took the money and ran in Walgreens to grab a couple items to trade out in a cache and then headed out to a local park to do our first night time geocache. We found the first cache we tried and Amanda traded a stuffed unicorn for this little plastic suitcase full of hair scrunchies and stuff. We found the area where the second cache we were looking for had to be hidden, but we didn't find it. The cache was right near someone's back yard. When they came outside we wandered off rather than stay and shine our flashlight near the border of their property, so we'll have to try and find the second cache some other time. We came home, Amanda got a bath and went to bed. It was fun, full night.

- Rob

Friday, February 17, 2006

So I Brought It Home

I've got the geocaching bug now, so today I decided to start looking for a place to hide my own cache (for others to come find). I found a good potential spot, but I've got to explore a little more. The way I got in will not be navagatable in six weeks because of all the thorns, briars, etc, but I think I've got a great spot to work with. I've checked and there don't appear to be any other caches close. While I was out, I found this skull. I'm not sure if it is a fox, coyote or a dog, but it looked pretty cool so I brought it home.

- Rob

Mmmm Mmmm Good

Grilled shrimp...that's what we had for Valentine's Day. We ate at home because our big "Valentine's Date" will be at the end of March when I take Brooke to see Phantom of the Opera. But Brooke wanted Tuesday evening to be special, so she bought some shrimp, I seasoned it with some Caribbean Jerk seasoning and mmmm mmmmm good!

- Rob

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Photo Blog: GeoCaching With My Friend Randy

For the uninitiated, here is the short version of how geocaching works. A person goes to, types in their zip code (or the zip code where they want to go geocaching) and find the GPS coordinates where a cache is hidden. Using the provided map, you drive to where the cache is, park your car and use your GPS unit to get to the coordinates. Once you reach the coordinates, you are close to where the cache is found (close because most GPS handheld units are accurate anywhere from 3 to 30 feet). A typical cache is some sort of container which contains a log book for people to sign who find the cache and maybe some trinkets. You bring a trinket and trade for one in the container if you want. The cache Randy and I hunted today was a multi-leg cache. On a multi-leg cache, you find the first cache, and all it contains is the coordinates to the second cache which has the log book, etc.

Randy ran through some bushes and came out
with these bugs all over him!
Actually, they were burrs, but they look like
some sort of bug, don't they!

Today's cache was a multi-leg. Here's the first cache I found

The first part of the cache was on one side of the river.
The second part was on the other side...
we had a choice.

The cache logs said something about a "dangerous part"

Guess we found out what "dangerous" meant

Whew! We made it across

Randy found the second part of the cache

Randy signing the log for both of us

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Keeping it Fun

When Amanda and I do homework this week, we are supposed to spend a good deal of our time learning how to count change. Her teacher says it is one of the most difficult things first graders have to learn. Amanda and I would tend to agree with her teacher...learning how to count change is tough stuff!

I was trying to think of ways to help Amanda understand (since both of us were getting frustrated last night), so I came up with the idea for "Daddy's Candy Store". Amanda is a candy fiend, so I thought I'd run to the store, pick up some candy, put price tags on it, give Amanda some change and let her shop. When I ran to Walgreens tonight, I picked up a stuffed Nemo along with the candy, so Amanda thought it should be "Daddy's Fun Store" since we had more than just candy.

Well, the idea was a good one and Amanda enjoyed shopping, but I'm not sure how much it helped here learn to count change. Amanda purchased about three things and then we got stuck not being able to figure out how to make the correct change for the rest. I was getting frustrated, so we got one more item purchased for the correct price and shut the store down for the evening. To end on an "up" note (instead of ending with Daddy being frustrated), we said the reason for shutting down the store was to make sure there was more stuff to buy tomorrow.

So at this point, Nemo has a new home, Amanda has a new stuffed animal to sleep with and Daddy is going to have to work on a better way of explaining how to count money while making sure the store stays "fun"!

- Rob

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Not Much Blogging Going On (But Thanks for the Comments)

So here I am, sitting down for the evening ready to read my friends' blogs and blog myself. Let's see: Forward Motion: Changing Lives (my friend Steve), his last post was Sunday. Ramblings of a Christian Insomniac Musician (my friend Brad), his last post was January 27. Downloads From Heaven (Brad's Wife), she last posted on Sunday. Let's check Laura's, Brad's daughter, blog ( Laura's World), she last posted on Monday. Man, she had me going with this story she was writing, but now the story is done and she's left me hanging since Monday. Although I'm not holding my breath, I head over to check out my friend Jason's blog, Sincere Randomness. It appears he posted a day after Brad, but that was January 28th. Well, Pastor has just started blogging and he has been pretty regular, so I'll head over to Pastoral, like Laura, he has not posted since Monday.

Although my friends have no new posts since Monday or earlier, quite a few have visited my blog and read my post from this past Monday. Monday was not a great day for me, but it was GREAT and a real comfort to have friends comment and encourage me. Some of you posted a comment and others just commented in person, but I really appreciate your encouragement. My friend Jason told me I would sweat less if I lost weight (I complained all summer about sweating "like a fat guy") and my friend Steve told me it might help, when I want something more or better to eat, to think about all the people in the world who would be ever so thankful to eat whatever "healthy alternative" I have in front of me. Thanks Jason, Steve, Brooke and others who took the time to encourage me, help me laugh and pray for me. It's pretty cool that God puts us in a family like he does so we are surrounded by people who love and care about us.

Well, the weekend is here (weekend is Friday, Saturday for me since I'm off on Friday). I was hoping Amanda and I could go geocaching this weekend, but true to Texas, the weather is doing a flip from all week and it is supposed to be cold here. [If my friend Craig (college roommate) went online enough to read my blog, I would admit to him that "cold" is a relative term. He lives on Lake Huron in Michigan and has over two feet of snow right now!] Anyway, since we won't be geocaching, I think I'll be heading to the store to buy some candy and gum tomorrow. Amanda is learning (trying to learn) about money and how to count out change. Her teacher says it is one of the hardest things they have to learn in 1st grade, and Amanda is struggling right now. But if Amanda can "buy" gum and candy and Mommy and Daddy's store by learning how to count out the correct change, I think she will go back to school on Monday with a MUCH better understanding of counting out money. We'll give it a try and let you know how it comes out.

Brooke is watching Dancing with the Stars which I recorded for her earlier, and I hope she will be awake enough to watch last night's LOST after that, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Guess I'll go check on how's she doing and sign off for now.

Not much blogging going on, but thanks again for your comments and encouragement this week!

- Rob

Monday, February 06, 2006

Today Was a Bit Discouraging

Today started out ok. I went in to work 15 minutes early so we could get done counting offering in time for me to get to my doctor's appointment. It was time for my annual heart checkup. The doctor said everything seems fine, but he is concerned about my weight gain. I knew I had gained weight over the holidays, but I weigh more now than I have at any time in my life. I know what I've got to do (lose the weight), but the thought is very depressing.

Only one time in my life have I been successful in losing weight. It was right after I went into the hospital with my blood pressure and pulse rate sky high. I thought I was having a heart attack. I realized then that I could very well end up dying early and leaving my family without a dad and husband, and that scared me enough to change my diet and lose the weight. That lasted for a while, but I eventually gained it back until I got to where I am today. I will lose the weight again, and I hope to be able to keep it off. But that is what is so discouraging...I know what it is going to take.

I think I saw it on an episode of Friends. Somebody saw a guy they hadn't seen since high school, and they hardly recognized him because he had lost so much weight since then. They asked the guy how he did it, and he joked, "I'm pretty much just miserable all the time." I can relate because that is how I feel when I'm dieting. I lose weight by following a low-fat diet. It seems to me a cruel irony that the better a food tastes, the worse it is for you, but I find this to be true. I do not like most vegetables (except corn and potatoes which are not the most healthy members of the veggie family), the only fish I don't mind is EXTREMELY expensive and the food I like is what I should not eat. Fast food is out. And why bother going out to eat if you have to order salad and a chicken breast every time? It's not that I mind salads (minus all the stuff that is good for you) or chicken breasts, it's just that these are not as good as what I really want to order from the menu. It's ok for about two weeks, but after that, it just seems I have to make myself "pretty much miserable all the time" in order to lose/keep off the weight. I will do what I have to do for my family's sake, but I feel like I'm sentencing myself to misery to do it.

And then I got back to the office and started in earnest on a project that is overwhelming me right now. I'm got too many projects going, and it is stressing me out. I plan out my week and say, "OK, from this time to this time I am going to do nothing but work on this project." And so what happens at that particular time? The copier has problems requiring my immediate attention, the office network goes down, a toilet gets plugged up or some other thing happens that requires I skip what I going to do and give attention to the immediate need. And then there are the projects that I would really like to start (some things that are in my heart to do), but where's the time to do it?

I love my job and love what I do at my job. The projects I need to complete are challenging and fulfilling, and even the pressing things that demand my immediate attention are not things I hate to do (except for the plugged up toilets). Everybody I work with has so much stuff to do they also wonder how it is going to get done, so I'm not a special case. And then I've got friends who are facing issues in their personal lives I could not imagine having to deal with. I know my "problems" are petty and these "difficulties" will soon pass. I am thankful for God's blessings, my family, my job and my health...I just guess today was a bit discouraging.

- Rob

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Very Proud Daddy Moment

Not only did my daughter desire to follow the Lord in water baptism, but I got to baptize her. How cool is that! Amanda decided it would be pretty intimidating to say something in front of the whole church from the baptistry, but if you ask her, she will tell you she wanted to be baptized because she wants everyone to know she has asked Jesus into her heart. Yup, Mommy and Daddy are pretty proud!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A New Hobby

It was a perfect day to start our new hobby - geocaching. If you're not familiar with geocaching, here's the basic idea. A person owns a GPS unit. They got to an area (in the woods, at a park, in a field, etc) and hide some sort of container. The container has log book inside and then whatever else they want to put (coins, deck of cards, McDonald's kids' toys, etc). This container is called a "cache". The cache owner uses the GPS to get a reading of where the cache is. He/she then goes to, registers themselves and records where the cache is hidden. Other people may then go to the web site, search by zip code and find caches hidden in the area they want to search. Each listing has a map to the general location, the GPS coordinates and usually some sort of description and possibly a few clues. (There are different kinds of caches and levels of difficulty, but I'll let you read about that at if you are interested). The searcher uses his/her GPS unit to get close to the coordinates, and then the challenge is finding the cache hiding in a tree, partially buried under a log, etc. Once the cache is found, the searcher signs the log book and then may swap something he/she brought for one of the "treasure pieces" (that is how Amanda sees it) in the cache.

So it was in the 70's today and a perfect day for Amanda and I to give it a try. We started with easy, beginner caches at a park right down the street from us (Cliff Nelson 1). It was a "micro" was a film container strapped to a tree (see picture). We signed the log and Amanda traded the plastic ring she had on her finger for the colored stone inside.

The second cache (Cliff Nelson 2) was a little more challenging for us, but we found it. Here Amanda traded a rubber ball for a pink hair scrunchy.

Next, we were off looking for the Unwanted Toys cache which was report to be a large one. Amanda was particularly excited about this one. I didn't know where to park, so it ended up being a long way away from the cache. We followed the signal down a long street only to find out we hit a dead end at a fence and could not get any closer without going through somebody's property. So we turned around, followed a different road and finally got there. Amanda's trade this time was a pink ball for a green "Mike" toy (from Monster's Inc.).

The last cache we searched for was called Tyler's Ear Plugs. I did not notice this a "micro" cache until we got home, so we were looking for the wrong thing. Besides that, the place was FULL of briars and thorns. Being newbies, we gave up and came home. 3 out of 4 for our first day made us happy.

So Amanda and I have a new hobby together and we are looking forward to next weekend so we can try it again.

- Rob

All In Day

It has been a busy day. Things started out great when we checked our bank account balance and saw that our tax return had been deposited...thank you Jesus! We've been waiting for this money. Today we bought new tires for the car, got some repair work done on the car, got the car inspected and refilled our prescriptions fulfilling our deductible for the year. We've still got a few more bills to pay and I still need to purchase those Phantom of the Opera tickets for Brooke's Valentines' Day, but we certainly got a lot of necessary things taken care of today.

On the "not-so-necessary-but-still-very-nice" side of things, I was also able to get my Magellan Explorist 200 GPS out of lay-away today. I'm hoping that Amanda and I can go geocaching tomorrow (or treasure hunting as Amanda sees it).

Tonight was guys Friday night poker at my house. Games have not gone well for me when we play here. Tonight, I was second one out on the first game, first one out on the second game...and then my luck changed and I won the last game. Luck certainly was on my side as I won a few hands on the river, but I also a little proud of myself. When there were just three of us left, all I had left in chips was $1, 040 (just enough to cover the big blind) and from there I went on to win. Fold, All In...Fold, All In...all the way to the end!

So now it's late (or actually very early in the morning) and I'm finding a couple things to do to let my mind wind down so I can go to sleep. It's been a good "All In" day.

- Rob

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Password, Please

We entered an elevator with another couple from our hotel. Our 5-year-old son, Eric, asked the couple for the password to get off. They guessed, "Watermellon?"

Eric replied, "No, it's Jesus. That's the password for heaven, too."

- Submitted by Laura Mullins of Mequon, WI to Focus on the Family Magazine