Monday, May 29, 2006

GeoWoodstock 4

Amanda and I started geocaching in February, and just a short time later, we began hearing about something called "GeoWoodstock 4" (AK G4). GeoWoodstock is basically the biggest gathering of geocachers from around the world, and this was the fourth year the event was held. As we got more into geocaching and found out what a big deal G4 was, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to be there since it was being held here this year (Cedar Hill State Park).

Since we live so close and since we had other stuff going on this weekend (End of the School Year bash on Friday night, church on Sunday), we didn't camp but just drove back and forth. On Saturday, we left around and noon and showed up at the state park. We registered, met some people, bought a souvenir t-shirt and water bottle and then headed out to Treasure Island. Treasure Island was the activity center for kids. Amanda had a blast doing crafts, playing games and meeting other geocaching kids. Of course, Amanda wanted to swim, so I baked in the blazing hot sun for two hours before we went back to Treasure Island for some Bingo (played on CACHE cards instead, of course). Amanda won a game and picked up a few treasures as well as a gift certificate from By this time, we were starving and enjoyed the free BBQ dinner from Dickey's and also enjoyed getting to meet some fellow geocachers. After dinner, we drove around the park a bit and then went to the park's nature show/talk, Reptiles, Our Scaley Friends. We heard about turtles, lizards and (of course) snakes. Amanda got to touch a couple of the snakes they brought and then we drove home for the evening. We were well-sunned, tired and chigger-bitten.

During G4, a number of "cache runs" were scheduled. This is where somebody plans a route and groups of people go out geocaching together. There was an event scheduled in Ft. Worth at 3pm on Sunday, so we drove out for that. We did not know quite what to expect, and things were quite 'interesting' at first. We wanted to ride with some other people rather than be in our car by ourselves, so we ended up in a truck with some folks from Oregon and their black lab puppy, Cache (honestly that's his name...and some of you think I am consumed by geocaching?). I think we did 6-7 caches with this group which consisted of about 8 cars...and it was not real enjoyable. It was difficult getting in and out of the vehicle with the dog, and I don't know if it was because of the group size or what, but every stop was a MAD dash out of the truck, to the cache and back. The lady who was driving never wanted to be last so we always had to hurry. Somewhere in the midst of the bedlam, I logged my 100th cache. (Everybody in the group logs the cache once it is found).

After this, the group headed back to find a cache at the Wal-Mart where our car was parked (why didn't we just start with this one?). After logging this one, Amanda and I decided to ride in our own car, so we ran back to the car thinking we would join the 8 car caravan. Fortunately for us, we met a much smaller group who also found the large group thing unenjoyable, so we were able to spend the rest of the day with them. This caravan was only 2 cars and consisted of a mom and dad (whom Amanda and I rode with), their daughter and son-in-law and a friend of the mom and dad. We found several caches, stopped at Steak And Shake for dinner, hit a few more caches then got dropped off at our car (around 10:00pm) and came home. Just before we left our new-found friends, we calculated that Amanda had also reached her 100th cache, so she was very excited on the way home...until she fell asleep in the car. We found 20 caches on Sunday.

I doubt GeoWoodstock will be in this area again and so I doubt we will be able to attend another one, but we really enjoyed this one. Amanda and I enjoyed our time together, she had fun playing all day Saturday, we enjoyed getting to know and spend some time with fellow geocachers and we both made it past the 100 mark. It was a very nice weekend.

For those of you who are wondering, we did take the day of from geocaching today and spent some time with Brooke! She was also exausted from a busy weekend doing kids ministry stuff and working a wedding reception to earn money for her Nicaragua trip so we all hung around the house and did not much of anything. A good way to end a busy weekend.

Here's a few G4 pictures.

You know those games where you have a list of tasks to complete like "Find somebody to sing Row Row Row Your Boat with you and then sign here"? This was one of those games and somebody asked GeoPunkin to thumb wrestle with them. Amanda had never done this before, so she thought it was great.

GeoPunkin making GIANT bubbles at Treasure Island

They did face painting at Treasure Island, so Amanda had "GeoPunkin" tattooed on her arm

Kids playing Bingo with CACHE cards

The last thing Amanda did before leaving the state park on Saturday night!

Logging my 100th find (with a guy from our group)

I LOVE pictures like this! The hunting and the treasures of geocaching are fun...but this is best part!

GeoPunkin's favorite trade item for the day

ATMA and GeoPunkin finding a cache. GeoPunkin actually spotted this one first. This is Tim, and it was he and his wife Rhonda that we spent the afternoon with. They are a very nice couple from Houston.


Are You Religious...or Real?

As our church has started Da Vinci Code discussion groups, I have read and heard different opinions about Christians seeing this movie/reading the book. Christians basically fall into one of three categories here:
  1. They went to see the movie because they like movies and are not really discerning about what they will or will not watch
  2. They did not see the movie because the claims of the movie are insulting to Christianity
  3. They went to see the movie (or read the book) because they wanted to use conversations about the movie/book to share Christ with unsaved friends
I am in group three. When I first started thinking about a response to the Da Vinci Code, I shared a few things in common with group number two. The main thing I shared was not wanting to give my money to the Da Vinci Code...I did not want to support it. However, as our discussion groups move along, I am getting more frustrated from some in group two who loudly proclaim their belief that preparing a response to the movie/book is a waste of time or drawing us away from time we should be spending with the Lord. If it is their moral belief that it would be wrong for them to see the movie, I will respect that. But for others, I wonder, "Do they even have lost friends they could discuss this movie/book with?"

When Jesus talked to the lost, which did he spend more time doing...quoting Scripture or telling stories and using illustrations from everyday life that people understood? On the one hand, this study is showing me that Christians MUST know the Bible and Christian doctrine if they are going discuss this book/movie with their lost friends and hope to share the Truth with them. And on the other hand, is it such a far stretch from telling parables to using illustions from movies to share the Truth?

This morning, I was reading quotes I have written down in the back of my Bible. I found a quote from a speaker we had at church, Jim Britnell, on January 25, 1995. I think what he said pretty much sums up my opinion as to why our church should be preparing a response to the Da Vinci Code:

"Religioius Christianity simply insulates us from the world.
Real Christianity impacts the world."

So my question for Christians is, "Are we being religious...or real?"

- Rob

Militant Women's Groups Supporting Gang Initiation

Anti-life groups have been trying to tell us from the beginning that we should allow abortion because it protects the life of the mother, there are women who get raped and all of these other "necessary" reasons. Pro-life groups have warned, from the beginning, of the slippery slope of abortion...that it will lead to aborting babies just because they are "less-than-perfect". Here's a story showing how this exact thing is happening, and in typical anti-life fashion, commentors at the end of the article avoid the real issue and try to trump "women's rights".

I guess women-to-be (unborn baby girls) don't have rights? I guess the "intelligent" women of the "women's rights movements" don't realize that approximately half the time they are killing their own ranks through abortion? Reminds me of a gang know, the one where they beat the crud out of a person who wants to join the gang, and if they live through it, they have "earned the right" to be part of the gang. Women's Rights Gang Initiation: (a.k.a. Abortion).

- Rob

Friday, May 26, 2006

We're A Two Turtle Home

Pictured right to left:
Grumpy O'Mally - the original "Hurt turtle" adopted while geocaching
Amanda - name giver to the O'Mally line of turtles
Little George O'Mally - a turtle Mrs. Debi rescued from their pool

The fact that Grumpy O'Mally ended up at the Hurt household was a lack of forethought on my part. You can read all about it here. And now it seems he is here to stay for a while. Just when I think I have Amanda talked into letting him go before winter instead of having to hibernate him, she goes all female on me. This past weekend, for instance. I asked her if she wanted to take Grumpy (this was before Little George's arrival) to the state park where we were meeting my parents for the weekend. I told her we could let him find a turtle family and go free. She did not go for it, so I reminded her that we would need to let him go before winter because, although people do hibernate their turtles for the winter, I have no experience at this. Things were OK until bed time. Amanda went to sleep, but as Brooke and I were talking in my office, Amanda came out of her room crying. When we asked her what was wrong (thinking she was having leg cramps), she said she had a bad dream. This has happened before, so I didn't think much of it until she further explained, "I had a dream it was almost winter and we let Grumpy go." Am I the only one who sees this is not going to go well?

I am not sure why Amanda is so attached to Grumpy. I mean she looks at him, takes him out of the pen for a 'walk' sometimes and everything, but I am the one who takes care of feeding him, keeping his 'turtle ranch' damp and humid, etc. OK, I have to admit, I like having the turtle around now, but I planned on letting him go before I'd have to hibernate him.

And then this week I got a call from Mrs. Debi telling me she had rescued a little turtle from her pool. George and I went to look at him and help figure out what to do with him. Debi offered to let him live in the yard, but he'd probably fall in the pool again (chlorine water is not good for turtles!) or, as she pointed out, he may meet with the mower (even worse for turtles that chlorinated pool water). George (my friend, not related to the turtle nor the turtle's namesake) had the best idea, "Let's let him go now". But did I heed this bit of wisdom? No! I took the turtle home and put him in the pen with Grumpy to show Amanda. If you were a seven year old little girl who liked turtles, how would you respond if you saw a smaller, cuter version? No, I was not fortunate enough to trade Little George O'Mally for Grumpy O'Mally's freedom...we are now a two turtle home. And we will have to turtles until one or two things happen this winter: 1) I make my little girl cry for who knows how many days or 2) I learn how to hibernate box turtles.

Please excuse me while I head over to Google..."hibernate box turtles".

- Rob

Doctrine is Important

Our church Life Groups are discussing the Da Vinci Code. Our reason for the discussion groups could best be summed up the an article entitled "Dan Brown's Gift to the Church". I'm still processing a lot after reading the book and seeing the movie:

  • Is anybody really going to base their theology on this far-out, obviously fictional book?
  • How can I use this to share with my unsaved friends?
  • Oh my Christians I know really not know the answers to the questions they have asked me after reading the book?
  • Is this book changing the way our society thinks about Christianity, is it merely amplifying some of what our culture believes or just a good conspiracy theory?
Our Life Groups are using small group curriculum by Lee Strobel, and we spent some time talking about the question "Does it matter if Dan Brown flat out lies about the Bible, Christianity and history if he is writing a fictional novel. Some people feel is a HUGE deal, others don't feel it matters much.

I don't know if this really answers any of the questions I asked above, but the one thing that stuck with me from this first session was something a history professor said on the DVD. He said {not a verbatim quote} "If Dan Brown were writing a history of WWII, Hitler would be the victor, Churchill would be on trial in London and Roosevelt in Washington."

I guess that does summarize my feeling about the book to a point. Yes, it's a novel, but historically it just NEVER HAPPENED THAT WAY. And the subject Dan Brown lies about is one that I have based my life around. If someone wrote a novel that said Hitler won WWII, I would want to make sure that person knew it just wasn't true. The same is true about the incredible story Dan Brown has made up about Christ. I want to make sure my unsaved friends know fact from fiction in the hope that they can come to know Christ. I want to make sure my Christian friends know the difference because I hope they are also talking to their unsaved friends about the claims of this book/movie. And this is why I'm glad my church is hosting these discussion groups...if we were to announce an apologetics class, I don't think many people would sign up. But talk about a movie and people will get into the discussion. And doctrine, what we believe about God, is important.

- Rob

Remembering to Remember

Like everybody else, I'm a busy person. Of the time management books I've read, I liked Stephen Covey's First Things First the best. The basic premise...don't be ruled by the clock, rule your life by the compass. Figure out what is most important and do that first.

I guess the logic behind this has always made sense to me. I remember being in college (before I read this book) and walking down the hall late one night my senior year studying for a test. I was walking the hall with a textbook in my hand because that was the only way I could stay awake! At the end of the hall was a HUGE window looking out over the campus. Each time I came to that window (before turning and walking to the other end of the hall) I thought about how miserable and absolutely happy I was at the same time. I was miserable because I wanted sleep so badly, but I was happy because I was having the time of my life. At the age of what...21?...I made my first decision to REMEMBER TO REMEMBER.

I had a wonderful college experience: a great school, staff and friends, wonderful church, best friend roommate, experiencing "life on my own" while Mom and Dad were still paying for school and most of my living expenses. I had heard people talking about college being some of the best years of their life, and I figured I was having a pretty good time. So I made mental notes that night and decided to remember that night (and my whole college experience) not so I could live in the past sometime later, but so I could appreciate how good I had it at the time. I remember the green carpet on the floor (laid on cement without padding), the too many coats of 'white' paint on the walls, the vaulted ceilings, the HUGE picture window at the ends of the hall, the steam heaters that creaked ever-so-loudly when turned on at the base of the windows, the stars I could see looking out the window and the jogging shorts I was wearing at the time (side note: when I see pictures of me in those shorts now I realize I NEVER should have worn them out in public...what was I thinking!?).

What made me think about all this is an experience I had last week that made me think about the second time I made an effort to remember to remember. Two of the students I had in youth ministry are getting married soon and I was walking through the wedding ceremony with them in the sanctuary. As we talked about the unity candle, I thought back to when Brooke and I lit our unity candle. We lit the candle and Scott Wesley Brown's song "This is the Day" was playing. I was looking at Brooke in her wedding dress, glowing, her hair done up extra special, smiling...the sanctuary, our friends and family there. Brooke kept talking to me and I finally said "Shhhh". She didn't get it at the time, but I was remembering to remember. I was taking a mental picture that I will remember forever of the day I pledged my life to my wife. I don't want to return to the past, but I'll never forget that moment of that was beautiful.

I remember the day Amanda was born, but my 'remember to remember' moment with her as a baby was one night sitting in the rocker in her room. I sat in the recliner/rocker having just fed and burped her, laying her on my chest getting her to go to sleep. That one night, I sat there with tears streaming down my face while I thanked God for the precious, precious gift laying on my chest. I thought about the days coming too soon when she would have her 'own life' and there would not be enough time for Dad (not as much time as I would like). I knew I would never have those precious moments again and I decided to remember to remember.

The fourth, and most recent, remembering moment happened this school year. Each day, Brooke and/or I walk Amanda Kay to school (weather permitting). Just a couple months ago Amanda and I were running late. I was walking her to school and had a ton of things I needed to do at work. I walked her to the crossing guard and then let her walk up the hill, across the parking lot and to the school door by herself. On the way home, I remembered to remember. I thought, "How many more days is Amanda going to want her Daddy to walk her to school holding her hand?" In that moment, all of things I had to do didn't seem nearly so important. Amanda had seen a friend that day and certainly didn't mind walking the rest of the way to school with her friend, but I caught myself. Walking hand-in-hand with your little girl to school (when she wants to) will not last forever. I decided to remember the walks to school. Yes, it makes me a little later getting to work and yes, Amanda talks non-stop about the least important things sometimes...but we're spending quality Daddy/Amanda time so who cares!?

Heavenly Father, help me remember to remember these special moments in life and not waste them! Thank you for them.

- Rob

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

See How Much Our Heavenly Father Loves Us

See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!
- 1 John 3:1, NLT

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Everyone Needs a Motorcycle

As I shared earlier, some friends from church let us borrow their motorcycle for the weekend and then said "keep it"...for an extra couple days. By the way, their motorcycle is the big Harley shown in previous posts...not this one. This is just a picture I found on the Internet, but it's a bike with a look similar to what I would like to have.

Yes, I would like to have a motorcycle. I used to have one, but when it was time for Amanda to be born, it was also time for a number of motorcycle repairs, so the bike had to go. I've kept my license current believing that I will have one again someday.

But I believe everyone should should have a motorcycle. Why? Because when you have a motorcyle, it makes you relax. I thought about this while riding home from the Maverick Club (where I play racquetball) today. I took a side street that had a nice winding road with trees lining both sides. It was not as fast nor as direct as taking the highway home, but I went that way just because of the scenery. On Sunday night, Amanda and I took the long way around and went to visit my parents just because we wanted to go ride. We rarely drive to Duncanville 'just for a visit', and we would never take the back roads because they are slower. But Sunday night, because we had a motorcycle, we took time to enjoy the scenery, find a road we did not know existed and went to visit my parents for a few minutes 'just because'. Before we took the bike back today, Brooke and I took a short ride just to be together. Having a motorcycle helps you relax and do something just for the enjoyment of it instead of being a slave to time and schedules.

OK, maybe "everyone" doesn't need a motorcycle. Maybe the second person "you" in the previous paragraph should have read "I" as in "Rob". Yes, I need a motorcycle. Maybe one day.

- Rob

Funny Wedding Vows

I am getting ready to perform my first wedding in a little over a week. I have been going over the ceremony with the bride and groom to be and I came across this.... wedding vows inspired by Dr. Suess written by Marty Blase.

Pastor: Will you answer me right now
These questions, as your wedding vow?

Groom: Yes, I will answer right now
Your questions as my wedding vow.
Pastor: Will you take her as your wife?
Will you love her all your life?

Groom: Yes, I take her as my wife,
Yes, I'll love her all my life.

Pastor: Will you have, and also hold
Just as you have at this time told?

Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold,
Just as I have at this time told,
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife.

Pastor: Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you're happy or sad?

Groom: Yes, I'll love through good and bad,
Whether we're happy or sad,
Yes, I will have and I will hold
Just as I have already told,
Yes, I will love her all my life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love her if you're rich?
Or if you're poor, and in a ditch?

Groom: Yes, I'll love her if we're rich,
And I will love her in a ditch,
I'll love her through good times and bad,
Whether we are happy or sad,
Yes, I will have, and I will hold
(I could have sworn this has been told!)
I promise to love all my life
This woman, as my lawful wife!

Pastor: Will you love her when you're fit,
And also when you're feeling sick?

Groom: Yes, I'll love her when we're fit,
And when we're hurt, and when we're sick,
And I will love her when we're rich
And I will love her in a ditch
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold
Ten years from now a thousandfold,
Yes, I will love for my whole life
This lovely woman as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death you part?

Groom: Yes, I'll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we're rich,
And when we're broke and in a ditch,
And when we're fit, and when we're sick,
(Oh, CAN'T we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I'll love her my entire life,
Yes, I WILL take her as my wife!

Pastor: Then if you'll take her as your wife,
And if you'll love her all your life,
And if you'll have, and if you'll hold,
From now until the stars grow cold,
And if you'll love through good and bad,
And whether you're happy or sad,
And love in sickness, and in health,
And when you're poor, and when in wealth,
And if you'll love with all your heart,
From now until death do you part,
Yes, if you'll love her through and through,
Please answer with these words:

Pastor and Groom: I DO!

Pastor: You're married now! So kiss the bride,
But please, do keep it dignified.

So There Is a Word for That?

I got an e-mail from Reader's Digest this morning and I came across this section on foreign words. There were a couple of funny ones, but I thought this one was hilarious...guess 'cause it happens enough that there ought to be a word for it? (Go ahead and leave the 'nice''s still funny!)

Some people live by the credo "Why use one word to describe something when I can use 47?" But in some cultures, that's frowned upon. For example:

Foreign word: bakku-shan (Japanese)
English translation: "A girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front"

- From The Meaning of Tingo, by Adam Jacot de Boinod (Penguin)

What Kind of Car do YOU Drive?

"I used to drive an Eclipse. I think it was a nice car, but I couldn't look directly at it."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Out For An Adventure

Amanda and I started out on an adventure tonight. We were going to do a few caches, but this one, My Favorite Game, was as far as we got. Actually, we did not even get to the end of it, but we had fun. We'll finish it tomorrow night. Anyway, here was stage one. We had to use the date on this historical marker (you can click on the picture to enlarge and read it...interesting if you live in Tarrant county) to solve a puzzle to find the next stage.

This was stage two. A little to the left of this picture the water was low enough we did not have to make this quite so adventuresome, but Amanda (aka GeoPunkin) would have been disappointed if we did not. It's hard to tell in the picture, but I think we were at least 15 feet above the water. At the end of bridge was a baseball magnet with the coordinates to the third stage which we will have to find tomorrow night since it took us so long to find the baseball with the coordinates on it.

A little bird that was watching us as we walked/scooted across the bridge.

- Rob

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Thanks For Sticking With Me

Goodness, please don't tell Dawn that the "Blog Cop" has not posted since last weekend! Now that school is out, maybe I'll have time to blog during the week. I was just telling my Mom this weekend that things seem busy now that Amanda has homework all the time: come home from work, eat dinner (thank you, Brookie!), do homework (while Brooke takes care of the dishes), do something for 30 minutes and then help Amanda get a bath. After that, while some might think this would be a good time to get some work done, Amadna thinks it is the ideal play time. After all, in a seven year old's mind, doing homework and helping her wash her hair, etc doesn't really count as "Daddy/Amanda time". So after we play games, hop into bed, talk and pray it is 9pm. Don't know about you, but I don't get much accomplished after 9pm when I've worked all day.

But anyway...about our week. Since school is almost out, it's the time of the year for school awards. We were proud of Amanda as she received a perfect attendace award this year (thank you Jesus for a healthy year) and a reading award. We were especially proud of the reading award after she started off the year behind where she needed to be. Here's a picture of Amanda with one of her friends after the awards ceremony.

It was another great weekend. Brooke and I planned a 'motorcycle date night' for Friday night, so we were excited for the weekend to get here. We've got some friends who let us borrow their motorcycle for special date nights, and we enjoyed ourselves again this weekend. But since I picked up the motorcycle on Thursday night, Amanda wanted a ride to and from school on Friday. Getting dropped off was OK, but what she really wanted was to be picked up in front of her whole class on Friday afternoon. When I picked her up, her swollen head would hardly fit in the helmet and she waved at everybody on campus like she was queen of a parade. Here's a picture of her when we got home.

Friday night, we took Amanda to Ge-Ma & PaPa D's. She had a great time and so did Brooke and I on our date night. We went out to eat and then to see Da Vinci Code in preparation for our church's Da Vinci Code discussion groups. After that, we went for a late night motorcycle ride and stopped at IHOP for a brownine sundae we did not need but certainly enjoyed.

Saturday morning, I went to our church's men's breakfast while Brooke went to the Young Marrieds' cooking class. In the afternoon, I headed to Ft. Worth with my Mom because she wanted to try out for Wheel of Fortune. It was a great time spending time with my Mom, but here's the short version of our hilarioius afternoon: drive to Ft. Worth and then drive all over downtown trying to find a parking place, drop Mom off to get in line and drive all over some more looking for a parking place, realize Mom has all the cash so now I am going to have to find a FREE parking space, find parking space, find Mom in line, wait in line for 2.5 hours with Mom, sit in on audtion group and not have our names called to get on stage, leave and look for car (oops, that message I left on my cell phone to remind me where I parked did not record for some reason), leave Mom at corner to walk further to get car, find car, drive back to pick up Mom and forget what street I left her on! But after I found her again and picked her up, the evening went smoother. She took me out to Olive Garden and we had a nice dinner together. Still conceivable Mom could get a call for a second try at an audtion, but statistically not very likely. Long wait but a good time to spend with Mom.

Sunday, went to church as usual and had a good service. Brooke washed cars with the team preparing to go to Nicaragua for a week this summer. After church, Amanda and I hit seven geocaches together. Here is our picture for the week. This evening, Brooke went to her Da Vinci Code discussion group (which she said was very good) while Amanda and I took the back roads on the motorcycle to visit Ge-Ma and PaPa D in Duncanville.

So Jason, this was as brief as I could be when I had to cover the highlights of the whole weekend. Thanks for sticking with me! (My friend Jason is a very busy man and prefers the shorter blog posts but he assures me he reads my posts even when they are 'near book length'). And since I'm picking on Jason, I gotta give a link to a great web site called he has done the video for and is helping get off the ground. I could tell you more about it, but they can share their vision better than I can AND Jason wouldn't want this post to be any longer!

- Rob

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What a Great Weekend

Wow, this weekend almost felt like being on was just plain great!

Thursday night the staff and advisory team celebrated Pastor David's 57th birthday. We all went in to buy him a suit for his 'tropical paradise' trip later this year. I also got to tell him about the cache I placed in his honor for his birthday.

Friday, I got up early and took my friend Mickey to the airport. Didn't get to spend a lot of time with him, but I was glad for the time we had to hang out traveling from the airport to Arlington, Wednesday night at Life Group and Friday on the way to the airport. After that, I came home an mowed the lawn. I am NOT a lawn person and this is not something I normally enjoy doing. However, Friday the weather was so beautiful! I took my Dell DJ with me, played some Oak Ridge Boys and Beach Boys while mowing. The fun music and nice weather made for a great time being outside.

On Saturday, I went with Brooke and Amanda to Club Libby Lu where Amanda got a makeover for the Mother/Daughter banquet at the church. {More pictures the Libby Lu album). Amanda had a great time and looked so cute (this, coming from her unbiased father, of course). I asked Brooke what she wanted for Mother's Day and she said she wanted Amanda to get the makeover since this was the first year she could attend the Mother/Daughter Banquet. (If you're thinking I'm a total loser for not getting Brooke something just for her, I did get her a dozen red roses while she and Amanda were at the banquet). After that, I went to the Dillard's outlet at Six Flags mall and got a nice suit for $95 on sale ($295 original price, 50% for a tagged price of $147.50 then take off an additional 40%). I was able to do this because of some birthday money I had left. I am officiating a wedding on June 2nd, so I needed a new suit.

Today (Sunday), we headed out to Cedar Hill State Park where my parents are camping for the weekend. We ate lunch with them and Mom her Mother's Day card and told her about the cache that I hid in here honor. After that, Dad, Amanda and I headed out to find a few geocahces (Dad's first). Amanda was proud of herself for finding all three of the caches. After that, I took Amanda to the lake to for a swim in the COLD water. She swam, I did not! Then it was back to the camper with Ge-Ma and PaPa D for smores. We headed home around 7:00 PM, Amanda got a shower and then did most all of her homework for the week by herself. She just got excited about getting it done and did a great job.

So I'm worn out from this great weekend. I'm gonna post some pictures here and then head to busy. What a great weekend!

The 'beautification process' begins

DeShawn at work

My princess

My queen and princess

Geocaching with PaPa D

Smores with Ge-Ma

Friday, May 12, 2006

Black Holes, Barf Bags and Super Suction

I've never watched the show American Invetor, but here's a picture of my submission. Let me tell you about it.

Have you ever been in your car eating McDonalds frenh fries and had one fall down beside your seat? I don't just mean fall on the floor, I mean in that little spot between your car seat and the middle console where the parking brake and gear shift is. It's that little tiny place where, if you turn your hand just right, you can touch the french fry and almost grab it to bring it out and throw it away. The little spot where you have to get two ballpoint pens and use them as chopsticks to reach the fry. OK, if you have a car with the gear shift between the seats, I think you're familiar with the spot. I call it the black hole for french fries.

Speaking of the car, I had to meet a friend at 8am and take him to the airport. Since our doggies love to be "Adventure Dog" and ride in the car, I took them with me. They were excited and all was 'fun' on the way to the airport and most of the way back.

I stopped at the bank to make a deposit on my way home, and as I did, I saw the look on Sully's face. If you're a dog owner who travels with dogs (maybe you have to have owned more than one dog) you recognize this look the look. It's the look that says, "I don't feel so good". What I did not realize at first was, this was the after look. When I went to put on the parking brake, I saw that Sully's little tummy could no longer handle the ride in the car and breakfast had come back up. Have you figured out where it came up to? That's right...right in the french fry black hole! So then I had to make the deposit, try not go gag, drive home with dog puke sitting next to me and figure out how long it would take two ballpoint pens, working like chopsticks, to clean up a good size pile of dog puke.

So if you're putting these two stories together, you're asking yourself, "What is the name of this great invention pictured above?" and "How did he clean up the puke?"'s called a "Barf Bag for Dogs" and all I can say is "Thank you Lord for wet vacs with super suction!"

- Rob

Heaven Help Us!

Here's a sure sign we had better be praying for our article entitled "The divine Miss Winfrey?" I have made comments in past sermons about the "Oprah society" we live in, but I was talking about the fact that we think we have to listen to everybody's opinion about everything. I was not talking about Oprah being some kind of modern-day guru. Here's the list of 'titles' that have been given to Oprah by this artcile or quoted in this article:
  • guru
  • spiritual leader for the new millennium
  • moral voice of authority for the nation
  • a really hip and materialistic Mother Teresa
  • a symbolic figurehead of spirituality
  • a moral monitor
  • America's pastor
  • today's Billy Graham
  • The Church of Oprah
You can read the article for yourself, but here are few quotes that made my blood boil:
  • "She's a moral monitor, using herself as the template against which she measures the decency of a nation," Lofton says.
    • In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25, NLT) How can so many Christians think Oprah is so great when she is her own standard? Granted, Oprah did not say this about herself, but listen to what she does say! She doesn't claim the Bible as her standard of decency. She throws "God" into the conversation from time to time, but as we'll see in a moment, she has all kinds of 'spiritual teachers' on her show and in her life. Oprah is her own god. She picks and chooses from all of the 'religious options' and comes up with her own spirituality. This is exactly what happened to the nation of Israel in Judges and it is exactly what too many Christians are doing today.
    • What this article is saying is that Oprah has now achieved the status that some people are actually taking from 'the Church of Oprah' and mixing it with other 'religions' to come up with their own spirituality. To many, even in the Christian Church, Oprah has become equal to the Bible when defining their 'Christian theology'. They may not say it, but it's what they are living.
  • Last fall, at the start of this 20th season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, guest Jamie Foxx said much the same thing, but he wasn't joking. "What you have is something nobody can describe," Foxx said to Winfrey on the air. Then he explained about how he told Vibe magazine: "You're going to get to heaven and everyone's waiting on God and it's going to be Oprah Winfrey."
    • The article points out that Oprah went on record as saying "I am not God" for a story in 1989, but to even sit there while somebody makes a blasphemous statement like this is too much for me. Did she stop Jamie Foxx in mid-sentence? She's thrown others off of her show for offending her...I don't believe Jamie Foxx was thrown off the show for this.
    • "...and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. 22 The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, "It is the voice of a god, not of a man!" 23 Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people's worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died." (Acts 12:21-23, NLT)
  • In a November poll conducted at, a site that looks at how religions and spirituality intersect with popular culture, 33% of 6,600 respondents said Winfrey has had "a more profound impact" on their spiritual lives than their clergypersons.
    • If you go to a Bible-preaching church, I don't care how low your pastor's ability to preach falls on his lift of gifts...if you read the Word of God for yourself, this will NEVER be you because you'll see that Oprah's message is contrary to that of the Bible.
  • Cathleen Falsani, religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, recently suggested, "I wonder, has Oprah become America's pastor?"
    • Oprah can only be a 'pastor' for those who don't read the Word for themselves!!
  • At the seminar, according to AP, Winfrey repeatedly spoke of her relationship with God. She even sang a chorus of I Surrender All. "I live inside God's dream for me. I don't try to tell God what I'm supposed to do," she told the crowd. "God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself."
    • Why do 'Christians' think just because Oprah makes statements like this that she is a 'Christian'? I'm not sure Oprah would even call herself a Christian. She certainly doesn't fit the Bible's criteria of a Christian.
  • Marcia Nelson says that it's not going too far to call her a spiritual leader. "I've said to a number of people - she's today's Billy Graham."
    • Blah! {please excuse me while I clean up...I just puked!} What disrespect for this great man of God.
  • One of Winfrey's most appealing subtexts is that she's anti-institutional, says Chris Altrock, minister of Highland Street Church of Christ in Memphis. He says Winfrey believes there are many paths to God, not just one. After doing his doctoral research three years ago on postmodernism religion, a religious era that began in the 1970s as Christians became deeply interested in spirituality and less interested in any established church, he came up with what he calls "The Church of Oprah," referring to the culture that has created her. "Our culture is changing," he says, "as churches are in decline and the bulk of a new generation is growing up outside of religion." Instead, they're turning to the Church of Oprah.
    • There you go people. How can you be a Christian and still 'admire' Oprah?!!?
  • "I think at the time when she had me and Gary Zukav and a lot of the other spiritual teachers on her show, it was her own journey, and she was taking all of the world on that spiritual evolution," Ford says.
    • OK, I'll leave you with this one. Read the cannot pick and choose from this and that to create your own spiritualilty!
    • Jesus told him, "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NLT, emphasis mine)
Heaven help us!

- Rob

Monday, May 08, 2006

Working Definition of GEOCACHING

Geocaching (v.): Using multi-billion dollar satellite systems and receivers to locate a box full of discount store sale items

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dirk, Thank You

This is a picture of Dirk Wood at our church missions conference in 2005. If you were to map out all the different personality types on a straight line, Dirk and I would not even be close! I have a tendency (admittedly a bad one) to be annoyed with personalities quite a bit unlike mine, but I don't feel that way toward Dirk. I just plain admire this guy. Dirk is 100% sold out to Jesus and he is EXCITED about being a Christian. He is excited about being a Christian, excited about telling others about Christ and excited about telling Christians how we need to be more excited about being a Christian! Dirk is a radical for God.

But being a radical does not come without a price. I only catch a little bit here and there, but I know that Dirk is not popular in many circles because of his 'unorthodox methodology'. I encourage you to check out some of Dirk's newsletters here...I just don't have the space to write about all of the creative ways he preaches the Gospel. He is an expert at getting people to stop and want to hear what he has to say. I think if Jesus were walking the streets of this world today, he would have FUN traveling with Dirk. I can just picture Jesus watching Dirk with a big grin on his face, and I think Jesus would even jump in and do some 'psycho-drama' with Dirk (check out the links above to find out what this is all about).

Dirk is always entertaining to listen to which is helpful since his messages to the church are always very challenging...he always makes me ask myself, "Am I really excited about being a Christian and am I doing enough for the Lord?" Dirk loves the Word of God. He loves to read it, preach it and preach about how much YOU need it. As usual, Dirk talked about the importance of the Word of God when he preached at our church this morning. Here's a couple things he pointed out that really made me think:
  • In the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16), he contrasted how difficult it was for the rich man to cry out to God while on this earth because he had everything and how easy it was for Lazarus who had nothing. The rich man ended up in hell while Lazarus ended up in heaven. A point Dirk made from this...having problems is a good thing because it makes us turn to God. Wow, I never would have said 'having problems is a good thing', but he was certainly right. The number one time I turn to God? When I have problems.
  • The rich man in hell wanted Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his brothers so they would not end up in hell. He said if someone from the dead would come back and tell them, they would believe because of the miraculous sign. Abraham answered, "If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets {i.e. the Word of God}, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead." Again, wow! Dirk pointed out that subjective experience is an OK thing, but subjective experiences will never change a person's life like the power of God's Word.
  • In the story of the men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-), Jesus appeared to the men and they did not recognize him. He asked them what they were discussing which happened to be everything that had just happened to Jesus (his death on the cross). When they were done telling Jesus what they knew, it says that Jesus opened up the Scriptures and showed them why all of that had happened. As Dirk pointed out, Jesus could have done any number of miracles to 'help them' recognize who He was, but instead He taught them from the Word of God. A subjective experience would have made a point, but the Word of God changes lives!
I will have Dirk's message online tomorrow (Monday) at The Vine Fellowship web page. You really must click on the "Weekly Message" link and hear Dirk's suggestion as to what Jesus could have done to reveal himself to these men, to hear his Gospel rap and how he is endeavoring to 'redeem rap music', and to find out what it means to be 'on fire for God' and how you can see this happen in your own life. It will be a worthy investment of your time.

I must be aware of the busy people who read my blog and do not have time to read any thing approaching 'novel length' (Jason, you know I love to harass you), so I must wrap this up. But Dirk, thanks for coming today, thank you for being true to who God created you to be and thank you for challenging me every time I am around you.

- Rob

How to Relax and Enjoy the Good Weather

What better way to relax and enjoy a beautiful afternoon than to go geocahing? We headed out to Village Creek Park off of Dottie Lynn Hwy. (aka Green Oaks north?) and hit 4 cahces there today. We could not find Tiger's Den, but after missing that one, we went on to find Dottie Lynn Parkway #1, Bug Attack (there were mosquitoes everywhere in the park today!), If This Tree Could Talk, and Stuck on You.

This picture was taken after finding our last cache. Amanda is proudly holding a picture of Wee Willy, a geocahing dog who (with his owner's help) has hidden a TON of great cahces. It is Amanda's desire to meet Wee Willy at GeoWoodstock IV over Memorial Day weekend and get her picture taken with him.

GeoPunkin was the geocaching guru today. While I was looking where the GPS said this cache 'should' be, she was thinking like a true geocacher and found this one on her own. (She'd like to market the sunglasses as official geocahing gear).

I don't know how big this guy looks in the picture, but I know he was a good 3 feet long. He may be non-poisonous, but it was defintely a 'If-you-leave-me-alone-I'll-leave-you-alone' relationship when I almost stepped on him walking out of one of the cache areas today.

Number of Finds to Date:
Seekhim17 = 72
GeoPunkin = 61


Tea Anyone?

Please don't question Sully's masculinity...he's just a nice boy who lets his big sister, Amanda, put him through all kinds of torture and humiliation.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Keeping Your Eye On The Goal

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
- Henry Ford (1863-1947)