Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Big Texas Toy Run 2007

I had to wait a week to blog about our ride in the Big Texas Toy Run because I was waiting to get pictures and video from friends who were there. Here's a video I put together. You can also see all our pictures on Flickr here. What an awesome experience!

We met at Ed's house at 8:00am. The Weather Channel said it was 30 degrees. The original plan was to head to downtown Ft. Worth, get our bikes in line, eat breakfast and then hang out until it was time for the ride to start. When it got so cold, the plans changed and were going to eat here in Arlington in hopes that it would warm up before we had to ride to Ft. Worth. However, since Amanda was wearing her heavy winter overalls and I was wearing 2 sweatshirts under my jacket and three layers of pants, I voted to go ahead and ride downtown rather than have to stop and take off all the extra clothes we just put on. So, at 30 degrees we rode to Ft. Worth. Amanda said her toes felt like they were going to fall off, and that's how each of the motorcycle drivers felt about our fingers, too! More than one of us thought back to the Discovery Channel series about climbing Mt. Everest and the guys who got frost bite on their fingers!

We arrived in downtown Ft. Worth cold but with fingers and toes still intact. We ate at LaMadeline's (only place open for breakfast) and then walked around looking at bikes (bikes, bikes and more bikes!), enjoying the variety of people there (everyone from Christian biker clubs to outlaw bikers, crotch rockets to Gold Wing touring bikes) and seeing the sites including Santa Claus and an "elf" (see the pictures).

We got back to our bikes around 12:20pm. Thirty minutes later, a ROAR was heard as thousands of bikes started. Promptly at 1:00pm the line headed out. Although we could see the front of the line from where we were, it took a while for us to get moving as bikes flowed in from side streets in front of us.

We took a couple turns downtown and then got onto Interstate 30. Bikers rode two-to-a-lane in staggered formation in the lane shut down just for us. Well-wishers lined the side of the highway as well as the over passes...they were everywhere.

As we came to I-30 and Eastchase, we pulled off and said hello to our family who was there to cheer on the bikers and greet us. We stayed there for a few minutes and then got back into traffic for the ride to the Convention Center.

At the Convention Center we parked and went inside. A mountain of toys covered one wall. (You had to pay $10/person or bring a toy to was a fund raiser for handicapped kids.) They had an opening prayer, the singing of the national anthem and then Santa Claus rode in and up onto the stage. Kids were on the stage who had written to Santa with what they wanted for Christmas. The letters were read and the wishes were fulfilled. I don't know how many kids were there that day, but I know there were not enough kids for all of the toys. I am sure MANY kids from MANY organizations got some great toys for Christmas.

The only problem we have is what to do next year. Amanda wants to go again and now Brooke wants to go to.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taking a "Sip" From a Fire Hydrant

One of my passions is helping people discover how God has shaped them for ministry, to discover how to use the things that come "naturally" to them to serve others and love God.

One of the things I've discovered while observing and reading about different personality types, motivational gifts, etc is that every personality type strength has a negative corollary. Right now, I am PAINFULLY aware of this truth in my own life. Here's why:

I am looking for a church-wide campaign to present at our staff meeting next month...something like the 40 Days of Purpose our church did several years ago. The subject matter (What's my purpose in life?) drew a lot of unsaved people, the structure helped us disciple them and church-wide nature of it (kids, youth, Life Groups, personal reading and Sunday's message) helped bring unity to the church. So I found this book entitled In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day. Pastor and author of the book, Mark Batterson, created a series to go along with the book and has made materials available so that other churches can use it. 70% of their congregation (National Community Church) is made up of people who either have not attended church ever or have been away for a long time. That's the target audience the Lord has laid on my heart, so I thought this book/series might be worth looking into. The seven main sections of the series are: Defying odds, Facing fears, Overcoming adversity, Embracing uncertainty, Taking risks, Seizing opportunities and Looking foolish. I thought this series had a lot of potential, so I download the free preview first chapter of the book and read Mark's blog overview of each of his seven messages.

Having done all of that, I feel the series has potential for what the Lord has laid on my heart. But here's the interesting thing...I've been given no "green light" to pursue or plan this...I was just researching so I could present the idea. I don't know where the campaign idea will go, but it seems God wanted to challenge me personally through this book/series. The whole idea is to be a "lion chaser"...pretty much the exact opposite of me. As a matter of fact, part of the bio I put on our church staff page was "I have a low need for adventure." It's part of my personality...part of who I am.

I changed that part of my bio a few months ago because I did not like the context in which I used it. But point being, it is part of who I am. Here's the positive/negative aspect. On the positive side, I am a very faithful person. If I tell you I will do something for you, you can count on me. And I will not be someplace else next week...I will still be here, doing what I said. On the negative side, if God wants me to do something, He has to make me very uncomfortable to get me to move. In light of the book/series I've been researching, I'm the exact OPPOSITE of a lion chaser!

So I'm pretty uncomfortable right now. I don't know in what areas yet, but God is definitely trying to say something to me about being a lion chaser...something along the lines of Defying odds, Facing fears, Overcoming adversity, Embracing uncertainty, Taking risks, Seizing opportunities or Looking foolish. And because that is so much opposite of who I am, God is not using that "still small voice" they taught us about in Bible college. He is speaking through this book, written by a guy who is definitely a lion chaser. It's like trying to take a "sip" from a fire can't really be done.

So you can pray for me that I won't retreat into my comfort zone and that I won't be so overwhelmed that I do nothing. I know God is doing this for my own good, but I sometimes think He laughs when He does stuff like this to/for me!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's a Family Tradition

It's a little after 11pm, I'm sleepy and wanting to go to bed. But I can't because I have to wait for our "Hot Stuff" to finish cooking. Hot Stuff is the name the Hurt family gave our recipe for Chex mix. We made it every Christmas when I was growing up, and it's a tradition that is carried on in our home now. We've added to the tradition...every year we make our Hot Stuff while watching Sound of Music. Yes, all three hours every year.

So if you want to know why we call it "Hot Stuff", here's our Chex mix recipe:
  • 1 box Cheerios
  • 1 box Wheat Chex
  • 1 box Corn Chex
  • 1 box Rice Checks
  • 1 Can Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 Can Mixed Nuts
  • 1 pkg. pretzels
  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1/4 c. Wishteshire sauce
  • 1 T. celery salt
  • 1 T. onion salt
  • 1 T. cayenne pepper
Melt butter. Add remaining ingredients. Mix over cereal. Bake 1 hr. at 250 stirring every 20 minutes.

I Guess I Just Don't Get It

I first heard about an I-35 "Highway of Holiness" movement a few months ago, but I've been seeing more about it on the Internet recently. Here is the second video news story I have seen on the issue.

I certainly don't have a problem using I-35 as a strategic place to pray for our country, but are there people who really think God had US Interstate Highway 35 in mind when he led Isaiah to write Isaiah 35?

I tried to find out more about this "movement" and visited Generals International. I then visited the official "Light the Highway" web page, but it appears to be a wiki-type page, and it seems to have been 'hacked' with "666 Satan Rules" on many of it's pages. But on the main page on the right side toward the bottom is a section for "I-35 Prophecies". I know God does not communicate to us only in my left-brained, want-it-logical manner, but I don't get it when I read some of these prophecies. I hope somebody is going to hold them accountable for what they have proclaimed in the name of the Lord. Maybe it's me...I just didn't realize that the US, and Dallas specifically played such a major role in prophecy and the end times.

The Lord took me on a journey and He reminded me that several years ago Ruth Ward Heflin wrote a book called “The Glory”, and she said in that book – I marked it and read it half dozen times – that the greatest out pouring of the Holy Ghost – the last day move of God that the epicenter of that revival would be in Dallas, Texas. And then a year or two later I was watching Marcus Lamb’s Sky Angel program and just a few months before she died and when to heaven and she repeated the whole story. She told the story and said she saw in Dallas, Texas – it was a vision and I saw in the vision and a huge stage and on that stage were people being healed, miracles and signs and wonders like it was in the 48 revival in Dallas, Texas – and all of a sudden I looked up and standing on the stage was Mommy Lindsay standing there. Sister Freda Lindsay was standing on the platform and she said that was my vision. And God says – I am saying tonight could that be the fulfillment of this vision."

"He said there was 40 days of fasting & prayer there and Cindy came along and another 40 days. Remember Moses went for 40 days of prayer and fasting – came down and went back up. 80 days – that’s a double, double anointing that’s going to come on this revival. So there has been 80 days of prayer and fasting in Dallas, Texas for this move." (So, if another movement is started and 3 groups fast for 40 days each, will God give it a triple blessing?)

"He said speak to the
Trinity of Dallas the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And I wish I had the Trinity pastor here – He said tell the pastor at Trinity at Cedar Hill – I am going to give you a ride and a great big thrill because I am going by the Holy Ghost and Trinity will explode with the power of God in 2006." (Did this happen?)

"Evangelist Mahesh Chavda prophesies to Texas on October 29, 2005 at Ten Nights of Miracles, an event hosted by Generals International. He declares that Texas is an instrument the Lord is going to use to spread the Gospel across the Earth."

Dallas, Texas! I.E. "The Metro" will see the [new wind] of My Spirit from September to December. Yes, four months of stirring, shifting and sifting! Re-ordering of things to prepare for the downpour of My Spirit! YOU will be called to go all over the Metro! South- Red Oak, Cedar Hill and Oak Cliff. Even Waxahachie! She is on I-35 too! North Dallas to Denton! My Glory will be seen in Glory of Zion! Steve Hill's house will be filled, yes, flooded! Brownsville will be jealous! West-Hurst, Grand Prairie, Irving. Fort Worth and Bob Nichols! Ha! Yes, this will be like the time when Rodney Howard Brown saw unusual moving of My Spirit. Laughter, many slain in My Spirit for many days. Drunk on the new wine as was seen in South Africa in Durban and other cities. Unexplainable appearances of Angels. A true Pentecostal revival, but much, much more this time! Supernatural manifestations of healings, deliverances, callings in the five-fold ministries. (The four months spoken of here is September-December. Has this happened?)

The LAST thing I want to do is mock a true Word of God, but something just troubles my spirit every time I hear about this movement. If you get it, maybe you can explain it to me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Scientists Debunk "Global Warming"

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"

Click here to read it for yourself. Please forward the link to our friend, Weird Al.

Bill Cosby Quote

"A word to the wise ain't necessary -

it's the stupid ones that need the advice."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa Claus:An Engineers Perspective

I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau).

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second --- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them--- Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance --- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.

The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accellerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Chumby

Here's a neat gizmo that my wife will be glad I did not discover until after were were done Christmas shopping for each other. This is a Chumby. It's something of a small (coffee cup size) wireless-network computer that plays different widgets and works like an alarm clock. My virtual one here is playing a Christmas countdown, weather update, Flickr digital picture frame and a clock. It's like an alarm clock on steroids! Watch my Chumby for about 2 minutes to see it cycle through the channels I have selected right now.

The thing costs $180 (can we say 'saving birthday money'?). One potential "issue" I see...the Chumby Network that provides the necessary widgets is free right now, but their TOS says they can start charging at any point. So if I traded my virtual Chumby here for a real one after my birthday (purely hypothetical), the Network could be free for a month and then I'd have to pay $6.95/month to use my new toy. Although it might be worth this price, who knows what they would actually charge...and that is a bit under handed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Geocaching with a Friend

Mike (half of the "MillerMates" geocaching team) and I geocached at the Cedar Hill Preserve today. We hiked about 4.5 miles up and down the 'hills' and found 10 caches all before it started raining, making for an enjoyable day. I haven't been geocaching in a while and it was great to be at it again. I'm up to 467 finds...will I make 500 by my birthday?

Our Special Daughter

This is Amanda "relaxing with a good book" for the evening. Special.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From the Video Archives

I was looking through some of the church videos I have posted on YouTube and came across this one. It was too fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Save the Planet...Fast on Christmas

OK, I've tried to take a break from the "global warming" posts, but the longer we go without confronting them, the kookier these people get. You can read here about the Carbon Cost of Christmas Dinner.

So if I understand correctly, I should not drive a car, I should not own cattle, I should not heat my house (bless all of those 'earth conscious' people in Oklahoma right now!), I should not have more than one child, I should not use more than one square of toilet paper, I should not pass gas and now it seems I should not eat Christmas dinner (which could also help curb the gas and toilet paper problems, I guess).

How much could we curb our global carbon emission of all of these "global warming" kooks voluntarily left our planet? Of course they would have to use a solar-powered space craft to do this so as not to pollute our planet on the way out. Maybe Weird Al can work on this, shouldn't be too hard for the guy who created the Internet.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Perfect Riding Weather Today

It was perfect weather for a motorcycle ride today...about 81 degrees. No need for a jacket, no sweating and no wind. The license plate came in for my bike today, so I rode the back roads (about a 30 minute trip each way) to the motorcycle shop and back. Awesome way to relax. After I got back, there was still time before I was supposed to pick up Amanda from school (on the motorcycle at her request), so I gave it a quick wash and wax. Had to take a picture after all that work.

Grand Prairie Lights

Push the Play button if the slide show is not running.

We rode to Grand Prairie to see the lights on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It was a great time to go because there were no crowds and we had a great time. Christmas lights, hot chocolate, 2 carnival rides for Amanda and funnel cake!

My Christmas Wallpaper

It has nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas and it looks a little pixelated when I stretch it out on my desktop, but it's fun so I'm using it for now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pastor Joke #1

Three preachers were driving down the road when they missed a turn and went into the ditch. As they pulled themselves together, a drunk pulled up and asked if they were all right.

"Oh, yes, Jesus is with us," one replied.

The drunk thought that over for a minute. "Well, you'd better let him get in with me, you're going to kill him!"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I Love Texas!

Where else can you go out and look at Christmas lights...on your motorcycle?

Amanda is spending the night with a friend, so Brooke and I went out to eat. We took the car because it looked like rain. When it didn't rain, we came home, got the bike and went out looking at Christmas lights.

I love Texas! (did I mention I love my wife, too?!)

Friday, November 30, 2007

To Alabama and Back

Things have been busy, so I haven't blogged a lot recently. We went to Alabama for Thanksgiving and the 6 days we were there flew by. We came back and have been busy all week. I have spent a number of hours working on fund raising calendars for the team from the church that is going to Nicaragua this year. I did a lot before going to Alabama, worked several hours on them there and then finished printing them this week. Between that, sending out follow up postcards from our Thanksgiving in a Bag outreach and preparing to preach this Sunday, it's been a busy week. The week before I preach is always crazy, but I sure get excited about the opportunity to teach. This Sunday we will be talking about "What Does Your Passion Do For You?".

Brooke's birthday was Friday (while we were in Alabama). Amanda stayed with her Aunt Jill and cousins while Brooke's parents and I took Brooke out to dinner for her birthday. I also picked up a few Christmas CDs for Brooke's birthday, including Michael Buble's Let It Snow. Then tonight, my parents came over and we celebrated again.

So that's what's been going on this past week. Here are some pictures from our trip to Alabama (complete with still unedited red eye!)

Left to right: Amanda, Aunt Jill, MaMa Gin, cousin Hannah

Aunt Judy, Dad, cousins David and Hannah dishing up Thanksgiving dinner

Don't ask me why Jill is holding a hot dog in front of her face...because I simply do not know!

Wow, now there's a first (NOT!). Amanda is staring at the TV and missed what's going on. And no, her eyes are not that creepy color red because she has been mesmerized by the TV, I just haven't had a chance to remove the red eye yet.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Day in the Sun

This picture was taken on one of the last days I saw the turtles out. We've had a few cold nights (upper 30's) and the turtles are digging in to hibernate. This time of the year always makes me a little nervous for them turtles. They pretty much stop eating in preparation for hibernation (so as not to have food in their stomachs that will rot while they are hibernating according to what I have read). They dig down and bury themselves, but when we get a warm day right after they have dug in, they come back out and walk around a bit. I never know if they are looking for food or are just out because it's warm. I don't know if I should offer them food or not (do they need the food to stay strong through their hibernation, or would the food in their stomach be bad for them during hibernation?). The last time I tried to feed them I didn't have any takers, so I guess they know what they need. They made it through last year, so I image they will be fine again this year.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Are We "Right"?

As the "religious right" (I'm including myself in each of these):

We fight gay marriage to protect the sanctity of marriage, yet our divorce rates are nearly the same as those who claim no religious affiliation.

We fight abortion yet we do not support Right to Life (and those they help) with our time or pocket book.

We fight to get prayer back in school, yet fail to maintain a persistent and passionate personal prayer life.

We fight to get the 10 Commandments put back on the wall of a courthouse, but fail to put them into practice in our own life.

We fight to get Creation taught in school but do nothing when there is a coat drive at school for students who have no winter coat.

We fight to keep "one nation under God" in the pledge, but fail to live our personal life "under God".

We fight to protect the right of Christians to speak their minds, yet we don't speak up for God around our non-Christian friends.

We fight to clean up the trash that movie and music producers are pumping out, yet we listen to and watch things that we would never dream of sitting through if Jesus were physically sitting next to us.

I am starting to ask myself, "What if we quit fighting everybody in the name of Christianity and just started living the Christian life instead?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

LOVE - The Only Criteria

"How might our churches be different if we took Paul's teaching seriously {his teaching on love being the most important thing, from I Corinthians 13}? What would happen if the ultimate criteria we used to access how "successful" or "unsuccessful" our churches were was the question, are we loving as Jesus loved? The truth of the matter is that we are only carrying out God's will and expanding the kingdom of God to the extent that we answer that question affirmatively. No other question, criteria, or agenda can have any meaning for kingdom-of-God devotees except insofar as it helps us respond to that question."

-Gregory A. Boyd
from The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving In A Bag

My pastor already blogged about our Thanksgiving in a Bag outreach, and you can see a great picture collage on his blog, but I am way too excited about what happened this past Saturday not to share it, too.

Brooke reads Steve Bowen's blog Kindness to Go and saw the idea for Thanksgiving in a Bag there. We have recently started a number of these outreaches where we try to meet needs in a real, practical way showing God's love and meeting people where they are (rather than expecting them to come to the church to receive). The idea behind Thanksgiving in a Bag was simple (as adapted by Vine Fellowship)...the church bought 100 turkeys to give away and challenged each family in the church to fill one bag with groceries (we had a list of things to get...all the stuff for Thanksgiving "fixin's"). We have about 100 families in the church, so this was a big challenge.

I started getting excited when I saw the bags coming in. It looked like we were going to be just a few bags short of our 100, so the church filled a few. And then on the day of the outreach, people brought more, so we had 100 turkeys and around 110 bags of "fixin's".

My excitement continued to build on Saturday. Volunteers were asked to be at the church at 10:00am to help load up tables, tents, chairs, face painting stuff and 100 bags of groceries to head to the park. By 10:10am, over 25 volunteers had shown up and we were packed and ready to head to the park down the street where we were setting up for the outreach. (We had previously handed out door hangers in our "target neighborhood" telling them about the free meal and where we'd be).

We arrived at Deaver Park, unloaded and were ready to go by 10:40am. We had 2 jump houses set up, a registration table, 3 tables loaded with groceries (and more ready to fill the gaps when those were gone), 2 tables loaded with kids socks and underwear that had been donated by church people and a pickup full of ice and 100 turkeys which we got a discount thanks to Kroger grocery stores.

Then the people started coming and things got really exciting! In our last outreach at the park, we did not have a very solid plan for taking time to talk with people and pray with them. We did get to pray for some, and it was good, but we wanted to do better. We have cards that we ask people to fill out when they come. This card has room for a person's name and address, a place to check if they would like to know about upcoming events (our outreaches) and a place to write prayer requests. This time, when people filled out their card, if they marked a prayer request, we had church volunteers offer to pray with them right there. If people put "no thank you" or didn't put anything on their card, we showed them to the groceries, told them we were glad they were there and hung out with them as long as they wanted. But when they marked a prayer request, we prayed with them. We figured we got to pray with almost 90% of the people who came to the park. Several people were still wiping tears from their eyes and they got to the end of the line and got their free turkey...touched that somebody cared enough to feed them and pray with them about their needs.

It was an awesome day! We had great participation from the congregation bringing food, an incredible turnout of volunteers and tremendous opportunities to show God's love in a practical way.

You can view a slide show of the outreach here.

Riding, Riding, Riding

OK, usually I like it cold (for those of you up north, let me clarify by saying "Texas cold") when it gets close to Thanksgiving. But since I got the motorcycle, I am LOVING every single warm day we get!

Brooke's helmet came in Saturday, so we finally got to go for a short ride. Amanda and I threw on a light jacket and went for about an hour and a half ride Sunday (pictured here). It was wonderful! I drove out into Kennedale, out Dick Price Rd. I knew we could go far enough to get "lost" and we did. We were out in the country and saw horses, cows, llamas and goats. We wandered around until we looped back to someplace that looked familiar and headed home.

So right now I'm lovin' the warm weather and hoping we will have more of it on December 16 for the Big Texas Toy Run.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Suzuki Boulveard c50 (800cc)

So here is a picture of my bike. I got to pick it up yesterday, but I have not had time to blog or take real pictures. Hopefully I can do that Thursday or Friday, but in the it is. I still can't believe it's mine!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another Daddy/Daughter Date Night

It started Friday morning when I wrote on the napkin that I put in her lunch box:

Mommy is at the Ladies' Retreat this weekend. How about you and me have a Daddy/Daughter date night tonight? Love you, Daddy (her teacher emailed me and told me Amanda carried the napkin around all afternoon!)

I started this idea a while back after considering how important the role of a father is in teaching girls how they should expect men to treat them. I've told Amanda that I am showing her how a guy should treat her on a date MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY years down the road.

So last night we went to Movie Tavern for Amanda's first time. We watched the Bee Movie (definitely a "B" movie!), I had a hamburger, Amanda had chicken tenders (I know, both are totally predictable) and then we went to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. We both had a lot of fun.

Just in case you are wondering, the picture here is NOT what Amanda wore on our date! It's just a new picture I have of her being goofy...and I wanted to make you wonder!

Investing in People's Lives

When I was a youth pastor, I used to tell my interns, "Don't expect a lot of "thank yous" from just ain't gonna happen. And don't base your effectiveness totally on what you see from the kids you pastor...cause they are teenagers and are gonna do goofy teenager stuff. The reward, I would tell them, will come years later down the road when you see the kind of Christian they have become. And every great once-in-a-while, one of them might say "thank you for what you did way back then." Every great once-in-a-while.

Well, this week, I got to experience one of those rare moments...and it made my entire day! I was sitting at my desk this week, and the following IM popped up:

Hey PR, I just wanted to tell you that you were the bestest Youth Pastor ever. Even though sometimes I wanted to smack you, but I guess that’s normal when you are a teenager. I learned a lot from you and all your lessons. I always enjoyed coming to youth and being a part. Even when you made us talk to strangers and give them water and I was scared, I’m still glad I did it. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the help of your ladder sermons. Even though they were embarrassing and I didn’t know what some of the things on it meant and was too scared to ask, I still kept those lessons to heart growing up. I know that they helped me to become the woman I am today and I appreciate it even more now that I am a married woman. Your teaching was second in my life only to my own parents teach.

It has been encouraging (and funny at times!) to watch Vivienne (she said I could use her name) grow up from children's church, come through youth group when I was youth pastor, and then on into married adulthood staying faithful to the Lord through the whole time. It's why I invest in people's lives. Vivienne is a fine young lady, and I'm thankful to have had a part in encouraging her to be the Christian she is today.

I've Caught the Bug

This is a motorcycle I found while browsing online yesterday. Really, I have no good reason for looking at bikes, I've just got the bug. One of my friends got a bike this year and just traded what he had for a different one. Another friend has completed the motorcycle class and got his license...he will buy soon. And then there was the whole thing about riding a couple bikes at the Men's Retreat this year. I used to have a bike, I've kept my license current, my wife is saying "go for it" and I've got the bug bad.

So I went and looked at the bike today. It was nice. I paid bills before I went, so I knew now was not a good time to be looking at motorcycles. But oh, what a good deal, and the bike was in great shape. So I asked about financing in a moment of weakness. Fortunately for me (although it certainly did not feel 'fortunate'), nobody will finance a bike that old.

So I've thought about it all day. I will have one again...someday. I'm still trying to convince myself "a motorcyce will not make you any happier." Thinking about it all day certainly hasn't!

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Rewarding Day

I got to spend the day doing something to help someone else, and it was very rewarding. Pictured here are Roger and Linda West, missionaries Brooke and I support in Mexico. They are veteran missionaries, and Roger is the founder and head of Missionary Revival Crusade (MRC...a missions sending organization).

I maintain the web site for MRC, and I have been talking to Bro. Roger about other online options for his ministry. Since he is in the country for his home church's missions conference, he gave me a call and asked me if we could get together to discuss some of the things we had been talking about online.

MRC is the missions sending organization that Bro. Roger oversees, so we have the web page for that. And then he was trying to maintain a web page for his/Mrs. Linda's personal mission work through MRC, he blogged from time to time and I had also started a blog for him to post his weekly email updates. The goal was to determine the purpose of each of these, to eliminate any overlap and make it easier for Bro. Roger to maintain the information he wanted to maintain.

I got some much needed clarity of the ministry of MRC, so I can change up that site a bit and help it better serve it's purpose. We combined the two blogs and the other web page at I still have a number of updates to that site/blog, but I think it will serve a much more useful purpose.

Things took a bit longer than planned today, but we accomplished more than I first imagined, I got a free lunch out if it, I got to spend some time with a wise-yet-down-to-earth missionary and I got to operate in what Max Lucado terms your "sweet spot" in his book Cure for the Common Life (sweet spot = where my everyday life intersects with using my strengths for God's glory).

It was a rewarding day.

How NOT to Help With Homework

It was homework time tonight, and it was my turn to help Amanda. She had some math to do, and it was mostly learning how to round numbers up or down to the nearest 10, 100 or 1000. It seems to me, once you understand the concept, it should not matter how many numbers there are. I guess it's not that simple to a third grader.

So I tried to help, but Amanda got stuck at one point. Made no sense to me...she had just worked all of these problems, tried something new, and then when we came back to the first kind of problems, she could not do it. I grew frustrated. She grew frustrated. I yelled. She cried. We finished that part and stopped for supper.

And then I had time to think.

Let's see...if I were a third grader and had homework to do, would I want to do it if I got yelled at for not understanding? NO.

Would I want to spend time with my Daddy doing homework if I got yelled at? NO.

Was this making school/math/homework a positive experience? NO.

Would I leave Amanda in a class if I heard the teacher yelling at her like I had done earlier? NO.

Was I proud of myself? NO

After supper, I encouraged Amanda's small steps in the right direction instead of getting frustrated with the ones in the wrong direction. Somehow we got through it, and we were both much happier than before supper.

Did Amanda forgive her Daddy? YES. (whew)

So tonight I learned how NOT to do homework. Hopefully it is a lesson I will remember.

They Love Me...They Love Me Not

Yup, I'm talking about Sprint again. Brooke said my last Sprint tirade was too long, so I'll be brief.

Last year I was told I could do a $30 mail-in rebate with my new phone. I sent it in and got a postcard saying my rebate was rejected. I was upset but did not want to spend the time on the phone to get it "fixed", so I let it go.

Fast forward to this year. Added a new line of service with Sprint. New phone, promised a $30 mail-in rebate. Sent it and got a postcard today saying it was rejected, and the reason given did not even match the circumstances for which it was offered. Too much...I called Sprint.

45 minutes and three phone calls later, Sprint told me the process had messed up (the "process", not a person!) and she fixed it. My $30 rebate would be expedited. This same representative also saw my rebate from last year and mentioned it. I told her it was also wrongfully denied, but I did not want to spend the time on the phone to argue about it and so I let it go. The representative told me because of my hassle tonight (I told her how long I had been on the phone) that she would re-instate the old rebate as well, so I should now be getting that one, too.

So that's why it's a love/hate relationship. Sprint seems to mess up quite a bit, but when I call and am polite by explain why I am not a happy customer, 9 times out of 10 they take good care of me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nobody's Really That Blind, Are They?

I have considered trying to be less political in my blogging, but sometimes I just can't stand it. I've sure you've heard the story about Barack Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem while at some sort of Democrat event in Iowa.

Of course this reminded me of his comment that he would not wear an American flag pin: "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism." If you give him the benefit of the doubt (and do not assume this is an attempt to be less pro-American), then you just gotta wonder what kind of weirdness is this? How the heck does NOT wearing an American flag pin somehow give you a better chance to tell people what you think will make this country great? Wearing the pin may be cliche and devoid of much true meaning to the candidates, but it still feels less than patriotic to me.

And then there is the whole not putting the hand over the heart during the National Anthem. His spokesperson says this has nothing to do with being unpatriotic. Sometimes he does put his hand over his heart and sometimes he does not. And this guy want to be Commander and Chief? And we're not supposed to make anything of this? Even if it is a mere lack of flag etiquette, is that acceptable?

I could almost choke all that down (not really, but like I said, I'm trying to be less political in my blogging), but then the media's lack of attention on this is KILLING ME! It's not that you can't find it, but they sure aren't making a big deal about it.

And then this is what pushed me over the top...I had heard about the story but wanted to check it out for myself because I had not read or seen anything first-hand. I found the story in a number of places, but when I read it here, I found out that Obama's spokesman defended him by saying other pictures/video were posted of him putting his hand over his heart during the singing of the National Anthem ("sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't"). And who else would post these pictures for us but MEDIAMATTERS.ORG! Stinkin' "unbiased" media not only makes no issue of this, but they rush to defend him. I can't handle it!! Nobody's really that blind, are they?

ADDITIONAL NOTE: You gotta go here to hear the video. You get the idea on the no-hand-over-the-heart from the picture, but once you hear the lady singing the National Anthem, you'll wonder how anybody kept their hands off their ears!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Funky Town!

I didn't get to go to our church's Fall Festival (a.k.a. Funky Town) this year because I was sick...bummer! But here's a picture of my two funky women as they were on their way. You can view a slideshow of the other funky people here.

Boo and Sully wanted to get a little funky, too.

Sully almost makes it look good!

Boo always has that "wild woman" look in her eyes.

Friday, November 02, 2007

What is That Black Spot in the Bed?

See the cute little stuffed animals at the foot of the bed?

What's that one animal right by Amanda's feet?

Oh, look! It's Boo!!

The Cast is Off. Amanda's Story in Pictures

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, October 29, 2007

December 25, 2001

Some things change and some don't. Amanda Kay still loves to put on sunglasses and be the center of attention and she still does not wear socks or shoes unless she has to. Me, on the other hand. My hair has now moved from my head to my face!

Although he does not look too excited in this picture, that is my very cool father-in-law to my left (pay no attention to the socks!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Challenging Myself

I consider myself a very patriotic person. I LOVE America, and I thank God for the freedoms we have here. I believe they are God-given, and reading about the history of the founding of our nation, I believe God's hand was in it. I have always thought of America as a Christian nation, and I have had "issues" those who want to make it otherwise. I have even told people I believe we, American Christians, have a responsibility to be good stewards of the blessing God has given us in this Christian nation.

I was shocked when a friend (Stephen, you probably know who you are) suggested that Jesus might not hold this same view. I used some of the above arguments with him. And then I read The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey and I was again challenged. Yancey pointed out Jesus never put up "us/them" barriers (a gross over-simplification of what he said, but it's what really hit me). And in my frequent visits to and discussions at Rant and Reason (the Humanist blog), sometimes I find it difficult to maintain some of the "Christian nation" assertions and not put up an "us/them" wall.

So I saw this book, The Myth of a Christian Nation, on sale at Mardel the other day. Here's what I read on the back of the book:

When the kingdom of God is manifested, it will wear the face of Jesus Christ. And that, says author Gregory Boyd, has never been true of any earthly government or power. Through close examination of Scripture and lessons drawn from history, Dr. Boyd argues that evangelical Christians who align themselves too closely with political causes or declare that they want to bring America "back to God" are actually doing harm - both to the body of Christ and society in general.

Boyd shows how Jesus taught us to seek a "power-under" kingdom, where greatness is measured by sacrifice and service. There are no sides or enemies because we are meant to embrace and accept everyone. In The Myth of a Christian nation, Dr. Boyd challenges readers to return to the true love of Calvary and the message of the cross - setting the "power over" politics of worldly government aside.

Wow. These thoughts raise a lot of questions in my mind, but I find it interesting that God seems to keep bringing me back to this issue. So I'm letting myself be challenged and reading the book. I'm pretty sure the book is going to raise more questions for me, but I'm kinda excited because I feel I have begun a journey.

Don't I Wish

I love motorcycles. I got my first motorcycle when I was 16. It was actually my Mom's bike, and it was an automatic at that! It was a little better than a hyped up moped! After Brooke and I got married, I got a Kawasaki 500 (I don't remember the model). It was a shaft-driven bike and I was happy with it. About the time we found out Brooke was pregnant, it was also time to have some work done on the bike. Selling the bike and using the money for the new baby seemed like a better idea than spending money to work on the bike, so I sold it. I've kept my motorcycle license current just in day.

Well, this is not the day and no, this is not my bike. A number of guys rode their bikes to the men's retreat last week and they were kind enough to let me take them for a spin. This is my friend Randy's Katana. Quite a nice bike. Made me realize how much I miss having a motorcycle of my own.

Say Cheese!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No Discernible Difference

This is a new phrase I came up with today. It describes too much of what I did today.

My ToDo list was already depressing. There was no way I was going to get it all done, not to mention that the even length of my list did not begin to represent the time that was needed to complete a couple big projects I have to do.

You've heard of the tyranny of the urgent? You get stuck doing the "urgent" things instead of the "important" things. Supposedly we have a choice. Sometimes it's poor choices on my part, but most of the time, I don't have a choice. The number one item on my job description is "Help everyone else get their job done". Rewarding, but frustrating at times.

Case in point. Today. Checking off quite a few things on the unbelievably long ToDo list when 4pm comes around. One hour left to get stuff done. Go to restroom and leaky "fixture" is having problems again. It's been having problems and the boss mentioned it to me last week. I've tried to fix it before to no avail, but it's there, it's's urgent! Thirty minutes later I have loosened and taken apart everything I can find to loosen and taken apart. I put it back together. No discernible difference.

Now it's 4:30 PM. The secretary is gone for the day and I have had "reinstall secretary's print driver" on my ToDo list for 3-4 weeks now. Her computer will not print in color, so I have to reinstall the print driver. Since she's gone and it's "urgent", I head into her office and do what needs to be done. Get it done and print, telling the copier I want color. It comes out in black and white. discernible difference.

Tomorrow, when I update my ToDo list, these two items will still be there although I dedicated an hour to them today. So in regards to these two items, even my ToDo list will have no discernible difference.

My #1 Love/Hate Relationship

Short version: My Sprint cell phone bill arrived, and I knew it was too much. It took me about 30 minutes to get online, log into, access my bill, find where I was wrongly charged and print the pages I would need for my phone call to Sprint.

My phone call lasted for 47 minutes. During this time, I was told that I added Vision service to two lines (not true), that I had Sprint TV on my phone (my phone is not capable of this) and I could not get credit for their $55 mistake. I argued politely and asked for a supervisor. I never got the supervisor, but my issues were supposedly fixed and I was issued at $55 credit, but it would not take effect until my next billing cycle. In other words, Sprint said, "We over charged you $55 which we will reimburse you next month. If you do not go ahead and pay the extra $55 this month, you will be charge a late fee for not paying all of your bill."

Happy to have my refund by not happy that I had wasted all of this time and that my refund was not immediate, I emailed Sprint. Here is the dialog.

Question: I would like a call from a supervisor at the wireless number listed below. I was over-charged on my bill by $54.99. It took me 30 minutes of going through my bill to find where I was over-charged and then another47 minutes on the phone to get the issue resolved. The customer service rep. was very polite and did fix the problems, including issuing me a credit
for the amount I was wrongly charged. I appreciate this help, but I am still frustrated that I was charged for services I never requested nor authorized. It not only wasted an hour and a half of my time, but I still have to pay the $54.99 this month because the credits will not be applied until my next bill. I would like to know why these problems happened and how I can be assured this will not happen again. Thank you. {Note to blog reader: I had to enter my Sprint cell phone number, my name, address and email address in the form when I sent this email.}

Sprint Reply #1
Dear Rob Hurt,

Thank you for contacting Sprint. I will be glad to assist you.

Sprint is committed to protecting customer privacy and security. Therefore, in order to provide account information, we need you to confirm the following:

a. The Account holder PCS Phone Number
b. The Account Holder email address of record
c. The Account Holder Mailing Address

Please reply to this email with the requested information and we will be happy to provide you the requested information.

Thank you for contacting us, and we look forward to serving you.

Tyler V.
Business E-Care
"Where our customers come first!"

My Reply #1
a. (I gave them my cell number, again)
b. (I gave them my email address again)
c. (I gave them my address again)

I had to fill out all of this information when I sent the original email you are responding to here, but I appreciate your initiating follow-up.

Sprint Reply #2
Dear Rob Hurt,

Thank you for providing me the details.

Rob, I would like to suggest you to write back to this email with the page number of your invoice, on which the charges are incorrect so that I can assist you in the best possible way.

We value your business and always look forward to the opportunity to provide you excellent service now and in the future. Thank you and have a great day!

Albert J.
Business E-Care
"Where our customers come first!"

My Reply #2
This is why I asked for a CALL from a supervisor. Two emails from two different people. I was hoping there was a PERSON would be willing to speak with me instead of a DEPARTMENT. If somebody had simply called, as I had asked, it would not take 5 emails back and forth to get to my issue.

I already called, a representative credited back what I was wrongfully charged. I asked to speak to a supervisor when I was on the phone and was told one was not available. So I emailed and asked for a supervisor to call.

Rob Hurt

Sprint Reply #3
Dear Rob Hurt,

Thank you for your reply.

Rob, I understand that it has been really inconveniencing for you due to all these. Let me inform you that if you write back to this email with the invoice period so that I can resolve the issue in the single interaction. However, if you do not wish to resolve the issue with email interaction, I can arrange the callback for you.

Thank you for contacting Sprint, we were happy to assist you. Please feel free to write back if you have any other questions. Have a great day!

Albert J.
Business E-Care
"Where our customers come first!"

Geesh! How many times do I have to ask for the call back?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Welcome Home Daddy

I didn't get in from our church men's retreat until 11pm or so last night, but this is what was waiting for me on the table when I walked in. It doesn't get much better than this!

I've Got My Eye on You

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Archive Photo

This is another one of my favorite archive photos. This one was dated January 4, 2001. Amanda is wearing PaPa D's boots.

From the Archives

I was uploading pictures to my Flickr account tonight and ran across this picture. The picture info says it was taken December 15, 2000. It's good to see that at a young age my daughter enjoyed sharing in one of my favorite pastimes.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cast Day

We went to see Dr. Quatro today to let her remove Amanda's splint, remove her stitches and put her in a cast.

This is the first time we've seen Amanda's incision. Dr. Quatro left the tape on under the new cast. She did one little snip on the stitches, and just as Amanda was beginning to cry she pulled one string and they all came out (under the tape).

Next, Dr. Quatro put a giant "sock" on Amanda's arm in preparation for the cast. What is not shown next is where Dr. Quatro and the nurse had to help Amanda increase the angle in the bend of her elbow before putting on the cast. Amanda's elbow has stiffened up from not being used, so there was a bit of yelling and crying, but she was a big girl and got through it.

Amanda chose a lime green cast. Dr. Quatro said today's x-rays showed Amanda's elbow has set well and everything looks good. The cast will be on for two weeks, then we go back, take the cast off and begin using the elbow again.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Called "Ridiculous"

ONE of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".

"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."

"We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realize how foolish it was," Dr Gray said.

"It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants."

Read the rest of "Gore Gets a Cold Shoulder" from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

From Rush's Ebay auction:

When "Dingy Harry" Reid and the U.S. Senate turned away from the business of the nation to instead smear a private citizen, forty-one of them sent a letter demanding the "repudiation" of their inaccurate interpretation of Rush Limbaugh's comments about Jesse Al-Zaid (a.k.a. Jesse MacBeth) and other "phony soldiers" who falsify their service. This letter was delivered to Mark Mays of Clear Channel Communications, Rush Limbaugh's syndication partner, and widely quoted in the Drive-By Media.

Up for auction is the original letter signed by 41 Democrat senators. This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 40 senatorial co-signers.

The entire proceeds of this auction.. the entire high bid... will be donated to The Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation, a registered charity which provides financial assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers. Rush Limbaugh serves on the Board of this organization and has been active on its behalf. All costs of this auction will be paid by the seller... every dollar of your winning bid will go to this charity, which has to date distributed over $29 million.

Rush first publicly displayed this letter on the night of October 11th during a speech in Philadelphia, having a security operative carry it on stage, with the letter itself safely encased in a Halliburton Attache case handcuffed to the agent's right wrist. Included in this auction is that same Halliburton briefcase, as well as a personal letter from Rush Limbaugh, thanking the winning bidder for his donation. The special handcuffs may not be distributed outside of law enforcement and security officers, and thus are not included in this auction.

As winning bidder, you get:
- The original and infamous "Harry Reid Smear" letter, signed by 41 Democrat senators
- The Halliburton briefcase in which this letter is secured 24 hours a day
- A personal letter of thanks from the Man Who Runs America, Rush Limbaugh
- A photograph of Rush displaying the letter on stage in Philadelphia on October 11th

Current bid is $44,000+ If you have followed this attack, you know it has been ludicrous from the beginning. To be honest, I am furious that I am paying Senators to carry out this kind of non-government, non-work!

Anyway, Rush says he is turning lemons into lemonade, and I think this is great! You just gotta love it when you can 'stick it to 'em' when people are acting as ignorant as these Senators.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Visit to Rant and Reason

If you follow this blog, you know that I like to visit the blog of the American Humanist Association, Rant and Reason. I love the new name they have given their is so fitting.

I think I originally went there because I like to debate, but I believe God is changing my heart. My honest desire now is to two-fold:
1) try to understand how non-Christians view Christians and the world, and
2) to show these people who, for the most part, have considered their lives of non-belief in much more detail than most Christians I know have considered their faith, that Christianity is reasonable (I question their arguments and explain the Christian world view when I can) and compassionate (they hear from a lot of "Christian" people who tell them God hates them and they are going to hell...or some similar variation).

And I have noticed that as the tone of my comments to their blog postings have changed, the bloggers have been more open to discussion with me. Jesus talked to a lot of people who did not believe in Him. Although they did not yet believe, they wanted to hang out with Him and talk. That's kinda what I'm trying to do non-believers and talk with them about their world in their terms. I'm certainly not very natural at it yet, but I'm working on it. And I hope what I'm learning online I will be able to apply with people in the real world (even less 'natural' for me!).

And so I'd like to close with a copy/paste to my comment and the blogger's response to their posting Ousting Nuns for Clergy Settlement. Obviously my comment and her response will make more sense if you read the posting linked to here.

If I understand your post correctly, I share your moral outrage. But your closing comment was a bit disappointing, when you throw in “if this is representative of the values that the religious right says we atheists can’t have without God, well then thank goodness we don’t.” Who, in the ‘religious right’ is touting this particular case as an example of ‘morality’? I would fall into the group you categorize as the religious right, and I, too, am outraged at the cover up and the lack of severe consequences for those who committed AND covered up these crimes against children.

If there is someone in particular in the religious right that you know of who is defending this as ‘moral’, then say who it is so we can denounce it as wrong. If not, please don’t put words in our mouths and then attack us as if we said it ourselves.

On a side note, the more I have read (I did read “I Sold My Soul on Ebay” thanks to the review here) and conversed with atheists here and other places online, I have changed my opinion about atheists and morals. I have met a number of atheists who I have to say have definite moral/ethical standards, and sadly to me, a number of them have higher standards that many Christians. Obviously, it is the standard by which we establish or measure those values that we still disagree about.

You’re right Rob it was a cheap shot and I apologize. I was very angry when I was writing but that’s no excuse. I’m sure the majority of people of all creeds or no creed we’re outraged by that particular action. Thank you for calling me on it.

I’m glad you got to read “I Sold My Soul on Ebay” and that you either enjoyed it or it had an impact on you. I’ve read some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Paul Tillich been moved by there writings and even some of your comments here. I know that I’m never right when I over generalize. I’m glad we keep moving the discussion along.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Surgery - Live Blog

A new trend I have been picking up on is "Live Blogging". I did not have a live Internet connection this morning as Amanda went into surgery, but I 'blogged' on my Pocket PC so I could post it this evening.

Good morning. The dogs are the only ones happy to be awake at this time of day. Our goal is to leave for North Richland Hills by 6:30am to allow for traffic and arrive there by 7:30am.

Picture of Mommy and Amanda before we headed out.

Mrs. Debi in driveway. Going to follow us to the hospital and stay with us to pray and offer moral support.

Arrived early. Traffic not as bad as expected.

Paperwork filled out. Watching Disney Channel. Took a picture with Mrs. Debi and with Daddy.

Back to pre-op. Amanda got the official hospital gown and we had to wait. Amanda was very brave. A few tears and a few fears here and there, but she was a brave little girl. Amanda played games on the Pocket PC to pass the time and to keep her mind off what lay ahead.

Dr. Quatro paid us a visit to let us know she was finished with her previous surgery and would soon be ready for Amanda. She explained that we should prepare for Amanda to be in surgery somewhere between and hour and an hour-and-a-half. Look at the brave girl smile!

Nurse brought the 'giggle juice' to help Amanda relax. Another nurse, one who would be helping with the procedure also stopped by to say hello, check some notes, meet Amanda and assure here that they were going to take real good care of her. Everybody there was EXCELLENT with children. Just a little crying

They took Amanda back for surgery. She teared up a little bit but was being brave. Mommy was trying to be brave, but she teared up more than just a little bit as Amanda disappeared around the corner.

In the waiting room with Mrs. Debi and Mrs. Pat from church. We prayed, waited, called our parents and waited some more.

A nurse came out and called for us. We are in a separate waiting room now. Nurse said Dr. Quatro would be in to discuss how the surgery went and then we could see Amanda in recovery soon.

Dr. Quatro came in and said all went well and explained what all she did. After Amanda was asleep, she moved her arm all around trying to reduce the elbow (get it back in socket). It would not go. She then made an incision and checked the socket for debris that was keeping the elbow from going back in socket. Nothing was there, but the tissue around the joint had obviously moved into the vacancy previously (and rightly) occupied by her elbow! Once this tissue was gently moved back, the elbow went back into place easily. Dr. Quatro said she then worked the elbow 'quite hard' to see if it was going to pop out of place again and was pleased that it stayed as it should Amanda's arm was moved all around. Amanda was closed up, stitched up and put in a sling.

We were allowed to go to recovery and see Amanda. Mrs. Debi and Mrs. Pat came with us. Wow, this was not fun. Amanda was crying and in distress. The nurse explained that Amanda had kicked and removed the IV from her foot before all of the 'coming out' medicine had been administered. She then explained that the very 'giggle juice' that made her so happy before surgery would make Amanda very emotional, and probably angry, coming out of the anesthesia. Since there was no IV, it was either let it work it's way out of her system or stick her again (which nobody wanted to do). For quite a while Amanda did not respond to our presence in the room. The first couple times she looked at us it was almost scary. Due to the drugs, she did not really recognize us and she looked...well, she just looked mean. I cannot describe the way her eyes looked other than to say it was definitely drug induced, and if I ever see a grown up holding a weapon in their hands with that same look in their eyes...I expect that to be the last thing I ever see! Mommy cried and loved on Amanda as only Mommies can. Eventually she could recognize and speak to us (telling us how badly her arm hurt).

Going home. They sat Amanda up, got her in a wheel chair and we headed to the car. Mrs. Debi drive the car around while Mrs. Pat and Mrs. Barbara helped carry all of our stuff (clothes, pillow, backpack, new stuffed animals and a barf bowl) to the car. Thankfully the barf bowl was not needed on the way home and Amanda drifted off to sleep.

12:00 noon
We got Amanda home and situated on the couch in my office. Her arm hurt, so we just prayed and let her rest. All of the sudden she started whimpering and we wondered what caused her to hurt so badly all of the sudden. Then we found out...we found out why she whimpered suddenly and why they sent the barf bowl home! After a bit of clean up, we opened up the hide-away bed and got Amanda set up on that.

Both Amanda and Mommy were sleeping so Daddy went to work.

Mommy and Daddy ate dinner prepared by Mrs. Debi and Amanda had a Popsicle and some ice cream. Daddy and Boo came into the office to support and encourage Amanda (see picture).

Amanda went to bed. Thank you Jesus the day has gotten better! Amanda made it through the afternoon with no pain medicine, although we did give her some at bed time to help her sleep. It seems we are getting a little more accurate reading on the 'Amanda pain scale' now, too. Daddy felt really bad about telling Amanda to 'suck it up' (not in those exact terms) last week when we thought she had a sprain but her elbow was really dislocated, but Amanda also learned the lesson about being a hypochrondiac and saying every pain was excruciating. She is sleeping now and we are all feeing much better.