Saturday, July 28, 2007

2 4 3

Yes, that's right. I was two for three tonight! Got together with some friends for Friday night Texas Hold Em (played for chips only, not for cash). To be honest, I have to let you know that games 1 & 3 (of which I won both) were only 4 player games, and the first game I won pretty much just because I had great hands. Game 2 had 3 or 4 more people and I placed second that time.

So that will probably never happen again, and I'll be doing good just to win another game this year, but it sure was fun tonight!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our Special Child

Amanda found the dress up stuff while at church yesterday, so she came in and "modeled" for me. Thought I'd share a few outfits with you.


What Amanda would look like with surfer hair and a crown


I wasn't sure what to make of this

Saturday, July 21, 2007

On the Home Front

What a great day! A couple months ago I was instant messaging with a friend of mine, Matt, who I had not since since high school. He mentioned his denomination was holding a conference in Ft. Worth and he was coming. He asked how close I was to Ft. Worth, and when I told him, we arranged for him to come a day early, meet my family and for us to catch up on all that's gone on over the past 19 years since we've seen each other. He got in Friday night, we stayed up talking until 3am, got up this morning, ate some WONDERFUL peach French Toast (Mrs. Debi's recipe, Brooke's cooking), ran a few errands, played about 2 1/2 hours of racquetball (thus totally exhausting ourselves) and grabbing a meal at Dave's BBQ before Matt headed to Ft. Worth for his conference. Matt is an associate pastor at his church and oversees small groups and leadership development. I was looking forward to his coming, but I had no idea what a great time I would have catching up with him, finding out what has gone on in his life, sharing what's happened in mine and swapping stories of what God has taught us and the things we've learned/experienced in ministry. Some things I didn't know, a number of "remember when's" and a lot of laughing. It was so much more than I expected and I am really thankful to have had the time to catch up with this friend from many years ago. I imagine we'll keep in touch a little more now.

See the picture of the nifty carpet cleaner on the box? This looks EXACTLY like the one I borrowed from my friend Stan. When I borrowed it last time, I had "issues" and thought I blew it up. I finally figured out I had just broken a belt, so I took the thing apart to replace the belt. Oops, half way through the reassembly, I saw the little hatch that I could have lifted to replace the belts without disassembling the thing. No worries, at least the belts were replaced. BIG OOPS! Got the thing together and discovered that the little vacuum bar turned again (thanks to the new belts), but now water no longer ran through the machine!. Three hours later I gave up and ended up buying him a brand new one. So here I am putting it together before using it to finish my carpet cleaning and giving Stan his brand-spanking-new carpet cleaner. I'm still gonna get one of my own some day...they work great!

Amanda really seems to have "gotten into" reading this summer. We fine she REALLY likes reading when she has a choice between going to bed or reading for a while at night! Here she is reading with Sully.

Are They Thinking?

I was going to ask "What are they thinking?", but when you look at this, I think you just have to ask if anybody is thinking. Here's what I mean.

You are sitting on an airplane when six Middle Eastern men (whom you heard doing their Islamic prayers and making anti-US statements before boarding the plane) move two to the front of the plane, two to the middle and two to the rear of the plane in a fashion very similar to the 9-11 hijackers. And you observe other suspicious behavior so you report this behavior to the stewardess. You don't say "these men are terrorists", you simply report what you observe. The behavior of these men eventually gets them kicked off of the airplane. Instead of apologizing for frightening people on the plane, they file a lawsuit against the airline and then demand to be told who YOU are so that they can sue you as well.

To keep this from happening, an amendment was put forth in Congress to provide limited immunity for reports of suspicious behavior and response. As near as I can tell after 30 minutes of research, the House voted in such a way as to NOT protect American citizens reporting suspicious behavior and the Senate voted in such a way as to protect American citizens reporting suspicious behavior. How in the world can any congressional representative vote not to protect our country in this way? The link above will show you how your Senators voted on this amendment. A "yea" vote was a vote in favor of offering protection.

It is frustrating to me that there are people who claim to represent the people of this country and pretend to be trying to keep us safe who would vote against these protections. It is also frustrating that this amendment would be tacked onto a bill that has to do with the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007. What in the world does this issue have to do with the cost of college? The answer is none. The problem is congressional representatives having the power to insert amendments into bills that have noting to do with the bill in order to try and sneak something through. Yet another picture of the inefficiencies of overgrown government.

I LOVE our country and believe it is the best on the planet, but I believe we need to reform our process of offering bills so that "pork" and amendments such as these cannot be added in such an "off topic" manner. I have no idea where to begin, but this has inspired me to write to my representatives this week to see what can be done.


Blame Big Oil

The courts shut down (suspends) oil drilling in the Arctic. Actions like this halt the ability of oil companies to produce more oil. Less oil means demand is not met and prices go up. Blame big oil.

OK, I get it. Big oil companies (and their execs) make a LOT of money...so much that it seems "too much". But at least they are providing a product we need. Government, on the other hand, taxes us out the wazoo for our oil, does nothing to help us get the oil and now steps in to shut down drilling.

Next time you complain about the price of gasoline, why not write your Congressional representatives and ask why they are not doing more to make it possible for oil companies to be able to drill more reserves instead of interfering every time they try to drill?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

And You Wonder Why?

I get a reply to my posts from time to time when I use the term "Environmental Waco". Some people say it's not "nice". How else do you describe "environmental vandalism"? It's a religion of kooks!

Hummer Gets Eco-Vandalized in Washington Neighborhood

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Geocaching in Decatur

This picture is a little over a year old, but it was taken while geocaching with Amanda, my nephew David and my niece Hannah. Thought the picture would go well with this article about geocaching from the Decatur Daily.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We're Home

If you click on this picture and zoom in on the GPS, you will see we were in Arkansas when I took this picture. We were on our way home from Alabama and I thought I should take a picture of "Cindy" since she got us safely to North Carolina and back. Borrowing an idea from our Pastor's family, we named our GPS since "she" "talks" to us. We hit upon "Cindy" and the name stuck. Cindy is a Garmin iQue M3.


We were near Little Rock I think when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw this kid riding a wheelie down the highway going about 60 miles per hour. I saw him gaining on us, so I got the camera out. He got beside us and I saw he was going to do it again so I got ready and got this shot of him before he was gone. Pretty awesome power...pretty stupid kid! (Click on picture to see larger image)


We've been going pretty much non-stop since coming home. We were home 10 minutes when a friend showed up with our new furniture. The same family that gave us a washing machine when ours died (because they were moving and buying new stuff) gave us a new couch, recliner (Brooke has declared that is "hers alone"), a coffee table and two end tables. So 10 minutes after we got home, my friend helped me move our old furniture out to the garage and put the new furniture in the house. Here is a view coming into the living room from our kitchen. It gives us a whole new look..and we love it!

So we finished up moving the furniture around and unpacking around 9pm I guess. I went next door to church and got ready for my iGrow class today (I got to teach).

Got up this morning, got the computer set up for worship, got iGrow classroom ready, opened the service (my friend Brad preached a great message about Jesus going through life's storms with us), taught iGrow, went to second service, grabbed a bite for lunch, mowed a big field at church (sunburning my neck again in the process), cleaned up from working outside, put away all the junk I "unpacked" last night, unloaded 2 bookshelves, dusted and put everything back on them, cleaned desk, cleaned out big closet and did two loads of laundry this evening. Finished all of this around 9pm. Boy, I'm tired!

So tomorrow "real life" begins at work. Lots to catch up on and lots to do, but that's what you do so you can take a vacation. This time, it was worth it. I don't think I could put my finger on any one thing that made this vacation so great for me, but I had such a great time just being with my family. I love being a husband and a Daddy...and I loved the last 10 days we got to spend together getting away from our regular routine. It was a great time away, but it's good to be back (and see the puppies!). We're home.


Puppies in the car on the way home from "Boot Camp" at my Mom & Dad's while we were gone.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I'mWithFred.com

I've just started following Fred Thompson. I saw he had a presence on Twitter, so I signed on as a friend and then subscribed to his blog. He hasn't even announced as a candidate for the presidency so I'm just watching right now, but I'm liking what I am seeing.

Here is a quote from a CBNnews.com article entitled: Key Evangelical Leader Tells Brody File: "It's Fred Thompson's Race to Lose"

Fred Thompson just got some encouraging news. Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission tells The Brody File the following:

"My assessment is that at this moment in time it is Fred Thompson's race to lose. It may be a convergence of the right man, in the right place and at the right time. I have never seen anything like this grassroots swell for Thompson. I'm not speaking for Southern Baptists but I do believe I have my hand on the pulse of Southern Baptists and I think I know where the consensus is."

Two Thumbs Up for Evan Almighty

Just got back from seeing Evan Almighty. It took me a while to go see Bruce Almighty because I figured it would be sacrilegious. I'm not a big fan of Jim Carey in movies when he acts stupid, but Bruce Almighty was not as bad as I expected. It was an OK movie, but definitely not worth buying as far as I'm concerned.

Evan Almighty, on the other hand, will one day be in my video library. I'm not much a movie critic, but here's my review:

Thumbs down for:
  • "God" (Morgan Freeman) spouts New Age theology and "waters down" the message of the Genesis flood (no pun intended)
  • References to a certain species of duck and it's male anatomy
Thumbs up for:
  • A number of good messages
    • Good triumphs over evil
    • Value of family
    • Obeying God even when it is (MAJOR) difficult
    • One scene where God laughs when Evan talks about being "too busy" and having too much to do to build the ark
    • Having faith in God even when circumstances don't line up with what you heard God say
  • No cussing
  • I know I have NEVER laughed so hard during a movie
  • Even a scene to make you cry if you are prone to that sort of thing as I am

I give it an 8 out of 10, losing a point for "God's" erroneous "theology" and the unnecessary (2) animal anatomy references. Great movie to see on a family vacation. When the movie comes out on DVD, you can borrow it from me.

Internet Radio Gets a Reprieve

You can read about it here. If you listen to Internet Radio (I am hooked on the smooth jazz stream of Sky.fm) you know that there has been a proposed change in royalty rates for music played on Internet Radio. These fees are not in line with what over-the-air broadcasters pay, and if put into effect as-is, it would take many Internet Radio stations (like my beloved Sky.fm) off the air.

I am one of those who called my congressional representatives and ask them to intervene, so I'm happy to see this reprieve. I hope something longer-term can be worked out soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Following Jesus...or Just Using Him?

The article is entitled "Leveling the Playing Field" and here is a quote:

The Democrats are so fired up, you could call them the new Moral Majority. This time, however, the emphasis is as much on the majority as on the morality as they try to frame a message in terms of broadly shared values that don't alarm members of minority religions or secular voters.

I'm not claiming that every Republican who uses God's name is sincere, but this blatant attempt to make God politically correct so as not to "alarm members of minority religions or secular voters" is nothing like the Jesus I read about in the New Testament who said, "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

If these kind of people (Democrats or Republicans) want to call themselves "religious", that's fine with me...just so long as they don't try to pass themselves off as Christians (i.e. a followers of Christ).

If your faith does not dictate your actions and if you are more worried about alarming others than you are in doing what is right, you have not right wearing the name of Christ.

Hindu Prayer Shouted Down in US Senate

http://www.breitbart.tv/html/2957.html

So I wonder how we find out what happened to these three? Do you think they will get the same treatment a Hindu would if he/she interrupted in this way, or do you think the press would talk about how our "repression of the Hindu faith in this country has caused this problem"? If you have any information on how these three are charged, please post in the comments.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Family Day in Gatlinburg

We are visiting Lake Junaluska Methodist camp for our Liberty Fellowship summer Family Conference. It is in the Smokey Mountains overlooking, appropriately enough, on Lake Junaluska. It is beautiful here...absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

Each year at the conference, Tuesday is family day. We have done "stuff" in the past, but this year, I decided we were actually going to do something fun as a family so I did some Internet research before we left. We drove this year and so we planned a trip to Gatlinburg. We went to Gatlinburg last year, but we went with a bunch of other people and did not get to stay long. We left at 8:15am and got back around 5pm this time. Below are a few pictures from our stop along the river on the way there, black light putt putt, Play Land, more Putt Putt, Amanda's new favorite activity ("gem" mining) , bumper cars and just a sampling of the scenery. For me, this was the highlight of our trip so far and one of the most fun days I have had with my family in a long time. This is vacation! (press the PLAY button to see photos from the beginning)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

EVERYONE Has a Gift to Use

One thing I am passionate about is helping people discover and use their gifts for God and to serve others. There are things people do well, but too often, they don't see how they can use this talent, gift or ability for the Lord to serve somebody else. Here is one lady, Kaziah Hancock, who found a way to use her gift to serve others.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cooling the Earth and Saving the Planet

Happy Live Earth Day! Oh, should one even use the word "happy" when we are facing such a crisis? But I have to...I'm happy. I have come up with a way to cool the earth. Even Al Gore has not done that. Al is content to scare us with the dangers to our planet, but he's not willing to do his part, even to take his own pledge, to save the planet. I have a solution, and you don't even have to do all of those things Al Gore will not do. Are you ready for this? Here's my solution for saving the planet.



+


It's called "Flush Plus". All you need is ice and a toilet. Please remember that flushing the toilet too many times somehow harms our planet (i.e. causes global warming), so please only use the flush plus method when you would normally flush.

Al has told us that the earth's temperature is rising and that the polar ice caps are melting. We've got to cool the planet. So here's my idea, when you flush, add some ice. That's right, ice. That way you not only help cool the planet by lowering the temperature of the water, but you are are adding zero pollution since the water from the ice will be recycled.

It sounds so simple, but think about it. You say to yourself, "I'm just one person. What difference can I make flushing my ice?" But you're not thinking globally. What is several billion people did this? First of all, the average temperature of our sewers would drop, and where are sewers located? Under ground (i.e. "in" the earth). This alone should help lower the earth's temperature, right? Haven't you ever gotten cold from eating a large amount of ice? And with this cooler water coming in, all we need is for the government to pass legislation requiring filtering plants to output cooler water into our natural lakes and reserves. This would have a secondary cooling effect for our planet. Now, picture this happening not just in the US, but around the world and you can see what a difference this would make.

I'm in the process of registering www.FlushMyIce.com Please check the domain often. Once it is registered, you will be able to sign the pledge to "flush plus" and help cool/save our planet. Anybody got Al's email address? I'm thinking if we could put his name at the top of our pledge list it could help out a lot!

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Coney Express

While friends are feeding our turtles and house-sitting, we are in Alabama for a few days on the way to North Carolina to attend our annual Liberty Fellowship family conference. Amanda's Aunt Jill (Brooke's sister) and Jill's husband, Jeff, have started a side business...The Coney Express. They've just been open for a week, and of course we had to stop by and sample the goods yesterday. I guess the whole family (Brooke's brother, sister-in-law and their 5 kids) are going with us today. If nothing else, I guess the family will keep them in business this week.

Call 1-800-WE-LOVE-DOGS

OK, I guess that would be too many numbers for a phone number, but you can call on the Hurts if you need someone to watch your dog while you are out of town. We love dogs! The normal looking dog in this picture is Tido, a black Pomeranian who belongs to some friends of ours who were out of town for a few days. The dog laid out like she is ready for dissection is our Cocker Spaniel, Boo. As you can tell, our dogs and Tido got along well.

Girls' Day

Here are the results after Brooke and Amanda went for their Girls' Day out. Great, now Amanda thinks this needs to become a regular part of her routine as well.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Reducing My Carbon Footprint?

Al Gore has totally changed my mind on global warming. I never realized what a threat it was until he came along. Before Al, I never realized that "consensus" in the scientific community was more important than science itself. And with all the hype about reinstating the Fairness Doctrine to combat conservative talk radio, it was good of Al to remind us of the dangers of "balance as bias" in the media.

Thanks to Al and my heightened awareness of the dangers of global warming, I realize I have to do something. But can I afford it? I can't afford a Toyota Pruis, I can't afford the $2,000 it would cost to clean up the mess if I broke a compact florescent light bulb trying to replace what I already have, and I can't afford carbon offsets.

But I have to do something.

I'm not sure I can reduce my carbon footprint, but after much concern, effort and thought, I have come up with a way I can personally help counter global warming. I ask all of my friends to return to this blog on 07/07/07. To coincide with Al Gore's climate crisis awareness event, Live Earth, I will be unveiling my personal plan to reduce global warming. It's a plan you can share with your friends, and if we all do it, maybe we can save our planet! I sure hope someone can get my new-found friend, Al Gore, to check back here on Live Earth Day. Join with me, friends. Let's cool the earth and save the planet. Are you with me? If so, I hope to see you back here 07/07/07 for an idea we can all use.

When Will the Lunacy Stop?

Last time I posted about "environmental waco's", I had a comment telling me I was mean spirited, should not call myself a Christian and was not going to get my point across because I was 'name calling'.

I just want to know when the lunacy will end. I recently wrote about the article showing that it caused more harm to the environment to produce the Toyota Pruis than a Hummer. The waco factor here? We are 'encouraged' to buy this "green car" to save the environment despite the fact that it costs more than a "regular" car and despite the fact that by the time you saved enough money through the car's better gas mileage to begin paying off the extra you paid for the car in the first place, the car will not still be running! And then, as it turns out, the car's production does more harm to the environment than that of the Hummer.

And then I had heard the story about the lady who was going to have to spend $2,000 to clean up an "environmentally friendly" compact fluorescent light bulb. I thought it might be an Internet hoax, so I let it go. But then, as I was checking a friend's Twitter status tonight, I saw Twitter was giving special attention to the Live Earth Twitter page. I went there and saw all of their "great ideas" for saving the environment. I didn't see Sheryl Crow's "two squares of toilet paper per visit" suggestion there, but I did see the thing about compact fluorescent light bulbs, so I had to look it up. Here is a link with the real-life information about the lady who broke a CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) and had to pay $2,000 to clean it up. This is environmentally friendly? Once again, it costs more, is a poor idea and we are supposed to support it to "save the environment by reducing global warming". WACOS!

The latest suggestion on the Twitter Live Earth page...download music rather than pay for CD's that have been shipped burning fossil fuels to the various stores. Does that mean I have to stop buying my music online to make a statement "I am not an environmentalist waco!!"?

I think the best way I heard this described was by Rush Limbaugh when he called "global warming" a "religion". That's what it is to these crazy people. It doesn't have to make sense because they have "faith" that they are right. And we're supposed to along with them simply because "it's the right thing to do" even if it really isn't right and it really doesn't make sense.

When will the lunacy stop!!!?