14 Years

Last Wednesday Martha and I reached our 14th wedding anniversary.  Today we celebrated by spending more of the day with our good friends Keith and Carrie Hanson and the Royals game.  The festivities really began with brunch as First Watch and, of course, Bubba's Benny.  You haven't lived until you've had Bubba's Benny for breakfast.  In short, Bubba's Benny is two buttermilk biscuits with a sunny side up egg and turkey sausage patties on top smothered by turkey sausage gravy.  (It is a little bit of heaven on a plate.)  It was Faith and Family Day at the "K" which meant that in addition to the game there would be a concert afterward.  As it turned there was much more than just a concert.  There was a "warm-up" concert by a local rap group that none of us really enjoyed followed by testimonies from three of the players from the day's game.  Throughout the event a clear gospel message was given.  They even gave everyone an NIV New Testament as they left.  This year's featured group was Crowder.  We mistakenly thought we were going to get to enjoy the David Crowder band.  As it turned out we weren't disappointed.  The concert was short which was good since the day was so hot and long.  In spite of the brevity of the concert they managed to pack in contemporary praise and worship, blue grass, and a little southern gospel.  Remarkably they combined a banjo, hammer dulcimer, violin, cello, double bass and other assorted instruments into one band and made them all sound great together.  I look forward to hearing more from this group.  We finished the day at Mi Ranchitos.  For some reason after an entire day in the sun we were all craving the espinaca sauce.  Thank you Martha for 14 years of wedded bliss.  I'm not sure how it's possible but I fall more in love with your every day. 


Isn't Technology Grand

Periodically I like to dig in to Google's app list to see what's new.  One thing that they have mastered is internet services.  The photo app is a great archive solution for the photos you take on your mobile devices.  But, the app that really has me impressed is Google Cloud Print (beta, of course).  The most remarkable feature is that any printer can become a cloud printer.  Any printer that your desktop has access to can be added to your list of cloud printers using the Chrome browser (  I know It seems like a step in the wrong direction but this sharing mechanism goes way beyond paper printers.  For example, if you have a virtual fax solution that is manifested as a printer on your workstation it can become a cloud printer with all your other printers.  You could send a fax from your phone from anywhere you can connect to the internet.  It does stop there.  All the Android devices that your Google account is aware of are also cloud printer candidates.  There are plenty of cloud storage services out there but this solution makes sharing stupid simple.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next.


What If?

A friend recently posed the philosphical question "What if the bible doesn't have all the answers?".  It's an interesting question that begs for consideration.  So, what if the bible doesn't have all the answers?  Obviously this would mean the answers are potentially somewhere else.  Everywhere a person looks for the answers the same question would apply.  In the absense of an absolute authority the person looking for answers would be free to pick and choose the answers that are the most appealing.  This line of thinking is prevelant everywhere because it eliminates messy things like guilt, humility and accountability.  It sounds like a great way to live.  Unfortunately it paves the way for things like conflict, discord, and destruction.  The evidence is everywhere.  Rather than taking the easy way out I suggest considering the opposite question.  What if the bible does have all the answers?  Beware!  This isn't a path for the faint of heart.  It will most definitely involve guilt, humility, and accountabilty.  Why?  Because exploring this question means considering that the bible may be the absolute authority.  The only way to truly investigate this question requires following a few simple ground rules.  First, interpret what you read literally through the lense of common sense.  This is esssential in order to determine what the text actually means rather than what you want it to mean.  Second, evaluate everything in context.  Meaning is easily skewed, perverted, or lost altogether without context.  If you don't believe me just watch the political ads during election season.  Finally, validate the text against itself.  If the bible is really the absolute authority, as the question suggests, then it certainly won't contradict itself.  Let the adventure begin!


We're Athletic?

I've never been athletically inclined and I probably never will be.  Nevertheless with the help of my family we won our first ever athletic competition (pictures are on Facebook).  We started training in Taekwondo in August and had our first belt promotion in October.  With our yellow belts in hand (actually around our wastes) we went to our first tournament.  It was really a family-fun mock tournament.  Everyone went home with something just for participation but event winners got special trophies.  Our event was the family form.  In the family form event your family as a group goes through the series of steps/positions for your belt level.  We had twenty positions in our form and since we were still newbie yellow belts we had the added advantage of being allowed to count our numbers out loud as we moved.  You are judged on how well you know your form as well as how well you stay in sync with each other.  There were seven teams in all and I honestly didn't think we stood a chance.  The other teams had been training longer than us (some much longer).  I guess our practice and loud counting paid off.  Now we have to figure out what to do with a ridiculously large trophy.


The Ride is Over

God often works in mysterious ways that we won't and may never understand.  Our petition for guardianship of our nieces ended with a court appearance last week.  In the aftermath we have not been questioning the "why".  The "why" is easy.  Every detail of our lives is complete orchestrated by God for his glory.  The "how" is the source of our consernation.  I find myself frequently wondering "How is God possibly going to get the glory from this turn of events?"  The answer is that we don't know now, we may never never know in the future, and we aren't entitled to an answer - ever.  What we do know is that we have to accept it and move on.  We are all having a hard time reaching that point but I'm sure we'll get there eventually.

They say "You never know what you have until you lose it".  Well, it's true.  Kristine and Abby were integrated into our family as our children for only two short months.  I had no idea how strong and deep the bond had become between us until we had to turn them over to their father at the courhouse after our trial ten days ago.  It was a cold, hard, immediate change of custody - no integration plan for the girls or visitation plan for us.  I'm sure that one day we will see them again.  Meanwhile we pray for them continually.  It is comforting to know that God is protecting and caring for them.  Thank you God for your sovereignty and give us the grace to accept it no matter what!


Change - The Only Constant

Isn't it funny how life never plays out the way you plan.  You think you can see several turns ahead in the road of life but you blink your eyes and you're suddenly on a different road!  I'm glad God is driving and not me.  We thought the change in our life was going to limited to our diet.  As time goes by we are discovering more foods that the children have a difficult time tolerating.  We've began eliminating processed foods from our life.  This evolved into eliminating things like refined sugar, homogenized milk, and an assortment of other things.  Just a couple of week ago Martha and I decided to try a 30 day purification diet.  We made it through most of the "Nothing but Fruits and Vegetables" week when suddenly the road of life shifted in a way no one saw coming.  We became the temporary parents of two new little ones.

Due to a series of unfortunately events Martha's sister, Melody, faced losing her two young daughters - Kristine (2 1/2 years) and Abigail (15 months).  We've taken them into our home to raise them as our own.  It may be a few weeks or a few years.  However long we end up having them in our home we will love them with every ounce of our being.  They are still young enough to train.  So far breaking old habits and creating new ones has not been that much of a challenge.  On the downside we are on diaper duty again.  There's also the additional laundry and mouths to feed.  It also doesn't help that our modest split-level house was never intended for five children.  Despite all the changes (including the sudden lack of sleep) it's worth it.  We have no regrets and we'd do it again in a heart beat.  I'm anxious to see where this road will lead.


Thanksgiving in the Man Cave

Thanksgiving this year was celebrated at Mike and Jonalyn's house.  I'm not sure if the highlight was the bacon-draped smoked ham or the recently completed man cave.  Either way I'm thankful for them both.  Turkey is overrated. Perhaps if you draped bacon over it...  Anyway, after gorging on the ham we made our way to the man cave.  I thought it was awesome watching movies on the HD projector.  That experience pales in comparison to playing Wii on the HD projector.  We played one of those dance games intended to make you abuse your body while humiliating yourself in front of your family and friends.  Up until this point I didn't realize just how bad a shape I was in.  Actually, I am in shape - a pear shape.  Even so I have some pretty good dance moves (you can't tell from the pictures).  Despite nearly losing my lunch (perhaps this shouldn't have been a post lunch activity) and being out of breath for the better part of half and hour we had the best Thanksgiving in at least a year.

Martha busting some moves

Me getting down with my bad self.


We were having a family discussion the other night about riding bikes without training wheels.  As a motivation we promised them a new bicycle when they reached the goal.  Emily was the first to learn.  Remarkable she did it mostly on her own.  Courtney picked up the skill shortly after Emily.  The thought of a new bike really got them fired up.  Benjamin, however, is a different story.  I asked him what would get him excited about riding his bike and that we want to put a "carrot" out there to get him motivated.  He said, "I don't like carrots.  Put a Wii game out there."  I'll give him points for honesty!


Nail Party

Oh the fun of little girls and giggling moments. Tonight the girls asked - more like pleaded - for Jonathan or I to please paint their finger nails. I was busy putting dinner on the table and thinking about all the things I still needed to do before I could go to bed... the list of things that never end. So while eating dinner and listening to the retelling of their day I decided the long list would just have to wait. We finished dinner and I told the girls to go get the nail polish. Admist the screaming and giggling they ran helter skelter up the stairs to retrieve the precious bounty. Oh how I love that sound... However, Half-way through painting their nails I received an important phone call and asked the girls to wait until I was finished with my phone call to finish the painting. They were a little disappointed, but took it really well. It took me longer than I anticipated, but when I got off the phone the girls - with radar on - came running so I could finish the most important task of the day - NAILS! I decided it was time to amp up the excitement and started singing a made up song - "we're doing a toe party, yes we are" to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". The girls started giggling, laughing and dancing with abandon to my little ditty. Then after singing and dancing for a bit we got down to business. And after all is said and done, the nail party was sooo much more fun and more lasting than meal planning, grocery list making and laundry.

 So to all you busy Mom's... take time out to enjoy the nail parties... They are sooo worth the giggling and laughter.... Next I will have to fight a Star Wars character with light saber in hand to hand combat agains my son.... Oh the life of a Mom, and the MANY hats I wear in a single day.


Only in the Soup

You think you know your kids and then they throw you a curve ball.  The other day we were watching "Nim's Island".  It is the story of a 10 year old girl that lives with her father on an island out in the middle of the ocean.  Aside from a satellite internet connection they are pretty much cut off from the world.  They have supplies dropped shipped several times a year.  For the most part they live off the land.  In one scene she is making dinner out of various eatables indigenous to their island one of which was mealworms.  Of course I had to ask the kids if they would eat worms:

Emily: (head shaking "No" vigorously)

Courtney: (Huge smile and giggle) No!

Benjamin: (Long pause...deep thought) Well...only in the soup.

I should have asked a long time ago.  We could have saved a fortune on groceries! 


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