Thursday, June 29, 2006

TGIV (Thank God It's Vacation)

Finally it's time for the yearly family sojourn to the islands! I need it bad. I've been feeling a lot of burn-out lately and I need a recharge that involves sand and salt air. I have six hours of Jimmy Buffet loaded on my Oakley Sun Glasses and all of the necessary reading materials packed. But most of all, I am so looking forward to what God is going to teach me on this trip. Please pray for my family and I as we go. If you pray us through, I'll bring you back something really nice............

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Did You Ever Hit Little Green Apples?


Last weekend at the Red's/White Sox game, I bought Will (my three year old) a miniature wooden bat and a black baseball. He was proud of them and couldn't wait to get home to try them out. We went out into the front yard and he stepped up to his make-believe plate as I took the mound. The funny thing about when we play ball is that Will has learned a pre-batting routine from watching the pros. He first slams the bat onto the plate, then he hits the bottom of his shoes to knock off the dirt, and then he spits in his hands and rubs them together. Then, He is finally ready to play.

I warned him that since the new black ball was a real one (or as he refers to it a "breakable" ball) so it may hurt/sting your hands when you hit it. He didn't care and just wanted me to pitch it to him. I did, he hit it, and immediately said "OUCH!!". At that moment, I flashed back to when I was in little league and dad would pitch to me. The only difference was, my Dad would stand by the apple tree and throw apples at me instead of baseballs. I thought to myself, "Why not throw green apples at Will?"

I told Will, "Hey I've got a great idea. You know that apple tree in the side yard? I'm going to go get some apples and see if you can hit them!" Will replied, "OK Dad, I'll help you!" I grabbed about five golf-ball sized apples and returned to the "mound". I told Will, "Now these are smaller so you really have to try to pick them up early and keep your eye on them." He didn't say anything, just went through his routine (slam,tap,spit) and got ready. I wound up and pitched, he swung, and smashed the apple into three pieces that flew over my head. He immediately exclaimed, "Holy Cow!" Then he ran the bases while I stood there stunned. I couldn't believe he had hit it because they are much smaller and harder to see! I threw the next one, BAM! After several trips to the apple tree, Will had crushed about fifty apples by the time it got dark.

So, I learned three valuable lessons: 1. Never underestimate your kid's potential. 2. Green Apples are great to play ball with because you don't have to chase them like you would a baseball. 3. Mosquitoes are bad this time of year because we both had our share of bites.

But, the big thing that God taught me through this adventure was that once again, I must become more like a child when I am met with seemingly tougher challenges than I am used to. Instead of fear, I need to simply slam the plate, tap my shoes, spit on my hands, get a good grip on the bat, and then swing on faith knowing with God's help and coaching I can hit it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Finally Got Tagged! Thanks Andy!

After many months, I have been tagged! Here goes:

1.Four Jobs I've Had:
Barge Painter - spent two summers on the Ohio River painting barges during college. Hot work but good money.
Environmental Geologist- I actually used my degree!
US Army M1Abrams Crewman (Tanker)- Got to drive tanks and blow things up. fun!!
Safety, Environmental, Security Manager- My job now. I do all of that stuff for a steel mill. (My favorite job)

2. Four movies I could watch again and again:
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Napoleon Dynamite (oh yeah!)
Braveheart
Caddyshack


3. Four Places I've Lived:
Ashland, KY
Lexington, KY
Fort Knox, KY
Frankfort, KY


4. Four TV Shows I love to watch:
Lost
American Idol
English Premier League Soccer
Baseball Tonight


5. Four Places I've Been on Holiday:
Disney World
St. Maarten
The Bahamas
Myrtle Beach (Redneck Riviera)


6.Four Websites I visit regularly:
Drudge Report
Wikipedia
Amazon
Crosswalk


7. Four Favorite Foods
Pizza
Hot Dogs
Hamburgers
Barbecue


8. Four Places I'd Rather be:
With my Family
The Beach
The World Cup
Promise Keepers


9. Four songs wedding reception DJ's will not play:
I Like Big Butts (mixalot)
Girls, Girls, Girls (motley crue)
Thug Love (50 Cent)
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (Wham)


10. Four People to Tag

Sean at The Christian Husband and Father
Libby at Libby's Fruit Cocktail
Phil at Phil Hartman
Randy at Fight Like A Man

Family Golf Time

Saturday was pretty dreary here so we went shopping. We had to buy the "stuff" we need to take to the beach. Also, I wanted to look at the soccer stuff and Marci wanted to see the golf stuff at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Lately, Marci has expressed an interest in learning to golf so we looked at the ladies clubs. We found a few sets that were ok, but we found a set of clubs specifically designed for ages 2-5 that we fell in love with. Actually, Will fell in love with them, so, as you can imagine, we bought them.

Next stop, the driving range. Neither Marci nor Will had ever been to a driving range before, so it was fun to take them and explain the place to them. Also, neither of them had ever swung a real club before so I got to be an instructor! First, I showed each of them the proper grip, stance, etc. Then, I dumped out a bucket of balls, tee'd two of them up, and set them loose! Will went to hacking at them and he actually caught on pretty quick. Marci, being the Principal, was more conservative and studied her swing, stance, and everything else as she hit each ball with my clubs. And it paid off, because she did extremely well! It took about 30 minutes to hit them all from the tee. Then came the fun part. They thought theywere done until I told them, "Grab an iron and lets go hit the short ones." Since we were the only ones on the driving range, we spent the next 30 minutes hitting the balls that were within 100' of the tee box. Now, the dirt and grass were really flying! The picture is Will demonstrating the one-hand hack swing that he developed. After all of the balls had been sent down-range, we were filthy, but smiling!

We had a blast and can't wait to go again. Both of them are already asking about it. Golf is one sport that we can enjoy as a family wherever we are. It's in the little times of play like this that I see what Jesus was talking about when he said in John 10:10b "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". Though we only spent a little over an hour hitting little white balls, we had a special time of unity and the enjoyment of each other's company that I will remember forever. Thank you God for my family!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Mania or Sacrilege? You Be the Judge.

This is a photo of Nike’s newest marketing campaign for the World Cup featuring British soccer star Wayne Rooney. Nike has come under fire in the past few days by those that have said the add signifies the crucifixion of Christ because of the outstretched arms and the red paint that looks like blood. Also, some have said that since Rooney is painted with the Cross of St. George, it is an attack on Islam because the crusaders had this same insignia painted on their shields 1000 years ago.

For some background on this whole ordeal and to fill in my non-soccer fan readers, here goes: Wayne Rooney is an unbelievably talented 20 year old player that plays for Manchester United in the English Premier League and also for the England National Team. He is just back from an injury that many speculated would keep him from competing in the World Cup. But, he is back and is viewed by the Brits as there ticket to the finals, or in other words, their savior.

That’s the background, here’s my take. If you have read any of my posts you know that I am a Christian. I am not perfect by any means but I hold tightly to my spirituality and my relationship with God. I feel that I live my life listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When I saw this add, I immediately saved a picture of it to my computer because I thought it embodied my favorite sport soccer. I will admit I am a huge Rooney fan, have a couple of his Jerseys and watch him play every chance I get.

I can honestly say that I never once equated this photo to any representation of the crucifixion of my savior Jesus Christ. Also, I never thought it could be offensive to the Islamic community. Since I have the Holy Spirit in my heart I know that if this was offensive to God, I would have been prompted or at least nudged by God to see it. But He didn’t and I wasn’t. I feel that this photo embodies the spirit of football and competition between countries in the most watched sporting event on earth.

How about you? Now that you’ve heard my case, what do you think????

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Let God Be Your Lifeguard

Will had his first swimming lesson Monday night. Marci signed him up for it because we spend a lot of time at the pool each summer and obviously, the more he knows about the water the better. The only problem I foresaw, was the fact that every time I have taken him to the big pool, he is afraid of the deeper water. So, I was sure that his swim lesson would be cut short. Boy was I wrong.

On Monday night, I stood on the side of the pool and watched as the two instructors took twelve kids, all under the age of 5, through the paces. Of course, my eyes were focused on Will, hoping and praying he would listen carefully and learn from the instructors. I was pleasantly surprised that he did everything they asked him to do. He did so well that he even cut line a few times to get an extra turn on the "floaty thing" (as shown in the photo). It was fun to watch each child as they were led around the pool floating on the foam, all the while being urged to kick their feet and paddle with their arms.

A funny thing occurred to me while I watched this: God is a lot like a swim instructor. He knows we can't do everything on our own so He stays right there with us, just a bit ahead, ready to save us from sinking but all the while equipping us and making us better. He is patient while he is leading, counseling, teaching, and most of all helping us stay afloat.

If we would only listen to Him, we could really "get it"! But to do this, we must have the trust and most of all the faith of a child. If we could be more like a child, there would be no struggling or wrestling with Him. When He leads us into deep water we would go, and go smiling (as shown in the picture), not worried about the depth of the water. If you think about it, we should have no fears because He won’t let us sink. Let’s face it, he has all the “floaty things” you will ever need. Oh yeah, He calls “floaty things” GRACE.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fathers Day at the Ballpark

Oh the smell of hotdogs roasting on a metal cooking thing that pushes them back and forth! I spent the day with my family at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati yesterday and watched the Reds get pounded by the White Sox. The weather was great, the view was awesome, and the food was fantastic!!! Marci took this picture of Will and I that I'm sure I will treasure for years to come.

Walking in to the stadium I saw something I hadn't been exposed to in quite a while. On the way to the gate, I noticed three homeless people sitting on the ground along the pathway. Each was about 100' from each other and were holding signs that said things like "Homeless and Hungry - God Bless". As I approached the first one I looked the other way and acted like I didn't see him. That's when God stepped in by using my little boy. Will asked me, "Who's that Daddy?" Without thinking, I replied, "I don't know." Then God told me,"Yes you do, He's my child just like you are." By this time we were almost to the Stadium gate and fastly approaching the next homeless person. Since Will was riding on my shoulders, I carefully reached into my pocket and grabbed a bill. When I reached the next man, I said, "Here you go Brother". He said, "Thanks man" but he never looked up at me. In a few more steps, I said and did the same thing with the next guy. He too didn't look up. That is what hit me: These guys were so beaten down that they would not make eye contact.

A few minutes later, Will asked me, "Why did you call him Brother?". I told Will, "Because that's who he is buddy, he's one of our Brothers."

This Made My Day! - A More Serious One Tomorrow

Busy, busy, busy at work today. I have so much to post but probably will not get to it until Tuesday...... In the meantime, following the test from Friday, check this one out. I was well pleased!!!! Have fun, more tomorrow!!!!

You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

William Wallace

92%

Maximus

79%

Indiana Jones

75%

Captain Jack Sparrow

71%

James Bond, Agent 007

63%

Batman, the Dark Knight

58%

The Terminator

54%

The Amazing Spider-Man

50%

Lara Croft

42%

Neo, the "One"

38%

El Zorro

17%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Friday to the Inner Brady!

I had so many emails about my post "Searching for Johnny Bravo to Fit the Suit" that I realized almost everyone that reads my blog is a closet Brady Bunch fan! Well, since it is Friday I decided to add a little more Brady humor into the mix:

You Are Greg Brady

Outta sight! Suave and all American, you tend to be clean cut and upstanding.
You're friendly with most people and a huge flirt (sometimes even with family members!).


Take the test! Let me know who my Brothers and Sisters are out there!!!!! Have a Great Weekend!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jesus in the Clouds?

Last night we stopped by the mall on the way to Church. Marci ran in while us men (Will and I) parked the car in the lot and sat there waiting on her to come out. Because the weather was so beautiful, I opened all of the windows and the sunroof. While I sat there, I noticed Will wasn't talking which is odd for a three year old, so I adjusted the rear view mirror to peak at what he was up to. What I found was that he was just sitting in his booster seat staring out the window at the sky. I asked him, "What 'cha thinking about Bub?". He said, "Oh, just looking at the clouds". I then went on the to tell him, "When I was a boy, Papaw and I would play a game where we would look at the clouds and try to point out objects. One cloud may look like a cowboy hat, one may look like a giraffe, or whatever else you can imagine. Wanna' play?"

Without a Yes or No, Will immediately responded, "That one over there looks like an elephant head......and that one looks like...like....Jesus! See that big hand over there?". I immediately said, "What???". He said, "Oh yeah Dad. That cloud up there looks like Jesus with his hands out. And there is a cross over there." As you can imagine, I was shocked. I expected more things like dinosaurs, dogs, soccer balls, but of all things, my little boy saw Jesus in the clouds! I thanked the Lord right then and their for blessing us with this child and for teaching me through him. I am so grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be the priest of my home and I am thankful for the people that work in the Children's Ministry at my Church. When I shared the story with Marci, she was equally blessed and thankful.

This morning I got to thinking about all Will had said and how honest he was when he talked about it. I'm reminded of what Jesus said when he told the apostles that unless we become like little children we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Isn't it amazing that one day, we will really see Jesus in the clouds when he splits the eastern sky! What a wonderful day that will be! But until that day comes and as long as there are clouds in the sky, I need to be more like a child and keep searching for Jesus in them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do You Silently Chatter to Others?


Marci, Will, and I jumped in the Jeep last night and went to see some of our friend’s kids play in a Little League baseball game. I started thinking that the last time I went to a Little League game was somewhere around 1987 when my cousin was playing. Needless to say, it had been a while and of course, I noticed one thing that didn’t surprise me at all and one thing that really did. First, I wasn’t surprised by the new technology stuff that the kids are using today. They have really cool bats, gloves, helmets, and the catcher’s equipment is awesome.

But what I was most surprised by was the fact that the kids don’t “chatter” anymore. I remember when I played ball we never shut up the entire time we were on the field. In fact, it was expected of us by our coaches and parents. We were constantly talking to the batter telling him he couldn’t hit, was no good, etc….. Looking back, these were not very nice things to say to another kid were they? But, back then, we looked at is as a part of the game and didn’t let it bother us. If I’ve lost you and you don’t know what I’m talking about, chattering at a ballgame was immortalized in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris and Cameron were at Wrigley Field (see photo below) and were saying in unison: “Hey batter, batter, batter, batter, batter, batter, sah-wing batter”. That’s chattering.

So, how does this relate to my Christian walk? I started trying to turn the negative side of chattering around into a positive affirmation such as saying “Amen” when the Pastor is preaching. But that is so common, I thought it would be kind of lame. I decided instead to focus in on how we can give off negative signs to people in our daily lives and in essence “Silently Chatter”. To start with, most of us are very focused individuals and are mission oriented in everything we do. Take going to Wal-Mart for instance: You need item X so you drive to the store, park, rush into the store, get item X, go to the counter, pay for it, then out the door and back home. Did you ever think about how many people you have the chance to interact with but didn’t because you were mission oriented and just had to get the item and get out? I know this is me and I am taking it upon myself to start paying more attention to the strangers around me, smiling more, and even saying “Hi” to someone I do not know.

This exercise is a trip outside of my comfort zone but it is vital to my walk with Christ. Think about it, Jesus gave us two commandments to uphold: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. Do those and you will be living spiritually from your heart. That is Christianity! So, I’m going to try to be friendlier when I am out and about. It’s high time to stop “Silently Chattering” so much!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pull Out the Yellow Card!!!

I was prepared to write a post called "Throw the Flag", but since the World Cup is here I decided to be more soccer oriented. I love soccer and have played the sport practically all of my life. For those of you that do not understand the penalties in soccer, here you go: You get a free kick for a minor penalty such as a trip, you get a yellow card for a flagrant penalty, and if you get two yellows you are sent off. If you do something really bad (like fighting), the official can skip the yellows and give you a red. A similar penalty in football is the yellow flag that is thrown by a referee when there is a rules infraction. Where soccer differs from football is by the way that whenever a yellow card is pulled out, the Official writes down the players name, number, and the infraction in his little black book.

Since I started blogging, I've started trying to pull the spiritual aspects out of the common things in my daily life. For instance, I was watching some World Cup matches this weekend and I saw one of the players receive a yellow card. That's when it happened.....I guess it was the Holy Spirit that asked me, "How would you like it if an Official followed you around all day and handed out penalties when you had unspiritual moments?". Wow! Blindsided again!

That really got me thinking about how our daily lives are like a soccer match in that we are interacting with others and are expected to play fair. But do we? I know my answer is no. I stumble everyday in my life and I'm sure that you can identify a few things that you may have already fallen to. Maybe a guy cut you off on the freeway, maybe someone was sitting in "your" seat at church, or maybe something as simple as the anger you feel when someone leaves the toilet seat up. Don't get me wrong, it's ok to feel anger just as long as we don't let it develop into sin. And that is the topic for today: WHEN DOES OUR ANGER TRANSFORM INTO A SIN?

How about the guy that cut you off in traffic? Did you just get mad and get over it? Or, did you try to run the guy down, show him he's number one (middle finger salute), you know, typical road rage....that is sinning in your anger. It's easy to do and we must be on guard at all times. Maybe it would be a good idea to have an official follow me around for the day and show me the yellow card from time to time. Oh yeah, I forgot, he already is and his name is the Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 9, 2006

The Evolution of Dance

Since it's finally Friday, I wanted to end this week on a funny note instead of the usual, more serious post. Marci clued me in on the funniest thing out there right now called "The Evolution of Dance" performed by a new comedian. If you haven't seen this six minute video, you have missed out. I have never laughed at an internet video like I did when I saw it for the first time. You can find it HERE

Check it out, you will not be sorry. Youth/Student Ministries will love this!

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Lies, Interviews, and the Fleshly Nature

One of the fun things about being in management is the opportunity to interview perspective employees. I like to interview others because it is a chance to meet someone new and ask them to open up and let you peek into the unique story that they are carrying. I just finished a training course designed to teach me how to conduct a Structured Interview and I have to say, I was enlightened. I learned things like how to ask the right questions, how to rate people fairly, how to keep interviewees from taking over, and my personal favorite: How to spot a liar. This intrigues me because lies that come out of our mouths are from only one place, the flesh. And if you’ve read any of my posts in the past, you know that the flesh, the enemy’s devices, and spiritual warfare are great interests of mine as I travel through my spiritual journey and relationship with Christ.

In the training session I was told that for the most part, people are pretty honest about their answers and will tell the truth most of the time. However, if the flesh is given a chance to shine, the majority of all people will lie or embellish a story in an attempt to give the interviewer what we think they want to hear. This is because the flesh is all about me, me, me and nothing else. Whatever it takes to make ME sound, appear, smell, feel, etc…. better, the flesh is all over it.

I also learned that people basically lie in three ways: exaggeration (adding untruths to their story), borrowing (telling about a situation that happened to someone else all the while acting as though it happened to them), and ingratiation (flattering or complimenting the interviewer or the company to gain an edge). Have you ever thought about the different ways to lie? I sure hadn’t but I can sure relate with all of these, especially ingratiation. Looking back, I used ingratiation in every interview I think I have ever gone through! That makes me a liar, but what about you? Given the three methods of lying, have you ever lied in an interview? The Trainer in today’s session made it pretty clear that everybody lies a little and we must recognize it as a fact and simply accept it. As a Christian, I can’t accept it for myself and I praise God that he ordained this time for me to attend this training in order to expose yet another weakness of the flesh in my life. We all know a sin, is a sin, is a sin and it is nice when one is exposed so we can crucify it. So, before anyone reading this goes into their next interview, by all means be prayed up and don’t accept the fact that everybody lies. Speak from your heart and let God direct you.

Monday, June 5, 2006

What Happened Before "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"?

I hope everyone reading this post has seen the movie. Not only is it comprised of very powerful Christian overtones, but it is just really cool. After watching it, I had several questions about parts of the movie that I did not understand. To find the answers, I bought the collection of "The Chronicles of Narnia" and read the first one (The Magicians Nephew) at the pool yesterday. Guess what, my questions are answered and here they are:

1. What's up with the lamp post? Answer-The lamp post came about because of the a Green Witch named Jadis. She was transported to turn of the century London and ended up getting into a fight with a bunch of people that mobbed her. In the melee, she ripped the corner post off a lamp post and used it as a weapon. When she and some of the others were later transported out of London, they came into Narnia as Aslan was creating it and watched the trees spring up, the mountains rise, etc. She threw the corner post at Aslan and it landed on the ground and grew into a lamp post. At that time, anything that struck the soil, grew.

2. Who's the Professor? Answer-Professor Digory Kirke is the Magicians Nephew. His uncle created rings out of fairy dust and sand from a magical land and he and his friend Polly were the first people to be transported outside of our world and into Narnia. He was in Narnia when Aslan created it.

3. How did the wardrobe come to be? Answer- When the Professor was a boy, his mother was very ill. Aslan let him bring her a piece of fruit from Narnia that she ate and was healed. He planted the core and the seeds in the back yard of his home. It grew into a great tree that was later blown over in a storm. He had the tree sawed into boards and a wardrobe built from it.

Those are the three questions that I had that were answered after reading "The Magicians Nephew". CS Lewis wrote this book after he completed the Chronicles in order to close the circuit on the whole thing. I highly recommend this book. There is a lot more in it but these are just the things I wanted to know the most. I figure I'll read one per week, at the pool no doubt, and since they are on a sixth grade level, even I can understand them!

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Dumb Dads and the Wisdom of the Church Lady

Is anybody else out there upset about how Dads are portrayed in the media? The common trend that I have noticed in today’s movies, sitcoms, and commercials is this: Men are stupid, bumbling fools that can’t get anything right so they should be laughed at and never taken seriously. In fact, Hollywood (or Hollyweird as I like to call it) has been on the “Dumb Dad” kick for quite some time. Shows that portray men in a negative light have been around long enough that the up and coming generation is starting to accept them as the way men really are. This acceptance of a false truth is scary and is doing great harm to men because it puts them on the same level of performing circus chimps.

When I asked myself why would Hollywood choose to portray men in this light, I am reminded of the Saturday Night Live skit the Church Lady, and her famous line “Could it be……….Satan????” Yes Church Lady, sadly, you may be on to something.