Friday, August 31, 2007

A Good Response

A post on one of the blogs I read had a link to a YouTube video on Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee responding to a question about Creation. The response was good and quite surprising to me in the world of politics, so I thought I would promote it too. Check it out.

Computer Case Mods

Here's some intereseting computer case mods, for all you nerds out there.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are You Kidding?

Tonight I took the kids to the park on a play date with another dad and his kids. It was dark as we headed home. One four-door sedan passed me on the Interstate and I noticed that there were no less then four LCD screens in the vehicle, all on. That's right - FOUR! Think about it. A four-door sedan with four LCD screens. That means there was one on the back of each of the front seats and one on each of the sun visors, including the driver's!

Talk about being distracted. I'm annoyed by drivers who talk on the cell phone, but this is beyond ridiculous. I hope it's illegal. If not, it should be. I don't know how you can give the appropriate amount of attention to the road and the ever changing vehicular environment on an Interstate, while watching a DVD on a screen less than a foot from your face. Based on the driver's silhouette against the LCD screen on their visor, it appeared that they were positioned leaning toward the center console so that they could keep one eye on the road and one on the screen.

I wanted to yell, "ARE YOU INSANE!?", but thought better of it with the kids in the back. Without a doubt, that would surely elicit many, many questions from Will. So I kept my thoughts to myself, till now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy 1st Birthday Ellie!

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Today was Ellie's first birthday. For each of our kids, our tradition for the first birthday cake is a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. That's what shows up best on pictures. Ellie was very enthusiastic about eating her cake - it was a full contact event. The boys were not so enthusiastic on their first birthdays. That, of course, has changed.


Today, before supper, Ben was on the swing set, having me swing him. He loves to swing, but had never done it himself - he always asks my wife or I to swing him. After supper, he and Will went back outside. I followed a few minutes later after changing clothes to find that Ben had learned how to swing himself! Boy was I surprised. He was very pleased and enjoying himself immensely.

Was it something in the food he ate for supper that made the difference between not swinging himself to swinging himself, in the space of about 45 minutes? If so, maybe we could market it :-).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

For All You Star Wars Fans

Here's an interesting article on plans for Mark Hamill's lightsabre prop from the original Star Wars. NASA is going to send it to the space station to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Truth Principles for Daily Living

Yesterday I decided to create a list of Scriptures for me to read during my quiet time each day to help me focus on living the Christian life. I limited it to a single page and called it "Truth Principles for Daily Living". I found this to be a harder task then I originally thought. Coming up with Scriptures was not the hard part, limiting it to one page was. Below is my list, taken from the NIV. It ended up being mostly New Testament passages but many of them have Old Testament counterparts.

Which Scriptures would you have on your list?

(And yes, these all fit on one page - 10 point, with margins adjusted :-))


2 Peter 1:3-8 “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

James 4:7-10 “7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Philippians 4:4-8 “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 "31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Matthew 28:18-20 "18 Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"

Romans 8:37-39 "37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

James 1:2-5 "2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Matthew 6:33-34 "33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Matthew 22:37-39 "37 Jesus replied: ' "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."'"

Romans 12:2 "2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Ephesians 4:2 "2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

1 Peter 3:15-16 "15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

Philippians 1:6 "6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Galatians 6:9 "9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Philippians 2:3-4 "3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Deuteronomy 11:18a,19 "18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; ... 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

1 Corinthians 10:13 "13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Conclusion of "Daddy's in Charge"

My wonderful wife returned after being gone for about 25 hours. She found us in the back yard. Today was the warmest in a few days, about 90 degrees. So we were cooling off with some water fun. Momma was greeted with a squirt from a water gun (one of the boys was wielding it, under dad's guidance :)).

Welcome home Momma!

My wife had a wonderful time, but is exhausted. She and one of her friends talked Friday night away. So instead of handing over duties as I had planned, I continued. I fixed supper - frozen burritos and cheese fries. Healthy it ain't. Momma put Ellie to bed and then put herself to bed, at 7:00 p.m.

I supervised clean up time and did the bed-time activities for the boys. They are now in bed and I'm watching TV (while writing this).

Conclusion: We survived in good form. And we are all happy to have Momma home.

T + 23 Hours

Now we go over to the news desk for the next update on the story that we've been following - "Daddy's in Charge".

  • Had to deal with a four year-old who was unhappy that daddy didn't do things his way.
  • Served up a gourmet, made to order lunch - peanut butter and your choice of honey or grape jelly, or ham and cheese sandwiches, both with delicious seedless green grapes.
  • All kids are now napping.
  • The rest of the dishes have been washed.
  • Approximately two hours till reinforcements arrive.

T + 20 Hours

Here's the update on the continuing saga of "Daddy's in Charge".

  • Was roused out of bed early when Stephanie called to ask, "Did you call me?". "No", I answered groggily. She didn't wake me because Ben was already up and had been running up and down the hall for about 20 minutes. I had been doing my best to ignore him.
  • Took a shower before starting the day's activities; I wanted to be as alert as possible.
  • Cooked our traditional Saturday morning pancake breakfast.
  • Washed most of the dishes (we don't have a mechanized dishwasher in case you're thinking "That's not hard. You just pop them in the dishwasher.").
  • Ellie is now taking her morning nap.
  • The boys are currently watching a video.
  • Only about five hours until Mommy returns.
  • We are surviving just fine... until the frozen food stock runs out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

T + 5 Hours

It's been five hours since Stephanie left for the Living Proof Live conference.
Since she's left:

  • I've given the kids' their mid-afternoon snack.
  • We've played in the driveway with sidewalk chalk, Will's bike and Ben's tricycle.
  • I've doctored a scrape on Ellie's toe from scooting around on the driveway.
  • We watched the "Very Hungary Caterpillar".
  • I fixed supper - frozen pizza for the kids and Philly Cheese Steak Hot Pockets for me.
  • We played in the back yard.
  • We brushed teeth, changed diapers (Ben and Ellie), went to the bathroom (Will) and read a bed-time story.
  • Put Ellie to bed.
  • Put Will and Ben to bed.
  • Wrote this blog.
  • Survived so far. Kids are alive and intact. Just about 20 hours left to go.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Stink

Quote of the day from Will. After supper, while we were still seated at the table, Will turned to me and said, "I stink. Can you smell me?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Once-in-a Life-Time Bite

I was working this afternoon when I became aware that there was a conversation going on nearby with several of my co-workers. I also noted that there was a female voice that I did not immediately recognize. Just as a note, my team is made up of all men; my manager is the only female in the group. As I was in the middle of something, I did not immediately see what was going on. However, a few minutes later, when I got to a stopping point, I got up and walked a couple of cubes down to where the group was congregated.

The female voice belonged to a member of another team. As I gathered from conversation, she had brought over a serrano chile pepper to one of the team members. It had been decided by some of the guys to taste the pepper. Three of my team had already tried it when I walked over and they were urging two other members to try some (as I found out later, it's probably because they did not want to suffer alone).

One of the guys who had already partaken asked if I wanted to try some. I joked, asking if he wanted to see a grown man cry. In a couple of minutes, the lady left and we, the guys, continued to talk. After a few minutes, I decided that I would go ahead and try some of the pepper. After all, I eat jalapeno peppers, so I could handle this, right? I could hang with these tough dudes, couldn't I?

There was already a piece cut off, so I started to pick that up. When I did, the guys who had already sampled mercifully suggested that maybe I should cut it in half. I decided that was a good idea and now am sooo glad I did not try the whole piece.

Once I had cut the piece in half, I casually popped half of it into my mouth. Here's a bulleted list of my thoughts and feelings and reactions:

  • Within a second of the pepper entering my mouth, I was regretting my poor decision and macho attitude. This had to be the hottest (as in spices) thing I've ever put in my mouth.
  • My mouth and throat were immediately searing.
  • My eyes began to water.
  • I was wishing desperately for a whole gallon of milk and a whole loaf of bread to help put out the flames. The water in my cup just wasn't cutting it - it just spread the incendiary oils down my esophagus.
  • I went to the restroom to wash my hands thoroughly to make sure that I washed all of the oils off so I would not later inflict further pain on myself if I touched my eyes or nose.
  • A little bit later, my stomach started feeling a little queasy and it started rumbling audibly.
  • About an hour later I got a head ache. I sometimes get them form staring at the computer screen too much, so I cannot be sure it was tied to the pepper, but I'm going with that as my guess.
  • I decided that this level of heat would not be good on any food - you wouldn't be able to taste any other flavors.
  • Burps were very spicy for a while.
  • I kept drinking water, enjoying the momentary relief and deludedly hoping for permanent relief.
  • With the passing of time, the burning began to subside. For a while, my mouth felt similar to what it does when the anesthetic is wearing off after a visiting to the dentist's office.
  • I must have gotten some of the oils on the hair of my moustache as every now and then, after I drank some water, I would experience a fresh burning sensation in spots on my lips.

Back at my desk, I decided to do a little research on this instrument of torture - the serrano pepper. I found out it is not the hottest pepper out there but one site rates it as five times as hot as a jalapeno - if only I had known. There is a spicy hot index, called Scoville Heat Units. The serrano rates from 10,000 to 20,000 Scoville Heat Units, per Wikipedia. Habanero chile peppers are supposed be some of the hottest available, rating at 200,000 to 300,000 units! If it had been one of those, the coroner would have been removing my charred remains from the office. I cannot even imagine tasting one of those.

Never again. Never, never, ever again.

Update 08/23/2007: In my recounting of the events of yesterday, I did not include the fact that my co-worker had another pepper, of a different variety, on his desk. Today I heard another co-worker ask him if he was going to eat that pepper. The way he asked it indicated that the other guy was in fact, preceding to do just that. I just stayed in my seat and kept working.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where Has All the Warmth Gone?

Ok. Everyone sing with me to the tune of "Where have all the flowers gone" by Pete Seeger.

Where has all the warmth gone?
Long time passing
Where has all the warmth gone?
Long time ago

The weather has turned cool here the last few days. Today, I think the high was around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's still August! For a guy who likes to be warm, this is not good. Two of my least favorite things about New England is the short summers and the looong winters. I know, I could live in places where winter is a lot colder and longer, but this is bad enough for me.

I'm not taking this lying down, I'm fighting back - sweats and slippers are my current attire.

Monday, August 20, 2007

We Shall Not Perish

This morning, Will joined Ben and I for my quiet time (I blogged about my quiet time buddy previously). I'm working on memorizing John 10:27-30, so I was saying it out loud.

"27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30

When I had just passed the word "perish", Will interrupted and said, "That's just like the other verse, the one we learned." The verse he was talking about is John 3:16. Stephanie has been working with the boys to begin memorizing Scripture and, of course, started with John 3:16. They have both done very well and have memorized it quickly.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Will had connected the two words "perish" in the two passages. I was so proud of him. I then proceeded to tell the boys how John 3:16 talks about the offer of the gift of salvation and the results of receiving that gift, and how John 10:27-30 is concerning those who have accepted that gift of salvation and confirms the results of receiving the gift - we shall not perish but have eternal life.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spontaneous Affection

As a parent, one of the things I cherish and love the most is when one of my kids shows me spontaneous (unprompted) affection. Yesterday, Will told me that he loved me at dinner. Today, after returning from work (see my post about this), Will said "I missed you daddy".

Parents, what's better than that? I just ate it up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dreading It

Tomorrow I have to work. Once a quarter my team is required to conduct a disaster recovery test for the system we support. And I'm dreading going in. It's not the disaster recovery test that I'm dreading. It's having to miss church. It's not just missing church, it's missing going to church with my family. I enjoy going to church with my family and I dislike not being able to go with them.

Friday, August 17, 2007

God's Deliverance

This morning in my quiet time, I read Acts chapter 12. This is the story of Peter being imprisoned by King Herod and God sending an angel to set him free.

It is notable that preceding Peter's miraculous escape, "the church was earnestly praying to God for him." (vs. 5). However the thing that drew my attention was God's power to deliver.

From a human perspective, the situation could not have been more dire and beyond hope. King Herod was bent on executing him, with the trial to be conducted the next day. Peter was imprisoned, chained between two guards and guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Things don't get more desperate than that.

Then God sends his angel, who wakes Peter up, causes the chains to fall off, leads him out between the guards, who see nothing, and walks out the front gate, which opens on its own. What a demonstration of the power of God! What a miraculous rescue!

God does not always choose to rescue His children in such a way. It has been a subject that has been written about, debated and pondered greatly - why bad things happen to good people. I will not address that subject, other than to say that God has a plan and a purpose for each decision He makes.

Though God may not choose to rescue all of us in such a miraculous way, He does promise to always to be with us.

Matthew 28:20 "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The Bible is clear that as Christians, we should not expect smooth sailing.

Matthew 24:9-14 "9 Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

James 1:2-4 "2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Spiritually, we, Christians, are secure, rescued eternally through Jesus Christ:

John 10:28-29 "28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. "

Physically, that's a different story. When we face trials and difficulties, God may rescue us miraculously as He did Peter, He may give us the grace to persevere through the trials, or He may give us the grace to die in a God-honoring way. Below are some examples of each these.

Miraculous Rescues

  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego rescued from the fiery furnance - Daniel 3. Verses 16 - 18 are a great testimony of their faith in God and the grace He supplied them in that situation. "16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
  • Daniel in the lion's den - Daniel 6. Verses 19-23 sum it up. "19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?"
    21 Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."
    23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God."

Perseverance Through It
  • The apostle Paul. This passage in 2 Corinthians 11 gives a summary of it. "23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."
  • Joseph. Genesis 45:5-7 "5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."

Bright Lights Extinguished
  • Stephen. His death is told in Acts 7. The grace given him is very clear in verses 59 and 60. "59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep."
  • At the end of Hebrews 11, there is a list of unnamed heroes who lived and died for their God. "35 ...Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
    39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

In thinking over all this, the song "Thru it All" kept coming to mind. No matter what we go through or how it ends up, God is with us through it it all and gives us what we need to honor Him during the circumstances. And He has the power to accomplish whatever He wills.

When I face the trials in my life, I hope I can respond as Job did when he learned of the loss of his family and his possessions.

Job 1:20-22 "20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.' 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."

Thank you God for Your faithfulness, for Your super abundant grace and that You have the power to back it all up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Duck Hunt

Check out the Duck Hunt game widget I placed at the bottom of the page. For those who have their sound turned on, you probably have already heard it when you first loaded the page. I think it is pretty fun. Not sure how long I will leave it there, but enjoy while it's there.

Just as a warning, don't try game D. It's warped. I know, saying that will make some of you want to try it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Leave me a comment if you enjoyed the game.

Name that Vitamin

I normally do the bedtime routine which involves giving the boys vitamins, helping them brush their teeth (Ellie sometimes gets her teeth brushed too), reading a bedtime story and praying with them.

We buy vitamins for the kids from Wal-Mart and just get the generic brand. These are in the shape of four different animals - a lion, a bear, a monkey and an elephant. I started a little game back when we only had Will and it now has become a tradition.

I dump two vitamins into my hands and the boys have to guess which animals I have in my hand. The first one that correctly names one gets it. The other one then continues to guess until they identify the other vitamin. It's just a fun little thing we do.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My wife is counting down until next weekend when she gets to go to a Beth Moore conference, spending the night in a hotel and so spend 24 hours away from home and kids.

She's counting down with excitement and anticipation. I, on the other hand, am not sharing those same feelings. Mine lean more toward anxiety and terror (ok, maybe just apprehension).

With her gone, that means that I'm responsible for the kids, for 24 WHOLE hours - that's one whole day. GULP! I've done it for several hours before, but never a whole day.

Stephanie is trying to get things prepared, like buying frozen dinners so that I don't have to really cook. My culinary skills are somewhat limited, mostly to breakfast items.

How will I entertain them for that period of time? Thank goodness there's a whole night thrown in there so I have some built in recuperation time. What if something unusual happens, such as an acorn stuck up the nose? How will I handle that? Is there a daddy help line I can call? I'm guessing that my wife is not going to be turning the cell phone on.

My daddy skills will be tested. My goal is to come through with only a few bumps and bruises among us but not to come through with flying colors. If I do too good, then Stephanie will plan more of these overnighters and will probably start to stretch the time envelope. No sense in shooting myself in the foot by being a star performer. Mediocre is the way to go.

Sidewalk Chalk and Choo-choo Trains

Yesterday it was playing with bubbles. Today it was sidewalk chalk out on the driveway. Mommy went to get her hair cut and I parked on the grass (not unusual), so there were no vehicles taking up space on the driveway.

Will asked me to draw train tracks. So I did my best to draw quasi parallel lines with "ties" between them. Will proceeded to ride his bike around the tracks and Ben pushed his tricycle around, pretending to be various trains from the Thomas the Tank Engine series.

Here the boys are adding additional "tracks".

Will and Ben driving their choo-choo trains.

Ellie was relegated to the stroller since she kept trying to make it to the street.
I did drive her around the tracks in the stroller so that she could be part of the action.


I now know what to get my brother-in-law, who hunts, for Christmas - a camo Bible.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


That's what I was feeling this evening after half an hour of blowing bubbles with the kids. It was kind of like trying to blow up an air mattress with just your trusty lung power, only it takes longer to happen. I used to think those bubble machines that blow lots of bubbles took the fun out of blowing bubbles. I'm rethinking my position. With two kids who love to chase and pop bubbles and one who will join them next year, that's a lot of bubbles for a dad to produce for an extended period of time. A bubble machine might be a good thing after all.

The boys got it in their minds that it would be a fun thing to pop the bubbles with their tongues. So that's what they proceeded to do. The taste did not seem to bother them. In fact, Ben was quite happy dipping a wand into the bubble solution and sucking on it. Yuck. Since the bubble solution is non-toxic, I merely suggested they probably did not want to do that but let them continue. I'm a dad. When my wife came out, she made them stop for fear that it might make them sick. She's a mom. =)

The Dads

Here's a picture of the three dads, Andy, Mike, and myself, (yes Mike, you are a dad now, get used to it) at the get together yesterday. Goofing around is SOP for us.

P.S. SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedure.
P.P.S. My wife posted this and another picture on her blog. I was not aware of this until I was just about to publish this and she saw the picture and said "You might want to read my blog first." I did read it first, but decided, other than the picture, they were enough different for me to continue with this post.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good Friends

We just had a cook out at our house with two other couples or families. We have been friends with both of these couples for years, going back to when none of us had kids. Now we have three, one couple has two, and the other couple is expecting their first. That makes us "families" versus simply "couples" (though we are still that too).

One family moved away a few years ago, though we manage to see them once or twice a year since their extended families are here. The other family we see almost every week at church, but rarely have time to get together. So it was nice to be able to get together with these good friends and spend some quality fellowship time, with food, dessert, and fun thrown in the mix.

Thank you guys and gals for the good time.

Thank you God for giving good friends and good times.

Update - 08/15/07: Stephanie blogged about the same thing here. If you follow my link to her entry and her link to my entry, you could become stuck in an infinite loop.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Plumbing My Way (A.K.A The Hard Way)

In the middle of the week, the outside faucet for the backyard broke. It had been leaking for quite a while. In addition, the cut off value inside the house leaks each time I turn it off or on (usually at the change of seasons), requiring that I get out the wrench and tighten up on it so that it won't drip inside the basement. I had known for some time that I would need to replace both, but I had been postponing it.

I could postpone no longer. So Saturday afternoon I headed off to Lowes to purchase the new faucet and cut-off valve. I already had, so I thought, everything else I needed to complete the job.

I'm a slow worker. Home improvement and repair projects usually take four times as long for me to do as a normal person. But I hate the idea of paying someone to do what I can do, even if it takes me longer. This repair project was no different. In fact, what should have been 1 to 2 hours took me about 10 hours. That's right ten hours and three trips to Lowes to buy more stuff.

I won't bore you with all the details but I will bore you with a summary.

Where the pipe to the outside faucet exits the house is positioned above our washer in the basement, so I spent a good deal of those 10 hours kneeling on the washer. I turned off the water for the house and cut lose the old shut-off valve and the faucet. Had issues with soldering, with the propane torch and leaks. During one of the tests for leaks, I discovered that the faucet to which the washer cold water hose was attached had developed a leak. By eleven p.m. Saturday night, I had gotten everything soldered and screwed together but not leak free. There were two leaks, the one from the washer faucet and then one from my plumbing work. It was a small consolation, but I was glad to see that the leak was not from any of my soldering but from one of the threaded connections. Anyway, the leaks were just drips (no jet sprays) so we figured after seven or so hours without water, we can afford a few drips while we flushed the toilets, brushed our teeth and I took a quick shower.

Sunday afternoon, I switched tactics, undid some of the previous work and by supper time, the plumbing was leak free and functioning. Yeah! Finally!

Here's some things I learned from the experience:
  • When soldering things above you, wear protective clothing such as gloves and long sleeve shirt. Molten solder does not feel good on your bare skin.
  • I didn't learn this, I had thought of this ahead of time, but I thought I would pass it on. Seeing that I would be soldering with a propane torch up between the very dry wooden floor joists, I brought down the kitchen fire extinguisher just in case. Luckily, I did not need it. I only had a couple of quick flare ups.
  • Do not place the tip of the propane torch directly under where you are soldering, as drops of solder may fall into it and block it up. Should this happen, if you have a gas stove, you can heat the tip up in one of the burners until the solder melts and then you can tap it out onto some tin foil.
  • Ten years of computer programming do not condition one's knees and shins to kneel for hours on top of a washing machine. Do so can cause noticeable tenderness and soreness. One will also probably feel some pain and tiredness in the quads when walking up steps.
  • I don't know how new appliances are made, but that used to make them real sturdy. I was very grateful that the older top-loading Kenmore washer that we have is made of real, strong steel. I knelt on it, sat on it and used it as a tool bench. At no time did I feel it bend or flex. It gave me a stable work platform. I just hope it never breaks because, oh my aching back, I can only imagine trying to get the thing out of the basement.
  • For me, soldering is not like riding a bike. I remembered the general process from when I renovated our bathroom, but it took me a good many trial and error attempts to get the feel of it back. By Sunday afternoon, I had it down pretty well. It was not pretty, but it was functional.
  • If you don't have the joints hot enough before trying to apply the solder, little bits off of the end of the solder wire can just break off, making little pings as they hit objects on their way to the floor.
  • Praying helps, a lot. It helps reduce your stress and it helps things go right. I need to employ this tool more often. After the previously mentioned issue with the propane tip becoming clogged, I could not get it to work. It would only hold a flame on a very low setting. If I increase the flow more than just barely flowing, it would blow the flame out. This might have had something to do with me being impatient at waiting for the tip to cool after ridding it of solder and dipping it in a bucket of water. Anyway, since I could not get it to work, off I headed to Lowes to buy another tip. On the way, I decided to pray. Once I got home, I decided to give the old time one more time. It worked perfectly. Go God.
  • You cannot buy, that I could find, just a tip for a propane torch. They only come with the whole "plumber's kit".
  • Playing with fire is fun. But it can be a little harrowing when done it tight spaces where you don't want to ignite everything and where you are trying to wield a propane torch, solder wire, keep the flame on the pipes and not on wood or insulation, and avoid falling molten metal, all at the same time.
  • Don't hire me to do any home improvement or repairs on your house, especially if you want it done fast and right the first time.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought

One of the issues I've had to deal with since I started working is the work culture expectation that you should be selling yourself all the time. That you should be trying to get ahead and one-up your colleagues so that you're the one first in line for promotions and opportunities. And how this fits in, or not, with how the Bible says a Christian should live.

I do want to be recognized for my good work and rewarded for it. It makes me feel good when my colleagues or the client compliments me for the good work I've done. But I don't want to have to push myself and my accomplishments in people's faces. I don't want to get an inflated ego and think more highly of myself that I ought (see the verses at the bottom of this post; they came to mind as I was typing this). I want to take pride in my work, but be humble and give God the glory because I know that He is the one who enables me.

I've worked for the same company for the past 10 years, sort of. The original company that hired me sold off the Information Services division to another company, who then spun us off into a separate company so that we could have our own stock ticker symbol. Through all that I've been working at the same client site.

Over the years, various policies and procedures have come and gone. One year, around the annual review time, my manager at the time told me that she knew I was over due for a promotion, but that, per the current company policy, I needed to write up a proof or defense as to why I needed a promotion. Shouldn't that be the manager's job? Anyway I did it and got the promotion, but I sure hated to do it. It did not seem right. That requirement has gone away since then.

My feelings are that work should be a lot like school. You work hard, you learn and you make the grade or promotion or pay raise. It should be based on my merit not my salesmanship.

Unfortunately, there is often a political and salesman element to the opportunities in my work place. I have never worked anywhere else since graduating college, so I cannot speak for certain of any other work places, but I would imagine many of them have the same issue.

The manager I have now has been great about supporting me and giving me opportunities. However, she supports the work culture of salesmanship to some degree as well.

Two colleagues and myself have been working on creating a set of three MS Access applications for our company's use at this client site. Due to the tight time frame, we were given permission to focus on two of the applications and to let the third one be worked on after the other two were done. So one of my colleagues took the smaller of the two applications and the other two of us took the other application.

We are ahead of schedule, mainly due to myself. The other two both said that it would have taken them three days to develop what I did in a day. Boy, that will stroke your ego. I try to not let those kinds of things go to my head. I say thank you and continue to work hard. Each morning I ask God to give me wisdom for the day and when I climb into bed I try to remember to thank God for getting me through the day.

Since we are so far ahead, yesterday I turned over the application I was co-developing to the other developer, and I started on the third application. Today we had a status meeting with the committee responsible for implementing the overall solution. We showed them what we had so far. When it came time for this, I told my colleague to demonstrate the application since he was now in charge of it. The presentation went great and the committee was very impressed with what we had done.

Now my manager was not part of that meeting but she heard about it through the manager grapevine. At one point in the afternoon, after the meeting, she asked me why I had let my colleague present the application since majority of the functionality was a result of my work. I said I did that since the application was his responsibility now. She gave me a light admonishment for not taking the opportunity to promote myself (relating back to my comment that she supports the work culture of salesmanship to some degree).

I know she wants me to succeed, to shine, and to make her look good. But this development is a team effort, even if the work load is not quite balanced. I'm ok with that. I'm sure that I'll have my chance when it comes time to present the third application.

So, continuing the thought I started off the post with. How do I, as a Christian in a secular work place, behave? Obviously, I must obey God first. But how does that translate into every day work life? Do I just work hard and leave the results to God? How much involvement does God intend for me have in my career path and career development? These questions are related to what I see as another one of those balancing acts I have as a Christian. What is the balance between faith and action? How do I marry the two? Trusting God and doing what He wants me to do, but not to the point of relying on my own actions, strength and wisdom. How do I abide in Christ without striving but without being lazy or complacent? Being active in God's strength and according to His plan and not in my strength and my plan.

I believe the answers to these questions will come as I walk daily with God and grow in maturity. It's part of that miraculous relationship with God I have because I'm His child, purchased by the blood of Jesus. By His grace I will one day be able to navigate the secular work culture in a consistently Godly manner.


Romans 12:3 "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

Ephesians 4:2 "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

In case you read this, I thought I would tell you again

Happy Birthday!


Your son

Oh the Innocence

This past Sunday we had one of the college students from our church over for lunch. He was dressed in the typical ragged jeans. This pair of jeans happened to have a hole in the crotch. My four year-old son, Will, with all the honesty and innocence of that age, walked up to him as he was sitting sideways in one of our kitchen chairs, pointed right at the hole and asked why it was there. The student hastily turned in the chair so that his legs were under the kitchen table.

I felt torn between laughter and embarrassment (for the student). I was leaning toward laughter but refrained as a show of good manners.

The Guy with the Camping Chair

To have some semblance of exercise in my job as a programmer, I try to take a walk at lunch, assuming the weather's nice and I have time. I walk around our office building a couple of times. Over the course of the summer I have noted people I see regularly.

One guy always parks on one side of the parking lot where there's a little bit of grass and some trees. He backs his mini-van into the spot, opens up the rear door and pulls out one of those folding camping chairs. He opens it up under the shade cast by the open rear door (lifts up) and sits, reading a book.

I've thought that looked like a pretty good idea. Today, as I was walking, I noticed him engaged in his normal routine. However, his rear door lifts (those things that help make it easier to lift the rear door and keep it open) must have bit the dust. He had a piece of lumber holding the door up. It brought a smile to my face.

It's Only Been a Day

I've only skipped one day in checking on my blog or making an entry but it seems like forever. Who knew I would get this addicted so fast. And who knew I had so many words. With writing, I have time to form my thoughts and I can make sure I'm putting things down the way I want (Of course that does not guarantee that it's anything of value to anyone else). I guess when talking, I don't think fast enough to do all of that, so I stick with just the facts, conveyed in the shortest way possible. Just ask Stephanie.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Seventeen and Counting

Let me just say, WOWSeventeen kids and they want more.  Good for them.
I just hope this post does not give my wife any ideas =).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Without God, the Universe Cannot be Explained

This blog talks about the Fermi Paradox. Per Wikipedia:

"The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for or contact with such civilizations."

The answer to this paradox lies in Genesis.

Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Genesis 1:26 & 27 "26 Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

We have not found any extraterrestrial life because God did not create it. He created the universe, this world and humans to rule over the earth. The answers are in the Bible. Without God, nothing in the universe can be explained. All the evidence supports God and what His Word says. (In all fairness, the author of the blog does make a fleeting reference to God - "This is reminiscent of the God problem and the presence of evil.")

Any theories and the supposed facts and science that support the, such as evolution and E.T.s, are a twisting of the truth, engineered to exclude God. If there is no God, then there is no ultimate moral authority and we are therefore free to make our own rules.

I happen to believe in a literal 6-day creation as presented in Genesis, occurring only a few thousand years ago. I like the ministry Answers in Genesis. I subscribe to their quarterly magazine, which I find very interesting and informative. Check it out.

Dueling Derry O's

Tonight, as supper was winding down, the boys got silly. They started singing "Farmer in the dell", except they replaced some of the words (a thing I do often with songs to amuse them). Ben was singing "The Will and the cow, the Will and the cow...", so Will started singing "The Ben and the cow, the Ben and the cow...". As they sang at each other across the table, the volume kept increasing, each one trying to be heard over the other. Oh, that male testosterone, already at work.

Standing Up

The boys are watching "Cars". Ellie is practicing standing up. She is now doing it regularly without having to sit on a pillow or any kind of rest. And she's very pleased with herself. I'm very pleased for her. Stephanie may not be as pleased from the stand point that this is one step closer to walking and even greater (and speedier) mobility. I can't ask since Stephanie is taking a nap while I watch the kids.

"The Brothers Grimm"

This movie was released in 2005 by Mosaic Media Group. It stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as Will and Jake Grimm, respectively.

This is not a historical recounting of the lives of the Grimm bothers. Far from it. Pieces from many of the stories they wrote appear in the movie, but it does follow any one of them.

The Grimm brothers make a living by having hired hands fake hauntings and other evil supernatural/magical events in different villages and then coming in, charging the villagers an arm and a leg and "getting rid" of the evil.

They end up being involved in a real evil magic situation, in which they must become the heroes they pretend to be.

Going into the movie, I thought it would be light-hearted and fun. It is not. The movie is dark but is done well. Brotherly love is tested and proves its mettle in the end. But the brothers make their living swindling people and don't appear to be going to change their ways even after their dangerous adventure.

The Bottom Line
Due to its dark nature, I would not recommend this movie, but neither would I recommend against it. Just understand what your getting into.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Shake It!

With Ben having poison ivy, I've been applying caladryl lotion to him after we brush teeth. Will has witnessed this and knows that I shake up the bottle (per the instructions) prior to the application.

Tonight he decided he would help me out by shaking the bottle for me while I was brushing Ben's teeth. As he was shaking it, he asked if he was doing it right. I told him he was. I had returned to brushing Ben's teeth when I heard Will ask if it could be done this way.

I turned to see Will holding the bottle while hopping up and down on one foot. I told him, yes, it could be done that way =).

One Small Step

This afternoon, as I was taking my siesta in the basement, I was playing with Ellie. At one point I sat Ellie on a small pillow next to me, like a little chair. She seemed really pleased about that. And then she stood straight up. I applauded, saying "Yeah". She smiled and proceeded to do it several times. Sometimes she would spring up so forcefully that she would fly forward and do a belly flop. Sometimes she would just go straight to the belly flop. Always with smiles and giggles, and me applauding.

And then it happened. She stood up and took one small step before collapsing to the floor. I applauded and cheered louder. Then she did it again, this time taking two small steps. At this point, I called for Stephanie to come down stairs and see the fun. Stephanie, upon seeing what was taking placed, raced to grab the video camera.

She attempted to turn on the camera, only to find that the battery was dead. She tried the second battery, but it was dead as well. So she had to pull out the cord and plug it in. All the while, Ellie was doing her stand up routine (groan). Once the camera was up and running, we did manage to capture her taking one step. We would probably have gotten more if the environment had stayed the same. It did not.

Upon the appearance of the video camera, the boys decided it was show time and since the camera was trained on Ellie, the stage was right in front of Ellie. The video evidence will show a lot of dad pulling boys from out in front of Ellie to try and give her room to do her thing.

[Side bar]
I got to post about this before Stephanie. Yesss!
[/Side bar]

Sweating Profusely

It's hot today for New England. It's hit 90 or 91. I went out to mow the backyard (one of those recurring tasks I lamented about previously) after breakfast and giving Ben a bath. Which on this Saturday means around 11:00 a.m.

After picking up the innumerable toys scattered around the yard, I got distracted by the need to trim some branches and vines that were encroaching our property over the fences from neighbors' yards. This led to trimming back a bush that will be in the way when our next door neighbor replaces the fence between our yards (something he has said he was going to do since May). Stephanie and I never really liked the bush, except for the two weeks of the year when it blooms with pretty white flowers. I was planning on getting rid of the bush, but hadn't planned on doing it today.

However, since I was trimming it anyway, I decided to go ahead and cut it down. Of course, I had already broken into a sweat when I was just picking up toys. By now, I was drenched. I did have a water bottle with me to try to keep dehydration at bay. But it was a losing battle. I was sweating more than I could drink.

[Side bar]
About a month ago I installed an exhaust fan in our main bathroom. This required extensive time in the attic. The sweat factor in the attic was at least double as it was today in the backyard. I only had to climb up through the access hole and within about two seconds I would be sweating.
[/Side bar]

Then I trimmed the branches on another bush whose lower limbs have annoyed me for quite a while when I attempt to mow under them. No, I did not cut that bush down, but my mowing annoyance should be taken care of.

I hauled all of the branches and trimmings to the front of the house and placed them in the back of my pickup. Then it was lunch time. I downed two large glasses of cold water. I ate my left over chicken chipotle fajita from our jaunt to On the Border last night (it's one of our favorite restaurants; it opened this past spring). My shirt was so wet that when I picked up Will to carry him to the kitchen, he kind of recoiled in disgust and asked to be put down.

Then I took the yard waste down to the city's recycling center, unloaded it and then shoveled humus into one of the garbage cans I had with me. This is to fill the hole that will be left when I dig out the bush's stump. Again, I was drenched in sweat.

After coming home, I grabbed a glass of sweet iced tea and have now retreated to the coolness of the basement. I decided it was prudent to take a siesta during the hottest part of the afternoon. A little later, I'll go back out and actually mow the back yard. Then I'll let the boys attempt to help me as I dig up the bush stump. I'm sure I'll be perspiring once again.

Oh well, I'll enjoy my iced tea and cool air for now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Blond Beauties

No, this is not some raunchy post. I just changed the "Random Favorite Picture" in the side bar to one of my three blond-headed kids at a park. I think they are beautiful (or handsome for the boys) and just had to comment on that fact. Knowing that I'm biased, I'm still going to claim that they are the cutest kids around. Any parent is entitled to that opinion of their kids.

Itchy Spots

Poor Ben. As Stephanie describes in this post, he came down with poison ivy. It has spread over a good part of the front of his torso. He looks like he should be miserable to me. But he's handling it very well and does not complain much at all, at least not that I've heard.

The last couple of nights I've been applying caladryl lotion on all of his "itchy spots" prior to bed time. Then I have him stand in front of the pedestal fan in his room to help it dry faster. He likes that part. Afterwards, he kind of looks like he has used one of those cheap sunless tan lotions that turn your skin orange. Even so, he's still cute.

A Little Payback

I have to say I take some pleasure in that fact that, as outlined in this article, a TV news producer was the object of a bit of scandal while supposedly trying to get a sensationalized story.


This animated movie was released by Dreamworks in 2005. It's about a group of New York zoo animals who end up on a tropical island, in the wild, after falling off of a container ship. There is a group of four friends; a lion, a zebra, a giraffe, and a hippo. There's also a group of commando penguins. And there's a colony of fun loving lemurs. There's also the villains, a group of cat type predators who prey on the lemurs.

The movie is about friendship and working together through hardships. There's comedy, warm feelings, hurt feelings, fear, broken dreams, and dreams fulfilled. The penguins provide comedic relief on a mostly separate story line.

The Bottom Line
This is a very fun movie and I highly recommend it. The humor will be hard for younger children to understand and there are moments of apparent peril for our heroes, so I would not show it to younger audiences. I did not let my four year-old watch it, though he asked to. He would have had a ton of questions and possibly nightmares as a result.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Shadow Man

A co-worker and I took the initiative a couple of weeks ago to propose a technical solution to a business initiative that our management team was wanting to implement. We saw a presentation of a draft of their technical solution and we did not like it. So we got together and did some brain storming. We then met with the committee (made up of different levels of management) to toss out our idea. They were interested in hearing more. So we worked up a proposal and presented it to them a few days later. They accepted it. Now he and I, along with another developer and a business analyst, are tasked with implementing it, in a very tight time frame.

Now my manager and his manager are not part of the committee. When we took the initiative to come up with a different, and I'll say better, solution, they tagged us with the nicknames "Commando 1" and "Commando 2". Since then, other nicknames have been tossed out by my manager for me. One was Sledge (needed a nickname that was a little rougher). Then she said I needed a more Southern nickname. I suggested Bubba.

Since Tuesday, I've been involved in meetings everyday around planning and design. Today, after being in a very productive design session for an hour and a half, I returned to my desk for lunch. I found a piece of paper taped to my monitor with the words "Shadow Man" on it. When I questioned my manager, she replied that it was my new nickname since she hardly ever sees me anymore (my cube is opposite hers, so I'm in direct line of sight) . At least she has a sense of humor.

She'll see more of me for a while. This past design session got us where we could start developing, so I'll be glued to my chair for the next few weeks, trying to get this done.

From Murderous Zealot to Zealous Apostle

In my quiet time this morning, I read the account of Saul's conversion in Acts 9. Each time I read this story, I am awed by the power of God to change lives. Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute any Christians he found there. On the way, he had an encounter with the living Christ and days later he's out preaching Jesus as the Christ and using the Scriptures to prove that He was the Messiah.

I know that some people might say that if God appeared to them with a bright light, speaking audibly and blinding them, they too would change. That got his attention certainly. But I don't think that one incident, in and of itself, was enough to change his character. If God had not initiated the relationship and if he had not whole-heartedly believed in Jesus and given his life to him, there might have been a change for a while, but I don't think it would have been the transformation we see.

He went from being the one in charge, the one putting others to death, to the one whom others tried to kill. He gave up everything and spent himself for his Lord. Even though I am a Christian, and have been for years, I don't know if I would have the commitment that Paul (as God renamed him) had. I might have given up after being stoned and left for dead, or being shipped wrecked, or after the umpteen night when I went to bed hungry and cold. Not Paul. He counted all that as little compared to what he would gain in Christ (Romans 8:18). He never gave up, backed down, or let up.

His life was transformed by the Creator of life, the one who is Life, the Redeemer of our lives. It was the power of God, not the physical event, that changed Paul. And he was never the same again.

This gives me hope. I serve this same Christ. Though I still struggle with sin, I hold this hope and have this assurance that He is changing me, transforming me. Sometimes it seems to be happening slower than a snail's pace. But I know it's happening. Philippians 1:6 says that I can be confident that God will finish His work in me. Thank you God.

I have wondered several times what Paul's thoughts and emotions were during those three days of blindness and fasting? We know he was praying, because God tells Ananias that Paul is praying. How his mind must have been spinning at first. His world turned upside down. The One he had condemned to the world, he would now be proclaiming to the world. I wonder how many of the pieces fell into place during those three days? He obviously surrendered his life during that time as Ananias calls him "Brother Saul". In the days that followed that, he was out preaching, "proving that Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 9:22). Did God instruct him during that time, as Jesus did to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, on how all of the Scriptures fit together and pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah?

I don't know the answers to these musings, but this narrative fills me with a sense of wonder and awe at the Almighty God I serve. He's the only one who can truly change a person, and He wants to change each one of us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More Power (and Wheels)

Can any of you guys give out a Tim the Toolman grunt with me over this 28 wheeled truck?

Lots of Movie Reviews

Based on the number of reviews I've posted, and I have one more in draft form, you probably think I watch a lot of movies. Recently, yes. I tend to go in cycles. Since I'm frugal, most of the movies I watch are ones that I can borrow from the local library or that a friend loans me (which means they are not recent releases). The last couple of weeks I went and borrowed several movies. I probably wont do that for a few more weeks now. And then the cycle starts over again.

Why? I don't know. Oh well, life goes on. I'm a guy. I don't always feel it necessary to pursue the ins and outs of what motivates me or why I feel the way I do.

As far as watching movies in the theater, I average about once a year now with three young kids. Though this year I've seen two and hope to catch a third by the end of the year.


On the radio today (K-Love), I heard that Disney has decided that they want to produce the additional six books in the Chronicles of Narnia as movies. They want to release one a year, starting next May.

Bring it on.

"without limits"

This 1998 movie stars Billy Crudup, Donald Sutherland, and Monica Potter. The story is about a high school long distance runner (Billy Crudup) who goes on to run in college, holds the American record and then goes to the Olympics. One of the story lines is around the relationship between the runner and the coach (Donald Sutherland). Another is the relationship between the runner and a girl (who would have guessed?) (Monica Potter).

One reviewer quoted on the back of the box put this movie in the same class as Chariots of Fire. I have to strongly disagree. There's a lot of profanity and sexual content. This runner plainly declares that he does not believe in God but believes in himself. The story is fairly good, but the negative points listed greatly detract from the movie for me (and it ends sadly).

The Bottom Line
I would recommend staying away from this movie.

Just as a side note, one of the other athletes is played by Matthew Lillard, who I instantly recognized as Shaggy from the two Scooby Doo movies put out by Warner Brothers.

"Fantastic 4"

This movie adaption of the Marvel comic book characters of the same name was released in 2005. It stars Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman, Chris Evans as the Human Torch, Michael Chiklis as the Thing, and Julian McMahon as Doctor Doom.

These five individuals are exposed to a radiation storm while on a space station. After returning to earth, each discover that this has changed their DNA and given them special and unique powers. One of them becomes the villain, Doctor Doom and the other four band together as the Fantastic 4 and battle him. They, of course, win in the end, but it's left open as to whether or not Doctor Doom will return for the sequel. Since I have not seen Rise of the Silver Surfer yet, I don't know if he does or not.

I found it to be a good, solid movie. It's not spectacular nor is the storyline top notch, but it was entertaining and I did not feel like I wasted my time. I would not mind owning this movie, though it will not be on the top of my "to buy" list.

The Bottom Line
I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes sci-fi or superhero type movies and is not too analytical. It's a good way to spend a couple of hours.

My Work Day

Today was a very busy day at work. I had to be in a half an hour earlier than normal for a meeting. That lasted an hour. Then I had half hour to catch up on e-mail. Then I went to another meeting and then to a two hour design session until noon. That meant that I did not have time to go for my customary walk after lunch because I had to catch up on administrative stuff.

Next was a meeting to try to get a group of users of our server to agree to let the server team perform some necessary maintenance. I had suggested a time frame previously but the user group was not comfortable with it. However, after talking through everything, the original time frame was left standing. Following that I had two more meetings and some more catching up to do.

In total, a very busy day.

O To Be Young Again

One of the many things I enjoy about being a dad is that I get to see the world anew through the eyes of my kids. As they gaze in wonder at something or ask a thousand "Why?" questions (which can get annoying at times), I'm often reminded how much I take for granted now, with all my "wisdom", "experience" and age.

Tonight I was reminded of that again. It's a warm night, not quite warm enough for the AC, but warm enough that I got out the rotating fan for the boys' room. After I turned it on, the boys entertained themselves by talking into the fan, laughing at the resulting distortion of their voices. And I remembered back to a time when I used to spend what seemed like endless minutes doing the exact same thing.

Thank you God for the small treasures in life.