Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

May your celebrations be joyful, full of blessings, and honoring to Christ the King, for He is the reason we celebrate.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One of the Universe's Little Mysteries Solved

Have you ever stopped to wonder how having a foot of snow impacts the smaller creatures of this world? Have you spent countless hours puzzling over the mystery of how squirrels traverse snow ladened trees, their branches covered in three to four inches of white, icy snow?

No? Well, the later question (nor the former for that matter) had not troubled my mind until this morning. As I was partaking in some sustenance with which to break my fast, out through the kitchen window I observed a squirrel moving along a large branch covered in three to four inches of snow. As I did so, I realized that this question, how a squirrel traverses snow ladened trees, was such an obvious question, it's a wonder that it had not been bothering me for years now. Would they plow through it, like a water buffalo in a rice paddi? Would they climb backward, swinging their tails to brush off the snow? Would they race along the top of the snow, like an elf?

While I did not have the question before hand, I now had the answer to this little mystery of the Universe. Now I can rest easy, burden lifted. That I may help ease the burdens from your minds regarding this mystery, I will share the answer with you.

(Drum roll please)

Instead of trying to deal with the snow, the squirrel simply traveled along the underside of the branch, speeding upside down, unhindered by the snow, to wherever it was going. Little mystery of the Universe solved.

Is your burden eased?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blog Glob, 12/22/08

  • It looks like we will have a white Christmas this year. Over the weekend, we probably got around a foot of snow. On Christmas Eve we are supposed to get some rain/snow mix, but I doubt there will be enough rain to melt all of that snow by Christmas Day. Christmas is supposed to be fairly warm, around 50, with no snow fall predicted. However, I think having the ground covered with it counts as having a white Christmas.
  • I'm now sore and tired as a result of the first bullet point. There was a lot of shoveling to be done. I also started construction on our own sledding slope in the backyard, backed up to the climber, but that is still a work in progress as it is taking a lot more snow than I thought it would.
  • I'm going for my annual eye exam tomorrow. Yippee (said in a monotone, with no enthusiasm).
  • I'm on vacation all this week and am only work the first three days of next week. Yeah (said with a lot of enthusiasm and pitch fluctuation)!!
  • I bought myself a new computer game to play with the boys, specifically Will. It's called Crazy Machines 2 and does not involve any violence to living creatures, just to some inanimate objects. I decided to do this because Will really likes computer games, but seems to get obsessed with the ones that have fighting in them, like Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle Earth II and Age of Empires III. He seems to like this one (so do I) and has not been talking about shooting guns or arrows as a result. Ben likes it too, which I knew he would, since it's about solving a problem (or puzzle) with various parts to make something do a specific task(s).
  • My parents are coming next week for a visit. It will be nice to see them.
  • I am in the process of reading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens to the family (which means Will and Stephanie, with Ben and Ellie occasionally listening in). After that, we are planning on watching a cinematic version of it, the one by the Muppets :-).
  • I watched Superman, The Movie, a couple of nights ago. It's still a great movie in my opinion. The next night, I let the kids watch a "making of Superman" with me. That resulted in Ben "flying" off the couches and beds.
  • Can you believe that Christmas is only 3 days away? I've still got presents to wrap!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The First Snow, 2008

About 6:30 this morning Ben came into our room to inform us that it was snowing. I mumbled a less than sincere thanks. To be fair, we had looked at the forecast yesterday which had forecast snow, so Ben was on the look out for it. Both boys were hoping that there was a parking ban in Providence, which would mean that there was no church, which would mean that they could go out and play. In fact, they wanted to get suited up and go out prior to breakfast, that's how excited they were.

I checked a couple of web sites and even called and left a message for our pastor to check to see if there was a parking ban. So the snow would have to wait until we got home from church. As soon as we got home, the kids headed out to the backyard to play. About the time I decided to go out with the camera, Ellie had decided to come in because her clothes were wet from having jumped in a puddle that had formed in front of the bulk head. Enjoy the pictures below. Some are a little fuzzy or off center because they were taken while I was the target of snowballs from both boys. At one point I was forced to put away the camera and defend myself :-).














Will was not happy to have snow down his coat.





Ben was not happy to have fallen face first in the snow.




I mentioned that Ellie had come in as I went out, right? Well, Stephanie was in our bedroom feeding Sam, so Ellie was unsupervised. Below is the result.


She's sucking on the lid of the toothpaste tube.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Glob, 11/30/2008

  • A couple of weeks ago, it was raining when I left work, walking out to get in my truck. Naturally, I had the umbrella up to keep me as dry as possible. Well, I as I climbed into the driver's seat, holding the umbrella in my left hand, I must have been distracted because I reached over with my right hand a closed the door. As it was closing, the thought crossed my mind that this was not a smart thing to do, as I was still holding the umbrella. Before I could react to the thought, the door closed on the shaft of the umbrella. Imagine my surprise and slight shock, when, instead of the door just stopping, I saw the top of the umbrella fall to the parking lot outside the door. The door had sheared the shaft clean in two, it was not even mashed.
  • On the 21st was my wife's birthday. Happy Birthday honey! We had two families over to help celebrate with us. Mike and Dawn we've known for almost 11 years. They are native Rhode Islanders who went to the church we decided to attend. They initiated the relationship, for which we are very grateful, as we did not know a soul up here. About a year after we arrived in Rhode Island, Andy and Amy arrived and came to our church. We decided to pass on the same favor that Mike and Dawn had done for us, and immediately invited them for lunch. So we've been friends with them for over 10 years. Now each of those couples has one or more children. It was good to get together with friends.
  • I went with my friend Andy on the 22nd to see Quantum of Solace. It was a good movie but not great. A lot of action, as to be expected.
  • There has been quite a bit of leaf raking around here. Except for the carting off of the leaves, I finally finished the backyard yesterday. Most of it had been done a few weeks ago, with a big pile made in the middle of the yard by the climber so that the kids could jump in it. Finishing up meant moving the big pile over to the corner of the yard where it will be loaded into the back of the pick up and raking up the leaves that had fallen since the first round of raking.
  • Ellie was sick for a few days. Thankfully it was short lived and the only major symptoms were being warm (low grade fever) and being cranky. As she even told me today, several days after fully recovering, "I feel beher".
  • On Saturday we set up the Christmas tree. The kids, but Ben especially, were excited about this. He's so fun when he's excited - it makes me want to give him whatever he wants.
  • Recently, since I was nearly out of wood glue, I purchased some Gorilla Glue (the all purpose, not the wood glue), as I've heard a number of good things about it. So far, so good. I've repaired a children's chair which had suffered from over enthusiastic users - the back had fallen off and a leg dangling. It's held up for a few days now.
  • I'm back at work full time now. I had gotten use to the half days from home. I'm missing the additional time with my family.
  • I'm reading through two books right now. I'll post reviews when I'm done.

Thanksgiving, 2008

Psalm 118 (NIV)

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:
"His love endures forever."

3 Let the house of Aaron say:
"His love endures forever."

4 Let those who fear the LORD say:
"His love endures forever."

5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free.

6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.

9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

10 All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.

11 They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.

12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they died out as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off.

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the LORD helped me.

14 The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!

16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"

17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.

20 This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;

23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.

27 The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

I would like to belatedly wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a nice, easy day at our house. A little yard work got done, I made an apple pie with three helpers (plus Stephanie) and Stephanie cooked a good meal. It was a very good Thanksgiving for us.

Thanks be to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Soul Provider"

This is a book review on Soul Provider by Tim Elmore.

Synopsis: This book is for men and is intended to provide them with a practical framework for being a spiritual leader. Tim Elmore first defines what spiritual leadership is and what it is not. He discusses barriers to being a good spiritual leader. Then he discusses the four roles of a spiritual leader - as a model, a minister, a mentor and a manager.

Review: My friend Andy loaned me this book a good while back. (Sorry Andy for having kept it so long, I'll try and get it back to you tomorrow at church.) During the time I've had it, I have read it twice. The book is fairly short, only 140 pages long, so it can be a quick read. However, in order to get the most out of it, you need to go through it slowly, thoughtfully and prayerfully, and possibly more than once. Each chapter has some application questions to make you analyze and apply what you are reading.

This is a very good book and I recommend it to all men, because we are all spiritual leaders, regardless of whether you're in an official ministry position or not, married or not, a father or not. I like how it provides the scriptural basis for the points and is more practical than philosophical in how these points should be accomplished.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Box Race Car

This past week a box came into our home which Will thought would make a great race car. Because he asked so earnestly, and so persistently, I set out to make a race car for the kids. Will wanted one with actual axles and wheels that worked. I told him that unfortunately, the cardboard box did not have the strength to handle axles and wheels, without a lot of bracing in the form of wood. So fake wheels would have to do.

As any good MacGuyver fan would do, I pulled out my (new) roll of duct tape. Then I rummaged around in the recycle bins for parts. Those parts acquired, along with a couple pairs of scissors and Elmer's glue, I proceeded to create the race car pictured below.

From the front. The hood (all that white up front) is made from a cake box.

From the side. The white piece of cardboard across the middle is the seat belt.

They colored the wheels. Ben's is the rear one, it was the most colorful.

The steering wheel assembly. Made from a toilet paper roll, the lid of an instant oatmeal container, a brass paper fastener, a piece of thicker cardboard and lots of duct tape. The toilet paper roll is the column, with one end cut at an angle.

Our proud, if unknowing, sponsor.

Will Race car
Will, race car drive extraordinaire.

Ben Race car
Ben, with his racing helmet.

Ellie race car
Ellie, the cutest of all race car drivers, with her "helmet" on too.

Alas, within a day, the steering wheel suffered a catastrophic failure in the form of Ellie attempting to wrest it away from Ben. I was wise to take pictures prior to allowing the kids to embark on imaginary races. It only took about an hour to do and has been well worth it as a cheap form of entertainment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Samuel Pics

Before I show you more pictures of one of the most adorable babies on the planet, I'm happy to report that Stephanie and Sam were able to come home this morning due to both of them being in such good health. Praise God!

Getting checked out

This is not where I'm supposed to be!

He has long toes

Cutest baby


Found those fingers

Look at that hair!

Stephanie and Sam

Sam with Grandma

Sam and Will

Sam and Ben

Sam and Ellie

All my kids

Stephanie dressing Sam for the journey home

Sam and I