The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Beach Ball Freeze Tag

Recently we were visiting Julie’s grandparents. My daughters and I were playing on their really large back porch. It started with me just throwing a beach ball at them. It ended up being a game of freeze tag. I was always “it”, and the way to freeze them was by hitting them with the beach ball. Because of the nature of the beach ball…it doesn’t matter how hard it is thrown, it’s not going to hurt anyone. They loved it…and it was a very easy way for me to keep them entertained for a long time.

Today, we had two neighbor kids over at the house. I took the four of them out to the back yard and started up a game of Beach Ball Freeze Tag. Again, I was “it”. I had two beach balls this time. It’s a lot more challenging in a larger environment. The beach ball will only travel just so far before losing all of its velocity and being easy to dodge. I also instituted a new rule…if I threw and missed, then any of them could pick up the thrown ball and be a second “it”. To keep them from fighting over the ball, whoever touches the ball first is “it”, and if someone touches it second, then they are immediately frozen. Also…the two people who are “it” can attempt to freeze each other.

The challenge for the person who is “it” is to freeze all of the kids at the same time. The challenge for the kids is to learn to not clump together. It’s a lot more challenging and fun when they stay separated…makes the person who is “it” have to work harder.

Beach Ball Freeze TagBeach Ball Freeze TagBeach Ball Freeze Tag

February 23, 2008 Posted by | kids | , , | Leave a comment

Computer Warranty: Dell vs Apple

A year or so ago a co-worker of mine had his Dell Latitude laptop at home. He had a webcam hooked up to it and was attempting to get his infant son to smile/laugh/something into the camera so that his grandmother on the other end could see it. So he is bouncing the kid attempting to get the smile/laugh, and the kid throws up on the laptop…just puked all over it. He quickly puts the kid down, unplugs the computer, takes it apart, cleans it out, but it was too late…it was toast. The next day he calls Dell’s tech support and told them exactly what happened…didn’t even try to fudge it…”my kid puked on the computer.” The response? “Let’s see…you have CompleteCare. No problem. We’ll send the parts to the technician, and he’ll come to your house to fix it tomorrow.” No questions asked…simply “we’ll fix it.” Very nice!

A couple of weeks later my co-worker was in a meeting with our corporate Apple rep. I’m pretty sure that it was our Apple rep along with the regional sales manager also, but I’m not totally sure about that aspect. Anyway, my co-worker told them about what happened with his computer and how Dell responded. He then asked them, “What would Apple do in this situation?” Apple’s response?

“We would sell you a new computer.”

Let me repeat that in case it went by too fast for you…

“We would sell you a new computer.” No apologies. No qualifications. What awesome customer (no) service!

I like the fact that the computer that I am writing this on (Latitude D830) has complete warranty. If something flips out, I will have someone coming to my location the next day to fix it, and I’ll be back up and working. I depend on my computer too much to risk being unable to do my job while I ship the computer off for repair service. For that matter, I had another co-worker who was on his way out of the country one time and had the following experience. This next quote is a correction from my original post. He saw my original post and replied with the correct story via e-mail. I copied in his email with his permission…and left his name out per his request.

“I was flying to Japan. The night before, in Orlando, certain keys would no longer work – to the point where I couldn’t even log in to the machine. I did what I could that night but couldn’t fix it. The entire keyboard was hosed. I called Dell during my layover in Dallas and a tech came to the residence I was staying at in Portland. He replaced the keyboard before I flew out of the country the next day.

“Obviously I don’t believe Dell is perfect b/c, as a veteran tech, I have had my share of frustrating experiences with them. Still, this is one of my favorite stories about excellent customer service.”

Oh…and before someone replies with the tired old comment of “Macs don’t break.” Just stop. We all know that’s not true. Don’t even think about throwing that garbage around. I work around entirely too many of them to believe that.

Now…I know this story is likely to annoy a few Mac fanatics. I am not trying to flame bait the Mac community. This post is simply relaying actual events and actual conversations that my company has had with Dell and Apple. But based on the response to my previous posts that highlighted a security issue with Leopard and the attitude of certain Mac users, I know that a bit of flame response is a possibility. If you feel you must…go ahead…I have thick skin; I can handle it.

December 19, 2007 Posted by | comedy, computers, kids, tech | , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Bible Memory

Every night, my wife and I read a portion of the Bible to our daughters. Typically, Julie reads to our eight year old, and I read to our four year old. Marybeth and I are going through a Children’s Daily Devotional Bible that my wife found in a used book store. It is in the Contemporary English Version. It covers a year and has five reading sections per week. In each section you read a portion of the Bible, and at the bottom of the page it has a portion of a sentence (Bible verse) for the child to memorize. Over the course of five days, the child memorizes a verse. Two days a week are “review night”…going back over previous verses that she has memorized to solidify them. Over the course of the year, the kid memorizes 52 verses.

Marybeth just finished memorizing her 37th verse. Keep in mind…she is four years old. Last night was review night, so we were going back over previous verses. We walked backwards from the verse we had just finished (Luke 24:46) to the last one that she could remember last night (Psalm 103:1). She was tired and basically quit trying at that point. Anyway…she went back through 16 verses pretty much on her own. On several I had to give her the first word or two, but she nailed the rest.

Now as for me…in hindsight I should have been memorizing the verses along with her, but I didn’t. I’m starting now to memorize the verses with her. I have also posted a page on my blog that highlights the verse that we are currently working on. If you want to, you could memorize it along with us. I’ll update the Bible Memory Verse of the Week page at least weekly. I haven’t decided yet if it would be best to update it daily with the current portion, or weekly with the whole verse of the week. I also put the verses that she has already memorized on the page as well.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, kids | | Leave a comment

Counting to 100

Last night my four year old was counting her fingers and toes. She was skipping fifteen and nineteen and ending with twenty-four. She’s been skipping fifteen for months. So…I sat down with her and worked on teaching her to not skip fifteen. My goal was to get her to twenty…enough to get her fingers and toes.

I wrote out number 1-10 in a vertical column. Next to them I wrote 11-20 in another vertical column such that 1 was next to 11, 2 was next to 12, and so on. I got her to twenty that way. Then we kept going. I went into Excel and filled out a 1-10 in a column then used formulas to fill out a chart with 1-100 in ten columns. (i.e. cell B1 had “=10+A1”, cell C1 had “=10+B1”, etc.) Doing that I was able to get the columns nailed in about a minute and a half…short enough to not lose my four year old’s excitement.

Using that chart, my four year old counted all the way to 100. Very cool. And she was really really excited. Jumping up and down, cheering, dancing. So much so that I had to take a picture.

November 13, 2007 Posted by | comedy, kids, life | | 2 Comments

School Event – Why bother?

Tonight I went to an event at my daughter’s school. I can’t say it was the highlight of my week, but it was pretty funny. They had a local guy named Mr. Richard there. Mr. Richard is pretty popular around Orlando. He reads to kids, plays guitar, sings. He is pretty amusing. It was really amazing to see the kids and parents responding to him. My wife refers to them as “Mr. Richard groupies.” He has several videos on YouTube. That will give you an idea of what he is like. Honestly…the kids love him.

Well…sitting a few rows in front of us was the dad of one of the other kids. He was sitting next to his wife and had brought his portable DVD player to watch what appeared to be a stand up comic. Why did he even bother coming?

November 8, 2007 Posted by | comedy, kids, life, relationships | , | 2 Comments

How much does God love us?

I was talking with my four year old tonight, and she asked me if I knew how much God loved us. When I asked her how much, she answered, “115. That’s a LOT of love.”

[Edit…October 25…everything that follows]

Ya know…I’m sure 115 meant something to her. But realistically…while it’s cute and funny coming from the mouth of a four year old…it just doesn’t get the job done for the people who have been hitting this post since it first went up. In the last hour, there was someone who hit this post when they typed “how much does God love me” in a search engine.

There’s something about that question that strikes a chord with us. We want to know that we are loved. We want to know that God cares about us. We want to know that He loves us. How can we know? That’s a question I’d be glad to dialog with you about. Just send me a message. I’d be glad to answer your questions or walk with you through the process of discovering how much God really does love you. I promise it’s not a trite answer…and it’s a lot more than 115.

You could also take a look at this ShockWave thing called Life@Large. It walks you through a process to see how your story fits into the story of life.

October 18, 2007 Posted by | Jesus, kids | Leave a comment


Yesterday I got a phone call from my four year old. She was excited. Really really excited. So excited that I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I finally made out the phrases “beat Mommy” and “triple jump” from which I deduced she was talking about checkers. At that point I figured that Julie had played checkers with her and had let her win, and that Marybeth was very excited about “beating” Mommy.

Then Julie got on the phone. Her first words let me know that I hadn’t exactly gotten the story correct. “WHAT did you teach her?” Turns out that Marybeth beat Julie fair and square! Julie started by playing easy and letting Marybeth get a couple of jumps. Then Julie started hearing Marybeth thinking out loud… “if I move there Mommy will jump me, but if I move here then I’m safe.” And that’s exactly what she did…she made all safe moves. Julie was forced into taking moves that got her jumped. At one point Julie makes a move and Marybeth proceeds to triple jump her…something Julie didn’t see until Marybeth had started the jumping. A bit later she followed that up with a double jump.

In the end, Marybeth just plain won. She was understandably excited, and Julie was stating that she wasn’t going to let her guard down next time!

Just a note…I didn’t intentionally teach her anything! I played with her last week helping her beat her sister, but all I did was tell her where to move. Apparently she learned by watching.

October 16, 2007 Posted by | kids | Leave a comment

Did that change your plans?

Last year, my oldest daughter (who is now 8 years old) asked me to teach her how to play chess. I’m not very good, but I taught her what I know. She enjoys playing and never makes a mistake moving the pieces. She hasn’t figured out the strategy of getting multiple pieces working together to get a checkmate, but she has fun. We play a few times a week.

Last week we were playing, and I looked at the board knowing what I had set up and what her tendencies were and told her, “In four moves I will have you in checkmate.” She quizzically looked at the board, said “ok” and moved her knight. I then moved my bishop. She then took her knight and killed my queen. Then she innocently looked up and with perfect voice inflection asked, “Did that change your plans?” My wife who was sitting behind me on the couch cracked up laughing.

That was excellent! I gave her a high five…and then spent the next twenty minutes re-tasking my remaining pieces to get her in checkmate…without the queen!

October 3, 2007 Posted by | comedy, kids | | Leave a comment

Locks of Love

A few weeks ago over dinner, my oldest daughter mentioned that her teacher had told her that her hair was probably long enough to do Locks of Love. We don’t know how the conversation came up (Laurel can’t remember). Anyway, a few minutes later, I asked her if that is something that she would be interested in doing. She very excitedly said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!” So, the next day, my wife took her to Great Clips and got her hair cut as a donation to Locks of Love. We are really proud of her. This is the first time that she has had a true haircut in her life…she’s almost eight. She’s had the occasional trim, but not a haircut. They were able to cut off ten inches and she still has shoulder length hair…and she really loves her short cut.

If you’ve never heard of Locks of Love, they take hair donations and make wigs for children going through medical treatment that causes them to lose their hair. The mission statement from their website is:

Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

One note about Great Clips…they will take care of processing the donation and sending it in to Locks of Love. And if you donate your hair for this, your haircut is free. It’s good seeing a big company do something like this.

May 19, 2007 Posted by | kids | Leave a comment

Holding Hands

When Julie and I are in a public area or parking lot with our daughters, we make sure we hold their hands. We keep them from getting lost in a crowd or from getting hit by a car. We know where the dangers are and keep them safe.

Today I was walking out of church with my four year old. We were approaching the parking lot, so we were holding hands. As we were walking along, her shoe caught on something and she tripped. Because I was holding her hand, I was able to pull her up and keep her from falling. Had we not been holding hands, she would have at least fallen, and probably would have gotten hurt on the sidewalk.

It struck me at the time that this is a lot like life. There are lots of things out there that want to trip us up. Some are physical dangers like I am protecting my daughters from. Others are spiritual in nature…temptations that if acted upon could destroy our reputations, our families, our lives. Some of these dangers we can see, some we can’t. What can protect us from them?

How about if we hold onto Jesus’s hand? He wants to walk through life with us. He desires to protect us and keep us safe from the garbage that gets thrown at us. If we are holding his hand when the trial hits, He can pull us up and keep us from getting hurt. As long as we don’t rip our hand out of his, He will keep us safe from the temptations that could destroy us.

April 15, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, kids, life | | Leave a comment

Hearing Through the Noise of Life

Yesterday I took my daughter Laurel to a couple of easter egg hunts. The second hunt was at a very large church here in Orlando. Part of the free “festivities” at this church was a climbing wall. As soon as Laurel saw it, she wanted to do it…so… off to the climbing wall.As I am watching some of the other kids climbing, I’m noticing that as they get higher up the wall, several of them were shifting to the left of the straight up path. As they kept going on that route, when they got closer to the top, the cable they were attached to would actually pull them off the wall…because they were three-four feet off center of where the cable mechanism is attached at the top. So, I told Laurel to just go straight up and not slide to the side.

So as she is climbing up, I’m noticing her moving to the left. I gave her a bit of time to see if she would self correct. When she didn’t I called out her name. She immediately started looking around until we made eye contact. I told her to move to the right, and she saw what was going on and got back on track.

So…what difference does this make? Why am I writing about it? Because a spiritual truth struck me as soon as she started looking for me.

There was a large crowd around the climbing wall. Very large crowd. There was a lot of noise. There was a Christian band playing in the background. Lots of distracting things…not to mention the focus of a seven year old who is hanging on for dear life fifteen feet off the ground. But when she heard my voice…her father’s voice…she immediately started looking for me to find out what I had to say. And when she heard me, she remembered what I told her before she started, corrected and got back on track.

We live in a noisy society that is full of distractions. There are so many things that want to pull us away from the path that God has mapped out for us. He has uniquely created each of us with certain gifts and strengths. He has given us a path to follow…if we will only follow it. There are even things that look good…like the other handholds that the kids were following off track…but they aren’t the best things. For that matter, sometimes the best thing for us is more difficult than what we would like…and we reach for a handhold that is off track…never realizing that we just settled for second (or third or tenth) best.

The key for us is to be able to decipher our Father’s voice in the midst of life. We need to be listening to God as we read the Bible. Then when we get in the midst of our day, we need to listen for His voice guiding us back where we need to be.

April 8, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, kids, life | | Leave a comment

Quote that describes me

This weekend I was flipping through channels and came across the last five minutes of the movie “Anne of Green Gables”…the quintessential chick flick. My seven year old daughter is beside me on the couch asking questions about what just happened. I explain it to her, then I asked her if she would like to watch it because my wife owns it. She was thrilled. I actually like the movie and figured it would give me some good “daddy-daughter” time with her.

So the last few days we have been watching a bit here and there and last night came to a scene in which Anne is talking a lot (which if you have seen the movie, you know is common…she talks a lot). Anne goes on to make the following statement, “I know I say far too much, but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t, you’d give me some credit for it.”

I cracked up laughing because that quote fits me pretty well. There’s a reason that this blog is titled what it is!

March 21, 2007 Posted by | kids | | Leave a comment

Watching You (Song by Rodney Atkins)

Driving to work this morning, I was listening to the song “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins. (select from the drop-down list)

The song is about a dad and his son. It goes through a couple of episodes where the son is doing things that the dad asks where he learned to do them…one is cuss, the other is pray! In both instances the son responds with:

Let’s take it a step further…Are we watching Jesus? Are we watching to learn what He is like? Do we know his likes and dislikes? Do we care? Are we wanting to be like Him? Do we want to become the kind of person who does what Jesus does…simply because it is what Jesus does?


As I listened to it, I thought about what application it could have in our relationship with out Heavenly Father. The illustration breaks down a bit with the cussing part, but we can learn a lot from the interaction that kids have with adults.

This kid had been watching his dad…both the good and bad things. He wanted to be like his dad. He could see the things that his dad liked and wanted to be the same way.


My heart’s desire is to be able to see what Jesus is doing and for that to be what I desire to do as well. I want my life to reflect the work that He is doing in living through me.

March 14, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, kids, music | | Leave a comment


One of the seemingly constant frustrations that Julie and I have had is the amazing amount of stuff that our daughters drop on the floor while eating. Cereal, crumbs, cheese…you name it. It looks terrible and gets tracked all over the house.

Well…I finally had enough this week. I started the battle to eliminate floor crud…eventually shortened to simply “flud“.

We are working with our daughters to get them to first of all eat like ladies. “Ladies don’t have flud under their seats.” They are also required to clean up their own flud. To give extra incentive…they don’t get any dessert until all the flud is gone.

So far it has worked well. They are dropping less on the floor. They are cheerfully cleaning up what they do drop. And Julie and I don’t have to deal with the unsightly mess!!!

It also seems to help to have a bit of “silliness factor” thrown in…”flud“…where the heck did that come from?

January 28, 2007 Posted by | kids | | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: