The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Best Years of Your Life

Most of my friends know that I’m a country music fan. Currently one of my favorite artists is Brad Paisley who has a song titled “Letter To Me” (lyrics and video). The first couple of lines tells what the song is about:

If I could write a letter to me

And send it back in time to myself at 17

The song explores a lot of the anxiety that many of us went through in high school. Every little thing was huge. Every setback seemed like the end of the world.

Later in the song, towards the end of the “letter” comes this line:

And I’d end by saying have no fear

These are nowhere near the best years of your life

My wife made the observation that those are words that high school students (and so many more of us) need to hear. More than that, if there was some way to convince us of it. Whatever you are going through, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t settle for second best. Don’t give up. Don’t do things you will regret simply because you think everyone else is doing it.

These really aren’t the best years of your life.

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April 17, 2008 Posted by | life, music | Leave a comment

Gestational Fuel

When Julie was pregnant with our first child, the food that she most often requested was egg sandwiches. Laurel “gestated” on egg sandwiches.

With Marybeth, the gestational fuel of choice was Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy’s. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I jumped in the car at odd hours to run to Wendy’s to come back with the golden food of that pregnancy.

This time around we are back to gestating on egg sandwiches. I’ve gotten pretty good at whipping one up in just a couple of minutes.

April 13, 2008 Posted by | comedy, life | | Leave a comment

Why didn’t we ask for prayer sooner?

Last Friday we posted asking for prayer because of Julie’s extreme morning sickness. First of all…DON’T stop praying! Second…thank you. We should have asked for prayer sooner…one of these days I will get it through my head that prayer should be my first response instead of my last.

People started praying on Friday, and on Saturday morning Julie was able to eat a full breakfast…heck that was the first full meal she had eaten all week. She was able to leave the house for the first time in four days that afternoon. She was even able to go to church on Sunday (where we got to tell our LIFE Group that I teach). She is doing a lot better, but everything is still very tentative. We don’t think she is out of the woods, but we are hopeful.

Thank you again for talking with God on our behalf.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | life | , | Leave a comment

Babies on Airplanes

When we started letting people know that Julie is pregnant I knew that it is news that could be received with difficulty by a few of our friends who have struggled with infertility. I have since talked personally with both of these guys…both are truly happy for us. At church this morning I was talking with one of them…a guy who has been told by his doctor that he and his wife will never be able to have children.

During our conversation he mentioned being on an airplane last year in which there were a couple of small children who were making normal baby noises. One of the men sitting close to him grumbled something about crying children on airplanes. My friend turned to the guy and said something that gave him a little perspective…it went something like this:

When the doctor tells you that you will never hear those sounds in your house…those sounds become the most precious in the world.

My friend’s words gave the guy a little perspective, and he stopped grumbling. I am generally very sympathetic towards parents with children on airplanes. I’ve been in that spot. As much as you want to do your best to keep your child from disturbing other people…you only have just so much control…the child has a mind and a will of their own.

I will also add that as a traveler, I always go prepared. I travel with my noise canceling headphones and a set of foam earplugs in my computer bag. Normally I use the headphones because it cancels out the engine roar and makes for a more pleasant flight. However…I always have the earplugs as a backup…just in case I am right next to a child whose ears are hurting due to air pressure changes.

April 6, 2008 Posted by | kids, life | , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Little Surprise

A little more than a month ago I came home from work and was talking with my wife about what had gone on that day. In the midst of the conversation she said that she felt like something was poking her through her clothes and asked me to look to see if I could find what it was. When I started looking I saw this:

Baby Feet

That picture may not mean much to some of you. It’s a pair of “precious feet“…a lapel pin the same size and shape of a baby’s feet at 10 weeks after conception. Julie had used this same pin to tell me that we were pregnant with our youngest daughter. To quote my friend Jason, “Holy Schnikey!”

Now I know what some of you are thinking…I thought Jarvis said they weren’t going to have any more children. Well…what I actually said was that since our first two children didn’t sleep through the night til they were almost two years old (and sleep deprivation is a very effective form of torture…even if inflicted by a small child), God would have to speak very clearly for us to have another child…birth control would have to fail. Uh…well…God spoke.

Julie is currently 8 weeks pregnant, and we are still a bit shellshocked. This little one is definitely a surprise. We are adjusting to the fact that our family size is going to increase around the beginning of November or so. It still hardly seems real except that Julie is experiencing the worst “morning sickness” that she has ever had. BTW…has there ever been a bigger misnomer? “Morning” sickness? Please. I beg you…give us sickness that is just in the morning. This stuff is “24-hour-a-day-sickness.” And it is killing us.

We were originally planning to keep the pregnancy a secret for a bit longer, but at this point we really need your prayers. This sickness is brutal…on Julie and the rest of the family. Because the sickness has been so strong, Julie has barely been able to get off the couch most days which means that she hasn’t been able to do the things that she normally does around the house…so those things fall to me after I come home from work. We are both simply exhausted. I don’t know that I can remember a time when I have felt more fatigued.

So, please pray for us. Specifically you can pray for:

  • Safety/health for our baby. While we have been too sick/tired to be joyful yet, we are looking forward to meeting this little person and want the best for whoever he/she may be.
  • For the sickness to let up soon. Like I said…this is killing us.
  • For strength for me as I try to be both Dad and Mom to our two daughters (who are eight and five years old). I am desperately trying to not let my tiredness bleed over into being impatient/snappy with them. Some days I do well…some days I don’t.

April 4, 2008 Posted by | kids, life | , , , | 3 Comments

Full Moon at the Swim Meet

We have some friends whose teenage sons are swimmers. They have only started swimming in the last year, but they are apparently really really good. The oldest placed third in his first swim meet…before he learned how to do a flip turn. He literally had to swim to the wall, stop, turn around and start swimming again. And he placed third.

Anyway, he was in a fairly big swim meet today. He doesn’t normally do the whole body shave thing, but this was a big enough meet that he did. One of the events that he was entered in was the 100 Meter Butterfly. Before the event, he didn’t make sure that his speedo was adequately tied/fastened/whatever…having never worn a speedo, I don’t know what he didn’t do right. But I know you can see where this is headed…

He dove in. The water ripped the speedo off. And he proceeded to finish the event naked…and mooned the spectators with every stroke.

His mom told us that there was professional level cheering going on. She also later told her son that it could have been worse…he could have been swimming the backstroke. He said he would have stopped if that had been the case! He also made sure everything was properly fastened before every other event.

March 9, 2008 Posted by | comedy, kids, life | , , | 2 Comments

Love Me If You Can

For a while I’ve been hearing the Toby Keith song “Love Me If You Can” on the radio. It has struck me often that the chorus very much describes me. It goes: 

I’m a man of my convictions. Call me wrong, call me right. … You may not like where I’m going, but you sure know where I stand. Hate me if you want to, love me if you can.

In the important things in life, I am very “black and white”. I have my convictions, and I can tell you why I believe what I believe. You may not agree with me. For that matter, I’m positive that some people despise me because of some of my beliefs. Regardless of how you feel about my beliefs…if you know me…you will know where I stand on core issues in life.

March 3, 2008 Posted by | life, music | , , | Leave a comment

Why is Snake Phobia Hardwired?

Today I saw an AP article written about a researcher at UVA who was looking at why humans typically have a fear of snakes. The question she asked herself was, “Where did that fear come from?” They did an experiment with 24 adults and 24 preschoolers that gives a logical conclusion that people do have an innate snake phobia. Her conclusion was “We have an evolutionary bias against snakes…”

I’d like to offer another possibility. I know that many of the people reading this won’t necessarily agree with my world view…that’s okay…just hear me out. (Side note: perhaps I need to put up a post about my world view…that could be a good discussion starter.)

Part of my world view involves taking a look at the part of the Bible called Genesis. Specifically at chapter 3 of Genesis. If you aren’t aware, Genesis chapters 1 and 2 talk about how God created everything. Chapter 3 then talks about how sin (think of it as wrongdoing) first entered creation…and the effect that sin had on creation. Part of that narrative is that Satan takes the form of a snake to deceive the first two humans. Jumping ahead to the middle of chapter 3, we read where God says to the snake, “You and this woman will hate each other; your descendants and hers will always be enemies…”

So…it’s no surprise to me that humans typically have a snake phobia. God said we would.

Yeah, the researcher can postulate that it is based on “an evolutionary bias”. The writer of the AP article states that the researcher “believes it is because snakes would have posed a significant threat to our ancestors…”

Personally, I’m gonna believe that what Genesis has to say about it has more validity.

March 1, 2008 Posted by | life | , , , | 1 Comment

Sinus Garbage: Take 2

Headed back to the doctor on Saturday. Since starting the azithromycin, my throat got significantly worse, and both ears were killing me. Saw a different doctor yesterday. Definitely sinusitis, and add an ear infection in on top of it.

She took me off of the medication I was on, and put me on Avelox and Rhinocort. I really hope those two get the job done…I discovered as I was checking out at the pharmacy that neither of them are on the “preferred drugs” list for our health insurance. $50 co-pay EACH. I went in expecting to pay $10…I was a bit surprised to see the extra zero.

She also recommended Benadryl for some of the symptoms, so I picked some up. Boy did I ever figure out that I hate that stuff. It made me loopy. I was barely functional…I didn’t exactly lose the ability to sit upright, but it wasn’t far from it. After that one dose wore off, I went back to the Mucinex-D that I had been using before. It handled the symptoms and leaves me able to walk around and carry on a conversation.

It has really struck me how much this sickness has taken out of me. I am just all over weak. In the middle of the night I woke up hungry (because I haven’t felt like eating much in four days), so I grabbed a banana. I got out of breath standing in the kitchen eating a banana. Everything I do just wears me down. I simply have no energy at all.

February 17, 2008 Posted by | life | , , | Leave a comment

Note to self…

Next time you start feeling the sinus garbage coming on…go to the doctor the first day. Don’t be stupid and wait to see if your body will beat it on its own…it won’t. You’ve proven it to yourself too many times. Spend the copay, get your $5 antibiotic, and get on with life instead of allowing this thing to hammer you for a week. Next time…remember what your head felt like yesterday and what your throat feels like today. That outta motivate you.

February 15, 2008 Posted by | life | Leave a comment

Sinus Garbage

About once a year, I come down with some sinus garbage that knocks me out cold. This week has been it. It started as basic allergy like symptoms…then sinus headache…then fever…then chills…then sore throat…then all over body aches. This week has really been murder. Went to the doctor this morning. I think over the course of the last few years I have visited every doctor in the practice with this issue. Got my antibiotics…Azithromycin is my friend. Hopefully I’ll start making a turnaround tonight. Boy do I ever hope so.

February 14, 2008 Posted by | life | , , | Leave a comment

Trip to My Cousin’s Funeral

When I found out last week that my cousin Carrie had died, I assumed that I wasn’t going to be able to afford to go. My first looking at flights seemed to confirm that…they started at $640 and went up sharply from there. NO way I could afford that on my missionary salary! Then I came across flights from Sanford FL (just north of Orlando) to Wichita through Allegiant Airlines. Total cost of my flight was $96…and no…I didn’t leave off a number…it was under $100.

I spent a lot of time with my Aunt and her family. Got to spend time with my cousin Robert (Carrie’s brother) and Robert’s wife Karoline who I’ve never had the opportunity to really talk with. I really enjoyed spending time with them. My aunt asked me to speak at Carrie’s memorial service. That was truly an honor. I was happy to do so.

Robert and Karoline had just gotten there. Robert was playing bass guitar for a punk/hardcore/thrash band that was in the midst of a tour of Europe when he got the call (honestly not sure if that link is the band he was touring with…he plays with a few bands). Karoline spent twelve hours getting in touch with him and getting him a flight back home.

Robert and I have joked (sort of joked…partially serious) about applying for The Amazing Race. We are opposite on almost everything you can imagine. Politics, religion, height, appearance, vocational choice, amount of body art, diet…name it…we are probably opposite. I have to imagine the producers would at least consider us…they would be expecting big fights which would make for great “reality TV”. Funny thing is that we get along really well.

February 10, 2008 Posted by | life, relationships | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Cousin Died

Got a phone call yesterday from my brother. First two sentences: What are you doing? You might want to sit down.

My 28 year old cousin from Oklahoma\Kansas died. She died Thursday morning in her apartment in Wichita. She was found by her boyfriend on Saturday. My aunt said that she believes the cause of Carrie’s death was SUDEPSudden Unexplained Death in EPilepsy. She apparently died Thursday morning as she was getting ready for work. Her death was covered by KWCH. My aunt was interviewed by the station as part of their story.

Carrie CollinsCarrie had been on epilepsy medication her entire life. As a result of the epilepsy medication, she was developmentally behind her age. A few months ago she went off of all medication. In those months she became what my aunt referred to as normal. She was like a brand new person that my aunt was very much enjoying getting to know. It was the first time that the two of them had been able to interact on an adult level.

Cut short.

Yes, we will miss her. Yes, we are in a bit of shock. I wish I had gotten the chance to meet the “new” Carrie, however I am comforted in knowing that she had a secure relationship with Jesus, and as a result, she is actually more alive now than she has ever been. She is in the presence of the Lord that she wanted to serve as a medical missionary. (She had just passed the EMT national registration test a few weeks ago.) Her race is finished.

Please pray for my Aunt Sue and her husband Roger, Carrie’s brother Robert, Carrie’s dad Robert, and Carrie’s boyfriend Curtis. Those are the ones who are the most intimately affected by her death.

February 4, 2008 Posted by | Jesus, life | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One reason I hate election season

During any election season the number of phone calls in America goes through the roof. Doesn’t matter if you are on the National Do Not Call list…political calls are exempt. During election season we screen every phone call that comes in. If you don’t talk to the answering machine and sound like someone I know…it doesn’t get answered.

Tonight we had let multiple phone calls go unanswered. A few minutes ago my oldest daughter (who didn’t know why we weren’t answering the phone) answered a phone call. She brought it over to me. I got on and the guy started going into his spiel about wanting to ask questions of voters about certain candidates and issues. I very politely said, “No thank you.”

At that point the guy is reaching for the button on his phone to hang up and mumbles the word “a##hole” under his breath before he actually hit the button. Not only are you one of the people disturbing the peace of my home, but you insult me before hanging up. Now I could have hung up on the guy in mid-sentence, but no…I was polite enough to wait until he got to a pausing point and politely tell him no. There is a reason I don’t answer the phone…being polite apparently doesn’t pay. I will still continue to be nice if one of them gets through the screening process again, but this type of thing is why I despise election season.

I really wish I had listened closer to which group he was with. It was something that sounded like “Public Insights”.

January 24, 2008 Posted by | life | | Leave a comment

A day in the life of Jarvis

This post was written about Monday and Tuesday of this week. It’s a long post, but I had a lot to say about what went on in my mind and heart that day.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I’m tired today. I’ve been on a hunting trip in Mississippi with my brother for the last week. A few days of waking up before 4am to get in the woods before daylight will do that to you.

3:55am – alarm on my cell phone goes off. Wow…I forgot to change it from the obnoxious alarm sound to one a bit more subdued.

I stumbled through getting ready and out the door. Gathered a couple of granola bars and water for breakfast. Packed snacks and lunch in a cooler. Loaded up my gun and extra clothes…it’s 29 degrees.

Jumped in the car and started the hour drive to the hunting property. Who else is on the road? In rural Mississippi at this time of morning? Probably just other hunters like me. Oh wait…there’s something else on the road…something I’ve never seen while driving…a coyote. He ran across the road in front of me and then ran down the other side of the road as I passed him.

As I drive along the various back roads getting to Jefferson County, I can see plenty of beautiful countryside passing by. Rolling fields. Lush hardwood forests with tall mature oak trees. Numerous stands of plantation pine…someone’s timber investment. Then I come across some ugly scraggly spots where a timber investment has been harvested.

Eventually I see a fox and three deer. Had to slow down to keep from hitting a little 6 point buck that crossed in front of me. He saw his shadow made by the headlights and was looking away. He was running very gingerly…his hoofs aren’t made for running on asphalt.

Finally get to the hunting property around 5:30am. It gets light at 6:15, so I’m in good shape. I get out and start piling on more layers…knowing that I will take them all off later…it’s supposed to warm up to 60 degrees later. Throw everything onto the tractor that I will drive to the back of the property and start the ride back.

I get to a spot a couple hundred yards from my stand and park the tractor and walk the rest of the way. I get to the stand…a climbing stand…one that you strap around the tree and use the upper and lower portions to climb up the tree. I spend the next five minutes raising the top section, then pulling the lower section up with my feet…a foot or so at a time until I’m about thirty feet off the ground where I can see a long way in all directions. I’m hot. I should have unzipped a couple of layers before starting the climb. This has also taken longer than I wanted. I should have woken up fifteen minutes earlier. It’s already starting to get light. I wanted to be settled in the stand while it was still pitch black.

A few minutes later I look to the horizon. I can see the sharp contrast of the trees silhouetted against the orange ribbon of daylight. Each black branch stands out sharply against the colorful backdrop.

Looking out across the field in the growing light, I can see the misty whiteness that the frost on the grass creates. Later as the sun hits the grass it will create patches of golden grass on this white canvas. But for now it is a rolling landscape of miniature ice crystals.

The birds have awakened. They are flitting about. Some are tuning up their voices for the day. Others are busy digging in the leaves for breakfast. There is a busy rustling all around. The shaking of branches and the sound of claws on bark signals that the squirrels have started their morning routine also.

The tree I am in stands at the edge of an oak forest. Behind me is a jumble of trees and undergrowth. Easily discernable paths through the undergrowth show where my quarry might travel. However the primary spot that I am watching is the overgrown field in front of me. This field used to be cut low…back when my grandfather was a full time farmer. But he passed away twelve years ago, and it was many years longer than that since he worked this field. One side of the field has lost ground to the forest that continues to encroach. Except for a few clearings and a road, the rest is a jumble of tall grass and briars.

For an hour I sit watching the world come to life. I cautiously move my head around to look for any deer activity, but mostly I try to remain motionless. The crisp morning air bites at my nostrils, and even the exertion of climbing the tree has given way to a slight chill.

At the far end of the field, a flash of brown. Then another. I quickly wind my scope up to 9x and look downrange. Three deer. All does. I slide the safety off and settle the crosshairs on the shoulder of one. I squeeze off a round. The air explodes. Three patches of brown disappear back into the woods where they came from…a clean miss…I forgot to aim high, they were 350 yards away. I settle back into my seat and wait.

Slowly the woods come back to life. Squirrels scamper. Birds rustle. Chipmunks chirp…yes chirp…I watched him do it. There is a steady drip around the forest as the sun begins to melt the frosty covering.

More brown movement. A single doe. She moved quickly into the briars. Wait she came back out. Again the safety is slid off. Again the crosshairs settle. Again the air explodes. This time I’m confident of a hit. It was only 150 yards away. I unload my gun, disconnect my safety harness and reverse the process that got me up the tree. Once I reach the bottom I leave behind all of the non-essential things…basically everything except my gun and knife…and head out to find my deer. Once I reach the spot where she was standing I start looking. I’m not liking the looks of this. The frost is still perfectly intact on the grass. There is no blood. I look. I hunt. I search. I walk. Nothing. Another clean miss. I don’t know how, but I have missed again.

I head back to my stand and grab my snack…then walk to the stand at the other end of the field. I’ve made enough noise at this one. The field is split in two. The half that is in the shade is still wrapped in its blanket of ice. The half in the sun is a pleasant golden brown. As the next hour passes, nothing moves except the line of gold that overtakes the shade. Eventually I decide it’s time to head back to camp for lunch.

Back at camp, I shed the extra layers of clothes and dig for my lunch. Looking around, I settle into a chair on the porch of my uncle’s cabin. A can of cold soup. A brownie. A drink. A simple lunch. Sitting back, I’m the only one on the farm. The quiet solitude is calming. Only an occasional car passes by the old country road. I wish my wife was here to share it with. I’m looking out on rolling hills in front and behind. A pecan orchard to my left…right behind my grandmother’s house.

It’s empty now. All that’s left are the memories. Oatmeal cookies. Catching bees in jars on the flowers in the summertime. Climbing the pine tree that’s no longer there. Fishing in the pond behind the house. Big family dinners. Sitting at the kids table. Chicken and dumplings. Lots of pleasant memories.

The TreeAs I walk around the hill that the houses are on, I’m deciding if I am going to hunt this afternoon or not. I decide that I’m at least going to make my annual pilgrimage to “the tree“. The tree has the remains of a deer stand in it. When I was a baby, my dad had a choice…hire a babysitter or take me hunting with him. He built a special deer stand in an old oak tree. He tacked an army blanket between the branches and would lay me on that to sleep. He would climb up another ten feet and bowhunt for deer. A few boards and a couple of ropes are all that remain, but that stand is forever etched into my past. I visit it every year. It is surrounded by the pine trees that my dad planted when I was a kid. He had cancer and knew he would never see them to maturity. He planted them to look out for his family.

CisternWhile standing under the tree I get to thinking about him. I haven’t visited his grave in several years. That’s it…hunting is done. I walk back to the car. Once I get there I take a brief detour to take a picture of an old cistern that is in the woods. Don’t know why it never occurred to me before this week, but that cistern means that a home used to be in these woods.

On the drive to the cemetery, I’m noticing rolling beautiful hills. The whole countryside is filled with peace, quiet, and tranquility. It’s been a long time since I’ve driven these roads. Not a lot looks familiar. I throw in a Garth Brooks CD, turn up the volume and belt it out along with him.

Driving down the tiny country road, I choose the best route through the myriad of patched potholes. The road winds along til the little country church appears around the bend. It has changed. They’ve glassed in the entryway where I sat as a heartbroken twelve year old and watched my uncles fill in my dad’s grave. Nearly 25 years later, that is still one of my most vivid memories.

The latch to the short chain link fence around the tiny cemetery barely latches. I wind my way through the graves to the back of the cemetery to the headstone that is a permanent bookmark in the story of my life. The first thing that strikes me is the placement of a new headstone…it is covering the end of my dad’s grave. It is sitting approximately where his left shin would be. Later my brother tells me that he’s working with the head of the cemetery to get it resolved…it had been worse…it’s already been moved once. That family simply chose a headstone that is too big for the gravesite…and it is not in the right location.

My Dad's HeadstoneI stand in front of the grave looking at the headstone that marks my dad’s life and has marked me for more than two decades. I don’t feel much. Somberness maybe. The headstone is sticking up through the covering of oak leaves that carpets the ground. On the headstone I lay the three yellow flowers that I brought from the farm. One for me, my brother, and my mother. I lay them on the base of the stone and step back to take a picture. The next several minutes are spent capturing moments of me sitting next to the stone with the flowers. I wind my way back through the headstones to the car.

Next stop is to go to the nursing home to see my grandmother. I haven’t seen her in a few years either. I get there and a nurse shows me to her room. She’s asleep. I kneel by her bed…there is no chair. She looks awful. She struggles through each ragged breath. Her eyes occasionally flicker open. From time to time, she grimaces from some unknown pain. If not for the movement of her breathing, you wouldn’t know she is alive. She looks like she is already dead. This is one of the saddest experiences of my life. I whisper to her. I pray for her. I ask God to take her home. Later my brother makes a keen observation…”she gave up years ago.” He’s right. It’s just the slow process of her body catching up with her lack of desire to live.

I leave her a note so that she will know that I have been there. It’s not much, but it’s all I have. Walking out to the car, I’m overcome with the sadness in that room. Driving away, Garth is still singing, but he’s singing alone now. I call my wife and tell her about the afternoon. She just listens and says she’s sorry for me.

After a simple supper with my mom, I walk over to my brother’s house to spend some time with him before flying back home tomorrow. I try to teach my three year old niece to call me “Favorite Uncle Jarvis”. It doesn’t stick…but I keep trying. I am however successful in getting her to say “parallelogram”. It’s really cute coming out of her mouth.

Patrick and I get some good visiting time and dream about the hunting camp we want to build this year. I head back to my mom’s house around eleven. I still have to pack. I end up in bed around 2am. The alarm is set for 7.

Addendum:
The next morning is the mad scramble to get dressed, finish packing, load the car, grab breakfast, drive to the airport, drop off the rental car, drag stuff to the terminal, then wait for the plane. I miss my wife. I am really ready to see her again.

I sleep on the plane. Longer than I thought I would. Not long after waking up we start the decent into Orlando. Looking out the windows I see the flat landscape passing by. I see the crisscross of roads. The myriad of lakes. But what stands out to me the most is how many buildings are out there. Houses, businesses, roads…a concrete forest. I hear the roar of the jet engines and the whir of the air vents around the plane.

Traffic is heavy driving home. Everyone has to be first. Airplanes roar overhead. Getting in bed later that night, the sound of a car races down my neighborhood street.

My heart longs for the countryside.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | guns, hunting, life | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shoes from Auschwitz

Just saw this page. It’s a picture that represents a day’s worth of shoes collected during the gassing of the Jewish people at Auschwitz…25,000 pairs of shoes.

I started to get physically sick looking at the picture…realizing that each of the people wearing them were murdered. In particular note the two whitish colored shoes toward the top right…the matching pair. It’s one thing to read about the atrocities of the holocaust. That photo brings it home.

December 5, 2007 Posted by | life | , | Leave a comment

Response to my Mac posts

Definitely saw a spike in hits and comments from my two Mac posts yesterday. In particular I apparently got under the skin of “max”. He first responded to the post on Why I Do Not Want a Mac…a post where my reasoning was because of how some Mac fanatics treat PC users with disdain. It wasn’t an attack on the technology or on Mac users…it simply stated a truth about the way that some Mac people treat PC users. Max then proceeded to comment on quite a few other posts…

Well, max, you did a great job of being an example of the Mac fanatic. You attacked PC Users, the fact that I go to church, my sofa, my gun ownership, my Peyton Manning post, the fact that I desire to protect my wife, my sense of humor, my sense of humor again, the fact that I enjoy hunting, and you defended a guy who cared more about his DVD player than his child. You did such a great job, that I have to wonder if you are just trying to bait me into attacking back. Sorry bud…even if you treat me with disdain, I will treat you with respect. I’m not perfect in this regard, but my desire is to treat people in a loving manner regardless of how they treat me. Why? Short answer…because you are worth being treated with respect. Long answer…I’ll refer you again to the C.S. Lewis essay from my original post.

I’m not really sure why you felt the need to post so many comments on my blog, but honestly I welcome your comments. I’m more than willing to have a dialog with you…just use my contact page with a real email address. Somehow I doubt you’ll take me up on that, but the invitation stands. Regardless…I hope you have a really good day today.

November 29, 2007 Posted by | life, relationships, tech | | 8 Comments

Loved enough to fight for

Last Friday night Julie and I were out at an outdoor mall area in Orlando. On one of our stops I stayed in the car while Julie went into a store. I was people watching while she was inside. In particular I was noting a bunch of teenage kids who were all over the sidewalk. A bunch of them were being goofy and acting weird. A few were intentionally getting in people’s way…harassing them. At that point it occurred to me that Julie was going to have to walk through the middle of them to get back to the car. I had no sooner thought that, when I saw Julie coming my direction. I turned the key off and had my hand on the door handle watching to see what was going to happen…ready to jump out to her rescue if needed. Thankfully they ignored her as she walked by.

When she got in the car, I let her know what had been going on, and what I had been prepared to do. She told me that her whole life before meeting me she had always wanted the guys she dated to be willing to defend her…to fight for her if necessary. She didn’t want them to have to fight…she just wanted to know that they would. She wanted to know that she was valuable enough to be fought for.

Julie…you are very deeply loved. Yes, you are very valuable to me. Yes, I will defend you. Yes, I will fight for you if necessary. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary last week. But know this…your husband was and is ready to do battle for you.

November 15, 2007 Posted by | life, relationships | , | 2 Comments

Men’s Fraternity

My church has a men’s group that meets at 6am once a week. We are going through Men’s Fraternity material. We have a thousand men that show up every week. Today was our last meeting til January, so I took my camera. First pic is taken from up front. The guy standing to the right is our pastor. The second pic is of my table…Table 41. I forgot to take it before the meeting started, so one guy who has to leave early ever week isn’t in the shot. Maybe I’ll photoshop him in later.

As a group we have been growing and helping each other process the next steps that we need to take to be the men that God has called us to be.

A verse that some of us have been quoting to each other is 1 Corinthians 16:13-14: “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” This verse has a great combination of wariness of the temptation to sin around us, exhortations to be the man God has called us to be, along with the reminder that in the midst of being that man…it is to be done in the context of love. Watchfulness, firmness, manhood, strength…all noble goals…but not complete without a backdrop of love. We have come to refer to that verse as the “Maximus Verse”. Picture Maximus from the movie Gladiator quoting that verse…specifically when he is on the floor of the coliseum confronting Commodus…strength under control defined.

November 13, 2007 Posted by | life, relationships | | 2 Comments

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