Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Not Sleepy

The day after Thanksgiving, Shannon and I took the boys to Americus, Ks (near Emporia) to visit the Anderson family farm. We enjoyed a Mexican dinner with Jarod Anderson's family and played games and shot blue rock, having a fantastic and enjoyable afternoon. So enjoyable in fact that the boys never took a nap. They were too busy playing with the Anderson kids, the farm cats and hunting dogs, and petting a few two-thousand-pound bulls down at the feedlot.

When evening came we loaded the kids back in the van and set out for home. Shannon asked the boys to please sit quietly and get some sleep but the boys loudly protested, "We can't Mom; we're not sleepy!"

Less than ten minutes later, and just moments after their protests, we stopped at a gas station, looked back at the boys and saw this:

Hey, two out of three ain't bad.

Act of God?

Sen Harry Reid (D) was interviewed and said he believed Osama bin Laden might be dead, possibly killed in the recent earthquake.

If it turns out that bin Laden was killed by an earthquake how exactly do the Muslim clerics interpret that news? And would that be a good thing for us? Has Allah struck down a murdering apostate or will the conspiracy theorists emerge with an alternative explaination?

And if Osama is gone, will some people see the war on terror as finished?

I can imagine, like Elvis, that Osama will make appearances around the world for decades to come, whether he's actually alive or not. A future conversation between two civilian contractors somewhere in the Middle-East might go like this:

"Hey, I dun seen Osama the other day drivin' one of them little hybrid cars."

"Really? I heard he shaved his beard and works at a Wal-Mart in Baghdad or a McDonald's in Tehran."

"No, I heard Dubya pulled some strings and got him a cushy job with Haliburton, gettin' paid big bucks… tax free!"

"Oooh, I knew it!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Quick Hits 11/29/05

Righteous Indignation (That Means Hoppin' Mad)

Every now and then I feel the need to vent my frustration. I joke around with Jarod Anderson and my wife (the usual audience of my venting) that it's "the Old Testament prophet in me." The prophets of old were the guys that God sent to warn folks that things have gone way too far. "Turn or Burn!" is the gist of it and sometimes I want to grab folks by the shoulders and scream this at them for their own good.

I have three or four items that have me so upset that I'm nearly cross-eyed over them. I want to call certain individuals or march right over and give 'em a piece of my mind (or at least blog about it) but I'm going to try and hold back for a few reasons.

First, I don't want to get it wrong, especially after naming names. Some of the people in the wrong are removed from me by three or four degrees of seperation and I don't want to slander someone I don't know based on bad info or gossip. So it's probably a good idea not to put it on the internet.

Second, if I would go pray about it, I'd feel a lot less angry and a lot more willing to extend grace, as one sinner to another. I just react badly to folks who are unrepentant and stubbornly refuse to do the right thing, even though they know better. GRRR!!!!

*gets up and walks around muttering for a few minutes*

Ok I'm back…

Finally, there are select times in life when rebuke is effective and helpful, but it's not always the right approach. If it becomes the default for handling crises, then we're in real trouble. There's a saying that "if your only tool is a hammer, then everything begins to look like a nail." Some situations need an approach other than "bull in a China closet," or as I like to call it, "Kansas tact."

God grant me the patience and grace to love people, especially the bone-headed, self-centered, inconsiderate, unthinking, opportunistic jerks. Amen.

Ah, I feel better already.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Stewardship of the Heart

The following is the brief outline of the sermon series I just finished Sunday:

1. Do you really trust God? We can easily say yes but our actions prove otherwise. We must reach a point where we depend on God for our needs above and beyond our own strength and wisdom.

2. What do you really want out of life? Godliness with contentment is great gain yet we always want more stuff. And we never reach a point of satisfaction; the human heart always wants one more thing. We need to daydream more about the Lord than we do the Lottery.

3. Who are you really? Are you the same person when no one is looking? We need to be people of integrity who are defined by God's standards and not the world's standards. Our lives need to be consistent, honest, and characterized by integrity, as if every job were being done for the Lord Himself.

If we guard our hearts in these ways then we avail ourselves to the greatest agent of change in the universe, the Holy Spirit. God can change our hearts, our desires, our attitudes and appetites. He will lead us His ways if we would surrender control of our hearts.


Update: I just looked at my blog and realized how short this post was. And the folks at church had to sit through four sermons at 30-40 minutes each!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Rock Chalk Football

KU had a fantastic game on a November afternoon and it was outdoors!

The in-laws and I watched KU beat a superior Iowa State team in overtime, they came back from behind twice to tie it. It was awesome! And I could have been there!

It was in Lawrence and I actually recieved an offer to go to the game just hours before kickoff. But Shannon's family was due to arrive for our Thanksgiving Dinner so I couldn't go. Honestly I wasn't expecting it to be a very good game – little did I know.

But we had a great lunch (Shannon did most of the cooking) and retired to watch the game on TV. Overall, still a pretty good day.

KU has a winning season, undefeated at home, and will be bowl-eligible for the second time in three years. There may yet be another lazy afternoon of watching KU football in my future.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Happy Thanksgiving!

What am I thankful for? Beyond the eternal gratitude owed to God, I do have several things that I appreciate deeply. Here's a sampling:

I'm thankful for my wife. Read Proverbs 31 and that's Shannon… easily. She's one of the hardest working, most industrious people I know (besides my Dad) and she's become one of the most skilled and useful people I know. In short, if you're lost on an island, Shannon would have the place looking like Swiss Family Robinson in no time flat.

I'm thankful for the Church. "Yeah right," you say, "there's so much stress and pressure there it will be the end of you." Well… maybe. But I love the folks at church, I really do. And I love teaching and counseling and the fellowship. In the end, I'd still want to go to my church even if I weren't the preacher and how many ministers can really say that?

I'm thankful for my boys, all four of them.

There are many people I wish I could see more often, but I'm thankful for the impact they've had in my life. I can't begin to name them, it wouldn't be fair, but I know in my heart exactly who they are.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gluttony for Dummies

In five years time, my wife has gone from Microwave Queen to one of the best cooks I know. She makes stuff from scratch and serves these incredible meals that take seven hours to prepare but only costs $2.47 to feed five people.

The next four days looks like this:
  • Wed night at home: Steak on the grill, with Shannon's special seasoning. Update: Shannon made her thick chocolate chip cookies.
  • Thur night at home: Shannon's homemade chicken and noodles (if you're thinking a weak, watery, veggie soup, you're completely missing the point here). Update: We made pancakes from scratch for breakfast; Tanner only wanted another cookie.
  • Fri at the Andersons: Mexican food fiesta. Shannon is taking her (in)famous bean dip.
  • Sat at home: Turkey and Stuffing. Shannon's stuffing is just one more of her many specialties.

Since Shannon is also the best in the family at making pies, cakes, cookies, rolls, potatoes, casseroles, and about everything else, the only thing I'd trust to someone else is the turkey… maybe… No, nevermind, I'd want her to do the turkey too.

I guess I'll have to keep her around.

Don't Snicker, part 2

Well, we passed 4500 hits about four days earlier than I expected! Yaaaaaaaay, BLOG!

[Ok, now you can snicker.]

I'll keep posting as much as possible, you keep reading and commenting and we'll hit 7000 hits or better by the one year anniversary (Feb).

Note: I'll be home Thursday with the Family, gone Friday, and home again Saturday, but I'll try to post late-nights. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

SSG Dan is Home, part 2

Here's an email that was passed thru the Church from SSG Dan's daughter, Dana, who also goes to our church.

Dad got back yesterday! We (All the women in the family and the kids) went to Manhattan to a welcome home party at the armory to see him. He was supposed to get there at 2pm, and his unit finally got there at 9:20 pm. We didn't get home until 12:30 this morning. What a long day, but worth it! The reason it took so long is that they've decided to try to release him by Thanksgiving morning, which meant that they had to start their debriefing right away. I am so proud of my Dad and his unit! They were the number 1 ranked transportation company there out of 37 (I think or close to that) companies and they were the only national guard! It is such an awesome thing to be reunited with someone you've been missing so much and to see others being reunited as well. Just imagine what heaven will be like!!! Thank you all so much for prayers. Please keep Mom and Dad both in your prayers over the next few months as they get used to each other again!
Love, Dana
Welcome home brother! We'll see you soon!

Recent posts about Dan's homecoming are here and here.


Here's a short article
about how things are going in Iraq from the LA Times. I'm stunned. It must be one of those deals where for every 500 articles that are President-bashing attack pieces, they have to run a conservative article. You know, equal time for both sides; it's only fair.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Random Thoughts 11/22/05

  • It looks like we'll be adopted by another family for Thanksgiving. We're heading to Americus, Ks to visit Jarod Anderson's folks. We'll let the boys see the cows and we'll play board games and just hang out. We're having Mexican food, I hear.
  • Highest gas prices in the nation? Honolulu. The lowest? Wichita.
  • Here's why you shouldn't get a tattoo. This Christian tattoo has an alpha and omega in it. The only problem is that they must have taken the English spelling of both "Alpha" and "Omega" and converted into a Greek font on the computer, misspelling both words in the process! Oops! There's always laser surgery.
  • Speaking of Greek, it's about that time of year again. Remember that X-mas does not mean that you're ex-ing out Christ. It's not even an "x". It's the Greek letter chi (sounds kinda like "key"), the first letter of the word Christ and the reason we spell it with a "ch" even though it sounds like a "k." When you study theology, it's not unusual at all to abbreviate Jesus Christ as Jesus X (not "x" but chi). In fact, when I was taking notes in college, "Christian" became "Xn," "Christianity" looked like "Xnty," and "Christmas" was "Xmas." With that cleared up hopefully there will be a few less folks burnt at the stake this year.
  • KU lost their second game in Maui. I may not blog a lot during the obligatory mourning period.
  • The Kansas City Star (our local socialist newsrag) ranked the suburbs of KC. KCK came in at 37 out of 40. Does that mean I can get a discount on my property taxes? Or a refund maybe? Actually it's silly. KCK encompasses an entire county which varies by quite a bit. I think my part of KCK is a pretty good place to live.
  • I know I'm about a year late on this, but I finally saw the "Numa Numa" video and I just about fell out of my chair laughing (I'm easily amused at one in the morning). It's this heavy-set kid lip-synching a Romanian dance song. It's just too funny. Read about it here and see the video here.
  • It seems like Chris Matthews actually said this. Holy cow. It is important that we remember that the terrorists are people. Not monsters, not animals, not something that can be dismissed and exterminated wholesale, but real live people with families and such. But they are evil people. It's not different, Chris, it's evil. Or don't you believe in evil? If someone wants to kill you and your family and your neighbors, it's not different, it's evil. Do you feel so bad about yourself that you can't see that?! [Thanks Jerry Agar of News Radio 980 for saying the exact same thing about an hour after I wrote this. Jerry Agar has some good stuff on his blog.]

Sharing Your Reindeer

Brennan and Tanner are pretty funny when they don't mean to be.

The boys were fighting over a toy (yes, it was the top of the hour) and I got on to them. I sat them both down and painstakingly explained that they needed to share. If one brother wouldn't share, then just go play with something else. If one brother asks for something, then just give it to him. Just… Stop… FIGHTING!!!

Wanting them to fully appreciate the depth of my wisdom, I tacked on a little scripture for emphasis, "So Tanner, if your brother asks for the toy, just GIVE it to him. And if your brother asks for your cloak give him your coat as well."

As Tanner stared off into space confused, Brennan wrinkled up his nose, looked at Tanner and then me and said, "Daddy, I don't like Tanner's coat. I don't want it. He can have it."

Oh, nevermind…

Another time, Shannon was out with the boys and drove past a van parked near our house that is decorated in Christmas lights, a big red nose, and giant illuminated antlers (it's advertising a company that installs Christmas lights on your house). Shannon pointed out the "Rudolf Van" to the boys, who didn't seem to care much at all.

Meanwhile, they're driving down the road and Shannon sees this brand new minivan coming toward her. We'd been looking at vans in recent weeks, even test driving some, because our current van seemed doomed to mechanical failure. Hoping to get out from under a lemon, we did lots of research only to discover that the only "sure thing" in minivans is a Toyota or a Honda, both of which are very expensive. So we're stuck with our Chevy.

And here was one of those nice vans driving right past Shannon and the boys.

Tanner suddenly spoke up and, seeming to read Shannon's mind, pouted, "I wiss ou' van looked like dat." And he slumped, depressed, into his booster seat.

Shannon's first thought was: What have I done? Have I taught my children to be discontent and materialistic? Have I taught them to be shallow and superficial about how nice a vehicle is?

Then she hesitated for a moment and asked, "Tanner, you want our van to look like what?

"Like Woodoff," he moped.

If only he could ride around town in a van decorated like a giant reindeer. Poor guy.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Random Sports Thoughts 11/21/05

  • Kansas City has a name for its new Arena Football League team. It's the Kansas City Brigade. Uh… ok. Their logo is a B-2 Stealth Bomber. I kinda understand the stealth connection, the B-2s are based at Whiteman Air Force Base, just an hour and a half from KC. But why the Brigade? A brigade is a unit of 3000 Army soldiers. Why is that a good name for a team with an Air Force bomber as a mascot? And there are no major Army bases in KC to warrant an Army connection (Ft Riley, Ks is a few hours away, far enough to be rarely associated with Kansas City). I guess I just don't get it.
  • I should count my blessings however; they almost called that team the Brush Creekers! What?!?! I personally liked the Sizzlers (we have a minor league baseball team called the T-Bones). Mmmm… now I'm hungry.
  • KU lost their first game tonight. But they were playing a good Arizona team and actually tied the game in the second half. Oh well. Everybody expected the Jayhawks to lose because they're so young. Most of the team is composed of Freshmen and sophomores.
  • Do I smell conspiracy? Doesn't it seem strange that the NFL would offer KC a Superbowl conditional upon an overpriced remodeling of one of the league's oldest stadiums? And the Chiefs claim to be for it?! $700 million for a remodeling job? A SuperBowl is only a $400 million windfall – maybe. And this "rolling roof" thing? To make it climate controlled would mean adding temporary sides which could take a few months to construct. That's too long to not interfere with the Chiefs regular season games and too expensive to build for weekend conventions. The Royals don't want it, so this roof would only be used the one time! Ugh! A new retractable roof stadium, which can open and close in fifteen minutes, would not cost as much as this renovation! But maybe that's the point… I'm suspicious that the NFL and the Chiefs actually want Kansas City to build a new stadium. This rolling roof talk is just a red herring that makes a new stadium look like a good idea.
  • It looks like the downtown baseball stadium is dead for now. A major meeting was canceled today due to lack of political support and Jackson County voted today to only spend money on Kaufman stadium improvements. Oh well. I would personally love to see the Royals downtown and a new Arrowhead built where Kaufman is now. That way downtown businesses benefits, the Royals draw more interest, the Chiefs get a new stadium, Jackson County keeps and improves the Truman Sports Complex, and best of all, sports fans win big. But no, that would make too much sense.

A Look at Reality

Here's an article worth reading. The meat of the article is below but I encourage you to read the whole thing in context.
…the mass media view of the situation is largely fiction… but…

…Hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arab families have one or more members who did Saddam's dirty work. That has left millions of Kurds and Shia Arabs looking for revenge. Remember, this is where the legal concept of "eye-for-an-eye" was invented thousands of years ago. The [Kurds and Shia] want vengeance, and if they get it, the current violence in Iraq will look pallid by comparison. All that prevents a wholesale descent into mutual slaughter is the presence of coalition troops. In other parts of the world (and there are many to examine at the moment) this sort of thing is called peacekeeping. Withdraw the peacekeepers, and what peace there is goes with them.

If we had pulled out immediately, today's critics would be blustering about our failure to "stay until the mess was cleaned up." But, since that actually is Bush's position, it's suddenly become popular to talk about withdrawal.

The article continues…
…there is a cultural crises, in the Arab world in particular, and the Moslem world in general. The crises is expressed by a lack of economic, educational and political performance. By whatever measure you wish to use, Nobel prizes, patents awarded, GDP growth, the Arabs have fallen behind the rest of the world. Part of the problem is the Arab tendency to blame outsiders, and to avoid taking responsibility. Tolerating tyranny and resistance to change doesn't help either. That is changing, and the war in Iraq has become the center of this cultural battle. It began with the 2003 invasion, which was reported by the Arab media as a great defeat for the Western "crusader" army. Until, that is, it was all too obvious that American troops had battled their way to Baghdad in three weeks, and were quickly defeating Iraqi forced defending this cultural capital of the Arab world. This triggered a debate in the Arab world, one that got little coverage in the West. It began when some Arab journalists openly pointed out, in the Arab media, that Arab reporters had not only been writing fantastical stories that had no relationship to reality, but that this sort of thing had been going on for a long time and, gosh, maybe it had something to do with the sorry state of affairs in the Arab world. That particular debate is still going on, largely unnoticed in the West.

…we have major differences between the media version of what's going on, and the military one. The media are looking for newsworthy events (bad news preferred, good news does not sell, and news is a business). The military sees it as a process, a campaign, a series of battles that will lead to a desired conclusion. The event driven media have a hard time comprehending this process stuff, but it doesn't really matter to them, since the media lives from headline to headline. For the military, the campaign in Iraq has been a success. The enemy, the Sunni Arabs, have been determined and resourceful. But the American strategy of holding the Sunni Arabs at bay, while the Kurds and Shia Arabs built a security force capable of dealing with the Sunni Arab terrorists, has worked. But that's good news, and thus not news. But every terrorist attack by Sunni Arabs is news, and gets reported with intensity and enthusiasm.

But in the end, process usually wins. News events are often turned into obstacles. Journalists understand that their audience generally has no memory for past reporting that was inaccurate. What is of the moment takes precedence in peoples minds. Politicians play the same game, rewriting history freely, secure in the knowledge that their followers will go along with the revisions, and their opponents will have to play the news event game to score any points with the undecided. Human nature being what it is, the majority of the population pays little attention to the buzz of news, unless, like an outstanding TV or radio commercial, some journalist comes up with an event that registers big time. This changes perceptions, for a while at least, and often creates an artificial reality in the minds of many. This time, it isn't quite working that way. The troops can email back their experiences promptly, and this causes a disconnect in many people, between what they see in the news, and what they are hearing from people who are in the middle of it all. How all this will play out is as yet unknown, which is what makes it so interesting. There's more going on in Iraq than a war.

SSG Dan is Home

Here's the press release from Friday:
The 137th Transportation Company (Palletized Load System), Kansas National Guard, will be returning to Kansas on Monday, Nov. 21, after a year-long deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 137th Transportation Company (PLS), headquartered in Olathe with a detachment in St. Mary's, has been hauling cargo in convoys in Iraq this past year. They haul pre-palletized loads of ammunition, food, materials and other bulk items.

A return ceremony for the 137th is being planned.
This unit was previously mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom on Feb. 3, 2003, and returned home on Jan. 13, 2004. They were stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., for that year and about 20 of the soldiers were deployed to Iraq.
Dan was one of the twenty that went to Iraq the first time, so this was his second tour. He should be undeployable now (unless there's a catastrophic event) until he retires from the guard. Please be praying for him and his family as he adjusts to life at home.

God bless you brother! We thank you for your service to Freedom and Liberty.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Don't Snicker

I've been surprised to see the amount of traffic my site has been getting lately. The last two weeks it's been about 30 hits per day. Granted that's the same number per second as some websites, but the vast majority of my audience is composed of friends and family. And many of them are not daily readers. So to be buzzing along at this pace feels like quite an accomplishment.

I should be closing in on 4500 hits by next weekend and I'd love to reach 7000 hits by next February (my blog's first anniversary). Please don't run up the score artificially but I'd love to have each of you check in everyday and I'll try to have something fresh waiting here for you. To this point I've had 256 posts in 281 days; I'll try to be a little more consistent and hopefully I'll be over 350 posts by mid-Feb.

God bless.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Random Thoughts 11/17/05

  • Tomorrow (November 18) is my brother Dustin's birthday. Happy 26th!
  • We now have DSL internet access at home and my what an incredible difference! It's no big deal to download large software updates or to receive emails with photographs attached. I can have the computer check my scores all afternoon on Sunday without tying up the phone line and we can watch videos over the internet with little or no delay. Awesome.
  • Whew, did I miss my boys today. I had a board meeting tonight and missed Eli's bedtime; the cute little bugger was snuggled into the new blanket his mother made for him yesterday. When I did get home Brennan and Tanner were just about to head to bed. They both smelled freshly bathed (with little boys that's a distinctly unnatural state) and were just precious. You want to hug and tickle them and just squeeze them – you can't get enough!
  • My mom got home from Omaha earlier this evening. She was supposed to get home yesterday but wasn't quite up to it yet. Please keep praying for her recovery from surgery.
  • Pray for Shannon too. She's about five months along (more or less) and is having quite a problem with her right hip. Some evenings she can't even move, let alone walk. It's getting so serious, and it's so much worse than with Elijah, that this may be the decisive blow to our quest for a basketball team. But the four-man bobsled, quiz bowl, most relay races and curling are no problem at all. We're set!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thanksgiving, Take Two

I'll be having my second Thanksgiving meal tonight (our congregation is having its Thanksgiving dinner tonight and I've been smelling food getting cooked all afternoon). My first Thanksgiving this year was back on November 5th with my folks. And I think we're having Thanksgiving again on the Saturday after Turkey Day. I'm not sure, however, that we'll actually be having any turkey and stuffing on the actual day of Thanksgiving. But we're kind of silly like that.

Gettin' Old

My laptop is starting to show its age. It was giving me fits at work this last week or so, which is unusual because I normally have no problems whatsoever. But the machine is over five years old and will have to be replaced eventually. Jarod seems to think it's about to go up in smoke. And it might!

I just want to make it last another six months or so--the longer the better. I don't want the church to waste any money and there's supposed to be a major leap forward in laptops this winter or next spring. So six more months. C'mon little computer! You can make it!

Monday, November 14, 2005

SSG Dan's Return from War

Our dearly missed brother, Dan Jones, will be returning to Fort Riley, Kansas from Iraq this weekend. His wife, children, grandchildren, and friends are eagerly awaiting him, as this was his second tour in two and a half years.

He should be undeployable until after his retirement from the military (National Guard can only spend so much time deployed by law). Pray for his smooth re-assimilation into life here at home.

More about Mom

Dad called this afternoon.

They had Mom drink "something awful" (Barium perhaps?) and they took an x-ray to find any leaks. I figured they'd just inflate her to 5o psi, dunk her under water and look for bubbles… but the docors probably know what they're doing, I suppose. They found no leaks and she's doing great. A couple more days and she'll be home.

Our good friend from church, Pam, who had this surgery last year, had another surgery this morning to remove twenty-some pounds of excess skin. Her surgery (which is outpatient!!!) also went well. Dad was able to sit with her husband and phone back about her progress.

We're praying for them both to get back safe and sound.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Update on Mom

We just returned this evening from Omaha where we visited Mom in the hospital. Her surgery went great; no problems at all. Mom will be there until Wednesday or so.

We also took the kids to the Children's Museum in Omaha. It's pretty good as far as educational playgrounds go. The boys loved it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD
After the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

Pray for my Mom

My Mom is in surgery about now. Mom and Dad went to Omaha, Nebraska yesterday where she will be having her surgery and spending the better part of a week recovering.

Please pray for our family, many of us will be making trips to see her and Omaha is about three hours away.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thanks for the Reminder

Sorry, sometimes these things just make me chuckle. But I'm not so sure that it's an effective evangelism tool.

A Dedicated Generation

There are reasons to feel good about the younger generation of Americans. And a lot of it is found in the adversity of the War of Terror.

One Vietnam vet, still in the Army, says, "I've talked to many of these kids on their second tour, and they talk about, 'When I reenlist ...' " says Vickers by phone. "When you see that kind of dedication - when they know what's out there - it makes an old Soldier like me proud to be an American."

Read the whole article here.

I feel that there is a waxing and waning found in the moral direction of recent generations of Americans. You have corruption and debauchery of the roaring twenties followed by the sacrifice and solidarity of the WW2 generation. Then you have the sixties and seventies… yikes! But now you have a generation of folks, 25-35 years old, who have chosen to go a different route than their parents.

I definitely see this in ministry. Boomers, even reserved, responsible, non-hippies, are nevertheless significantly more self-centered than a typical 30 year old Gen X person. In fact, the 30 year olds appear to be a lot more interested in church and ultimate truth and right and wrong than the boomers seem to be (maybe a little more like their grandparents). There are certainly exceptions, but the pattern tends to hold true.


What do the following people have in common?

David Letterman, Stonewall Jackson, Gandhi, Vladimir Putin, Adolf Hitler, Lawrence of Arabia, John the Baptist, Mr. Rogers, and Donald Trump.

The answer: (use your mouse to highlight the space below)

They are all known to be teetotalers (they don't drink alcohol).


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wolf, Wolf, Woooooolf!

I'm becoming convinced that, for some people, there are three basic needs in life: air, water, and… drama. And not necessarily in that order.

Why can't things just be mundane and normal? Why must everything be life or death? Some folks wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they didn't have a crisis happening.

But because they define themselves as victims or martyrs they often need to manufacture drama in their lives (which for situations like this I pronounce in a way that rhymes with Alabama). Whenever possible these people will:
  • be offended
  • ignore obvious solutions
  • cry wolf
  • feign injury and illness
  • declare ultimatums
  • speak in absolutes… every single time!
  • advertise their plight to anyone who will listen
  • express absolute pessimism
  • miss opportunities so they can be pitied later
No blessings are counted. No cloud has a silver lining. Every glass is half empty. Every gift is too small and too late.

As a minister, I see a lot of these folks. They want attention and may be lacking the social skills to relate in a more normal way. I don't think most folks do this on a conscious level but they do actively seek negative attention, since victims are given sympathy and handouts and have their deadlines extended.

The question is how do you get someone to stop acting this way? How do you convey without hurting their feelings how taxing it is to be around a person like this? How do you convince them that they are hurting themselves and those around them with this attitude? Lord, give me the right words! How can you be compassionate and gentle and still rebuke these nattering nabobs of negatitivism?

(Thanks for the alliteration there Spiro)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Your Daily Civics Lesson

Did you vote today? Most places at least have something local to vote on and these are the elections where a few votes really matter because everyone forgets about it.

I asked Bertha (a lady in our church who works at my polling place) and apparently there aren't any issues to vote on in Wyandotte County; but I'm still going to swing by and check this afternoon.

I know that it's polite to say that everyone has the right to their own opinion, but I'm sorry: If you won't vote, please don't complain. So many people have lived and died with no way to address their government and we get to have a say on a regular basis. What a privilege! What a responsibility.


Here's another article about a Windows user who switched to a Mac.

There seems to be two sides to this argument: one group has used both Windows and Macintosh computers, hates Windows, and loves the well designed Mac. It's easy to learn, easy to use, and an all-around enjoyable experience. I remember the first time I plugged in a digital camera and the Mac immediately opened the right program itself and asked me if it could download my pictures for me now. "Uh… yeah! That's awesome!"

The other side has never really used a Mac on a daily basis (especially not in the last five years) and doesn't want to repeat the difficult learning process they experienced learning Windows. Computing is not fun for them, it's difficult, and the last thing they want to do is start over.

Almost everyone I know that has used both, prefers Macintosh. Hands down. Almost everyone I know that uses Windows didn't really have a choice about it initially. They found themselves already on that road and just went with it. That's too bad.

I use my mac for hours everyday. Between my home computer and my laptop at work, I have maybe one crash per year. Right now I would consider it punishment to have to use a Windows computer all day every day.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Wrestling Dad

The boys and I wrestle in the living room on a daily basis. All I have to do is lay down on the carpet and, like ants to a picnic, three little boys come and jump on me.

All three boys are agressive and like to get thrown around. As you can see, they don't complain too much. I'll get all three on my back and then toss them off onto the couch. Brennan (5) will leap back onto me, standing on my back, and I'll whip him around, pin him to the floor and start tickling them. At that point Tanner and Elijah will come to the rescue, pushing me to the floor so that Brennan can escape. Tanner (almost 4) likes to go to the opposite end of the house and run through the hallway, through the kitchen and into the living room, slamming into me with abandon. They have free reign to get pretty rough with me.

We have a running joke that it's against the rules for the boys to ever lay a hand on each other unless they're saving each others' lives (drive for an hour in the car with them and you'll understand that). But in all seriousness, I'm always talking to the boys about being brave and fighting bad guys and helping people in need. I've stressed that good guys are honest and brave and helpful. There are few places in this world where they would learn what honor means, but in our house, I want character and integrity to be everyday lessons. Right now that means learning to tell the truth and to share… and to be very brave.

You have to be brave to wrestle big ol' dad.

UPDATE: Shannon went out and bought a little outfit for Graham to come home in. It's blue with a lion on it and the word "brave." He should fit right in with his three older brothers.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

4000 Hits

Thanks for reading my blog everybody. I really appreciate the comments and I hope you appreciate the glimpse into what's going on in my life.

God bless.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Happy Turkey Day

Yeah, I know it's only November 5, but my family is doing Thanksgiving today. I'm not exactly sure why…

Speaking of timing, this is not going to be a good week for health and fitness. The grandkids just got their halloween candy on Monday and here we are having a Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. They shouldn't have to eat for the rest of the year.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Legends

We have a new shopping center opening in Village West near our home here in KCK, nestled in next to the race track and Nebraska Furniture Mart (about two or three miles from our house). Here's an article about what's opening there, including a theater and several interesting shops. Several restaurants are already open there.

Here's another article from last month.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Units of Resistance

Elijah, as cute as he may be, is developing a stubborn streak. He tells us no when he doesn't want to follow our instruction. But it doesn't come out "no." It's just a very quiet and sober, "ohm."

"Elijah, finish your dinner."

He looks you right in your eye. "Ohm."

"Son, you need to eat!" (at least in principle – we know he doesn't miss many meals)


"Ok, then you're going to bed."


You can see how it goes. Brennan would have screamed and cried. Tanner would have dug in his heals and clinched his fists. Elijah? Elijah just quietly, unflinchingly tells us "ohm." Which means we have to come in and remove his stiffened but otherwise passive body like the riot police handling a non-violent protester.

Sorry son, but resistance is futile.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Reorganizing Camp

The meeting went very well… in fact, there was essentially no resistance to the proposed changes. The old by-laws were struck down, and a new, different set of by-laws were adopted. The major changes include:
  • Folding the three boards into one unified board of directors.
  • Creating and defining the new position of Camp Manager.
  • Increasing the number of board meetings in a year from two to six.
  • Specifying the various functions and responsibilities to provide accountability.
Our first meeting is January 17, 2006, to elect officers and begin the search for a camp manager. We also have dozens of smaller procedural things that can be implemented as soon as next year. We're really excited!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Important Meeting Tonight

We have an important meeting in Nortonville regarding Mission Lake Church Camp. This will be the meeting that potentially rewrites how we do camp. Please pray for the success of this! I can't stress how important it is.