Saturday, November 6, 2010

Single Grain of Faith

I love it when I hear a song from my past that I loved when it came out but it was lost to new music over the years. This is one such song. I bought the CD for this song and this song only. I listened to it a lot when it came out 14 years ago.

Tonight, I was just browsing around on iTunes and looking through their CCM section. I saw David Phelps had a new Christmas CD out, so does Russ Taff. Those guys triggered thoughts of this song and hear I am listening to it again. Now, I'm sharing it with you.

This performance is a slightly different mix than what is on the CD, but it'll do. The chorus is what I really like about this song. And, the message ain't to bad, either.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Channeling Acoustic Legends


A friend of mine in the group Selah posted a tweet about this guy today so I went to his website to check out his music. Holy Cow! I'll be darned if Jeffrey East didn't channel Kenny Loggins when "Bein' Loved By You" was written. Or maybe it's James Taylor. He performs it just fine but if Mr. Loggins and Mr. Taylor are ever looking for material, one of them totally needs to connect with Mr. East. I really like this song. Feel free to share your thoughts. If you don't like it, don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings. But, East might feel slighted.

Friday, August 13, 2010

If You Love Kansas

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to this blog entry about Kansas and it really struck a chord with me. I was born in Kansas, raised in Kansas, left Kansas to live in the beautiful state of Tennessee, and still chose to move back to this "dry, boring, plain, miserable, windy, dull, sucky, wasteland state". You read that correctly. I chose to move back. I could of stayed in the south in the wonderful city of Nashville where there is always something happening, but honestly, it doesn't hold a candle to Kansas. Every time I'd travel home, something kept pulling at me. Driving through the flint hills, seeing the wild sunflowers, enjoying the huge never-ending blue sky, feeling the biting winter wind against my skin...it's all part of me and I can't let it go. Sometimes you have to leave a place to truly see how special it is.

The only adjective listed above that Kansas qualifies to use is "windy". The wind shows its face quite often and can cause a ruckus when it wants to. Even then, there are more days than I can count that were so still and motionless, where the only evidence of any activity around me was the movement of air from my own breathing.

Kansas is a wonderful place, and I'm glad a lot of people don't see that. The open spaces stay wide, the sky stays blue, the air stays fresh, the beauty stays natural, the flowers stay sunny, nature stays wild, and there's more Kansas for me to enjoy.

This girl gets it, and I had to link to her blog entry. Set all of your Kansas stereotypes aside and read what she has to say. It helped me realize my appreciation for all that surrounds me and to know there is no shame in calling Kansas home.

Wimmer Wimmer Chicken Dinner: Dorothy's Slippers Are Definitely Not Here

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Better Than A Hallelujah

The song didn't grab me at first, but the video sure did. Here's a new one from Amy Grant.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wine's I Want to Try

A couple of years ago, we stopped in at Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill in Kansas City for dinner. It was the beginning of my venture into the world of wine. We didn't have any that night but I wrote down some selections from their wine list that I thought sounded good. I'm posting them here so I can finally get rid of this piece of paper that clutters my desk. I still haven't tried these wines. I've been busy. Look out, grapes. One day, I will drink you.

  • Beringer White Zinfandel (sweet wine w/rich berry flavors)
  • Rex Goliath Pinot Noir (light raspberry, red cherry & cinnamon flavors)
  • Ravenswood Vintner's Blend Zinfandel (lush raspberry, blueberry & black cherry flavors)
  • Ravenswood Vintner's Blend Shiraz (rich black currant & chocolate flavors)
  • Robert Mondavi Prvate Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (rich dark cherry fruit & chocolate flavors)
  • Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon (black cherry chocolate coffee)
  • Wild Horse Merlot (wild berry & mocha)
  • Fess Parker Pinot Noir (cherry & red berry flavors w/spice, smoke & herbal nuances)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Hornet Hustle (updated 08.09.10)


I've only participated in a 5K two other times in my life. That was for the Wichita Corporate Challenge and I walked both of them. Yeah, I was still a sweaty mess at the end of the course but that's what I do during the warmer months. I sweat. This will be no different, except that I might run part of the way. Bar the door and hide the children! Did I just say run? I did, and by run, I mean jog...slowly...and sporadically. But, for those of you who are more skilled and comfortable runners than I am, I post this information for you. I couldn't find anything on the web for this, so I'm providing my blog to help promote the cause. The brochure above explains the purpose and provides details for the fun run. Update - You can click here to print off a registration form. Feel free to share this link with your other running friends if you think they'd be interested. And if they don't want to run, they can walk. And if you guys are really ambitious, you can do all 3 at no additional cost! Sweet! Anyway, I'll be there, my family will be there, and I hope to see you there! Let's do this!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Light's Out!

I always tell my kids as they head out the door for school to do the right thing. So, I've pledged to "do the right thing" on March 27th at 8:30. I encourage you to sign up for it. It's such a simple thing to do. We're shutting off the lights for this reason...

...then we're going to dance to this, knowing we did the right thing for the earth. The candle industry and flashlight companies will thank you later.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

McDonald's and the St. Patrick's Day Tragedy

Imagine telling the world that you have a product that is available only during a certain time of year. A product centered around St. Patrick's Day. That product is called the Shamrock Shake. Wouldn't you anticipate a surplus of customers possibly ordering the Shamrock Shake on St. Patrick's Day? Wouldn't you prepare so that you would be able to provide this Shamrock Shake to every customer who wanted one on St. Patrick's Day, especially since you advertised this item as being available? And since you've been advertising this item each year for many, many years and it has somewhat become part of American pop culture, wouldn't you especially make sure that you were able to serve every single customer who chose to come to your McDonald's restaurant for a Shamrock Shake? Wouldn't it be exciting to know they chose your Shamrock Shake as their beverage of choice over the abundant selection of green beer? Wouldn't you be thrilled that some customers would choose to purchase several Shamrock Shakes for their entire family because having that Shamrock Shake is sort of a yearly American tradition? Wouldn't it gratify you to know that you were able to provide those Shamrock Shakes for all of those customers who chose your restaurant to help them celebrate St. Patrick's Day with their families? Wouldn't all of that be great and wonderful and happy?


Well, McDonald's failed today. I went to McDonald's to order 3 small Shamrock Shakes to surprise my wife and kids. I ordered a small vanilla for me. That's all I wanted. Three small Shamrock Shakes (and a vanilla) on St. Patrick's Day. The girl in the drive-thru tells me after I placed my order, "We're out of Shamrock Shakes." All I could say was, "Wow....OK. Thank you." Then, I drove away, not ordering anything. I considered ordering vanilla shakes all around but I chose not to. I made that decision to prove a point. If you can't follow through on something as small as a Shamrock Shake on St. Patrick's Day after advertising it, then you don't deserve my business at all.


The sad part is, I don't think McDonald's probably cares. I'm sure the girl in the drive-thru doesn't care (although she was very kind about it and not rude in any way). McDonald's knows that eventually, I'll have to come back to eat there and they'll get my money. I have kids and we travel to ballgames, and to see family, and to take vacations, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere on a long stretch of highway, a McDonald's will be our only option for food. They know I'll more than likely visit again and order the McDouble (I like that option on the $1 menu) and their fries (delicious!) or Chicken McNuggets. But not today. Today, I made the call, and my call is that McDonald's loses. They lost my business therefore losing my money. (Check your receipts, store manager. It's about $10 less than it would've been.) They also lost a little more of my faith in their restaurant chain. Just add this experience to the long list of times our simple order has been messed up in the drive-thru. I've come to expect it, and I'm not alone there. Watch the car in front of you next time. They're probably checking their sack to make sure they received what they ordered. They've been burned, too.


This isn't really a tragedy. I know in the grand scheme of things, those four Shamrock Shakes don't matter at all. We enjoyed Blue Bunny ice cream at home after dinner. But it's the principle of the situation. McDonald's was out of Shamrock Shakes on St. Patrick's Day. That's like going to a fireworks stand on the 4th of July and finding our they're out of firecrackers. I've never heard of such a thing. There's always firecrackers to buy on Independence Day. This July 4th, McDonald's should visit a fireworks tent operated by some youth group or civic group or a guy just looking to make some extra money and ask about their business plan. Ask how they ensure that each kid and each adult that wants a pack of firecrackers can buy one. Then, when they get that secret, apply it to their Shamrock Shake plan next St. Patrick's Day to ensure that every person who might want to purchase their cup of light green goodness can do so and blogs like this won't ever be written again.


Happy St. Patrick's Day. Oh, and thanks Blue Bunny! Your "Bunny Tracks" flavor is fantastic! Thanks for making it available! We love it!

Pretend I'm at a gas station

They say men never stop to ask for directions, but that's kind of what I'm doing now. I feel that with the new life that my other blog has received, this one is withering away, and I really don't want that to happen. I feel it needs a purpose or direction. Maybe not...I don't know. Do you have any ideas? I could just leave it like it is and post only when I have something to share, but it seems that the other blog keeps stealing this blog's thunder. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In preparation for Vancouver

In 1992, the XVI Winter Olympic Games were held in Albertville, France. Before the closing ceremonies, we all saw the following video. The words...the music...the images...I was amazed and moved by it all. My friend, Andy, experienced the same thing.

Back then, before DVR technology, you had to have the foresight to record something on videotape with your VCR. He had that foresight, especially when it came to sporting events. He made a cassette tape of the audio from this video and I still have it today. It's very inspirational and motivating. I've not seen this video in 18 yrs...until today. I thought it fitting to revisit this powerful segment on the eve of the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Go USA!

Yes...they are beautiful. And their majesty touches our hearts.

But, we are not satisfied merely to admire the mountains. We try to move them, as we compete against the elements...against one another...even against ourselves.

We rejoice in success, and we are humbled by failure. Yet, we are enriched by both.

For it takes no more courage to rise up than to fall down.

There may be glory in gold medals, but there is dignity with the attempt to earn them.

In the Olympics, as in life, there is winning and losing. But we, unlike the mountains, are moved by both. And, if nothing else, these games have reminded us that we are mere mortals.

We know we cannot really move mountains, but we can try!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Feeding Haiti


This weekend, as a family, we did one of the most important things we've ever done together. We joined Numana, Inc. for a huge packaging event to provide food for the survivors of the tragic earthquake in Haiti. We weren't sure what to expect but we had willing hands and willing hearts.

We made the short drive to the Kansas Coliseum (I understand their management made it available to house the event for FREE! Good things will come your way Coliseum folk!) and were excited to see the number of people who arrived to help at this two day event.

There was a long line of people behind us.

There was a long line of people in front of us.

And, there were more people in line around the corner. On this particular day, I heard there were around 5,000 people who showed up to help. The lines moved quickly and we were all excited to get started.

The process was simple. Once we registered, they gave us "the uniform". A plastic apron and an oh-so-attractive hair net.

Normally, a picture like this wouldn't see the light of day. Not because Amber is blurry, but because of "the uniform". Since we did this for a good cause, there's no shame and I expect there to be no mocking! (You know who you are.) Also, this is the only photo Sara would allow me to post that includes her because she says she looks like the lunch lady she had in elementary school. I said, "Yeah, but you're a hot lunch lady!" She didn't buy it.

We waited for them to let us in. Each group of 12 people worked for one hour. At the end of the hour, if they wanted to work more, they would exit and get back in line so everyone would get the opportunity to serve. I found it interesting that there were 12 people at the tables working together to provide meals for the Haitian people because that's how many disciples Jesus had. The entire time I was there, I kept thinking of Matthew 25:35. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in." We made sure the kids knew why we were doing this. They're very aware of the tragedy in Haiti, and they know that this is the right thing to do and that God has given us time and strength and health and resources to help.

You'd think that this was just an event for church groups. Wrong! There were people from ALL walks of life and it was refreshing to see. Even a guy with the most amazing mohawk I've ever seen showed up to help. He had a little trouble with the hairnet, though. You'll have to look really hard in this next picture, but he's in there, waiting his turn. Mad props, mohawk dude!

The kids did great! Andrew sealed up the bags of food. Amber helped fill the bags with food on the first day and helped pack the second day. Sara held the bags open under the funnel for the food to collect in. I called her the "bag lady". The bags had to weigh a certain amount. Every step was precise...from measurements, to how the bags were sealed to how they were boxed up. On day one, I helped the kids at the table get precise measurements of rice, soy, vegetables, spices and vitamins. On day two, Andrew would remove the excess air from the food bag and I would help him seal. One of the green shirts (people who volunteer a large part of their day to direct each table) asked me to also help box up the bags of food in a particular way and then very meticulously tape them up for shipping and air drop. I'm not sure about the first day, but today, in just one hour, our table put together 10 boxes of food containing 36 bags, each able to feed 5-6 people. That's 2160 meals! Every time a table completes a box, the table cheers. Guess who was voted to be the cheerleader each day? Yeah...that'd be me. And I rocked it, people! We made some noise! Then, every time 5,000 meals were complete, they'd bang a gong. No, not the T-Rex or Power Station Bang a Gong, but they'd hit an actual gong, and everyone in the Coliseum would cheer! It was very unifying and satisfying and all kinds of other -ing words.
Numana's goal for the weekend was to package one-million meals. At the end of today, the final total was 1,121,298 meals! That, my friends, is a success story and shows what we all can achieve when we put others before ourselves. Simply amazing!

There's another event in a couple of weeks. I told the kids, and they're already asking to do it again. To me, that's a success story in itself. And you know what? We'll be there to do it all over again. Maybe we'll see you there.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Taking down the lights

Today, the weather was finally warm enough on a weekend for us to take down the Christmas lights from the house. Without the lights, the world seems a little darker this time of year, but they have to come down.

The kids always enjoy the opportunity to get up on the roof to help. Now that Andrew is a teenager, I think he likes the danger and responsibility of it all, as well as the chance to get his hands dirty and do a little "man's work". And Amber? It's a new perspective and, perhaps, she feels closer to God. And when you feel closer to God, you don't really want to move away from that. That must be why it's so hard to coax her down once we're done.

I'll admit, even I find some joy in climbing the ladder up to the rooftop for this chore. It moves faster than hanging the lights in November, so it's not quite as tedious. I took a few moments to snap off a few pictures of the yearly event with the kids.

I let Andrew remove them from the gutter while I wind them up and box them on the ground below. That way, we don't risk dragging them across the shingles and scratching off the paint from the lights. We gotta keep 'em blue.

Amber is literally at the top of the world when she climbs up on the roof. I think this picture is proof that she's living for the moment. And it's moments like this that make being a dad a pretty cool thing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

23 is greater than 5

I love going to watch the Oklahoma State Cowgirls play basketball. Love, love, LOVE it! Yesterday was our first visit of the year to Stillwater. It was also the beginning of conference play for the Cowgirls. They were hosting the #5 team in the nation, the Baylor Bears.

I don't know if Baylor is a big rival for Oklahoma State, but in my mind, it will always be a rivalry. To me, Baylor and Oklahoma University are the two great villains of Big XII Women's Basketball...especially Baylor. Here's reason #1.

The coach. Kim Mulkey-Robertson. Granted, she's a great coach, and that's probably why I like to see her lose. Oh, and the mullet doesn't help. And what's reason #2?

This girl. Yeah...that's a girl...and she's dunking the basketball during warm-ups. Freshman Brittney Griner. Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson's secret weapon for the next four years. She dunks the ball during games, too. But it didn't happen yesterday!

The #23 ranked Cowgirls, after a scary first half, completely OWNED the Baylor Bears in the second half and went on to win 78-65. Andrea Riley scored an amazing 43-points! And watching the 3-point shooting of Lakyn Garrison and Tegan Cunningham...all I can is WOW. Making a 3-point shot never looked so easy. The inside game of Lindsey Keller & Megan Byford is intense! It's a real battle underneath the goal and they handle it so well.

After the game, we enjoyed dinner with the OSU coach (his sister loves me!) then loaded up on more OSU merchandise (I've never owned so much orange clothing) and made our way home.

Yesterday I saw proof that number 23 is greater than number 5.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It starts!

I've said it before, and here I am saying it again. Today, I started working out at the YMCA. I've written or said that previous sentence too many times to be saying it once more. But, this time feels different. I seem to have more focus and determination. Let's talk about my first day back.

I couldn't decide whether to go to my normal (but small and crowded) West location or the larger, spacious (but a bit further away) South location. Well, I had a meeting to get back and prepare for after lunch, so I chose the West side...boy-eee! I got flagged at the front desk because my membership expired on Jan. 1. Since my membership is a perk from my job, it's on them and I was allowed to pass into the most frightening place on earth...the men's locker room!

I knew it was gonna be terrifying since every possible stinking machine had someone on it. That's why I hate working out right after the new year. But I'm just as guilty as all of those other new-bodies. In the locker room, I was lucky to find an available locker. Most had locks on them, and those that didn't had clothes in them...and wallets, and cellphones, and car keys. I could've made out like a bandit! I'm just too honest.

From the time I spent in the men's locker room today, I learned these things...I don't tell enough dirty jokes. I don't drop the f-bomb into casual conversation nearly enough. And, I need to learn to gaze at my naked, post-workout body in the mirror, with no regard to those around me, for minutes at a time. I'm not sure I'll ever achieve any of those things, so I guess I'll be the guy in the locker room who observes and then blogs about the choads surrounding me.

The workout was decent. Spent a half-hour on my familiar elliptical machine. This time, I didn't jump into the middle of the crowd like in the past. I'm doing this for myself, not anybody else so their company is not important to me. I found a place near the back (where I could observe everybody else) and pushed through my 30-minutes. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. The hardest part was trying to breathe when Mr. J Crew hopped on the machine next to me for a short 10-minute jaunt while the massive amounts of Drakkar he was wearing tried to squeeze the air out of me. I was chewing gum and even THAT started tasting like how this guy smelled. I had to stop chewing and tuck it up into my upper lip until he left. I guess he could've smelled like sewage or Cozy Inn Burgers, so I shouldn't complain, but guys...this was overbearing! Take a big whiff from the ammonia bottle under your kitchen sink. That will show you how strong this was.

But, as you can see, I survived day one. I will get through this and meet my monthly goals, then I'll continue and meet my next goal slated for July. It's gonna suck at first, and quite possibly the entire way through. I will complain about it here, giving you something to read for the next 7 months. But the end result will be worth it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

7:15 Project

Some of you know that I have another blog, Clickety-Click-Click. It's a photo blog I started in January 2007 and it really hasn't seen much activity in three years. Thirty-five posts in that amount of time is kind of lame, wouldn't you say? It's almost not worth having that blog around.

That blog was my first blog and the reason I got into blogging in the first place. I wanted a photo record of "things I've seen...places I've been...events I've witnessed." From actual places traveled, down to a simple drawing one of my kids made for me, that blog is where I wanted to record it.

An acquaintance of mine took part in this project and posted her photos on her facebook page each month. I was really intrigued by them. I enjoyed looking at all of the things she did and the places she visited each night at 7:15PM. So, with the arrival of my new phone (it's no iPhone or Blackberry, but it's a step up for me) I feel I'm able to take part in this project properly and I choose Clickety-Click-Click as the outlet for the pictures.

If this interests you at all, you're welcome to visit each day, and feel better about yourself after realizing your life is not near as boring as mine is! Actually, boring is in the eye of the beholder and I find everyday life keeps me pretty active in many different ways. This will be a great 365 day journey for me, so come along for the ride!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Connected

OK...I have this blog connected to my phone. I don't know how I'll use it just yet, but the connection is there. Facebook, Twitter, my blogs...I'M EVERYWHERE!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Observations

I'm an observer.

I enjoy observing how events unfold...how people react. I'm very aware of my surroundings. This includes taking a step back and observing myself.

As I rang in the new year last night with Sara and the kids, in the midst of the activity, I observered myself observing others.

I observed Amber with her pink sweatsuit on, crocs, and a pink stocking cap. She didn't care how she looked. She was comfortable. And she danced around the house with reckless abandon to prove it to us. She is full of spirit.

I observed Andrew, playing it cool, just chillin' on the couch, wearing his hoodie, watching New Year's Eve countdown specials with us, enjoying the music and watching the freaks in the crowds. His excitement, albeit cool excitement, when I began making our traditional white pizza, was electric. I invited him to help me make them and Amber insisted on joining in the cooking festivities, too. I think Sara felt a little left out because she kept finding a reason to sneak in our tiny kitchen space to do something. Move a dish, grab a utensil, supervise my processes. I'm glad she did. I nearly used garlic salt instead of garlic powder!

Both kids enjoy the "kids wine" we toast with at 11P. It's sparkling grape juice but we drink it out of wine glasses. (We know how to kick it, don't we?) We all stay up watching the music and parties from New York and Las Vegas. I think we're all on the same page in feeling that the company of each other, white pizza, a fire in the fireplace, kids wine, and a happy dog busy picking up crumbs from the snacks we drop is preferable to a crowd full of 10,000 strangers in a city street counting out loud from ten to zero.

Those people don't get to run out in the driveway and light fireworks at the stroke of midnight (after we've toasted each other and Sara & I have kissed) while the neighbors all stand on their porches and watch. It's a festive moment, and it's ours.

One of my observations is that, at this time, my life is FULL of family activities. Both kids still depend on us to get them to their social events, their ballgames, etc. This new decade will bring HUGE changes to our family.

In the next ten years, Andrew will learn to drive, register with selective service, play in several exciting games with his school sports teams, maybe win a championship, take the ACT, take the SAT, graduate high school, go to college, and complete his undergrad studies. He will probably have a girlfriend and suffer his first broken heart.

Amber will become a teenager, learn to drive, possibly play in a state championship, take her ACT and SAT, most likely have a boyfriend and be finishing high school. Hopefully, she's the one breaking the hearts!

Those upcoming events are DAUNTING! And right now, I'm a pretty important part of their lives. As we move through the decade, my role will change. Their independence will give me a bit more freedom but hopefully my role as dad will not diminish in the slightest.

Today, my being a good dad doesn't allow me the freedom to enjoy time with my friends as much as I'd like, but I hope they understand the importance of wearing the "DAD" hat and the enormous responsibility that exists to not fail my kids. Even if that responsibility is to just sit by a fire and ring in the new year from our basement...as a family.

Happy New Year.