Friday, September 30, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 36

Category: Tips & Advice

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed.  Winner: Betty's Advice

Betty's Advice

How doors work...

Zoo Tips

How to dry hands

Severe Weather Know-How

Duly Noted

The Art of Debate in Marriage

How about NOT calling them Dummies for starters?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The First Bully

It's finally happened.  I knew it would be a matter of time before one of my children encountered their first bully and now Michael has.  Apparently a fellow Kindergartner is picking on him, calling him names, and chasing him around but not to play tag.  My son's reactions thus far only serve to encourage his antagonist because he either runs or hides from this child every time they cross paths.

Today I gave him similar advice to what my father had once given me.  Sadly my bully-handling advice came at about the same tender age but it was good and it worked. A kid names Sean would chase me and hit me on the back as hard as he could.  I would run to my dad in tears expecting him to teach Sean a lesson or to go tell Sean's mom.

Instead he told me to hit Sean back.  Shocked and appalled by this suggestion I refused and continued to run from him receiving several more hits all while my dad was standing there.  I thought surely now my dad would get involved and put a stop to this madness.  He didn't.  He just kept encouraging me to handle it myself and put and end to it.

And I finally did.  After one more solid hit, square in the middle of my back, I let the sting of its pain get me mad instead of producing more tears...and I hauled off and waylaid him as hard as I could across his back.  Sean immediately burst into tears and ran home.  Never again did Sean bully me.

My advice to Michael was not to engage this kid in a physical manner.  But it was to stand firm, not run, not cower, not hide, and to give this bully something to think about.  And if all else failed to finally get a teacher involved.  I really WANT to handle this for him.  But I learned more than one lesson that day I stood up to Sean.  I learned that we have to stand up to our own bully's AND that parents at some point need to equip their kids on how to handle situations themselves and not always defer to their aid.

I wish I could say Sean was my last bully.  I wish I could say that every bully that picked on me from then on got a taste of his own medicine.  But that isn't quite my story.  Unfortunately life's hard knocks and fallen status comes with bullies and tough challenges.  All I can do is pray for and continue to equip my kids in effort to get them through.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diapers & Politicians

This sign is a funny yet sadly truer statement of affairs than I care to admit.  How many elections have you voted in where you were choosing the "best available" candidate instead of just the "best" candidate?  And how many elections have you voted for a candidate just because it meant saying goodbye to the incumbent and the horrific administration they brought to us?  As much as Obama probably does deserve SOME credit for getting elected, I think the number one reason for his appointment into office was George Bush.  America was not happy with his track record and we wanted someone completely different.

I primarily vote Republican but I don't make any claims of being one.  They are just "more conservative" and in-line with my political preference than the Democrats.  But in all honesty I cannot stand either party.  And I don't think we've had ONE good President since Ronald Regan.  If it were up to me, and its apparently not, I would just like to wipe the slate clean and get rid of the current party system.  I have no doubts that once again we are going to send a message to Washington by ousting Obama.  My questions of you are two part:

1. Will we be doing so for the right reasons?
2. Will the New Guy be any better?

I'm betting the answer to both is going go be NO.  And I am supposedly an optimist!

Your Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lurker Or Stalker?

According to the Urban Dictionary, the definitions of a Facebook Lurker and/or Stalker are as follows:

FB Stalker - A person who spends large amounts of time on facebook looking at other people's profiles.  Often browsing photos, walls, groups, or recent activity posted on the stalked person's mini-feed.  Not always traceable or noticeable, but clues are: wall posts replying to every status update, viewing every posted picture of the stalked, etc.

" I think Hillary is turning into a facebook stalker, she replies to all of my status updates..."

FB Lurker - Someone that passively trawls Facebook but doesn't leave a footprint by writing on walls, commenting or liking things.  Facebook lurkers love the book, but seek to create a facade that they're never on it.

"Hey check out Dan, he's always looking at Facebook, but never doing anything on it.  He's such a FB Lurker."

Then there is the less extreme Facebook Sleuth...

FB Sleuth - The act of finding out news or gossip by looking around Facebook or other social networking sites where the information gathered may not necessarily be legitimate.

I am sure we are all guilty of all three behaviors at times...but be you fall into one particular category more often than not?  Confession time.  Which of the above are you?  If none of the above then tell us about your FB activity.  I must say of the three listed, I am most often guilty of stalking.  Especially people that have fun or entertaining things to post.

How about you?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Cry Room

Growing up in Church babies just cried and that was that.  Occasionally if parental attempts to immediately soothe failed to work, the embarrassed mom or dad might make a mad dash outside the service hall with baby in tow.  These days if your church is like mine, such a fuss need not be made.  They have a Cry Room now.  A glassed in box like the kind you pay extra for a sports games.  Fully equipped with sound, families with newborns can now let their children scream or shout with joyful squeals and not take that walk of shame.

This week we sat in the Cry Room because Joshua is still recovering from a cold and we didn't want to expose the nursery children to his germs.  I had intended that morning to really get into the services, to really listen to what God might be saying through my Pastors, to dedicate my financial offerings and my spirit to the act of worshipping.  My prayer that morning was for me to be selfless and not be seeking out what I could take away from the experience but what I could give to God...what I could leave behind.  It was a good idea but not so easy in the Cry Room.

This time we had the room all to ourselves.  And this time Joshua was in rare form with his Joyous squeals and high energy levels.  Rachael and I, though wanting to pay close attention, just could not.  We switched off the duty of holding and entertaining him, only catching a sound bite here and there.  It came to a point where I just gave up and decided to enjoy my little guy and my wife!  So for the  better part of an hour, there we sat...clapping and bouncing and playing...all while the pastor spoke.  I am sure he gave a marvelous, Holy-Spirit inspired word!  He usually does!  But I was busy worshipping God in a different way.

It's really no different than visiting my Mom & Dad's house intent on catching up with a good visit but being side-tracked a bit due to the necessary attention that a baby demands.  If Grandparents are understanding and even cherish times like that, although a bit off the better believe God loves it too!  I think He was right there in the room with us the whole time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 35

Category: Sports

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed. Winner: Ticket Refunds.

Granny Got Game

Gymnastics is apparently quite painful

The markings of a lineman


Look at the purdy neon ball!

The cause of ticket refunds.

May I have this dance?

2D Cycling

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SciFi Becomes Reality

It seems MANY technological advances are now making former Science Fiction dreams become reality.  The latest, if true, is reminiscent of the Star Wars clip below:

And now thanks to Apple (who else?) we don't have to order our own R2 Unit or bargain with Jawas about the price.  It seems the iPhone 5 is coming out soon and the holographic display is just ONE of its newly leaked features:

All this really means for me I can finally afford an iPhone 4.  At least that is what I am hoping!  Maybe it ISN'T so different from bargaining with Jawas!

Thoughts?  Feedback?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The "Unknown Friend" Request

Ever get that Friend Request on Facebook from someone that you don't know?  If you are like me a process must take place before dismissing or accepting the invite. 

  • I must first determine whether I don't know them because my Swiss-cheese-brain is failing to recall our former interactions or IF its truly because I don't know them.
  • Most times step one still leaves me wondering and unsure so I move to step two where I see how many "Friends in Common" we share.  The more a person has in common the more I begin to believe I SHOULD know this person and that my brain is just not making the connection.  When there are just a few or in some cases zero friends in common the more I begin to believe that I just don't know them.
  • If this process fails, I move on to other items that may give me a clue.  Most times you cannot see the full profile of a person until you accept them but often times there is some information on their page.  Perhaps its their high school or church...or sometimes its their college or work place.
  • Eventually your investigations must lead to a decision.  Do I friend a friend I don't really know but seems to know everyone in the world that I have ever hung out with since the age of six?  Do I friend and friend that has seemingly no connection to me whatsoever but may need a kind soul such as myself to accept them anyway?
This begs two questions that I would like you to answer:

1.  What are your steps/requirements when going through a similar friend acceptance decision?
2.  Have you ever invited someone that wasn't really acquainted with you to be your friend?  If so, give the details as to why.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scabs & Scars

It doesn't take much time on this earth before we receive our first wound.  Most don't manage to make it through the first year but we often don't remember that far back.  My first memory of shedding blood was a skinned knee at the age of three.  The stinging surprise of pain brought blood curdling screams beckoning my parents to come to my aid.  And I just thought the initial wound hurt the most.  Boy was I in for it!

Their care for me was tender at first.  Often I was scooped up and held tight as my tears and uncontrollable shudders from crying subsided.  Then I might even get that magical KISS that made it ALL BETTER.  But for good measure my parents took it a step further and would either use Bactine Spray or perhaps some other antiseptic solution to clean the wound before dressing it.  Thus entered the second bout with pain which usually rivalled the first and sometimes seemed worse because it was inflicted by your own Mom or Dad.

Then came the days and weeks of healing where children like me who are tactile and curious would not let the thing just heal.  I had to pick at the scab and watch it bleed all over again, this time with less pain but still rather gross and unpleasant.  Mom would warn me to leave it alone but why did it have to itch so bad?  Why did it have to call to me to revisit it?  Most times these things did eventually heal and little to no evidence of the original problem was left.

But there were always those wounds that ran too deep or those scabs picked one too many times that left behind a scar.  Sure a scar is still technically a sign of healing but its also a reminder.  A mark.  A permanent indication of a story that I am willing to bet you remember all the details of.  Isn't that just like the walk we have with Christ?  He, like our parents, comes in having heard our desperate cries.  We receive his tight embrace and tender kiss to our wounded souls only to have Him spray the Bactine of His pure holiness onto our sinful ways.   It stings and is in some ways worse a pain than the original.  But it starts to heal..only for us to revisit that sin and reopen the wound.  Sometimes we manage to leave such sins behind long enough that healing takes place.  Other times our sins are so deep or picked at and revisited too often resulting in a spiritual scar.

The Good News is both scenarios bring healing.  But the scars become our testimonies to God and His Glory.  They are the undeniable marks that cannot be erased.  They are the healed, yet permanent evidence He has left on our hearts.  It may seem an unfair or painfully unnecessary process but I assure you it is not.  Scripture warns us and also encourages us in Paul's writings to consider it pure joy when growth of this kind takes place.  Our Healer is working on us.

And never forget the wounds and scars He took on for your sake!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Frustration Blessing

Last week I excitedly tuned into a new TV show called Up All Night.  The previews made me laugh so the idea was maybe the full length sitcom would as well.  Turns out the previews took the best bits and what might have been a full belly laugh was more of a guffaw.  It also went a bit too far with its political correctness...stay-at-home dad and can't-give-up-the-party-life-wish-we'd-never-had-a-baby plot lines too.  But what I could relate to and what IS quite funny is the frustrations that our babies/children bring to our lives. 

They aren't funny at the time mind you.  But when you get to talking with other parents or watching a show on TV where the couple is literally begging one another to be the one that goes and settles down the crying baby...the shared experience is hilarious.  Its somehow comforting to know your least proud moments of huffing and puffing in anger as you sleepily stagger down the hall to find out what in the WORLD could be wrong with you child is not only quite normal BUT widely shared by parent-dome at large.

As my brother and I talked a little about this very topic this morning though I was reminded that beneath these frustrating moments of sleep deprived selfishness where you question your own sanity is a tiny human being that just needs our love.  If you are frustrated by the lack of sleep...imagine how little they are getting and on top of it all...they are often in more pain due to the hunger or sickness or (insert problem) that woke them up in the first place.

Its in those moments when I am only focusing on ME, ME, ME that I lose sight of the blessing and can only see the frustration.  Its when I kick myself in the proverbial pants and remember how blessed I am to have them and how much they NEED me to put my selfishness away...that being a daddy is a truly awesome experience.

I hope this encourages you as a parent.  Before long we won't be up at night taking care of sniffles.  We will be up waiting on them to come home from that date.  Yikes!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 34

Category: Family Photo

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed. Winner: Christmaas Card.

Mullet Powers Activate!

The Woods Family

Strong DNA

KFC Family Portrait

For. The. Win.

Guess who the Rebel is?

Eventually their differences drove them apart...

Christmas Card

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Litmus Test

Jesus was asked what the greatest command or commands were.  His reply was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and to Love your Neighbor as you love yourself.

How are you doing with those?  Who is your neighbor?  Is it just the family to the right and left of your house?  Are you showing the kind of love that allows for borrowing a cup of sugar or something deeper than that?

I don't always like my answers to these questions and I suspect neither do you.  Perhaps that is a good litmus test for us to encourage us to dive deeper and to REALLY show love.  In the parable of the Good Samaritan I've always imagined I would be the kind of person that would have helped to take care of the beaten and battered man.  But how many times have I passed that broken down car on the highway without stopping?

I realize stopping at every stranded car would be its own full time job in Dallas but how about stopping every now and then?  Yesterday I came across and amazing video of Good Samaritans that did stop, put their own lives at risk, and helped to rescue an man in horrific danger.  I downloaded it, added some text, and sound track in order to release it on my channel and blog to encourage you.

I challenge us all to be this kind of neighbor to one another!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Slow Adustments...

We are just a few weeks into the new school year and slowly but surely getting into a groove.  The kids have attended PreSchool for two years so I mistakenly concluded that Kindergarten would not be too big an adjustment for them.  I was wrong.  Between getting up MUCH earlier than they ever have previously, going to school five days instead of two, and being there for full day instead of just half...this transition has hit them like a ton of bricks.

Even mom and dad are still trying to get our bearings as we adjust to all the added responsibilities that come with parenting Kindergartner's.  Houston...we now have Homework.  Added to this is extra curricular's like Football for Michael and Cheer-leading for Mackenzie.  So two of our five week-nights are dominated by practices with a mad dash home to finish the aforementioned homework, bathe, get PJ's on, and into the bed early enough to hopefully prevent the Early Morning Waterworks.

I don't think I EVER gave parents of school-aged kids enough respect!  I hereby repent of this miscalculation and will forever SALUTE YOU! 

Enjoy some long overdue First Day of School footage:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's Mailbag 8.0

A motorcycle mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a Harley-Davidson when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop.

The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?"

The cardiologist, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on the motorcycle.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine.  I opened its heart, took the vales out, repaired any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finished, it works just like new."

"So how come I make $39,675 a year and you make $1,695,000 when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The cardiologist paused, leaned over, and then whispered to the mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."

To submit your own Email contribution to Today's Mailbag send entries to

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's My Problem?

Confession time.  I LOVE to scare people.  Not big on the pretend-you-fall-off-the-roof kind of gag (I actually did that one for REALS).  I am more of the hide around a blind corner and jump out and say Boo kind of prankster. 

I first discovered this love early in life on the likes of my brother Jonathan.  Don't ask me how I managed to hide in the same place, bait him in the same way, and still get him to violently wriggle about while screaming at the top of his lungs...BUT I did.  Little brothers are great that way.  It seems curiosity kills more than just cats because Jon usually knew what I was up to but just like Charlie Brown thought just this once I might really have something very COOL to show him.

Fast forward to adutlhood, marriage, and fatherhood.  Such things should probably be left in kiddie-prank-land, no?  Well if so, I am guilty of the childlike crime because I still get those wonderful split-second-full-body-flinch wth eyes-bugging-out-of-head-whilst-screaming reactions from both of my five year olds as well as my wife.  I was VERY carefule to leave my wife alone during her pregnancy(s) and the kids alone until about age four.  But now all three are fair game and get that wonderous jolt of excitement from me on a regular basis.

And here's the rub.  Though they try, I never give any of my victims the satisfaction of a good reaction when and if the attempts to get me back are made.  It takes much poise and control because there have been times I've wanted to jump out of my skin...but I never cave.

What's wrong with me? 

Leave your guilty pleasure confessions in the comment section.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 33

Category: September 11th

Instructions: No voting today.  Please leave comments if you wish to share which photos are the most powerful and why.  Otherwise I would like you to visit this POST and share your personal 911 story.

A Memorial of Lights

Cross in the rubble.

Heroes Erecting Flag

Taking it all in...

Second Impact

Emerging from the destruction.

Pentagon Damage

Let's Roll!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

10 Years Later...

I am not a New Yorker.  I wasn't standing in the streets witnessing the fiery scene first hand.  I didn't escape the plumes of ashen cloud that rushed through the streets as the towers fell.  I was not a part of the clean up process.  But this wasn't just an attack of New was an attack on America.  And I AM an American!

Lest we soon forget the towers were not the only successful target of those attacks though they may be the most memorable and publicized.  If you haven't shared your personal stories from that day, please visit my previous post located HERE and do just that.  Those of us that lived through this tragedy will forever have painfully etched images and emotions tied to the date.  And in one of the strangest, almost cruel twists of irony, the date is also representative of Emergency in American society as we use them to dial the Police for help.  All of us know the three digits 911 whether we are three or fifty three.  Now we just have one more reason to remember.

As I was reading an article by Senator Matins who represents New York's Seventh Senatorial District, I was awakened to a reality I had not yet considered.  Though just ten years ago, we already have a generation growing up without knowledge of that day.  And thus far we haven't done much in the way of adding it to the History books or school curriculum.  Here is a quote from the article:

Yet for better or worse the passing of 10 years has softened the blow. Negatively, I’ve had the staggering experience of speaking to some young people who knew little of the day’s actual events. They were of course familiar that “9/11” was a tragedy involving terrorists but couldn’t tell me much more.

After Osama Bin Laden’s recent death, friends shared that while their children were aware he had been a hunted enemy, they were unsure as to why. Of course, we don’t blame the kids at all. Many of these children were toddlers at the time and some had not even been born. I do blame us though.

While researching the issue I discovered that 9/11 is not part of any set, core curriculum, not even for high school students. We teach them about genocide, the holocaust and the Irish potato famine, but not 9/11. While tens of thousands of service men and women still serve overseas, when we’ve buried thousands of them and even more have come home injured, we don’t bother to teach our children why. (Full Article HERE.)

I echo his concerns over how little our children know or understand about this day.  I obviously don't want to scare my five year-old's and do understand that there is an age appropriate dispensation of the facts.  But lets teach the new generations something!

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Tell Your Story 1.0

Yes, this does actually require a response.  You cannot be a silent blog stalker with a headline like that.  And yes, the "1.0" is meant to imply this is the first edition in what will hopefully be a series of posts like it.  I had already planned on using this week to pay tribute to the tragedy of September 11th.  So for this first post, I would like to make you do all the work by asking a question.  Please attach your reply as a COMMENT on this post or if you cannot figure out how to do that and are my Facebook friend, then comment under the link to this article in the news feed or on my profile.  I will then cut and paste your information back over here, leaving out your last name.

So here is the question for this go-round:  Where were you and how did you find out about the attacks on September 11th, 2001?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 32

Category: Back To School

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photos of these eight in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed.  Winner: Borg High.

Can you tell they're excited?

Resistance is Futile at Borg High

Book VS Street Smarts

A hassle for every family...

Tractor Pull Bus Driver

What do you MEAN, I can't go?

How to sleep in school

Wait until he realizes the text books are analog.