Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's Your Excuse? 4.0

We all have them. EXCUSES! Reasons why we can't accomplish something.

Reason why we can't:

  • Travel
  • Lose Weight
  • Earn More
  • Have extra time
  • Vacation
  • Improve our skills
  • Better our situation
  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • And many more...
This series exists to hopefully help you and I both stop making excuses. For today's post, I present Joe Salter.  As if competing in a triathlon isn't difficult enough, this man ambitiously decided to juggle during the entire event.  Yes, this means he juggled while swimming, biking, and running.  It seems a bit odd but there is something pretty incredible about it as well!  Enjoy and STOP making excuses!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 65

Category: Kids Athletics

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed.  Winner: Grampa ain't playin!

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Foot/Eye Coordination

PeeWee Baller

Grampa ain't playin!

Sucker Punch!

Now I'll never get a sponsor!

Move over Tiger. I got this!

When you suddenly rethink Karate lessons!

Helloooo Ladies!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today's Mailbag 16.0

Texas Beer Joint Sues Local Church

A bar called Drumond's (in Mt Vernon, Texas) began construction on an expansion of their building, hoping to "grow" their business.

In response, the local Southern Baptist Church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding - petitions, prayers, etc.  About a week before the bar's grand re-opening, a bolt of lightning struck the bar and burned it to the ground!

Afterward, the church folks were rather smug - bragging about the power of prayer.  The angry bar owner eventually sued the church on the grounds that the church..."was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, through direct actions or indirect means."

Of course, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise.

The judge read carefully through the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's reply.  He then opened the hearing by saying:

"I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that what we have here is a bar owner who now believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not."

If you have any material for Today's Mailbag, please submit it to

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Great Devourer

The Great Devourer on Ninjago

Yes...for a third day in a row I come to you asking for opinions and advice.  Not because I don't have my own plan of action but more-so to compare notes and see how you are handling a particular issue in your home.  And if you seem to have a better handle on something, I might "barrow" the strategy for our sake and give you the thanks in exchange.

So here is one that has been on my mind now for a while.  When do you start telling your children about EVIL?  Christian or not, there are some very gruesome aspects of our world that at some point will become a blip on your child's radar.  It's especially challenging for Christians like myself however, when we have a world view that includes a spiritual realm that explains the physical state of things & people.  Much like the Garden of Eden, possessing the knowledge of good and evil has its pitfalls.  A bit of innocence is lost and perhaps an unhealthy fear is realized.  I know from my early childhood that I would have nightmares of something evil chasing me around my backyard.

But equipping kids with the knowledge of what is out there is the beginning of discernment.  Case in point, my son Michael and I have the following conversation just a couple weeks ago:

Me: What did you do at school today?

Michael: At recess we played chase.  But the person chasing us was not called "it" they were called The Great Devourer.

Me: (With concerned interest) What is The Great Devourer (1 Peter 5:8 enters my mind)

Michael: A character on Ninjago that is the Bad Guy

Me:  What does he look like?

Michael: A really scary snake.

Me: Do you know what devour means?

Michael: No

Essentially my son has naivly told me that they are pretending the person that is "it" is Satan.  For Christians like myself this is not the way we desire a game of chase to be executed.  So now I have the unique challenge of explaining the word devour and what the snake represents and why I don't think that kind of pretending is a good idea OR...I can let it go and let his naivete rule the day.

And again, even if you are not a Christian, you know these names and references and at a bare minimum realize that Satan is the symbolic personification of the ultimate expressions of evil.  Most parents, no matter the world view would probably not love the idea.  Where we may differ of course is in the reaction and explanation.  But forget the specifics of this scenario for a moment and instead answer this question from its broadest angle.

When and how do you as parents talk to your children about our world and the evil it contains?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paranoid Society

Yesterday I vented my frustrations over being asked to limit the way in which I filmed my children during Field Day.  The not-so-subtle implication was "tun the camera off" but in effort to stay cordial the impossible request that I only film my kids and not let anyone else enter the frame was proposed.  As is normally the case, my venting allowed the steamy buildup caused by this situation to release and therefore put me back in a relative state of happy.

But then commentary began and it gave birth to the realization of larger problems.  This is just a symptom of our paranoid, pansy society and other examples are endless.  You need only be born a few generations ago to see it.  We rode in the back of pickup trucks, rarely wore seat belts, never wore helmets on bicycles, won or lost sports competitions, stayed outside until dark with NO supervision, and played tackle THE STREET.  We have scars that tell a story of a time when paranoia didn't rule the day...where kids like me could go anywhere we wanted so long as I could hear my dad's whistle to return home.

However, before I give you the impression that I am some lone rebel trying to recreate these experiences for my kids, I must make a confession.  I go outside and supervise the kids.  They can't run anywhere in the neighborhood and just know to come in when the street lamp comes on.  They wear seat belts and helmets.  Their only experience in the back of a pickup has been in one that sits idle with the ignition turned off.  I must go further and confess something even crazier.  I prefer it this way to some extent.  Obviously as yesterday's rant implies, I have a limit in which I call foul and demand for a day where we return to some semblance of rationale.  But there is a parental part of me that is glad that our kids are more protected than we were.  In some ways its a miracle we survived.  Its not like head injuries, horrific car accidents, or child predators just became a reality.

No, these dangers have been around for ages.  If anything it makes me think WHY in the world my folks let me get away with so much!  So here I sit precariously dangling between a childhood that I would never trade and a parental responsibility to deal with the reality of our world and the dangers it has in store for my kids.  What is one to do?  How do you obtain balance? I for one am tired of letting paranoia rule the day.  But where is the line?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Field Day Rant

Michael with Somebody he knows.
Mackenzie with unknown classmates.
I excitedly arrive at my kids school to watch them participate in their first Field Day.  Memories of my own experiences bring a smile to my face as I spot Michael & Mackenzie decked out in their special shirts.  Tug of War just ended and Mackenzie has a look of disappointment on her face.  She certainly inherited my passion for competition and displeasure for losing.  I guess that means I cannot get too upset with her about it but I give her some words of encouragement and ask her to lift her chin and smile.  After all the next event is about to begin.

I conduct "on-camera" interviews with both kids and a few of their closest friends about how the day is going.  Then it happens.  Like a hawk stalking its prey, I am ambushed and given "the speech". 

"Excuse me, sir.  We would like to ask that any video you take be only of your own children.  So please zoom in so that none of the other students appear in the frame and do NOT publish any of the videos on Facebook, Youtube, or any public sites!"

What kind of horrible, litigious-minded, lawsuit-happy people have we become?  Have we really come to a point where I need to walk around getting parents to sign a release just so I can film my children having fun, playing sports, or accomplishing their goals?  This is a PUBLIC SCHOOL and we are in a PUBLIC situation are we not?  Is there an expectation of privacy?  Is this against school policy or the law?  My guess is neither.  I am placing all bets on this being a PC move intended to protect the school and administration from any potential backlash.

Either way I put the obvious, shiny-silver video camera down and elected to mostly take IPhone pics.  I did get a few short videos of the kids on the phone but my mojo and excitement for capturing the moment had been smashed.  Perhaps the most frustrating thing about it was not knowing who to blame.  I certainly don't blame the messenger.  So how did we get to this point?  What would you have done?  Am I alone in this frustration?

And don't get me started on how EVERYONE was a winner and no blue ribbons were handed out!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 64

Category: DeMotivational Poster

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Winner: Galactic Economy

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

The Galactic Economy

Highway robbery in either case!


Only God Knows

Irony Coast

Nightmare Fuel

Public Service Announcement

That's how he learned to moonwalk!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Hypocrite

Yesterday my wife informed me on my way home that my eldest son Michael was being quite difficult.  So much so that four warnings/scoldings and two different forms of consequences failed to snap him back into shape.  He continued rebelling and pushing the line.  Like so many of us as children, he then heard these dreaded words:

"Just wait until your Father gets home"!

And its true.  I am the disciplinarian in our family.  For some reason my involvement gets the desired results.  Who knows exactly why?  Perhaps my 195 lb frame, or my deep voice, or my stern looks & lectures.  Perhaps its because they know that I don't threaten consequences that I will not follow up on.  Whatever magical combination of factors is in play, I don't question it and it works.

But it occurred to me whilst on the phone with Rachael hearing of my son's actions that I would be soon stepping into a scene playing a part that technically makes me a hypocrite.  Whether I let my mind flash back to a decade when I was the boy and my daddy was disappointed in mom's report or instead think about the countless ways I've rebelled against God (my Heavenly Father)...the facts are the same.  I am someone that needs correction, guidance, discipline, and a stern lecture from time to time.

So you have a rebel in corrective training (Me) correcting a fellow rebel (Michael) that has a longer road ahead of him.  I think God sets it up this way on purpose.  On one hand it does inflame my sense of justice and fairness therefore producing the appropriate measure of discipline.  But on the other hand I am reminded of my own failures and the mercy that has been shown to me even when I didn't deserve it.  The end result most often turns out to be a fair and balanced correction that leaves we (the parents) satisfied that poor behavior was corrected and they (the children) perhaps a bit upset but never losing focus that mom and dad love them dearly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Christian ≠ Coward

Yesterday I wrote about our call as Christians to be humble.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us the meek inherit the Earth.  In another passage we are told to turn the other cheek.  Our Savior and most of His disciples were put to death without resistance.  So its no wonder that some make a correlation between us and the proverbial doormat.

But in my lesson to the Upward Soccer team the Instructors Guide correctly points out that Christ embodied both the most humble and the most authoritative titles in human history.  Perhaps that is one of many reasons He is often illustrated in Scripture and the Lion and the Lamb.  Perhaps that is why Scripture tells us to be as sly as snakes but as gentle as doves. 

It (like the Starburst commercials say) "is quite the contradiction" from our limited point of view.  But it makes perfect sense when you begin to understand who we serve.  The most powerful being in existence that has chosen not only to create us but desire a relationship with us.  A God who chose with His own free will to make other free willed beings in His image.  Not just to observe them but to interact and even DIE for them.  All that power and might willingly pushed aside for an even greater attribute...mercy & love.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Honor & Humility

I believe God communicates with us in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  In both cases we can be ignorant to His messages or turn a purposeful blind eye.  But the idea for a Christian is to avoid both by remaining open to His instruction and "willing" to respond in obedience.

Well this is one of those times where a not-so-subtle message is being delivered.  On Sunday our Pastor talked of how the Bible tells us to honor one another.  That it sounds great in theory but rather difficult in practice. He gave several funny examples laced with some serious gut-checks and challenges for us to look in the mirror and evaluate how we're personally doing with this.

Then just yesterday I had to teach my Upward Soccer team during the halftime huddle about Humility.  In defining this word for them, the message come through yet again.  Its putting another persons needs, desires, wants, glory, and importance before your own.  Jesus Himself modelled this by kneeling before His disciples and washing their feet.  Do you understand that moment?

THE KING of the known Universe knelt before mere men (who were probably stinking of sweaty travels with wretchedly dirty feet) and He lovingly washed them.  If we serve a God that demonstrates that kind of love and humility...I for one am "all-in".  I don't know if I can ever duplicate His example but to me, its worth striving for.  Not to "earn" anything.  But to respond obediently out of my love for Him and what He has done for us.

Your thoughts?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Parent Approved Movie List

So I asked my Facebook friends this weekend for some help.  You see my family has been "renting" movies OnDemand through our cable box just about every Friday for the last several weeks.  We've been through the Superman series, watched Princess Bride, and even taken a step back in time with Mary Poppins & The Love Bug.  But we were running out of ideas.  And since they've seen every animated flick that's ever been released, I asked for more titles of the non-animated variety.  My friends delivered in spades and one in particular, Sean, suggested that I share it here on my blog as a handy-dandy-easily-accessible-public-service to my readership.

Duplicate titles have been deleted, so here is the edited but complete list:
  • Muppets - all titles
  • The Sandlot
  • Flight of the Navigator
  • The Incredible Journey (60's version)
  • The Happiest Millionare
  • The Ugly Dachshund
  • Good Boy
  • Goonies (depending on age of kids)
  • The Never Ending Story
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Love Comes Softly
  • E.T.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Pollyanna
  • Bedtime Stories
  • Babe
  • The Parent Trap (both old and new)
  • The Little Rascals
  • Home Alone
  • Bednobs & Broomsticks
  • Mary Poppins
  • Cheaper by the Dozen (new one w/Steve Martin)
  • The Mighty Ducks (parts 1 & 2)
  • Stuart Little
  • Princess Bride
  • Homeward Bound - The Incredible Journey
  • Tom & Huck
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang
  • The Love Bug
  • Ladybugs
  • Encino Man (for older kids)
  • The Dark Crystal (a bit creepy)
The parenthetical notes are straight from those that recommended these titles.  In ALL cases check out the ratings and synopsis to determine if they will be good choices for your family.  Special thanks to Sean, Lorina, Teresa, Kathryn, Bill, Courtney, Anne-Marie, Cindy, Julie, Jim, Amanda, Toni, Monica, and Jennifer for the submissions!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Heroes & Hope 2.0

We live in trifling and uncertain times. I tend to highlight the more concerning topics fairly often. So in effort to be fair and balanced, it seems appropriate for me to present another series that highlights people, events, accomplishments, and the rays of light God gives us for encouragement sake. Yesterday one such story came to my attention about a paralysed woman named Claire Lomas.  Once an accomplished event rider, Lomas had a freak accident while competing at Osberton Horse Trials in May 2007.

Her website reports the incident as such:

"She collided with a tree which resulted in fractures to her neck, back and ribs. She suffered a punctured lung, pneumonia, had to have a tracheotomy to help her breathe and was in intensive care for 10 days.

The fracture in her back caused damage to Claire's spinal cord resulting in her being transferred to the Northern General Hospital's Spinal Injuries Unit. Claire left Sheffield after 8 weeks - the shortest time anyone has ever spent in that hospital with her type of injury. Claire is still paralysed but determined to get better. "

That determination and a special robotics product have now joined forces and allowed Claire to walk.  And what does Claire decide to do with this new-found ability but enter into the London Marathon?  Check out these two clips and be encouraged by her determination, hope, and heroism!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

What's Your Excuse? 3.0

We all have them. EXCUSES! Reasons why we can't accomplish something.

Reason why we can't:

  • Travel
  • Lose Weight
  • Earn More
  • Have extra time
  • Vacation
  • Improve our skills
  • Better our situation
  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • And many more...
This fairly new series to the blog will hopefully help you and I both stop making excuses. For today's post, I present Bhavik Ghandi. He set out to cross the Atlantic Ocean in what can best be described as a row boat.  Through storms, equipment failures, and nearly half a years journey his trek was completed on sheer muscle wind, no sail, and no motor.  Enjoy and STOP making excuses!

Monday, May 07, 2012

A Bedfull Of Punkins

On my list of favorite things, this experience is certainly somewhere near the top.  And that is saying a lot if you know me and my desire for uninterrupted slumber.  Sometime around the age of twelve I truly discovered my love, dedication, and all out NEED for sleep.  I am not talking about six or even eight hours of it either.  No, no...that is child's play.  I am talking about sawing logs for twelve hours at night but still being able to take a two hour nap in the middle of the day.

Now I have written in the past about how difficult adulthood in general but specifically marriage and parenthood has been on this love-affair of mine.  It doesn't help when your spouse hates sleeping and doesn't have the word "nap" in her vocabulary.  Add three kids that are age six and under and you have a recipe for disaster when it comes to restful shut-eye.  But this time I am not going to go down that road.  No, instead I want to talk about something better than a few more minutes of sleep (I never thought I would say or type such a phrase)!

It is when my one year old, and twin six year olds wake up (yes...its always TOO early for me) and come get in our bed on Saturday mornings!  The moment I even think about groaning about wanting a few more minutes I see three bed-heads crawling toward me to snuggle my neck.  And they do just that.  Like sardines, the five of us wriggle and maneuver to make room for one another but also to carve out our own slice of bed-heaven.  The entire process doesn't last long.  Its a matter of moments before a tickling match breaks out or someone bellows how hungry they are.  But in those brief moments, its worth losing any amount of sleep to feel the closeness and comfort of a family that loves one another!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 63

Category: Fantasy VS Reality

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed. Winner: Notifications

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Utility Kilt





Fast Food

Snowman Construction


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Pink Elephant

Christian Theology has its fair share of Pink Elephant topics.  I don't pretend to have a list or know where this topic belongs but I can say with decent certainty that talk of demons is near the top.  Reasons abound but here are just a few that cross my mind:

  • They are scary
  • They are evil
  • They are supernatural and challenge naturalism
  • They incite outsiders to label you as crazy for believing they exist
But like most things, avoiding truth doesn't make it go away, so why not get into the subject a bit?  Specifically for my purposes I want to challenge my readership (both Christian & Atheist) to weigh in on a video series that is already under way on my YouTube Channel, called "There's A Demon in My TV'.  The title is purposefully meant to get a reaction and create curiosity.  But in my opinion that is where the sensationalism stops and the true dialog begins.

What I am posting in these videos are clips from main stream television commercials and programs (including Children's shows & cartoons) that barrow heavily from the Demon Narrative.  Whether or not you are personally a Christian this topic is (a) one you can weigh in on and (b) something that I assume might cause you as much concern as it does me.

The question that has to be asked is why would producers of these forms of media use known characteristics, behaviors, imagery, and even Biblical narratives of the demonic to sell you products or create interest in their plot lines?  For Christians this is especially offensive because that is that last thing behind a long list of other ills on TV that we want our kids exposed to.  For the Atheist who does not believe in such things, I don't think its safe to assume there is no concern.  The last I checked most Atheists dislike it very much when any religiously influenced plot line enters into their inner sanctum in effort to persuade them a particular way.  How much worse is it when a rather grotesque version of that religious narrative is exploited to its fullest?

Normally I would embed all three videos at this point, let you watch them here without leaving the blog, and await any and all commentary.  But I am actually going to make you do this on YouTube this go-round.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The End Is Near 4.0

This is a relatively new series to my blog that you will hopefully enjoy. The idea is to share five links to various sites that show evidence that we are living in the End Times. You will quickly see that for every link that may lead you to a serious article or news coverage that looks to be straight out of Revelation, there will be several more that are just tongue-in-cheek and meant to be funny.

I am not a date setter. Scripture says we will know the "season" of the end but not the time or day. And since a day is to God as a 1000 years is to us...there is really no telling how long a season might be. Here are just a few reasons I think we are in the season of The End...

Machines on the Rise - In the vein of movies like Terminator, one of the categories that is growing quite common in this series is how advanced our technology is becoming. This week, we have one such example:

1.  Sand Flea

Political Correctness Extremes - Our attempts to modify behavior and bring it to a universal standard continues.  Overall this can be a good thing to achieve, but I think you will easily agree that we often take it to the extreme.  Here are two such examples:

2. Best Friend Ban

3. Male-born Miss Universe Contestant Claims Discrimination - It seems we now cannot enforce exclusivity rules with ALL male or ALL female competitions.  I guess the Olympic Games and even the Girl Scouts are discriminating organizations.

And in other scary-impressive Technological Advances, we now can apparently use hologram & cloning technology to bring back the dead

4. Tu Pac Hologram

5. Cloning Extinct Species

Send your links to if you want to submit appropriate material for this series.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Crisis Of Profession?

Ok, I admit it.  I didn't aspire as a child to grow up to be a recruiter.  The secret is out.  Actually this industry discovered me and saved me from Restaurant Management, so I should be grateful.  But instead I am having a bit of a crisis of professional direction these days and its taking a toll.  The operational aspects of this work are still well suited for my strengths.  Whether its speaking with clients or candidates looking for work, I am a people person.  I love to help clients meet their staffing goals and I love to help the unemployed obtain gainful employ.

And if that is all my job required, the current state of misery would be non-existent.  But like most jobs this one comes with a certain amount of responsibility that isn't fun, that doesn't make good use of my strengths, and is the source of enormous stress at times.  Just making sure, for instance, that you stay on top of collections so that you have enough money each week to fund 75 peoples payroll is about enough to send me to the funny farm.

There is more to it than this but I will spare you the details and the gripes.  I know I am a blessed man.  And I know that if God wants me to learn or enter into a new profession, He will open that door at the appointed day and time.  For now I leave you with a man who brightened my day.  His aspirations of being a street performer are being lived out.  But perhaps like me, he isn't quite as good as he'd like to be at it.

"Lord, please tell me I am not the staffing version of this?!"