Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This morning I would love to be sitting at the library with a cup of coffee, my textbooks and computer. 

Two years ago I was sitting at the library with my coffee, my textbooks, my computer and a strong longing to have my own sweet little house where I could share my mornings with Joanna.

Turns out, life needs a balance of both.  Balance. That's a challenge that can last  lifetime.

One of the big challenges I face in switching to a shift with a 10-hour day, is that my days on and my days off are so clearly delineated.  By the time I get home at night, I am so exhausted that its hard to force myself to do anything but veg.  And my days off want to run around shopping at flea markets and go canoeing and camping - anything but pay attention to the schoolwork and paperwork that has been piling up. 

We got away for a couple of days last week to hang out with Joanna's family in Arkansas.  Frankly, it was a great break from the rut I've recently sunk into of working, vegging, poking at my computer, and sleeping. 

 One of my brother-in-laws captured a poor little lizard that he promptly named "Joe".  Gotta love a lizard that's willing to entertain the little guys for a couple of hours. 

Micah and I hiked through 3 miles of unmarked brush to get to the White River.  It was beautiful, rugged terrain, full of snakes (we only saw one. I screamed.) ticks, and other no-see-ums.  Frankly, I was so pooped at the end of the hike, it was good to get home.

And, of course, no family trip is complete without bedroom adventures.  Our air mattress refused to stay inflated, so once a night I'd wake up the whole house reinflating our bed. Thankfully I'm married to a girl who's tough enough (and crazy enough) to camp on the ground while pregnant, so a crazy bed can be made workable. 

Gavin keeps growing up so fast.  Apparently he giggled this week (I missed it), and his grins are becoming more easily coaxed.

He's also becoming a little more care-intensive.  He sleeps less during the day and more at night, which means that more of mommy's daytime is spent cuddling and talking to her little man.  She swears he has my rebellion against sleep, and I have to agree.  He fights it so hard and gets so distraught before she finally persuades his little eyes to rest.

I've been called 4 times in the past three days by these people who apparently keep dialing  the wrong number.  Just now she called twice. In thirty seconds.  On the second time, I said "Look, I don't mind talking to you, but let me give you my number"  I spelled it out slowly, and sarcastically added, "Now you can keep calling it if you want, but, while I really don't mind, you're not going to get anybody but me."

We'll see how long that lasts.

I guess I'd better get to the dishes.  My little lady got up and turned on one of Marshall's CD's and then fixed us a great little breakfast of bagels and scrambled breakfast.  So it's been a very nice quiet little morning.  Gotta' hand it to her for knowing how to create an uplifting atmosphere.  Frankly, that's one of the reasons I fell in love with her.  Controlling the atmosphere of the home is probably the most important thing a keeper at home does. 

But now I'm rambling about something I don't really know much about.  Except that I love how my wife orchestrates our home.

Oh, and talk about a bad time to die

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Son

He's getting so big.  And cantankerous.

My poor wife has become such a trooper, taking care of the nighttime rituals so that I can get my 'beauty sleep' before the 6am alarm wakes both us and our neighbors.

That means I get to see the cute moments of life.  Like waking him up from his nap when I get home.  And holding the still sleepy bundle as he stretches and tries to orient himself to his world (yet again).

Our supper "conversation" tonight was great:

Mama: "Oh my, what a good burp!!"
Mama:"Wow, you do that so well"
Little-G (Looking at her with big eyes): *Burp.
Mama: "You know, you don't have to do it just to impress me."

Ok, so I'm a first-time dad, but what gives? I love seeing little things in him that are so totally myself.  Here's to hoping he's easier to raise than I was.  All too soon he'll be crawling around here trying to pull the computer off the coffee table.  I can't wait for that day.

Ever wake up and not know who you were? Try being Benjamin Kyle.

(It's gonna take more than a double-shot of espresso to bring that guy around.)

Let mercy lead - Rich Mullins
Let love be the strength in your legs
And in every footprint that you leave

There'll be a drop of grace

If we can reach
   Beyond the wisdom of this age

Into the foolishness of God  -

That foolishness will save those who believe

Let mercy lead

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Read the Red and Pray the Power

Yesterday (was it that long ago?), I shared a link that another friend had shared about how modern, relevant, churches are losing their congregation.  As the author of that article states:

 "If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same.

It brought to mind a testimony I read sometime ago.

Larry Lea has written a fascinating book from his life "Could you Not Tarry One Hour?"

I've been inspired every time I've read it.

Enjoy this excerpt:

...1972 was a big year for me: I graduated from college; I married my wife Melva Jo; and Howard Conaster, pastor of Beverly Hills Baptist Church in Dallas, surprised me with a generous invitation to become his youth minister.

I appreciated his offer, but didn't really want to be a youth minister.  My desire was to become an evanelist like James Robison, and I told Pastor Conaster so.  He wasn't upset in the least. "Just pray about it, Larry" his raspy bass voice drawled confidently.  So I prayed, and to my astonishment, the Lord directed me to accept the position. 

Back then I wasn't one to beat around the bush when a head-on confrontation would do as well.  When I learned that the youth group at Beverly Hills existed on a steady diet of skating parties, wiener roasts, haunted houses, and trips to Six Flags, I strolled in before the critical stares of fifty pairs of young eyes and announced,

"Ya'll, we're not gonna do all that stuff anymore.  We're gonna' read the red and pray for the power."

The response was tremendous! Overnight the youth group went from 50 to 14! Phenomenal growth!

...That group of 14 began meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights.   By then end of the first summer, we had grown from 14 to 140.  By the end of the second year, we had 1,000 teenagers in our youth services, and many more flocked to the Christian concerts we sponsored...
I love it.  Maybe one day I'll get called to lead a work like that.  Until then the focus is on my new little family. Being faithful with little, and being inspired by those who are faithful with much.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Family visit, Vision correction, etc.

It's that time again.  Time to get the eyes corrected.

Normally I just swing into cheap-mart, get some stuff scribbled on a piece of paper, and go on with my life.  But, seeing as I pay monthly for eye insurance, I did my homework, and ventured into one of the "expensive" eye doctors.

I gotta say the difference has been worth it.  Sure, it's mostly all the same equipment, but the personalized attention -- and Dr. Pierce's care and he additional techniques he used (I mean, heck, this guy know how to fit a prescription for newborns with eye problems. Skillz, I tell you!) to fit me with a prescription that can meet the demands of these eyes that spend hours in front of a computer screen -- have left me confident about this upcoming year. 

Fewer headaches, and better grades - here I come!


It looks like water, but I wouldn't drink it.  They take metals, grind them into nano-particles and put it in water.  The water then is used to cool the massive servers with the result of being up to 40% more effective.

Effective water. Who woulda' thunk?


What can I say, except "Give me Jesus"? 
We had Dad and Tim and Anne here last night.  Gotta' love family, and since Joellie and I were just chillin anyhow, it was great to have the company.  We're around Gavin all the time, so its easy to forget how much the family misses out on the little smiles (and the grumps) and the big eyes he's learning to use.

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me

Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you

So I could come back a brand new me, you helped see me through

And don't even realise what you did, believe me you

-Not Afraid, Eminem

Monday, September 6, 2010

MattGyver, Cyborgs, and other feats of technology..

When I was a kid, my dad was king of fixing stuff on the fly.  On more than one occaision, he'd patch together his broken semi, and limp it across the nation in order to make it home for the weekend. 

Sure, he could have parked it at a shop on the east coast, and waited for his company to fix it.  But that meant a weekend away from home.  As long as the truck was packing ducttape, vise grips and some hefty jumper-cables -- Mattgyver was home every weekend.

It started turning into a game.  Anytime we kids heard that dad had been forced to limp his rig home the night before, we'd race through breakfast and go pop the hood of the truck to find the ducttape, or alien wiring.

My wife and I shelled out a whopping $1,000 on our current ride nearly a year ago.  It's holding up well - that is until the headlight switch went out on it.   I priced a new switch at nearly $600 (plus labor).

So, after a day of sweating and wiring, lets say it's been nicely "Mattgyvered".  Thanks, Dad, for mad skills.

I found this video of a "robot" (ok, so its a little car that drives around) with the brain of a rat.

That's right, instead of a computer, it uses neurons from a rat, kept alive inside of a jar and linked via bluetooth to this little contraption

It sounds rather disturbing, if you ask me.  But then I found this video from these scientists, explaining how this enables them to study memory, learning, and decision-making.  Hopefully, by the time I am an alzheimer's patient, these guys will have a cure for me. 

Or, at least have a use for my mal-functioning neurons.  (Maybe they can put my brain in a jar, and I can go practice law somewhere)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Coffee Trials

For a blog about cycling, I sure do talk a lot about coffee.  But then, what cyclist doesn't love his coffee?

Like the new coffee shop downtown - The Hub.  Coffee AND bikes.  (yes, BMX does count)

Now there's a business idea.


While I'm on a Coffee rant, Check out this Hoops and Yo-yo e-card.

It rocks

I woke up late Friday morning.  Not late enough for the boss to know any different.  But late enough I wasn't about to wait for my Folgers to brew.

I regretted that decision.

Two hours later, my eyes were refusing to stay propped open.  One of my co-workers sauntered through with something that looked like coffee. I tried to act nonchalant, but it was all I could do to keep from forcibly taking his mug. "Where'd ya find da coffee, man?"

"Oh, I keep it at my desk.  Here, you want some?"

I microwaved some water and was soon drinking instant coffee.  I haven't had instant coffee since I was in Africa.  And there they don't call it coffee. It's Kaf-fe' (or something like that), as if it's a more elite item.

Apparently our hotel hosts didn't realize their continent was brimming with the real bean.


My wife has tons of decaf sitting around.  Most of has been given to her by well-meaning people - a church we visited handed us a fresh ground pouch,  a Gevalia sales person had some left-over samples, I think my mom gave her some as a Christmas present.

I don't drink decaf.  It seems unnatural.  Like snorting powdered milk instead of cocaine.  If I'm going decaf, I'm going tisane instead.  Much more enjoyable.

That aside, I can't say I haven't been jealous - eyeballing her freshly-ground exotic packages of decaf while a gulp my sludgy Yuban. ( I ran out of Folgers)

So I finally broke down.  I've started stealing her tea - lacing my cheap coffee with her exotic gifts.

Can't say I notice a difference. But somehow, the world seems more right.