Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fire Pit, S'mores and Camping Outside Under The Stars


Tonight is our last night with the Ham's in Woodland Park, CO.  Boy, did we have a great time.  We culminated our time by building a fire in the Ham's backyard.  Britt spent many summers as a camp director and builds amazing fires.  The wood in Colorado is so dry, the fire started immediately or maybe Britt just made it seem easy.

The boys and the rest of us plus the neighbors, Doug and Patty, joined us all and roasted some marshmallows.  As the night air cooled us, the fire warmed us.  I personally ate 3 S'more's.  So bad for you, but so good for the taste buds!  Yum! 

We drank some Kenya Bold Starbucks coffee and chatted about how great these last 10 days have been.  Alex and Jack are as close as ever.  We've never felt closer to Britt and Michelle.  The time just flew by. 

Stars Then, the boys broke out the sleeping bags, laid them on the trampoline.  I laid next to Kaden and Alex and just looked at the wonder of the stars with them.  Out in the middle of the outskirts of Woodland Park, the sky was so clear.  In our plain site, we could see hundreds of stars all around us.  The boys quickly found the big dipper and little dipper.  Then, after Doug and Patty left, Britt, Michelle and Krissy joined us on the trampoline.  We cuddled up close, had some laughs about the trampoline breaking with over 800 lbs of weight and prayed. 

Kaden was the first to fall asleep at 10:30pm.  Alex and Jack kept laughing and joking around saying "butt", "fart" and "poop" a lot.  It's the simple things that keep them entertained!  After a while, the girls got cold and Dylan went inside.  Eventually, we made up a story about rain coming and the rest of the boys came in. 

It was a special night.  The boys are now finally asleep - after 11pm.  But, it was worth the memories.  Tomorrow, we leave for Nashville again.  We'll miss Colorado and the Ham's, but we'll always remember the great moments we had here on our trip. 

Chalkboard20welcome We kept a list on the Ham's chalkboard of all the activities and memories we had. The board said "Welcome Nordhoff's" and I kept adding memories around it.  I hope we get a picture of it before we leave.  It will be fun to look back on this special vacation.  We'll end it tomorrow with lots of hugs, maybe some tears, but we'll leave full of wonderful and special memories of our vacation with Britt, Michelle, Jack, Dylan and little baby Bennett - who wins the "Most Chilled-out Baby Award" of the vacation! 

King Me: Sons, Chevys and Sin - Part 2

King_me_2 This is part 2 of my review of King Me, a book by Steve Farrar I'm reading for the second time.  Here is an excerpt taken from the Swift Boot chapter in the book...

Linebacker, quarterback and tackle are positions in football.  Strong-willed, manipulator and compliant are dispositions in children.  That means that sons will express their sinfulness in very different ways. 

Some sons will fight their parents openly and relentlessly.  They'll fight you to get their way pretty much from the time they learn to say "mama" and "papa".  (These are known as the "strong-willed" sons.)

Other songs will try to smooth their way out of responsibility or just merely postpone it.  They will use every excuse in the book, even resorting to going to mom as a buffer.  They are great at using their witty winsome personalities.  (These are "manipulators".)

A third kind of son will quietly and almost easily comply.  This is the child who can slip under the radar, because you will breather a sigh of relief and say, "Finally, a kid who gets it."  But let me give you a warning - after years of experience with watching compliant children mature into adulthood in good families I've known well for years.  The compliant child is the one you must hone in on very closely.  You have to work extra hard at getting to know him.  And if in his compliance he begins to exhibit an unmasculine passivity, or unhealthy noncommunication and silence, this is the son you especially want to watch.  These sons risk becoming part of the new passive-nonaggressive Seibfelds of our times.  Why?  Because these songs want to please, and they hate confrontation.  So they find it hard to express their real and true feelings.  As a result, they will simply go underground to avoid it. 

Submarines run silent and they run deep.  That's how compliant sons run.  They submerge what's really going on inside of them.  Do you have a son like that?  Underneath this kind of compliant passiveness can be a harboring of feelings (legitimate or illegitimate) of hurt and anger.  And the longer it smolders, the harder this son will be to reach. 

Could these things be resolved through healthy communication?  Sure they can.  But if he isn't one to naturally expose his true feelings, and if for some reason he doubts that he will really be understood or heard, the underground anger and hurt will go on doing thier quiet destructive work.  He may compliant now and easy now.  But that hidden and unresolved anger will eventually turn him into an angry, rebellious young man.

Which is your son?  Maybe you have one of each.  If he is strongwilled, it could mean World War III.  This is not a war of bombs and machine guns. It is a war of the wills.  And this, gentlemen, is a war you absolutely must win.  He's got to know that the world does not revolve around him.  He cannot win.  He cannot control your home.  He cannot call the shots. Period. But when you wage this war, you must do it with calm, loving, but firm and resolute authority.  Don't draw boundaries one day and then waver on the next.  In war, there has to be rules.  And your son must know that you mean what you say.  By the way, the earlier in his life that you begin - age one is not too young - the better, and the more certain you can be of an early victory. 

If, on the other hand, you son is a manipulator, you will need to see through his manipulation and let him know you see through it.  Just because he delights you and knows how to make you laugh doesn't stop him from foolishness.  In fact, some of the greatest fools are some of the funniest, most amiable people on earth.  Obedience is not an option to be joked about, excused, or bargained over.  Obedience is literally a matter of life and death. 

What I am saying is that to be an effective disciplinarioan, you've got to know your son.  You've got to know what makes him tick.  And not tick.  It's going to take some time to get to know him.  Quiet a bit of time.  Just that piece of information may tick you off.  But it's better to be ticked off up front that miss the tick in your son's heart.

I couldn't help but try to identify my own sons.  I feel that sometimes they switch between manipulators and strong-willed.  In general, Kaden tends to lean toward manipulation.  He has a bit of the compliant child in him.  It's hard at times to understand what he's thinking deep down. Alex tends to lean toward strong-willed. 

I love my boys and I want to be the best dad I can.  The boys are now 6 and 8.  The most important fathering years are ahead.  These next 8-12 years will be critical for them.  I pray I'm ready daily to take on the challenge! 

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Air Force Academy

Afa Today, we visited the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.  I was very impressed with the campus and the program. The chapel is absolutely beautiful.  It's the most visited man-made structure in Colorado. 

The grounds are impressive. Maybe Alex will want to go and play in their football program!  I highly recommend visiting the Visitor's Center there and taking a tour around the facilities.  It took about 2 hours to complete.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pike's Peak and iT'Z

PikespeakToday, we hiked up Pike's Peak - the most visited mountain in North America.  It was a gorgeous, blue sky day.  The boys, Krissy and I set off on the 90 minute hour drive up to the top at about 9:30am from Woodland Park.  I highly recommend doing this.  It is called the Pike's Peak Highway.  Pikespeakhighway10 It was a beautiful drive - sometimes a bit scary because there are very few guard rails along the road.  Many times you're just a few feet away from cliffs.  However, you are driving so slow, it really isn't that dangerous. 

Once we reached the top, we snapped some photos, took some video footage and grabbed some lunch.  It was amazing how light-headed and dizzy I felt being up 14,110 feet.  Everything moves a bit slower.  The boys loved it, but had headaches and became tired at the top.  I too, needed to rest a bit.  It was quite a difference in hight. 

After lunch, we stopped at a memorial which was dedicated to the writer, Katharine Lee Bates, who climbed the mountain in the 1800's and penned the lyrics to the song "America, The Beautiful".  I could see why she was inspired. 

Later, we drove around the mountain top some more - stopping at a scenic area overlooking the continental divide about 50-100 miles away in the distance.  Pink_red_watermelon_snow_hassell_pe There was a large snow patch there.  We took the opportunity to throw some snowballs at each other, have a laugh and climb up some steep rocks. The boys loved it - especially Kaden!  He is just such a happy-go-lucky kid.  I enjoy seeing his free spirit. 

We made it back to meet up with the Ham's again at their house.  We took a 30 minute break to get ready for the second half of our day.  Itzlogosmallrgb_lg_3 We would visit a really great place in Colorado Springs called iT'Z. It is a combination of Chucky Cheese, an all you can eat buffet and an indoor theme park and arcade.  It was a real blast. 

The Ham and Nordhoff boys grabbed some pizza from the buffet area - always stacked with food - salads, pizza, pasta, desserts and even a wine & beer area for the parents.  Inside, there were themed rooms - a cartoon room (where you could eat and watch cartoons), a sports room (where the Women's US Open was airing at the moment), and a Hollywood room (where movies were being played - we caught the end of The Mask and the beginning of SpiderMan 1). Then, on the other side of iT'Z there was a large game room, arcade, fun rides like bumper cars, racing tracks and an spinning airplane flying machine in the center.Itz20ddr  

All of it except for the prize games, was free to play for all of us for under $60 for a family of four!  We spent almost 5 hours there being entertained, playing games, riding rides, eating until we were full and watching movies.  What a great place.  It would be fun to have it in Nashville or Cool Springs someday!  It will put Chucky Cheese out of business for sure.

Well, that didn't end our day.  Krissy and I went to Pike's Perk for our coffee shop concert.  I might write a post about that tomorrow.  We'll see!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back of the Napkin

About_book_leftThis looks like a really interesting book.  I might put it on my wish list.

Check out Dan Roam's website.

Any of you read it yet?


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Woodland Park - The City Above The Clouds

Cfiles7413We're on vacation.  On Friday, we flew from Nashville to Denver.  We landed amidst thunderstorms and strong winds.  After we landed and got our rental car, we travelled out of the airport at 9:00pm and all around us were lightning storms - no rain, just flashes of lightening.  It was a great introduction for the boys to Colorado. 

Woodland_parkWe drove 2 hours from the airport past Colorado Springs and up into Woodland Park to finally arrive at our friends house, the Ham's.  Britt, Michelle, Jack, Dylan and their newborn Bennett, used to be our backyard neighbors.  We're coming up to visit them after Krissy was invited to sing at the Pike's Peak Christian Artists Festival and Woodland Park Christian Church over the next 10 days. 

The boys are best friends and when they get together it's like they've never been apart.  Britt and Michelle are so sweet to host us for so long.  I hope we don't become a nuisance.  So far, though, we've had a blast.  Here's what we've done...

PikespeakcoloradospringsOn Saturday we watched Jack & Dylan's last baseball game.  They live in a beautiful part of the country.  Woodland Park sits below Pike's Peak - one of the tallest mountains in the area - over 11,000 feet.  We woke up on Saturday to crystal blue skies and headed straight to the baseball fields.  On the way, you have a majestic view of the Peak - covered in snow.  We watched them play for a while, then Krissy and I headed just down the street to the festival for soundcheck and Krissy's first set.  The setting for the festival is breathtaking. Sitting on the lawn, you face a view of the stage and Pike's Peak in the distance.  It's gorgeous.  Krissy's set went really well.  We met some wonderful people that hosted the event.  We also met a great band called The Sonflowerz.  We spent time talking to the band and their parents.  It was a good time of fellowship and encouragement.  The boys and the Ham's spent a few hours at a Baseball season ending party where they had burgers and hot dogs.  They had fun, they said.

Later that day, we went dirt bike riding.  Britt invited us out to a friend's house that live on some acreage.  The boys and I had a blast riding for over an hour on the open range on the edge of Woodland Park.  I rode with Alex on a 4-wheeler.  Kaden quickly adjusted to Dylan's bike and wanted to go fast!  Alex also got on Dylan's bike and was very careful, but always had a smile on his face.  I eventually got to ride Britt's fast race bike.  WOW - was it awesome.  I definitely want to do that again. 

That evening, Michelle and Britt invited Danny and Suzie and Trevor (the people who owned the land where we rode) and their boys (Nate and Sammy) over for dinner.  We grilled pork tenderloins and ate until our hearts were content!  Later, we roasted marshmallows at the Ham's backyard fire pit.  It was awesome!  Kaden stuffed 3 S'more's in his mouth.  He loved playing with the fire.    The boys watched a funny movie called "The Sandlot".

We had a great first day. 

GreenmountainfallscoloradoToday, we started our morning off with breakfast at The Pantry in Green Mountain Falls - a small town just southeast of Woodland Park.  All 9 of us pigged out on pancakes, sausages, bacon, eggs, omelets, cinnamon raisin bread and more!  Yum!  After that, we went on a beautiful hike up towards the Green Mountain Falls.  There had been mountain lion's spotted up there - I have to admit my antennae's were up on the lookout, but we didn't see any.   I kept telling myself what to do just in case. Talk in a low voice, face them, don't look them in the high, make yourself big and slowly back away.  Luckily, I didn't have to use this technique. 

Michelle hiked with Bennett - I was amazed at that.  We made it about halfway and then it just got too steep for us all - especially Michelle and Bennett.  So, we headed back down and enjoyed the scenery of the area on the way down. 

The boys played in their basement for a while.  Kaden's been really curious about a couple of mice that have gotten stuck in the window sill of the basement window. They will probably die because they have no way of escaping.  Poor things.  Kaden and Alex have also been jumping in the Ham's trampoline a lot.  It's been fun.  They have a basketball hoop on one end so they can slam dunk little basketballs in there. Kaden's been jumping non stop and loves it when anyone jumps with him so he can sit there and get thrown up in the air!  He laughs so hard! 

Later that afternoon, Krissy sang another set at the Pike's Peak Christian Arts Festival.  The Ham's came and watched. Krissy did great.  It began raining hard just after Krissy finished her set with the song "Downpour".  Maybe she shouldn't have sang that one so convincingly! 

After that, we went to one of the area sports parks and played flag football with the boys for over an hour.  It was a turf field.  Really nice.  Britt, Kaden and Dylan played against me, Alex and Jack.  We had fun.  Soon, some other kids came and joined us for a little while.  It was fun!  Alex was playing like a wildman - he's ready for tackle football.  He was running through the other kids and making great catches and scoring big TD's. Kaden was also playing great - running past other kids and juking around to make some scores.

We had a nice dinner that the girls prepared that night and the boys watched the first half of Transformers.  Tomorrow morning we'll watch the rest.  Britt has to work in the morning, I'm not sure what we have planned.  I'm sure he's wiped from the weekend.   

It sure is beautiful out here. We're getting used to the high altitude - drinking lots of water, using chapp stick and drinking more water.  I'm a lot more tired than normal up here too. 

The Ham's have been great hosts.  They've treated us so well.  We love it here!  Stay tuned for more updates from The City Above The Clouds!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

King Me - Part 1

King_me_2I'm reading a book (for the second time) this summer.  It's called King Me and it's by Steve Farrar.  The chapter I'm reading is titled "Swift Boot" and it talks about boys and why discipline is good.  I found there to be a wealth of wisdom in this book about raising sons.  So, I thought I would do a three part blog about this important subject.  Here is an excerpt from the book...

...Your son is not a blank state of innocence upon which you may write.  The culture embraces this idea, in spite of all contrary evidence...

...Every man starts out his life being foolish. His natural tendency is to gravitate toward irresponsibility and self-centeredness... 

And here is the reason why.  Every infant is born a sinner.  The theological word for this depraved.  The biblical idea of "the depravity of man" is that every man is born with the natural inclination to sing, and that every part of his being is permeated by this inclination.  "There is none who does good, there is not even one...For have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:12,23).  The book of Romans teaches that all men, from Adam's sons onward, have been born sinners by nature.  That is the tragic state in which we would still be if it were not for the grace of God through Jesus Christ! 

The term total depravity doesn't mean that we are depraved as we could be.  It means that every aspect of our beings has been infected with sin....

...Every human is born not basically good but basically sinful...

Depravity means that every child will act upon his inborn nature without any encouragement whatsoever.  Did you have to teach your son to lie?  Did you have to teach him to say no?  He is a sinner by nature - which he acquired from you.  It's in his DNA.  You were born with that same bent, just like your father.  "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).

So what does this have to do with foolishness?  The fact that he is a sinner means that he will fight the very things that are good for him.  That's what fools do.  And that's why you are there.  You are there to train him to turn away from his natural foolishness and lead him toward wisdom. 

Every dad knows what I'm talking about.  What a child is little, he doesn't want to go to bed (yes).  He wants to eat sugar instead of meats (not a problem for our son) and vegetables (definitely happens with our boys).  He wants you to buy every toy he sees in the toy store (yes).  He'll watch TV for endless hours or play Nintendo until he can't see straight.  When he can't get his way, he'll scream, kick or just whine and fuss and argue you to death, all in the hope against hope that he might get his way. 

When he gets older, he'll fight with his siblings until you think you are going insane.  He'll grumble about doing his chores.  He'll do everything he can to postpone doing homework.  He'll talk back to you or flat-out disobey you just to see if he can get away with it.  He'll beg to have the latest think everyone else has - and he will use the age-old guilt trip to trick you into getting it for him.  He will argue with you about whatever reasonable limitations you have placed in his life.  Why?  Because he wants to be happy and free.  He doesn't understand that happiness and freedom without responsibility and maturity is destructive to his health. 

In short, he will do a pretty good job of driving you nuts.  You just can't let him get away with it. 

WOW - this is a true description of where we are right now with both of our boys.  We love them to death, but they are driving us nuts this summer.  I hope that reading this will encourage us to press on through the tough moments we're experiencing with them this summer.  When we're having fun and relaxing, they are angels.  But, when we give them jobs to do or want them to do something that is good for them, it can be WWIII.  So, we press on!!

more good wisdom in part 2 up next...

We're Off To Seek The Wisdom...

Carpkids3Well, this week at church, I played a lazy lion.  We're spoofing the Wizard of Oz in Carpenter's Kids at The People's Church for the 1st - 3rd Graders.  The song's been changed to: "We're Off To Seek The Wisdom, the Wonderful Wisdom of God." 

Carpkids9orbThe theme is proverbs and this week's theme was about doing things with diligence.  The focus scripture was Proverbs 6:6-11 where Solomon compares how hard the ants work compared to us lazy humans.  I later gave a message to the kids about Ants and laziness.  It was a fun Father's day!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Favorite Sports Memories

Pga_u_woods01_412When Tiger Woods made his comeback today with a dramatic birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie Rocco Mediate to force a playoff tomorrow at the US Open, I said to myself this was one of my favorite sports memories ever.  I don't scream out loud often, but I couldn't help it tonight.  In fact, Krissy heard me down the street.  She and Alex came running in to make sure I was okay!  That was unbelievable!  I'm glad I got to share that one with Alex on Father's Day!

Tonight, I started thinking about all the other sports memories I've had in the years past.  Here they best I can remember chronological order...

Cosmoslg 1979 - Watching my first professional soccer game - New York Cosmos in Giants Stadium with Giorgio Chinaglia, Pele and Franz Beckenbauer.  That was awesome!

1980 - Wimbledon Bjorn Borg beats John McEnroe in dramatic 5-setter. 

1985 - Watching Boris Becker win his first Wimbledon against Kevin Curren.

Boris1986 - Watching Germany play Argentina in the World Cup. 

1986 - Boris wins Wimbledon again against Lendl

1986 - Seeing Andre Agassi (age 17) play for the first time at the Volvo Tournament in Vermont. 

1986 - New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings.  4th & 17 Phil Simms makes a miracle first down pass which ends up helping the Giants to win the game with a Field Goal by Raul Allegre (I think that was his fifth of the game).

1986 - NY Giants vs. Denver Broncos.  George Martin intercepts a John Elway pass in Giants Stadium and returns it 70 yards for a TD.  I still remember Lawrence Taylor diving on #75 in the end zone.  Later that game, Phil Simms made a clutch pass to Phil McConkey #80 for a first down and eventual game winning comeback field goal.  They would meet later that season in the Superbowl.

Nfl_a_simms_195 1987 - NY Giants beat the Denver Broncos in Superbowl XXI.  Phil Simms is MVP.

1987 - Larry Mize unbelievable chip to steal the Masters from Greg Norman on the first playoff hole.

1989 - Winning the Somerset County, NJ Championship in 1st Singles and as a team my senior year of high school.

1990 - NY Giants win Superbowl XXV.  Bill Parcell's strategy to run the ball against the Buffalo Bills.  Bills' Norwood misses the potential winning FG wide right. 

1991 - Jimmy Connors plays an unbelievable US Open.  Makes it into the Semi-finals at the age of 39.  Great points and fist pumping - A_connors_i especially the match against Aaron Krickstein one evening!

1992 - Andre Agassi wins his first grand slam at Wimbledon.  He still had long hair and was dating Brooke Shields. 

1993 - Houston Oilers lose to Buffalo Bills in the greatest comeback ever in Buffalo 41 - 38 after Houston was leading 35-3 at halftime. 

1994 - Winter Olympics

1996 - Greg Norman chokes away 6 stroke lead on the final Sunday to lose to Nick Faldo at The Masters.

Payne 1998 - Tennessee Volunteers are National Champions in NCAA College Football.

1999 - Payne Stewart beats Phil Mickelson at the US Open at Pinehurst to win his last major before his tragic death later. 

1999 - Jean Claude Van de Velde chokes at the British Open with an unbelievable double-bogey.

Music_22000 - Music City Miracle: Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills.  Down by 1 point, with 16 seconds left in the game, the Bills kick off...Wycheck laterals the ball to Dyson and he runs into the end zone for the unbelievable win.  I was screaming all the way to Nashville at that moment!

2000 - Superbowl XXIV - Titans vs. Rams.  Dyson is tackled one yard short of the end zone for the potentially game tying score.   

2004 - Phil Mickelson wins his first major - The Masters with an unbelievable putt on the 18th.Masters_winner_2004_phil_mickelso_2

2006 - Phil Mickelson chokes away his 1 shot lead in the US Open with a double-bogey on 18. 

2007 - Texas Longhorns win against SC in the College Football National Championship Game.  Vince is later drafted by my hometeam - the Titans!

2007 - Tennessee Titans comeback from a 1-5 season to barely miss the playoffs and finish the season 8-8.  Rookie Quarterback Vince Young (VY) ignites a spark in the team and makes unbelievable plays to win several close games.  I remember two games - one where Rob Bironas makes a 60 Yard Field Goal to defeat the Colts.  Another, where the Giants miss VY for a sure sack and go on to comeback and win the game against the Giants in a nail biter with 21 unanswered points.

2007 - Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts barely defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC Conference Championship and go on to demolish the Chicago Bears in Superbowl XLI.

Tyreecatch 2008 - The New York Giants upset the New England Patriots to win Superbowl XLII.  Eli Manning dramatic escape of a sack on 3rd Down to make a 20 yard completion to Tyree for a finger tip catch off his helmet!

2008 - Tiger Woods Rounds 3 & 4 - unbelievable shots for eagles and birdies to eventually tie Rocco Mediate on the last hole with a dramatic birdie putt.  I can still see Tiger's fist pumps and the crowd going wild in the background!  Absolutely electric!

My Father's Day

Tradition041cropDear Dad,

Thank you for giving me life. 

Thank you for giving me rides on your shoulders.

Thank you for being my role model.

Thank you for telling me that you're proud of me.

Thank you for being firm with me when I needed it.

Thank you for playing tennis with me.

Thank you for all the many golf tournaments we played in together.

Thank you for giving me a love for videotaping and electronics!

Thank you for sending me to Germany every summer so I could grow to know and love my family over there.

Thank you for loving Mom so well.

Thank you for encouraging me in my music.

Thank you for giving me a stable childhood.

Thank you for all the birthday presents.

Thank you for taking me on trips.

Thank you for teaching me how to ski.

Thank you for showing me the importance of work.

Thank you for helping me with my essays on Saturday mornings sophomore year.

Thank you for putting up with me when I was stubborn.

Thank you for making me laugh out loud!

Thank you for giving me grace when I was not a good son.

Thank you for loving me through those difficult teenage years.

Thank you for not making me move to Texas before my senior year of high school.

Thank you for signing me up for Dale Carnegie when I was 16.

Thank you for speaking German to me so I could speak a second language.

Thank you for teaching me about investments.

Thank you for squirrel stories and many laughs with your grandkids.

Thank you for a loving my wife and your daughter-in-law with a sensitive heart.

Thank you for respecting the way we raise our family.

Thank you for helping us financially when we needed it most during those first few years of starting my business.

Thank you for giving me a good work-ethic.

Thank you for being such a great Dad. I love you!

Your son :)

Tiger Woods - 3rd Round US Open "Inspiring!"

Tigerusopen2008 WOW - what an amazing day of golf!  I wish I could have been in the crowd roaring with everyone else.  I am continually amazed at what this man can do - even with a bum knee.  Truly inspiring!

Click here to see the video highlights.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

You Da Dad!


Below is a letter from founder, Todd Wilson.  I love getting his weekly emails because they are an encouragement to me to get up and try being the dad my boys need.  This email is pretty special... 

Hey Dad,

Let me be the first to wish you a very Happy Father's Day. I don't know about you, but I don't feel like I've earned it lately. In fact, I was a little stinker yesterday. It's not that I don't try---I do. But sometimes I just blow it.

What made it worse was that I had a radio interview and the topic was---you guessed it---fathering. Since I'm not very good at faking it, I told the interviewer that I hadn't been a very good dad hat day.

And then something happened. The average interview went to a higher level, because as I shared my failures, he also shared how he blew it just the night before.

Man, not only did I enjoy his failure story, but it reminded me how we dads are all in the same boat. We try to care for the needs of our family and love our wife and children but often blow it.

And THAT'S why we celebrate Father's Day and why my hat is off to you, Dad. You have the most demanding, important job on the planet. After a failure, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again (sounds like a song).

The news is full of stories about presidential candidates, powerful businessmen, and famous movie stars, but what you do every day as a dad is more important than all that stuff combined. Your impact in your children's lives ripples across generations to come.

YOU 'DA DAD!!!!!!!!!

YOU 'DA DAD!!!!!!!!!

YOU 'DA DAD!!!!!!!!!

So, my fellow, normal dad who blows it from time to time, you're doing an awesome job. You may or may not get a goofy shirt for Father's Day or get a nap, but know that this dad thinks you're 'da dad!

Happy Dad's Day,


BTW - I got my usual Father's Day present from my in-laws this week - the annual Old Navy Flag shirt for 4th of July! 

Happy Father's Day to all the other fellow imperfect Dad's out there!  Keep getting up, wiping the dust off and go love on your kids!  That's what I'm gonna do right now...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert: A Father's Day Tribute

Tim_russertI was saddened to learn of the sudden death of Tim Russert of NBC News.  I've always been impressed by him and enjoyed hearing his analysis of the political scene over the years.  As a once TV/Radio Journalism major in college, I was impressed by the way he interviewed others.  Fair, but challenging and very wise in the way he put questions.

I was even more touched by his love for his family and for his son.  I was listening to Sean Hannity on the radio this afternoon and moved by the love his co-horts had for him. I was more moved to hear stories of his love for his son and for his own father.  He has a book called Big Russ & Me about his dad that I might check out soon.  So, on the eve of Father's Day weekend, I say "thank you, Tim" for the example you were on television for me and millions of others that, sadly, appreciate you more now and wish you were still here.  If you're mom or dad and loved ones are still here on this earth, take the time right now to love on them.  You never know when the good Lord may take them away.

A tribute to Tim Russert from NBC...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Widgets 101

Top_50_widgets_memory2 I just read a great article from the elance blog that teaches you everything you need to know about widgets - especially for small business!  I can't wait to start using them for Go Global and the new blog Krissy and I will be starting in a few short weeks!!

Click on this link to read the full article by Tracy Pizzo:

Lemonade Stand

Lemonadestand2 I see the beginnings of an entreprenuer in my son, Kaden.  He has a goal to save up for a Nintendo Wii system.  I told him that if he saved up for half of it, then I would pay for the other half.  So, he's been working his little buns off every morning doing his daily jobs - watering flowers, collecting trash, cleaning the floor, windexing the kitchen table, etc.  He gets $.20 for every job.  Every day he earns $1.00 - that's $5.00 per week. 

On top of his jobs, he's also doing extra jobs whenever we ask him.  Not only that, but he's thinking of ways to sell more stuff - ebay, garage sale, etc.  Yesterday, he opened a lemonade stand, charging $.50 per fresh-squeezed lemonade glass.  Not bad profit per glass for the little guy.Lemonade_stand   

Lastly, he's learning how to save, spend and give with the money he earns.  He's doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Junior system which teaches God's ways of handling money.  He gives 10% of his earnings away to church or special causes.  He saves most of it for the Wii and keeps a little every week for ice cream money or small toys he wants. 

Not bad for a little 6-year old!  Way to go Kaden!  Watch this page for more 'Kadenomics' stories.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


37 37. Does that sound old to you? A 37 year old man. Today, I'm 37.  Thirteeeeeeeee-sevennnnnnnnnnnnn!! Ugh...that sounds old.

Here are some things I'm going to work on in the next year:

1. Lose weight.  I'd like to be 185-190 lbs of pure lean muscle mass!

2. Have a better balance of my work life and my family life.  I spend too much time working and not enough time being a husband and a dad. 

3. Be a better worker.  I'm doing too much.  I need to administrate better and improve my work habits and planning.  I'd rather do less and earn more.  I'm working on that.

4. Financially, I'd like to be a better saver and more disciplined in our spending.

5. I'd like to be a better friend.  I don't invest in others well.  I'm going to endeavor to be a better friend to those God has put around me.

If I can do that this year, I'll say I've accomplished much in the 37th year of my life.

Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Work Out What God Works In You

Myutmost It seems My Utmost For His Highest devotional readings by Oswald Chambers are speaking to exactly what I'm wrestling with in the moment.  Today's reading is no exception...

"Work Out" What God "Works in" You

". . . work out your own salvation . . . for it is God who works in you . . ." —Philippians 2:12-13

Your will agrees with God, but in your flesh there is a nature that renders you powerless to do what you know you ought to do. When the Lord initially comes in contact with our conscience, the first thing our conscience does is awaken our will, and our will always agrees with God. Yet you say, "But I don’t know if my will is in agreement with God." Look to Jesus and you will find that your will and your conscience are in agreement with Him every time. What causes you to say "I will not obey" is something less deep and penetrating than your will. It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God. The most profound thing in a person is his will, not sin.

The will is the essential element in God’s creation of human beings— sin is a perverse nature which entered into people. In someone who has been born again, the source of the will is Almighty God. ". . . for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." With focused attention and great care, you have to "work out" what God "works in" you— not work to accomplish or earn "your own salvation," but work it out so you will exhibit the evidence of a life based with determined, unshakable faith on the complete and perfect redemption of the Lord. As you do this, you do not bring an opposing will up against God’s will— God’s will is your will. Your natural choices will be in accordance with God’s will, and living this life will be as natural as breathing. Stubbornness is an unintelligent barrier, refusing enlightenment and blocking its flow. The only thing to do with this barrier of stubbornness is to blow it up with "dynamite," and the "dynamite" is obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Do I believe that Almighty God is the Source of my will? God not only expects me to do His will, but He is in me to do it.

It's been a tough week.  The core of this message says that I have my salvation.  I can rest now in God and nothing and no one can take it away.  What a great work out!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Barefeet & Coaching

Here are two companies Dan Miller turned me on to that should be worth your time checking out if you're a entreprenuer wanna be or already are one... I plan on using the coaching services in the future...

The Barefoot Executive (tm)
Carrie Wilkerson is the voice of experience. From corporate life to teaching high school to direct sales, she has 'been there and done that' professionally and personally. An 'overnight mom' to 2 toddlers through adoption, her priorities instantly changed and so did her workplace. She's now built several businesses and coached others to do the same while overcoming extreme debt, losing 110 lbs and having 2 more children, for a total of 4, ages infant through 12!

As "The Barefoot Executive,” Carrie and her network of experts have quickly become the definitive resource for helping women achieve extra income and career goals while working from home.

Chuck Bowen Coaching - Financial, Career & Business
ChuckLogo48Newsletter.jpg"Need to do better (maybe a lot better?) with your personal finances? Is your business as profitable, or enjoyable, as you'd like it to be? Seeking your calling in your career? Contact Chuck Bowen Coaching. If you want to transform your life permanently for the better, he's your guy. Dave Ramsey trusts Chuck to train his financial coaches, and he serves as President of Dan Miller’s 212 Connection. What better proof is there?!"

ICRS - July 13 - 17

0805crossAre you coming to the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando this year?  If you are, make sure you contact me.  Go Global Entertainment will be at the International Marketplace area all week (Monday - Thursday). 

Your Days

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

A great post from Dan Miller of 48 Days

Thinkimage At Brighthouse, an Atlanta-based innovation consulting firm, staff members get five week’s vacation, AND five Your Days. The five Your Days are free days that the staff are encouraged to use to visit someplace conducive to reflection and thinking. No particular goal to solve anything – just what they call “blue-sky thinking.” CEO Joey Reiman believes this unstructured thinking is just as important to their success as time spent hunkered down in client meetings or looking at computer screens.

Other companies like Maddock Douglas and Google also encourage their workers to spend up to 20 percent of their work hours pursuing whatever intrigues them.

Make sure you’re spending time thinking -- and making your life meaningful

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pies To Our Faces

June_1_24Well, we're at it again.  Krissy and I participated in another Carpenter's Kids skit at church this weekend.  We took cream pies to the face.  Why did we do this?  Because the characters we played (Krissy - The Pop Star and Eric - The Surfer Dude) gave the wrong answers to the question "if you could have only one thing to make your life the best, coolest, most awesome life, what would you ask for?"

The Pop Star's answer to the question was "fame".  The Surfer Dude said "a brand spanking new surfboard".  Those were the wrong answers.  The correct answer was "Wisdom"! 

June_1_26_2 So, we each got a pie in the face.  'Dude', that wasn't cool!  I spent the rest of the day smelling like spoiled milk no matter how much I scrubbed.  Yuck!  You know what, I'd do it all over again!  It was fun, secretly!  Shhhh.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Melting Pot - Yum!!

Hpim0667_2 Krissy and I went to a great fondue restaurant, The Melting Pot in Nashville, on our 10 Year Anniversary.  We haven't been in 7 years, so we were definitely ready!  As usual, our expectations were exceeded. 

We ordered the Big Night Out: Four Course Dinner For Two-Fondue Fusion. (Download nashville_dinner_menu_color_email_03081.pdf ) For $89, it's not cheap, but it sure was gooooood. 

We were first served an appetizer of assorted breads, fresh cut cold apples and veggies for dipping into their updated cheese fondue mixture.  The cheese had some onions, garlic and tomatoes mixed in - wow was that delicious!

We each ordered salads - my favorite is the raspberry with bleu cheese.  Krissy had the Caribbean.  She loved it too.

We each had glasses of wine served in our wedding cups we drank from on our wedding day (surprise by Krissy).  Krissy had the Jekel Riesling.  Very good.  I had a merlot - also excellent!

Hpim0654_2 Then, we were treated to assorted streak, chicken, pork, shrimp and lobster which we dipped in a hot vegetable-bouillion.  Delicious!  We also were given sides of veggies to cook in the fondue.  We were stuffed by the end of this.Hpim0657_2

Last, but my favorite, I was able to squeeze in the dessert.  A mixture of cheese cake, marshmellows, bananas, strawberries and other pastries were served to us.  In the fondue pot, was milk chocolate and peanut butter melted and heated just right.  We did not leave a bit of the dessert lying on the plates and I just about licked the hot bowl.  There was no more chocolate dip to be found!  YUM!!

With wine, tip and taxes, our total bill was $131.00.  I would rate our experience a 9 out 10!  It's a bit pricey, but I guess that's how they stay in business.  Excellent service and attention to detail. 

Krissy and I were there for over 2 hours.  We exchanged gifts and laughs and had great conversation.  It was a wonderful night out.  I can't wait for another excuse to go there (as long as we have it in the budget)!

Russian Perspective on Gospel Music Week

Gma_2 At Gospel Music Week 2008, the Gospel Music Association hosts a very well attended event - the Sunday International Reception.  It was at the reception that I met Alexander Babich - President of the HXT Fund based in Moscow, Russia

I just recently received an interview about his trip Russian Christian media about his experiences at GMA.  I found it very interested.  I thought it would be fun to translate using Yahoo Babelfish.  Here is the report word for word translated:

"Alexander Babich visited in the USA conference GMA The leader of company [NKHT] Alexander Babich visited in [Neshville] (USA) the conference GMA (Gospel Of music Of association), at which on April 23 was entrusted main musical reward in the region of Christian music GMA Of dove Of awards 2008, reports Christian mega-portal

The largest international Christian musical association GMA already in 39- y of times entrusted to the most worthy artists of its of " gold of [golubya]". The immense ceremony, which was transmitted to entire America in straight ether, were named the possessors of the reward GMA Of dove Of awards 2008 in 43 different nominations. At the conference Alexander repeatedly met with the director OF GMA on international questions, as a result of which it began the understanding about the plans to develop joint collaboration [NKHT] and GMA.

Also, within the framework trip the leader OF [NKHT] conducted many encounters with the well-known Christian executors and their managers, representatives of known [leyblov]; with some of them it was possible to reach the understandings about the concrete collaboration. “Me struck the huge amount of professionals in all regions. Staggering artists with the elegant songs and the powerful voices. But the main thing - these are their modesty, sincere faith, [posvyashchennost]. They are present stars for the glory of the Lord. I dream to see such artists, as with the complete merit, with truthful modesty and with the powerful anointment will lead in the secular hit-parades and gather the complete stadiums of spectators with the Christian songs. Besides artists the organizers struck by professionalism. Especially conducting the final ceremony of the presentation to musical reward, which was transmitted in straight ether. Similar closely no even on our professional stage”, shared with impressions about the trip Alexander Babich.

Alexander is convinced after the visit of this conference that is alien the time to create “our” musical Evangelical association, which will combine all, who see their vocation in the development of Christian music. “I see nothing impossible for us in order to reach something similar, especially, if we believe. It is only necessary to be combined by all, who sees his service to God in the region of Christian music. Known [leybly] of America, which transfer some taxes alone each year millions of dollars, they do not consider it for themselves dishonourable to enter into association, but they are vice versa its founders. Association creates conditions for the development of industry as a whole, and this [sozidaet] and it develops entire Christian musical culture”, noted the leader OF [NKHT]"

We'll keep following up with Alexander to see how he fares in the development of a possible GMA Russia.  As you may know, there already exists in development, a GMA Europe.   

To read it in the original Russian, click on this link:

Little Known History

Mayo Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellman's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.

This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost. 

The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.

The Nation al Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course,

As Sinko De Mayo.