Monday, December 31, 2007

Getting Ready for the countdown

We just got back from Outback and I am FULL!!! I ate my 12 oz. Outback Special and portions of both my children's. And a double order of their delicious broccoli. Mmmm. We are getting all packed up and have set the clock ahead 2 hours so that the kids can experience "midnight" and the countdown. I would like to thank youtube and it's community for helping make that possible. How do we take care of the 1988? We'll see.

Happy New Years friends!

--erik w/a "k"

ok...an addendum.
we got our ice cream sundaes and drinks and gathered around the 17"laptop to watch the countdown "live". If you have viewed the video above you will notice that there is a 1988 that pops up after the ball drops. We had to run "pass interference" as soon as the ball dropped. It was very funny and I am sure we will talk about it for years to come.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Golfing during the holidays

Yesterday I went on our "annual" Williams Men Golf trip. We headed out to one of the fine golf courses in South Carolina and began what is always filled with laughs, arguments over scores and lots of terrible shots.

My dad, brother, brother-in-law and I hit the links. We actually went 2 days ago and then by the 4th hole it was raining too hard that we called the front desk and asked for a rain check. I didn't even go look for my ball I hit off the tee because it was raining too hard. (that is a rarity, as I think a good game of golf is if you come out at the end with more balls than you started with. i love the woods!)

So we came back the next day. My brother and I rode in one cart together and my dad and wes rode in the other one. Rune and I can STILL fight like nobody's business to this day. (that's why I think we would be fun to watch on the Amazing Race as we would make for good television.) I think Rune's counting leaves something to be desired and Rune finds that often I forget a stroke...he counts every single one! No matter how loud we got, we would always race each other back to the cart to see who would drive to the next hole. We are seriously 10 years old still! Well, he's 8 cuz I'm the oldest...and yes, I should know better. But we laugh every time we see each other slowly walk faster and faster until it becomes a sprint. All is fair game too...poor clubs don't like that part.

I had 2 very memorable shots. The first was from the woods and straight into my golf cart, off the inside of the windshield and out into the perfect spot on the fairway. The second was from a tough shot by a tree (is there a theme here?) and over a big water hazard, hitting the top of the wall that the inlet from the lake stops at and up onto the green! It was my 3rd favorite shot ever.



The final score? Well, my brother golfs a lot and my father golfs quite a bit too. Lets just say that I was leading after the 4th hole and leave it at that, shall we?

Oh, Rune called ahead and asked if it was OK that I wore jeans because I was from out of town and didn't bring any dress pants...and I would lose my pants if I wore any of the others' pants. So when we got to the first tee box the "ranger" said, "We have a dress code here, so you can either take off your pants or go back home and change." I began to jokingly unbuckle, but I think he was semi-serious. I hate golf rules. They are so uptight.

One more thing...The lake was down a lot as there has been a drought out here and there were about 10 balls that I found down in the rocks by the water hazard. So yes, it was a good game.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wii Arm

For Christmas we got a Wii. We have been out shopping for games to add to the collection. Some games were returned in favor for more 4 player/family games. The sport one that it comes with is a big hit. We play a lot of tennis. The kids really like the boxing event. It wears them out, so we like it too. Haha.

Winter Sports is good too, but it takes a long time, so there is quite the commitment. I picked up Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz today. Normally $50. Now $30, plus $10 off before December 30. That was a good score. It has 50 quick crazy fun little games to play. They are over quick, so we can turn-style people through fast.

This is hurting my sleep ability though. It is 1:40AM as I am writing this now and I still have 1 more skeleton (luge) to go. I think I am in the lead!!!

I'll toss some other "reviews" later.

Here's a shot of my bro playing.


My sis playing winter sports.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Well, here we are. It is Christmas morning and we have only begun. We celebrate 2-3 times every year. The first round, which we just wrapped up was at the in-laws. I got a very cool dunder mifflin shirt. We broke tradition this year and decided between all four of us that we would get one gift to all of us from all of us. We got the Wii.

We figured the rest of the family would supply plenty of other gifts so our load would not be missed. We were right. I am really looking forward to busting it out and playing for hours and hours.

We next head down to my side of the family and do it all over again. The 3rd round this year will be at home. Santa left a note saying that we had asked if he could deliver the big gifts to our home so we didn't have to pack them on the way home. He is very easy to work with. So, when we get home, Kynzi will be opening a keyboard and Karston will be opening a drum kit. What is Santa thinking?! Does he not love us? :) (shhh...don't tell the kids. they don't know yet)

Last night we watched Christmas Vacation, which is a holiday tradition. I wet myself like I usually do. ;) The problem with movies like that is I know what is coming next so I laugh before it happens and when it happens. I tried to keep my pre-laughter to myself, thankfully Jeanne-Ann was laughing right along with me. I think that may be my favorite part...laughing really hard with Jeanne-Ann.




Monday, December 24, 2007

You know you're in the south...

I love the south. It's a great place to be. I am really enjoying my time down here for the holidays. We are gearing up for the Christmas festivities, including an acted out version of Luke 2 by the kids later today. I will post pics later.

Some of the fun stuff about the south is the crazy classic southern stuff you see on TV and the movies. All the southern stereotypes, etc. Here are a few pics I took that exemplify that.

This is classic "good ol boys" sittin at a gas station that we filled up at. It makes me think of a slower time filled with lots of nothing, fishing and free time.


This is right down the road from my in-laws. It is filled with awesome nick-nacks and what-nots. It rocks!



We were driving down the mountain and we saw cows out and my mother-in-law said they often have cows on the road. I had never seen any in all the times I had been there. Around the corner, what do I see? A cow on the road! I got a short video of it as I chased after it. Hope it works.


video

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bumped?


We headed out to the East Coast last night. When we got to the airport we found out they cancelled us on the first flight to LA because there was a delay and we would not have made the connection. So we were to leave 2 hours later. We asked if they needed any volunteers. They needed 2. Karston and I would leave 1 1/2 hours later and arrive 3 hours later than JA and Kynzi. We had a layover and they were direct.

Last second they were talking about taking some guy off the plane and putting us both on becuase some guy didnt show up. I said I would go on my own. So I walked Karston on the plane and the lady in the row with Jeanne-Ann and Kynzi moved for us and Karston was able to go with them.

I flew 1st class to Atlanta and got $400 in Delta dollars! YES!!!

So we drove and took a minor detour through Taccoa Falls. We stopped by Taccoa Falls College (a C&MA school) and I walked the kids up to the falls where 39 people died in 1977 and 60 others were injured when the dam broke and water flooded out of nowhere the whole school area. I read the story to the kids and then we checked out the falls. It really is beautiful.

We made it to JA's fam and then we will hit my fam next.

I'll update u more...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Craigslist Vs. Ebay


I have been an avid fan of ebay for a number of years now. I have bought and sold quite a bit on there. More sold, than bought. I have tried to pay for Christmas stuff as much as possible through sales of black Friday purchases and hot items of the year. The upside...it is a bidding war and you can get more than what you hope for. The downside...having to ship it out and pay all the fees from ebay and paypal. I have also had to deal with people who claim they didn't bid and someone must've gotten on to their account. I had one guy do that last year and one guy last week.

This year I have gotten onto Craigslist. The upside...I set a price and there are no extra fees and no shipping. The downside...having to sort through a number of fakes (new revelation to me today) and driving out to meet someone I don't know. So far all my meetings have been good. Although one guy never showed up and didn't answer his phone. grrr. There is reason to be careful though. That is why I don't have anyone come to my house (unless it is a TV entertainment system...interested? $75). I also don't like haggling. Especially when I agree to meet with someone and then they offer me a lower price than what I asked for. That should be done before you meet, unless the person sees that it is not what they thought or says they just want to take a look at it first before they decide.

The biggest thing I really like is not having to pay fees and shipping.

It is a bit of a toss up for me. I am not sure where I land on which I like the best. I have been on ebay for so long. It's kind of like a relationship, ya know? I have 100% positive feedback, etc. I also don't have to worry about any shady characters.

I am careful when I meet people and meet in well lit and people filled areas.

So for now, I think I will craigslist things until Sunday. Then I will ebay the rest for 1 day auctions so I can ship stuff out before I leave for vacation. We will see what happens.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Reach. It is a way of life...

I realize it has been a bit over a week since I last "spoke" to you. Sorry for my silence. No excuses, just an apology.

This weekend the youth ministries at Salem Alliance did something different. It was a first actually. Middle School, high school and college ministries all got together for one 2 hour event. It was Sunday morning and it was called "Reach."

The design was to get students a glimpse of being missions minded. Outward focused if you will. Mark Lynch, from the national office doing candidate development, was there. A great friend of mine since we were kids. He works with people (specifically at Simpson University or those thinking of possibly going there) who are thinking about going into full time ministry.

Several students wrote monologues and recited them as if they were the actually missionaries who lived years ago. That was awesome. They shared "their" stories and how each person before them had influenced them into doing missions work. Their stories were amazing and inspiring.

John Stumbo, our senior pastor, did a great job sharing some stories of him being lost and getting help and incorporating that into how we need others to help us find the way, others to send us, others to go, etc. from John 10.

There were a ton of pieces that made the whole thing awesome!!!

Josh challenged students to make a decision and a whole bunch of students stood up saying that they sense God possibly calling them into some kind of ministry.

Living a life of going to where God calls us to go needs to be a life style. Not just a one time thing. That is what we are called to do.

Are you ready to serve?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Best Buy Camping

I'm sitting in my lawn chair in my tent w/Preston, Thomas and Drew. we are camping outside of Best Buy. I know what you're thinking...nerd. haha. it's true, I am. i'm ok with it. this year I won a youtube video competition and got a $500 best buy gift certificate and also won an ipod that I turned in and got more certificates. so, the plan is to buy a tv with my certificates! I am so pumped. this is my 7th year doing this. I got here about 7 tonight and was about 60th in line! what?!?! there were 7 people setting up a tent when I stopped by last night at 9:15! THIS IS CRAZY! anyhow, a lot of it is the experience. the camaraderie. the fun of the craziness. the thrill of the hunt. looking forward to the rush in the morning!

Addendum:
What a night. I got what I came for...and more. Ebay/Craigslist...here I come. We handed out a bunch of hot dogs to random people in line (Drew and Thomas brought em and a little grill with them). We went in at 5am and I got all I needed and into line. I had finished with my transactions at 5:17am! Wow! How fun!

Then we went outside and got some trash bags and cleaned up all the garbage that was left outside. That was pretty cool.

Went home unpacked the TV and napped for several hours.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

i'm on i-5 in the HUT (shuttle)


This is the world we live in. I am on I-5 on the airport shuttle heading to the Portland airport. They have satellite wi-fi and plug ins to plug my laptop into. It's crazy. I took a pic of myself with my digital camera and plugged that into my laptop. As much of a techie nerd that I am, this still amazes me!

WOW.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I got stopped by the cops for Violence and Defacing Property today


I was at our church today putting together a video for promo for DYC (our high school conference in February). We were doing a stop motion deal where Brian shot pictures from the roof of the church and Josh drew on the ground with chalk. I would move on the ground with a skateboard so it looked like I was moving along the path that Josh was drawing.

I was laying on the ground as Brian was taking the pictures and suddenly a cop pulled up in her police car. She looked at us and asked if we were juveniles as she smiled and had a twinkle in her eye. I laughed and said, "If your definition of a juvenile is someone over 30, then yes," She laughed and asked if we were violent. And I said sometimes.

She told us that she had gotten a 911 call saying that there were juveniles defacing church property and one guy was on the ground while the other guy was kicking him. We all had a good laugh. It turns out that someone she used to work with on the force was someone we knew. We talked a bit about that and then I asked her if we could use her in the video. She has 2 or 3 frames in there. It was pretty funny.

At least people care and did something about what they thought they saw.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Power Outages

Today my friend Matt told me they lost power for a few hours and Lisa said they lost power all night. I had no idea there were any outages. My lack of watching the news puts me out of a lot of local news.

I was saying how I love a good power outage that lasts one night or so. It puts you into a place where you can not get online or watch TV. Family time gets to be really close and you read a lot by candle light or flash light. I love doing that.

I am pretty tied to technology, so it is good to have a "forced" night away from that kind of thing from time to time.

I got home today and told Jeanne-Ann about my conversation. A bit later our power went out. I thought, "Cool. We get that night tonight." Then .8 seconds later the power came back on. Oh well. I suppose we could pretend, but it doesn't seem to work that way very well. Besides, Prison Break and Heroes is on tonight. haha.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quest is done :(


What a weekend. We did 2 middle school camps over a 3 week period. It was incredible. This weekend had considerably nicer weather than the last weekend did. 280 at this one and 240 at the last. We had the same band and same speaker at both.

My buddy Kevbo helped me do program at this one. He is a funny guy. Funnier than me. Some would say that's not hard. We had a blast being goofy and leading games and giving away prizes.

The band was great as always. They are really wonderful people that I enjoy hanging out with immensely. We stayed up late both nights playing games and that was fun. Jason, our speaker, is a good friend from back in my Georgia days. He did an awesome job too.

2 hours back on the blob again. I love that! I may look goofy to some, but I wore my wet suit and stayed warm the entire time. I would say that is pretty smart.

I am tired from the weekend but that's mostly cuz I stayed up so late playing games with the band, Kevbo and Jason. Thankfully we got an extra hour of sleep. I told the students that I had a gift for them because I loved them all so much. I told them we were going to let them sleep in an hour and to turn their watches back an hour and we would keep the same schedule. I am not sure how many of them realized that it was DST or not. Pretty funny, because many of them cheered when I told them this.

Welp, gotta finish the highlights DVD and update the website. Check out www.pnwquest.com later this week.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cool videos for your ministry

I have been on sermonspice.com several times and they have great videos that you can use for ministry on there. Keep checking out, you just might find one of my videos on there.

We used one in our church a few weeks ago. There is also a series of "linebacker evangelist" videos that are hilarious! Check it out.

Anyhow, just wanted to pass that on.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Steal a Taco, Feed the Homeless


OK, so I was reading a blog of a guy I know and I thought, this is a fantastic idea!
The basic gist was that Taco Bell’s Steal a Base promo that they had on the World Series could be used for something great. According to the promotion, everyone in America would get a free Taco if any player stole a base during the 2007 World Series. Oregon's own Red Sox rookie center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury did it in game 2 and we all get to “steal a taco” tomorrow!

Here is what Shane said...

"I’m making an appeal for like-hearted individuals to take this promotion a step further. Let’s steal a taco to feed the homeless!

If you live in an urban community like I do, you no doubt run across numerous homeless people on a daily basis. Maybe you pass by a few on your daily commute to work. Maybe you know of a street corner or park in your city where they tend congregate. Why not take advantage of Taco Bell’s free taco offer and use it as an opportunity to bless those in need of a meal?

Get the whole office in on the action and pool your free tacos. Stop at each nearby location on your way home form work. Map out your route and make it a family scavenger hunt to gather up as many free tacos as you can. Then seek out the homeless in your community and donate your plunder!

Steal a Taco. Feed the Homeless. Let’s use this opportunity to bless others. Spread the word!

Think outside the buzz…"

Red Sox New World Champions!

Ok, this will be one of my last Red Sox blogs for a while and back to the regular life stuff.
But this team is amazing! I am soooo pumped! We did it again. Where are the stankees? Hmmm. I bet there will be a brand new crop of Sox haters that come out of the woodwork, because surely that will be the thing to do, like the Stankees of old. They were the team to love because they were the underdogs, but now its all different. People are funny.
Anyhow, Pitching. Rookies. Veterans. It's all there. And they did it again.
It feels good.

I had a soccer game tonight so I paused (dvr) the game and went to play. They had the game on at the soccer center and I asked them to change the channel. After the half they finally did. My teammates were trying to tell me the score. I was ready to kill em. haha. Dud kept yelling it was 104-4. She's funny.

Here are some highlights of game 4. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

One more to go.

Tonight we had a bunch of friends over to watch game three. What a night. Lots of noise. Lots of kids. Lots of hits (in the game, that is). Lots of excitement. What a good game is all about.

Still, my boys pulled through and took game three 10-5. Felt good. I will try to post a pic of my art work on my car tomorrow. and also tell u about our fun costume party last night.

that's all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

YES!!! Another Sox update.

Some of you may be sick of my updates on the Red Sox, but this is an exciting time for a Sox fan! My house went nuts tonight as Josh Beckkkkkkkkkkett tore it up and Dustin Pedroia started off with a home run in the first at bat. Leading the Sox to a 13-1 victory of the tired Rockies in game 1 on the World Series. It was a if every player was just on tonight. Thankfully this is not a game that sits on one players shoulders.

Tomorrow some friends will be over for some more Sox action as Curt Schilling attempts to lead the team to victory number 2! This team is on fire and their fans can feel it!

I love that my entire family is into this. Jeanne-Ann makes me laugh, cuz she ordered Sox gear for all of us. (we are apparently a little low). I will toss up some pics when it arrives. Hopefully b4 the series is over.

Most analysts are saying the Sox will take it in 6. It's always nice to be at home when you win, but I will take a World series where ever we take it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quest Weekend Video

This really was a great weekend. With so much to do and the weather holding out at the right times, we just had a blast. Of course there were a few little things here and there, like a leaky roof that set off the smoke detector and put out a light (we put those girls in other rooms) and some heavy DDR playing past midnight causing some to not get the beauty sleep they wanted.

I did bust a group of girls who were sneaking around way after lights out Saturday night. I was on the balcony of one of the buildings doing the lights out check and heard some noise below. Turns out a group of about 8 girls were sneaking around in their black clothes and I had a handful of pistachios. Haha. I began to toss them at them and heard "Ow!" and "What was that?" Then I turned a really bright flashlight on them and yelled. Ahhh, to be the guy that catches others. So fun.

Jason Bollback was our speaker. He is the middle school pastor at Coast Hills Community Church outside of L.A. and a friend of mine from years ago when we were both youth pastors down in Georgia. He did a great job hitting the topic of relationships and staying firmly planted in God's Word all weekend long. I love that. Too often speakers hit a topic and then do a small jump on a verse for a moment, because it fit the topic. I don't love that.

Justin Ubel and the band were great as usual. They said they felt like they connected with this group faster than they ever have before.

Paintball, shuffleboard, blob, canoing, paddle boats, giant tire swing, mini golf, disc golf, climbing wall, snacks, night game. So much fun was had. Here is a little inside view into the weekend. Enjoy.

Quest...Blob

This past weekend we were at Lake Retreat for our district middle school retreat. It is the 1st of 2. (struggling to find a camp that is big enough for all of us and offers good options and is a good driving distance for most)

Anyhow, one of the huge highlights at this camp is the blob. So I though I would share with you what that looks like. (more on the camp later)


Monday, October 22, 2007

Headed to the World Series

In January I watch Prison Break and 24 right in a row. It is 2 hours of gut wrenching action. I get out of those 2 hours and am completely wiped out. I love it.

Last night was much of the same, except that I was watching The Red Sox and the Indians play. It was a close race through the 6th inning. Then the Sox began to blow it out!

They finished with a 11-2 victory! And this Wednesday they start the first game of the World Series against the Rockies. from a 3-1 game deficit! They came back and won 3 games straight. So the whole week was much like last night.

What a time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Red Sox vs. Indians

It's been a while since I have felt this deep pit in my stomach. I came home from work today and sat down with my family for dinner and game 4. All the way till the 5th inning it was 0-0. Then the walls broke down and the Indians got 7 runs in one inning. Ouch. The Sox came back with back-to-back-to-back home runs. The first time ever in the League Championship Series ever. That was exciting, but that was all there was.

I know it's just a game. I just want to see them go all the away again.

I do remember 2004 very well. 3 games down to the Yanks, 2 outs, 9th inning. They came back and went on to win the world series!

They can do it again.

I just don't like how I feel inside at this moment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Flipside's Got Talent (Wi Ne Ma)

This weekend I tag-teamed with Brian in speaking at our high school ministries' retreat at the coast. We stayed at camp Wi Ne Ma and had absolutely gorgeous weather. There was a cool slide that one of the students waxed up a bit to make it go faster. You really don't need anymore speed. It always takes prisoners and causes skin damage to most who go down.

We looked at spiritual gifts and how we are all given gifts by God and how we can use those gifts. It was a different type of retreat in that we didn't have traditional messages, we spent a lot of time going through questions and then breaking out to share in small groups. It was really cool.

We also built a sweet slip-n-slide down the dune into an oatmeal pit. We flew down that hill. Then a fun run into the ocean. Man this water is cold!!!

We headed up to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and then to run up and down the dune in Pacific City.

A fantastic weekend and 2 more retreats togo in the next month.

Enjoy the vid.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Funny Memory as I get ready for the SOX

Tomorrow night is the first game for the ALCS. Today I had a funny memory as a result of thinking of that. In 1996 I talked my way in to the World Series game in Atlanta where the Braves played the Yankees. It was the last game ever in Fulton County Stadium before they moved to their new stadium.

I had brought a bat in with me that they gave away at a different game, found "my seat" 10 rows behind first base of the Braves and a security guard said he had to take the bat till after the game. He told me it was considered a weapon. After I explained that they had given it to me and that there were several guys about 50 feet from us with the same weapons I gave it up and went to get it afterwards.

When the game was over, dressed in my Braves headgear and face paint, I went down to the dugout area looking for the guard. I never saw him down there, but I did meet Joe Piscipo (TV/Movie star from the 80s and 90s) and got my picture taken and put on the front cover of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (big newspaper).

As I waled to the security area I saw tons of people grabbing stuff (stealing). Every banner and poster on the wall was gone and anything people could grab. They all knew that this stadium would never be used again. Security just watched until one guy had pushed it way past the limit. There was a guy walking out with a row of EIGHT stadium seats hooked together under his arm. It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. I started laughing and then 2 security guys went over and grabbed him. I couldn't believe I just witnessed that.

I found the security guard and he said he left it in the room, but it was gone. Grrrr!!!

I'll try to post the pic that was in the paper next week. It's sitting in my office.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Red Sox goin' all the way?!


The Red Sox ended the year with the best record in baseball. They Beat the Angels 3 games straight. The Yankees, or Stankees as I like to call them,got beat up on by the Indians. Mmmm...feels so good. Although I would've loved to see The Sox destroy the Stanks in the ALCS.

This Friday the Red Sox play the Indians for their first round in the 5 out of 7 games.

I am so excited to see these games! I get all wound up with butterflies in my stomach when I think about it.

Go SOX!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Did you know? October celebrations...

October has many celebrations.
Did you know that tomorrow is Moldy Cheese Day?
Or that October 19 is Evaluate Your Life Day?
Of course everyone knows the big one, National Chocolate Day on the 28th.

Well, there is one more I want to highlight. National Pastor Appreciation Month! That's right, you didn't miss it. It's the whole month. Imagine your pastor (s) and all the work they do. They work more than one or two days a week. There is sermon prep, hospital visits, home and work and school visits, outings and reterats to prepare for, phone calls to take, tp to clean up out of their yeards, angry parents/students/church members, etc.

There is a lot of tireless, thankless work that goes into the life of a pastor. All of this is done while trying to maintain a healthy family life, social life and time with God.

There is so much more and we need to show our appreciation to our pastors. If there are several at your church, choose the one that you are most connected to or that you serve with or that ministrers directly to you and your family.

Make sure that you aren't leaving anyone out. Get others to do this with you. I am going to toss out several ideas that I think would be great. Some cost money and some are cheap or even free.

IDEA LIST:
Offer to babysit and send them out to a dinner with a gift certificate.
Gift certificates are GREAT. Find out where they like to eat or if they like ice cream, etc. and send them there.
Got a vacation home or time share or something like that? Give them a few days there.
NO PLAQUES. (sorry to those who have given these. they are nice, but give them something they can use and that encourages them to be with their family and get away)
Do you own a landscaping business? Hook em up!
is there some trade or business that you have that your pastors can benefit from?
Maybe it is making a card and adding some home made coupons for something you can do (ie. babysitting, yard work, fence painting, etc.)

ANYTHING you do for your pastors is greatly appreciated! Be sure to send a note as soon as you can.

That's all.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A New Baby!



My good friends Jessica and Justin just had their first baby on Monday! I can not tell you how excited I am for them. Brooklyn Elise (love the name!!!) is beautiful with a full head of hair. I got to be her first house guest! Yay me! You can click on Justin or Jessica's blogs on the right for more pics and info.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Barry Bonds and his 756th Home Run Ball


I don't know what your thoughts are on the whole Barry Bonds "controversy" but I am a bit tired of it. It seems so many people are really good at making a decision before the "jury is out." It seems like people have no problem claiming someone guilty, before proven guilty and yet they don't like it when it happens to them.

That being said...this Mark Ecko guy who started Ecko Unlt and then spent almost 3/4 of $1,000,000 to buy Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball. He then took the ball and set up a web site for people to "vote" o what to do with it. The options were to a) give the ball to the Hall of Fame, b) give the ball to the Hall of Fame with an asterisk on it, and c) send it into outer space. I sent him a message on his myspace and let him know that I will not be buying anything from his Ecko Unlimited company.

According to Ecko, the winner is b. Bonds called him an idiot. Hmmmm. I personally think it is ridiculous. It also irritates me that the Hall of Fame is OK with it. They are basically saying that they agree with the "guilty before proven guilty" statement. I read an article online. This is a quote.

"Leyland later agreed with a columnist, who said he thought the Hall of Fame was disrespecting Bonds for accepting the ball with the asterisk on it."

Despite what you may think and most of you may disagree with me, I just think it is sad. Get over it. He is still hitting like crazy and is under more scrutiny then ever before. He is a great hitter and a great ball player.

OK, enough of my rant.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Last Day BFA; Snowboards & Scooters in the Swiss Alps

Friday was our final day for BFA SEW. It was a fun morning. I wrapped up on 2 Peter 1:8-11 – and talked about "what to do now?"
We hung out in Sam's office for the afternoon with a break to play some basketball.
Set up and prepare for evening worship time where we had 7 different stations they could go during worship (journal, pray, paint, sculpt, etc.). The evening worship time was an optional time for the high schoolers and almost everyone of the high schoolers came. It was really, really good. I had some AWEsome conversations with students afterwards. Conversations that challenged me as well. Then we stayed up late and chatted at Sam's house.

Saturday was a BLAST. We slept in and then headed to Interlaken, Switzerland. There we stopped by the lake and then headed into town and watched a ton of para gliders.
We really wanted to do that, but it was $125. So we went and rented scooters after some not so good Thai food.

We had them for 4 hours so we headed up the Swiss Alps as fast as we could. Unbelievable!!! We laughed a lot. I even mounted a helmet cam. I will post that later. We stopped at some caves and toke a "lift" up most of the way and then stairs into a place where the glaciers had carved a "path" through the mountain and we watched the water cascade all the way down. It was soooo cold inside the caves.

Off to other spots for dessert over the most amazing view ever!

Sunday 0 we went to church and saw a bunch of the students and staff and then off to the Corby's. They live in a village that is where the Romans built bath houses around 100AD. Some still stand and it is a place many Europeans come to rejuvenate. We had lunch up on a rock up their mountain and had an incredible view where we could see all the way into France.
Then back into town to walk to the castle and the little arts festival that was going on. We even saw a piece of a fashion show they had there. Some lady was wearing a newspaper hat that I found rather funny.


We stayed till after dinner and then came back to the Stemple's and looked at pics of the week and laughed a lot again.

Booked a place in Paris and ready to see the Friesen's and all of Paris in one day!

Friday, September 21, 2007

BFA Highlights Video and some other fun

Spiritual Emphasis Week is over at BFA. I will share a bit more later, but it's really late. Going to bed. I did want to post a video, so enjoy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day 4 @ BFA

We are almost to the end of the week. We have one more day of spiritual emphasis week. Today was cool. We had chapel and it was another encouraging one. I walked through Psalm 139 looking at how much God knows us and loves us. I encouraged students to receive that love and live in that love and live that love.

At the end I asked students to stand up if they were willing to take a new stand in their faith in Jesus and quit playng the game. I think we can all be guilty of playing the game where we don't let people see the real us. Many students stood up and said they were going to live their lives fully for Jesus!
Soooo cool!

We hung out a bit with students and then headed out with some seniors to a Doner Kebab place. I tried Doner pizza today too. Yummy.

Then it was off to a castle ruins. It was pretty cool. We climbed and played and laughed a lot. It was an amazing view from up top.

Sean and Jordan had never experienced stinging nettles, so I convinced Jordan to put his arm in it to see what it feels like. Pretty funny. I will post that video and pics of today later. I am tired so this is not getting a ton of work put into tonight.

We then headed to palmgarten (a girls dorm) for dinner and some games. We had a blast hanging out with them. We were "gifted" with a tradition they have. After prayers and amen several girls came screaming and running all over and kissed Jordan, Sean, Sam and I on the cheeks with Nutella lips. Nutella is an AMAZING choclate hazelnut spread!!! It tastes so good, but was strange to have on my face. haha.

Then it was back to the Stemples and we played some card games and Sean and Jordan headed to bed wayyyyy before me, as usual.

Nite friends!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Creeking? The Video



Here is the vid of the initiation!

Day 3 of Chapels at BFA

Last night I stayed up pretty late editing the “creeking” video. We got up to come back to chapel today. We had a fun/good worship set and then I got to do a message on Romans 6. I told a story of living in Bagalonia, a place where you must do what the evil dictator tells you to do, but you kind of want to anyhow. Every time you do something that the dictator wants you to do you put a rock into your backpack. Soon it becomes really heavy and you can’t stand up anymore.

You can find the whole story of Bagalonia at www.erikwithak.com

The bottom line is that the rocks represent our sin and Bagalonia is the life you life without Jesus in your life. When you repent/confess your sins and begin a relationship with Jesus you enter this new country. It’s a new life.

Take a look at Romans 6; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5

We then hung out most of the day at the school. Sam gave us a tour of the school and then we got ourselves ready for Chrysalis (the middle school small group ministry lead by the seniors). Oh, I went with Sam to the store to buy candy. I spent WAYYY too much!

We had Döner Kebab for dinner. Mmmmmm...here is what wikipedia says about these kebabs."Döner Kebab (as döner kebap in Turkish and often simply kebap, donair, döner, doner or donner), which literally means "turning roast" is the name given to a Turkish dish made with lamb (or mutton), beef or chicken. It is the origin of other similar Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes such as shawarma and gyros. A version developed to suit German tastes by Turkish immigrants in Berlin has become one of the world's most popular fast food dishes."


Then we played some basketball before we started Chrysalis.

Chrysalis was a blast. We lead a bunch of “new”, high energy fun songs and then they did some games. I then did a 5 minute talk on loving God and loving others. I had them think about a time they felt loved and a time they felt unloved. Then I had them get in partners and take a piece of gum and shape it into something that represented one of those two times and then into their small groups to come up with ideas on how they can use their past to show love to others this week.

A girl came up to me to tell me that 3-4 students she knows began a new relationship with Jesus Christ for the first time today!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, God is good...all the time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Photo Booth Fun - My Heart Will Go On (Titanic)

We had a little fun with photo booth yesterday when we had a free moment. We showed it at chapel today.

Chapel was cool. I spoke from on top of a ladder. 2 Peter 1:5-7. Looking at the things that we need to do on our part, knowing God has given us all we need for life and godliness.

We then went into Freiberg to do some sightseeing and shopping. We climbed the spire in a beautiful church (279 steps) and then had some fleischkasa...mmmm.

Then we headed back, by train, to go to some more dorms for dinner.

Sam and I went to Sonne with the guys and Sean and Jordan ate with the girls tonight. We all ended up at the guys dorm after all the guys stormed the girls dorm to "creek" Jordan. A "welcome to BFA" tradition for guests. Sam and I were videoing, when all of a sudden I went into the creek too. It was pretty cold and it was raining pretty hard too. Everyone got wet. It was a blast.

Enjoy the video. You could be one of the first ones to see the next "big viral video." haha.

Monday, September 17, 2007

1st Day of SEW

Spiritual Emphasis Week started today at Black Forest Academy. Sean lead worship and Jordan and I and a student played with him. It was a blast.

I showed the croc video and then talked on 2 Peter 1:3-4. We looked at how God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. We also talked about the time of life that Peter's readers were in and how there was a lot of garbage going on in the church, etc.

Students seemed to respond very well.

We hung out at lunch with students and then went back to the house and rest. We made a video..I will try to put it on later. It's funny.

Then we split and the boys went to a guys dorm and Sam and I went to a girls dorm for dinner. We played some games and hung out and then headed back to the house. Played some games and chatted.

Good day!
Beautiful countryside!
Lots of corn!
Rain has now started...hope it stops when we wake up.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Crazy Few Days...but in Germany

It is a fairly lengthy story, so I will give you some bullet points as to what has happened since Thursday evening.

* Packing for my trip to Germany Thursday eve (speaking at Black Forest Academy for Spiritual Emphasis Week) I suddenly see that my Passport is a few months expired!!!

* I get one hour of sleep and Jeanne-Ann and I run up to Seattle at 3AM. (one of about 5 places in the country you can get a passport the same day). Usually they get it out by th end of the day.

* They expedite it, but not quick enough to make it back to my 11:35AM departure from PDX.

* Delta tells me I can reissue the ticket for another flight minus $230 fee, plus difference in another ticket. Cost would be about $2,300 to go. :(

* I realize that I have mileage and I get Continental to set it all up.

* I spend 2 hours Friday evening trying to get my ticket replaced (we were going to use them for a later flight). Everything went great till the last 30 minutes of my call and the last 2 people I got sent to. They told me the ticket was a dead ticket and worthless and there was nothing they could do!!!

* I yelled a little and said it was unacceptable. Calmed myself and said, "Sorry, I know this isn't your fault." They blamed Travelocity, who would blame Delta, etc., etc.

* Jeanne-Ann calls Delta back and takes care of it and gets some future tickets booked. All is good.

* Jordan makes it out there and Sean's flight gets canceled to Atlanta because of weather and has to go out the next day. Then he sits on a plane in Atlanta the next day and has to get out because of malfunctions and arrives in Basel (Switzerland) at 5:30PM instead of 10:30AM on the same flight that I was on!!!

* My flight from LAX was in an emergency row with no seats in front and one guy in the window seat and me in the aisle. We were excited for the space. Then some crazy, ADD, 65 year old French lady gets all excited and says, "Sorry for you" and sits in the middle seat. She literally gets up and walks around over 50 times on the flight to Paris!! To say the least, it was a test of my patience and grace. I don't think I passed with flying colors.

* We are all here and ready for bed.

A few pics from the plane in LA, Paris and Basel. (thats the Black Forest you see there)





Monday, September 10, 2007

A Total Waste of Time!!!

I am about to blog about something I never thought I would. The MTV Video Music Awards. I was curious to see what Britney Spears would do and catch any other crazy stuff of the music pop culture world.

There is a TON of slamming of Britney out there. A lot about her weight. Wouldn't be an issue if she didn't dance in her underwear. I think the worst part was the fact that she lip-synced and did really poorly. I felt bad for her as she didn't seem like she even knew what she was doing up there. I will not slam her for her choices in life. I feel bad that she has made so many poor choices and I truly hope that she will begin to make some better choices.

Now, as to the rest of the VMAs...it was HORRIBLE. I have no problem slamming a TV station. It was such a jumbled mess going on back and forth between different "parties" and the main stage. It seemed like MTV didn't have a clue as to what was going on. The whole show was a mess.

Whining Kanye West and his big mouth. Ugghhh...

It was such a total waste of time. At least I had it DVRd so I forwarded through most of it.

Perhaps the worst part was Sarah Silverman flapping her yapper. What a disgusting use of time. Not only was what she had to say terrible and boring, but it was also the worst 2 minutes of the entire night. She didn't even seem like she had a clue as to what was going on. A little practice of what you are going to say would be nice.

This is not the typical type of thing I would blog about and it is not my typical attitude about people. I just was so disgusted with the whole poorly executed show.

There was one moment of brightness...Justin Timberlake took his moments of winning the moon man award to tell MTV to play more music videos!!!

OK, I'm done.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Our Cali Trip

Last week we took a little trip down to Eureka, CA. We met up with our good friends the Daffrons. This is our 2nd year in a row to go camping with them. Last year we went just outside of Modesto which is located 62 miles south of the SUN! So we took a slightly cooler trip this year.
We camped out in tents and went to the beach each day. Ryan and I surfed and the girls and the kids played in the sand. We hung out, wandered and enjoyed some relaxing times together. So good. Below are some pics from that trip.
Enjoy.
We saw an Elk Crossing 2 Miles sign and what do you know? We saw some elk!!! So cool.
Ahhh...the sunsets!
Hey, what can I say? I'm Oregonian. We are all tree huggers...right? How cool are the Redwoods?!?!

ps. sorry it has been a while since I have been on here. We are in full "fall swing" and lots to do. But I love blogging and am committed to keeping you updated.

 

 

 
 
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thought Provoking Moments

Today I was at a restaurant with my wife when a guy walked by with a t-shirt that had a skeleton praying in its knees. It struck me hard. Death, wishing...praying to be rescued. rescued from what he has now seen in his death.

Too late.
No turning back.
A lifetime filled with chances and opportunities.
A lifetime filled with nos.
Nos to God.
Perhaps not audible nos.
But every yes to something else is a no to God.
"I just want to have fun in this life. I don't want anyone telling me what to do."
There is so much more to it then that.

Then we went to church and we had communion. Reminders of what Jesus did for us all...for me. Huge!

Then I was reading some pages in a book I am reading right now Retribution: City of God Series by Randall Ingermanson. It is a fictional period piece. The time was shortly after Jesus was killed on the cross and rose again. There were people being crucified. The Roman governor was out to make some examples of people so he could get the people to fear him more.
The detail offered up on the crucifixion process reminded me of Jesus' complete selfless move of His death on the cross. For us. For me.

How do I respond daily to that sacrifice?
How do I live my life?
Why am I so judgmental of people?
Why don't I look at people with the perspective of Christ?
Love.
Compassion.
Pure heart.

I need to constantly release my hold of my life, my future, my "stuff." Every day. I need to let go and let God.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What was lost has been found!

My dear readers...Thank you for your kind words. Over the last 18 hours or so I have been releasing my hold on this material possession. I know it is just a "thing" and I should not get so worked up over it. I think the biggest part was the violating feeling I felt thinking about how it could possibly have been taken in those 15 minutes.

Now, about my last statement. "Would you pray that whoever took it (assuming I didn't "lose" it) would by guilt ridden and turn it in to the lodge desk? I say "lose" because there is always that chance that it is siting in the room (even though we asked at the desk) or something like that, but I don't think so."
So, I called back to the lodge we stayed at and I talked to the lady at the front desk and then to one of the house keepers. She talked to the other 3 ladies and no one had seen it. There were even other people who had stayed in our first room (we moved after the 1st night).

I left my number and described the ipod and the cool cover.

I got a voicemail later saying they had found it in the room!!!
Yahooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I am sooo excited. But I am holding on loosely. :)

I got robbed!!!

I went out to Maupin, Oregon Sunday night after a loooong day of driving back from Whidby Island, Washington (up in the San juan Islands north of Seattle). We were up visiting our friends the Lynchs and I did the installation service for a new youth pastor at their church. We drove home, got some clean clothes and headed to Maupin. (about 8-9 hours on the road that day.)

I was going to guide a rafting trip for a group from our church the next day and then another group from Bellvue, WA the next day. We got into Maupin about 12:30AM. We unpacked the car, Jeanne-Ann and the kids went to bed and I went out to watch the meteor shower till 2AM!!! I know, I know...idiot! haha. Oh well, it was amazing!

In all of that I don't remember bringing in my ipod and the next morning I thought about it and figured it was in the car. Then I didn't think about it till we left 2 days later.

We searched everything and I hoped it would show up in our stuff when we got home. It didn't. The only thing I can figure is that it was taken out of my car between the time we checked in to our room and when I left to see the meteor show. That was about 10-15 minutes. There is a camp ground connected to the lodge we stayed at and I can only assume someone was walking by and looked in our car.

"Didn't you lock the car Erik?" you say. I rarely forget to lock my car. Jeanne-Ann even said, "Did you lock the car?" and I thought I did with my little beeper button thing. It doesn't actually beep unless I do it twice and it was late so I didn't want to wake anyone. It may not have locked. that is all I can figure.

This was my going away gift from Salem Alliance when I left. I have all my music on there and tons of videos and photos of my family. I listen to many sermons on podcasts and so I use my ipod all the time! This is so frustrating!!! I feel so violated and I feel so stupid cuz I rarely forget to lock the car and almost never leave my iopd in the car.

Nothing else was taken that we know of thankfully.

Would you pray that whoever took it (assuming I didn't "lose" it) would by guilt ridden and turn it in to the lodge desk? I say "lose" because there is always that chance that it is siting in the room (even though we asked at the desk) or somehting like that, but I don't think so.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

13 Years Baby!!!

Monday Jeanne-Ann and I celebrated 13 years of wonderful marriage! I am truly the most blessed man on the planet. To have a woman like this in my life. How she treats me; how she loves me; how she raises my our kids with me...unbelievable.

So I set up our evening and was very excited. Jeanne-Ann has been dropping oh so subtle hints about this Italian restaurant for quite a long time. Keizer, Oregon has a fine dining Italian establishment! Can you believe it? If you aren't from here, you need to know that we don't have these kinds of places. It is family owned and that is pretty cool too.

I also knew that I have wanted to go to dance lessons for a long time. Jeanne-Ann was ok with it every time I would bring it up, but she has never had the best rhythm. :)



We went to RJ Dance Studios and learned how to do the Fox Trot. It was so fun. Jeanne-Ann was awesome! There were 2 other couples and we just had a blast. After 90 minutes of dancing, we headed up to Caruso's for dinner. It is a great restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere.

Then every 5 - 10 minutes a different friend of ours showed up with a rose for Jeanne-Ann and said, "Happy Anniversary." It was so cool. All the people around us were looking to see what was going on and there was a couple there for their 2nd anniversary and they thought it was so cool. I hope the guy didn't feel bad but "learned some stuff." haha.

13 people in all came by and delivered roses. Thanx to Paige, Paul, Sean, Duane, Becca, Josh, Maria, Patrick, Jim, Tifani, Michelle, Steve and Chele.

Unbelievable night!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I went skydiving, I went rocky mountain climbing, I went...



Last weekend was our Father's Day celebration. I know, you are thinking, "Father's Day was last month!" True, but my family had to go out of town and we celebrated Mother's Day with our friends the Condellos and the Unwins. Perhaps I will write about that another day. It was fun...for the guys.

Anyhow, the girls decided we should celebrate together again. So the first time we would all be together was last weekend. I was told to wear nice clothes and a tie; to bring a sleeping bag, matches and a spoon. Steve had to bring (I can't remember) and Brian had to wear a swimsuit under his jogging pants. This was all a rouse as I walked outside to see everyone and they were not wearing what I was wearing. The girls had a great laugh about that one. Then the three guys were blindfolded.

We jumped into the car and drove off. I told Jeanne-Ann that I have an amazing sense of direction and that I would figure out where we were going. I figured out that we were in Mollala. Not bad, huh? We got out of our vehicles and were lead up to a wall where the girls took our pictures and then we turned around and took off our blindfolds. We were at Oregon Skydiving!!!!!!!

For EIGHT years I have been saying, "This is the year." Well, this is the year. We went in for training and waited...and waited...and waited. The clouds were out in full force and they don't dive when you can't see the ground. They were hoping it would happen, but not hugely optimistic. We set a new date for yesterday.

Now I had all week to get mentally ready for this great event in my life. Well, we woke up to clouds again after a week full of sun. We got there and it was still cloudy. We waited...and waited...and waited. We went to get lunch late and said if nothing by 12:30 we would jet. We waited a little bit longer and at 1:15 there was some blue spots and some activity inside. Finally the first group (from 9AM...we were at 10AM)went up.

Then it was our turn.

I realize this a bit longer than normal...but what an amazing day!


We went in and got our straps all set, put on our "really cool hats" and walked out on to the airstrip. The plane pulled up and we began the boarding process. I went in first, which meant that I would dive last. The plane went down the runway and turned around for take off. The engines roared and we began...then we slowed down. I was upfront, basically next to the pilot, and heard him tell my guide that the front tire felt flat. That was fine for take-off, but not landing. We all got out while they put air back in the tire.

Then, finally, we got back in. With roaring engines we took off. There was not a lot of wiggle room and the windows were pretty low, but we got a pretty good view of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. We climbed and climbed and climbed. It was not like taking off in a 747. The climb process was pretty slow, but it built our anticipation up a lot. Steve, Brian and I kept high fiving and knuckling each other. We were so EXCITED!!! Out of the 3 of us, Steve went first. When Steve stood at the door and I saw his face, my stomach really started to tumble around.


If you know me, you know I love to be scared and thrilled. This was THE moment. Steve went, and then Brian was up. He rollwed out with a gorgeous view behind him and then it was my turn. Looking at the propeller in front of us and the ground below my heart was elated! Then we rocked...left, right, roll! Yahoooooooooo!!! I was flying. I did it.

I was in the air. 13,100 feet above the ground. I told Kirk, my guide, to have fun and spin all he wanted. I was thinking when the chute had deployed. He started to spin moments after we jumped. Faster and faster. It was like when you are on one of those playground "merry-go-rounds" and you look up, but you are looking down. Then he kicked his legs to the other side and he spun us the other way. I wondered if I would get queasy, but I never did. One more spin on both sides and then suddenly YANK! He opened the chute and we began to float. Wow!

We had a very serene floating moment and then he asked if I wanted to steer. Of course! So he told me to pull down on the one side and we began to spin. Haha! More spinning. It was crazy cool. We went all the way flat in a spin. Then he had me pull the other side and we spun the other way. Then I pulled both. Weightlessness. When we would spin, there was an intense amount of pressure on my legs. They began to lose circulation but it didn't matter. It was like the pain I enjoyed from the sunburns I would get on my college spring break trips to Florida. I didn't care that it hurt, I was just glad I got color.

Steve landed first and Brian and I landed at almost the exact same time.

It is hard to explain the feelings I had. Excitement, thrill, joy, bits of momentary fear, smile, trust, weightlessness, bodily stress, stomach whirl. If there were a word for that combination, that's what it would be.

You gotta go.

Seriously, I mean it. You must go skydiving. this is your sign!
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