Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Made it to San Fransisco

We are in SF at the airport. After chaining up through the Siskouyou mountains we got into Simpson in Redding at 2:22AM. As an Alliance pastor I get free lodging at the school which is pretty cool. I guess I wasn't clear that the whole family was coming, so we had 2 bunks, 2 pillows and 2 sleeping bags. It was pretty comical. We made due. then we got up, had Manhattan bagels for breakfast and met up with Travis O (you may know him as Old Skool) and his family at sbux and then headed to San Fransisco.

We had a bunch of time so we decided to do some sight seeing. We had In-N-Out and it was sooo yummy. Then we drove past the Persidio (I lived there when I was in 5th grade) and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. We took some pics at vista Point and then crossed back over. We got our SIX bucks out for the toll and the lady said we did not have to pay today! Weird. I didn't ask, but I wonder if someone in front of us paid for it. Cool. We then went to the Norwegian Seaman's Church where we went a few times when we lived there. We got some Norwegian waffles and then bought some Norwegian chocolate from their little store. I got to use my Norwegian with Torre. That was awesome!

We are now waiting to get on the plane. Been here a few hours. We are tired, but in good spirits. We could get bumped and get a total of $1,600 worth of Delta dollars between the four of us. Unfortunately we wouldn't get in till MUCH later tomorrow or the next day. We are already 2 days later than we started off. So we will take our first class seats and sit in them and sleep well...and eat and watch movies, etc. :)

Can't wait to get to the "other side." Pray we get there safely and swiftly. Pray also for sleep for the kids and JA and I too. Thanx!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Plans have Changed!!!

We were supposed to fly out of Portland to head back to the east coast for Christmas today. Paula Smith was going to go up with us to the airport, but her flight got canceled yesterday so she headed down to California yesterday. Too bad, because our flight got canceled this morning and we were told we could not get out until the 25th! Well that threw a wrench into everything.

Long story short, every flight that is going out of Portland, Seattle, Eugene, Redding, etc. is booked solid and we can't get out. So, we got a flight out of San Fransisco tomorrow night. We will be driving a rental down there. It's about a 10 hour drive without snow or traffic. Hmmm. We will have to see what happens. The plan is to try to stay at Simpson University over night (free for Alliance pastors) and then drive down in the morning. That helps to break up the trip a bit. The problem there is I can't get a hold of anyone at the university. grrrr!

So we will drive and pray. Would you pray for us too? We could really use it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

trace Bundy plays on his iPhone

This was amazing!!! He plays the first song he ever learned to play on guitar. His brother taught him how to play One by Metallica. His brother was in the audience that night. very cool. Aubria (who plays violin with him from time to time) also played a violin app on an iPhone. This was the first time they had played this live before. It was really cool.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting up early to get in line?

Have you ever stood in line for something so you can be one of the first ones to "get it" or to "experience it?" Maybe it was standing in line to get tickets for Star Wars. Maybe you camped out at Best Buy overnight so you could get all those incredible deals. Maybe it was trying to be one of the first 250 to get a chance to get on Survivor. Yes, I am in all those camps.

For me, a big part of it is the experience with friends. It is an adventure and fun to do with others. it is also fun to be part of the "hunt." Well, This morning I got to experience a new one. And I gotta be honest with you, it is the super bargain hunter in me that caused this slightly embarrassing journey:

You see, Jeanne-Ann and I went to Old Navy last night as part of our "finish our Christmas shopping and then go on a date to a guy movie night." Well, the lady there told us that today (Saturday) they were having a huge sale and we could come back and get money back on what we bought last night. She also told us that the 1st 50 people in line would get a bracelet good for 4 movie passes if we spent $20 and she said the doors would open at 7. soooo....you know me. I love a good bargain.

I called Steve and he agreed to go. We got up and left the house at 6AM!!! to get in line. We got there about 6:20 and we were the 1st ones in line...(I kinda felt dumb, but it was fun to do with Steve). So then we put our chairs at the doors and sat in the car until two ladies got there about 6:40. Then we proceeded to wait in the bitter cold. That was when we saw a sign saying they opened at 8! The ladies had heard it was at 7 as well. I asked them if they were told this by a short Latino lady and they said yes and I started to get really mad.

Right at 7 Claire Allen, a former student of mine, shows up to open the doors right at 7 and I was like, YES!!! Unfortunately she said they didn't open the doors till 8. UGH!! So we ran over to get some Starbucks in the Mall and warm up a little.  We then walked back over and saw about 8 people in line
and at about 7:10 Claire came back out with another employee with bracelets and said we didn't have to wait in line anymore and could come back and get our stuff at 8.

Then we went back in and finished our drinks and got our pic with Santa in the Mall...and yes, we got our 4 movie passes and $5 thermals!!!!!!

(ask me sometime about how Santa tried to "extort" money from me)

Another "camping out" experience in the books.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Feed the Birds

We had lunch on the 10th floor of this hotel, which was the restaurant. We had some leftovers and decided to share with our new friends.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I don't know that I have ever done a movie review on here, but I did want to mention 2 flicks I saw. Brian, Steve and I had not been out together for a guys night in a while. So we decided to go to the movies. We had heard a little about this movie, but weren't sure exactly what it was about.

It's about the Nazi's in WWII. A family moves to the country as the father has gotten a promotion in the Nazi army. The kids and the wife really didn't know what it was all about. The little boy (8), Bruno met another 8 year old, Schmol, who was on the other side of the fence. They became friends and Bruno brought him food and passed it through the electric fence.

Long story short (SPOILER ALERT - highlight the next area and you can see what is written) Schmol's dad goes missing (he was surely gassed) and Bruno tells him they could go on an adventure and gives him some of the "striped pajamas." He dug under the fence and they went looking for him. Long story short. They were ushered to the "showers." As that was happening the family realized what was happening and they went looking for him. The dad gets inside the camp and looks for him. he is too late. They have all been gassed (killed). Then it fades to black and the credits roll. Wow. That was tough. It was very depressing and none of us were expecting that.

We decided to do something I am not sure I have ever done. We needed a little lift and then sneaked into the last part of 4 Christmases. We laughed, but it was pretty crass. Quite funny when the baby vomited on Resses Witherspoone's character. I think it was about a gallon of vomit. Vince Vaughn's character couldn't look at it because he was going to do the same. Funny. But, I don't think I would EVER pay for it and I won't be renting it. That was enough insight to show me I won't be needing that in my life.

We left, still being struck by the Pajama movie. Wondering what the target audience was for it. Was it just a reminder so no one would forget what happened? I don't know.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

100th Year Birthday Party

Today we went to the Keizer Elk's club to celebrate our friend, Ethel's birthday. 12 years ago we moved to Keizer, OR and lived in a duplex in a quiet neighborhood. One day we saw an elderly lady on a small ladder washing her car while her husband sat in a chair watching. We went over to help and quickly became friends with Jack and Ethel. We got to hear many stories of what it was like growing up in the Salem area. Wow, was it different. Broadway, River and Commercial streets were all dirt roads. Weird to think about.

A few years after, Jack passed away. It was tough on Ethel. We were glad we could be there with her during that time. She is a tough lady and she is stubborn. She doesn't let sickness or anything else take her down either. She is quite an amazing woman. When we had kids she immediately became Granny Ethel. She became a surrogate Grandma for our kids out here.

We moved to the south end of town a bit later and continued to visit and let our kids get to know her too. 4 years ago we moved back into the neighborhood. It's good to back in her world, but it's never often enough. I feel bad. Life goes on and suddenly it's been a long time since we have seen her.

Getting to go to her birthday party was awesome! We told the kids that chances are they would not get to go to another 100th birthday party again. Maybe, but not likely. Have you been to one?

Friday, December 05, 2008


Just a little messing around with sprout builder. Click the share button and drop it on ur facebook/myspace/blog, etc.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


A sneak peek. Man, I can't wait! Starts January 21.

Attaboy! another quick freebie.

these guys are AWEsome! I spoke at a camp where they lead worship. And I got a really cool shirt from them. One of my favs. They have a free download over here. Go check em out. You can also find them on myspace and facebook of course.

Monday, December 01, 2008

10 Free Worship Songs..."free" memory cards.

I love getting to pass on free stuff to you my blogger friends! Here is the latest.
Click here.
Included in this fine find:
Lincoln Brewster
Parachute Band
Jared Anderson
Desperation Band
and more!

OH, want to give the gift of memory? Over at Andorama you can get a 4 GB Compact Flash Card for $19.95. If you buy one, you get a $10 visa card. If you buy 2 you get a $30 visa gift card. If you buy 3 you get a $6o gift card. You actually make some money here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What do you want to be when you grow up?

(post started Monday night)

Tonight started my little vacation! I got home and Jeanne-Ann had parent/teacher conferences till 8. So the kids and I began our evening festivities together. First they cleaned :) and then we read for 20 minutes together. Dinner was made and served while we watched the end of a flick together. Then it was Mario Kart time before we ended the night with some serious wrestling time.

Karston shared with me tonight that he wants to be a pastor to middle schooler and high schoolers when he grows up...and an NFL football player. He asked me if it was OK for him to quit part way through the season if he felt like he should just be a youth pastor. Of course, I told him. We talked about how normally quitting isn't the best thing, but if you feel like that is what God is leading you to do you have to follow God.

I love tender moments like that!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Post it in the comments!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Free Stuff!

Thank you Oprah. She is giving away free songs to download on her website for the next day or so. Click here. Thanx to Melinda for this little bit of info.

The morning started with our annual Turkey Bowl. It was pretty small this year. Only 7 of us and I was 11 years older than the next oldest guy! Jim is in Iraq and he often brings a bunch of guys. Miss you Jim.

It was a great day at the Williams' residence. We had the Unwins over for the day. Sooo good. Just chillin and eating! Yum. Our kids put on a rehearsed interpretive dance play for us to a song on Kynzi's keyboard. I got to play the special effects part. We had a TWENTY-ONE POUND TURKEY!!! Man, we got leftovers. Oh, and we had FIVE PIES!!! I made an apple pie I used to make when I worked at this old country store back in high school. It is about 8 inches tall! Soooo good. Jeanne-Ann also made a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie and the Unwins brought a peanut butter pie and a chocolate chip cookie pie.

The Goulds "crashed" the party so they could get some dessert. Their 40 person party had none. Weird. ;) Now for a little Survivor "new scenes" show.

Here is the strange thing. If you know me, you know that since Best Buy has been opened here I have been camping out to do Black Friday shopping. This is a first for me. I am sleeping in my own bed and Jeanne-Ann is headed out at 4:30AM. There is nothing really great in the Best Buy ad this year. It is extremely disappointing. So, I am staying home. Not sure how to feel about it. My tent will stay in the garage till summer now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hot New Christian Fad!

Is your church doing this? I am trying to convince ours to get on board right away!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Guns 'N Roses Album Drops this Sunday!!!!!!!

Welcome to the jungle people. I could really care less about this album they started working on in 1994!!! It doesn't take a Chinese democracy to figure out that something cool is coming as a result. They have continued to say that their album was coming out and then pushed the dates back.

So, Dr. Pepper made a "bet" of sorts saying that there was no way that the most recent date (November 23) would be the drop date for their album. They were so sure of it that they said, "If Guns 'N Roses puts out their album by this next date we will give everyone in America a Dr. Pepper." That's right folks. FREE! You know me, I love free stuff. I love Dr. Pepper. I don't drink much of it these days. I let that sweet child o mine go several years ago and began to drink more water. BUT, this Sunday, as I walk in the cold November rain I will enjoy a refreshing drink from the great Dr. thank you.

If you want to join me in the paradise city head on over to Dr. Pepper this Sunday and get your free coupon. Then flip on Fox and watch the 24 prequel and prep for January!!!

(BTW, did you know that Axl Rose is the only original band member left? That was free too.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Use Twitter...Make Big Companies Hear Your Voice

Motrin placed an ad this past week that offended many moms. So much that many used twitter to complain and also blogged about it. It was happening so much that Motrin pulled the ad and put up an apology on the website. Who knew there was so much power to Twittering?

Read the rest of the story here.

Dustin Pedroia AL MVP

Just a quick note. The Red Sox had the 2007 Rookie of the Year last year and now he is the American League MVP! AWESOME!!!

He's the first 2nd baseman in the AL to get this award in 49 years.

Read all about it here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chair Races

Just thought you might enjoy this little video from a camp I spoke at recently. I "submitted" it to their film festival last minute.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This morning at church we had an event called "Reach." This is a one day event for middle school, high school and college aged people to hear about missions and be challenged to listen to what God is saying to their hearts.

Near 400 were there and heard from students who did monologues they wrote based on different missionaries that all tie to Kathy Fairly (our church receptionist) and her missionary experiences; Logan Martin lead worship; Scott Erickson painted and shared some of his Africa experiences; Josh challenged us all strongly on where we are and where we could be. We also got to skype video Patrick & Maria Kelly in South Korea and Clarke Leland in Jordan! How cool is that!!!

There were a ton of more elements to this 2 hour event. I am not sure how many students went forward making a commitment to doing missions in their future, but I know it was a lot. You can actually watch it if you want right here.

Here are a few pics from our morning together.
The Africa Team above.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Today I did nothing. Well, mostly nothing. I took my kids to school and picked them up. Cleaned the house a bit. But mostly I did nothing. Watched some TV. Spent the day on the couch. It was actually quite nice.

I did walk to school when I picked up the kids. It was gorgeous out today. Literally not a cloud in the sky. Every now and then I think we all need a nothing day to ourselves. I also had a pretty good wrestling match with the kids. Got a fat lip from a punch in the mouth from Karston. I love wrestling with them.

That's it. Could really fit in a twitter tweet, but I am trying not to ignore you so I am making sure I pop on here as often as I can. Oh, here is a pic of me from last week when I ran out of gas. It was soooo cold. Jess helped me out, but my battery was dead by the time she got there and her connections were all corroded. AAA came to the 2nd rescue. 90 minutes later I was back on the road.

Dr. Mark Greene is back on ER...gotta go.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Christmas Already?

I was driving back from camp the other day and stopped in to Wal-Mart to get some post halloween deals. To my surprise I heard Christmas music playing on the Muzak. What?! It was only November 2nd!!! Can I please get some turkey in me before we start this? I love Christmas. I mean I really, really love Christmas. It may be my favorite time of year, for sure my favorite holiday, but I am just shaking off the fact that summer is gone. I am not ready yet. I had this conversation with some people at the office and they are all for it. What? I argue that it should all start the day after Thanksgiving.

That being said, I saw this video this morning and was blown away. The creativity is unbelievable. I am so excited to see the church be creative and original. Check out some of the other videos by this guy too. The painting on (I believe it's Dex from All Together Separate) is amazing too.

Trans Siberian Element Only from Pace Hartfield on Vimeo.

New Creation from Pace Hartfield on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ever feel like you have run out of gas?

Today was a full day. Mondays and Tuesdays I take my kids to school and the other days they go to "day care" for an hour. So I took the kids to school and then to work and get back into "normal" work mode after camps are done. We actually jumped on some DYC stuff, our next conference we run for high schoolers in February. Then a package came for Matt. It was a gift for his wife. He was not at work and was headed south for the evening for a soccer game. I offered to meet him in Woodburne.

Here is the problem. I had enough gas to get to work and then go get my $2.19/gallon at Costco. I had not planned an extra 15-20 miles needed to make this little extra trip. I pushed and pushed. 2 miles from my office the car began to sputter, and yes then it died. Jessica is a good friend and came out with a gallon of gas. Well, as it turns out leaving the hazard lights on that long while I waited killed my battery. Jessica's battery was a bit corroded and could not give me a jump. It was pouring rain and pretty cold! A call to AAA and after 1 1/2+ hours I was finally on my way to fill my tank all the way. Almost 16 gallons and I payed $35.04! Wow!!!

After I finally got back to work, wrapped things up and headed home. Got some good time in with my family and off to our high school volunteer staff meeting. Good stuff. We had some fun and laughed pretty hard too!

Then it was back to see Barack Obama win the election. John McCain gave an amazing speech. Crazy to think that all of this is over and now we get ready to start a new era. I wonder what it will look like. It certainly is historic.

White Obama and Black McCain?

I wonder how differently we would all vote if we were honest if this picture were true.

I know My Kids Were Cute on Halloween...check this

I saw this little guy and had to share it with u. Imagine the hours that was put into making this one.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Off to school on Halloween

Today I missed out on Halloween festivities with my family as I was headed up to Quest #2. I got some pics of them before they headed to school this morning though. Aren't they cute?!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Flipside Costume Party

Here is a little qik video from our costume contest last night. It is not great quality because it was taken from my phone, but you get the idea. And you can stream it live from qik.com/erikwithak how cool is that?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Turn-Style Pain...Steve's birthday

This weekend we celebrated my friend Steve's birthday. He loves the outdoors and wanted to do something outside instead of going to dinner and a movie. So we played tennis, horseshoes and bocce ball. (yes, I know we sound old....haha) All fun to play with these guys. Brian, Steve, Boyd and I indulged in the wonderful day that hit 75 degrees!!! It's almost November people. I love Oregon! Anyhow, at the tennis courts is one of those turn-style things you can come in but can't go out of.

I told Steve he should try and lay on one of the bars and we could turn him and squeeze him through. He told me I should do it. So I did. Weird, usually I am the one who convinces others to do stuff like that. Well, then my "friend" Brian decided he would be the one to turn me, except when he got to the point where my butt didn't quite fit he pulled and pushed and pulled and pushed some more. Back and forth a bunch of times. It hurt, but I was laughing so hard because I wish it was me doing that. I would think it was really funny if I was on the other end of the pain.

Here is a little video of that fun moment. There are also some pics from the rest of the day too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Are You a Big Fan of 30 Rock? Free vid

You can watch the full episode of 30 rock that is airing this Thursday now at hulu.com Just cuz I like you. Enjoy.
PS. I do not endorse anything from this show.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stressful Night!

Wow, tonight I watched the Red Sox Ray's game with my family. I started being very frustrated. 2 runs in the first inning by the Rays. In the 7th inning the Red Sox were losing 7-0. I was in a bad mood, but still believing. It's what we Sox fans have done for sooo many years. Well, that's where it all came apart. The Sox got 4 runs and then another 2. Thanx to Big Papi getting a 3 run homer and JD Drew getting a 2 run homer. They tied it up in the 8th.

2 outs, bottom of the 9th. 7-7. They intentionally walk Jason Bay (who was part of the trade for Manny Ramirez and has been AWEsome!) and then JD Drew hits it deep into right field. With 2 guys on, it was over. My body is so wound up. I need a massage. Haha. The series is now 3-2 Rays. We came back from a 3-0 deficit in 04 and a 3-1 deficit last year. We can totally do this. The next game is on Saturday during our middle school retreat. Thank you slingbox!

I have a New Hero

I just read about this dude who is just about 20 pounds heavier and an inch shorter than I am who ate a 15 pound burger under 4 hours! Wow! I had a 5 patty burger once. They made a pretty big deal of it at Johnny Rockets, but it didn't make national headlines. Check out the story here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Days before...

It's 2 nights before our big fall retreat for our district middle schoolers. I am so pumped. The last few days has been filled with all the little detail stuff: buying snacks; getting game stuff; finishing up program ideas; shooting and editing video; getting costume stuff; watching my Red Sox get spanked (they have a history of coming back in the playoffs with a deficit like this, so it's not over). I actually got 8 hours of sleep last night. Went to bed at 10!!! That is a rarity.

Now I have just a few things left to do. Pick up the truck. Get a few things at SAC. Get a mustache that did not make it in my costume purchase for some reason. Pack the truck. Edit a little more video. Finish a powerpoint game. Love on my family. And go!

Looks like we will have good weather this weekend too. If you think of it, pray for us. Pray for Dave Underwood who is speaking and for the students who are coming. Oh yeah, I need to finish refining my purity talk for "Girls only" and "guys only." You can pray for that too!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Twitter Church? WHAT?!

I can not believe what I just read. A church used twitter live during their church service. If you don't know what twitter is, click here. People walked into church with their phones and laptops fired up and interacted with the service. They kept the twitter updates live on the screen the whole time. Nuts!

I can not imagine our church doing this. Too many would complain it would be too distracting. I might even think it, but I would love the try of it. You know? It blows my mind to think about it. You gotta read this blog about how it went. Imagine if...

The pic is a screenshot of what they twittered about during the service.

Palin or Fey?

Have you seen any of the SNL sketches where Tina Fey does Sarah Palin? She nails her. I mean she is sooo good! Probably the best I have seen in a long time there. I just read that when Fey plays Palin, Palin's ratings go down. Weird. They say they don't think that the final vote will be affected in any major way, but it is crazy to think that most young people get their political news from shows like SNL, The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. Hmmm. It is more fun to watch it all there, but not really that informative.

So I found a website that lets you take a quiz as to if the picture is of Sara Palin or Tina Fey. I got 3 wrong out of the ten pics! Can you do better? Click here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Baseball Season...October is here.

You may know that I love the Red Sox. If you have been reading for a while you know that this is the time of year that I like to blog about what's happening. Tomorrow night Dice-K itches for the first game in the second round of playoffs. I can't even tell you how excited I am about it. The downside is that I will be at our high school retreat. The upside is that I have a slingbox and can watch it on my phone. The downside is I don't know if I get reception there. Hmmm...dilemma. The upside is that it is our high school fall rerteat and that rocks! Oh, did I mention that "Manny & the Dodgers" lost their first game to the Phillies?

Monday, October 06, 2008

School is done...Camps, here I come!

October is camp month for me. High school fall retreat and our 2 middle school camps. That means I lean heavier on the work side of things. That can be a bit stressful, but November is much more chill. I love these camps. I love camp. I was raised going to camp and it became part of my life and blood. I have seen so many amazing things happen as a result of people stepping out of their regular routine and being open to what God has for them. So cool.

So if I am quiet this month, you know why. Of course, I could be even more "talkative" because I get in a frenzy when I start working on this stuff. I am like a caged king cobra. Unpredictable!!! haha. Don't get too close, or I may bite. Of course, I love hugs (I know, I know) so don't stay too fa away either. :P

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Almost Done...and I got Canker Sores

As you may be aware, I have started my Master's through Crown. My first class is Leadership & Culture. I am absolutely loving it. I am also almost done. I have to watch 4 video clips from Remember the Titans and then respond to some questions about it. The last two weeks I have been working feverishly on my final project. I had to do an ethnographic study on a people group of my choice. I decided to do my study on youth pastors in churches of 1,000 people or more. We had to do a survey, do a bunch of interviews and over 10 hours of observation.

This was a tough group to do all this with, as they don't all work together. I got 37 to respond to my survey. That was HUGE! Thank you for all who were part of this. I then had to write a 5,000+ word paper on my findings. Then, part way through the class we were given a new option that has never been offered for this class. We could do the paper with only 2,500 words and then do a PowerPoint presentation and an audio file to go along with it. I was in!

I ran into a problem. My hard drive fried. I had to get it replaced and lost files, etc. It was gone for a week. I fell behind on getting it all done. I was up till all sorts of hours of the night. I fell wayyyy behind in my TV viewing. haha. I got 3 canker sores. I haven't had one in quite some time. I usually get them when I am stressed. Of course, lack of sleep is a kind of stress on the body. So lack of sleep and really wanting to get this in on time and done well I was stressed. I got it done. I GOT IT DONE! I actually did over 4,000 words! The only problem was the audio file wouldn't upload. Still won't. Working on it.

I am tired, but this has been really good. I have learned a ton and am looking forward to keep going.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If Sarah Palin was my Mom...

I do not talk politics. Too dividing and that is the opposite of what the strengthsfinder says I am about. Anyhow, I found this funny web site that will tell you what your name would be if you were born to Sarah Palin. My name would be Hose Hotrod Palin.

What would yours be?


Friday, September 12, 2008

I am Very, Very Sneaky

Have you seen that Adam Sandler movie, "Mr Deeds" where his butler dude sneaks up on people all the time and says, "I am very, very sneaky." That was me today. My kids walked home from school (we live 2 blocks away) for the first time on their own today. I couldn't just let them go on their own. So I rode my bike out to the school and parked it on the other side of the place where they come out.

It seemed to take forever for them to emerge from the stream of flowing students, but they finally came and the hunt was on. The longer they waited the more cars left the less hiding places I had, which was funny. I really didn't want them to see me. I felt like a PI or a CIA agent or something...sorta. That would be a cool job I think. Especially if they issued me a gun.

They finally got home and I raced into the back yard, tossed off my shirt and made like I had been sunning myself. They came out right after I sat down saying, "We thought you were still at work and Mamma wasn't home!" Kynzi, ever so smart, says, "I just looked out here 5 seconds ago." I told her she must have missed me. Haha. How are they old enough to be making this walk anyhow?!?!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Home Run Leader breaks his own wrist

I just had to laugh at this guys stupidity. Then I realized I have done some very similar things in my life (they just aren't as public and vital to my job as his). Ever do anything stupid and have to pay for it? I would love to hear your story.

American League home run leader Carlos Quentin has a broken right wrist stemming from his own temper, and the Chicago White Sox left fielder will have surgery Monday that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

Quentin was injured Monday night in Cleveland. After fouling off a pitch while batting against Cliff Lee, Quentin hit his right hand on the bat as he was holding it with his left.

Read the whole story here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Celebrate National Youth Worker's Appreciation Day

Did you know there was such a thing? Well, there wasn't before, but there is now. It is a fantastic opportunity for you to thank your youth leaders!!! It's this weekend. Do you have someone that has impacted your life? A youth pastor or volunteer that has spoken truth into who you are and who you can become? Maybe they have just remembered your name or given a message that has made a difference in your life. Maybe they came to your game or concert or play.

Whatever it is. This is your chance to say thanx! Check out the official Youth Worker Appreciation Day website. There is also a great article on it here.

Don't let this day pass you by. Do something. Get out there. Buy a gift, get a gift card to their favorite place, make something they will really appreciate.

Want some ideas? Sure, I will toss you a list of ideas from cheap to expensive. Now, I realize not every youth leader will like the same things, so it helps if you get them something with them in mind, but here are a few helper hints.

Stuff you could make/do:
* skim board with their name or artwork of them on it.
* Monopoly board but custom made with things that are relevant to them (ie. "Flipside Lane" or "Crash Ave" or "Refinery Rd" or whatever your youth ministry name is). Then call it something like "Linkopoly"
* Underwater camera case for the video or digital camera. Here is an example.
* Go to their house and wash their car. (not like you do at a car wash fundraiser, do it really, really well).
* Mow their yard (make sure you know what you are doing and don't trim that bush into a shape of yourself without them knowing it)
* Clean the youth room
* Give them free babysitting (or, if they are single, a month on eharmony)
* A stay at a vacation place you have (talk to your parents)
* Get creative!!!

"Less expensive"
* A surprise from the Somethingstore.com It's just 10 bucks and they get some random object. Kinda cool.
* Make a movie night package for them. In a basket put movie tickets (get them at Costco for cheaper), their favorite soda, microwave popcorn, your favorite DVD (even from your collection to keep it cheaper), gift certificates to a movie rental place that is local, gift certificate for 2 free nights of babysitting (one for the theaters and one for the stay home movie watching), and some sparkling cider.
* Gift certificates to their favorite restaurant, Starbucks, Cold Stone, etc.
* Other gift basket ideas that you can think up. Just make it look decent.

"More expensive"
* I-pod
* One of those I-pod plus running things that helps motivate them to stay in shape.
* 3-6-12 months at a workout facility.
* Digital camera
* I-phone
* Scooter (no, one with a motor)
* Skydiving trip

"Ridiculously Expensive"
* Trip to Hawaii
* Pilot lessons
* Helicopter flight
* Paraglider
* T-touch watch! This is wayyyy cool!

OK, I think that you get the idea. Keep the person's likes and interests in mind. Be good to them. They put a lot of time and effort into making your youth ministry a wonderful place to be and learn and grow.

This might even be someone you haven't connected with in a long time. Look them up on facebook or myspace (yes, I know. Not all of them are that tech savvy, but it doesn't hurt to try)

Have fun and let me know what you did, will u?
* You get the picture

Friday, August 22, 2008

I want a Barbie Fishing Pole

I have always loved fishing. It is a fantastic sport. I am not a huge fish eater, although this year I have started to find enjoyment out of it more and more, especially salmon. My wife makes this amazing salmon! MMMMMMM!!!

Anyhow, I have caught fish all over the world, even though I have caught very little here in Oregon. I also find that I don't make the time for fishing much. I really want my kids to look back on their growing up years and remember fishing with their dad. I got my license renewed, maybe time to get back out there. Especially after this story of the record catch on a Barbie fishing pole. My son has a batman pole...maybe that would do?
Check it out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rafting the Deschutes

Monday we began our adventure to Maupin, Oregon to raft down the Deschutes River. We traveled through rain (that is illegal in August) and lightning (that is almost unheard of in Oregon) on our way there. The rain began to dissipate as we started to set up our tents and the lightning and thunder left soon after that. We actually had a pleasant evening after that.

Caleb likes to cook for others so he made us burgers and we had lots of other fun snacks to complete a great meal. We chatted and got to know each other a bit and then Jason Ostrander, our national youth director, took us through some great stuff. Orientation, disorientation and reorientation to God. We walked through several Psalms (33, 137, 103) and saw how David interacted with God and we took time to interact with God as well. This opened some amazing discussion on how we deal with students and the cultural issues of today and how we point them to Jesus and His word.

Pics will go up when I figure out what happened to that option! grrr

After sitting up late and chatting we headed for bed in the tents. You know how you can tell a great comic? One way is if he/she references something near the end of his/her routine that they talked about earlier in the routine. Well, we were in our sleeping bags and Caleb responded to a question by referencing something we talked about earlier. The combination of lateness, tiredness, sleeping in tents, and perfect timing caused raucous laughter. Man, we couldn’t stop. You know how you laugh when someone else laughs and they laugh when you laugh? I would hear Jason’s low (trying to get my engine started) laughter, which would make me laugh and that made Erica laugh and that made me laugh, which caused Caleb and Jessica to laugh, which caused Jason to laugh incurring and endless cycle. This went on for over 5 minutes and my stomach has paid for the amazing ab workout.

Finally sleep came and then would leave every hour on the hour, it seemed, as some guy driving a diesel truck with a loud engine (no muffler) through the tent (it seemed) all night long. We also heard, what sounded like someone dragging a body or something around us. Who knows what that was?

We got up and Jason and I took a 2-3 mile run and came back to see the others playing Scrabble while Caleb cooked us pancakes and eggs. Jason walked us through some more cool stuff and we headed to the river to raft finally.

We got on the river and took off for a day of fun and adventure. Throughout the ride I was guiding, but gave up the guide spot to everyone else at different points through the trip. At lunch time we talked through some leadership stuff and how our rafting experience to that point taught us some things about leadership and how it translates to youth ministry. That was a pretty cool conversation. Jessica brought us lunch at the dock and had been taking pictures and video all along the way. (I will post the video later when I have time to edit it). I did a flip over the railing into the water and Ronnie did a back flip and Joe jumped, but caught his foot a he went in and lost one of his aqua socks. Ronnie and I jumped in after it and “saved” it.

We headed back into the water and picked Jessica up for the White water hike part of the trip. White water has much warmer water, and you feel the drastic difference when you have your feet in the water and that water mixes in with the Deschutes River. We then hiked up to an area that has some natural water slides and played on those for a bit. When we were done the boys floated all the way back to the bottom and we all got the scrapes and bruises to prove it.

Then it was back in the raft to finish the trip. We drove back “into town” and got some ice cream and looked at pics and headed home. This was an awesome trip! I hope you can make it next summer. If you ever want to take your students or leadership team I would be more than happy to guide a boat for you. We can take up to 11 total on a boat. Having me guide makes the trip pretty cheap.

Pics will go up as soon as I figure out what happened to that option! grrr

Friday, August 15, 2008


Free Crowder!!!

Are you a fan of free music?

Are you a fan of David Crowder Band?

Today is your day!!!
Click here. and get it now. It won't be up for ever.

Do you have free downloads you know of?
Did you catch the free Phil Wickham CD download too? It was recorded right here in Portland. Go here

Share your freebies with the rest of us in the comments!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Girl.

Yesterday our daughter turned 9. Gulp! She enters 4th grade this year and it makes me think forward 2 years. She will enter middle school. What?!?! I don't get it. How is it possible? I am in a very reflective spot thinking about this. I love where she is at and who she is and who she is becoming. I think about all the things that she will have to deal with the older she gets. I pray. I pray hard.

We took 6 girls over to create-a-memory to do some pottery. It was fun, but every time I have been there I have been the only guy or there has been one other. Kinda funny. There is always that one guy. The girls had a great time. We jumped over to Dutch Bros. to get some drinks and I enjoyed a green apple smoothie. Yum.
(pics coming)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Do you worship God while being distracted?

Today I was in church and it was fantastic. Excellent worship through music and the Word. Matt Boda spoke today and knocked it out of the park. I don't just say that because he is my boss, it's true. Genesis 39. Joseph and Potiphar's wife.

It was all about blessing and temptation today. Excellent stuff. You can listen to it online. I am not sure how quick they are to upload messages, but go to http://www.salemalliance.org/home/sermons2008.php. It should be up there this week some time.

So, we were singing and Laura, our worship leader, asks us to stand. Half way through the song I see the mom in front of me look up from her bulletin to see her daughter sitting and doing the word search in the bulletin (exactly what the bulletin is for during this month of "family gathers.") She leans over to "dad" and tells him to get her to stand up. Dad leans over to her and she gets upset because she is in the middle of the word search. She stands up with a humph and arms crossed.

Here's my question: Who was really worshiping? Was the daughter? Was the mom? I was really irritated when I watched this unfold. I wanted to lean forward and tell her to put away her bulletin so we could all turn our attention to Jesus. Of course I kept my mouth shut, but it really distracted me. Was this as much my issue too? Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I love to white water raft! It is an absolute blast. The Deschutes river is a really good one for newbies and more advanced rafters. There is class 3s and a 4. I have been guiding for the last 11 summers. I usually guide 4-5 times a summer. Our church (different groups from it), friends, family, other youth ministries. Today I guided for the roots group. We had a blast.

We only lost a few here and there and did some cool debriefing during lunch. We talked about leadership and what we learned from the different things we participated while rafting. Great stuff brought up there.

We hiked up White River and did the natural water slides. Then floated down the river back to the raft. I have a pretty good bruise on my shoulder and a good sunburn on my arms and feet. I sure am itchy already.

Maupin, here we come.

Oars Unite...river, here we come.

Train to our starboard bow.

Lunch time.

River jumping.

7 of us cram into the Jeep.

Mt. Hood is amazing!

I love lawn art.

Good Night
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