Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keizer Times Front Page? Adoption Acceptance!

In my last post I shared that my kids assume we will always be on the front page of our local paper with our snowman like we have the last 3 years in a row. Well, we are on the front page of the website. Click here to check it out. This paper comes out once a week, so I don't know if we will be in the paper or not. Here's hopin'.

Also, in the mail today came our adoption packet saying we have been officially accepted. We had an interview on Tuesday after our all of our references got in. We made our announcement before the official acceptance, but we were pretty certain it wold be no problem. Just wanted to keep you updated.

Oh, we also made it to the Statesman Journal.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Surprise Snowfall Changes the Day

Today my friend Steve sent me a text with a picture of snow up in Wilsonville where he works. (a stone's throw from where I work). It's only 25 minutes north of where I live. We had nothing. I was so jealous! I love the snow. Karston has been praying for snow over Christmas break. We have seen some flurries in the forecast, but it has never come to fruition. He has been very bummed to say the least. Today we were told it would rain. It has actually been a very sunny winter so far, so I am not too bummed that it would rain, but I would MUCH prefer snow.

Well Karston's prayers were answered today. We had a quick snowfall that covered the ground enough to make it mostly white, then it stopped. We ran out and made a paltry little snowman. Actually it wasn't that bad as you can see, but it was not like others we have made in the past.

Kynzi was at a birthday party so she did not get to join in with us. We always jump in the hot tub when it snows and take some pictures. We added hot cocoa to that tradition today with cool-WHIP (say it, "whip") and sprinkles. Yum! We had some really good belly laughs in there. (have I mentioned that I LOVE my family?) Then I headed out to see Sherlock Holmes with some of my buddies. (I really enjoyed it). When we came out it had snowed some more. Bigger flakes, denser snow.

By the time I got home it was dark and the kids had been sledding in our driveway and pulling each other down our street (don't worry. We are not as bad of parents as you think. We live on a private street with only 4 homes and we are the 2nd to last). So I put on my winter clothes again and we began to make another snowman. Well, there was so much snow that just a few rows in our tiny front yard and I had a really good base. It may be the largest one we have ever made. We decided we needed to make one for everyone in the family. This is what we ended up with. Not bad, eh? My kids are convinced that the paper will put it on the front page like they have the last 3 years in a row. I told them they may never post it all. They just assume the newspaper does it for us or wants ours or something. They are pretty fun I must say. We'll see. I will let you know if they do. Haha.

Why does my back hurt so much tonight? Hmmm...

Monday, December 28, 2009

One of the BIGGEST Decisions of my life

* Inviting Jesus to be part of my life and asking His forgiveness (8 years old)
* Telling Jesus that I would go wherever He wanted me to go, do whatever He wanted me to do, talk to anyone He wanted me to talk to (8th grade)
* Where I was going to go to college (Houghton)
* Who I was going to marry (Jeanne-Ann)
* What my first "real" job would be after college (youth pastor in Georgia)
* Moving to Salem, OR to take another job at another church (middle school pastor at Salem Alliance)
* Talking with Jeanne-Ann and deciding to have our first child (Kynzi)
* Having another conversation with Jeanne-Ann not long after (Karston)
* Deciding to leave my role as middle school pastor at Salem Alliance and heading to our district office to be the Director of Next Generation Ministries (December 2004 after 8 years at SAC)

These have all been major decisions in my life. We even decided that we were going to have more kids...6 years ago. We still don't have any more kids. It's weird, because almost the moment we decided to have Kynzi and Karston, Jeanne-Ann got pregnant. God has a plan. He reveals that plan little by little as we are ready.

On December 26, 2004 there was a great Tsunami that hit southeast Asia. It was devastating. We watched the videos and wept for the families who lost everything, including family members. It sparked a conversation that Jeanne-Ann had already started a couple of years prior to that. She wanted to know if we could adopt one of the many orphans that were left behind in the tsunami. I was not having anything to do with that. I would pray for them, I would even travel there to help if needed, but I could not imagine taking in another child that we didn't birth.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for adoption. I believe in it and am so thankful for the many that are willing to adopt. I just never saw it for me. Oh, I could go through a whole list of reasons why including the cost of adoption, future potential issues and starting all over (our kids are 8 and 10 and very independent). Back to diapers? I can't imagine.

Well, this summer we talked more and more about it. My sister and brother-in-law are adopting from Nepal. Then we had a serious discussion where I promised I would think about it and pray seriously about it. That night our friends Josh and Becca came over and asked us if we would be references for them as they adopt from Ethiopia. It was as if God was already speaking to my heart. I was a bit floored to say the least. Skip forward a few months and I am taking  three day time to fast and pray and seek God's heart. In the midst of that fast I was asking God to give me a crazy, out of this world moment where it was so obvious that this is what God wanted. I imagined a woman walking down the street and spotting me from across the way, coming right over to me and saying, "I don't know who you are or why, but I feel like I am supposed to tell you to adopt." Well, nothing like that happened. I was bummed at first, but I was committed to journaling during this process and I read one of my entries right after I wrote it down.

In this journal entry I wrote down all my connections to Africa including: a video I saw in 8th grade with a little African boy at the end smiling and saying thank you; 2 trips to Africa in the last 7 years. My experiences there were out of this world. My heart was so drawn there. I never sensed God calling me to be a missionary to Africa, but I knew there was a connection. I also read a couple of books on adoption. One of them was a couple's journey to adopt from Ethiopia.

As I read back over the journal entry I realized that was my "woman coming across the street to me." It was almost ridiculously clear. At the end of the entry I wrote a note to Jeanne-Ann that said, "Babe, let's do this." She was shocked She didn't know what to say after so many years of hearing no from me.

Well, I drove up to Dove International the next day and dropped off our application. We are now on our way to adopt. The plan is to adopt 2 kids. We are very early in the process. The whole deal should take 10 to 16 months. It varies a lot. This blog will be the best way to stay updated, besides talking to us. I will continue to blog about other stuff, but our adoption process will all be a part of this blog. We have talked about having a separate blog just for that and it may still happen, but for this moment it will stay here. Thank you faithful readers for your prayers and support. If you want to read more about it all I have posted more info on my website

There you have it. One of the BIGGEST Decisions of our Lives!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Top 10 Christmas Songs of All Time

I love top 10 lists. Every year around New year's great lists show up and I want to read them all. They are fun little wastes of time yet great insights into pop culture and where we are as a world. It's the end of a decade now and top 10 decade lists are already popping up. Did you know that N*Sync's No Strings Attached album was the best selling of this decade? Well here is the list of the Top 10 Christmas Songs of ALL TIME!

10. Have A Holly Jolly Christmas
9. O’ Holy Night – Nat King Cole
8. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow – Dean Martin
7. Rockin’ Round The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
6. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
4. It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas – Perry Como
3. Christmas Cannon – Trans Siberian Orchestra
2. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
1. White Christmas – Bing Crosby

Do you agree? Are there any songs you thought should make it on the list? What's missing?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's So Easy...It Makes a Difference

Have you ever thought about making an impact on your community? On your world? Ever feel like there is too much to do and you are just one person? Often that is exactly how some major movement starts. Just one person who decides they are going to do something. That person has a passion for it and it gets caught. Have you ever caught a passion from someone? They were so excited about something you couldn't help but to jump on the bandwagon.

This is how I feel about the dream of Give A Shirt. Whitney, a girl in our church, took the challenge from our youth ministry team to find a cause in our area and do something about it. Actually 25 students did. They each made a video to present their ideas and then it was voted on, the top 5 went before a panel of "judges" who asked some great questions and the top one was Give A Shirt. It was presented at our annual Reach conference.

Basically you buy a shirt for $15 and $10 goes to help homeless teenagers in our city buy clothes. There are over 900 identified homeless teenagers in Salem/Keizer and many don't go to school because they only have one outfit and get made fun of for the way they smell, etc. This is a great opportunity to make an impact on our community. This will be expanding around our nation soon. Maybe even to a city near you! Jump on board today, won't ya? Plus, the shirts are really cool. <---click here

give hope * restore dignity

Thursday, December 03, 2009


You know I love TV. You may also know that I have been trying to cut back a bit. I may not have cut a lot of shows that I love by my choice (I have lost many shows to the dreaded cancellation), but I am trying not to add too much to replace those shows. A limited few shows have been added to my list this year. Flash Forward is one of those shows. What's crazy is until tonight, I have not had any Tuesday night shows this fall. That was until V.

I remember the original show from 1984 very well! It was completely different from anything I had ever seen on TV. It was amazing. I loved the concept. I think I have always liked alien shows/movies. I remember thinking how crazy it would be if it were true. Scary. Haha.

Did you know that the guy who played Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund,  was also the guy in the original series who was a very timid, mild-mannered alien? Watch it some time. Kind of weird to see if you have seen any of his movies.

Some other "alien" shows I have enjoyed over the years:
Surface - sea creatures
Roswell (where Kathryn Heigel got her start)
Lost? Does that count? I am not sure. I will know for sure at the end of this next season.
of course...Mork and Mindy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2012...End of the World?

I just got back from seeing 2012 with my friend Steve. It was a classic "end of the world" movie. Amazing graphics; story based on Mayan calendar; over the top moments all the way along. It was an interesting flick. What caused me to want to blog about it was the fact that there were moments throughout the movie that people dealt with broken relationships. this was dealt with because of the realization that their lives would likely be done soon.

We so often take for granted our closest loved ones. We let our time be filled with unimportant things. Well, things in the grand scheme of life that are unimportant. What is important is family, loved ones, others. Not work. Not entertainment. Not technology. Nothing. Knowing this is true does not seem to stop it. I know I allow life to get in the way. I don't want to. I need to spend time with my wife and my kids, with good friends. I need to make moments. I need to take opportunities. I need to make memorable moments.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Green...Ted Dekkers latest offering

Recently I read Green by Ted Dekker. It's called book Zero. According to Dekker you can read this final book in the Circle trilogy. Which is ironic as this is the fourth book and there are some other books that are connected to these books as well. Confusion aside, Dekker is an amazing storyteller. Quite possibly my favorite author in this fantasy genre. I recommend his books, although some of them can be a bit dark, this one included.

It is good to recall all the familiar characters from the other books, as it has been a while since I read them. It took a little reading before I felt like I was totally sucked in, but by page 100 or so there was no turning back. Gripping story. Excellent character development. Mind bending thought process. Reality jumping. This book was hard to put down. Of the Circle books, this is easily the darkest. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is interesting.

I would personally recommend reading this one last. I think that if you don't you will miss out on some of the great character development there is when you read the rest. It is a bit frustrating at the end as there is no real resolution, but perhaps there is some genius there? I don't know.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

OK, Maybe I Should Quit

After reading this story
I have begun to rethink my eating competitions. Not that I enter real ones. They are with friends or my brother. Sometimes the competition is with the restaurant that charges me so much for their all you can eat meal. I want to walk away feeling like I got my money's worth and then some. It makes me feel like "I'm stickin' it to the man." or something like that. Haha.

After reading this you may feel like you should pass judgment on me. Please don't. You may envy me. Please don't. You may look at me in awe and wonder the next time you see me. Please feel free to. A few years ago I went to Red Lobster for their Shrimp Lovers Fest and beat my friend Matt by eating 153 shrimp. He actually was ahead at 152 and I had 151, but our server asked me who won and then she walked back and gave me 2 more on the way out. Todai's has held several eating fests for me (FREE on my birthday) 36 crab legs, 54 shrimp, 18 lobster tails (small) and 5 crepes. Not too bad. I once had a 5 patty, bacon, cheese, egg burger at Johnny Rockets. When they came out with it 4 or 5 staff came including the manager with a camera. No one had ever ordered that. I know. I was shocked too. It was in the picture they had on the table (showing you all the things you could do to make it your way). I definitely met with the Comcast people after that one! (sorry)

The creme de le creme happened this past week when I was on vacation in South Carolina with my family. We went to a Crab Shack and my brother, sister and brother in law each got the all you can eat snow crab legs. Wes taped out at 36, Nina made it to 60 (wtg sis) and my brother hit 95 and then went to the bathroom. While he was in there they came out with the last pail of legs and I plowed through some more and got to 103! My brother said he was done as he fell too far behind. I hold the crown! Yes, I am proud. Give me my moment would ya?

I know that these are few and far between, but I got scared when I read about the potential bursting of your stomach and all the other potential issues. Maybe I should slow down at the buffets. Typically I eat pretty healthy. Red Robin always delivers me a chicken Caesar salad with the Caesar on the side and no cheese. Every time. I don't know. Perhaps this will have only a momentary affect on me. I am pretty good at forgetting things. This story will probably soon be forgotten too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cell struggle

Can I be honest with you? I love technology...and I hate it. There are so many things about technology that I love. I love how it has "made the world smaller"; I love how I can be connected to people I have lost touch with and meet new people too; I love that I can get information almost as quickly as it happens; I love getting to be creative with it; I love the breakthroughs we are having as a result of technology. Who knows, maybe we will see cancer eradicated in our lifetime. Maybe we will find ways to sustain vegetation in places previously unable regions (desserts, etc.) where the hungry can more easily be fed. There is so much sitting out there waiting to happen. Shoot, you can even lock, unlock and start a car with an iPhone app now.

The hate part. Sometimes technology can do the exact opposite of bringing us closer. Sometimes it keeps us from our face to face connections. For instance, when I am out to lunch with someone I know that the cell phone can be a huge distraction. Someone else calls, a text message pops up or a twitter message is waiting to be read, etc. In the past I have been known to leave my phone on the table so I can be sure I don't miss anything. After all, it could be something very important. The problem is that suddenly the person I am with no longer feels important. That bothers me. I want people that I spend time with to feel valued. I have made a a decision. No more cellphone sitting on the table when I am at a meal with someone. Feel free to call me on it too. I am also trying to keep my laptop put away at home until everyone is in bed. It is such an easy distractor (real word?) from my time with others. 

[a note to tech haters (twitter, text, internet, iphone, blackberry, etc): I do believe that these things are also bringing us together. I often hear, "why would I twitter what I am doing or text someone or blog when I can just call someone r go see them face to face?" or "if people want to know what's going on in my life I don't need to blog they can call me." The funny part is that they use the technology of the phone to call someone, or the technology of the car to get there. hmmmm..don't hate on what you don't get. "We mock that which we don't understand." someone said that I am sure, at least I said it. I believe I am more connected to people I follow on twitter than I would if I didn't read their updates. I don't always get to hang out with those people on a regular basis, but when we are together we can follow up on some things that have happened, etc. Kinda cool I say. Plus I get to see your pics and videos you upload to facebook and youtube. How else would I see that? When was that last time you went in and printed off pics from your digital camera?]

Back to the frustration part. I wish I could sit down with people who just don't get it all and do a little training course. Even if it were a cell phone etiquette seminar. People, if you don't want me coming up and asking you a question about the conversation you are having in line at Starbucks, don't be on the phone and talk like the person is across the room. (yes, I have done it...albeit not often and only with a funny comment that made them laugh...but got the point across). People, turn off your ringer when in a meeting or at church or at a movie! I mean seriously! Case in point, Hugh Jackman stops his play to ask someone to turn off their cell phone. Watch this video. Unbelievable.

Well, I feel my thoughts are a bit scattered on this one, but I want to thank blogger for providing me a place to write my thoughts down. I am not great at blogging very regularly, but I am waaaayyy worse at journaling, so this is a bit of an outlet. If you don't want to read this, the great thing is you can click the little X in the upper left hand corner (or upper right hand corner if you are stuck in the PC world).

Feel free to comment as you like.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How Would Life Differ If It Were More Fun?

Have you ever taken a moment that wasn't all that great and made it more fun and completely changed how you felt? No? Maybe it's time to do just that. This probably means you need to turn on some creative juices. When Jeanne-Ann and I were dating in college, neither of us had a lot of money. While many of our friends would run up to Buffalo (1 hr drive) and go to the movies, etc. we would stay on campus. We had to get creative with our dates.

For our first valentines together I decided to write out our story on a posterboard using those candies that say things on them. I used a whole bunch of them and hung them up in the elevator of Jeanne-Ann's dorm. Needless to say the elevator ride became much more fun than just getting to your destination. As a matter of fact many stayed on until they finished reading it.

On our first dating anniversary I used what was available to me to make our celebration an evening to remember. I worked ski patrol at our school (we had a 5 slope "mountain") so I had the keys to the lodge. I made a giant heart in the snow and had music playing in there when we walked in (after driving her around blindfolded for a while so she would think we were far away from campus.) Then I had some snacks, sparkling cider and we danced (shhh...don't tell anyone. That was against the rules). It was awesome!

It didn't take much to turn the mundane into fun. You don't have to be super creative, you can do it too. Look at what VW did in order to make a viral video. They did some testing to see if they could make the mundane walking up the stairs over taking an escalator. It's an awesome video. They actually have 3 experiments in the works. Check em out.



BOTTLE ARCADE (to come...)

Friday, October 02, 2009

T-Pain and President Obama

Ok, if you have an iPhone you know that there is an app for pretty much anything. One of the hottest apps to hit the app store recently is the "I Am T-Pain" app which does an autotune of your voice and makes you sound like T-Pain does in his songs. I have it and it is a lot of fun to play with. I see endless possibilities coming up in the near future. Yes, you can count on hearing a song recorded by me using this app. I am busy working on it as we speak (so to speak). You gotta check out this video clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live  with T-Pain and President Obama.
Oh man is this funny.

Monday, September 21, 2009

When Was The Last Time You Had Some Vacation?

Just posted this to my personal blog, but thought it was something that was worth the read here too.

I just read a great little blog that deals with time management. This is something I have to consistently work on. I read a book a few years ago that is called Eat That Frog.
The basic premise of the book is that if the worst thing you have to do today is eat a frog, do that first and get it out of the way. If you have to eat 2 frogs, eat the ugliest one first. Bottom line: Do the hardest things on your to do list first so they don't weigh you down.

Every day(ish) I write a new frog list for the next day. I put down all my to dos, the things I can delegate, phone calls, emails, etc. Then I try to knock off as many as possible that next day. I try to make this list feasible. I don't put down the things I have to accomplish "this year," just that day. I may include some things that be done if I finish the rest of the list, but I don't stress myself out.

What kind of helps do you use to get things done? Another great book for productivity is Getting Things Done by David Allen. I have recently started using a program called Things and so far so good. It is pricey and I have not decided if I want to go beyond the trial or not. Another good resource is Remember the Milk. This is a web app, you can download a desktop app to go with it and for you iPhone users out there, "there is an app for that" too. Also, they can integrate it with twitter.

Being a guy who is not known for details or great time management, this has done wonders for me. As a matter of fact I am trying to drop the stigma that I am not good with details, etc. So please disregard the first sentence in this paragraph. That is no longer true. I will not speak tearing down prophecy on myself anymore.

Back to the blog I read. Is it time for you to take a vacation? Are you too stressed out? I will give you a peek at what he did by showing you a picture. Then I want you to go read the blog here.  My results? I am good. I just had a vacation and don't need one just yet. ;)

Wow, lots of links in this post!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What are You Afraid of?

Fearless...I just recently got a copy of Max Lucado's latest book Fearless. What a great read. In Matthew (in the Bible) 8:26, Jesus says, "Why are you afraid?" Lucado jumps right into this question and looks at all the reasons we deal with fear. From not mattering to not being able to protect your kids to not knowing the future to being afraid of what comes after this life. Lucado tackles it all.

He points out that Jesus takes our fears seriously and that the one statement he made more than any other was, "don't be afraid." I find it interesting that Jesus spent a good amount of time saying that. I know I deal with and have dealt with fear in my life. Growing up I was afraid of the dark. As an adult I have dealt with fear of not being able to protect my kids.  Fear can have a snowball effect on us and bring us to our knees.

In the book Lucado mentions that "Fear itself is not a sin. But it can lead to sin." "Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts. It will knock on the door. Just don't invite in in for dinner, and for heaven's sake don't offer it a bed for the night." I have always enjoyed how he is able to take a concept and personalize it. He does so with fear.

In the chapter on kids he recommends to pray over your kids regularly, especially when you fear you can't protect them. "When you send them off for the day, do so with a blessing. When you tell them goodnight, cover them in prayer. Is your daughter stumped by geography homework? Pray with her about it." A simple concept, but sometimes very difficult to keep at. Pray! I need to pray more for my kids.

I recommend you pick this one up. It's an easy and enjoyable read with great stories that hit the heart. There is also a discussion guide at the back of the book for every chapter. This will help you dig deeper on the concept and could be a great idea for a group read and discussion time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dancing Changed My Life

When I was in middle school break dancing became very popular. I was one of those kids that got picked on and I decided I was going to learn how to do this. I did. We had a crew [F.B.O. = Fresh Boyz Only] and my breakin' name was Kiro Fresh. I loved it. I became pretty good at it and our crew never lost a dance off. Middle School dances were great after that. We would have break dancing competitions and I took home a few records that had nothing to do with rap music. Actually the funniest was a David Lee Roth record.

Dancing changed my life.

My mom told me that break dancing was just a fad. I told her I could see myself break dancing when I was 30 (that was really old in my mind). When I was 30 I was asked to teach break dancing at an after school program at one of our local middle schools. I called my mom and said, "HA!" She didn't remember the conversation at all. [disappointing]

Today I want to share with you 4 of my favorite dance videos I have seen in a while. Chances are you have seen at least a couple of these. I still love dancing.

Ellen's Season Opener...very good.

Toby Mac and a special friend of his.

That awesome wedding video from this summer.


Monday, September 07, 2009


Me and my buddies have started playing horseshoes over at a nearby park. Brian and I have been a team the last several times and Steve has had rotating team members. The last time Brian got 21 (what we need to win the game) and still had a horseshoe to throw, so he threw it about 3 feet in front of him. Well, Craig tossed his and landed on top of Brian and they won the game. Epic win (in our world).

Last night we went out to play and Brian's father-in-law joined Team Unwin. It was a hard fought battle all along. We had the lead for the first half and then they came back strong. Had us 16-11. Brian preceded to drop 2 ringers and put us up. There was also this 6 year old boy there that kept taunting Steve. Man did we laugh at that. Even when Steve got points and I didn't he told me I did a good job. It threw Steve quite a bit actually. We called the kid Allen. :)

We needed 2 points to win the game; it was my turn. I started to giggle and Steve couldn't figure out why until I threw my first shoe. I tossed it 3 feet infront of me. He said, "Is that really your throw?" I told him that I was quite confident in my abilities and went on. Well, with only 1 toss left, and it was getting very dark at the time too, I tossed it, hit the pole, sparks flew (literally) and it was a ringer to win the game!

I tweeted about it and told Steve I thought it was worthy of a blog to. So there you have it. A horseshoe moment we will tell our Grand kids about someday.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Lactose Problems?

Pfffff....what's that smell? Sorry.

I used to love milk when I was younger. Then something happened along the way. I started weaning off of it in 3rd grade. At first I stopped drinking glasses of milk. I still drank chocolate milk and had milk in my cereal. Soon I was done with that too. I have never been told by a doctor that I am lactose intolerant, or as my friend Brian calls it, "being a lactard."

What I know is that I have stomach issues when I have dairy products. I use lactaid when I want ice cream or mozzarella sticks or whatever. Well, sometimes I remember to take that...sometimes. As it turns out I am not that alone in this. About 60% of adults are actually lactose intolerant. check out this article...crazy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

High School Reunion

So I was pushed to blog and I am glad for it. I have been wanting to blog about my trip back East, but I feel like I have been on the go and then so tired in the evenings. Ballooning at 5:15AM and add in training for and I get so tired I am falling asleep at 10-10:30 at night. I'm usually a night owl, but it's taking a toll on me.

Sooo...I went back East, New Hampshire to start, for several reasons. NH was to speak at a camp for 250 middle school and high school students. It was a great week. I got to speak a total of 11 1/2 times. One included me climbing a climbing wall while speaking and reading from the Bible. That was pretty cool. The 1/2 was a last minute "chat" with all the girls about who they are and what they deserve. Holding on to their purity and not giving themselves away until they get married. It was a pretty amazing week.

Then I booked it over to New York for my 20 year high school reunion!!! WOW! I can't believe it has been so long. Seems like only...well, you know. I hung out with my brother and his family for the day and drove to my reunion. It's hard to believe. I have some great friends from high school. We were a very tight group and we seem to pick up with no problem from where we left off. Several of them I keep in contact with to this day.

I prayed 2 things would happen. 1) that I would have a great time with old friends. Check. 2) that I would get to have some significant conversations with different people. Check. A few that stand out. My best friend from high school, Rob. We talked about his dreams and what he wants to do. My friend Fred, she (yes, it was a nickname) had questions about forgiveness, knowing that I was a man of faith. That was incredibly cool! Talking to Dan, who was the first gay guy I ever knew. We all thought he was in high school, but didn't REALLY think it was true, because "no one" was gay then. I wanted to make sure I never made him feel bad by anything I ever said or did. He assured me I was always nice to him. We had a cool convo about the church, etc.

I think there were only 3 people from high school I didn't get to talk to. They were all people I really didn't know, but if you know me then you know I felt bad about it. One of the neighborhood "bullies" was our DJ. We had a pretty good conversation too. That was cool. Tanya, who had a baby in 10th grade was there. I told her that it was at that moment I realized that some of my friends who said they were having sex were probably actually having sex. You might say I was a little naive. She apologized, but I told her not to worry about it.

After the reunion about 25 of us went over to Michelle's house and stayed until 3AM!!! Michelle's maiden name was Williams and I remember 2 very distinct moments with Michelle. 1) when she told me we could never date because people would think it weird that we were dating our own sibling (no relation). 2) When she told me I needed to get a pair of Levi's because they would make my butt look REALLY good! I had Wranglers, but went home and immediately told my mom I needed a pair of Levi's. The power of women never fails!

There were a few people from my close knit circle of friends who were not there for one reason or another and that was disappointing, but overall I was extremely pleased with my reunion. My best girl friend from high school, Katie (she now goes by Kate cuz she's a grown up or something) was there and it was so good to get some time with her. The downer was that she and Michelle set the whole thing up so they were pretty busy and I had so many conversations that I felt like I didn't get in the time with her that I had hoped for. She even asked me to marry her a few years ago (perform the wedding ceremony that is).

My friend Julie and I have been put in charge to do our 25th. That will be a lot of fun. 5 years seems like forever away and yet so close when you consider 1989, my graduating year. Thanx friends. I love you all!

Monday Video Rewind

Just a few vids that have inspired me:

Around the world...Stand By Me...great recording...

Do you like to go bike riding? Like to jump around? Mix them together why don't ya!?

We can often do things better together than we can do on our own. This is an amazing example of just that.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Teen Dies at Internet Addict Camp?!

This is crazy! There are two things that are going on here in my head. 1) I did not realize they had camps for internet addicts. 2) I guess some of the methods used are unconventional to say the least. Bottom line: Apparently a teacher beat this student and the 15 year old died at the hospital. You can read the whole story here.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

United Breaks Guitars and Dancing Babies?

The last few days I have really been enjoying these 2 videos. The United Breaks guitars is all about a guy responding to the lack of customer service he received from United Airlines. They broke his Taylor guitar. I feel for him, especially because I have a Taylor. He promised to write, record and make 3 videos about his experience. Speak up when you are wronged by a big company. Too many people just take it. ;) Tell me what you think about what he did. Is it a good thing? Should he just take it? Is it bad to do something like this? Careful, the chorus is catchy.

The second video is babies roller skating. Pure Awesomeness!!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Michael Jackson gets a crater on the moon!

If I understand what I read correctly he already owns 1,200 acres on the moon. He actually is one of the largest owners of Lunar property! Did you know you could buy property on the moon? Someone is making a great deal of money on something they don't own! Now a crater is being named after him. How cool is that?! I could really go for a moon crater being named after me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who Do You Believe? Michael Jackson's Death

Today Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died. Farah has been battling cancer for quite a while now so it was not as shocking to hear as Michael dying. We were sitting in a restaurant and on Fox News they were saying that he had been rushed to the hospital. I then got a tweet from Ryan Seacrest saying that there were confirmed reports that he had died. TMZ was the first to report it, but it wasn't confirmed by anyone else until they hear the L.A. Times say it happened.

We are living in a fascinating time of life. I love that I get to experience this. We are definitely in a new era. News is being reported now! That was evident in the Iran elections. Check out this article for some more thoughts on this.  Click here.

On a separate, yet related thought. I hope people report on the good things. Have you ever listened to and read the lyrics of Man in the Mirror? Wow! Inspiring.  Check out the video.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Birdman

Andy and I were out walking around and saw this pigeon hanging out on a window sill. So we had some fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Night at the Museum

Hilarious! Laughed a lot. HAnk Azaria stole the show. There were a ton of stars in this movie alongside Ben Stiller. I just want to say that there are two swear words in it! That may not seem like a big deal to you, but when the first movie was completely void of cussing and I take my kids to see it I expect the same level in number 2! Very frustrating. They were totally uncalled for too. But that doesn't even matter to me. I don't like my kids hearing that language and as long as I can protect them from it, based on my abilities, I will. One place is movie choices. I will do better research next time.

Check out
Here is what they said regarding language.

"Characters use variants of "d--n" twice and "god" about half-a-dozen times. Holding a pitchfork, Larry evokes an obscenity when he hollers, "I will fork you." As in the first film, there's quite a bit of name-calling involving words such as "stupid" and the German "dummkopf." We also hear "dadgumit" and teen boys saying "sucks.""


Test Blog

I just downloaded talkcast for my phone and I am seeing how it works for blogging. I got up at 5 this morning so I coil go ballooning. It is soooo early but I love doing it. It was a perfect morning for ballooning. We started at Keizer City Rapids Park and ended up at Adams Stephens middle school. The couple that flew got engaged in the air. Pretty cool.

Trying to put a pic in here but looks like I need to do the pic separately. Lame. Of course it's my first time so maybe I am not doing something right.

Posted with LifeCast

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I am thinking about breaking up


Why is it that I check my email in yahoo and I have to read results of American Idol while I am watching the results show?! This is the second time this week. You would think I would learn, but you would also think that Yahoo would give a rip about their west coast constituents! I am going to make sure I don't get on my laptop next week during the finals. But honestly! This is ridiculous YAHOO!!! I am really upset with you right now.

Maybe it's time to break up. Gmail incorporates everything on the planet and it's all free. I already use soooo much of google's software. Yahoo, you have really hurt me. I can't say it's me, not you, because it really is you. I realize that these are my raw emotions speaking, but I don't think I will think any differently after a night of sleep. But I will sleep on it before I make any rash decision. After all, it has been 11 years we have been in this relationship.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You Ruined the Celebrity Apprentice!

Dear Yahoo and FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer,

Tonight I am sitting here watching the Celebrity Apprentice finale. As I am writing this blog I am still watching. I decided to take a peek at my email. My email is with yahoo and when you look at your email the home section is news. And there it was, the winner of the show I am watching! WHAT?!?!?! I can't believe it. Do you have any clue that here on the West coast the show is not over yet?!? Seriously!

I just can't believe it. I thought there was some code of ethics or something that pays attention to the fact that results aren't known by people who haven't seen the show yet. While you are at it would you mind calling me on my cell phone in the middle of the next M. Night Shyamalan movie and tell me what the crazy twist is at the end? When you email me back I will give you my cell. That would be awesome.

I don't know if you realize that the last paragraph is filled with sarcasm. You suck!

--your frustrated reader
Erik w/a "k"

Monday, May 04, 2009


You know I love technology. I always want (key word there...not get) the latest, fastest, coolest, tech gadget available. I think this may just be what I need
You can use that or you can go here.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Help Your Memory

Occasionally I get to hear John Tesh DJing on the radio (don't judge me). He talked about a study that will help to improve your memory. There were five things...One of them was to journal every day. I am a terrible journaler. That's why I blog. It feels more natural to me. Twitter has unfortunately curbed my blogging quite a bit. I keep "recommiting" to blogging and I keep failing. This is my attempt to get back on it.

Now what the heck were those other four tips? I forget...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cell Phone Bill at $85,000!!!

I have had a few charges from trips I have taken out of the country that i was not expecting. Things like incoming text messages I did not know how to stop or the 1 minute phone call that cost $8! That really ticked me off. Imagine what it would be like is you got a bill for 10s of thousands of dollars! Check out this story.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ashton Kutcher beats CNN to 1,000,000 Twitter Followers

A historic moment in internet history happened around 11:13PM PST on April 16, 2009. A few days earlier Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to see who could reach 1,000,000 Twitter followers first. At the time he was in the low 800,000s and CNN was in the low 900,000s. Suddenly the twitterverse blew up. It was all over the internet and CNN began talking about it quite a bit too, even though they said it wasn't any big deal.

Ashton promised to give $100,000 if he won to help stop malaria. Earlier in the day Ashton passed CNN, but it was a tight race all along. CNN took the lead and then Ashton came back again. He got on and was calling for people to follow. He got so excited because he realized that we can make our voices heard through the internet and not just have media tell us what we should hear or see.

It was pretty intense to watch. Almost like watching a sporting event. It may mean nothing to you and you may think it's dumb, but it is a significant moment in pop culture.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Amazing iPhone App...beautiful music.

I used to play trombone when I was in high school. It's in my closet now. Maybe I should bring it out or maybe I should just get this app.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Twitter goes out when you Fart

This guy built a chair that senses when gas is emitted and then, connected to a computer, and then sends out a tweet. Anyone following this dude then gets the tweet. It says several different witty things about it like, "Ewww, that was a gross one." Just thought it was pretty funny. No, I am not following this one...yet. Read more here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear ________ Hotel,

Dear ____________ Hotel,

I wanted to write you and thank you for giving me a place to stay. Even when it is last minute. I also wanted to say that I noticed that card you left on my bed and in the bathroom. You know the one that says you are an earth friendly hotel and you want to do your part in conserving water? I get it. that's cool. It is very trendy to be "green." Good for you for jumping on that.

I was wondering if maybe you could help me help you be part of the solution. You know how sometimes you put in small print, "If you do not want to be charged $.75 per day for the newspaper (which, by the way, only costs $.50) just initial here? Well, what if you did the same thing with sheets and towels?!!? What if you gave me the option to save some money by checking a box saying that I don't want you to do my sheets and towels and save me $2.50 or $10.00 or something like that? Great idea, isn't it? That way, you could actually prove you are about the earth and I could have the opportunity to show I cared too. As it stands now, I look like a jerk who doesn't care if I just leave my towels on the floor and the card on the night stand. I don't really have a choice, do I?

So what do you say hotel? Are you in? Or will you keep putting on this facade like you really give a rip and keep sucking every penny out of me you can?

--Your Loyal "Guest"
Erik w/a "k"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Needed This Today

Ever wonder what people are thinking when they "write" a song?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More Free Stuff!!!

You know I love passing on free stuff ("especially in this economy"). So Dr. Pepper has done it again. Last fall they gave away free Dr. Pepper to everyone in celebration of GNR actually putting out an album. Now they want you to try Diet Dr. Pepper. All you have to do is tell them where to send the coupon.

Click here for your freebie.

And yes, I got my free coupon for my Dr. Pepper. Yum, thank you.

Monday, March 02, 2009 biggest struggle?

We are sharing this convention center with a cheerleader competition. There are hundreds and hundreds of cheerleaders here of all ages. The are painted with heavy eye makeup and in classic skin revealing cheerleader uniforms as they are walking with their moms.

You may be thinking, “This is your biggest struggle? You sick-o.” Let me correct your thinking. I have heard soooo many of the youth leaders here judge these girls and their moms. I have some of this struggle too. I think, “Would I let my daughter dress like this? Are there girls here who feel bad about how they look because of all the other girls who are so pretty or skinny?” I overheard a lot of girls and moms say things about other teams and other  girls and the judges. They were not pleased with the results, etc. 

So I struggle with my own personal thoughts and the verbalized thoughts of all these other youth workers here. It is really frustrating to hear us be so flippin’ judgmental. I don’t know what to do with it. I just know that it’s making me mad.

Why are we so good to teach against judging others and yet so good at judging others?

Sorry...this was a little raw one for me.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

DAY 2 (Saturday) NYMC

Got up early to workout in keeping with my new commitment. 7AM is 4AM my time. Ouch!

Great morning session. Rick Lawrence talked about how we need to "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Really focused on taste. We all got a ziplock bag with little packets of salt, pepper, malt vinegar, honey and dijon mayonnaise and were told to choose 3 to taste, then take one and ask God to give us some insight as to what that taste tells us about God.
Then we wrote down a declaration to God as to what we heard.

Station 2 lead us in worship. I like their style and ability to infuse God’s Word in the midst of their music.

Duffy Robbins then came and continued to talk about Tasting and Seeing that God is good.

I then headed off to Walt Mueller’s Trend’s in Youth Ministry Culture.
Basically he walked us through the idea that we need to look into the “soup” and stir it. The soup is our students culture. Paul looked at the soup of his time and used it as he talked to the people.

I loved the quote he used from Francis Schaeffer. If Francis had 60 minutes with a person he would spend 55 minutes asking good questions and listening and then 5 minutes leaving that person with something valuable. Good to think about. Too often we talk and we don’t listen. I need to listen more. This fits very well with the things I am learning in my coaching class and books I am reading on coaching.

I walked to Chipotle for lunch and they were closed!!! Ugh. So I went to an afternoon seminar. I caught Tim Schmoyer’s “Media workshop: Effectively communicating with Teens and Parents throughout the Week.” He gave his 10 ways he communicates using technology. The top 3 were his youth ministry website, video announcements and texting. Most of this stuff I know, but it was encouraging to hear and grab some good insights. You can check out what Tim does on Side note he also has a cool website called and is a great place to ask and answer questions about ministry.

I popped back into my weekend long seminar with Walt Mueller and then headed to dinner with Jason Ostrander, Dave Irwin and Kris Jones. We talked about a future ministry for middle schoolers. That’s all I can tell you for now, but it’s exciting!

Back to the evening general session. Kay Warren was the speaker. She gave some great challenges to us as youth ministers. Unfortunately I missed most of it. Dinner didn't quite work the way I had planned.

We then headed over to the 100th episode of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. It was the 2nd live one they had done with an audience. The first was at last year’s Group conference. The first 100 people got a free t-shirt and they had pizza. These guys are fun and funny. It was great to be part of it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

National Youth Ministry Conference...Day 1

Day 1 is done. A lot of traveling and then headed straight for the conference. I guess it's not at the Nationwide Arena. I asked the guy there if the youth workers conference was there. He told me it was Disney on Ice. So I said, "Oh, it is here." I'm so funny.

Anyhow, I got there a little late, but go to see the Segway Olympics and my boy Spencer Sweeting and Karl Fisher and crew got to be in it! Doug gave us some good tidbits and introduced Alex and Brett Harris. They are twin brothers who started a blog together when they were 16? All about the idea that they would rebel against people saying that young people can’t/won’t do much with their lives. They shared some stories of other young people who have done some amazing things, like Zack Hunter, who at 15 authored his first book against slavery.

Jamie Coleman was another girl they talked about who started a shoe drive. She walked a mile on her school track barefoot and asked people to show up with shoes to send to Africa. She got 1,400. She then went to other schools and ended up getting over 4,300 shoes. This girl landed in Africa with a team to give out the shoes and they ran out. So her and her team gave the shoes on their feet. One lady saw her barefoot and came to give her the shoes she had just gotten. Jamie refused, but was deeply moved by that moment of selflessness.

Alex and Brett are the younger brothers of Josh Harris who wrote “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

Nice work fellas.

Tim Timmons came and lead us in worship. He definitely has a unique sound. I was particularly intrigued by the artwork on the screen. I am pretty sure that is the handiwork of John Bucher.

We got a concert by Braddigan at the end to wrap the evening up and then it was time to socialize. I got to catch up with a bunch of ministry friends. Love these like-minded people! Then off to Bucca di Bepos for some great Italian food with Jason, Kris and Tony! Yum!!!

Full day Saturday. Need to get my body clock in synch.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Teammate

Today was Mike's first day on the job. Mike is my new administrative assistant! I can't believe it has actually happened. After doing a bunch of interviews with several different people; struggling with making a final decision, as we had some great people; hating the "I'm sorry" moments to those we had to say no to; wading through the process right before DYC, our biggest event of the year; we finally did it.

Mike Labrum was/is the youth pastor at Mosaic church in Portland and was ready for a change as he was coming to the end of his 2 year process there. I say was/is because he will continue on volunteering there even after they hire a new person for that role.

Mike is a very techie guy and has a Mac and iPhone...that in itself could almost be enough for me...haha. My biggest struggle with my job is taking care of my receipts. Even during the interview process he said, "Oh, there's an app for that for your phone!" Wow! He is going to do great with the administration stuff AND he is a creative guy.

I am so excited to finally fill that spot and get rolling with it. Welcome Mike!

ps. don't judge a book...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Operation Exercise

Operation Exercise is on. I just started taking a class for my Master's degree. It's a coaching class. Not the kind you are probably thinking of. It has nothing to do with sports. It is "life coaching." I also just started having my own life coach. Basically helping me focus on things I want to accomplish and getting me to make decisions as to what to do.

First thing? Back to exercising. My action plan is to go to bed between 11:00-11:30PM and get up at 6AM. Then exercising for 30-45 minutes to start. I will start doing the Wii Fit and mixing in running. I want to get back to doing a half marathon this summer. Gulp. Not only is my coach holding me accountable, but I am tossing this out to my blog drought filled readers. (sorry my blogging has dropped off quite a bit). This is also my attempt to give the blog some love again.

oops, just looked at the clock. I am off to bed. Night friends.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Movie prices!!!

We came to a matinée to see Paul Blart. The movie is not important. The thing that is important is that the 4:15pm showing cost us $9.50 each!!! Normally it's $7.50 for a matinée. I went in and talked to a manager and she told me that try changed matinée time from 6pm to 4pm on weekends.

Are you for real?!?! I am at the theater right now and honestly am fuming. I know, we could use our entertainment coupon but I left that at home as I didn't know about this new change. Why wasn't I informed? I am a "faithful" customer. My regal crown card prves that as it shows all the points I have.

I am steamed. I even got out of line for popcorn because I didn't want to give them anymore money.

And now I am done. This better be good!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Evolution of Dance?

Not really, but it was a fun lip sync contest that I was part of doing the judging and Sam and I decided to do one of our own. A little editing and some practice and we almost had it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Crowder...he's good.

Dude, I love this guys creativity. I think I will do something like this. Should be interesting.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Have You Ever Collected Baseball Cards?

Growing up I collected baseball cards. Actually, I continued on into adulthood. It became a bit of an obsession. I got Beckett Baseball Card Monthly so I could see the values of my different cards. I would often pull really good cards and it drove my brother crazy as he "knew more than me" about them. I still pick up a pack or two from time to time. I know they are not like they were in the hay day of the late 80s and early 90s. I once opened a pack of cards with a wooden card with Cal Ripken Jr on it and the store owner paid me $150 on the spot for it.

I have a few other favorites that I have not sold. Roger Clemens cards, Ken Griffey Jr. rookies, Michael Jordan when he played a season of baseball, A Joe Montana rookie card and many others. I even have some with autographs and some with pieces of their uniforms in the card.

Do you/did you collect?

Do you collect anything else?

Check out this ladies' find. Click here.

Hope I get one like that some day!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What Personality are You?

Have you ever taken any kind of personality profile test? They are usually fun and it is good to be more self aware. One thing I really like about it is that you are able to understand others better. For instance, I don't understand why everyone can't see the bright side of everything or why they don't want to try something new and adventurous out. When I understand that some people love to sit and just work on numbers and be behind the scenes it is very helpful to me. I don't understand it, but it is helpful to me. So I took this enneagram test for work today and will be going over it with the other director at my office next week. Should be fun. I think most of mine are so obvious it's glaring. Anyhow, my top result was this:
Enneagram Test
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