29 June 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks 11 wonderful years. How lucky am I - that I get to spend my life with my lovely wife! We had a great night remembering back to the days when everything seemed so simple. As hard as life gets at times I am blessed and honored to be able to face each day with Glenda. For some reason I have been thinking back, way back to our college days. Wow! How we've grown. I am so proud of my wife! She is truly a godly woman; full of character, integrity, wisdom, grace, love and passion. Those that are lucky enough to truly know her as a friend know that she is the BEST friend ever. She is loyal, she is there through thick and thin. I am so thankful for God's blessing of an amazing wife. So, today I celebrate us! Babe, I love you! I am so excited for our future... it's gonna be a good one!

27 June 2007

Fun with Oreos

Tonight was a good night... a relaxing, summer dinner... grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. The best part was after dinner. We busted out a fresh package of double stuff Oreo cookies. The kids loved 'em. They were totally into dipping them in milk. If you are a dipper then you know the trick is not too long in the milk or the cookie gets too soft and not to short in the milk or the cookie doesn't absorb enough milk. One of the highlights was when I dropped my cookie in my milk. Emma thought it was hilarious. Sam's highlight was using his finger to dig the cream off the cookie. He had Oreo all over his face. It's funny when you eat an Oreo it's hard not to sing the Oreo song... at least hum it.

23 June 2007

Over 30

I have a few thoughts on being over thirty and my wife encouraged me to post them. Also a college roommate of mine and I were exchanging emails about life before and after 30.

Here's a few things guys should NEVER do after turning 30. I am guilty of doing a few of these.

The list does make life after 30 look pretty boring. Although, the source isn't too credible... it was in a magazine.

• Use the word party as a verb.
• Do impressions of Austin Powers characters, especially Dr. Evil.
• Crash on a friend's floor or couch.
• Experiment with facial hair.
• Let your underpants show above your jeans or below your shorts.
• Apply paint to your face for any reason at all.
• Know the names of the current Real World cast.
• Remove your shirt in public--unless there is sand and a large body of water nearby.
• Use the word dude, except when referring to a ranch or a well-dressed Englishman.
• Use the word dawg in a sentence when referring to a friend or, worse, yourself.
• Sleep past 10:30AM.
• Cook exclusively on a George Foreman grill.
• Wear a jersey with the name of a professional athlete on the back.
• Use Internet acronyms, especially ROFL and LOL.
• Shave any part of your body except your face.
• Pick a fistfight by thrusting out your neck, flexing, and screaming, "It's go time!"

22 June 2007

bicentennial blog

I don't know if it's much of a celebration, but I just passed the 200 mark. It's been fun.

21 June 2007

Coffee Talk

Most people know that I really enjoy a strong, dark, hot, ... did I say strong, cup of coffee. Occasionally, I will add a shot of espresso to my cup of coffee, just for the added umph.

I ran across a great proverb in Leonard Sweet's book, The Gospel according to Starbucks. I've had the book for a while, but I just got to reading it now.

Coffee should be black as hell,
strong as death,
and sweet as love.

Turkish Proverb

Home again

We made it back just one day before the United computer crash. I am so thankful that we didn't get caught up it that mess. There was plenty of excitement with out computers crashing. A gentleman that had way too much to drink flipped out. Seriously, this guy lost it! His insanity lasted about 2 hours. There was talk of an emergency landing in Hawaii. Instead we were bumped up to a nicer area on the plane where it would be more conducive for the kids to sleep. It's been quite a project getting back on the right day and time. We got ahead of ourselves for a minute... we landed in LA earlier than we took off in Sydney. When we landed the pilot said, "it's Tuesday, again". Ten days and 400 pictures later... we are home. There was so much more to see in Australia, but it is good to be back.

17 June 2007

Hillsong church service

What an amazing service! This evening we had the privilege to be apart of the worship at the Hillsong city church. From the second that we stepped foot onto the curb I was absolutely impressed.

The mate that we met walked with us literally from the curb to our chairs. He was so helpful. This was true hospitality. It was so how excited everyone was. This seemed more like a group of... oh ... a thousand old friends just hangin out.

We could hardly make it into the sanctuary because there were so many people exiting from their earlier service. There is a side room that people wait in so that the earlier service can exit and the hosts (what they call their ushers, I love it!) can turn the sanctuary around for the next service. We were barely able to find seats! The place was packed and electric!

We get inside and people were jacked up and ready to worship. The band hit it and there was a people make dash for the front; some climbed over chairs. Those that were already up front were jumping, clapping, and singing. It was unbelievable. It was what church should be.

They then introduced the speaker for the evening, Paul DeJong. This guy was amazing. He spoke out of 2 Kings 4. He used the story of the woman that built a room for Elisha to translate into our live and the need that we have to make room for God's plan in our lives. So often we pray for God to move in our lives but rarely do we make the necessary room in our lives for God to even have an opportunity to move. He referenced a great quote from A.W. Tozer.

We have prayed for revival, but we've substituted praying for obeying.

They closed the service with salvations and baptisms. What a great job this church is doing to make an impact down under and all over the world. A cool tidbit that I learned tonight... the Hillsong United album most recently released is number 3 on the secular charts in Australia.

Happy Father's Day

We had a great father's day in Sydney today. It was a relaxing day with just the family getting to hang out. One of the high points was getting to attend Hillsong Church. We attended their Sydney location, but more on that later. It was also great to get to talk with my dad today. As I am ending father's day here in Sydney, he is just beginning father's day in Illinois. It is difficult to make the connection with the 15 hour time difference. We figured out that it is only the second father's day that we can remember that we have not been able to celebrate as a family.

I am so thankful for my dad. He is a man of integrity. He is full of the strongest character. He is kind, loving and gracious, strong, confident, and godly. I am so thankful for the example that my dad has set. I have seen my father face many obstacles. He always shows such character, strength and integrity in every situation. My dad and I have some great memories, from braving the cold in the badlands of the Dakotas to the waves of the North Shore of Hawaii. I could always count on my dad to be there in the best of times and the toughest of times. We have really gone through a lot together and look forward to our future.

Dad, I am proud of you! You are the best father! Thank you for living out God's model for what a father should be. Happy father's day dad.

14 June 2007

lions and tigers and bears oh my

We started the day with a little Starbucks... of course. Then made our way down to the Circular Quay (pronounced "key"). The first highlight of the day was taking a ferry ride across the harbour to North Sydney. North Sydney is home to Taronga Zoo. This zoo was unbelievable! The animals were so active. Some of the pictures taken today could seriously be in National Geographic. Glenda was an unbelievable photographer. At the tiger enclosure we were 6 inches from this tiger that walked by and "marked its territory". The elephants were mud wrestling. But I think I was most surprised to see how interested my kids were to see the reptiles. I have to admit I was pretty excited also. We all thought abou Caleb a ton today. We saw the most venomous snake in Australia, the fierce snake, it has enough venom to kill 200, 000 mice in one bite! We were inches from a diamondback rattler and some huge boas. As we were leaving it started to rain, so we headed to the next adventure for the day... the Sydney Opera House. We had a guided tour through the 102 million dollar structure. It is quite a site. I think our guide was less than excited that there were two small children on the tour, but the kids were great; they had a blast today. Sam was making all the noises of the animals and Emma was so excited and so interested in learning about the animals. By the time we made it back we were all spent.

Highlights from today:
• getting a cab in Sydney is hard to do.
• diapers in Australia are nappies.
• child-like wonder is so cool. adults really need some of this.
• I am blessed with the absolute best family.
• pizza and a movie sure is fun in a hotel.
• my wife is a great photographer.
• a flat white is a latte with no foam.
• you say "I like your house drip" when ordering a cup of regular coffee in Australia.

13 June 2007

Bridge climbing

What a great day! We got to climb the Sydney harbour bridge (no that's not a typo, they really spell harbor with a "u" here. Over the course of 3 hours we walked 1.8km, 1439 steps and burned about 600 calories. We overlooked the Sydney harbour from 150km at the highest point. It was a spectacular view. From the top we could see the Pacific Ocean, all of the Sydney harbour, the Sydney opera house, everything.

Other than that I've been honing in on the local cafe's. I've already found 3 Starbucks and stopped by one local cafe... even a Krispy Kreme. I am still adjusting to the fact that it is 6:15PM here and 3:15AM in Chicago.

A couple of fun tid bits:
• a jacket is a jumper (jumpa)
• rugby is really fun. Sam loves it.
• Australian TV... well let's just say, what TV. But why watch TV in Australia anyway?
• It's kinda cool when you buy something and they call you mate.
• Shrimp are called prawns and they leave the head, tails and shell on. To eat them you have to twist the head off, pull the tail off, and take the shell off... not really worth it.

12 June 2007

Firsts and Fears

Hello from Sydney! It's 7pm here and 4am in Chicago... crazy!

Glenda took this picture out the window of the airplane, probably about the time we were crossing the international date line.

Here are a couple of fun firsts over the last couple of days:

• Crossed the international date line and skipped a day.
• Took an international trip with the family
• First time in Australia
• Pet a koala bear
• Fed some kangaroos
• Spanked a cow
• Saw a Tasmanian devil

I love flying. We had three times that during our 14 hour flight we hit some major turbulence. This is always so much fun because you can tell the people that afraid of flying. Another great thing about flying is the uninterrupted time... kinda. I've gotten to read a lot and mostly its been the Lion Chaser stuff. I love what Batterson has to say about fear. The goal of life is not to eliminate fear. The goal of life is to muster the moral courage to chase lions. Satan tries to neutralize us spiritually through discouragement and fear. So, if you are discouraging others or living in fear or putting fear into others... well re-read the last sentence.

What fear is most overwhelming? I've got a few things that are overwhelming, but I am mustering the courage to chase the lion and I am confident that the stage is set for an epic miracle... that will be another first.

By the way Sydney is awesome... so many things I'd love to get, most of all the cool accent. Maybe I will just try to bring home some authentic aussie phrases.

07 June 2007

My Boy

Happy birthday to my son! Sam is such a blast. He's either busy getting into stuff or asleep. He's been really getting into playing in the dirt lately. I am proud of my boy! He seems to be growing up so fast. A couple of my favorite things: he repeats everything (we were listening to a message on the radio and he was repeating everything the minister said), he is lovable (he always tells you he loves you), he is a boy in the truest sense. I am blessed with two wonderful children and at such young ages already understand loving God and family. Sam had a great birthday, Glenda made the coolest Thomas the Train cake, and he got some really cool stuff. I love my bud... Happy birthday Sam!

06 June 2007

A day in Chicago

We had quite the day in Chicago. My family and I took off early this morning to take care of some passport business. After 3 trips to the city, close to 6 hours of standing in lines, 14 minutes waiting for our number to be called, 2 final hours waiting for the passports, and $44 for parking.

Seeing that we were in Chicago, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend some time enjoying downtown. The kids loved it. We made a special stop here and had a wonder family dinner, celebrating God's goodness. I am blessed with a wonderful family. The kids were troopers today. I am blessed with such a wonder wife. Looking at the pictures from today is such a reminder of what a wonderful family I have. Through all the toughness of the day, it was a great day.

*credit to my sister for the picture.

01 June 2007

Down Under

One week and counting... Next week we take off for my brother-in-law's wedding. I am really looking forward to this trip... especially because the wedding is in Sydney, Australia. It's supposed to be an 18hour flight and we are traveling with 2 kids. So, if you have any ideas to pass the time we are taking suggestions. Luckily, it is an overnight flight, so we're praying for some sleep. Without a doubt this will be one cool trip. I am really excited to spend some time with family in Sydney. G'day mate.