Wednesday, October 07, 2009



Saturday, May 10, 2008

reason for writing

so i had just moved jack from his pack 'n play to his crib. we had his pack 'n play in the closet to shelter from the possibilty of a tornado. as a side note, since when did missouri become tornado ally? anyway, i sat back down to watch the telly and i thought to myself, "this isn't doin' it for me." so i purposed to head up to the computer and write me a blog post. now here i am.

so here is a story. a story shared and handed down for 150 years. a story about searching and finding and losing and redemption. it's a story that speaks to the many souls that linger and list like a sea roiled ship on a quest 'cross the strait of mourn.

many years ago, about a few years before 150 years ago, a newt perched on a stone in the middle of a pasture in the middle of a farm in the middle of ireland. he perched and posed a question to the breeze that danced across the slippery dew-laiden grass. "from where did you come and where are you going?" then with brevity and ease said the breeze, "i know not where from wince to there, but i know that the grass is as soft as the clouds that share the air i breathe."

now as the newt lost himself in listless thought a boy by the name of Dan stood in a puddle of mud on the road to the barn on that same irish farm. dan's eyes were affixed to the rippling circles of himself in the muddy reflection. he saw his skin of 9 years wrinkle like the brow of his dad's harvest intent and the crimson of the morn born from the passing storm wrap around his aging, muddy body. then a raindrop fell and broke the image and dan looked up and saw no clouds above him. he thought nothing more and stomped ahead splashing his way to the barn.

the breeze continued its play, waltzing its way 'cross the purple of periwinkle on green. twisting and twirling, lifting and laying it danced with careless abandon until it clumsily ran into the red sided barn that was waiting to welcome Dan. the barn creaked and it moaned as it intangled the breeze in a flurry of hay and crop seed. dan looked as he heard the embarrassing bump of the breeze and the barn. as his eyes met their gaze a tear fell to the ground as dan watched in horror as the barn's legs gave way. the breeze and the barn came crashing down with seed and hay 'round them. moments later as the breeze flurried away in embarrassment and the barn lay bruised and confused Dan heard the pained cries of his father. Dan ran to the barn. his dad lay bloodied and dazed but upon hearing Dan's voice he returned. realizing he felt whole, Dan's dad quickly bounded to his feet to meet Dan.

three days later in the afternoon heat most of the towns men hammered and sweated to return the barn to her feet. most toiled away in silence and thought about the good fortune to be working alongside Dan's father and not standing beside his descending body. and as the afternoon hardened Dan heard the trees whisper on the ridge. they swayed as they waived to let the men know that the negligent breeze had returned. but Dan saw in their smile that the breeze had returned to offer a cooling refreshment as penance.

so the next time you see the bending of trees and hear the creaking and cracking of fences, take a moment to ponder a story from yonder 'bout a newt in a field and a muddy boy named Dan and the danger of dancing with careless abandon.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return To Sender

My last blog post was too many months ago, maybe even a year(Stop) So much has happened that I can't even begin to lay the cobblestone(Stop) Also, I'm sure there isn't a single person that may stumble upon this(Stop) I'm sure with such a gap in posts my readership has dwindled to negative 2(Stop) I can say that I only took the 5 minutes right now because I just read my wife's blog and thought I should put something on mine(Stop)

I love my wife and son (Go)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I love the spring. The temperature is right to work in the yard. The clean smell of cut grass. The blooming of color. The soothing taste of claritin tabs.

As usual there is much change a'brewin' in our lives right now. My wife and I are about to make yet another adjustment. Nothing to report yet, but the water's hot and the coffee is in the filter if you know what I'm saying.

Jack's growing quickly and a bundle of joy. His giggle is unimaginably intoxicating. Life melts away and I become incapsulated in the moment. I'm not sure how many videos I've taken of him babbling, laughing, and passing gas... sometimes all at once. Fatherhood is funtabulous and watching my wife walk through Motherhood is like watching a documentary while eating cheetohs and then it's even a little better than that! (And if you know me that's a super good in actually saying "SUPER!!!" while pumping my fist in a swing motion from low to high and sideways across my chest while my teeth glisten and a bird chirps and puppies play with each other's tails in the background with the wide angle shot zooming in close on my face to capture the smile and ending with a twinkle in my eye.)

I wish I had more to report but my life is mostly consumed with my wife and child. I'm sure I'll think of something between now and my next post 2 months from now.

Otherwise, hope all of you who are reading this are blessed with something to smile about.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hi Everyone!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whoa. Beep Beep Beep. Rrrreeeeeerrrrr.

I had to remove my prior post. It proved to be a bit too controversial. I appreciate all the concern I received, but I would have to say that my choice of adjectives ended up putting more emphasis on the situation than there should have been. My main point was just to describe why I hadn't blogged in a few days and dropped the ball on the goal reports. Again, thanks for the conern, but you can relax, things are alright.

On to goals. Today I plan to:

Goal 1: 64 oz. H2O
Goal 2: 25 crunches, pushups, 30 lb. curls.
Goal 3: Finish 1 more collage
Goal 4: Set time to fix fascia

Monday, February 12, 2007

Is that a Jackelope?

Here's the plan:

Goal 1: Wake up at 8am

Goal 2: Drink 64 oz of water and no soda

Goal 3: Walk 1 mile and run 1 mile

Goal 4: Eat no sweet snacks

Saturday, February 10, 2007

6 Or A Half Dozen?

Well here's my update for yesterday. I thought I could get away with taking a break for one night, but oh no, my reader's demand it. I mean Adam Harshman demands it. And to him specifically I would like to make it know that I am in control of When, Where and How I will use italics and bold. Yeah, that's right, I said it. I will not be bullied into compliance with some unofficial...

Wait! What am I saying? He's right. Italics and Bold are not to be used lightly. They play a vital role in expressing the utmost Importance and Emotion of a writer's thoughts and other reasons as outlined in section 5, paragraph 4 of the Harshman Italics and Bold Commission(tm) June, 7 1999 report on Proper Uses of Italics and Bold in the Communication of Information Via the Internet as Founded by Al Gore. But Alas, with this in mind, I stand by my decision to employ such devices in my prior post and will await notification of sanction if it is so determined by those with sanctioning power over such things.

On another note, not fa but so, I noticed I had an additional reader. My sister-in-law, Lindsey, decided to leave me a comment. Thanks for taking the time to read and encourage. Her husband and I have finally been getting to know each other a little bit better in the last week or so using this new fangled technology called instant messaging. It's exciting times. Someday we might be able to make calls from our cars! Since I've know Carlye I've maybe got to see Lindsey and Jared a little over a half dozen times. That's all I've seen of my sister and brother-in-law. I wish I could tell you how excited I am about getting to know my family a little better. I would use italics and bold but I should first consult the Harshman Italics and Bold Commission(tm).

So here's the update. Yesterday went 50-50 or so-so or comme ci comme sa or eh with a shrug of the shoulders. It started off with not waking up at 8am. However, that was because Carlye was sick that night and I ended up taking care of Jack until 5:30 am or so. So I actually woke up around 10:30am, but ended up getting fewer total hours of sleep. So the ruling from the judge is that it counted. I drank my 64 oz. of water again. However, I drank 1 pepsi-cola (which is fewer than usual) hoping it would give me a boost to go on my walk, but it was a soda pop nonetheless. Unfortunately, breaking one goal to try to do another didn't work. I have learned a lesson. I didn't walk my 2 miles because I was completely energyless all day because of the aforementioned night. So I'm going to award myself a half. So I'm now 3.5 for 4. If anyone would like to vote otherwise I'm open to input.

So here's my next goal. I will take Saturday off from having any goals. When I was running 26 miles I always had one day off a week to do whatever I could to relax and have fun. So today is that day. That does mean, however, that I have to meet my goals for the next 6 days. I would like to add that this means I won't be posting tonight.

I think tomorrow I'll have an updated picture of Jack.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Soda Pop

3/3. This is gettin' fun. Walked 2 miles, woke up at 8am, and drank 64 oz. of water again. Feelin' good.

Next goal...all of that and I'm going to not drink soda.

That's it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Day 3

2 for 2. I woke up at 8 am and again struggled to gain active participation in the world for nearly an hour! However, I feel confident that it will get easier. Also, I drank 64 ounces of water today! I felt more energized all day until this evening. Which is completely the opposite of my normal energy cycle. Could a change be a'brewin?

So here's the next goal. Wake up at 8 (and I'll add get out of bed within a half hour), drink 64 ounces of water, and walk 2 miles. I'm so excited to see how it turns out.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oye Oh Lee 2 Pay

I did it. I've climbed to the top of Everest and seen the wonders from 30,000 ft. I am now 1 for 1. Batting 1.000. It's so exciting...I woke up at 8am. What a struggle! My eyes wanted to close, my body ached to return to the warmth of the covers, my mind blurred and bent and for 30 minutes I could not focus on a train of thought. So that was goal one on day one. Yay! Or yahoozle! (As one of my good friends might say.)

Now on to goal two. I will wake up at 8am again. Then I will attempt to drink 64 ounces of water throughout the day. That's it. Just those two things. Can I do it? We'll see.

I was excited to see I still had 2 readers after such a long absence. Paige and Christina...thanks. That's right, you get the bold italics.

So I was thinking today that 1.4% was a lot. It's a whole lot, and not a fraction less! For some reason today I started thinking how fast a year seems to go by now. I heard a day or 5 ago that the average lifespan for an American is 71 years. That means every year that goes by is equal to about 1.4% of a person's life here on earth. Isn't that crazy? The reason I find that so crazy is because if I were to make my own milk for consumption I would probably be a 1.4 percenter. I like 2%, but it usually feels heavy in my stomach. 1% and skim are delicious, but are usually so light that I can drink 2 glasses or more before I feel satisfied. So probably 1.4% is just about what I need to be able to drink one glass and feel finished. So that tells me that I will likely live to age 71. So that means I have roughly 41 more years to live. Don' t you think it's more than a coincidence that 41 is 1.4 backwards without a period? I think I've proven my point.

Monday, February 05, 2007


It is today. Yesterday and many days before yesterday seemed like many days ago and those many days ago have seemed to move at a pace much faster than days before the many days ago before yesterday.

So now it's today again, but in just an hour today will have passed and tomorrow will become today. There is so much to do. Catch up on my reading of the bible. Catch up on reading. Spend some quality time with my amazing wife. Visit with family and friends. Refocus and build a dream company. Hone my picture taking abilities. Lay the groundwork for F.R.E.E. Buy some drill bits to hang pictures on the wall. Finish some more collages. Examine the skylights to see if there is a leak. Put air in my tires. Clean the pond filter. Exercise. Eat better. Pay taxes. And that's just the tip of the carpetburg.

But, in order to climb an iceburg you must first go somewhere cold. I don't like the cold. I also don't like getting up early. So, it is only natural that I must first learn to get up early. I'm going to make my first goal to get up at 8am tomorrow no matter how many hours of sleep I've had. I know it is an enormous undertaking that few have achieved victory over, yet it is my Everest, and I will see the summit!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh OOO Oh! The Sweetest Thing!

God is great! God is good!

Here is the little Steamboat. I'd tell all the details, but due to continued fatigue, let me just say that I cannot help but look at my baby boy and be amazed by the beauty and love and blessing God has bestowed upon Carlye and me. Jack is more than I could have ever imagined!!

Here are a few pictures just in case you haven't been able to meet him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas With The Provards

There were many more photos, but I thought I'd give you a brief sampling. We did so much that weekend it was astonishingly amazing. As mentioned in my previous post, there was a list of things we set out to do and I can report that I think we accomplished almost all of them, including eating at both Chedders and Steak N Shake. It was tons of fun and we can't wait to have Steve and Lynette back when Jack is born. The super exciting news is that Jack and Nana (great grandma and grandpa, whom our son is named after) will be coming to visit when Jack is born. I should add that Jack is also named after Steve, but for confusion sake I don't usually say that. I'll explain later if you're confused now. So anyway, if it is at all possible you should all meet Jack and Nana. They are the sweetest, cutest couple ever...yes, even cuter than the Sinnokraks, if you can believe that! (I feel a little awkward writing "cute" so much, but there is no other word I can think of.) I would like to add that the flowers on the table were given to us by Christina and they were awesome. The vase was super cool. I guess it still is. But, thanks to Christina for the multiple centerpieces she has made for us. Simply beautiful. Much like the Christmas Ficus Tree we have this year. Isn't it festive?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Provards Are Coming! The Provards Are Coming!

Hip. Hip. HOORAY! Hip. Hip. HOORAY!

That means a lot of things.

1.) Eating at Cheddars
2.) Eating at Steak N Shake
3.) Eating!
4.) Updates on my niece, Kyla, whom I've not seen yet!
5.) Christmas in November
6.) Smiling for the camera
7.) Mom and Dad seeing their daughter's pregnant tummy for the first time!!!
8.) Baby Shower
9.) Nursery painting and preperation
10.) Mom and Dad seeing our home for the first time
11.) Naps!
12.) Laughter!
13.) My father-in-law meeting the guys at our Saturday morning accountability group
14.) Steve fishing for koi!
15.) An impending post of our weekend pictures on my next blog post

That's just the beginning.

"Whew-HOO! Celebrate good times! Come on! Dun-duh-duh-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-DUH-DUN!!!"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ode To Autumn's Leafy Wetness

I spent this last Saturday helping our church get a church camp cleaned up. It was all part of our church's effort to lead people to acts of worship. I was part of a group of kickin' rad guys that were going to do "random acts of kindness." However, rain rained on our plans to rake leaves for random people. So, we ended up joining another group that went out to the church camp to clean up. We cleaned gutters and an old barn. It was a ton of fun and makes me so excited to be among such a community of servers (if you're an IT guy or gal, please don't think I'm using a technology term). Anyway, among all that fun I had only one not so nice thought...

Why is it that old, dead, wet leaves smell so bad? It's a smell that clings lightly to the crisp mist that hangs in the autumn air with the pungent odor of cat pee and the oaky, gut churning smell of dog doo. It's foul. Not foul as in "foul ball," because at least with a foul ball your hitter still has some hope of driving the next ball over the fence and your pitcher is one strike closer. In this case, there is no hope involved. Even the hope of enjoying the pyrotechnics from burning old foliage is taken away
by the awareness of the dampness of the drudge.

(read in similar meter as "The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe")

Alas, poor Patruchio,
you cannot escape the drain that draws you downward toward the dank and dreary, dreary drudge.
Not a draught in steamy summer,
nor the dirth of dewy morn can detain
the delicately dour stench of autumn's leafy mourn.
Quoth the leaf, "nevermore."

So you lean a little lower to grasp the growth of odor,
but it leaves you only lonely hoping, wishing, wanting more.
It's a strange intoxication of distaste
that is mired in desire
to know the odor's fouler than the filthy film that flowers all about your shower door.
Quoth the leaf, "nevermore."

So your eyes grow slightly teary and your vision seems more bleary
as the odor you are driven to discover makes you crazy.
With eyes so slightly hazy, lazy thoughts of leafy crunching
during summer's daunting dusting
and the dream of distant winters
whispering winds wildly rustling
a deeply dry and cleansing smell.
Yet the pain is in the knowing of the roaring and the pouring of the spring and autumn showers
making raking into piles mounds and pounds of putrid power
harder than the barter of a coward.
Quoth the leaf, "nevermore"

Now you know you will remember smells that roared around the timbers
Before becoming embers while the wetness and the dampness of the drudge
Lightly lingers in the autumn
Growing only slowly that more sour
with the power of the dying
Of the Leaves.
Quoth the leaf, "nevermore"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wyatt and His Snake-Wrangling Ways

Wyatt never ceases to amaze me. He has one of the most loving hearts of any man I've ever met, he's demonstrated such character that he is already a deacon at our church at a young age, he's always willing to help, and he can smile like a champion as he's holding a snake in his hands. He and I found the snake when we were picking up leaves at the Harshman's. To be exact, I was holding the bag and Wyatt was putting the leaves in the bag when he noticed one of the leaves was showing a little more kinetic energy than it should have. A hop, skip, and a jump later he picked the snake up to find it a new home so we could finish our chore.

Here's the crew that helped out on Harshman Help Day. As you can tell from the smiles it was a lot of fun. It was great to see so many people able to help the Harshman's get ready for their new baby on the way! It was the perfect temperature and a little wet. So for a guy like me it was tons of fun playing in the mud. If you notice, Wyatt's pants were a little dirty from a multi-man job of removing a tree stump in the front yard. Also, Adam got to put his new Expedition to use on the job. The rest of the outside clean up included killing plant life, setting fire to old plant life, and using my truck for hauling off more plantlife to the city compost. The moral of the story is everyone needs a truck, or at least needs to know someone who has one. There is something so primal and fun about hauling stuff around in the open air. It's a rush. Who needs drugs when you got trucks and yard waste?

On the way home I still had the tree stump and about a wheel barrow full of walnuts. Fortunately, there were signs posted on the way directing me to a place that was buying walnuts. It was a short 2 or 3 mile winding road into "the country" and ended at a barn with a sign directing me to the back. I pulled in and was third in line. In front of me was a man and his wife dropping off their truckload of walnuts. They were very tan for it being November and them being in their 60's or older. Her hair was exceptionally blond for her age as well. For some reason their appearance just contrasted with the surrounding. There was a walnut hauler (I think that's what it's called) grinding away with all the belts exposed, the sky was grey and the air was misty. A brown horse was casually chewing on some hay. It was cool enough to be comfortable if you kept moving a little and there was an old farmhouse and barn enveloping the walnut hauler. A dad and his probably 16 and 8 year old sons were doing the job of unloading the walnuts from the tan couple's truck. They were fit like you'd expect from a hardworking farm family and they all wore overalls. It was a refreshing site. Anyway, I finally pulled up and had them unload the walnuts. The 16 year old remarked "I'm not sure that's going to fit" when he saw the tree stump. The dad said I could drive out into his field and throw it in his dead tree pile. What a bonus! Driving in a field! So when I got back after unloading the tree stump the 8 year old came running up with a $5 bill in his hand. I leaned out the window and said, "Keep it. Thanks for letting me dump the stump." (Or something like that without the rhyme.) And it was funny because he had that expression on his face like you see on "Dennis the Menace" and he was thinking "Gee, Mister. That sure is swell."

After that Carlye got home from our friend Lena's baby shower. She had a super time and it was supper time. My mom, dad and grandpa came over to celebrate my mom's birthday. We had some delicious homemade mac-and-cheese, which is a Provard specialty, and had some birthday cake, too, as we watched the Cards win! What a day!

My thanks today is to my mom. She's the one that made sure I grew up in a church and thus helped introduce me to my Savior. There's no way to describe the kind of gift that is and I hope she knows just how grateful I am. She's been a comfort when I've gone through rough times in my life. She's listened when I've doubted myself and reassured me that she had confidence in my overcoming whatever challenge I was facing. She's generous of her time and would completely exhaust herself to help any of her kids or grandkids. She strives to know Christ better. She tolerates physical pain that is beyond my comprehension. She is funny and witty. She does this thing where she bounces her hands like a maestro when she listens to a song that she likes. She is many wonderful things, but above all she is my mother and I love her. Thanks, mom.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Guys and High-Fives... Why?

What a beautiful group of friends and followers of Christ. This picture was taken a week ago and unfortunately due to my lack of memory I forgot to take the picture until after Adam and Wyatt had already left. Sorry guys. I can't say how happy I am to have met such wonderful people at my church! The picture is of our Thursday night Financial Fun group. It's a group of God-fearing folk talking about financial issues that are a part of life and how to deal with those issues inside of a marriage and what the Bible has to teach about all of it. I'm sad to say next week is our last week. It has been so much fun and great fellowship and my wife and I have truly grown together each week as we discussed everything we learned at the end of the night. Thanks especially to everyone for pitching in by bringing food, leading discussion, and just being a part of the discussion. It's always comforting to hear that you're not alone in dealing with challenges. My prayer is that everyone who participated was able to open up just a little bit more in their communication with their spouse on such potentially volatile issues and also identify ways to live properly in their relationship with money.

Tonight's session was exceptionally fun. The Bryant's were awesome as usual. They are blessed teachers and great guides on the path toward living a fulfilling marriage. I can honestly say that Jeff's teaching to the guys really opened my eyes to how much more I should be striving to honor my wife and appreciate her natural inclinations that sometimes seem so foreign to me. Also, we had some amazing food. Carlye makes some amazing chili, thanks to her skill and a her mom's recipe. Dana, the SUPER CHEF, made some tasty cornbread muffins. And then we had some dessert. And wow did we have some dessert. Brownies, cheesecake, cookies, and chocolate cake. Yum. In fact, I just polished off my third piece of cake before I started writing this. And, finally, some of the guys stayed to watch the cardinals play an absolutely awesome 7th game of the NLCS. Did I say play? I mean win. They won and in dramatic fashion. Part of it had to do with Todd's Fantastic Four shirt and the other part had to do with my Superman hat. Wyatt and Adam are witness to those two things pretty much winning the game tonight. And the girls that stayed seemed to have their own good time in the other room.

Well, that was the night. It has been a week since my last post. I have to thank Moose for prodding me to keep up. It's been a pretty busy week. I'd go over what happened, but at the moment I can't remember exactly what happened, although I'm sure there was some pretty cool stuff. If I do remember I'll let you know.

As to exercise...well I really don't want to say, but it has been a week and 2 days since I've done anything. I think that's right anyway.

And, finally, aren't the Sinnokrak's the cutest couple ever? Like totally.

Oh, and does everyone know what a pee-pee teepee is? The answer will be in my next post...if I remember.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My First Blog Pictures!

Here's a couple pitchers (that's how it is said in Cabool and most of the towns I grew up in :) from our trip this past weekend. I'm learning how to add pictures so I hope Todd and Paige are cool with me putting these on here. Of course, it only took me 14 hours to figure out how to put these on my blog so don't be too worried about me putting YOUR picture on here. Anyway, this is in the car on the way back. I forget how fast Todd was driving when we took the picture?

Catching Up Or Shall I Say Ketchup? Did You Mean Catsup?

It has been a few days since my last post. Here's a not-so-quick recap of what has happened since.

Last Tuesday I moved my dad back to his house with Kyle's help. Then, my buddy Erik from Portland came in to stay overnight last Wednesday night. That was tons of fun since I hadn't seen him in about a year. I got to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings for the first time in 3 months. That is one of my favorite restaurants in town. Then, last Thursday we had the first "Financial Fun Thursday" at our house. That was tons of fun, too. Our Sunday school class is full of awesome couples. Of course, if you're reading this and not in our Sunday school class, you are invited as well. Just ask me about it. Then on Saturday Carlye and I had the privledge of seeing Cabool with two of the coolest cats this side of the Mississipi, Todd and Paige Ferguson. We went to Paige's extended family pig roast and they had some kickin' food. Awesome desserts. I think I had about a dozen chocolate covered pretzels, a piece of carrot cake, 2 pieces of apple pie, 2 different kinds of brownies, and that was just dessert. (By the way, that's the first time I've ever referred to people as cats, because, generally speaking, cats cause me to have a runny nose and itchy eyes and that's not cool.) Monday and Tuesday I cleaned the reeds/cattails out of our pond. I was told by the previous owner to do this before the first frost and we are expecting our first frost either tonight or tomorrow night, I forget. Also, I got to hang with Kyle for a couple hours yesterday and he's quite the business minded guy. I admire him for his tenacity and prayerfulness. Also, last night Carlye and I hung out with Wyatt and Christina. We heard some pretty crazy stories about Wyatt's trip to Africa. I mean crazy. It was supercool listening to what he experienced. If you don't know the stories you need to ask about them.

So that was my week of non-blogging. It seemed everytime I sat down to blog I was just worn out and couldn't put a cohesive thought together. But, today I decided I would take 15 minutes to catch up.

My exercise routine has been unroutined this last week. Since Tuesday of last week I have not ran once. Monday and Tuesday I did do my crunches and curls. Today I plan to add the pushups and then start running again tomorrow. I need your prayers on this one. I've been very busy this last week and haven't made running a priority and now the momentum has slowed. So we'll see what happens.

Today my thank you is to my Sunday school class. Carlye and I are building some great relationships with several couples in the class. When we first got married we were told by several couples that had been married for 25+ years that it was very important to find a group of God-fearing couples to build strong friendships with (ah, the preposition at the end of a sentence, it's a thing of beauty, eh, Paige?). I pray all the time that God gives our class the strength to stay and grow in friendship together. Carlye and I are frequently motivated to do better in our marriage because of the loving God-led relationships we see in other couples in our class. So, before I ramble on too long, thank you to all of you who make an effort to be active participants in our Sunday school class and the relationships that extend outside into other days of the week. You are a great encouragement in our lives. You are a group of amazing people and we are praying for all of you.

Also, thank you Dana and Todd for your attempted-anonymous gift. You are some kickin' rad buddies and right now I'm pouring a little of my apple juice on the carpet in your honor.

And finally, it's official, Carlye's mom and dad are coming to town November 10-13. We're so excited to see them again. In fact, "I'm so excited I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it... I like it."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Adam the Wordsmith

Exercise report: 2 miles / 100 crunches / 100 curls / 75 push-ups

I've got nothing to say other than Adam's blog today had me laughing for a long, long time. Mad props to you, Adam. (Haha! Do you get it? Mad props!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mr. End-My-Sentences-With-A-Preposition Man Vs. Run-On-Sentence Boy

Exercise Report: 4 miles / 100 crunches / 100 curls / 50 push-ups.

My sister-in-law Kelly celebrated her birthday today. Also, my sister-in-law Kate's mom celebrated her birthday, too. Happy birthday to them!!!

In just a couple months, December 6th to be exact (which on a side note happens to be my brother Eric's 32nd birthday and if that isn't weird then you should know all three of his kids are born on March 14th. If that isn't weird, then you're hard to please) I'm going to be celebrating my 30th birthday. 30 years. I can't believe it. I remember thinking 30 was old when I was 18 and in my first year of college. At that age I thought I could practically live another whole life before getting to 30. Well, now I realize I lived that whole other life...and it passed in the blink of an eye. (I dig cliches.) At 29 approaching 30, I'm much more cogniscent of how quickly life moves. However, there has been so much joy and pain in the last 11 years. I add pain, because I'm a big believer in the joy that comes from suffering. Not that I'm sadistic, but a little trial and suffering, or however much God allows, helps me keep perspective on the good things that I am given.

Two years ago, when I went to Nicaragua to help some dentists with the Rainbow Network (, I remember seeing women sweeping their houses and yards with a broom. Of course, the house and the yard was dirt. No grass, just dirt and that's how they wanted it. Because of the lack of available medicine and doctors, having grass was a matter of life and death. With grass came chiggers, spiders, misquitos and other insects we take for granted here, but there could cause death from infections or viruses that we can easily treat here in the US. And because of the poverty there was no chance of mowing so unless the grass was cut by hand it would grow to attract other things like snakes and rodents that carry disease.

I've had some serious bouts of poison ivy in the last 15 years. Sometimes with my whole body covered in infected blisters (I hope you're not eating) with puss oozing constantly and the itching a level of torment I can only imagine belongs somewhere evil. It was during those times that I prayed the hardest for God's protection and relief. It was during those times that I realized how much I had taken my good health for granted. Anyway, you get the point. I've enjoyed the good and the bad that I've been given over the last 29 years. Sometimes I couldn't understand why something was happening only to recognize the lesson a little while down the road. The good speaks for itself. I have an amazing wife with a baby on the way, a wonderful family, and a group of friends that I'm constantly thanking God for. (From now on just call me Mr. End-My-Sentences-With-A-Preposition Man. It's a superpower beyond my control.)

Over the last 11 years I have met many incredible friends. I want to say thank you to 2 of those friends tonight. I met both of them 11 years ago during my first year of college. Alan and Chris are almost as close to me as brothers. We've had a level of committment and trust in one another that I've only known family to have. We've done so much together I won't even begin to make a list (to sum it up we survived Amway together, travelling 20+ hours straight together in a car and living nearly 3 hours apart for the last 8 years). My thanks is simple to them, because if they are reading this, after 11 years I pray they know how much I value their friendship. Thanks for being constant friends and 2 guys I know I will be able to lean on for decades to come!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Remembering Koi

Memory is something special. Could you imagine life without memory?

That occured to me tonight as I was talking to my wife on the way home from Starbucks. Our 2nd and 3rd "dates" (I use quotation marks because she doesn't think they were dates, just friends hanging out) were at the same Starbucks we went to tonight. As usual, she remembered exactly what I had to drink even though it's been over 2 years! I remembered being there and some of the conversation. However, generally speaking, I don't remember much. My wife can verify that. (By the way, Carlye, if you read this, please forgive me if I remembered incorrectly that they were the 2nd and 3rd dates.)

It's a strange thing. There is so much I don't remember. Sometimes I am amazed by the things I don't remember. I would go into detail, but I don't remember what I didn't remember. I just know it is frequent. My point is that when I do remember things I feel a sense of accomplishment. Then, once I do remember what I was trying to remember, I am filled with all the interconnected memories my mind has linked to that one memory. It's an explosion of thought in my mind. The emotions, the smells, the sounds, everything floods back. I'm not sure what my point was in writing this other than to point out how interractive and sensual memory is and to remember to treasure it.

Now let me talk about koi. The fish. I'm assuming you were thinking koi meant something other than a type of fish. I don't know what that something would have been, but I want to be certain we have an understanding of what I'm about to discuss.

My wife and I have koi. I think there may be 5 or 6 of them. I feed them every other day. I add more water to their pond every other day. I clean the pond filter every other day. I clean the dead plants from the pond once a week. I do so much for these koi. It seems like a lot considering I don't know how many there are. They hide in the cattails and stay deep in the water when I'm around. Why do I do this? Because they were there when we bought the house. Also, my wife likes them. But, why do we like them that much? I'm still working on this one. Please feel free to add any comments on this topic to add to our continual dialogue "to sell the koi or not to sell the koi." Or, if you like, please feel free to make an offer to buy one of the koi. Just kidding, I'm not authorized to request offers let alone accept them. And besides, the big orange one (or maybe he's yellow...I can't remember) is getting more comfortable with me. In fact, today when I leaned over to change the filter he just stayed near the surface and stared at me. What do you suppose that meant? He had a slight edginess about him, like one of his koi friends dared him to do it. Either way (not that I gave you 2 ways), I think we're making some headway. Someday maybe I'll have him jumping through tiny hula-hoops on fire while spraying water from his mouth and winking his left eye. Wouldn't that be something? Still would it be worth all the hassle? A trick like that could get old fast.

Exercise report: I ran 4 on Friday.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Steve and Lynette

Tonight I want to start with my thank you. I want to thank my parents-in-law (I would rather say "my other parents," but that may just confuse you) for being such a beautiful example of a loving, respectful, Christian marriage. Every time I have seen them, which has unfortunately not been often enough since our first meeting on October 28th 2004, I have been thoroughly amazed at the love and tenderness my father-in-law shows to his wife. He holds her hand and kisses her and gently rubs her shoulders and always opens her door and has good conversation with her and so much more. It is something you don't see in many relationships that are approaching their 30th wedding anniversary, let alone most new relationships. It's a chivalry that seems to have been lost in today's world. My mother-in-law is equally supportive of her husband. She is quick to compliment him on something he has done and equally affectionate. They still have a passion for one another. It is beautiful to watch.

They are strong in their faith in Jesus. I believe this is what gives them their passion to serve one another. Their relationship is a witness to their faith.

Steve is one of the funniest men I've met when he gets going and his capacity to consume food, there is no way you could ever imagine how much food he can eat at one sitting based on his size. Lynette is a very nurturing mom and can make some pretty delicious sweets!!! Even when Lynette tries to be annoying by waking you up with the most horrible sounding horn song she sings you can't help but smile.

They get a lot of who they are from their parents. Steve's parents are...well, sometimes when I look into his dad's eyes I feel I'm peering right at the Holy Spirit. He is so filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit that it overflows in his smile and eyes. (He is the primary reason we are naming our son Jack.) That's Steve's dad's name. Steve's mom is absolutely graceful and gentle. Lynette's mom was extremely funny and and an amazing storyteller. I will miss listening to her tell stories about her childhood.

Well, I could go on and on about how loving and welcoming they have been to me. I just want to tell them thanks for allowing me to become part of their family. I thank God for them. So thank you, my other mom and dad.

Now, on to my exercise report. Let's just say it hasn't been good. The only upside is that my buddy Tully has ran with me this week. I'm really glad we live in the same neighborhood. He is not only a pretty cool dude, but he runs faster than me and it helps me increase my speed overall. Anyway, I didn't run 17 on Sunday like a I had planned. I only ran 4. Also, I only ran 2 on Monday and 4 on Wednesday. I haven't done any push-ups, crunches or curls this week. I've been exhausted most of the week. I don't know why, but I've felt completely worn out. That is why I haven't posted any blogs since Saturday. I stay up late, but I feel extremely unmotivated to move much when I sit down. Hopefully it will turn around. At this point, I plan to run 4 tomorrow and 8 on Sunday. Hopefully, I will stop this slide tomorrow and start being able to post positive results. Are you eager with anticipation?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lickity Split Comes the Baby, Fidgety Fast Goes the World

Where to begin?

Gas is under $2 per gallon. That means I am saving roughly $0.85 per gallon from the high that I remember. That means if I get 24 miles per gallon and I drive 15,000 miles per year I would save $531.25 in a year's time. This is, of course, assuming gas remains at the same price or lower. And we all know that is a safe assumption.

As a corollary, the other day (or 2 days before yesterday, to be exact) I was thinking about one factor that I never hear about when it comes to changes in one's life due to having a baby. A baby causes a dad to drive slower in order to keep the baby safe. (This is an indisputable fact.) If I travel the aforementioned 15,000 miles per year but I reduce my average driving speed from 49-42.5 mph, over the course of a year I am going to end up spending approximately 46.82 more hours in my car. This is, of course, assuming the baby is always with me in the car and I drive according to the rule of the aforementioned indisputable fact. That's 46.82 hours wasted in a car. That's nearly 2 days, but not quite 2 days, if you don't mind my redundancy. Life changes in so many ways when a baby comes to stay. I suppose I was thinking about that because it's a mathematical, rational way I can predict how my life will change when our baby is born. Maybe you think it's a coping mechanism. But, I think it's just a way for me to deal with the stress of the unknown. Or, maybe...just maybe, it's both.

Excitement, anxiety, fear, pure joy, passion, curiosity. All these feelings undulate through me everyday. I say undulate, because I like the word and it conveys how fast I can go from thinking about the sweetness of watching a baby sleep to wondering what in the heck I'd do if my baby started to choke. It's like riding the Janglehopper Express (if Moose doesn't mind me borrowing his Hi-Larious term) at Rickety Rides Kentucky Carnival and Creepy Stuff. What?

"It's late...I better get home fast." Can you name that tune?

Anyway, on to my goals. This week's running didn't go as planned. It has everything to do with some major chaffing wounds I sustained last Sunday on my long run. Those wounds kept re-chaffing everytime I started to run this week and my fear was that they wouldn't be healed by tomorrow's long run. So, I only worked out 2 days this week. Monday and Wednesday. I only ran 2 miles both those days. I also did my 100 crunches/100 curls/100 push-ups those days. So I severely fell short of my goal. But due to my "injuries" and helping my dad (who is now temporarily staying at our home through the surgery next week) I think I can forget and move on to tomorrow and next week. So in about 6 hours I will aim to run 17 miles. I'll have an update tomorrow night along with next weeks workout/running goals.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Life is short.

Something happened to my dad tonight. He's ok in the sense that he'll probably be in pain for many weeks and 4 months or longer for recovery, but he's alive. And considering the circumstances it could have been much worse.

I thank God I had the opportunity to help him a little tonight. It's the first time in my life, that I can remember, that I felt he really needed me and I was able to take care of him. My mom is also in a lot of pain at this time. She just recently had surgery to hopefully help reduce some of her neck and back pain that she lives with everyday of her life. However, temporarily the pain is much worse. So, she is not really in a position to help my dad with his broken leg and various other injuries.

Here's the story in a nutshell:
I'm sitting at home around 4:30pm. My dad calls and asks very casually what I was going to be up to over the next couple of hours. From the tone of his voice I assumed it had something to do with him bringing our longtime family friend, who was in town, over to see our new home. So I said, "nothing much." Then he asked if I'd be able to meet him at the medical clinic to pick him up. I asked why. He simply said he'd tell me about it later, but may have broken his ankle. I'd like to make it clear that his voice had not an ounce of distress. That's my dad. He's a strong man.

So I cancelled my plans to play poker and went to meet him at the clinic. I walked in and there was Dr. Bob, our family friend, sitting in a chair with his head down with his fingertips barely pinching his nose between his eyes and his eyes were closed. I'm telling you this, because this is the man who invites us to go sailing on his yacht/catamaran in Grenada (the Carribbean) and this is the pose he always has on the boat when he is at his most relaxed. So I'm wondering what happened and is it important enough for me to really be missing my poker game with friends. By the way, I know that sounds callous, but I'm sure we all think like that sometimes when we are in the routine of life.

I woke him up.

Then we exchanged pleasantries about family, career, life, etc. Then I asked what was going on. He casually mentions he and dad went out to fly my dad's ultralight airplane and he was watching dad take off. He casually mentioned that he didn't seem to be gaining enough altitude and then casually mentioned something about his ultralight crashing over the treeline and then casually said his heart had sank as he jumped in the truck to rush to help. (I was thinking Thank God a doctor was with him the one time he has had problems flying.) He trailed off a little before saying "Your dad is one lucky man" and then laughed in a quiet amused tone that reminded me of the laugh you'd have when you saw a dog chase it's tail for an hour. Again for perspective, this is the same man that sailed across the Atlantic from Portugal to Grenada with dad on a boat not more than, well not very big for crossing the OCEAN in my opinion. (For a look at the boat here's a website. This is the same boat Carlye and I sailed on for a week last fall.

So, that is how I learned what happened and in just a moment's time I went from wondering what trivial injury my dad had was keeping me from poker and friends to thanking God for even getting to see him later. Anyway, the rest of the night was spent doing as much as I could to help. From running to Walgreens for medicine and crutches to sitting with him and readjusting the pillows under his legs until he could find something almost tolerable. I loved every minute of it.

My thank you tonight is to my dad for being a loving dad, best friend, confidant, and so many things that I can't begin to name them. He and I have had a great relationship and after seeing my brother's father-in-law pass away, in the blink of an eye this past spring, everyday I say a prayer for him and thank God for the time we share. My dad is unendingly generous of his time when it comes to helping his children. Just in the past couple weeks he has spent several weekends in St. Louis helping my brother Ben prepare his house to sell. He has helped inspect the home I just bought and move furniture. He has helped my brother Eric put drywall in his new home office. This is all within the last month. My dad's passion for knowledge is extraordinary. He is extremely educated, but also very in tune with common sense. He's a guy that can talk psychology with you (I'm 79.35% certain that is what his Masters is in) and fix a thingymajig on your car in the same day. Although, it is funny watching him do plumbing work. He gets the job done, but not without giving it a good tongue-lashing. One of my favorite childhood memories was when my brother Eric brought home a date and my dad was in the bathroom fixing the toilet. From the couch where Eric, Eric's date, mom, and I were watching tv it sounded like dad was having a very heated dispute with a woman of ill-repute. My dad is a wonderful story-teller and a private poet. My dad amazes me. Thank you dad for being who you are and for being a constant father. I pray I can share with my son the many experiences we shared. I pray I can be as loving a father as you have been to me. Thanks, Dad.

Finally, if you have read this far, please take a few seconds to add my mom and dad to your prayers.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I intend to make this a short blog. I'm still recovering from my run this morning and think I might go to bed early for once.

For anyone just tuning in, I had set a goal to run 16 miles this morning. It was a way to get myself back on track from 16 I had run in July. Since then, my running has been inconsistent, to say the least, and the longest I had run was 11 miles a couple weekends ago. However, I did it. My buddy Todd has commented before that running was a slow form of Chinese water torture to him. And, I really thought about that today. It was painful mentally and physically. The mental part was the hardest, though. After I had completed 4 miles I was thinking of every reason in the world why I wasn't going to be able to finish 16 and that I should just give up and go back to sleep. I started at 6am. But, my method of running is always just to run one more mile and then see how I feel. It's a mind game I play with myself. Because as I progress I break it down into fractions with the goal of getting to half way because it's all the home stretch after that. So I'll tell myself, "I've already ran 2/3rds of being half way, so I can't stop now." It probably sounds crazy, but that's mild compared to the things you think about when you're running for 2-3 hours without listening to music or anything other than the occassional dog bark in the distance. However, today the primary reason I ran on was because I had written in my blog I was going to run 16 miles and I didn't want to fail on my very first day. It's amazing how accountability works. But, even though a ran on, at mile 8 I was near quitting. Because I had not been training properly in the prior weeks leading up to this mornings run, I was beginning to develop several blisters and chaffing was taking it's toll. And here's where the most amazing thing happened (besides the beautiful soft rouge and lavender sunrise and gentle cool winds). I began asking God to help me get through the run. I asked Him to take away the pain or do something to take over for me. And, not even a minute later (and I am not exagerating a bit) this little dog ran up to me and then began to lead my run by about 5 paces. He didn't bark at me or want me to pet him or interrupt me in any way. He just showed up to run with me and he even led the way for over 3 miles! It was amazing. I'm not one to easily say when God does something or not, but that dog humored me in such a way I forgot about all the pain for those 3 miles. Anyway, to wrap the story up I ran all 16 miles. And I pumped my fist when I had finished. Kind of like Kirk Gibson did in the world series. A small victory. I think that's why I run. It is torture, but I choose to endure it. And when I can overcome all those doubts and temptations to failure it's a solid, pure feeling of accomplishment.
So my next goal along these lines is to complete my 4mile/6mile cyle through the week and meet my upper body strength building goals I mentioned in a prior blog. Then I will aim for 17 miles next Sunday morning. At some point I'll try working on eating better, too. But I enjoyed eating 3 candy bars after I ran today. So, one thing at a time.

One last thing...
Mushrooms. I’ve had them many times; on pizza, in oil, on burgers, with pepper. But today my buddy Cody made them. He grilled them on his new Broil King. I think that was the name. One of those big stainless steel grills that make you think of big time barbeque. Now, I know there is an intense debate over charcoal or propane. It’s a debate that has started wars and ended J.C. Penney 3-day sales. So, I know not to take sides. But there is one thing that I will say on the topic. Cody’s propane grill (and Cody’s skill) produced the most delicious mushrooms I have ever savored. They were spectacular. And I mean spectacular. When you ate them it was like a giant display of fireworks going off in your mouth. That sounds wrong. What I mean to say is the taste buds in my mouth lit up like fireworks on a 4th of July celebration. The flavor was as close to perfect as I can imagine a mushroom tasting. So today, I want to say thank you to Cody for a great day of watching the KC Chiefs play and for the most amazing mushrooms I’ve ever had.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Where is my car key?

Never in my wildest dreams, including the ones about giant toadstools and leprechauns with southern drawls, did I think someone would figure out my blog title so quickly. My friend Jessica has done just that. Thanks for taking the time to translate. That means you read the blog.

So my first bit of news is that I'm already on my way to acheiving my exercise goals. As a stated in my last blog, Saturdays would be my days off to recuperate, and I did just that. I sat in a car for nearly 5 hours today and moved only enough this morning to get up and get my cinnamon rolls off the stove. 5 of them. This is a Saturday morning ritual my wife and I have shared for nearly 8 months now. Maybe longer. Carlye gets up earlier on Saturday than I do, due to my staying up late every night, and makes us cinnamon rolls. What a treat. She is the greatest wife a guy could pray for. She is every bit as sweet as the frosting on the cinnamon rolls. And just in case you are starting to crave cinnamon rolls, we have found that the best choice rolls are more scrumptious than the name brands. So save yourself a dime and dig in. Yum.

We drove to our friends' wedding reception today. Chris and Brandi. Chris has been a great friend of mine (or BFF in pre-teen girl language) since my freshman year of college when we won the intramural sandvolleyball league championship. I think we won by forfeit if I recall correctly, or maybe a rainout, but the taste of victory still swirls in my mind. Not really. But I'll always remember it because it led me to get to know Chris. He is one of the most generous people I have ever met and has married a woman equally kind. I pray God gives them the strength to build a lasting and loving marriage.

Getting back to the goal of running a marathon. Tomorrow morning before Sundee School (I really appreciate when people say Sundee and not Sunday) I am going to run 16 miles. I will try to get up around 5:00am and get to the trail by 5:30am and be done sometime around 8am. I'll give an update tomorrow. I'm just praying my legs don't lock up since it's been so long since I've done 16. Anyway, that's the plan. So I'm going to try and make myself go to sleep around 11pm tonight so I can get in 6 hours of sleep. Making myself go to bed at 11 with probably be the hardest part of this whole plan.

On another note, after I finished blogging last night and laid down to go to sleep, I started thinking I could use this blog for another reason. I am going to try to write about one person in my life everytime I post. It's in line with something my wife and I talked about the other night about trying to create a habit of being actively thankful to God and all those people he has blessed us with knowing. It's easy to get caught up in the routine and responsibility of life and lose touch with understanding that the good life we have is a gift. So this will be one way I can say thanks publicly to my friends and family.

So with that, let me begin with my wife. Carlye. Her name alone invokes so many emotions to pour through me. I met her when I was 27. I had prayed for so long to find a passionate, God-fearing woman to live my life with. And there she was, behind a desk and looking as cute as any fast talking Philly girl could look. Curls in her hair and a twinkle in her eye...and other things that only a husband can appreciate. But it wasn't until she had moved back to Philly that she would open her heart to me. I could tell you all the details of our courtship (for my purposes, a courtship means the time when she was turning down my advances and not actually dating me), but you might think they were simple and small, but to me they are the stuff of epic novels. Little gestures and smiles that are etched forever in my mind. So let me just summarize with telling you we had known and told each other we loved each other before we had even kissed. And, if you know me at all you know I am an extremely cautious (that doesn't mean wise) person and that is completely out of my character. I believe it was one of those times when God takes over for you like in the poem "Footprints." And now she is carrying the second greatest gift of my life. She is so much to me. She is energy. She is style. She is playful. She is patient with my stubborness. She is affectionate and reassuring. She is poetry when she laughs. She is a book with immeasurable intrigue and knowledge. She is confident in her relationship with God. She is built from the wood of a beautiful family tree. She is my wife and I love her. Thank you, Babe.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I've never kept a journal. That is what guys call diaries, right?

I'm trying to think of why I'm doing this. It might because of Paige's blog saying "we want you," and my mind wandering to those old ads for the military. You remember, don't you? Uncle Sam back in the 30's and 40's with that long skinny finger. So, hey, I can't let my country down! And what is really weird, and I'm not kidding on this one, I really did have an Uncle Sam with a skinny finger. Actually all of his fingers were skinny if I recall correctly. To be totally honest he was a great-uncle. I think. I can never remember the terminology for family lineage. He was my grandpa's brother. Uncle Sam.

So it's 12:32 am or so. My wife is in bed. She's been in bed for several hours and I am still up. This happens only 7 out of 7 nights a week. I'm never sure if I'm an insomniac or my body is just programmed to sleep at a different time. Sometimes it's frustrating since I can't comfortably lay down with my wife hand and hand and take a stroll down Sleepy Lane together. I fidget and move around way too much for her to fall asleep. And she and our baby need their sleep. I wish I could have thought of another name, because Sleepy Lane sounds kind of lame. However, a lane is usually what one strolls down. But, I would have preferred something with a little more zest like the word Jazzercise.

Speaking of Jazzercise, I see that the blog is being used successfully as a place to be accountable for exercise and healthy living. I will take this opportunity to join in.
I intend to run a marathon again. That is a little over 26 miles. My longest run this summer has been 16 miles, but that has been nearly 2 months ago. So I am in serious need of getting back on track. Since July, I have travelled and moved and have not made time to keep up with my running. So far this week I've ran 4 days. So, I'm building the habit back up. I intend to run 16 miles this weekend. It will be extremely painful since my long run of 11 miles 2 weekends ago was the highest since my 16 in July. Then I will add 1 mile to my long run every Sunday until I'm back to 26 miles. That is 10 weeks from this weekend which is November 26th. During the week I will run 4 miles and 6 miles every other day Mon-Fri. In addition, Mon-Fri I will do 100 crunches, 100 push-ups, and 100 curls to help build my upper body strength for the long runs. I will have Saturday's off to recuperate.

Now on to other things. Although, my fingers already feel winded from typing. And since it is officially Saturday I should be recuperating. So goodnight and God bless!