Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009...

The Annual Christmas Day Outing

Well, Christmas 2009 is over. It was especially magical this year. Of course the highlight was having Jordan, Caitlin, Lauren, Daniel & Savannah with us. We even had Jordan's fiancee, Bethany, stay a few days with us before she departed for Detroit. Some of us visited the Galaxy of Lights, while others went to see Avatar in 3-D. We sang a few carols as Jordan played the guitar, and we kept Savvy entertained as we created lyrics on-the-fly about why she shouldn't cry on Christmas Eve.

After we read Luke 2, Tami always gives each family member new matching pajamas or
sweatshirts on Christmas Eve. This year we all got Alabama sweatshirts - in honor of the #1 BCS football ranking. Daniel refuses to wear his, being a devout USC fan from the west coast. Some bad habits are sometimes just hard to break....

Christmas morning was the same as always in the fact that Jordan sent us a text message from his bedroom inquiring as to whether or not he could come downstairs to check out what Santa had delivered. Interestingly, Jordan is always the first to awake early on Christmas morning. Every other day of the year he rises somewhere between 10 - 11:30 AM. With holiday tunes
playing in the background, we opened all of the gifts and enjoyed seeing each other's reaction to what was given. We seem to always "over-do-it" at this time of year. But, we have some family members that just have big hearts and love to give.

A New Eagles Jersey!

After all of the wrapping paper has been collected and trashed, we head off (in our matching sweatshirts) to do one of my favorite traditions of all. Several years ago we realized that some folks are still working of Christmas day. While almost every store, gas station, and restaurant are closed, Waffle House (or Waffle King) is still open. So, we always make a trek to the 24-hour local eatery to enjoy(?) a full breakfast and deliver a custom-scripted Christmas Card for our server. Of course, we never know who our sever will be, but it's fun getting to know them and talking about their family a bit before we leave. We always leave a big tip and sometimes get to see their face light up as we depart the front door. This is the coolest part of my holiday. It's also the one and only time I eat at Waffle House all year...

We use the downtime to watch football, basketball, Christmas movies, and play a few board games. Last night we played "Killer Bunnies". Cool game! It's an actual board game for ages 13 & up. It's all about keeping your bunnies alive and collecting carrots. Sounds like an appropriate holiday activity, right? Caitlin & Jordan were the big winners.

Only one thing is missing this year.... While I have decided to be called "granddaddy" in honor of my 93 year-old grandfather of the same name, Tami has yet to decide on what Savvy and others will call her. It makes it tough when you say to Savvy: "Hey Savannah, do you want 'what's her name' to hold you?" Tami is kicking around several options, but for now, we're calling her "No-naay" --> Sounds like Grandma "No Name", right? I suspect she'll choose a name soon.... Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Time For a Change...

Tami, Savannah & Cody

Things are a bit different now... Last week many things changed for Tami, Cody & me. On Wednesday, Caitlin, our 23 year-old daughter arrived from Lexington. Late Thursday night, our 21 year-old son, Jordan, and his fiancee, Bethany, arrived. Then on Friday evening, Lauren, Daniel & Savannah (our almost 5 month-old granddaughter) arrived from Australia (by way of CA). It's been wonderful to have a house full, albeit a bit different.

Having a baby in the house is, no doubt, the biggest change. It's been decades since I've actually changed a diaper... Most folks say it's like riding a bike - but riding a bike does take a dose of courage for some - Changing diapers is no less scary. Riding a bike requires you to use most of your senses. Changing a diaper makes you wish you had fewer senses... I'll keep you posted.

Oh, I also remember how often you need to change your clothing because someone decides to "urp" on your shoulder. So far, I'm the only one she's spit-up on... not once, but twice. I look at it as a kind of bonding, that, so far, only she and her Granddaddy have together...

I've been doing a lot of observing since the whole crew got here. It's quite hilarious to watch the adults make "baby noises and faces" at Savannah. She is very personable and pleasant - almost unbelievably so.... but, she's got to be cracking up inside while listening & looking at all of the crazy noises and faces the rest of the family are making...

At church yesterday, Tami, very subtly, ended up holding Savannah in her arms and standing by the main door as everyone departed. It was kind of like she suddenly became a "greeter" at the end of the service. But actually, I think she just wanted to show off her newly arrived granddaughter. Quite proud she was!

Maybe the biggest adjustment to be made, though, is by Cody, our almost 3 year-old flat-coated retriever. He is absolutely intrigued by the new baby! Although certainly curious, I believe he is also a tad bit jealous. He's very gentle around her, but also very interested in the new addition. New smells.... new sounds... new things - like strollers, play pens, wet wipes, diapers, pacifiers... Cody has chewed up one pacifier already....

Yep, things are definitely different around here. But, it's all good! Maybe Tami & I needed a little change in our lives.... maybe a little bit more excitement.... more activity.... more flexibility. One thing's for sure.... I don't need more practice in loving and appreciating my family. I've got that covered.....but diapers?... that's another story....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What If....?

I've been thinking for a few weeks regarding the question: What if....? I started making a list of ideas and then went to the Internet. I Googled "what if.." and got a staggering number of hits. For example, there are student competitions that generate "what if" ideas. There are a blogs, innovation companies, and even a restaurant named "What if .... of Hershey".

"What if" can take on many different viewpoints. Here are some of my thoughts:

What if we ....

  1. never needed locks
  2. had no bad memories
  3. always made the right decision
  4. had no regrets
  5. never had a negative or impure thought
  6. had unlimited resources
  7. always felt accepted
  8. never envied anything or anyone
  9. we were always satisfied
  10. never wanted
  11. were happy with our bodies
  12. were never sad
  13. had a sports team that never lost
  14. never had cliques
  15. were always thankful
  16. took nothing for granted
  17. never needed a doctor or lawyer
  18. never got tired
  19. never cried
  20. never had another bad hair day
  21. all had hair
  22. never had crime
  23. were never lonely
  24. really enjoyed each other
  25. could ask God anything?
Hmmm... Sounds a bit like heaven doesn't it?

Another viewpoint:

What if....

  1. I can't remember how to change a diaper
  2. my DirecTV goes out during the Iron Bowl
  3. they finally decide that Splenda really is bad for you
  4. hand sanitizer is really a scam
  5. my kids dress me in stripes together with plaids when I'm in a old-folks home
  6. all of our recycling efforts just end up in the same pile of garbage anyway
  7. Savannah doesn't recognize me unless I place a laptop next to my head
  8. UK is not in the Final Four
  9. my dog stopped barking at 6 in the morning
  10. turkey & dressing really are good for you? - Happy Thanksgiving!

Want to add to the list? Leave a comment....
But.... "what if" no one has an opinion....?

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Like Riding a Bike... Hope so!

Daniel, Lauren, & Savannah are moving to Sweet Home Alabama! Wow! You heard right... they will arrive on December 18 and stay with us until they get their feet on the ground, learn to speak "Alabama", and learn to love SEC sports. Given that Daniel is a PAC-10 fan, it may take quite a while.

It will be wonderful to see the three of them! We haven't seen them in person since July - when Savvy was born. I can't wait to hold the little bundle of joy again. Based on Skype sightings, I know she's changed quite a bit since we last met.

Needless to say, it's been years since we've lived with a baby. I'm "older and wiser" now, so I'm sure I will be able to discern every need and understand every cry..... right! Baby accessories
have changed so much since Tami & I raised kids over 20 years ago. Back then they didn't have "Boy diapers" and "Girl diapers". We just had Huggies & Pampers... period. I remember: "Don't put lotion on your hands before you put the diaper on! - the tape won't stick!" The new diaper technology has probably solved that problem by now though...

Having a baby in our home is going to be a major change for me.... Am I ready for a 5 month old in our house?! Hope so! Maybe it's like riding a bike.... you never lose the parental instinct, once you've been through it. Hope so! What about waking up in the middle of the night to a crying baby? Will I really be able to help, or should I just roll over and pretend I'm asleep? You think Savvy will recognize us from the Skype sessions? Hope so!

We'll have to Baby-Proof our house. She's not crawling yet, but I suspect it may be soon.... after all, I can discern these things, you know... When we babysit Savvy while Lauren & Daniel are out, will we be able to handle it? It's been 20+ years, you know.... What if we can't get her to stop crying? What if she gets sick? What if we run out of diapers!? Do I sound a bit nervous? You bet!

Here's my strategy.... Take a step back! Let the others take the lead. Leave the room at just the "right" moment. Get a "call" on my cell phone at just the "right" time. Listen & learn from the sidelines. Get my stride back by observing others. Take things one-step-at-a-time. I don't want to let on that I am virtually clueless when it comes to babies. So, I'll simply take a step back. After a while, I'll make my move and step in like a pro! Confident! Sure-handed! Ready to handle even the worst Huggies blowout she can deliver! Bring it on, Savvy!

No matter how long they decide to stay with us, we will treasure every moment! I am honored that they feel comfortable enough to return home to the US and want to spend time with us. No doubt adjustments will have to be made by all parties involved, but I'm up for it! Lauren, Daniel, & Savannah can stay with us as long as they want - no strings attached... Only one request: If Savvy needs tending to in the middle of the night, see if her Granddaddy is available to help.... I can still change a mean diaper.... you KNOW so! Can't wait to see you Savvy... I love you...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Planning for the Future...

Arrived in Upland, IN, yesterday evening. Drove 7.5 hours from Huntsville to the land of Taylor University where our son, Jordan, and his fiance, Bethany, are completing their senior year. They both are on schedule to graduate in May, 2010. We will spend today with them, attend church together Sunday AM, and then head back to sweet home Alabama. The weather here is great. Even though Upland is about 1 hour NE of Indianapolis, it's warmer here than it is in Huntsville, Alabama! The sun is bright, the sky is blue, and the wind is brisk. But the most obvious difference is the flatness of the land. This contributes to the ever present breeze blowing through the many rows of corn stalks. Cell phone towers are not very tall here - there's no need to be.

Jordan & Bethany look great! We haven't seen Jordan since we helped him move into his on-campus apartment last August. He rooms with 3 other students. It's definitely a "guy's apartment". Amazingly, the abode looked quite clean and presentable. Maybe he knew Mom and Dad were coming to visit?? Perhaps a surprise weekend visit might me more appropriate and telling....? Then again, some things are better left alone...

I wouldn't call Upland, IN, a wild and crazy party town. It's more like they plopped a conservative liberal arts Christian college right in the middle of a big corn field. There's not much to do here unless you drive via I-69 to Muncie, Ft. Wayne, or Anderson, IN. And with gas costing $2.69 / gallon, college students don't go far. So, Taylor does a good job creating activities on-campus each night and weekend. In fact, last night all four of us visited a student photo exhibit in the exhibition hall. A young female student was displaying beautiful large color and B & W photos of the people of Uganda that she took during her last visit there. They were gorgeous! Tami bought one... surprised?

This was also the first time we've seen Jordan & Bethany since their engagement. They both seem very happy. Bethany's ring is beautiful. It looks much better on her in person than it does via the internet. She will make a beautiful bride! While they are still completing school assignments, building relationships, planning a wedding, and fulfilling leadership roles at school, they are obviously thinking about the details of "life after graduation". Things will be different, no doubt. They will no longer be two, but one. Yet they both will have their own goals, expectations, and desires. A strong union and partnership is one that considers and yields to the other for the benefit of the whole. It's exciting to watch and listen to them think and dream out loud!

They both have a set of loving parents & family firmly behind them. We will always be there for them... no strings attached! In today's world, the future is more uncertain than it has been in quite a while. But, family has your back... We are anxiously looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for J & B. I hope they will always remember how much we love them both.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Authentic Young Adults...?

Almost every Monday night we host between 15 - 25 Young Adults at our home in Madison, AL. We usually hang out for a while, eat a bit, have a bible study, and hang out some more. Tami & I love doing life with younger folks. I have to admit though that there have been times when I couldn't stay awake any longer and had to give up & go to bed. I left them in capable hands though. Tami can hang with the best of them... We have always hoped that we could plug into a ministry at church that would give us the chance to pour into people's lives and build authentic relationships.
So far this past year, we've gone through lots of pizza, bottled water, and a variety of desserts. We've also studied James, 1 John, Jonah, Heaven, Revelation, Angels, The Resurrection, etc. We, along with another couple, probably do less teaching and more facilitating. They love to discuss the text and what it means to them on a day-to-day basis.

Sometimes we also have parties: Super Bowl, Black & White, Tacky
Christmas Sweater, White Elephant, and Costume parties... Ahh costume parties.. now this is where the authenticity really shines! Last night, at our 2nd annual Young Adults Costume Party, we had a plethora of characters... Rubix Cube, Acorn, Double Dare contestant, Blue's Clues, Caesar & Cleopatra, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Tattooed bikers, a No-Good Veterinarian, Quail Man, Harlem Globetrotter & Cheerleader, Lorraine & husband from Mad TV, GI Joe, Trucker, Disco Man, Anti-Brett Farve fan club, "recession" costume man... just to name a few. Was this the real character of some of these folks really coming to the surface???
Boy, I hope not!!
Tami and I were the bikers... trust me, this was not our true character coming to the surface... but I can only speak for myself... Our costumes were pretty cool - except for the clip-on ear ring that I had to wear. About half way through the party, someone felt the need to tell me I was wearing the ear ring on the wrong side..... what?! There's a right and wrong side?? My right ear was already numb from the clip-on. No way I was going to do the same to the left....
Nevertheless, we had another great time with some great

On Tami's Facebook, where you can see more pictures, we saw some friends who dressed up as "blind referees". Hmmm? Now that's an idea in SEC Land....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What Do YOU Take for Granted?

Job? Family? Health? Faith? Maybe your relationships? Maybe money? Basics like clean air, water, heating and air conditioning? Garbage pickup? Plumbing? Freedom? Working traffic lights? Pilots and airplanes? Electricity? Your future? We could go on and on.... There are a myriad of things that we take for granted!

I started thinking about this on Wednesday evening of this week.... specifically after I returned home from work and changed into my favorite jeans - or at least tried to... As I bent over to put my left leg into the corresponding pant leg, my lower back "tweaked", "went out", "stopped functioning", hurt badly"!! What in the world is this!? Why did this happen?

Trust me, I take for granted the act of "putting on jeans". Even more so, I take for granted the "functioning of my back". It's been over three days now, and my back is still only about 70% where it should be. Of course I can still walk around, albeit more like a "Tim Conway shuffle", but it's not pretty. I look like I'm about 25 years older than I really am. (No jokes here...)

I always forget how crucial my back is in regards to many other functions. For example: sitting down & getting up, rolling over in bed, sneezing, blowing your nose, bending over to do anything, even standing... I have definitely taken my back for granted... no doubt about it. The constant, nagging pain has reminded me that I do, indeed, take many things for granted. It will return to normal in a few more days, but what am I supposed to learn from this?

Maybe it's God's way of reminding me that I need to appreciate more.... maybe think about the small, yet very significant things in my life that I often overlook. Maybe there are some deep hidden lessons that I need to learn from this temporary inconvenience. I know that many people around the world are far more inconvenienced than we Americans are, but I also know that we take many aspects of our lives for granted. Maybe we should all hit the pause button, sit down for a while, and make a long list of everything we take for granted..... I'm certainly going to do it - but I think I'll "stand"....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

There's Something About the 70's!

What is it about the 70's!? The style was cool... the music was cool... the dancing was cool... it was just cool in the 70's! Last night a few of our Summit Crossing Community Church small groups got together for a costume party.

The theme was.... you guessed it - The 70's! We had a great time!
We had hippies, druggies, bikers, flower children, disco dancers, movie characters, afros, platform shoes,
tattoos, tight jeans, head bands, colored shades, lots of hair, a 70's iPod playlist,
karaoke, and lots of polyester!
I'll let the pics speak for themselves..... See ya
next year!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Counting Down the Days...

In only 64 days we'll get to hold this little kangaroo! Not that I'm counting, of course... We've seen Savvy, Daniel & Lauren quite often via Skype, but it will be quite a joy to actually hold the little "roo" again. After all, the last time I held Savannah, she was only 2 days old - born on July 23. We are really looking forward to seeing all three of them!

I've been a grandfather for about 12 weeks now... physically absent from the grandchild, but certainly with her in spirit and love. Can't truly say that I've missed the diaper changing assignments though... The three of them will make the long haul from Sydney to California, where they will stay a few weeks and visit with family & friends. Then they'll fly from the west coast to Sweet Home Alabama. After visiting with us, I suspect they will want to travel to KY and surrounding spots to visit friends and introduce Savvy to the mid-west. It will be her first trip to America... We certainly hope it won't be her last!

So... I've been thinking about that moment when we pick them up at the Huntsville airport... Who do you hug first? Should I make a bee-line to Savvy? Would it be more appropriate to first hug and welcome our daughter, Lauren? Or, would it be more courteous to bear hug our son-in-law, Daniel? Does it matter? Or does it imply a sort of priority or a "pecking order" of sorts? How will Lauren or Daniel feel if we rush to Savvy and leave them in the shadows....? Will Lauren or Daniel feel slighted if we go to the other first? Maybe Tami & I should "tag team" the moment: I go to Daniel and Tami hugs Lauren simultaneously, or vice-versa. Most likely Savvy won't even notice... I'll let you know how it goes....

Now, it's safe to say that Tami has been preparing for this visit for some time. She has already obtained every needed baby device you can think of. Being the first grandchild certainly looks like it has its advantages. Car seats, strollers, cribs, clothing, etc. - it's all here! No matter that it's only a short visit.... we have all the paraphernalia.
I'm sure we'll take & post plenty of pictures of the family from down under... we might even get a shot of me changing a "nappie". Counting down the days....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Forgiving & Forgetting

Is it easy to forgive? It is easy to forget? Does everyone deserve to be forgiven? These are questions that come to mind when I think about evil things that are done to innocent people. On October 3rd I wrote about my co-worker, George Woodard. This was a clear example of an evil act crossing a good man's path.

It's not my job to catch the criminal. It's not my job to get even. It's not my job to ensure justice is secured. It's not my job to apply punishment. It's not even my job to understand why this happened to begin with...

It is my job to forgive... In some cases, this may actually be harder to do that all of the above. Let's face it.... it's NOT easy to forgive. Some may disagree with me, but from my viewpoint, it is very difficult. Maybe it's a shortcoming in me.... maybe a sign of immaturity.... maybe a result of my logical brain overpowering my emotional and creative side. Nevertheless, it's tough!

I know the Bible is chocked full of advice and wisdom regarding our need to forgive. It's not a suggestion - it's a command. But, it's still hard to do. I suppose it makes it a bit more difficult when the victim is someone you actually know - especially someone as loved as George. But, should that really make a difference? I mean, would it be easier for me to forgive someone who murders, let's say, a child molester? Maybe... But, I know the right thing is for me to forgive... period!

How about "forgetting"? Can we forgive AND forget? As tough as forgiving is, forgetting is even tougher. Tougher indeed! I believe it may be possible to forget how someone has hurt you, but it may require a supernatural tweaking from above... it's very difficult to do on your own. There are repercussions from evil acts that sometimes leaves a lasting scar... or in George's case, a lasting void.

So... does everyone deserve to be forgiven? I know that I have done many things in my life that didn't merit forgiveness. Nothing like murder, of course. But, when I speak rudely of people, promote my ways over others, or think that I am better than you, I probably don't "deserve" forgiveness. But, I often get it... Maybe none of us "deserve" to be forgiven, but often it is amply provided... and, for that, I am thankful.

The person that murdered George may not deserve forgiveness, and the evil deed may never be forgotten, but I hope we can all forgive. It's what George would have done....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thank You, George!

As I journey through life, I obviously meet and get to know many, many people. I have always tried to discern what attributes I would like to copy from those I meet. It's a bit like taking a piece of this person and attaching it to me.... or some other trait of that person and attaching it to me. Of course there are often observations I make, regarding certain traits, in which I wish to avoid emulating. But, I believe there is something of worth and value to observe from almost everyone - some more than others. George Woodard Jr. was one such man...

George was brutally shot and murdered on Wednesday morning, September 30, at 5:30 as he was about to enter his vehicle in his own driveway. He was departing for work. He had kissed his wife and they both said "I love you" just before he headed for his truck. We were co-workers.

I received the call about two hours later that morning while I was on a business trip in Northern Kentucky. My heart sank... my stomach flipped... my mind questioned... At least three times later that day, I would cry. I took the next available flight back to Huntsville. Who would do this to George? The local authorities have questioned several people. I hope they find the person who did this.

George was an integral part of our management team. His influence and impact were company-wide. Someone called him a "gentle giant" - getting things done by using positive reinforcement, not yelling or screaming. You could never pass by him without him greeting you and reaching out his hand. He always smiled and was infectiously full of encouragement. To get him to say something negative about anyone was almost an impossible task. He had a smile and demeanor that immediately put you at ease - even when there was a problem or issue at work. He never panicked, nor lost focus. He seemed to always be in-control and fully engaged.

He would often look for someone that was eating lunch alone in the cafeteria. He would ask if he could join, and then befriend yet another person for at least 45 minutes. I would always hear stories of how George would help other people after work or on weekends, even if it changed his plans or was inconvenient for him or his family. He seemed to have a love for people that trumped everything else.

George was impactful not only at work, but also in the community. His death has been prominent news since September 30. All of the local media have interviewed family, friends, and co-workers to get to know the man that so many had come to love. I was told that the TV stations are so surprised at the number of comments that have been posted on their web sites regarding George.

I visited his family at his home 2 days after the tragedy. He has such a wonderfully strong family... a large, close-knit family to say the least. They were telling me funny stories of life episodes about George that only family members know. I could see traits and characteristics of George in his Mother and his brother, Chester. He, no doubt, was loved greatly by his family as well.

George was a deacon at his church in Huntsville. The night before his death he attended choir practice and offered up the closing prayer. The was a man of strong Christian faith and a devoted child of God. I look forward to seeing and speaking with him again someday in heaven...

George will be missed and never replaced. There are many wonderful pieces of George that I have attached to myself. His examples have made me a better person. I only wish there were more people in the world like George Woodard, Jr. I'll miss you my friend....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Someone Said "YES"!

Sunday, September 27, 2009! A BIG day for the Boltes! Someone said "YES"! It happened in Upland, Indiana, at Payne's Restaurant. Bethany Cleveland agreed to become the wife of Jordan Bolte, our son. Jordan is a wonderful young man.... but I'd have to say that he certainly "traded up" - for sure!

Bethany is a delight and joy to be around. We have come to love her personality, her heart, and her love for God... and our son. We have prayed for many years for Jordan's wife-to-be. God has answered our prayers with an excellent young lady named Bethany.

She is from Michigan and has great family. I have been thrilled to see how they have welcomed Jordan into their family circle during the dating days. Jordan has put quite a few miles on the Scion Tc driving from Indiana to Michigan. He's made even longer hauls from Alabama to Michigan. It must be love...

Jordan searched for the perfect ring for many months. He actually picked up the ring while we were in Australia in July. I'm really impressed that he was able to hold on to the ring until now.... he was quite anxious to give it to her quickly. But, before he did, he was adamant about getting her parents' blessing. He spoke to her father and they agreed to meet face to face to have "The Discussion". I came to learn later that Mr. Cleveland asked Jordan some very appropriate, yet tough questions. Apparently, Jordan spoke from the heart and did very well. The Clevelands gave their blessing for the two to wed.

While her parents were visiting this weekend at school, Jordan decided it was time. He actually sent us a text message prior to the big event. It said "Game time! Ring time! Gimme 2 hours and I'll be a taken man...". Here's the play by play as I imagine it.... even though I, actually, wasn't even there....

Jordan, Bethany, and her parents decide to have lunch at Payne's Restaurant near Taylor University's campus. It's the favorite hang out for the two seniors. It's a sandwich and coffee shop of sorts.... a place where local artists often display their latest efforts. The location of their seating must be very strategic... not too far, not too close. They all order from the menu, but Jordan's heart is beating 90 miles/hour. His voice isn't quivering yet, but it's not too far away. Thank goodness he visited the Men's room earlier. He certainly doesn't have any appetite and Bethany thinks that's a bit strange. But, for all intent & purposes, she has no idea what's coming....

Also what she doesn't know is that Jordan pulled an all-nighter and drew a picture of the actual scene that was about to happen. Of course he is sleepy, but the adrenaline is racing! Jordan had actually worked it out with one of Payne's employees to call Bethany up to the current art work to show her the latest displays. There are several examples of wonderful paintings, drawings, and photographs. Bethany enjoys most, if not all, of them. Then the employee says, as she unveils the final drawing, "they are all good, but this one is the best!".

It is a drawing of Jordan on his knee proposing to Bethany in Payne's restaurant! She immediately recognizes it and spins around to see the love of her life on his knee, asking " Will you marry me Bethany?" I suppose she screamed "YES!" and parents, bride-to-be, and a couple of other unsuspecting customers shed a few tears. I did too, when I received an email with a picture of the ring on her hand...

No date set yet, but I'm guessing sometime after they both graduate next May. They really are a pretty cool couple. I'm honestly looking forward to seeing how God uses them on their journey ahead. Welcome to the family, Bethany! We look forward to getting to know your parents and sisters more also. Now.... it's time to give your cheeks a little rest.... stop smiling for a few minutes....

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Shot at Greatness!

A shot at greatness! Not many of us get it... not many of us even deserve it. But, some people are so authentic... so honest... so genuine.... that they not only get a shot, but they overshoot the target and achieve something that some of us only dream about.

I hope you'll read the story of one man from Kentucky that raised a wonderful family, was extremely comfortable in his own skin, and only wanted to be the best he could ever be... no matter what everyone else thought. His name is Archie Burchfield. I met him once. You'd never think of him as great.... until you saw what he could do....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where Do You Rank in Your Family?

At least number 3... that's where I rank in our household of, let's see....., three! Yep, 3!! Let me rank the three for you: it's Cody, Tami , and Jim. Or, best case: it's Cody, Jim and Tami. In either case, I am below the dog!! Of course Tami would disagree and tell you that she loves me much more than Cody, our black 2 year old flat-coated retriever, but her actions speak

Here are a few examples:

  • Cody can chew up a perfectly good pair of shoes, and Tami says "they were old anyway".

  • Tonight I got home before Tami did. When she walked in the house, she said, "tell me how your day went today beautiful." Of course she said these words using a voice that sounded like she was talking to a 2 year old... and she was (one with 4 legs).

  • What do you do with any unused bottled water? You guessed it.... pour it in the dog's bowl... bottled water for heaven's sake!!

  • After a wonderful evening dinner with Tami on our back porch... maybe grilled steak, I notice that there's still steak left on Tami's plate.... cut into appropriate sized bites for you-know-who. Yoo hoo.... remember me? I'll eat the beef tenderloin....!!
  • The frequency of our car washes has increased significantly since Cody likes to stick his head out the window and drool down the side of our Toyotas. She says, "they needed washing anyway".

  • The dog has a bark that will raise the dead. Not just loud - but it's a sort of howl... not a howl exactly though, it's more "howl-like" than anything. Actually, for a few seconds, it sounds like someone just stabbed him. Trust me, at 2 AM, I sit up in bed like I'm the one that just got stabbed!

  • When I punish the dog for something, you would think I was a convicted criminal. I punish the dog and 10 seconds later, she's loving on him... You think he's confused??

  • I have spent more money on this animal than I could have ever imagined: $1000+ for an underground fence, $100's on Doggie Day Care, $100's on overnight boarding, $100's on vet visits, and no telling how much on treats, food, and car washes...
  • Cody likes to "goose" people. Consider yourselves warned if you come to our house. Tami thinks it's cute...

Cody is a rescue dog from a pound in Lexington, KY. Our daughter Caitlin gets credit for that kind act. But, then after keeping him in a small apartment and realizing that he was going to grow to about 60 pounds, she decided that we should keep him... thanks Cait! Of course, Tami loved the idea! So, we are now considered adoptive doggie parents...

I've calculated the number of hours I spend with Tami on an average day, and the number Cody spends with her. Yep, he spends more time with her than I do... They have bonded quite a bit, and seem to have this intuition and language all their own. She loves Cody and he loves her. I'm just the guy trying to raise my rank, while keeping my shoes off the floor. See ya at the car wash...