Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I have not yet come up with my own list of new years resolutions - maybe sometime this week I'll figure mine out. But in my blog reading this morning of Between Two Worlds, I enjoyed reading the list of New Year's resolutions that Jonathan Edwards wrote. I've read them before, but am always amazed to read them again. I like #6 "Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do". To read the whole list, click here. Which one do you especially like?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Funny Music Video Parodies

I just found two funny music parodies while reading Joshua Harris' blog. Click the picture above for "A Homeschool Family" and the below for "Cletus take the Reel." Enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Today's Top Pictures!

We begin the evening by eating dinner with Grandma and Grandpa at their retirement home dining room. They live in a very nice place and the meals are always good. This evening we were given a choice of veal or lemon fish. I chose lemon fish - it was good. John says that the veal was good too.

After a dessert of chocolate or strawberry ice cream, Grandma demonstrated a tried and true method of getting rid of hiccups. She says that it's worked for the last 83 years! I've never seen it done before - but next time I get the hiccups, I will definitely try to take a sip of water between a spoon handle and see if it works!

We enjoyed our evening with Grandma and Grandpa watching a Christmas show hosted by a Japanese violinist from Branson and looking at old pictures.

Now we're back at our cousin's house, finishing up the day by letting all of you know what we've been up to! Tomorrow we have to get up early in order to get to Little Rock. We get to spend some time with two of my best college friends - Ivory and Tamra!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm in Kansas City for Christmas at my Aunt and Uncle's house this year, and am once again enjoying my time here. Time with family is always filled with lots of food and tons of games. We slept in this morning and then played sequence. While we played sequence, I actually joined facebook. I know, I'm a bit behind the times. I've kind of avoided joining things like facebook or myspace just as I waited a long time before starting a blog. But when I found out today that Lydia had posted some pictures that I wanted to see on facebook and realized I had plenty of time to mess around with it since I have the laptop with me, I decided now was a good time to join. I don't intend to spend a lot of time on facebook, but it will be fun to use it to keep up with family and friends who use it to post pictures.

We spent the afternoon playing clue and then basketball. Basketball with our cousins has been a fun two year "tradition." My team barely pulled ahead thanks to some awesome ball handleling and shots by my cousins and dad! I like basketball, but am not very good at it though I do have a lot of fun playing.

After dinner, we got to play chicken feet with Grandma and Grandpa. Chicken feet is a game with dominos that we've played with Grandma and Grandpa for as long as I can remember. Though they're 82 and 83 right now, it's still a game we can all enjoy together.

Games are still going on downstairs - I think dutch blitz is the current craze, but I decided to take a break from it all and get in a little post. This trip is going well. Soon I'm sure I'll get some more posts in detailing other awesome things going on. But for now, I just want to say Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sleep and Waking

Posting about sleep is maybe a sign that you ought do get more of it! I just thought I post my funny story of the day. It may only be funny to me, but hopefully it puts a smile on your face.

I woke at 5:30 to my alarm and the first thoughts through my mind went like this:

"I'm too tired to go running"
"Maybe I'll hit snooze three times and get up at six"

. . . I hit snooze . . .

"I wonder why the lights are on in the house"
"Why would Mrs. Alma be awake at 5:30?"

"Is it possible that I really slept all night and am this tired"

. . . slowly sanity comes back upon me . . .

"Wait a second, I think I set my alarm for 5:30pm. It's not morning! I'm supposed to go to the evening service at church".

It was quite a releaf to realize that it was not yet morning, simply time to go to church. My hour nap was over - not the entire night! The good news is that I still have an entire nights sleep before the work week begins!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is Church an Important Part of your Christian Life?

I've been catching up on reading blogs recently. Today I read the latest New Attitude Blog post "Why I don't Go to Church." This post challenges those in their 20's to really examine their reasons for not attending church rather than accepting the standard "I'm too busy" excuses.

It also links to the first chapter of a book which begins with “If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell.” The explanation for that statement is worth the read here as he continues by saying:
"But I’m concerned that many Christians don’t realize how this most important relationship with God necessitates a number of secondary personal relationships—the relationships that Christ establishes between us and his body, the Church. God doesn’t mean for these to be relationships that we pick and choose at our whim among the many Christians “out there.” He means to establish us in relationship with an actual flesh-and-blood, step-on-your-toes body of people.
That article points out that we are identified as already being a part of the universal church. But at the same time we are told to be part of the local church and not to give up meeting together especially as the time gets closer for Christ to return.

To me these articles brought up interesting thoughts. Many of the great homeschooling families in this area who read this blog (mine included) have at one time not attended or are currently not attending traditional churches. Some simply don't attend any church at all. To be honest, not being a part of a traditional church that has a pastor and a meeting place makes me a bit nervous. Of course my nervous feeling doesn't make the thing wrong.

People have many reasons for distancing themselves from "regular churches." Sometimes the reasons seem good. Maybe the teaching their kids would receive in a traditional youth group is contrary to what they are being taught at home. Maybe the preaching does 'put you to sleep' and the fellowship leaves much to be desired. Maybe the kids in the church you attended are not properly disciplined and would make your job as a parent more difficult for the rest of the week.

But consider this. Maybe God has given you the ability to be an instrumental part of someone else's life in building up people who have needs in the local church. Obviously none of us are perfect, but maybe you have learned something that another has not. Does that mean you should stop being around that person because they don't understand what you do?

I am very thankful for my local church Fountain of Grace. After college I did consider looking for another church. I didn't choose Fountain of Grace - it was a church my family begin attending and eventually joined while I was in college. But after prayer and consideration, I realized that I had not really given Fountain of Grace (then called Prattville Alliance) a chance. I wanted to get to know people, but yet was not involved in much of anything. Instead of leaving, I became involved. Is my church perfect? Certainly not! I know that I'm not perfect so any church I'm in will also not be perfect. There is no perfect church. But there are churches in which the Bible is preached and people are real - two things that seem very essential in a church.

So whether you attend a traditional church, do home church, or have family church, do nothing or something in between, what impact does it have on your life?

So what can I say about my church? I can say that relationships I've developed in church have enriched my life. A friendship with Pam and attending a church related prayer meeting brought me a new place to live across the street from her. This made deepening a relationship with her and her family possible and a lot of fun. Having many ladies who know me and are interested in and concerned about me is invaluable. I know that many of them pray for me and I'm sure that makes a big difference in my life. Learning and thinking about things preached by Pastor Tony has hopefully shaped my thinking in many ways. I know that his teaching on position based acceptance versus performance based acceptance is something that I have come back to time and time again. Being reminded of grace and righteousness is important and having it come from a Pastor who seems to genuinely care for the people of his church is invaluable. Pastor Phil and all the mission trips he has led keeps me reminded of all the needs outside of our church. It gives me a better perspective on life and a reminder of how small our emergencies in life really are. Being a teacher in AWANA has given me more than just an opportunity to serve. It's given me a chance to relive the joy of children's excitement in science experiments and to see how the little things matter to a child. Running sound has taught me to appreciate the job that so many others do in conferences. It has also taught me a skill that I may have never otherwise learned. Being in board meetings has given me an invaluable look at some of the issues faced by a church and the needs of both the people and the church leadership. Being a part of a "smaller" church means that even your yet undeveloped talents may have a place to be used (especially if you have a little time and a brother like Elijah who will help you get a website going!).

I still have a lot to learn about the Church. My involvement in it can sometimes degrade into duty instead of joyful service. Church is not always as important in my life as it should be. But for all its flaws (and mine!), I am very thankful for the local church. What about you? Is your church important to do? Has it changed your life or does it impact you at all?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Church Christmas Party

Last night we had the adult Christmas party for our church. It's always been a fun party, and last night was no exception. After eating a wonderful dinner, we have what's become the traditional white elephant gift exchange. The 37 adults each drew numbers and the fun began. Some gifts were definitely of the white elephant variety (like the brick!), but others were gifts that many people wanted (like the nuts or flood lights). The most guarded gift was the duck! It actually was stolen by a very smooth move by Susie before the game was over! She did end up returning it since new house rules were created saying the the duck couldn't be stolen until it was frozen (stolen 3 times) or until the exchange was over. Mrs. Duck comes to almost every Christmas party as a gift and almost every year is kidnapped. Sometimes, like last year, it's even before the winner of the duck is able to bring it home.

This year the Morton's ended up with Mrs. Duck again. They got the duck in 2005 and I (through the help of my siblings) was able to ducknap it in 2006. After holding on to the duck for about a month, I sent ransom notes through the mail. When they never responded to my email contact (due to some email problems of their own), I eventually returned the duck with Easter candy (ducks and chicks and eggs and peeps) about a month later. It was fun to create and send the ransom notes, but I certainly found out that I don't like to be the one suspected of a "crime" like this. To this day, the Morton kids will often refer to me as ducknapper. Below are pictures of my ransom notes!

Friday, December 7, 2007

AWANA Science Experiment - Silly Putty!

It has been too long since I posted one of our AWANA class science experiments on here. The one we did on Wednesday is one of my favorites. We made Silly Putty, and this time the putty turned out perfect! In the past I haven't gotten the mixture right. So, here goes:

This Experiment is from Science and the Bible Volume 2. But I don't use the silly putty recipe in that book. Instead I use one I found online which works a lot better. An unstable person is of two minds-unsure whether or not to trust God

Bible Verses: He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.. . he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does (James 1:6,8)

Materials Used: 2 T Elmer’s Glue, 1 T Liquid Starch, Food coloring, glitter

Lesson: James 1:5 invites believers to ask God for wisdom, but there is one requirement for this help. The request must be made without wavering or doubt (v. 6). A doubter is not sure if God hears him, or if God even understands his plight. Such a man is double-minded; he attempts to divide his trust between God and himself.

This person can be compared to Silly Putty. This strange material doesn’t keep its shape. Instead it always tends to flow downward. It has not strength and can be twisted, bounced and flattened. Silly putty is unstable and cannot be trusted to maintain its shape. In the same way, the unstable person cannot be trusted as an example to follow because he lacks the balance of God’s wisdom

Illustration: We each made our own silly putty by mixing 2 Tablespoons of glue with the food coloring (using a craft stick or spoon) and then adding the 1 Tablespoon of starch a little at a time as we stirred. To achieve perfect silly putty, keep adding a little more starch and stirring until the putty is no longer sticky. Once it gets thick, you can take it out of the cup and mix it with your hands. Just poor a little of the liquid starch on your hands to keep them from sticking with the putty while you mix. If your putty ends up with too much starch it will turn stringy and then you can just add some more glue. When the putty is a perfect consistency, add glitter if you like to make it even more fun.

I loved playing with silly putty as a kid. I would press it on windows and made pictures with it or cover little toys with it or make balls and more. Once I got some glow in the dark silly putty. I thought it would be cool to be able to see the fan go around at night so I stuck in on the fan blades in the bedroom I shared with my sisters. It didn't turn out quite like I planned! We were picking up little specs of silly putty for days!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Engineering Jokes

Inventory is now over (at least all but a little more paperwork!). It went very well. We were able to finish up on Friday - just barely! Connie and I actually left the shop just after midnight on Friday night. But we accomplished the goal of completing all required transactions so we would not have to come back on Saturday. Both of us planned to go out of town so didn't want to be stuck not going because of work.

As has become usual in the last month, I don't have much time to post (reality is I don't take the time to do this - I chose to spend my time in other ways. I have to remind myself that I must take personal responsibility for my actions - we each have many choices in this life.)

But anyways, I wanted to take a minute to share a couple engineering jokes that I liked. They are from Machine Design magazine.

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research!

Research is the act of going up alleys to see if they are blind.

To err human, to forgive is divine, but to check - that's engineering!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Tomorrow (at 6 AM!) we begin our annual inventory here at work. Inventory means different things to each person familiar with the word. There are many kinds of inventory we do and should at times take of our own lives or our possessions or desires and goals. Those types of inventories can be done at your own pace and will benefit your life. Taking an inventory of your desires and comparing what you desire to the actions you take on a daily basis may cause you to change your actions and develop different habits that will more closely align your actions with your more important desires.

Of course this is really a post about a different type of inventory. In this inventory, my coworker and I are in charge of making certain that over 2000 different part numbers are correctly counted. This doesn't sound too difficult (except for the quantity of part numbers). But when you add in varying degrees of accuracy and human error and the fact that auditors do come behind you and if too many errors are found will require the entire inventory to be done again (as in 2004), the weight of the responsibility grows a bit heavier.

We have fine tuned the way inventory is taken for the past four years. We've found that the best way to ensure accurate counts is to have two independent counts taken of every hand counted item. We then compare those two counts. If they don't match, we will send another sheet out with a third counter. If that doesn't match a fourth can be sent. This method seems to give us what we desire - an accurate inventory in which the counts are almost always repeatable when we are audited. Of course, it means that we handle a ton of paperwork and checking. We even have the counts typed in by two individuals and compared in access for data accuracy. All of this takes time. Sometimes (like tonight while I wait for one computer to finish downloading data and another to open a different system for me to make adjustments) it seems to take too much time. But, the results - an accurate inventory that can be trusted by our materials department as they pull parts, by our project management as they commit to customer orders, and by the finance people as they state with certainty that we really do have a certain amount of inventory as an asset is worth it.

Finishing a task like inventory (as I hope to in by no later than Friday night) feels good. Tasks like this can be broken down into small jobs done by each of the 25 people involved in this endeavor. It's a task much greater than one person, and only succeeds when each person does their part. One person who doesn't care and choses to do a sloppy job counting will have a huge impact on the progress of finishing inventory. In the same way, choosing to allow a poor habit to rule you life can impact your future in ways you never imagined.

So if you're doing inventory in any way this week, don't let it be in vain. Give it your best!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sibling Breakfast!

Yesterday, I experienced the madness of all of the after Thanksgiving sales first hand. I've hear of people who give up sleep for a bargain, but never thought I would be one to try it myself. But, excitement is infectious and new experiences with family are fun, so Friday morning at 4:45 I found myself at Walmart with with rest of Prattville and my very excited sister-in-law Michele as well as my somewhat sleepy sisters Lydia, Anna and Jubilee. We did find some bargains and it wasn't actually as crowded as I imagined when I first saw the full parking lot. I found a thumb drive, a gift for Zach, some gift bags, items for the AWANA store, a sweater and more. Actually it was a very successful shopping trip.

After about 3 1/2 hours, we were finished with all that Walmart, Goodie's, Belks, Michaels, and Target had to offer so we headed over to church to have a sibling breakfast! Luke and Michele have never been able to join us for one before so it was fun to have them with us too! I decided we should have it at church since Mrs. Alma who I live with had family of her own over for Thanksgiving. The girls were teasing me because I invited all of them over and then didn't end up cooking much. I started making the bacon and then Michele took it over and I started taking pictures and just watched from that point on! They didn't seem to mind and I told them that I had a very important part in buying the food and pulling it out of the refrigerator!

Shopping and the breakfast was a good start to another family-filled day of more games , food, walks, jumping on the trampoline (and a nap!).

If you can't see the slideshow, click here to go directly to my picasa site.

Thanksgiving Pictures

Thanksgiving has been a lot of fun! Luke's family has been here for a week, and the kids have added a lot of excitement and smiles to our time together. The Pace's came over on Thanksgiving day and their children played together well with Luke and Michele's. I think the kid's ages are as followes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8, 9, 11, 12 (if you count Jubilee as a child!). You would think with all those kids, the adults wouldn't have much fun. But we enjoyed time to play several games and talk together. The food was wonderful! Anna, Mom, Michele, Lydia, Jubilee and Trisha (and her girls) did a great job. Everything tasted great and there was an abundance!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Elijah sent me a link to this video. It's a great reminder to me of how much we have to be thankful for! I often forget about that amazing things that God gives us every day. Every good gift does come from God - both large and small!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

5K Update!

It's been a good and busy weekend! Sometime you may get more of an update, but right now, I will at least update you all on the 5k results. I was hoping that the Turkey Burner 2007 results would show up somewhere online so I could be sure of our times, but I guess I'll just go ahead and post our unofficial times.

My time was 26 minutes, 18 seconds. That was faster than I thought I would be! Boy was I tired at the end of that race. I felt totally wiped out, but after a little rest, I did recover. I ran the first mile in 7.5 minutes and the second in 9 minutes (which leaves 9.5 minutes for the last 1.1 miles). So, I did slow down throughout the race. I'm not very good at pacing myself and since I started near the front of the line, I kept getting passed by people. I thought I was running fast, but didn't realize how fast until the time at the first mile was called out. That's when I realized that I was getting really tired for a good reason. I'm glad I heard the time because I then slowed down a little. If I hadn't done that, I probably would have just collapsed somewhere along the road.

It was fun to run with a group of people. I don't know what I thought a 5k would feel like, but it felt less official than I imagined it. We just ran through a neighborhood - just like I run through neighborhoods at my house - the difference being that there was more than just me running!

The rest of my family did quite well too. Luke and Michele ran together and got a time of 27 min 47 sec (about 1 min 20 sec faster than Michele's time about a month ago - way to go Michele!). Jubilee ran the race in 29 min 30 sec! That's quite amazing! She's 12 and has not been running much. The first time she ran this far was only a practice 30 minutes two days before the race.

I enjoyed this new experience! Thanks to those who braved the cold to come and watch! Thanks also to Michele for having the idea and suggesting it. Though I was dead tired when I was done, I am very glad to have finally done one!

Oh, Anna's time was closest to right at 26 minutes! Way to go on guessing so close. I'll bring you the book tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Air Car - The Car of the Future?

Dad just sent me this video (Thanks Dad!) - who knows, maybe we'll be filling our car tanks with compressed air in the future? I think it would be awesome. There is still energy required to compress the air, but it seems a lot less expensive to compress air using electricity than to run an engine on gasoline.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

5K and Science - A Contest with a Prize!

I am actually going to run a 5K this Saturday! I have been encouraged to do so by Rob and my sister-in-law Michele for a while now, but have resisted the idea. I didn't want to do it unless someone I knew would run it too. Anyway, Luke and Michele and their kids are coming here for Thanksgiving. They decided to get here early and told me they were going to run the Turkey Burner here in Montgomery this Saturday. Since they are running in it, both me and my sister Jubilee are going to run with them. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Let me switch subjects now. In September, I was looking at my AWANA stuff and couldn't find my Science and the Bible volume 2 book. Deciding that I didn't want to tear apart my room to find it, I just ordered another copy. Well, as I thought would happen, as soon as it came, I found my copy safely hidden in some of my science experiment stuff.

I just had this crazy idea! So here's my proposal. I will give or mail the book to the person who correctly guesses closest to the time that I will run the 5k. You can't just tell me your guess, but have to post it in the comments before 6AM on Saturday morning. You can't guess the exact time that someone else has already guessed.

In order to give you some idea of times, this morning I ran for the first time in a week and did 2.8 miles in 26.5 minutes. Now, I didn't run my hardest, but I don't really know how fast my hardest is. Maybe in a race, I will run too fast and then slow way down at the end. I've never been in a race before. Now for those of you who might not know, 5k is 3.1 miles. So if I run exactly the same pace I ran this morning, my 3.1 mile time will be 29.3 minutes. Now, a few months ago, I ran 2.8 miles in 24 minutes which given the same pace gives 26.6 minutes for a 3.1 mile run.

So who knows? I don't really think I'm as fast as I was a few months ago. I have no idea how fast I really run. All of my distances are based on google's distance measurements on google maps. Those might be off for this area.
So, if you're interested in this contest, post your guess as a comment. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Good Test Results!

Thanks for all who were praying about our test! The test went very well. Though our project manager can't tell us anything officially until he talks with his supervisor, he did not find anything out of specifications. He said it was "hugely better" than our last test! The parts that failed last time did well - the modifications we made seemed to work just as intended!

Praise the Lord!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reading in Ecclesiates

I've always enjoyed the book of Ecclesiastes. For a couple days, I've been making my way through it and as always have found a few verses that stuck out at me or that I hadn't really noticed before. Solomon was a very wise man able to correctly describe many aspects of human nature.

Here are a few of the verses that stuck out to me:

Ecclesiastes 5:3 As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

Usually I have no trouble sleeping, but not this week. I didn't really have dreams, but rather just kept waking up in the night Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. I'm sure it was due to concerns over the installation. Last night I slept fine (I think since that portion was done). Tonight - who knows? Hopefully with all the walking, I'll sleep like a rock and not think about tomorrows test.

Ecclesiastes 8:6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.

This one makes me laugh! There are certainly many procedures at work. Some of which I've written myself. We have certain times at which things must be done and certain rules that have to be followed. These times and rules do probably seem only to bring misery to some who must abide by them.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

This is something that Solomon realized thousands of years ago, but we here in America seem not to have yet learned. Our prisons are overcrowded and it takes way too long for the punishment to be carried out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If a ruler's anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.

I don't have any personal example to share here. But this verse is a reminder that even when bad situations happen around you, be calm and act deliberately. Allowing anger or impulse to control will make a situation worse.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Do you ever have so much to do that you don't know what to start on? Sometimes I have trouble doing anything because I keep thinking about all that I should do and try to decide which task to do first. This verse reminds me that it's best to just start working instead of spending so much time wondering what to do and if it is a good time or good circumstance to begin.

Ecclesiastes 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

That's a good reminder to be active in many areas. I think being involved at church and with friends and family is a healthy way to keep work in its proper perspective. If all one did was extend all energy at work and something were to happen there, it would seem that the whole world were over with. But if properly balanced, you will realize that there is more to life than just work.

A Day in Chicago

Rob, Trisha and I had a fun day in Chicago today. The day started early as we had to drop off Ricky at the airport and so had to leave our hotel at 6 AM! But having to leave early was good since we avoided much of the traffic between here and downtown. By 7 (or so!) we had made it to Lou Mitchells, a famous breakfast place our friend Connie from work had recommended. We ordered jumbo omelets and enjoyed them tremendously. One thing Lou Mitchells is known for is handing out donut holes to everyone and little boxes of milk duds to the ladies as they are seated!

After breakfast, we intended to immediately go up the Sears Tower, but we soon found that they didn't open until 10AM. So, we begin walking . . . First we saw the fountain (which unfortunately had no water since they drained it for winter), then some cool statues as we walked around the museums.

Later we headed over to Navy Pier where we took pictures in front of the funny mirrors and saw some nice great views of the city. By then we were getting hungry so we headed to Buca di Beppo for a good Italian lunch of salad, lasagna and some chicken noodle stuff (which I can't remember the name of - Trisha's better at restaurant food names!). I think Rob and Trisha have exposes me to more new restaurants this week thank I've seen in such a short amount of time!
Finally we got back to the Sears tower and were able to go up it and see the city. It was fun to be able to see from one place all the areas we had walked. If you look at the picture on the left, we walked from as far to the left as you can see (the museum area) to pier sticking out on the far right (Navy Pier) and then back again to the Sears Tower. According to my pedometer, we walked 17,300 steps in downtown Chicago today (which is about 8.3 miles!). Needless to say, we were all a bit tired. The weather was a little chilly though not too cold for walking. However I think the wind made our eyes tired. Rob's been kind in doing all the driving since we arrived so I got a bit of a rest as we drove back here to our hotel.

Our test is tomorrow. It starts around 8:30 or 9, so we may know by 12 or 1 if we passed or not. Keep praying!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chicago update

Installation has been going pretty well - just a little slower that I had anticipated. I thought we would be finished by yesterday afternoon, but now it looks like we should finish by sometime around noon today.

Last night for dinner, we went to the Cheesecake Factory below the John Hancock Center (we went there in August too). The food was great (I think my cheesecake was called "Chocolate Oreo Mudslide!"), and it was interesting to see the tower at night this time. Chicago is such a busy city. It's cold here, yet still there were people walking and driving all over the place.

212º Video

Elijah sent me the link to this video. It really makes you stop and think about the little things!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Drive to Chicago

After 12 hours in the car, we have made it to Chicago once again! The trip went really well. Usually I end up reading most of the time in the car, but this time didn't open my book once. It was nice to just talk with Rob and Trisha as well as to get some sleep and drive some. I don't think a 12 hour car trip has ever gone so quickly. So, we're back again and ready to start installing our product first thing in the morning for our test on Friday. Please pray that all goes well - from materials to actual testing!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dirt, Colds and Running

For the past week, I've had what seems to be a mild cold. Maybe it's just a regular cold? I'm not really sure since I don't get colds that often. The last time I had a cold symptoms (about a year ago) I actually had the whooping cough. I suppose compared to that, a cough associated with any cold is quite mild. I had read at one time that running and exercise in general lessened the severity and frequency of illness (such as colds). I've woken up sniffling or with a sore throat and found that after a 30 min walk or run, the symptoms are just about gone. So, I decided to see if anyone has researched colds and running. This morning I found an article that did mention that the frequency of colds tends to decrease when a person runs a moderate amount, but goes up if a lot of training is occurring. Here's a quote from the article:

"Those who run or walk briskly for 35 to 45 minutes per day, five days a week, spend about half the number of days per year suffering from cold symptoms, compared to sedentary people. In addition, about 60 per cent of recreational runners experience fewer colds after they initiate a running programme, compared to when they were sedentary . . . .

And mum probably forgot to tell you that if you run about 100 or more km per week, your risk of illness is about double, compared to the individuals who log less than 32 weekly kms. That suggests, of course, that immune function declines as training volume increases, yet we also know that runners tend to be healthier than sedentary people. So, a very reasonable question would be: what number of kms per week is best for overall health? Even mum herself doesn't know the answer to that question. The epidemiological evidence indicates that running a moderate amount of km is better for your health than staying on the couch. However, running lots and lots of km is worse for your health than being moderate: mega-mileage is associated with lots of sniffles, coughs, and perhaps other problems. Basically, the graphical plot of illness frequency versus mileage is a U-shaped curve. If there's no mileage, there is quite a bit of sickness, middle mileage leads to little illness, and high km let the microorganisms rule again. The 'middle ground' of best health may well be 25 to 50 km per week or so, or 35 to 45 minutes per day, but no one knows for certain, and the optimal amount no doubt varies from person to person."

The way the article (and that last sentence) was written made me think of my Dad and his theory on dirt. He's said many times that dirt is actually good for you, we just don't know how much or what kind!

So, we can probably all agree that exercise is good. But as in most things, too much of a good thing is not a good thing!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I took a look at my google analytics report and saw that not as many people are coming to this site these days. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't been posting regularly, or does it? Life has been busy in every area since the camping trip. Among other things, I've got some new projects at work, am getting ready for a trip to Chicago for another test, continuing to work on the church website (check it out here) and dealing with car problem as well as talking quite a bit to a friend of mine! I guess as the year comes to a close, it's easier to see that time really does pass very quickly. It seems like just a month or so ago, I was contemplating the new year and wondering what it would bring.

So, I've been letting this blog slip. It's not what I want to do, but something that tends to happen as other areas fill up. One of my ideals is to post every day or at least every other day on this blog. Obviously, we don't live in an ideal work and we must make choices with our time. We can't do everything we may want to do.

So I guess this is just a post for those of you who I don't see very often and are wondering what's up in my life. I will try to post more this weekend. So far nothing is scheduled in to fill Saturday though I'm sure I will fill it with plenty of things!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spiritual Warfare Walk

This Spiritual Warfare Walk "Above All - Stand" was put on by my church (Fountain of Grace) this weekend at Poplar Point Camp. This walk illustrates the reality of demons and their tactics. It also reminds us that through Jesus we are able to stand firm. I believe our pastors came up with the idea for this walk several years ago. This year Pastor Phil wrote the skit with several people in our church.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Awana Science Experiment - Spreading Outward

This Experiment can be found in the second Science and the Bible book - I highly recommend them all!

Theme: Run from Sin

Bible Verses: But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness (1 Tim 6:11)

Materials Used: bowl, water, pepper or glitter, liquid dish soap;
Hiker Class

Lesson: There is a time to stay and fight, but there is also a time to flee. As Christians, we are told to flee from sin. We need to stay as far away from temptation as possible. As it says in our verse, there are also things we should pursue like righteousness, godliness and faith.

Illustration: We filled the bowl with water. Once the water was still, we sprinkled glitter over the surface. The glitter is to represent a believer. Next we touched the dish soap and then placed our finger in the middle of the bowl. The soap represents an evil influence. The glitter immediately flees from the soap just like a believer should flee from sin.

This is one experiment that my kids have always had a blast doing! They love the glitter and its fun since they can do all of it themselves.

We finished the missionary story we've been covering for the last month. We've been doing parts of a story about a girl named Star. Amy Carmicael actually was the missionary that told her about Christ. Though my kids do like the story, they have trouble sitting still. So, the last couple weeks, I've allowed them to get comfortable anyway they want on the chairs before the story. As you can see in the pictures, their favorite possition is sitting backwards on their chairs!

We also finished taking our books of the Old Testament pictures. Now I've got to start cropping them and changing them into the picture I'll print for the kids. I need to crop the background out of the picture, add words and add the other pictures to them to illustrate what they're acting out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Planners, Watch Out!

I had intended to do a more detailed camping post by now, but time disappears way too fast! Those of you who haven't read Anna's post about camping yet should do so here. She did a great job summarizing the weekend (of which I participated in most - but not all of the events! No line dancing for me!)

I'm still doing summary/paraphrases of verses in James. Today's verses are perfect for me who wants to have the rest of my life figured out right now:

James 4:13-16: Pay attention you planners who think you know what you'll be doing for years. You don't even know what will occur tomorrow! Your life is like a mist that disappears. You should say, if it's God's will, we will live and do this or that thing. The way you're doing it, you are evil in boasting and bragging. If you know the good you ought to do and don't do it, you are sinning.

I guess these verses are really a comfort. We don't have to know the end from the beginning because we know the One who is both the beginning and the end!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Camping Pictures

For those of you who were camping today and are still up checking my blog - Go to bed! But if it's Monday or you weren't camping, feel free to take a look at the pictures I've uploaded here.

More later - now it's time for some sleep!

2007-October Camping

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Camping Countdown - Camping Today!

Today's the day! This morning started out with rain. But even with such a start to the day, the forecast looks promising for a wonderful weekend of camping. Today's pictures highlight eating and music - two things that are "givens" when it comes to camping. Each of us girls has been the camping planner in turn. Currently Anna is doing a great job getting the food (and other items) together for this trip. Of course Lydia and Jubilee are helping her pack! I'm bringing the "good stuff" (i.e. the unhealthy s'mores, rice crispy treats etc!). I typically drive straight from work to the campgrounds so when we divide up what to bring, I try to avoid products that require refrigeration. The variety of food that people bring to each camping trip is amazing. I think one of my dad's favorite camping activities is going around as people finish eating and 'helping them' with their leftover food!

Some of the group are already there and in just a few hours I will be as well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This was sent to me recently by a couple ladies in my church. I've been staring at it on and off all day as my computer takes it's time rebuilding and saving drawings. It's been much better than just staring at a hour-glassing computer screen. There are several versions of this around. This one is unique since it's shaped like a bell!

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord(1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price(1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt.5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ(1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God(2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God(Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship(Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil 1: 6)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child(Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
who you are!?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Results of Self-Seeking - James 4:1-7

These notes are from Pastor Tony Butler's Sunday night sermon on the book of James on October 14th.

(I'm finally 'caught up' on posting sermon notes. So you should soon just be seeing one of these a week!)

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

We know that James was written to Jewish Christians. Part of the reason we can tell this is the introduction to James. Also we see that there is not a defense of the faith in James as there would be if it had been written primarily to unbelievers. When reading James 4, we have to wonder what was going on that these words had to be written to Christians? Wars, fights, murder.
It says they come from the desires (hedonism - living for pleasure) that war within your body. People were coveting, but not getting. Then they were murdering, but still not getting what they wanted. They didn't get it because they didn't ask God. When they asked, they didn't received because they asked with wrong motives (literally evil desires) so they could use it for their pleasures.
4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

It could be that within the believers James was written to there were many unsaved people in that church. Maybe some people in that church actually died due to covetousness? James is one of the earliest epistles. We can see from this that right from the beginning, there were problems in the church. People often say they want to get the church back to the way it was in the beginning. If this is typical of the early church, we really don't want our churches to be like this - with murder going on in the church! Based on James saying that some of the people were adulterous and a friend of the world, he could have suspected that many were not even saved.

In church history, there have been thousands killed in the name of Christianity. This occurred especially from about 1000 AD to the reformation because people believed the Church took the place of Israel completely. Therefore they thought it was a good thing and only right to kill heretics.

So maybe this statement about murdering is not that strange. It's happened in the past and must have been happening in some form in the early church.

5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?

Verse 5 is actually two statements: Do you think the scripture says without reason? and Do you think the spirit in us envies intensely? But grace overcomes all this and gets Christians beyond fights and jealousy.

For the most part, people in the church seem to be self-seeking and just not care about the truth. They gossip, stay baby Christians, and remain only convenient Christians. They may say they believe it's the last days, but it is not evidenced by their lives. Church and prayer meeting attendance is down and people's lives are not changed.

This helps us understand what James is writing. It's not just his day, but ours too. James is saying that horrible things happen due to self-seeking.

6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

But self-seeking is not from God. He gives grace to the humble. The answer is to submit ourselves to God and Satan will flee from us. Stay faithful in the race - don't give up. don't let what you see in others deter you from seeking God.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Envy and Selfish Ambition Bring Every Evil Thing - James 3:13-18

These notes are from Pastor Tony's sunday night sermon on October 7th.

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

Proper conduct and walk always comes with genuine faith. Can Christians have bitter envy and self seeking in their hearts? Yes, it is part of the flesh, but blessing should come from us, not envy and self-seeking.

We can not be genuinely happy for someone else's prosperity in our flesh, only with God's help. Our goal in all we do should be God's glory, not our own advantage.

15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Confusion and every evil thing come with envy and self-seeking.

Self seeking and envious people are plotters and pre-meditated - they bring every evil thing into the body. We must be careful with our motives and thought lives. Envy and self-seeking people are earthly, unspiritual and demonic. We can be dangerous people to either Satan's people or to the church.

When your life is about what you want, confusion and every evil thing is there. You will have the potential to do great harm to the body of Christ. Most Christians are deceiving themselves by denying their own envy and self-seeking motives.

How can I serve Jesus? Serve your brothers and sisters in the Church.

17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Sometimes we will have problems with each other. But mature Christians will sown peace through righteousness (Ro 14:19).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Tongue and Teachers - James 3:1-12

These sermon notes were taken from Pastor Tony Butler's sermon preached at Fountain of Grace Church on September 30, 2007
James 3
1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

Teachers will receive the greater judgement and are held to a more strict standard because they are telling people what God's word says and means.

Make sure you know the context of the passage when you're teaching a class.

A mature or perfect man is at the place he was intended to be. It's a person who is never at fault with his speech. If a man can control his tongue, the discipline in that person's life is so great that he'll control his whole body.

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Every one of us (especially teachers) are potential arsonists since we have tongues. The context of this passage is teachers, but the application is to everyone. The only thing that prevents forest fires due to to our tongues is maturity in Christ. The more mature we are in Christ, the less we feel the need for people to fulfil us. It's good to be content with God and satisfied with meditation on Him.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water

If you don't control your tongue, it messes up your whole life.

Note to ladies: Keep your phone conversations short and your words brief when in conversations in a group.

Your tongue stays lit 24 hours a day. It's a world of evil and its source, if we're not controlled is hell itself. We nee to go to God far more than to other people. Be still and know that He is God.

It's impossible for you to tame the tongue, but not for God. We must understand how deadly the weapon we possess really is.

He Gives Sleep to Those He Loves

This afternoon I think I finally caught up the sleep I missed in favor of fellowship last weekend at the ladies retreat. The verse I thought of upon waking from my nap is Psalm 127:2: "In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-for he grants sleep to those he loves." Of course this verse isn't exactly talking about Sunday afternoon naps and there is also a verse that applies to those who want too much sleep. Proverbs 20: 13 says, "Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare."

The Psalm 127:2 verse is not the test of whether or not God loves you. For those of you who read World magazine (as I do), you will no doubt immediately think of Andree Seu's article from October 6th called "Confessions of an insomniac." We have many other passages that speak of God's love for us. We know so many facts about God: that he answers prayer, that he loves us, that he guides us, that he can be trusted. So, when you do get rest, thank God. And when you don't get the rest you need, trust God's affection anyways.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More on Personality

Personality assessments are something that I've always found to be intriguing. At times I have trouble putting into words how I think, or maybe have the tendency to think that everyone else processing information as I do. Doing a survey such as Carrer Direct's is for me a needed reminder of the many different gifts God has given to each one of us. It shows me how valuable the thoughts and opinions of others can be. My tendency to be very blunt and direct, though good in some situations, needs to be balanced by people who are more aware of others feelings. I need you (if you're like that) to challenge my blunt statements and remind me that I'm dealing with people, not projects or facts. I realize that, especially at work, I tend to be so focused on what I'm doing that I neglect interaction with people who are outside the area that I'm focused on. Going around to talk to people and get caught up on their lives is something that I would naturally tend to consider to be unimportant. But, we are to care for one another and bear one anther's burdens. And you can't do that unless you talk to and relate to each other. So this survey has challenged my thinking on how quick I am to get focused on tasks at work.

It's interesting that even an unusual survey like that one will reveal that I do "seek perfect outcomes in all of your plans and projects." I've gone back and forth in deciding if I'm a perfectionist or not. I am not a perfectionist to the level that Dad or maybe Elijah is. But, I do want things to be done right. Perfectionism is something that can really mess a person up. Mentally I used to have really negative "self-talk" (for lack of a better description) when I made a mistake. Accepting less than perfect actions from myself did not come easy. Rather, I would dwell on it - I did compartmentalize the negativity, but would take it out of it's mental box when convenient and think about how I messed up for a long time. Realizing that I too am a human that makes mistakes and realizing that God created me in such a way that I will mess up at times is something I have only really understood in the last year through conversations with someone in my church. Giving those failures to God and releasing myself from blaming me for them has really seemed to make a difference in my mind. No longer do I have what used to be the ever-present negativity in my mind dragging me down.

Looking at another aspect of the survey, I see that it mentions that I like to see the larger vision and create efficient methods and procedures. I don't know if that is really who I am (though I would like to think so). I do like to know the reasons for doing something, and to understand the whole process (such as our inventory system at work). Also, I do enjoy and seem to be good at thinking of ways to accomplish a larger goal. I've found that making personal goals each year that include smaller goals done on a daily basis to be a very effective way for me to achieve what I desire.
It says that I like new challenges and look for situations where I can offer logical solutions. I do like new challenges such as making a new report that will make a process easier to do. But, thought I do like variety, change also is something I tend to approach with some trepidation. Going into something different (whether it be college or a new job) is hard. It's not something I look forward to, but will do once I've determined that it is the right thing to do. I do like logical solutions. I hate not knowing why something was done. If it doesn't make sense, then in my mind, it needs to be changed.
I find it interesting that they call my personality profile type "Analyze". I guess with that personality type, it should come as no surprise that I like things like excel, databases, tracking money, tracking time, and even looking at Google analytics reports and reviewing the results. I don't necessarily tend to remember very well those things that I analyze, but to me it's fun to track and review.

Well, I need to post this and get ready for the day. I had a good run this morning - it was wonderful weather! I ran 4 miles in 36.5 minutes or just over 9 minute miles. It felt good, and I wasn't pushing myself too hard. I found this new 4 mile route a couple weeks ago and think I'll keep using it for weekend runs. I don't end up retracing my steps and it gives me something different to look at.
Anna and Jubilee and I are going shopping today. We're going to hit one or two of the second hand clothes stores and see what we can find. Some people have told me they've found some nice stuff at them, and we just haven't gone to them in years.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Career Direct Personality Assessment

Ivory mentioned the career direct personality survey on her post yesterday.

I just took the survey and though I don't know for sure if I answered the questions accurately, I kind of agree with the assessment. Click below to see the description of Career Directs' assessment of me as an Analyzer.

What do you think? Does this really describe me?