Friday, April 28, 2006

leaping with confidence.....

Ken and his family arrived at their condo in Cozumel, Mexico, ready to enjoy a week-long vacation. Ken's son, Michael, looked out the back window and saw a 20-foot-high platform that people were jumping off into the Pacific Ocean. Within minutes they were out of their clothes, into their swim trunks and jumping off the platform.

After a couple of jumps, Michael noticed his 7-year-old sister, Jenna, watching them. Michael said, "Dad, I think Jenna wants to go off with us." Jenna is a Cinderella, Polly Pockets, Fairy Princess kind of girl, Ken thought. She's not into stuff like this, she'll be scared to death. But Ken walked over to the kiddie pool and said, "Jenna, honey, do you want to go off the big platform with me?" She smiled and said, "Sure, let's go!"

Ken was astonished. On the way up the steps to the platform, he just knew any moment that she would back out. They got to the edge, father and daughter holding hands. Once more Ken asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Jenna nodded, and they jumped.

They swam to the shore. As they were walking back to the platform steps, Ken asked Jenna, "What made you decide to do that?" Jenna, a very verbal child, said, "OK, when we were walking up the steps I just told myself to calm down, and that there was no reason to be scared. I knew I was with my daddy and that everything was going to be alright."

As people who have a relationship with God, this ought to be our attitude. The God who created the universe and everything in it is the SAME God who is our heavenly Father. And as long as our daddy's with us, everything's going to be alright.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

slaughtering the english language.....

Maybe I'm too picky but sometimes it amazes me how uneducated people can sound. Especially those who claim to be professionals. And it's not just the misuse of written words (its vs. it's, there/their/they're, etc.), but also of the spoken word.

I know someone who even MAKES UP words in conversations. For example, "Yeah, that's just how they conscrued it." I know this person meant to use the work "construe", but I can't get their made-up word out of my mind. The word "blurb" becomes "blurp." Is "blurp" a belch that is to be praised or advertised? And one of my favorites is "stabability" instead of "stability." These words and so many others make me cringe.

I don't claim to be a genius. (Just ask my parents about my grades in college.) But people tend to judge you by the way you speak. And sounding half-way intelligent ain't all that hard.....

even i wouldn't be this mean.....

RENO, Nev. - Four bus loads of students from O'Brien Middle School made the four-hour trip to Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, Calif., only to find the amusement park's gates locked Monday. The school-sponsored trip was supposed to reward top students.

"It was pretty much a fiasco," said Washoe County School District spokesman Steve Mulvenon.

"They ended up wasting a day that those kids could have better spent in class or doing what they were going to do at the park."

School officials said the $50 fee will be refunded, and the tour company that arranged the trip has agreed to pay for the next one. "The tour company neglected to check the schedule," Mulvenon said.

"It is just a bummer for the kids," said parent Jeff Wood. "Now, they will have to wait another month to go and a lot of the kids might not be able to go then."

Principal Scott Grange said the school was even given printed tickets with Monday's date on them.

"But shame on us for not checking," he said.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

reality check.....

There's this one coach in Sara's softball league that everyone wants to beat. And it's not his team that we want to beat - it's him.

For our team (actually it's us coaches and the parents - the kids don't remember it) it goes back to 3 seasons ago when he unethically generated runs for his team. Maybe unethical isn't the right word; maybe it's more like unscrupulous. It was 3 years ago, but we ALL STILL REMEMBER IT like it was yesterday. Keep in mind, this is for a girls 10 and under softball rec league; there aren't any college scouts in the stands.

We played this team on Saturday. Coaches from other teams came to our dugout during the game to see if we were winning. One coach asked the score and when he found out we were ahead said, "Good, I hope you beat that (insert your own word here)! I can't stand him!" At one point in the game, the scorekeepers had the score wrong, giving the other team a run they didn't earn. So the umpires had us put our defense back on the field and make them earn the run. The girls were so confused, but the parents and coaches were all for it.

We ended up winning by four runs due to some great fielding on our team's part. The coaches and parents were thrilled, and the girls were excited, too, just for different reasons. They were just glad for the win.

After each game, we two coaches talk to the girls and go over the positive things they did. We praised them for watching the strike zone better, for their excellent fielding during the game, and we awarded the game ball. Again, the coaches and parents were on a high because we beat this guy. My buddy that I coach with said, "OK, anybody got anything else?" One of the new girls on the team, also one of the smallest, peered out from beneath her cap and said, "We got snacks!"

I now have a new saying: It doesn't matter if you win or lose, but how good the snacks are after the game.....

Monday, April 24, 2006

18 years and counting.....

18 years ago today the bride and I set out for our honeymoon in Hawaii, because 18 years ago yesterday we got married. Last night when she wasn’t looking, I sneaked our wedding album upstairs to the bonus room and scanned a few pictures. Most of you have never seen any of these. Two things I noticed about these pictures. First, we both had a lot more hair - me because I was younger, and the bride because it was 1988. Second, notice how my smile changes from picture to picture – from subdued in the sanctuary, to happy with the groom’s cake, to ecstatic with the garter. Go figure…..

PS – Celebrity sighting in the Cool Springs Target last night. Sarah, the winner from the television show The Bachelor, was there. Of course, they’re no longer together like the bride and me…..

Friday, April 21, 2006

my bachelor days are over.....

Someone asked me the other day how things were around the "bachelor pad" since the bride was gone. I told them that there was so much estrogen in our house that it could NEVER be described as a bachelor pad. I don't even think fumigation would work.

So I get to pick the bride up this afternoon after work. Her plane lands just before 5:00. One of my best friends hinted that having to pick up your wife at the Nashville airport at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon could be grounds for divorce. He also suggested that I just tell the bride to get a room for the night and I'll pick her up Saturday morning. Yeah, traffic's bad on I-40 east that time of the day, but I believe she's worth it.

We've all missed her and we're ready for her to come home. The girls made things easy for me this week by helping out around the house. We survived but again, we're ready for the bride to be back home.....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

gottfried reportedly less appealing than america's #1 enemy.....

BOSTON (Reuters) - Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac Inc. duck in television commercials for the insurer, was crowned "unsexiest man in the world" by an alternative newspaper on Tuesday.

"The parrot-voiced, pickle-faced comic is to sexy what Kryptonite is to Superman," The Boston Phoenix wrote.

New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson came in second followed by film critic Roger Ebert, television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw and Fox television co-host Alan Colmes. Even actor Brad Pitt made the list, as the newspaper's 100th-least sexy man.

George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees -- arch-rivals to the Boston Red Sox -- also made the list. "Come on, we live in Boston, you knew it was coming," the Phoenix said.

Others included pop star Michael Jackson and nasal-voiced rapper Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys.

Gottfried has had numerous television and film roles including a year as a cast member on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

a cast of one.....

The bride called me from Naples yesterday. At first I thought it was to gloat. She said, "You'll never guess what I'm doing!" I thought of so many things, but for some odd reason said "Uh, parasailing?" to which she replied, "Nope, I'm in the emergency room."

(Let me stop and say that this sounds like something I'd say over the phone just for fun. This is NOT something my dear, sweet bride would say.....or WOULD HAVE SAID 20 years ago. Guess I've grown on her.)

She was actually in the emergency room because her mother had broken her ankle. She and her parents had gone sight-seeing at Marco Island and had decided to stop at Burger King for some coffee. Since the parking lot was crowded, Ken offered to drop Hattie and the bride off at the door. The bride, sitting in the front seat, got out and closed her door. Hattie, in the back seat, was about half way out. Ken thought everyone was out and went to park. Hattie fell out of the car as he pulled forward and broke her ankle in the process.

She'll have a fiberglas splint on for the next few days until the swelling goes down, then they'll put a cast on it this Friday. They're supposed to come home on Sunday (the bride will be coming home on Friday), so I don't know if they'll have to alter their schedule or not at this point.

Here's to quick healing for Hattie.....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

not enough time..... do a full post today, so here's a picture taken Easter morning just before leaving for church.....

Monday, April 17, 2006

i knew this would happen one day.....

It took almost 18 years, but I always knew this day would come. Frankly I'm surprised that it took this long to happen. The bride left me.

Actually she got an opportunity to go to Naples, Florida and spend the week with her parents so she took advantage of it. I took her to the airport earlier today, and I'll pick her up late Friday afternoon.

I did have something funny, er unsettling, happen while at the airport. I helped check the bride in and she learned that she had one too many bags to check. When I travel I usually check two bags and carry one, mainly because I don't want to carry any more than that when I go from the terminal to the rental car place. But because I don't dedicate one full bag to hair care products, I guess I'm different. So she finds out she's going to have to carry three items - a cosmetic case, her purse and some kind of flight bag that someone named Maude or Blanche would take with them to Naples. (Did I just say that?) I kissed her goodbye and headed for short term parking. On the way out, I heard over the loudspeaker that each passenger could take only 2 items on board. I went back to the line formed for those going through security and asked if she needed me to take anything back with me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone approaching, then I heard, "Sir, please step back!" I waved, apologized, then took a few steps back. "SIR, ALL THE WAY BACK!!!!!" Suddenly I felt very much like a suspected terrorist. He should have asked himself - How many terrorists wear dress khakis, pinpoint blue oxfords and Cole Hahn shoes? Like I always tell my employees, just ask the next question and it will do you a world of good. But I realize he was simply doing his job. Unfortunately that's the world we now live in.

So I'll be playing "Mr. Mom" this week. Fixing lunches, getting the girls ready for school and stuff like that. I think I can handle it.

I think the bride's most difficult chore this week will be either shopping or going out to eat. She deserves some down-time. I'm really glad she can do this. And as long as she doesn't know the girls are eating brownies for breakfast, we'll all have a good week.....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

the one about the catholic priest and the baptist minister.....

Sunday before last we had an interesting event occur at our church. The Peoples Church (a.k.a. First Baptist Church of Franklin, a Southern Baptist church), had ***gasp*** Catholic priest, Charles Strobel, assist its pastor, Rick White, in a baptism. And believe it or not, the ceiling didn't fall in on those of us who were there that morning. (Note to my Catholic friends - I'm joking!) In fact, it was one of the more touching things I've ever seen there.

It seems that there was a homeless man who came to know Christ because of Father Strobel's ministry, Room In The Inn, a ministry in which our church participates. Because this man's new relationship was due in large part to Charles Strobel's ministry, he wanted him to participate in the baptism with our pastor. And again, it was a very special moment.

We've gotten used to seeing a couple of baptisms a week lately. But this baptism was different, and not because of the priest. See, Williamson County is a pretty affluent area. (Not that our family is; we're just there to even out the median income for census reports!) It's not every day that you see a homeless man baptized in our church. But isn't that one of the reasons the church is here? We sometimes forget that we're not just supposed to serve those who look and act just like us.....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

queen for a day.....

When I first heard that the American Idol contestants were going to be doing Queen songs for the week, I thought the show would be terrible. During the week I listened to alot of their music on-line and I had forgotten how much I actually loved Queen growing up. (I even owned the Queen album "News of the World" that I kept hidden from Mom and Dad because they were so controversial. Now, you kids, don't try this at home.) There's even a Queen tribute album that was done recently with songs covered by artists like Josh Kelley, Gavin DeGraw and Joss Stone. It's excellent.

So here's my review on last night:

Bucky - I actually liked it, even though he wasn't on key the whole time. It was entertaining. However, he could be in the bottom 3 tonight.

Ace - Vocals were weak, but the band's arrangement was excellent. I thought it was funny during his rehearsal with Queen that he made a suggestion on the song arrangement and Brian May said, "No, we're not going to do it like that." Bottom 3 tonight.

Kellie - Surprised me when I heard she was doing Bohemian Rhapsody, then surprised me even more when she did a decent job on it. When the song started, maybe it was the lighting and camera angle but she reminded me of Garth from Wayne's World.

Chris - I don't think he likes me because he's always screaming at me. Huh? Oh, it's not just me, he does that to everyone? OK, my bad.

Katharine - I love her voice, but I didn't think she sounded as good as the judges thought. Seemed to crack when she went for the higher notes. She should have gone with "Pressure" as covered by Joss Stone. Much better for her.

Elliott - Though some people might mistake him for an Amish farmer named Hezekiah, this boy can flat dab "sang". Great job!

Taylor - He's baaaa-aaaack! Best performance of the night, hands down. Missing the mic stand was funny, but he didn't let it bother him. The ending? Can I getta' "wooooooooooo!"? Oh, and Simon's comment at the end was completely uncalled for.

Paris - The voice was superb, but the 90's version Janet Jackson look was pretty bad. Couple that with a song most people had never heard before last night and it could spell trouble. Might be in the bottom 3.

My prediction is that Ace rocked us for the last time last evening. Sorry, Meg.....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

something new for palm sunday.....

When we walked into the auditorium Sunday morning I could see that the stage was set for us to have communion. They usually have several candles set out lining the stage, but there was something else in the place of the candles. Upon further inspection, I could tell that they were 6 x 6 cedar beams. On the beams were small buckets (at first I thought they were votive holders) and what appeared to be hammers.

After the sermon our pastor said we were going to do a "spiritual exercise." He asked all those who wanted to participate to come forward, take a hammer, a nail and a small piece of black paper. The paper was meant to represent our sins, and we were to nail the piece of paper to the beam. Simple enough. Most of the congregation started making their way down front. We had around 1,500 - 1,600 in attendance.

The sound of the hammering all at once brought shivers. My mind immediately went back to the movie "The Passion of the Christ" and the scene of the nails going through Christ's body. Even as Rick was praying just before communion was served, a few of the last nails were being hammered into the posts.

I watched as Sara struggled with her nail; she just wasn't strong enough. The nails they used were masonry nails, flat on all sides instead of round and not exactly pointed on the end. I immediately thought, "Why didn't they used a regular 8 penny nail? That sure would have made this alot easier." Then I realized that they wanted to make this as realistic as possible, as masonry nails were probably closer to the spikes that would have been used for a crucifiction 2,000 years ago. I also realized how much more pain a nail like that would have caused - more blunt on the end than sharp, therefore taking longer to penetrate.

We talked about it in class afterwards, about all the symbolism in the act. Someone said that they felt that they needed several more squares of paper for all their sins. Another person said that he noticed some people were able to put the nail in with one or two swings of the hammer, while others seemed to take much longer. He said that's alot like repentance is - for people it takes longer than others. We talked about how much we felt like stepping in and helping those who had trouble driving their nails, but that would have defeated the purpose. Just like to have a relationship with Christ we have to do it on our own, no one else can do it for us.

I looked down at the palm of my left hand. Saturday afternoon I was replacing an electrical outlet in the girls' bathroom upstairs. While attempting to disconnect the wiring from the existing outlet, my hand slipped. I had a tool (can't remember what it's called, but it looks like a screwdriver with a pointed end and pretty sharp) in my right hand that I was using to pry the wire out of the outlet. The end of the tool went into the palm of my left hand. At the time it hurt like the dickens. I think I may have yelled and probably said something I shouldn't have said. Looking at the scar in class Sunday morning, I realized the pain to my palm was nothing compared to having a nail there.....

Monday, April 10, 2006

scary friday afternoon.....

As the four of us huddled in the laundry room under a blanket, we could hear the hail pelting our house. The sound it made against the windows was different than when it hit the sides of the house. I just knew I'd walk out of there and see my car smashed to pieces. Then it hit me - the damage that others around the mid-state had experienced was much worse than that. I felt a little guilty worrying about my car.

We went outside and viewed the golfball-sized hail on the ground. A neighbor's back windshield had been knocked out, so we helped her secure a tarp to prevent any further water damage. Kids scurried about collecting pieces of hail in Ziploc bags.

Our prayers go out to all those who lost so much last Friday.

Clockwise, from the left: the path of the tornado cut through the Woodhaven subdivision in Gallatin; a little girl outside the Metro Baptist Church in Goodlettsville; another leveled house in Gallatin; the Toyota dealership in Gallatin.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I love being a dad. There's no better feeling in the world than to hear "I love you" from one of our daughters, or than to get a hug when I come in from work. But there are times that I feel ill-equipped to handle the moments when they're hurting.

I remember when they were babies. There were times when they'd be crying but they couldn't tell us what was hurting. I used to think, "If they could just talk to us, it would be so much easier." I've found that their ability to talk about it doesn't necessarily make it any easier for me to make things better.

I'm a fixer by nature. If someone tells me their problem, I try to fix it. One thing I've learned being in a house full of females is that they don't always want the problem fixed by me. First, they probably wouldn't like the way I'd fix it. Second, they really are just venting and wanting someone to listen. It's important to note that while I have this knowledge, I don't always remember to use it.

So what do I do? I guess all I can do is try to do for them those things that make me happy when they do it for me - hug them and tell them that I love them. Oh, and listen rather than attempt to fix.....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

here's the pitch.....

Softball season opens tonight for the girls. And, of course, both are playing at the same time on different sides of town. Luckily Meg has a double-header, so we'll all get to see her play at least some of her first game. The four of us will be at Meg's first game, then Sara and I will leave around 6:40 to go to her game. You'd think the league commissioner would have looked at the conflicts for us and rescheduled all of the games so our family wouldn't have to miss either daughters' games. I need to talk to Rick about that.

It's amazing how different the ability levels are for girls who are the same age on a team. Some pick it up quickly, others can be in their third or fourth year and are still at a loss as that what they're doing. And sometimes no amount of coaching can help. Either they've got it or they don't. And that can be frustrating for a coach.

Hopefully the rain will hold off tonight.....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

a bit of clarification.....

Someone (who will remain nameless, but I will have been married to her for 18 years later this month) mentioned to me that I made an ugly comment about an American Idol contestant in my last post. The "Fat Bottomed Girls" song title was in NO WAY aimed at any one particular person, and that's the honest truth. That's just one of the Queen songs that first comes to my mind, and I thought it would be funny if someone sang it next week.

And I'm almost embarrassed to admit that this someone would even attempt to make that connection. Guess that's what she gets for being around me for over 19 years.....

review from last night's ai.....

Here's my take on last night's show:

Taylor - He's my favorite, I'm picking him to win it all. He sang the song well, but it was a terrible choice for him. Slow and boring. (Definitely not up there with "Living for the City" or "Takin' it to the Streets.) Wish he'd done something from Ray Charles "Country and Western" album. But with his fan base, he's safe again.

Mandisa - Very wrong song, and the clothes didn't help.

Ace - Good song choice, although I didn't think it was as good as the bride and Meg thought it was. But I don't think Meg judges Ace purely on his singing ability.

Kellie - Probably the best of the night. She was in her element.

Chris - Did a good job, but the ballad song style showed a few kinks.

Elliot - Another good performance. Safe again this week.

Katharine - Right up there with Kellie for the night. Her stage presence, delivery and voice are superb. Doubt she's in the bottom three again tonight.

Paris - Much more subdued compared to last week. She did OK.

Bucky - This was his genre, but he was off-key during the first verse.

My prediction for who's going home tonight - either Mandisa or Paris.

Next week's theme? Queen. Yep, Queen. I can think of about 4-5 popular Queen songs. I wonder who'll end up singing "Fat Bottomed Girls".....

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

when 5 is greater than 10.....

Math has always come pretty easy to me. I work well with numbers. Need to know how much a blouse would be at 35% off at Kohl's? I'm your man. That's why I was a bit confused as to how 5 could be greater than 10.

Sara had her birthday party/sleepover on Friday night. There were a total of five 11-year-old girls in our bonus room. Their squeals made dogs bark three counties over. About a month ago, we hosted ten 15-and-16-year-old girls from church for a weekend. The loudest they got was when they played Scene-It one afternoon. And compared to this past weekend it would be considered subdued.

Now I understand how 5 can be greater than 10.....

PS - Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, April 03, 2006

i'm so honored.....

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I believe I'm going to have an honor bestowed upon me very soon. Again, I'm not sure about this, but I believe I'm going to be nominated for Father of the Year in 2006.

Why, you ask? Because I took the bride and our two daughters to "She's The Man" Friday afternoon. Yes, I endured all 105 minutes of it. It's true that there were other movies playing at the same time at Thoroughbred that I could have opted to see, but I braved this movie with my daughters. That's what dads least, the ones who might be considered for Father of the Year.

And here's my ticket stub to prove it.....