Today was a very special day for me. It was a day I’ve been looking forward to for a VERY VERY long time. My childhood best friend got married today.
Andy and Karl around ~1976
While it’s true “me and Andy” were cousins, we were best friends growing up. When we were too young to remember, we were even next door neighbors for awhile. But for most of the time we were a bike apart – and bikes were what we used to head to the park, ball park and baseball card shops.
Andy and Karl 2011
So how exciting to be here today, and be asked to stand up in Andy’s wedding along with his good college buddy, Mark, and brother Scott. So, the whole family came into town and quickly got my fancy threads:
Secret Agent 004
And got ready for my important role. Do I look fancy smancy enough? But nearly as sharp as Andy and Tracy looked:
Mr. and Mrs. Andy Blackwell!
The photographer in me always enjoys watching the photographer at work, so I snagged a few photos of the photographer:
Photographers at Work
The Girls Posing
A Shot I was especially happy to capture, and by iPhone!
The Practice Kiss
I call it the “Practice Kiss” because this was before the wedding when we were taking pictures. Here’s one I took and touched up on my iPhone:
I always enjoy weddings. They are a great reminder of my own wedding and the promise of joy and happiness I felt then. There is an eagerness and anticipation in the faces of newlyweds that is contagious. The delight is the face of the groom for his bride and the reflection of the delight back in the face of the bride – she wants nothing more than to make him happy in every way. He wants to provide for her, to make her life easy and carefree and provide her with safety and security, and she in return wants to dote on him and be there for him providing warmth and comfort, and refuge from the harsh world he goes out to conquer for her.
But the real world soon sets in. Bills. Schedules. Demands. People. Relatives. Struggles. Conflicts. Real life. And the idealism of marriage can suffer and the original ideas can seem to fade – even seem to have been foolish. But were they foolish? Or were they the secret to survival? The pastor today said and read all the familar things today about love – I need not repeat them, you’ve heard them all before too. But I will repeat one thing he said. Love must be learned. I’m still learning. I’ve got a lot yet to learn. And every time I go to a wedding I want that look back. And I want to look at my bride that way again, and have her look at me that way again. And I don’t want to be a fool. I want it to be the secret to surviving this crazy world. Because this world knocks you down.
Perhaps that’s why the wisest man who ever lived once wrote:
8 There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
“and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
No matter what side of the AISLE you’re on, THIS is FUNNY and VERY telling!
It just all depends on how you look at some things…
Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California , was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Congressman Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.
The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory:
On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: ‘Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.’
So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.
Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:
“Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”
NOW THAT’s how it’s done, Folks! That’s real POLITICAL SPIN!
Not since Parenting is HEART Work has there been another parenting book that I really liked. Most parenting books annoy me. Why? Because I find them gimmicky or filled with tricks and cliche’s that don’t treat children as unique creations of God wired by Him for a purpose. I’m passionate about this because as a boy I was one of those boys that drove my teachers crazy – I wasn’t rebellious, disrespectful, mean or insubordinate – but they might have called me a “bad boy” when I was out of ear shot. Because I didn’t come out of a cookie cutter. But if they could see me now, they’d understand, I’m a leader, a visionary, a creative innovator, inventor and initiator. An entrepreneur. A mover-and-shaker. I still can’t sit still.
That is why I was hesitant when I was offered a free copy of Spiritual Parenting to review, because it was a new “parenting” book, and I hate parenting books! Parenting books teach parents how to get their kids to behave, and if you’ve been to any of my discipline workshops, you’ve heard me say,
“I have absolutely NO interest in children behaving.”
After the shocked faces recover, I assure them, behavior will improve, but what I’m interested in is shaping their character and their hearts. If you change their behavior – you succeed in making little Pharisees out of them. Training them how to “act” when adults are around. And what happens when the adults are no longer around. Uh, huh.Exactly!
That is the problem with teenagers. When they were kids their parents taught htem how to behave instead of shaping their hearts and character. DUH!
Well, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the premise of Spiritual Parenting is precisely that. As it says on the back cover:
“It’s hard enough to train kids to behave, but good behavior isn’t what Jesus calls for in the Bible. God wants hearts and souls that are shaped in vibrant faith and love toward Himslef and others.”
Michelle Anthony, a Family Ministries Pastor in Costa Mesa, CA, talks throughout the book about how to create environments for fostering Godly character in your children – Environments of Identity, Faith Community, Service, Out of the Comfort Zone, Responsibility, Course Correction, Love and Respect, Modeling and more. She gives practical examples, steps, stories, and scriptures to help parents see how forming a child’s character is the key to real genuine change – change that matters – not just external change. It is a book I’d highly recommend you pick up and settle down and read, have your spouse read, and then discuss.
The other book David C. Cook was generous to give me a copy of, also by Michelle, was The BIG GOD STORY – and it just that! Big and all about God! Never before have I seen in one short children’s book the story of GOD woven so simply and profoundly through the entire Bible in a way that even young children can grasp – even including the 400 years of silence between our Testaments, showing, as she says in the final letter to the Reader, “that God promised, preserved, prophesied, and faithfully presented His Redeemer at the perfect time!”
Your children hear bits and pieces of this giant story in a scattered order at church. Having this book at home and telling them where what they are hearing at church or seeing on TV fits into this BIG GOD STORY can really help them grasp the larger Story of God. I’m grateful to have this book for my son.
Note: These are not affiliate links, I make no money off the purchase of these books. However, I did get a free copy in exchange for the review.
It’s not uncommon for a restaurant to offer my son a balloon. But I didn’t expect my son to say, “Dad, can I give the balloon to God?”
My immediate instinct was to say no – thinking “That’s politically incorrect today!” You know, some bird might choke on it. It’s liter! But then the Holy Spirit whispered, “Your son is wanting to give a gift to God”, and suddenly I realized that wasn’t something I wanted to squelch. Sorry bird, but you choking is a risk I’m willing to take – at least once.
So I went and found a marker at the host’s station, wrote a note to God on the balloon, explained to Luke this might be a one-time thing, and then we went outside and sent his Gift up to God. What fun it was to watch it drift up into the sky.
After several minutes it was impossible to see, and then Luke said, “And now God has it. I wonder where He will put it? I hope He thinks of me when He sees it in His house.” If you ask me, God just might have plucked it out of the sky and put it somewhere in heaven, and I don’t think there is liter in God’s house up in the sky!
Sometimes we just have to set aside our grown-up hesitations and just give in to the impulses of childhood. I made a video of the ascension of Luke’s balloon on my iPhone and we watch it over and over!
I had to respond to this email…. don’t know if you’ll ever get this, though. I loved the story of your son’s balloon gift to God! I am a balloon artist and I wanted to let you know that sending a LATEX balloon (the rubbery kind, not the shiny metallic ones) is NOT an environmental mishap! Latex balloons are 100% biodegradable and are made from a natural product, the harvesting of which actually helps prevent deforestation of the rain forest. Latex is harvested from trees as sap without harming them, in the same way maple syrup is harvested. The trees can live and produce latex for about 40 years.
Also, you can rest easy in knowing that animals are not interested in eating latex… it’s not on their list of favorite foods! If they did accidentally eat any, it would pass through their digestive system intact or break down and disappear. A latex balloon actually biodegrades at the same rate as an oak leaf! I think God loves balloon gifts, especially those coming from the hearts of kids!
Thanks for all you do!
Lynn ____ (last name removed)
I replied that now I can sleep peacefully knowing that I have not killed some innocent bread out there somewhere or caused the earth to end one day sooner than it would have otherwise. LOL
I actually wasn’t too worried about it – I was more worried about getting a bunch of hate e-mails from some environmental wackos out there “YOU LET A BALLOON UP! YOU EARTH HATER YOU!!!” Because most schools have banned the balloon launch practice that we all did as kids claiming it kills birds and harms the earth. I’ve always said that’s rubbish. (Note the pun) But people who don’t believe in heaven have only this earth to care for, so we have to cut them some slack I guess!
Anyway, I appreciated her note, as with several other encouraging replies I got. Funny, people are always surprised that I actually get my own e-mails! Only 1400 more to go! Good night folks!
I both love social media and fear it. I can’t attack it too much or I’d be a hypocrite I have over 10,000 “tweets” so far, and nearing 1000 friends on Facebook, but why do I still feel so lonely? Social networking is a part of my daily – O.K., let’s be honest, moment by moment, life! I do not, not, think it is an addiction or bad for me! (I could quit any time I wanted to, right? I just don’t want to!)
Quite to the contrary, it has given me yet another avenue to amplify the message God has given me to share. Unlike many who live their lives like a pin-ball game bouncing through life from one opportunity to another with no clear game plan, I sought God for a very specific Life Mission at age nineteen and have had a laser focus on that Mission ever since. It is written and defined and has enabled me to say “no” to many good things and focus on the Great my entire life and ministry (not that I haven’t gotten distracted and needed to get back on course at times!).
Social Networking has enabled me to expand this Mission into spheres that otherwise I could have never reached, and on a daily basis during idle moments that other wise could have been wasted… Relaxing? Reading? Enjoying my family or praying or… There I go again… the internal struggle erupts! But would I truly be doing those noble things every time I tweeted or updated by Facebook status? The simple answer is no. Social networking has enriched my life with friendships I would have never made until heaven! Now heaven will be a grand Tweet-Up!
But enter children into the conversation, and the conversation shifts. Is it good for them? Unfortunately, folks, there is an element of surrender here. Frankly, we can’t stem this tide – only steer it. Let’s look at it from a different or historical angle. How many teenagers DIE annually driving cars? Do we ban them from driving? Perhaps we should! Unfortunately, that will never happen. You, like them, were destined to drive. My preschooler is already talking about when he will get to drive. In fact, all he wanted for his fifth birthday last month was a REAL Jeep. So we rented one for a day and I taught him how to control the wiper blades and turn signals and let him sit on my lap and steer around the block. My own dad understood both the dangers of driving and the inevitability that the son he loved would soon be on the road without him. Once of the best things he did was take me out and teach me, not only how to drive, but how to slide and spin and control a skid. He had me memorize, “When you are spinning, you are not out of control, you have only lost the ability to stop.” This saved my life years later when my wife and I spun out of control on the highway in winter on the highway. As we crossed the center line spinning with a semi-truck plowing toward us and cars spinning in all directions off the road I yelled at my wife, “I AM NOT OUT OF CONTROL! I HAVE ONLY LOST THE ABILITY TO STOP!” And I control spun the vehicle in front of and around the semi, and back to the correct side of the highway, all while spinning. While God had a lot to do with it, for sure – my dad had trained me for this event, and saved our lives.
The point? Today kids are driving Social Media! We cannot prevent it. We would be fools to think we could stop it. They are in the drivers seat. But we can, and MUST prepare them for the spins and wipe outs ahead. They will listen to our wisdom and advice, and we can give them the guidance and protections they need to keep them safe. We can teach them to put it down. We can give them limits. We can help them find balance and foster real relationships outside of 140 characters and digits and keyboards. We can show them sunshine and go for walks and plan outings and plan in-person socials. We can help them stay real and remind them that we care and make sure they know they don’t need to turn to anonymous sources when they need companionship, counsel or help. - Karl Bastian, Founder of Kidology.org
This is my portion of a complete Kidology Report featuring several authors. Download the entire report and then add your own input in the Kidology Forum.
You can also WIN A FREE BOOK by Jim Weidmann of Heritage Builders just by adding your comments in the discussion forum. So let me know your thoughts on Kids and Social Media. Details in the forum discussion thread.
The full report is HERE and the discussion is HERE. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the topic!
Today it was pretty cold… and snowy, and when it came time for Dad School, I could tell my son would rather be outside playing in the snow than working on his alphabet.
So what’s a Dad to do?
Combine School and Snow together, of course!
I had to shovel the driveway eventually today anyway – might as well use it as an educational opportunity, and as I like to say, “Kill two stones with one bird!”
We bundled up and headed outside and worked on our letters, in the snow. Granted, we wouldn’t last long in the cold – but we had a great time. (My back might argue that last statement!)
(Contest is over, but it was FUN!) Can you name the letters we worked on today? See how many of the letters you can name in COMMENTS. First person to name ALL FOUR correctly, WINS!
The Letter "d"
The Letter "f"
The Letter "g"
The Letter "T"
NAME ALL FOUR LETTERS in Comments…
you just might get a PRIZE!
This was a blast! (and quite crazy!) I had no idea I would get such a response, and it was very confusing to go between the blog comments and facebook comments – but the results are in!
Picture 1 is obvious a LITTLE “d” – capital D would not do. Sorry.
Picture 2 is is a LITTLE “f” – some guessed F, but missed the curve at the top.
Picture 3 is a LITTLE “g” – most got this, but a few capitalized again. (oops)
Picture 4 admittedly, was the killer. I had Luke lay in it and form the letter as the hint. It was the Letter “T” – capital. The only capital. Granted, he kept moving and doing a snow angel, so his form is a little off, but since it wasn’t the only letter people missed, I think it’s fair.
My Aunt Linda, for most attempts, was the closest at first with “D F g T” she only had the case off, and being a teacher, I thought she knew better! (LOL) I hinted on her wall but she only went downhill from there with “d E g Y” then “d E g T” then “P E g T” then “d E g L” then “d E g I”!
Krista Mobley is the Facebook winner! Though it took her several attempts and a few tips from me to get it right in the whee hours last night. But she finally pulled it off. But, I’m a little biased toward her. But I didn’t help her any more than I did anyone else!
Doug Olson is my Blog Winner! Technically, I could disqualify the Facebook commenters since the rules said to use blog comments! Anyway, Doug’s a good friend and a great encourager, so I was glad to wake up this morning and see he nailed it.
BONUS WINNER: (I’m just such a nice guy!) As I was updating this page another winner squeaked in! Dawna Lunde posted the correct answer via Facebook!
WHAT DO THEY WIN?
All these smart and lucky winners need to do is contact me via facebook and they will get a free download of one of Luke’s favorite albums.
It’s called Craig’s Kids and not only does Luke love it, but I really enjoy it too!
You can hear a sampler of it on the product page on Kidology. I think every Christian Kid in America should be listening to this CD! This is one of those CDs that is just jam-packed with great music and even better lyrics that kids need to be packing into their hearts and minds. I just can’t recommend it enough. My favorites are “I Wonder Why” and for fun “Rolley Polley” but every single song is just excellent.
If you weren’t a winner, I’ll make you a winner: Just enter code SNOW and get 10% off any Craig’s Kids product on Kidology! (Expires one year from today!)
PLUS!Kidology Has EXCLUSIVE Buy One Get One Free Offer!
DiscipleLand, the publishers of DiscipleTown, are coming out with the most beautiful preschool Bible this Spring – BUT RIGHT NOW – you can get exclusively from Kidology.org a gorgeous Easter Story Book for your children at an amazing BUY ONE SET OF TEN and get a SECOND SET FREE!
This special offer won’t last long – and it is unique to Kidology.org due to my special relationship with DiscipleLand as the author of DiscipleTown.
You will get TWENTY 16-Page books for the SAME PRICE as TEN over on Discipland.com! (compare)
You’ll want to give one of these beautiful books to every one of your children on Easter Sunday Morning! VISITORS COME ON EASTER SUNDAY! This bibllically rich book tells the Story of Easter and shares the Gospel Message!
I enjoy the Super Bowl a lot. Usually, I plan a Super Bowl Party, but this year my party was more virtual as I sat and partied mostly via Twitter and enjoyed it at home by myself, though the family came around once and awhile to check in on me and make sure I was stocked up on snacks.
Who did I root for? Well, as a former Chicagoian, I reallyreally honestly tried to root against the Packers and go for the Steelers – and as a Rush Limbaugh fan (who is a Steelers fan) I tried to root for the Steelers, but knowing nothing about them, it was hard. Especially, when they never gave me any reason to, other than being the team playing the Packers.
I really enjoyed the video CBN put together of Christians in the Super Bowl, and it really seemed to slant toward the Packers, and that made it even harder to root against them. Even though the Steelers QB wore God’s favorite number (#7) on his chest and their coach was a Christian.. they just never seemed to show up for the game, even as they managed to always stay with a TD of catching up.
I do enjoy close games! So it was one of the most entertaining Super Bowl games in recent years. But I just couldn’t help rooting for the Packers as the game went on. There was just something about the way they played that was contagious.
But it was the Super Bowl AFTER the game that was the most fun! Luke came down after the game and wanted to play football – though he loves to antagonize me and invert “football” and “baseball” just to make me correct him. (I’m conviced he does know the difference, and just likes to drive me crazy.)
So we started wrestling in the front room. The funny part was, I kept saying, “We need a football,” and he’d say, “No we don’t, just atackle me!” As every dad knows, the love language of boys is wrestling and so we spend time every evening wrestling on the floor or bed tickling, blowing bubbles, and tumbling around and it usually starts with Luke saying, “ATTACKLE ME DAD!” So when he heard the TV using the word “tackle” he suddenly realized that football was an affectionate sport filled with grown men loving on each other!
He doesn’t think they are fighting over a ball out there on the field, he thinks they are showing love and affection!
Tickling, hugging, blowing bubbles and kissing all on national television!
What a loving sport he thinks football is!
So we spent a while having our own Super Bowl – posing on opposite sides of the Living Room, running toward each other – CRASHING and then hugging and tickling and kissing and loving on each other! Finally I talked him into a football, but that didn’t last long. He much prefers the tickling version! And I do too! I know this phase of childhood won’t last forever and soon I won’t have the strength and size advantage so I’d better enjoy it while I can!
As for Super Bowl Commercials, overall they were as lame and stupid as ever, though less offensive as they have been in the past. If you liked the Mini Darth Vader, you really should see the full version that has been going viral online for a week, and that several already posted on my facebook wall.(Thanks)
Here it is, the MINI DARTH VADER COMMERCIAL, if you haven’t seen it yet:
So, while it pains me to say it as a former Chicago Bears fan (I am an official Bronco fan now) Congrats to the Packers, they really fed those Steelers the cheese!
And to all you dads out there – play with your boys! And BeTheDadToday!
Got lots of snow and ice? I know JUST what you need! Spikes!
Last year I tweeted that I was heading to Yosemite for a solo snowshoeing trip and @32NorthSTABIL tweeted me and recommended that I get a pair of their STABLicersfor my trip. Well, I replied that I’d take a free pair and try ‘em out!
Next thing I knew, these arrived in the mail:
My Gift From 32 North!
So I took them to Yosemite in the middle of winter:
It was a great trip! In fact, I snow shoed and hiked around quite bit taking all these amazing pictures:
But whenever I didn’t have my snowshoes on – I had to walk on ice and slippery roads, and MAN did I like having THESE one:
They gave me a firm grip even if they did make me sound like a rusty tap dancer everywhere I went! I highly recommend them to anyone who plans to be walkin’ around on ice or snow! They go on quickly and pack small, so I was able to keep them in my pocket and have them handy. It’s dangerous to be walking around on ice – one fall can pretty much ruin your trip!
I keep them in my car now and have them ready for whenever I find myself out and needing to walk around ice or yucky ground, which in Colorado, is OFTEN!
THANKSHeather for the STABLicers and sorry my review took so long! It’s just that now it’s so easy to be out in the snow having FUN with no fear of falling!
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey