Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting Up Again

You are going to fall. I guarantee it.

You are going to fall--as a person, spouse, boss, employee and follower of Jesus. But this is not pessimism. This is realism. If you want to become a better leader, you will fall more.

That's just how things are, and reality is our friend.

However, leaders don't stay down, they keep getting up.

When the bank account is too low, they attack the problem. When they've done something to hurt someone, they do all they can to make it right. When they fall, they get up again.

As scripture testifies in Proverbs 24.15-16 (Message):
Don’t interfere with good people’s lives;
don’t try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
God-loyal people don’t stay down long;
Soon they’re up on their feet,
while the wicked end up flat on their faces.

(NIV)
Proverbs 24.16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

So here I go again attempting to remind myself about the leader I want to be. And remember, Jesus fell too. He fell beneath the weight of the cross and God sent him relief. Perhaps God is overwhelming you so He can send someone to your aid. Just remember, he got up again. So can we!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Staff Donation

Dear Op Camp team member, help us reach our goal of 100% of our staff donating financially to Op Camp. As of 8/16/2012, we have 50% participation and $15,813 raised from our adult and student staff! Thanks for doing your part! You rock!
Staff Donation

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Donate to Opportunity Camp!

This is a temporary link to my personal blog until we can link the Op Camp donate page to this Paypal link (6/23/2012-bw).
Sponsor HS students volunteering as camp staff
Student(s) name:
Send a great kid (or more) to Op Camp!
General: Put this money where you need it

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Going Public

It's been a really long time since I blogged (& didn't just micro blog via twitter or Facebook) but this is important to me. Perhaps it may someday be important to you too.

What if you knew of something quietly destroying the soul of the church and of God's Kingdom...what if you had been stung by its pain and shame and yet still stood by in silence, not wanting to embarrass yourself or be a nuisance or stand out from the crowd?

Would you ever be so cowardly or weak or vein or proud or foolish? I'm afraid I've been all of them...but I don't want to be that way any longer.

Essentially, here's my great problem: I was too proud to acknowledge that I needed help living for Christ. I thought I could hunker down and just be strong for God without transparency in my marriage or friendships. What a ridiculously foolish position!

Well, that day is done. And here's one of my first practical steps to walking with complete integrity in my heart and in my home and on the road: I just signed up for http://www.x3watch.com. I've got a group of guys that I have asked to hold me accountable to what I've committed and I am volunteering to my wife how my walk is going.

It's only a step, but for me it's a big one. It's going on my laptop, iPad and iPhone and on my kids iPod too.

And yes, I could get fall into lust issues "anywhere" these days...but I love my wife, my kids and my vocation. I want to be known as a guy who does all I can to protect those I love. I want to earn the trust of those I love most. I want to be know for having an undivided heart, a heart of integrity, a heart that is clearly set fully on surrendering daily to Christ.

I know this is only a step but it feels good in my soul. To do this proactively not because I got caught doing something I shouldn't. I'm doing this because I believe it's one way I can show my wife that I'm fighting to protect her heart. She is worth fighting for!

What step is God calling you to take toward having an undivided heart?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amazon Rules! Literaly. ICUDAKN.

I saw this info graphic on the frugal dad blog and had to share it. As the holiday season approaches, I have to agree that Amazon is my first place to go to get something I need quickly. Happy shopping! bw
Amazon Infographic

Source: Frugaldad.com


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Investing in yourself

What are you doing today to invest in yourself as a leader? I just heard about this resource and it sounds interesting.

99 ministry leaders get 9 minutes each to share their best stuff. Here's the link:
http://thenines.cc/register-now/

What resources are growing you as a leader?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Can your Mac do this: º ñ √ ?

I know this is going to be a shock to some, but Apple doesn't do everything perfectly. I have issues with my Mac...but here's a small one that I often forget about--until I REALLY need it.

Until today (after owning a Mac for 5 years!), I have not known how to make the degree symbol. Isn't that ridiculous? But now I do. And that's what I want to share with you today!

You can type the degree symbol (º) by holding down the Option key (also usually labeled Alt) and typing a zero. There are a lot of other symbols you can pretty easily type with the help of the Option key, including a nifty way of typing accented characters, accent-first.

What little issue makes you crazy on your Mac?.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Good news about malnutrition

I am learning a lot about malnutrition in the world right now because a friend of mine, Mark Moore with Mana (see www.mananutrition.org), is working to save millions of starving kids. Just so you know, more kids die of acute malnutrition than AIDS & Malaria COMBINED! That is staggering!

The video link below (just watch 5 minutes if that's all you have) is of a comparable product to Mana. Mark has begun producing a similar product for less money and is trying to raise the funds needed to produce Mana. If this moves you at all, think about how you can connect with their mission to save lives.

Although I work more on the "equipping young leaders" side of ministry, I want my students to know people like Mark who are dreaming big and giving their lives to making a real difference in this world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Really?

There's a hilarious commercial on TV these days...


I confess that this commercial has struck a nerve with my soul. Really, my soul. The deep part.

What if I was so clueless to what God was trying to say to me or make me aware of because my focus was so fixated on my little world? What if I was so oblivious to the people I love the most, like my wife, kids and friends? I mean, what if I was just missing them because of my self absorption? How painful a wreck would that be?

Today I'm seeking God's help to do this one thing better. Jesus said it in John 10:27: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

I want to pay much greater attention to God's voice & His leading today than I ever have before. I have so much to learn

Sunday, October 24, 2010

God Gave Me You

Trisha & I are reading the book "Love & War" by the John & Stasy Eldridge and working through it with our life group. It's been a great conversation starter and tonight was our first week. We just laughed and laughed even as we shared about the difficulty of life together. Who knew it'd be this hard to get what we want?

Anyway, I want a great marriage! Which means, I have a lot of growing up to do and a lot of changes to make in order to be the kind of guy who can say, "As you wish" to my princess "Trishacup."

This song by Dave Barnes is my little reminder of how glad I am to have Trisha in my life and how much I want to be with her for many, many years from now. So thanks Lord for who you gave me!

God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes
I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm goes through
And I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
*If* There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

There’s more here than what were seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be love’s great martyr
Ill be the flattered fool
and I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
*If* There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
*If* There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you, gave me you.
Gave me you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nehemiah

I read the book of Nehemiah tonight. It has brought me to tears. Our church is reading through the Bible, sort of--actually a book called The Story, which is a summary of the Bible that includes actual Bible text and some fill-in commentary. We are at the end of the Old Testament, the story of God loving His people, the Israelites.

The last several weeks have been a little sad. The theme has been similar--God calls His people to obedience. They disobey. They suffer. They come back to Him. Then they get sidetracked. He calls them back again. They refuse. They suffer. They come back. And so on.

Nehemiah is the story of the Israelites finally coming back to Jerusalem and rebuilding the temple that was destroyed by their enemies. God told them to because it was important to Him for them to worship Him in a special place, in special ways that He set out for them.

When they finished, the built a special podium and one of the priests stood up high so everyone could see, and he read from the book of God. As the people listened, they fell on their faces and wept with grief. How discouraging it must have been to hear about their family constantly disappointing the God of the universe! But Nehemiah told them not to cry, but to worship! So they lifted their hands and they worshiped.

As the Book was read, they realized that they were supposed to be doing things they had completely forgotten about, so they committed (again) to doing what God asked of them as completely as possible. It was time for the Feast of Tabernacles, and they were supposed to gather palm branches and make tents to live in for those 7 days. Which is exactly what they did! And here's the beautiful part. When they put themselves into the posture of obedience, they were happier than ever! Overwhelmed with joy!

They couldn't get enough, so they worshiped and they re-told their story, this time making an edict that they would obey, and everyone signed it. They kicked out the foreigners whose hearts did not belong to God--so that they could stay true to their commitments. Nehemiah was wise to acknowledge the reality of their past, that foreign women led to worshiping foreign gods and ultimately to their demise (but never without hope for redemption!).

So many thoughts come to mind. First, I have told my precious little children in Bible class hundreds of times--God blesses obedience. If we choose disobedience, there will always be negative consequences, but if we choose to obey, we will be blessed. Bless their hearts, the Israelites have come back to that truth, praise God! (I know they will stray again, but let's celebrate the moment with them in Nehemiah!)

Second, as a mom, how committed am I to truly following God's design for my family? Am I allowing "foreigners" to infiltrate our life and affect our devotion to our God? Who (or what) needs to be kicked out? Side note here: I am struggling with my 5-year old boy who seems to be getting more and more disrespectful and angry. Is it tv? video games? preschoolmates? Or is it completely unrelated to his surroundings?

Third, if God liked having a special place of worship for His people to come to then, is that still true now? Are church buildings supposed to be that? Or does New Law dissolve the significance of "houses of worship" and elevate the significance of our bodies being a temple of the Holy Spirit? Have I taught my kids to view our "house of worship"--church building--as a special place to honor God in special ways? They have a lot of fun in that building, but is it holy? Is it supposed to be?

I want to hear what God is telling me through Nehemiah. Until tonight I could have summed up my knowledge of that book as follows: Nehemiah helped rebuild the wall, and the verse, "The joy of the LORD is your strength."

By the way, near the end of the book (maybe around ch. 10? Don't have my Bible in front of me), there is an excellent summary of the story of the Old Testament.

May the joy of the LORD be our strength!



Saturday, February 06, 2010

Listen

That's my theme for 2010. I have been praying about it since the new year and finally feel like I have it!

So, LISTEN! That's it! I don't know what God wants to say to me in this year, or where He wants to use me to listen to others, but I think this will be a good direction for me.

Listen...when God is speaking to me.
Listen...to my husband and respond to him accordingly.
Listen...to my kids when they want to talk or play.
Listen...to my body and quit when I'm full, get moving when I'm lazy, etc.
Listen...to others when they need mercy or encouragement.
Listen...to the voice of My LORD and DO NOT LISTEN to the voice of my enemy.

God, I'm listening. Speak to me!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Another possibility

Balance...

I wonder if I need to set myself a deadline for coming up with a focus for the new year. Or the new year will get away from me. Maybe by Jan. 15th, when we get our house on the market.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

More ideas

So here are some ideas for experiments for 2010...

The de-cluttering my life experiment--getting rid of 1/2 our clothes and stuff.

The Scripture Memory experiment. Did this in 2009, and it has been a blessing, so maybe I should go a little deeper and learn more lengthy segments of scripture this year.

The Remembering Experiment. I am really wanting to get all my photos into scrapbooks and printable books for the newer ones. This would be really FUN!, but time-consuming.

The Creative Experiment. One thing I know about me is that I love to create things. I've just taught myself to crochet recently, love trying new recipes. What if I committed to trying to create something new at least every week? Hmmm...


Monday, January 04, 2010

More words to ponder

Discipline

No




Welcome 2010

It's already the 5th day of 2010, and I'm finally ready to let go of Christmas break and move on into the New Year. For the past few years, I've asked God to give me a word or phrase to focus on for the year. In 2008 it was "JOY", and I have to say I got distracted from that theme an awful lot last year. Last year it was "Focus" and I didn't do well at that--at all! I got distracted again! I know, this is a sad commentary on me.

So, today I have started asking God for a focus for 2010. Just for my own benefit, and since no one reads this blog anymore, I'm going to write down some thoughts that have come to mind today as I've prayed and pondered.

Experiment (more than just a word, I'm wondering if there might be some kind of experiment God might use to teach me. I watched Julie and Julia the other night and was inspired by Julie's experiment to make all the recipes. She benefited from the rhythm and purpose she felt in working toward a goal. I think there is something to that. And this morning I saw a story about a woman who did a year-long experiment in living the life Oprah told her to--buy the stuff she recommended, do the things she suggested, watched her show every morning. It sounded like she ended up pretty un-impressed with following Oprah's plan. She has stopped watching her show except rarely. That's fodder for another blog post.)

Relationship

Perseverance

Joy (maybe I need another shot at this???)

More later. That's a beginning anyway.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Facebook Ate My Blog

Ok, I haven't even thought about my blog since getting addicted to Facebook. I think Facebook is killing my blog. :(

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prayers needed!!

My friend Ron Stowe needs your prayers! Ron & I were Youth Ministers in SoCal but he has Acute Respitory Distress Syndrome resulting from the Swine Flu and is on life support in Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. Pray for his wife Lauren, and kids Ali (21), Aaron (16), Victoria (15) & Nathan (11). Will you pray with me? bw

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Put your lipstick on and go out!

Posted by Picasa

Let the artist in you be free!

Thinking I'd be supermom (since I wouldn't let them watch TV), I let E and O paint a box while I cleaned the garage. They're pretty good, huh?














Then I went outside to empty the trash, and they painted the door...























Notice the look of remorse on E's face. O is trying her best to look sorry.


















Apology...Forgiveness...and all is well! A more colorful garage door isn't a bad idea anyway!
Posted by Picasa

Go out for ice cream!

Posted by Picasa

Babysit a flock of flamingos

Posted by Picasa

Play in the sprinklers

Posted by Picasa

Read...

Posted by Picasa

Play in the after-rain puddle in the driveway!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

This summer our family is choosing to be "TV-Free". So far, we have thoroughly enjoyed it. We've been collecting ideas for a book, and I will share them here when I can. Our book is titled, "Things to Do Instead of Watching TV." I will post pictures and hopefully you'll get the idea.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marriages Made in Heaven

A respected mentor of mine has said, "There are no marriages made in heaven." Which I take to mean that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. We are all human and with that comes flaws--and I get that.

But after reading Trisha's post from the other day, it got me to thinking. I know my wife isn't perfect--and we're both working on not expecting that from ourselves or each other. But on the other hand, here's my list of why Trisha is perfect for me...

She sees life from a totally different perspective. Yes, this leads to conflict. But I'm never bored with her. I'm actually fascinated by her in really surprising ways. For instance, why anyone would want to do crafts that involve glue, paint, small rolling thingees with young kids is shocking. Yes, they have a great time. But why would anyone want to deal with that mess? But that's my wife! And my kids adore her! The other night Elijah cried because we ran out of time to do a craft before bedtime. I love the way they love her -- living her life from a viewpoint miles away from mine.

Another reason Trisha is perfect for me is this: she's deep. She loves Jesus and struggles to know and understand God more every day. As crazy and silly as I can be, I love to know what's going on with her. I love to hear her pray. I love to read her notes to me--her words are heavy in my life! They reach deep into my heart. Especially when I've hurt her, it tears me up more than I can show. But at the end of the day, her depth of character and faith is like an anchor in the storms of life. God abides in her--and that is beautiful!

Trisha is perfect for me because she loves Jesus. This is why she pours so much into young children--she's serving the King! Last night was the end of Kingdom Kids Club--a teaching/worship time for kids that Trisha started and lead all year. It was a really big deal! The kids had been working on memorizing scripture and could make $1 per verse they learned. I had no idea what to expect--but I should have known. My son walked away with $21 & my younger daughter with $12. But more than making money--which was a fun way to encourage them--the last few days our car ride has been full of saying scriptures that they've learned by heart. Of course, I embellish with jingles and silly tunes--but we had fun getting God's word deep into our heart. And that's because my wife loves Jesus!

Other reasons my wife is perfect for me.....
her eyes are beautiful
her smile captivates me!
she loves me deeply.
she throws the world's best parties--and I LOVE to party:-)
she is patient
she is kind
she forgives...long before she's asked to
she is potty training a puppy
she is potty training our daughter!....simultaneously!
she is dedicated to doing good even if no one else encourages her to do so
she can make anything out of anything!
she is honest with me
she is an amazing leader and servant
she is creative and loves fresh ideas
she will tell me what she thinks
she likes for me to hold her
she makes the perfect cup of coffee (and unbelievable chocolate cakes!!)
she cares deeply about her neighbors
she gives generously
she is still growing as a follower of Jesus
she is a woman worthy of my respect and admiration!!

I know marriages aren't made in heaven! But I love my life with Trisha. I'm proud to be her husband and the father of her children! Thanks for being perfect for me sweetheart! bw

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quote of the day

"Nothing would be done at all if one waited until one could do it so well that no one could find fault with it." John Henry Newman

I recently read that being a perfectionist is a weakness, not a strength. Offended as I was at this, I have come to agree. "Discouraged perfectionist" is Kevin Leman's word for me. I can't even begin to count the number of unfinished projects and tasks in my life. All because I get frozen by the need to do it just right. AGH! Now to figure out what to do about this awareness!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Roots 1 (Things You Never Want to hear your Dentist say!)

A few years ago, after getting X-rays of my teeth, my Dentist said something to me that I'll never forget.

He held the x-ray up to his light and exclaimed, "Ben, never get a root canal!! You have the longest roots I have ever seen!" I nervously laughed and asked God to be merciful and spare me that fate.

Well, a few months ago I had some work done on my teeth and had a crack filled. Everything seemed to be fine--but a few weeks later I began to notice the filled tooth had a lot of sensitivity. So I went back into my new Dentist and he looked at what was going on and he delivered this message: you may need a root canal.

He couldn't know for sure, so I went back to see him today. After showing me the tooth, he advised we wait another month before we decide to do anything.

Soooo, I'm still begging God to spare me a root canal and hope that the nerves in my tooth mellow out!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alex and Abe

Today Alex brought home a book about Abe Lincoln for a project. As he read, he put the book down and said, "See? He IS just like me!" Of course I wondered what specific characteristic of old Abe struck such an emotional chord in my son. "He loved animals and would NEVER hurt them." (Bet you didn't know that!) Then Alex told that Abe had to kill a turkey once, but said he could never do it again. As he spoke, he actually got got teary and choked up. A few minutes later he told me that he walked across an ice pond (or something like that) just to rescue a dog. He was so impressed! Nevermind that he brought an end to slavery, etc. While my heart prays that Alex will love people's souls more than he loves dogs, I love his tender heart. And I guess Abe Lincoln isn't such a bad role model for him to admire!

Joy

Joy is listening to my sweet Elijah sing his very own song:

"I love my family! I love my mom, I love my dad. I love my sisters and my brother.
And I love Jesus.

My mom loves me, my dad loves me, Katy loves me, Alex loves me, Olivie loves me, and Jesus loves me the most!"

On and on, swinging away in the backyard. THAT is pure joy!

And oh, how I am blessed by it!

Monday, February 09, 2009

And one more...

I have to post this because someday I'll forget it. If I had a baby book for Elijah, I'd write it there. Sadly, he's going to have to look in my blog archives someday....

Anyway, I overheard him early this morning after his first interaction with baby sister. "Hey God! (as if he's on the phone) I would like it if you would take Olivia up to heaven today."

I don't think he was wishing her ill, just needed a break from the intensity. What better arrangement than for her to have a little visit up there while he plays with his toys uninterrupted?

I knew this day was coming

So I went to a Children's Pastor's Conference and attended a class on purity, which freaked me out when I realize my 9-year old boy was ready to know some stuff....(Daddy had a conversation with him awhile ago but he didn't really need to know much.)

So tonight we started a new family activity--reading our Bibles together after supper. We started in Matthew. Alex, my proficient reader, was fascinated. Every few minutes he just had to share.

So he says, "Mom, listen to this! 'So he had no se..ual relations with her until she gave birth to a son.' I didn't know that!" Calm as can be.

I gather my wits and say, "Do you know what that means?"

"Of course! Why wouldn't I?" Oh. My. Here it comes. Right in the middle of our first Family Bible Reading Night. Why on earth did we think it was a good idea to read our Bibles????

I calmly ask, "So, what does it mean?"

"Like they never went on dates and stuff. Of course I know what it means. I have a very good vocabulary for a 9-year old." After a few more questions confirming that in his precious, innocent mind "se..ual relations" really just means dates and stuff, I breathe a sigh of relief.

You see, at the conference they told me that we his parents must be the first to share all that information with our son. Some kids already know by his age. I ordered all the books we need, but they won't arrive for a few weeks. Maybe we have a little more time. Oh, Lord! Give us wisdom and grace to share this delicate treasure of life with him.

The most precious part comes at bedtime. Alex says he has no idea how interesting just reading his Bible would be. He wants to spend the whole day reading it tomorrow. Thank You, Lord. May his heart grow closer to You as he reads the life-giving words from his Bible. What an honor to be his mom.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Oops!

Maybe I shouldn't say this on the worldwide web, but today I got a chance to watch the local news story about President Bush's visit. Remember I told you that we stood right next to Mrs. Watson, Bush's 2nd grade teacher? Well, they interviewed her (how did we miss this???) and there, on the tv screen in the very close-up background was my sweet daughter PICKING HER NOSE. I mean, digging. To protect her dignity, I will not tell you which daughter.

They showed this little snippet twice during the story. Nice.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oddest Game Ever

Rick Reilly is one of my favorite writers of all time. He's funny, caring and seems to look out for standing up for good and standing against bad.

This story of his is now my favorite. You can either read it here or go to his website (I hope this isn't stealing!!)

LIFE OF REILLY
There are some games in which cheering for the other side feels better than winning.
by Rick Reilly


Melinda Wright
Gainesville State players douse head coach Mark Williams in celebration.

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas. It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans? They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

"I WOULDN'T EXPECT ANOTHER PARENT TO TELL SOMEBODY TO HIT THEIR KIDS. BUT THEY WANTED US TO!"

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.
This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"
And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.
After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."
And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.
As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.

Hope.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3789373

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Unattainable II

I have no idea what Trisha has been reading, but on this side of the cookies & homemade bread--I was blessed! The kids loved the cookies. Olivia had so much chocolate on her I had to wash her hands twice--that's my girl!! Lots of smiles and stories we got to share around those cookies!

The dinner was great too! Healthy--with fresh veggies! And the bread was to die for! I just love the smells that lingered all night through our house. Amazing!!

All from my sweet wife who loves me and our kids in a beautiful way! Thanks Trisha for trying for the unattainable!! I love my life with you and our kids!

Unattainable

Yesterday I was determined to be SuperMom. I had read some blogs the night before that painted a picture of home and hearth, warm, cozy days spent nurturing precious children and creating beautiful memories along the way.

I want to create beautiful memories for my precious ones, so I decided yesterday would be the beginning. I'm sure I went about it all wrong, but I really didn't think my goals were too lofty--cookie baking, warm homemade bread to go with our fabulous Italian dinner. Creating fun moments of nurture.

So after preschool, the little ones and I began assembling the ingredients for "Choc-Oat Chip Cookies", a little healthy and a lot yummy. As I walked to the fridge to get the eggs, sweet Elijah decided to punch a hole through the top of the oats (still sealed shut). Crash! Down went the jar of alfredo sauce intended for dinner (I'd been so proactive to already have it by the stove!) Shards of glass and slimy sauce from one end of the kitchen to the other, covering stool legs, cabinets and appliances.

I began having terrible visions of the new puppy enjoying the yummy sauce, cutting her tongue and bleeding to death. "Elijah, grab the dog and contain her!" (a hard task for a 4-year old). "Olivia, out of the kitchen!" The next 20 minutes I spent scooping, sweeping, mopping, sweeping again, vacuuming the corners. Somewhere in there the big kids and Dad arrived. Elijah yelled, "Surprise! We have cookies!" Only what we had was a pile of glass and sauce and a half-finished batch of dough in the mixer.

By the time the cookies were finished and ready to enjoy, all my dreams of SuperMom-ness were shattered.

The moral of this story: Quit reading blogs written by SuperMoms. They must have something I don't have...or they're not telling the whole truth.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Unforgettable Night!


At the welcome home party for George W. Bush tonight I was truly blessed. It was a night I'll never forget--and I hope my kids never forget. Through a series of simple events, we got bumped from white (general admission) to red (VIP admission) and then to blue (event level admission) and were able to sit in the handicap section with our stroller & kids. We had a great view and were just blessed by getting to be near such an amazing person.

It is truly amazing to hear George Bush talk about what matters to him--and to hear his fondness for his wife and parents and the people of America--just so great!!

Here's a picture, and a link for more!!
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30157915&id=1523289963&ref=mf