Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bug Catching with my dad, niece, and nephew

Friday, July 28, 2006

Testing Cool Flickr Flash Slideshow

Found some code to put on a Flickr flash slideshow... then the slideshow was too wide for my template so I got a new template. I want to get my own webspace, use wordpress and design my own blog... but no time... so for now... blogger templates.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Practical Machinery

I've started reading a fascinating book called "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" recommended on a blog I read by Harold Burson. The book is about Lincoln's relationship with his cabinet during the Civil War... and interestingly how three of his top cabinet members were three of the men who had contended with Lincoln for the Republican party's presidential nomination.

So far in the reading, the author has been giving great background about the men who would vie for the nomination.

The background on Lincoln is fascinating. One thing that sticks out to me is that it is very hard - it requires intense engagement and discipline - to do something great. The author writes, "Lincoln engaged in every aspect of the political process, from the most visionary to the most mundane... The practical machinery of the party organization - the distribution of ballots, the checklists, the rounding up of voters - was as crucial as the broad ideology laid out in the platform."

I think it's easy to neglect the "practical machinery" or at least to question the need to spend a lot of energy on it. The vision guy may not have to attend to the practical machinery himself. But, without someone attending to it, the vision won't be realized.

Friday, July 14, 2006

This weekend

Couple of things today...

1) This weekend I'm running sound for a conference at our church by Growing Families International. These are the people who put out the "Growing Kids God's Way" material and the Baby Wise, Child Wise, etc books which are popular. Deb and I went through "Growing Kids" years ago when Emmaleigh was one. It's been good to be at this conference and hear some of the material again. One interesting talk was about the temperaments of us as parents and the temperaments of our children. They did some role playing about the interaction between different temperaments. It made me realize that I should look further into the temperaments of my family.

2) We went as a whole family to take Deb's mom to her doctor appointment and then we went to lunch. My friend, Doug, had told me about a year ago that Potbelly Subs is a good place. Today we saw one and decided to try it. Very good! I love crispy toasted bread on a sandwich. This place is like Firehouse subs but is run much better (I'm always aware of whether things are clear and easy for first time customers). There was a musician playing guitar and singing at the lunch hour. Cool... fun... kids were dancing and enjoying themselves. Highly recommend Potbelly!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gazebo Blend

I don't go to Starbucks much anymore these days. If I do it's just for drip coffee. The days of white mochas everyday are over... ($4 a day -- what were we thinking Sharon?) Anyway... I went in for drip coffee the other day and saw a new blend called "Gazebo". If you know me you know that I don't try new foods or drinks often. The coffee blend tag line "bold and citrusy" almost scared me away but I was brave and tried it. I loved it. Now I go everyday hoping they'll have Gazebo on tap. Here's something funny... today I actually (briefly) considered calling my two starbucks near work to see which one was serving Gazebo today. I didn't call but I went to one of my Starbucks... and they were serving it. Yea! Then... I heard the bad news... Gazebo is only a seasonal offering.

Call your Starbucks... heck call your congressman... we need Gazebo to stay!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Played tennis today (well sort of)

I've played tennis on and off most of my life. Since we've had kids, it's been mostly "off", but today instead of just working out at the boring gym I decided to go hit balls against the wall at the tennis center. (OK some might say that's boring too, but I think it's more fun). It was good to hit balls again. I'll switch up the workout... sometimes I'll hit at the wall in such a way as to purposefully alternate forehand and backhand shots. At other times I'll hit balls purposefully angled away from reach so that I have to run make the shot.

Man... this is a really boring post... but I'm trying to post more... so there you go!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Emmaleigh turns 8

Emmy turns 8 tomorrow. Today we went for our traditional dad/child birthday lunch-- this year to Fuddrucker's. Great place... they bake their own buns... yum

It's amazing how conversation with our kids changes over the years. On the way to lunch I was telling Em some things that have been happening to show me that God is taking care of us even though these are crazy times...... on the way home we were being really silly. She's big enough to have some mature conversation...but small enough to still giggle uncontrollably at Dad's silliness.

Here are some pix...


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ups and downs

These days are such roller coasters with my job transition. I'll be depressed or discouraged or lazy... but then something will happen to turn the day around.

Today I got connected with some pastors that I hope to seek some wisdom from.

Also, a bizarre thing happened today. If we end up moving far from Dallas I'll probably sell my car that I just bought in February. When I bought it, the dealer guy said he'd have bought my car for himself if I hadn't decided to buy it. Today, I saw that guy in the grocery store. I was surprised to see him since I've just been wondering if he would still like to buy my car. But it was even weirder than that... he told me that earlier today he'd seen a car just like mine (but black) at Sam's Club and he'd been thinking of ME. I told him I might want to sell him my car... he gave me his card.

Not trying to make too much of that... but it sure was nice to have that guy come across my path again if he'd be a quick and easy sale of my car soon.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cool thing last week

I wanted to tell you a cool thing that happened to me last week.

The used car I bought in February came up for safety inspection recently. Since it is a 1998 model, I figured that the emissions might be a problem. The check engine light was on and it turned out to need work on the EGR valve (emissions related). I had that repair done. Drove the car around for a day and then went to have safety inspection. The car computer was showing another emissions related failure -- one that doesn't cause the "check engine" light to burn. Back to car repair shop. They told me the repair related to this other failure code in the car computer would run about $650. I had them just clear the computer codes again to see if maybe the failure was just a residual problem from the prior repair. They cleared the codes and I drove the car around town all day to see if the code would come back.

The next morning I was heading toward the car repair shop to have them read the computer (and probably, I figured, do the needed repair to a faulty sensor). But.. on the way, I was sitting at a certain intersection. One way was the direction to the car repair shop... the other was the direction to the shop that does safety inspections. I quickly thought about how I'd been praying that God would take care of this car problem so that I wouldn't need to spend over $600 on a repair. I had a decision to make. I could either take the low-faith path toward the car repair shop, or I could trust God with the problem and turn right toward the safety inspection shop. I decided to have faith. I turned right toward the inspection shop. The car passed!

I know this is a small thing and maybe not worthy of prayer or much rejoicing. However, the big thing for me in this was sitting at that intersection. When we pray, do we really believe God will do something, or do we (in the back of our minds) assume that we'll still have to take care of things ourselves?

God may not always answer things just as we'd like. This was, though, a good reminder to believe Him for our requests.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Each Day a Step Forward

First... our computer is fixed! Apple's free repair of the video/power defect did the trick.

In our household these days we are trying to make a step forward each day. This goes for my job search and for getting our household ready to move wherever God takes us. Last week we were working on the downstairs... this weekend the upstairs... garage cleanup and house repairs will follow until we are ready to move.

On another note... I took Alex out with me this morning. We got donuts and Starbucks. Then, we went to look at motorcycles (we both like them and want one someday). Last time we went to the Yamaha store, but this time it was the Harley store. Man, that is a culture within itself... the customers mostly drove their Harleys there. The customers are all wearing Harley clothes and looking at more Harley clothes to buy. One guy was pushing a baby in a stroller. Sure nuf, the baby was wearing Harley overalls. Loads of cool motorcycles.

Alex sat on several bikes and then tried on some helmets and two size 5 leather motorcycle jackets.

On the way out of the Harley store we saw that next door was a brand new Honda motorcycle store. We'll have to visit that one next time.

After the Harley store we weren't quite done hanging out so we just had to go to Sonic for a slush and Coke.

Proud of my boy... he's growing up.