Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm Back...

Yes, I have taken a little time off from the blog world. My apologies. But I am back with what I think is one of my funniest posts.

There is an old saying about being able to laugh at yourself. Well, this post is proof that I can do just that. My friend Mandy (also know as Ginnsu) sent this to me, and it created a true LOL.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Living Room Sessions

I downloaded two cd's this weekend... both of them by Chris Rice. The are entitled "The Living Rooms Sessions" and "The Living Room Sessions Christmas." They are simply Chris Rice playing various hymns on his piano in his living room. I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Karma or Grace?

Well, if you know me... I hope you know that I do not believe in karma. And so the answer to my question above is definitely grace. But let me play the role Paul Harvey...

On Friday night, I hung out with some buddies of mine while they played poker. I did not play simply because I was tired and didn't want to be stuck there all night. I stayed at my buddies place for about an hour... specifically, from 11:00pm to 12:00am. Well, good times were had watching the Flop, the Turn, and the River... etc, etc. But when the clock struck midnight, I was done. So I walked outside only to discover that my car was not where I had parked it just 60 minutes earlier. Hmmmm... what could have happened?

Well, a careful examination of the curb revealed the words "NO PARKING." Methinks a tow truck may have been involved.

Thus began an hour long journey that involved me smarting off to the man who had my car... my buddy driving me to pick it up... and me shelling out $185 (cash only, thank you). Not cool. But truly... I had broken the law (even though I didn't realize I was doing so), and the punishment (albeit severe) was justified.

Then today, I was called into my boss's office. I recently worked on a project that has taken most of this year to complete (I was batting clean up in that three or four other people had attempted to resolve the issue). My boss called us all in the office to give us a reward for all of our efforts... the reward - a $200 AmEx gift card.

So if you put this on a balance... I am Even-Steven (actually, I am $15 ahead). But in reality, I deserved the punishment of the $185... and didn't deserve the $200 at all. I mean it is my job, right? So it is not karma... it is grace. And the best part is that receiving $200 is meaningless compared to the grace shown to me by the Lord... I can't imagine going through life trusting only in my good outweighing my bad (especially when I don't always know when I am doing the bad).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Attention to Detail

Yesterday, while in the grocery store, I decided to buy some protein bars to eat for my mid-afternoon or mid-morning snacks (instead of the Little Debbie cakes that our admins provide). So I stood there looking at the various brands of protein bars... but more important to me were the various flavors. I saw some that were flavored "lemon zest" and "smores" and "dulce de leche" and "chocolate peppermint stick." So I decided to buy one of each...

Well.. I just ate one (lemon zest), and as I looked at the packageing, I noticed various figures of women in various active stances... dancing stances to be exact.

I then read the following:

"The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women" (italics NOT mine)

I had no idea that Luna Bars were intended for women... and what is up with them getting all the good flavors?

For Dovie's Proverbial Record, Luna is actually a division of Clif Bar. Note the contrast of the manly Clif Rock Climber with the graceful Luna Dancer. So in the future, I will just buy the Clif Bars... even if the flavors are not as appealing. But ladies, I highly recommend the lemon zest... very tasty (for a protein bar, of course).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's My Creation...

Last night, I had three things at my disposal to use in creating dinner. I had left over grilled hamburger meat (very well done because it has been sitting in the fridge all weekend), a box of Minute Rice, and a bag of frozen veggies. I decided to combine all of the above items into a casserole of sorts... and it isn't too bad. I told my roommate last night that I probably would not bring it to potluck or enter it in any food contests... but it did the trick. And that trick was to somehow make the overcooked hamburger meat edible so as to not have to throw it away. Mission accomplished. Add a little Tony Chachere's, a little basil, a little soy sauce... you have yourself a true "Sweep the Kitchen" meal.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Too Much...

Our break room is equipped with coffee machines, tea packets, and all the "extras" that go along with those drinks. Well, we also have packets of Starbucks Hot Cocoa. I have noticed them for a while, but never read the cover of the packets until today. This is what it says:

"Indulge in a deliciously creamy, exquisitely chocolate, gourmet cocoa"

As I read that, I thought to myself... "am I gonna want a cigarette when I finish drinking it?"

The answer to the question is "no," but it is pretty tasty when mixed with coffee. I am "indulging" as I type.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Featured Pandora Station - Curtis Mayfield

It has been a while, and Denison was growing old. A lurking friend of mine compared John Mayer to Curtis Mayfield, so I decided to throw his name into Pandora's box. So he is the featured artist this week.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Newfound Culinary Delight

Today we had our monthly birthday breakfast (aka. forced socilization). I had already eaten breakfast, so I skipped it... but I did partake of the leftovers for my mid-afternoon snack. One of the items on this month's banquet table was an assortment of Einstein Bagels and cream cheese spreads. I saw one that was orange in color, so I decided to check it out. I thought it would be a sun-dried tomato flavor or roasted red pepper... but instead, I discovered that it was pumpkin flavor. Initially, I scoffed at the idea... but then decided to try it out. Well... I am glad I did. It was/is delicious. So tomorrow morning, stop by your local Einstein Bagel store and check it out... you will not be disappointed.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Richards Bunch

A few weeks ago, my family and I took a trip up to Minnesota to see my grandparents. We had a great time... and Landon was definitely the center piece of the weekend. It was his first time to see this set of great-grandparents... and (obviously) it was their first time to see him. It was a good time, indeed...

I am sure that in 50 years or so, I will look very similar to my grandfather. He is 86, and not as quick as he once was. But he still has some of that wit in him... I remember as a child how funny he used to be. There were flashes of that humor this trip... it just takes him a little longer to get the words out.

Here is a picture of four generations of Richards men. Good looking bunch, huh? That is why I stayed out of the picture.

The last picture I have is of Landon and my cousin's son... they are only two days apart in age. They played well together... and this picture was one of about four that were taken of the same event. Every time they would hug each other, they were facing the wrong direction. Finally, Brad got them to look at the camera.

Time with family is always enjoyable (even if stress levels escalate just slightly)... truly, I do love my family. The Lord has blessed me beyond measure in that regard.

Friday, October 06, 2006


So I have been gone for a while. I took a family vacation... served on a jury... and now I am back. I plan to blog about both of those events, but work is a little busy. So I only have time to pimp out my new favorite CD (at least for the moment).

John Mayer's new CD - Continuum. This is some good stuff, y'all. His style seems to change with each CD that he produces, and each one has been good. This one is more mature than his previous three. By that, I mean that not all the songs are about him... or about his love interests... or whatever. So check it out.

Pandora is on hold as I am enjoying this CD too much.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Featured Pandora Station - Denison Witmer

Taking the advice of Eye Doctor Justin, I have landed on Denison Witmer for this week's Pandora artist. Since I will only be working two days this week and three days next week... Denison will be the featured artist for two weeks.

I have yet to hear this dude... so I have no idea what to expect. But I am sure it will be worth my time as Justin has good music taste (even though he does not want to be called a musician).

Peace out...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Addiction...

So I have spent the past three days catching myself up on Lost. I have been watching the second season on DVD... about two each night. I am halfway through with season 2, and have two weeks before season 3 starts.

If you are not on this bandwagon, jump on as soon as you can. However, do so at your own risk. It will suck you in and keep you.

Just now, I was on the elevator and I pushed the button for my floor. Well, it lit up as normal... and then went dark again. This happens quite frequently because our building is old... and I normally don't give it a second thought. But today, it caught my attention because of all the Lost episodes I have been watching. I mean that is the kind of thing that happens to these people (well, except that there are no elevators on the island... that we know of yet).

But to make matters worse... I work on floor 23.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm Matt Burgundy?

It is no secret that two things I enjoy very much are the movie Anchorman, and sermons by Matt Chandler. (yes, I know the verses in James about salt water and fresh water coming from the same spring... and olives growing on fig trees...)

Anyway, this morning I was listening to part 13 of a 20 part series on the book of Hebrews taught by Matt Chandler (a great series of talks that I recommend to anyone - check them out here. They are dated 1.8.06-5.21.06).

OK... so back to the point (this is the most A.D.D. post ever).

So about 20 minutes into the talk, he is trying to make a point about why God gave us the Law. He says, "I'm gonna throw this out there... if you want it, take it..." Now you could hear a handful of people in the congregation laughing pretty loudly (I would have been one of those people, to be sure). And then Matt realized that only this handful got what he said and then he started laughing as well. He said, "some of you are with me..." He then continued on with his point.

Those who like and appreciate Anchorman will find humor here... the rest of you will just think I am a little high right now.

Oh... and the point about why God gave us the Law was not so that it could make us perfect (because it can't). Instead, God gave us the Law to show us that we need Jesus to save us because we can't obey the Law.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Featured Pandora Station - Guster

This week's Pandora station is Guster. I made it through the week of country music, but I will not likely be doing that again for a while. That music is just not enjoyable to me unless I am dancing...

Guster may produce some stuff very similar to other stations I have listened to in the past, so we'll see.

If anyone has any suggestions for future Pandora stations... just let me know.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I Just Don't Get It...

While reading Runner's World (a truly enjoyable groomsman gift) in the past few weeks, I have learned about two events that I can only describe as crazy.

The first one is a 50 day event being undertaken by a man named Dean Karnazes. On September 17, he will run the first of 50 marathons in Missouri (that's 26.2 miles in case you were not aware). He will then run another marathon (did I mention the fact that a marathon is 26.2 miles?!?!) each day for the next 49 days - finishing in New York City on November 5. He will be running a marathon in each of our country's 50 states. A total of 1,310 miles in 50 days. Click here for more information on this.

The second one is an annual event that takes place on a mountain... Pike's Peak to be exact. Runners (crazy runners, I might add) run 13.39 miles up the mountain, and then come back down. WHAT? This event is limited to 800 people, and the most recent one (August 20) filled its quota in 23 hours. It takes most people around 9 hours to finish. That is 9 hours of absolute insanity, if you ask me.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My mind's playin' tricks on me...

This week, as you probably know, I have been listening to country music at work. A number of times a song by David Lee Murphy entitled "Dust on the Bottle" has played. The chorus is as follows:

There might be a little dust on the bottle
But don't let it fool ya about what's inside
There might be a little dust on the bottle
It's one of those things that gets sweeter with time

Pretty straight forward song, really... it is all about the singer getting an old bottle of wine for his first date with a young lady, and how they have been together all these years... and their love just gets better and better as the years go on.

Well... the point of this post is that when I first heard this song years ago, I only paid attention to the chorus. BUT... I thought it was saying:

There might be a little dust on the Bible
But don't let it fool ya about what's inside
There might be a little dust on the Bible
It's one of those things that gets sweeter with time

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I am in that place where I have been consistent enough in my blogging that I feel compelled to post, but have very little to say. I was talking with one of my lurking friends earlier this week, and she said that the more frequent the posting the lower the quality. Of course, that is not always true. But this post is a prime example.

So there you have it... a post about nothing. They should make a sitcom like that... it would be gold. Gold, I tell you!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Featured Pandora Station - Pat Green

I am not a big fan of country music (though I like dancing to it), but I decided to mix it up a little bit this week in the interest of charting new territory. I do like Pat Green, so I hope this week will produce some good stuff. I have already heard a Brooks & Dunn song... so I am not too optimistic. But as I have said before, I will hear the music without knowing who sings it... so I may be surprised. But the favorites list may have fewer songs this week... I'm just sayin'.

Here is that Pandora says about Pat Green's style: " features mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed accoustic and electric instrumentation, major key tonality, slide/pedal steel guitar and accoustic rhythm guitars." So there you have it... again, not sure what most of that means.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Norse gods and the like...

In my building, most people have their ID badges clipped to the belt loop on their pants (well, the men clip them there... the ladies don't always have belt loops - but that is beside the point). Anyway, in the elevator today there was a gentleman dressed in a suit (not the norm for Marathon culture) and I had not seen him before. So I took note of his name as I was curious who he was (perhaps he was important and I should know him). He also had a bit of a Euro look to him... I can't place what it was, he just looked European. Well... when I looked at his ID badge, I discovered that his name is Thor. Seriously... how cool would it be to be named Thor?

On a side note... his name reminded me of the old 80's movie Adventures in Babysitting. Does anyone remember this movie? It starred Elizabeth Shue. Cheesy, but definitely entertaining for me as an 11 year old kid.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Apple of God's Eye?

In the this article, John Piper addresses an issue that has long been confusing to me.

The Bible teaches that God is supremely valuable. It also teaches that he delights in His children. So how does Someone of supreme value delight in/give praise to someone of lesser value?

The article offers one explanation... it is long, but worth the read.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Grammar Patrol

I was just reading a few of my more recent posts and I found a couple errors. Where is the grammar partol? Now granted, one of the errors was simply using the year 2006 instead of 2005 (you basefall fans were just too kind to point that one out to me, but I assure you it was a typo). The other one was the use of the word "of" instead of "or." Either way, I am ashamed of my blogging performance. Two errors in one week is simply unforgiveable. Do not let me get away with that in the future. I am sure if Joel Bain still read my blog, he would have pointed them out - in grace and kindness, of course. That guy has a keen eye for grammatical errors. But I digress...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Featured Pandora Station - Howie Day

This week's Pandora Favorites will be from my Howie Day station.

Pandora offered the follow explanation for why it played one of the songs so far:

" features basic rock song structures, a subtle use of vocal harmony, mixed accoustic and electric insturmentation, major key tonality and prominent organ."

So I am not sure what all of that means... but it sounds good.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I'm not sure...

but I may be sinning as I type this post.

I just went walking around my office looking for some kind of afternoon snack (an Antone's 7 Layer bar would have hit the spot, but alas I had none). Well, one of the admins on my floor has various snack items by her desk, so I made my way over to that area. I found snack that looked like it would satisfy my afternoon hunger. But I'm not sure God would approve of me eating it... it is one of the Little Debbie Raisin Creme Pies.

"...even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.'" - Hosea 3:1

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Take me out to the ball game....

for 18 innings.

Last night, I went to the 2nd 18 inning game in Astros history. I did not, however, stay for the second set of 9. My buddies and I left after the 9th.

I did, however, attempt to will the Astros to a W by watching them on TV. I stayed up with them until 12:30 (yes, I am paying for it this morning). I retired to my slumber after the 17th inning ended... only to wake up this morning to find out the following:

1. The game only lasted one more inning (I could have stayed up for that).
2. The Astros lost.
3. Lidge has officially been pulled from the closer position.

Number 3 is one of those bits of information that you know needs to happen, but you don't really want it to (kinda like putting a dog to sleep). I heard this last night during the game... and apparently it has been discussed on the sports radio stations lately... but Lidge just has not been the same since the Pujols debacle of 2005.

A highlight of the night for me was when Mateo hit Clemmens in the 5th... only to have Clemmens take the mound and instill fear in Theriot by aiming straight for his chest/face region. I mean the Rocket was relentless... and while I felt a little wrong for encouraging such behavior, I cheered it on with the rest of the home fans. Roger received his warning and the game went on. Good times!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You see, I have this condition...

I have decided that my favorite movie (at least for the time being) is Memento.

It is my favorite movie because I have watched it 4 or 5 times since it came out a few years ago... and I still have to watch it all the way through to get the full story. If you are not familiar with the movie, it is shot in a pretty unique way that matches the condition of the main character. He can't make new memories and can only remember things about 5-10 minutes back. Well, the movie is a series of 5-10 minute chunks of events that happen in his life... and through out the movie, you realize some pretty shocking things about him and those around him.

The reason this is on my mind is that I watched the movie on Saturday and remembered just how great it really is.

So who else likes/dislikes the movie... and what are some other favorites out there?

(yes, this is a shameless ploy to get comments from my readers...)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Featured Pandora Station - Matt Wertz

This week, I will be listening to my Matt Wertz staion on Pandora. So my Pandora Sidebar will list songs that I like that (according to Pandora) have musical qualities similar to songs by Matt Wertz. Enjoy.

On a side note - check out the movie Inside Man if you have not already seen it. I watched it yesterday not knowing anything about it... fantastic movie.

That's all...

Friday, August 11, 2006

That thing is good... I mean REAL good

I just finished eating a gyro from Antone's. I can't tell if it is that I was hungry (cuz I was even though I had a decent breakfast) or if the gyro was that much of a standout meal. Seriously, from the frist bite, I wanted to be friends with it. The meat was perfectly seasoned... the only drawback was that it was a bit messy. But good food always is, right?

Anyway, later I will be enjoying my 7 layer bar from Antones (mid-afternoon coffee snack). I hope it pleases at least half as much as the gyro.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pandora Favorites Sidebar

I have mentioned the website Pandora before, but it is worth mentioning again. It is a website that suggests music based on the style of a song or artist of your choice. Each artist you choose creates a "station" that will play music with similar qualities. I am not sure how it all works, but it is one of the best websites I have ever seen (thank you Daniel by way of Catha).

Anyway, I have recently added a sidebar to my blog that will show the songs I add to my favorites list from Pandora.

So I will be featuring a different station each week. This week, I have been listening to my "The New Amsterdams" station. This means that all of the songs that appear on my favorites list have musical qualities similar to the band The New Amsterdams.

There will likely be repeat stations if I continue this, but I will try to do a different one each week.


Monday, August 07, 2006

The Line Between Fact and Fiction...

Well, that line can be very thin... at least in one's mind.

I was just at home eating lunch, and I decided to flip over to Food TV (some of my readers will remember from an earlier post that I have a mental love affair with Giada De Laurentiis - the host of Everyday Italian).

So when I flipped to channel 52, Giada was explaining what she would be creating today... and it looked good, so I decided to watch some more.

As she was preparing the meal, she explained that it was a picnic with a steak pasta salad... and some other things I didn't get to see her make. And she kept referring to Todd. She was cooking the steak medium rare because Todd likes it that way... she was using basil and parsley because Todd likes basil and parsley... she was packaging the food to take it to "Todd's office.

Unfortunately, I was watching the show alone and could not share the humor with anyone... so you all get to be in on the joke.

Maybe I should follow in this guy's footsteps.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Cry for me Argentina...

I just finished documenting how to perform a certain task... and then accidentally closed it without saving first. Truly one of the more unsettling moments a person can experience at work. Fortunately, I had saved since finishing the last task... so I only have to rewrite one. But still... I mean I think the first version was gold.. it was GOLD Jerry! And now I must try to reinvent that proverbial wheel.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

She ate her peas one at a time...

So I was recently made aware of the fact that Sophie Milman does not write her own music. That fact effectively stiffled my love for her... maybe this is why I am still single.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I am in love...

This morning, I turned on my computer and decided to check out iTunes. I am reletively new to the iTunes arena, but I can say that I truly enjoy it. However, that is not the object of my newly found love.

One of the freatures of iTunes is what they call "Indie Spotlight." This week, the Indie Spotlight focuses on jazz... and at the top of their list is a young lady by the name of Sophie Milman.

She was born in Russia... fled to Israel with her family... and now lives in Canada. But all that is secondary to her amazing voice. Check her out.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Oooops, I did it again...

No, I did not buy or listen to a Britney Spears song... I snoozed for two hours again this morning. That is two weeks in a row.

This life of late nights and fast living will catch up with me yet...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My muse has betrayed me...

Apparently my muse is moonlighting with Laurie Johnson. Check out her rebuttal to my list of reasons I enjoy being single.

I find great joy in being the topic of two QQ posts. Who would have thought that anyone would have achieved such an honor at the young age of 30? And to think that if I were married, I would not have been in a place to post my Top 30... I think the list just grew by one.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I found my muse...

So on Wednesday, I said I could only come up with 3 reasons that I was glad I was single... well, I have given that some thought, and I have come up with 27 more. The list on Wednesday was of a more serious nature... and I considered deleting it. But it is what it is, so I will leave it. But in the interest of balancing the serious with the humorous... I present to you the Top Thirty Reason I am Glad I am Single:

1. I never have to share the covers
2. I don’t HAVE to put the toilet seat down (even though I ALWAYS do)
3. The floor works very well as a dresser/closet
4. I don’t have to change my sheets every week
5. I can use the same towel for weeks at a time
6. An HEB pre-made rotisserie chicken will sustain me for almost a week’s worth of lunches
7. When eating at a restaurant, I don’t have to share my meal with anyone
8. I only have to buy one ticket instead of two
9. When I have had a bad day, I don’t have to talk to anyone about it if I don’t want to
10. Holidays are simple… no extra family groups to fit into the schedule
11. I don’t have to share the remote control when watching TV
12. I don’t have to go see “Princess Diaries” or the like…
13. I never have to ask permission to hang out with the guys
14. I can hang out with females whenever I want to
15. I don’t have to shave every day
16. I never have to answer the difficult questions like “Does this dress make my butt look big?”
17. I can not notice a girl’s new hair cut and it is not really a big deal
18. If I am late for anything, I have only myself to blame
19. More discretionary income
20. I can snooze for two hours in the morning… or longer
21. I can choose to not attend weddings and people chalk it up to “he’s a guy”
22. I don’t have to redefine what “a clean bathroom” means
23. I can snore with complete immunity (not that I do… but the point is that I CAN)
24. I can talk in my sleep (again, not that I do… of course, I wouldn’t know one way or the other I guess)
25. I can change my stated plans at the drop of a hat
26. I never, EVER have to purchase feminine products
27. All four weeks of every month are pretty much the same for me
28. I get invited to all the “fun single events”
29. When visiting out of town friends, I can sleep on the floor or the couch in the living room instead of having to get a hotel room
30. I can post a list like this and not have to hear about it later

Apparent Contradiction

This morning, something happened that I am ashamed of and proud of at the same time....

I snoozed for two hours!!

Now I have been known to snooze for longer... but not on a work day. Regardless, I was on time for work.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I am finally 30 years old. Wow.

I remember when my mother turned 30. Yeah... I can remember when my mother turned 30. Give it a second, and the weight of that may hit you.

Seriously, I remember that my parents' close friends at the time had us over for dinner... and there as cake. When they brought out the cake, it had 30 candles on it... and it was glowing. They all laughed and made fun of the fact that she was 30.

And now that is me. Seriously, I am 30 years old. Why is that such a big deal in our society? And add to that the fact that my left hand currently does not have any sort of precious metal on it... and you are left with what many people think to be a miserable existence.

At this point, I wanted to present a top 30 list of reasons I am glad I am single... but I only came up with 3.

So instead, I will present a top 30 list of "Things I am Thankful for on my 30th Birthday"

(i didn't take the time to put these in the order of importance... so just realize that some are more important than others. it is a little cheesy, long, and serious... but cut me some slack - i'm 30 years old.)

1. My justification before the Lord

2. My relationship with the Lord

3. My on-going sanctification (I don't always feel thankful for this one)

4. My parents

5. My brother and sister-in-law

6. My nephew (yeah, he gets his own number on the list)

7. The friends I have made at HFBC (including those who have moved away)

8. My friends from college (even though I don't always keep in touch with them)

9. My friends from high-school (even though I keep in touch with them even less)

10. A job that pays me

11. A God-honoring, Bible-teaching local church

12. My college experience in Ruston, Louisiana

13. A well-located house (with a/c)

14. A car that runs (and has a/c)

15. A great history of roommates (in college and here in Houston)

16. A comfortable bed to sleep on

17. A desire to know God (even though I don't always follow that desire)

18. Clean water to drink

19. Money to purchase breakfast, lunch, and dinner

20. Clothes to wear

21. A Bible in a language I understand

22. The opportunity to live in England and Germany as a child/teenager

23. The opportunity to be in Berlin the day the restrictions were lifted between East Berlin and West Berlin

24. The opportunity to be on mission for the Lord in Mexico, Kazakstan, India,
Guatemala, and Cuba

25. A mind that can comprehend things

26. Eyes that see (if aided by glasses)

27. Ears that can hear

28. A mouth that can speak

29. Freedom in Christ

30. The fact that this list really could be longer....

So there you have it... for what it's worth. At the age of 30, I am doing just fine.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Post Holiday Blues

I think the only word to describe this year's July 4th "season" is dreary. Yesterday was overcast... today is just downright stormy... all of this makes for a bleak rest of my week.

My apologies for the lack of Cuba Highlights... they will return, I promise. This week is just going to be busy... oh, and dreary.

In other news... I saw Superman Returns this weekend. For anyone who grew up watching the originals, this is a must-see. You will hear mixed reviews, but I strongly encourage you to go see it and form your own personal opinion. The only danger you face is getting the Superman Theme stuck in your head for days to come...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bits and Pieces

I am taking a break from my Cuba Highlights series because I want to give it its full attention... and I have not had time to draft the Wednesday - Saturday entries. They will be posted in due time...

So today, I am reverting back to the "random things" method.

1. I received my license plates in the mail for my new car... they read: 600 MRX. Now I instantly saw Mr. X in that... but most people I have told about it do not find the humor until I bring it to their attention. Regardless, you can now refer to me as Mr. X (affectionately, if you like).

2. The coffee gods have smiled upon us here in the Marathon Oil Tower. We used to have the most horrid set up that was similar to the coffee you might get from an airport vending machine. Well today... we have actual coffee pots and we can bring in our own coffee to brew. Mr. X is very happy with this turn of events.

3. The other night at the Astros game, I tried to say "happy family"... but instead, I said "fappy hamily." We then tried to give "fappy" a definition... but nothing seemed to work. None of us were very comfortable with word after we said it many times...

4. I think one of my favorite things to do is sit in the easy chair, read, drink coffee... all while it is raining outside. This morning, I had a particularly difficult time leaving this ideal scenario to come to work. I think the reason I enjoy it so much is that I can do it and not feel like I am being unproductive or lazy. If it is sunny outside, I feel like I should be out enjoying the weather... but if it is raining, I am justified to just sit inside and read for hours if I want to.

5. I have discovered (much like Donald Miller says in his intro to Blue Like Jazz) that seeing someone else enjoy something makes it all the more appealing. I have had a number of instances in recent weeks where I was indifferent to a given item/issue... but when I saw a friend truly enjoy said item/issue... it caused me to see the merits previously hidden to me.

6. I posted this entry and it had 4 grammatical errors... and it has taken me at least 30 minutes to fix them. Of all the times for Blogger to experience server problems...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cuba 2006 Highlights - Part 2

Tuesday - May 30

On Tuesday, there were two highlights.

The first one was when we split into smaller groups with some of the college students to share testimonies and just ask each other questions. Each group had two Americans and four Cubans. We sat on a curb and just shared a little about ourselves with each other. My group consisted of Andriel, Nelson, Nori, and Franklin... and then Laurie Lau was the other American (though she is Chinese). Anyway, the best part of this was seeing that life for Cuban College students is not very different from life here in the US of A. We asked them how we could pray for them... and finals was the answer across the board. Andriel had just graduated, so his prayer request was for his job. Pretty much exactly what we said. Another great aspect of this afternoon was when one of the guys (known as Pappito) shared with the whole group how much he was blessed by us praying for the leaders the night before. It was one of those moments where I realized that our presence really was ministering to them even though the direct impact was slightly hidden to us.

The second highlight of this day involved worshiping in the dorms with the college students. Apparently, outside groups are not allowed in the dorms in Cuba... but we were (one of the many doors God opened while we were there). And not only were we allowed in... we were allowed to worship the Lord. As our host (Dan the Man Dan) said, we there to engage in "spiritual exercises." Two young ladies shared about how they had been down and depressed lately... so we prayed for that. And then Dan said there was too much sadness... we needed to just "praise the Lord." This guy had a passion to worship God... and it was catching. Another aspect of the night that blessed me was a young girl from Barbados singing How Great Thou Art accapella. I am telling you... this girl has some pipes. She could easily be the Cuban Idol. Even Simon would give her high marks. But even more beautiful than her voice was her desire to honor God with her voice... and she did just that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cuba 2006 Highlights - Part 1

As you are all aware, I recently traveled to Havana, Cuba with 26 other singles from my church here in Houston, TX. We returned on June 3, but work kept me too busy last week to post anything about the trip. So this week, I plan to give you a day-by-day look at our trip by discussing my personal trip highlights. Today's installment will cover Saturday, Sunday, and Monday... my apologies up front for the length of this post.

Saturday - May 27th

Our time in the airport was an event in and of itself. This was the only place that I ever felt like I was in a communist country. I may be making too much of this, but being in the airport terminal we were in (the one for chartered flights) had a very "controlled" feel to it. I was not scared at all... I just didn't feel free at all either. But then when I got through customs and walked outside, our new Cuban friends were so welcoming. And they spoke English... so we could all talk to them with reletive ease. Elmer (the leader of the group that we would be meeting with all week) was the first person I had a conversation with. It was truly a great way to start the week off because I could tell right off that he loved the Lord and just wanted to honor him. And besides that, he was hilarious.

Sunday - May 28th

We worshiped in a Cuban church that morning and then had the rest of the day as free time. Worshiping in another language and culture always presents its own challenges and blessings. Catha reminded us to embrace and experience the blessings as opposed to being annoyed by the challenges. Unexpectedly, Elmer translated the message for us (I fully expected to sit through an hour long sermon in Spanish. Now this was meaningful because Elmer had just told me the day before at the airport that his dream is to be a translator for a preacher. Well, we got to see/hear him do that for the first time... and he did a fine job. The rest of the day was free time. Many of us spent it at the pool just relaxing. This was a highlight because it allowed some of us who didn't know each other to get to know each other... which is in the top 3 highlights of the trip in general (more on that on Friday).

That night, we went into Havana to have dinner and just see the city. There were many highlights to be had here, and I will just list them out:

1. Watching Bart just be bold for the Christ by witnessing to a guy in a store where we bought some small paintings
2. Two-steppin' with Lori Latham to Cuban music
3. Salsa dancing with Lisa Karabatsos
4. Just seeing how another culture spends a Sunday night

Monday - May 29th

The highlight for me on Monday, was the leadership meeting we were blessed to be a part of. The group we were there to meet with all week have their leadership meeting on Monday nights. Well, they wanted us to sit in on the meeting... and to introduce ourselves to them and vice versa. Our introductions proved to be funny (some things were "lost in translation"), but the best part of the night was when we sang worship songs with them. As I noted above, worshiping with other cultures and in other languages always presents certain blessings... and this was no different. This group loves to sing (and so do I), and we just got loud in that room as we worshiped our Heavenly Father in song. In addtition to singing with them, we asked if we could pray for their group... so we all split into smaller groups and prayed for each of the leaders present. Again... truly a blessing. We didn't translate our prayers - we just voiced our thoughts to the Lord with the understanding that different languages was His doing in the first place and it does not confuse Him in the least. What a joy to be unified in Christ...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Diction and Pretension

Yesterday, I attended a training seminar for accountants. Yes, it was about as exciting as you are envisioning.

Anyway, the gentleman who spoke during lunch was a very bright man. He was presenting a forecast of the energy industry over the next 25 years.

He would pronounce his words very preciscely... "twen-ty" and "Muh-lai-see-a" and "In-doe-nee-see-a." I appreciated his good diction (though I think he went a bit overboard on those two country names)

Midway through the presentation, he started talking about sources of power... such as "nu-cu-ler." Very nice, I thought... very nice, indeed.

I just laughed every time he said it... at least it kept me awake.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Let Cuba be glad... at least in part

Last year, I posted an entry similar to this one before my trip to Guatemala. Well, this year (Saturday to be exact) the Lord has me headed off to Cuba.... that's right, the Communist country 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

As we talked through some of the logistics for our trip last night, an excitement about the trip hit me. I have been excited in the theoretical sense since (it just hit me that I used two homonyms right after each other) I first decided to go. But my excitement has been pretty low level until last night. I guess it is largely because the trip is right around the corner... but in any event, I am pumped about going.

The details of what we will be doing are fuzzy... there are some specifics we know, but there is a lot of room for flexibility. So if the Lord prompts you to do so... please pray for guidance. We all want to be used while we are there, so please pray that God opens doors for us to be busy about His work for the entire week. As I prayed with my prayer partner last night, I was reminded of the freedom we have in America... and how our freedom in Christ is so much more than our American freedom. It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to communicate our freedom in Christ without it being tainted or confused with our cultural freedom.

There will be more to share after the trip (obviously), but for now... this will have to do. Pray for us and for the people we will be spending time with.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The ol' grey mare aint what she used to be...

Actually, I should refer to her as "The Oyster Saturn" as that is what my good buddy Josh dubbed her... yes, I am referring to my car. She finally died on Tuesday (well.. she started the death process on Sunday night).

This week has been a fun one to say the least. The Oyster Saturn (TOS) decided she didn't have the will to live anymore on Sunday night... in Buffalo, TX (somewhere between Dallas and Houston on I-45). There was much drama to be had as I had to have her towed... not fun. However, I got a nice hook up from a friend on that, so the final bill was not as bad as it could have been.

On Monday, by the sheer grace of our great God, I was able to drive TOS to the Saturn dealership. A kind man in the Tiger Mart parking lot in Buffalo told me that the car wouldn't make it more than 15 miles (and that was just by hearing the noises it was making as I drove up... truly amazing). So I found a dealership that was a mere 9 miles from my humble abode... and set off. As I said... she made it. I dropped her off... the mechanics (again, purely by sound) had a good idea what was wrong. Apparently "throwing a rod" is a common term in car repair lingo. Well... that was what TOS was trying to do.

On Tuesday (after I had done some on-line and in person shopping), I decided on a new-to-me Mazda 6 from CarMax (little plug... this is the only place I will ever buy a car from going forward). During the test drive, the salesman and I stopped at the Saturn dealership to retreive TOS. Well... she allowed me to back her out... and then breathed her last breath. It was a sad moment, actually.

I ended up purchasing the Mazda (yet to be named - I will be accepting ideas over the next several days, months) on Tuesday night. She is a little bigger... a little faster... but still a pretty light drinker, so I am happy.

And I have just received confirmation that TOS is only worth about $100. So sad...

The quote of the week is as follows (I have heard it from MANY people in response to the fact that TOS gave out after a mere 6.5 years/117,000 miles): "It is a Saturn...(slight pause) no offense."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

You Too...

Many of you may have heard of a comedian named Brian Regan. Truly one of the funniest guys on the proverbial circuit. He is clean... and hilarious. I like to describe him as being a mix between Jim Carrey and Jerry Seinfeld... he is physically funny like Carrey but has the observational humor of Seinfeld. Those of you who know Brian's work will appreciate this story...

So anyway... yesterday I had to rent a car (story for that will follow in another blog post). Well, as it turns out, the guy who helped me rent said car was celebrating his birthday yesterday. So as I was leaving, I thanked him and said, "... happy birthday." To which he responded, "You too...."

"I don't know how to use the 'you too.'"

Friday, May 12, 2006

You Did What? In Your Shirt?

OK... so last week, I was on a retreat with many of the singles from my church. (The same one that birthed the legend now known as "The Troy"). Well... it was a grand ole' time as usual. Retreats typically are just fun because you they are like a mini vacation where you get away from the routine of life... even if it is just for a day or two.

But on Saturday night, two of my favorite female friends (both of whom are dating, mind you) were arguing over who would get to dance with me. A scuffle ensued as they were both trying to jockey for my attention... and in the process, I expelled some gas orally (that is verbose way of saying I burped). Now this release of gas was not intentional... nor was it audible. But one of the ladies stopped in the middle of fighting off the other and said, "did you just burp." I was busted... because I knew that I had, but I also knew that the only reason she knew was that she had smelled it. (Yes, I do realize how gross that is... but it is what it is)

Much laughter ensued from that revelation... and it was quite enjoyable (albeit at my expense).

So later on in the evening (during the lip sync show), I still had the occasional need to expel gas orally. I was sitting next to one of the aforementioned ladies, so I was sure to direct these burps in the opposite direction. However, at one point, I decided to direct a burp into my shirt (you know... to muffle it from the surrounding innocent bystanders).

Well... I was caught red handed by the yound lady next to me, and she said, "Did you just burp into your shirt?" Again, much laughter ensued.

Now remember, the two ladies who caught me burping were the two who desperately wanted to dance with me. I fear their names will never again grace my dance card...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Feel Good Song #4

Down on the Corner

Early in the evenin' just about supper time,
Over by the courthouse they're starting to unwind.
Four kids on the corner trying to bring you up.
Willy picks a tune out and he blows it on the harp.

Down On The Corner, out in the street,
Willy and the Poorboys are playin';
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Rooster hits the washboard and people just got to smile,
Blinky, thumps the gut bass and solos for a while.
Poorboy twangs the rhythm out on his kalamazoo.
Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo.

Down On The Corner, out in the street,
Willy and the Poorboys are playin';
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

You don't need a penny just to hang around,
But if you've got a nickel, won't you lay your money down?
Over on the corner there's a happy noise.
People come from all around to watch the magic boy.

(This will be the last installment in the Feel Good Songs series. It has not attracted as much attention as I hoped. However, there are many songs that evoke a "life is good" feeling... and these are just four that came to mind this week. There will be a Depressing Song series in the not too distant future, so stay tuned)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Feel Good Song #3

Lean On Me

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother,
when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem
that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on
Lean on me

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Feel Good Song #2

What a Wonderful World

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I watch 'em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....warm sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin'.. how do you do
They're really sayin'......I love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
They'll learn much more.....than I'll never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

Monday, May 08, 2006

Feel Good Song #1

The Cheers Theme Song

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

(for those who know the full song... I have only included the first verse for two reasons: 1. it is the one everone knows 2. the other verses don't make me feel so good)

Friday, May 05, 2006

When Context Doesn't Help....

The townhome complex I live in recently installed new mail boxes - with new locks... which require new keys.

Well, apparently we received a note on our door informing us of this news. I did not see the note, but my roommates told me it said something to the effect of the following:

"Please come by the front office to pick up your new mail box keys. Our office hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm. If you cannot come during these hours, we can mail you your new keys."


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Context is Everything

Last night, just before a leadership meeting, I was overheard saying the following words (with a fair amount of excitement and gusto):

"He is definitely kissable."

Now... given those words alone, one of the other individuals quickly turned to find out what exactly I was referring to.

Well, the full context of the story was that I was showing a new picture of my nephew (not the one below, but one almost as cute). Laurie Johnson pointed out that the picture I was showing displayed his pouty kissable lips. I was simply affirming that my 1 year old nephew truly is kissable. I mean check this picture out... he is eating a cracker (you can see a crumb on the right side of his mouth), but wouldn't you agree that he is definitely kissable?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Life - Meant to be Enjoyed

Following the example of Troy and Laurie, I thought I would list a few things that I have enjoyed in the past week (in no particular order).

1. The Astros
2. Chuy's Burritos
3. Celebrating a good friend's birthday
4. Four-day work-weeks
5. Standing as best man in the wedding of a good friend
6. Giving a toast at the wedding of that good friend
6. Pop Rocks
7. Texas Hold 'em
8. Shiner Hefeweizen
9. Texadelphia
10. Anchorman
11. Learning lessons about myself in everyday experiences
12. Experiencing God's grace as He points out my shortcomings
13. Seeing a good friend who lives out of the country
14. iTunes
15. Hearing stories about little children's perception of life
16. Late night trip to Wal-Mart
17. Encouraging words from friends
18. Laughing about funny and somewhat disturbing blog entries
19. Learning to trust the Lord
20. Seeing God's faithfulness in the live of others

All of these items have a story that could be its own blog entry (6, 7, 8, 10, and 16 are all one story, really)... but I will choose to leave them as one sentence summaries for now.

So maybe not my best blog entry... but it is an entry nonetheless. I fear that I am quicly losing my readers because my blog has become a blahg. I will try to do better in the future... thank you for your continued support. Carry on

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Breakroom Mores

Most of us work in office buildings where there is an established area in which to eat lunch... or to take your OSHA breaks during the day (I take mine via internet surfing... but that is beside the point).

Today, I would like to discuss an indicent that should be refrained from in breakrooms (or "coffee bars" as they are called here in my building).

Last week, I brought my lunch to work. (Tim, I was very efficient in the kitchen even though I was in there for more than 5 minutes. If you had posted earlier, I could have saved some time - maybe. But this, too, is beside the point.)

So I put my lunch in the community fridge (like most trusting people do in this era of peace that we find outselves in). That day, I had a meeting with my boss during lunch, so lunch was provided (the perks of working for oil companies these days). The next day, I was asked to take our new hire out to lunch... so my efficiently cooked meal was left in the community fridge for yet another day.

On Wednesday, I met a friend for lunch. Well, that evening, I found myself working later than normal, so I decided to retreive my lunch from the community fridge. I mosey into our coffee bar... excited about the chicken and green beans that awaited me. And then, to my great surprise/shock/awe, my lunch had been replaced with lettuce. Yes, LETTUCE. Just lettuce. No dressing... no croutons... no bacos... just leaves of green lettuce.

Now the point of this is simple - if you find your self needing a container to store your extra lettuce while at work, don't throw away a perfectly good (albeit two days old) lunch. This is not an accepted custom to be practiced in office breakrooms.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Psalm 147

So last week, I read Psalm 147. Verse 10 & 11 say the following:

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.

For whatever reason, these two verses became "living and active." Specifically, verse 11 where it specifically tells us what the Lord takes pleasure in.

So it begs a question to me - is it possible do one and not the other? Can a person fear the Lord in a way the pleases Him and not hope in His steadfast love? Or can we hope in His steadfast love and not have a healthy fear of Him?

How do we demonstrate these two elements of the Christian life? Are they inseparably linked together?


On a side note - per the request of my encouraging sister-in-law, here is a picture of Uncle Todd and Landon:

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lots of random things...

First... Laurie Johnson has outdone herself in the "let's exploit our friends" category of the Blog world. Tip of the hat to you, my dear.

Second... my nephew is now 1 year and 2 weeks old. I feel bad for not posting his birthday pictures earlier, so here are a few:

His first taste of sugar... and oh, how he enjoyed it!

With his mom...

With his dad...

Landon held up very well under the stress of his first birthday party.

Third... Underdogs.. also known as "Cinderella Teams" and "Mid Majors." Within the NCAA basketball tournament, there are always a handful of teams that are seeded between 4 and 13 (my estimated range) that surprise the nation. This year's winner is George Mason University. This team is an 11 seed in this year's tournament, and they have made their way to the Final Four (knocking off the likes of Michigan St, UNC, and UCONN - none of whom are teams to be disregarded by any means). As a Louisiana boy, I would love to see LSU win the championship, but seeing GMU win would definitely make for a better story... Of course, to people who care about such things, this post is not news; and to those for whom it is news... well, they probably just don't care (but they should).

Fourth... I am finally starting to add links to other blogs. If you are not there yet, don't fret... you will be soon. (yes, I just said don't fret... )

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

March Madness, BABY!!

This weekend, some friends and I traveled up to Dallas, TX to watch some 1st and 2nd round NCAA tournament action. Good times were had by all, and I got to know a couple of the guys in the group better... which was definitely a major highlight of the trip. But aside from that, below is my Top Ten Favorite things about the weekend (this is a Top Ten that is really in chronological order):

10. Staying it the McDonalds Fried Apple Pie box. Check out the "exterior" picture on the website... the nickname is courtesy of D-Luxe.

9. The Defense Lady. Everyone in and around section 321 of the AA Center on Friday knows exactly who I am talking about. Sweet old lady... who just really wanted Memphis to do well on defense.

8. Asking for silverware 3 times... and never getting it. During the break between sessions on Friday, we went to a small Itallian eatery for dinner. Well, the place was pretty well packed... and one of the guys in our group just wanted a fork with which to eat his cheesecake. He asked politely three times... and ended up having to wipe off the fork of another guy at our table in order to enjoy his dessert.

7. Omar Wilkes amazing bucket against N.C. State. As put it: "The shot of the game came from Bears sophomore Omar Wilkes, who in one leap caught, spun and fired a long 3-pointer as the 35-second clock was expiring." Defintely the highlight shot of the weekend in the bracket we saw.

6. Riding the Hooters bus to stay dry. We couldn't get a cab... it was raining... the Hooters bus was beckoning us to ride it. What could we do? The full story is that we just rode the bus to Hooters so we could go inside to wait for a cab.

5. The quest for LSU apparel. On Saturday, I wanted to sport some purple and gold to support the Tigers against the beloved Aggies. Well, this sent us on a fun, dangerous, and somewhat illegal journey. Our driver (who shall remain nameless) handled himself well as he drove the wrong direction on a feeder. Truly a highlight of the weekend...

4. Fried Twinkies. Wow! Rich doesn't even begin to describe it. Deliciously disgusting is more like it.

3. Watching LSU Tiger Darrel Mitchell make a three point jumper to win against the Aggies. This one we saw on TV... but it was exciting nonetheless.

2. Running from the parking lot to the AA Center in what must have been one of the worst storms to hit Dallas in 2006. This was quite possibly the funniest moment that happened the whole weekend. We couldn't do anything but run in a torential downpour... and laugh at ourselves, of course. And then... we had to stop at a stop light for traffic. I think I may have cussed, actually. At one point, someone said, "Is that hail?" I think it was..

1. Cheering against UT... in Dallas... TWICE. I have no beef against the University of Texas, but I did cheer against them in both of their games this weekend. The mighty Quakers and the Wolfpack both had me in their corners because everyone likes an upset in March.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oscar... not what he used to be.

I will start with this... the fact that Crash won Best Picture restores my "respect" (for lack of a better word) for the Academy. It truly is a great movie. Difficult to watch in parts, but some great commentary on human behavior. I highly recommend checking it out if you have not.

The rest of the Oscars were somewhat underwhelming to me. It almost seems as if the whole Oscars event has passed its prime. Could it be that there are just too many other award shows these days? Not sure. Or maybe it is more a function of my own perception of Hollywood and such. Thoughts?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ah.. the simplicity of life

Yesterday, I had to make a trip to Dillard's to see if they would reissue me a gift card because the one I gave to someone at Christmas was stolen.

So I walk up to the register from which I bought the card back in December (yes, I remembered exactly which one... not sure why, but I did). The nice lady working that register told me that I needed to go to Customer Service on the second floor. No problem... the escalator was near by, so I made my way to the second floor.

As I reached the end of my escalator ride, I see a sign looming in the distance... "Customer Service." Well that was easy, I thought to myself. So I walk straight to this easy-to-find customer service counter. I wait there for what seems like a long time, but it was probably less than a minute.

Finally, another nice lady arrives and asks me if she can help me. I tell her my story... to which she responds (I am not making this up): "Oh.. you need actual customer service."

She then gives me directions: "Go through the furniture section and make a right... you will need to go to where it says Gift Wrap."

I am so glad that life is getting simpler and easier to understand...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

26.2 Miles... are you kidding me?!?!

That was my thought as I saw people continuing on past my scheduled stopping point for the Freescale Half Marathon on Sunday. As I crossed the finish line, I was struck with many thoughts... one of which was, "13.1 miles is plenty for me."

So in case you were not aware, some friends of mine and I ran in the Austin half marathon on Sunday. We had a great time and it is something I highly recommend to anyone who thinks they might be interested in doing it. There is something to be said for incremental training... 5 months ago, there is no way I could have run 13.1 miles; but on Sunday, that is exactly what I did.

We were told on Sunday morning that the weather would not get above freezing the whole day.. so we all dressed accordingly. I think that report was incorrect because it didn't feel quite that cold as we were running. However, standing at the finish line (soaked in sweat) it definitely felt like we just ran with some penguins. I am telling you it was miserable... and add to that sore legs and knees... not cool. But the good part was that we were all miserable together, and no one really complained too much.

I think the thing that has struck me the most in all of this is that the training really was (at least for me) the best part of it all. Not to take away from the feeling I had when I saw the finish line... or the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line... but all of that passed very quickly. The best part of running this race was the training because it lasted 4.5 months. The race was over in 2 hours, and all I could hope to do was meet my finish time goal (cuz I certainly wasn't going to win). But during the training, I developed some great friendships... I saw what my body was capable of doing... I learned a little more about discipline... and the list can go on.

The same is true for the Christian life, is it not? The journey is the joy. God could have saved me and brought me to Heaven in the same blink of an eye. But He has not done that. He has left me here to enjoy Him on the journey. To develop friendships (with Him and with others whom He has created in His image)... to see what He is capable of doing in and through me... to learn a little about discipline... and the list can go on.

This is not meant in any way to diminish the greatness of Heaven. But just as the feeling of finishing the race on Sunday was heightened by the training, so eternity will be so much better because of all that we have seen and done here on earth.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It was only a matter of time...

I finally figured out how to post pictures on this thing. So here is my first picture post, and it will be of none other than my nephew Landon Thomas Richards. One day, he will be old enough to look at this and be embarassed... but for now, he is none the wiser.

Here is another (more recent) picture of him walking. Such extreme concentration... I tell you, he is destined for greatness.

He was born during the first round of March Madness last year. Coincidence? I think not. Greatness, I tell you... GREATNESS.

Righteous Indignation

So what is righteous indignation, you ask? Well, let me explain it from the dictionary:

Indignation - Anger aroused by something unjust, mean, or unworthy.
Righteous - Morally upright; without guilt or sin.

So the question I have for the blog world today is can we as humans respond to something with righteous indignation? The definition given above for righteous would lead me to say no... I am not without guilt or sin. However, in God's eyes (because of Christ), I am righteous.

But what of the indignation part? Who decides what is unjust, mean, or unworthy?

I bring this up because in reading 1 Samuel 11, I stumbled on a passage that intrigued me greatly. In this chapter, Nahash the Ammonite threatens to gouge out the eyes of a group of Israelites - Jabesh-gilead to be exact.

(stay with me, now... the point will get here before you know it.)

So Nahash makes this threat... and the people of Jabesh beg for an opportunity to find someone to save them. This news reaches Saul (the man recently annointed king over Israel). And here is the verse that caused me to stop and ponder:

"And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled." - 1 Sm 11:6

Now the chapter continues and Saul does some odd things in cutting up some oxen and sending the parts throughout Israel... and the people gather to help Jabesh fight against Nahash the Ammonite. (see also Judges 19)

(still with me? here comes the point...)

It was the Spirit of God that rushed upon Saul to make him angry at what was happening to Jabesh-gilead.

So my thought was why do I not have such anger come over me when I hear of things like you will see discussed in the following links (caution - the subject matter contained in these links is extremely sad and upsetting):

Invisible Children

Why do I not have the righteous indignation to do something about cases such as those discussed above? Not sure there is an answer to that question that will be given in a blog... just wanted to give some food for thought.

Thoughts are always welcome...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

They're here...

You guessed it, the Girl Scout Cookies are here. Some people refer to this time of year as Mardi Gras Season... I, however, refer to it as Girl Scout Cookie Season.

I just returned from lunch, and someone had placed a box of the reduced fat lemon cookies by our printer (the place where all of our community treats are housed on any given day). And my reaction was similar to that of seeing the Red Starbucks Cups in late November... it pleases me to think that over the next few weeks, there will be many varieties of delicious cookies to enjoy.

My favorites are the Thin Mints (frozen) and the Caramel Delights (formerly known as Samoas).

I had a great idea for another blog topic this morning, but it was far to serious to throw together in a hurry... so stay tuned.

Kathy Nelson and Ms. Elly... welcome to my blog. You both get personal shout-outs because I never would have expected to see your names pop up in my comment section. You are welcomed additions, for sure.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Old Habits Die Hard

Many months ago, my friend introduced me to the simply phenomenal email system that is fast becoming the standard web based email... Gmail. I have been using it for almost a year now.

The people at Google are always coming up with new features and such (my love for Google is a topic for another blog post entirely). The most recent new feature is the addition of the "delete" button. Users used to have to click on a drop-down menu in order to delete a message. Well now, you can just click a button... so much easier.

However, it has taken me 9 days of consistant use to go directly to the delete button. Today was the first time that I didn't instinctively go to the drop-down menu to delete a given message. It is very much like writing dates during the first two weeks of January... it takes about that long for me to use the right year.

This is so interesting to me because it shows how habits (even simple ones like those mentioned above) are so hard to break.

Again, on a side note... I have another shout-out to give to another dear lurking friend of mine... again, she knows who she is. I am pretty comfortable saying that she makes the best brisket that I have ever put in my mouth. Seriously... it was grandmother/years of cooking experience quality. So kudos to you, Lurker Friend, for your brisket (and for just being all around fantastic).

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mutant A.D.D.

This morning I was having coffee with a friend of mine; and in the process of the conversation, I begin telling him a story that occured on Saturday night. He lets me tell the whole story... and then says back to me, "yeah... I remember you doing that." And it hit me - he was there and witnessed the story first hand. In fact, I had been sitting next to him for most of the evening.

So has this happened to anyone else? Has anyone else launched into a story they thought needed to be shared... only to realize that the person they are sharing it with was present for said story. This is beyond A.D.D.... this is truly Mutant A.D.D. (extra points for all who catch the "mutant" reference)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mr. and Mrs. Richards... CPA's

There is a married couple who both work on my floor. This whole concept just strikes me as odd... and frankly, not very enjoyable.

I see them having lunch together... they likely ride to work together... and I just saw them working on something together (though they are in different groups, they were both on their way to my team lead's office to ask a question).

Now you may be thinking that is sweet. A married couple getting to spend that much time together. I am thinking, "that is pretty close to my idea of a person hell."

You know what they say (yes, I just used the elusive "they" as a reference)-"Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Apart from Jesus Christ himself, I can't imagine spending that much time together with anyone on this planet.

So... married and single people alike, share with us your perspective on what it would be like to work with your spouse.

Oh, and on a completely side note, I want to give a quick shout-out to my favorite lurker. She knows who she is... and since she is a lurker, I will keep her identity a secret (unless she decides to "out" herself and actually post). But then she would lose her status as my favorite lurker... so it is a catch 22, I guess.

Monday, January 23, 2006


I am taking the example of my great friend (and simply perfect stand-in date #1) Laurie Johnson, and I will offer up a confession of my own.

I watch the Food Channel. I watch it. There - I have said it for all the world to read. I watch Rachel Ray... Bobbly Flay... Emeril Lagasse... Paula Dean... (and, guys, my personal favorite) Giada De Laurentiis. (there are others, but blog confessoins don't have to be 100% complete, right?)

The wierd thing is that I clearly can't taste or smell anything that is being cooked... but I certainly do imagine how good the food must be. I mean seriously, they wouldn't be on TV is the food wasn't good. Right?

Now I do NOT schedule my days and nights around these shows... and I do not Tivo them. I have never set my VHS to channel 52, but I do flip to it on a regular basis just to see who is creating what for my imagination to enjoy.

Now many of these chef hosts are a little on the annoying side. A few examples:

Rachel Ray. She is kinda like a train wreck. I just can't look away because I want to see what the final product will be. So I sit through all the hand motions and all the cheesy giggles and all the "EVOO..Extra Virgin Olive Oil" remarks.

Emeril. Well, he just needs to kick it down a notch.

Paula Dean. She is sweet like sugar, but it just rings of... oh how can I say this... "Fake Southern Charm." If she really is that sweet, I want to marry into her family somehow.

Bobby Flay. This guy is the only one who is not annoying. I think I would hang out with this guy because he is... well, normal. At least he appears to be on his shows.

Giada De Laurentiis. Wow. I mean seriously, guys... check out Food TV just to see her. She is strikingly beautiful (in my humble but accurate opinion). She is not annoying either - for that proverbial record.

So there you have it. Todd Richards is a fan of Food TV. Who's with me?

(Judging by the fact that most of my readership is missing a Y chromosome, I expect to get lots of agreement. However, some support from the fellas would be appreciated)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Senseless Analysis

In reading the 8th chapter of Hebrews yesterday, I came across this verse:

"Now the point in what we are saying is this..." (it is verse 1 of the chapter, actually)

Well, the meaning of the verse and the chapter is not the point of this post... so you will have to read it for yourself.

But here is the point...

My Bible has a fair number of footnotes, and I tend to read most of them as I read a given passage of Scripture. So I read this verse... glanced down for a footnote... and found one. Now the format of the footnotes in my Bible is pretty important to my point. The words being discussed in the footnote are in bold, followed by the commentary/explanation/etc. So here is how the footnote reads in my Bible:

8:1 Now the point in what...are saying is this - [explanation of the verse, etc, etc.]

Does anyone see this as odd like I do? I mean I am curious to know if I am too analytical/critical or if others see what I see.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Reflective Christian

So in my last post, I mentioned that I have recently read a book entitled The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor. In this book, Taylor uses the term "reflective Christian" to describe himself... and those to whom he is directing the book. So what is a "reflective Christian?" I am so glad you asked....

I will attempt to give you Taylor's words... and then add my own commentary at the bottom.

"The term 'reflective Christian' brings to mind a knot of related but quite different images. The first is very positive, evoking a simple wonder that among the things it means to be created in God's image is the ability to carry on a mental dialogue with reality - that is, to think.

"But there is also a more troublesome aspect of being reflective. Thinking, as many have discovered can be dangerous. It can get us in trouble - with others, but also with ourselves. And the suspicion lingers in religious circles that it can also, if we are not careful, get us in trouble with God."

It is the dual nature presented here that Taylor addresses in the 130 pages that follow. The issue of having a mind that causes you to think... but how that thinking gets us in trouble in a variety of ways.

Taylor's words again: "Being reflective is both a blessing and a curse, a potential for strength and for weakness. It can lead equally well toward truth or error. Life can be richer, more textured, more challenging, more meaningful. Likewise, it can become barren, more threatening, more overwhelming."

So what is a reflective Christian? Simply put, it is a person who has been touched by the Holy Spirit (hence the Christian aspect of the term), and who has a mind that is not satisfied with simple, pat answers to difficult questions (hence the reflective aspect of the term). The reflective Christian follows in the steps of the writer of Ecclesiastes who said, "I directed my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom and an explanation."

Having this outlook on life can certainly make it "richer, more textured, more challenging, more meaningful." But the problems start when the answers to your questions are not neat and tidy. That is when life can become "barren, more threatening, more overwhelming."

So is it wrong to direct our minds "to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom and an explanation"? Thoughts? Comments?

Friday, January 06, 2006


Some people are naturally more reflective than others... by that, I mean that some people analyze things a great deal while others are content to just take things at face value.

I definitely fall on the refelctive side of the coin. This can be both a good and a bad thing (see, I am even reflective about being reflective... it is a curse).

The good side of being reflective is that you are less likely to be fooled in this life by the lies of others. Another positive aspect of being reflective is that if there is a problem, the reflective person is probably going to be the one to uncover it. This is not a hard and fast rule, clearly... but as a general rule, the analytical/reflective ones are the ones who nail 95 Theses to church doors.

The bad side of being reflective is that you can "reflect" yourself into a corner of paralysis. As noted above, I can see every side of an arguement... which may make me a good politician or diplomat, but it makes decision making very difficult. Another bad aspect of being reflective is that you might miss truth because you second guess it too much. This is especially true for Christians who struggle with "blind faith." A reflective person is not as likely to just accept things because a preacher says them or because of tradition or whatever. The reflective person will likely be more like Thomas who wanted to see/feel the holes in Jesus's hands and side. That can make for a difficult faith journey because much of what we believe as Christians is believed "by faith." I have much more to say on this... but that will have to come later. Much of what I am saying has come to my mind as a result of reading a book entitled The Myth of Certainty by a guy named Daniel Taylor. He explores this issue in a lot more depth.

I bring this up for three reasons:

1. I recently read the book noted above... and it has caused me to think about a lot of things.
2. I tend to be very reflective this time of year.
3. I am curious where others find themselves in the reflective spectrum.

So tell me... on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being extremely non-reflective and 10 being the person who can't decide what socks to wear because he sees so many pros and cons to every pair) where are you?