Sunday, November 12, 2006

Soap Poisoning is Eminent

Well, I hesitate to write this because it really drives home that something is wrong with me. I am victim of another soap story! This one was by my own hand. Sad but true, I must really have a problem.

Each Wednesday morning I wake up early to help at a local high school Christian Club. I provide support as a youth pastor. This venture has me waking up at around 5:00 am each Wednesday.

Recently, we got a new dog. Her name is Faith. She is a boxer mix puppy. She is pretty cute, but also very young. This means potty training. Is it called potty training when it is a dog?

Well, it was about 6:00. I just made the coffee and was about to get my to go cup ready for the morning. I was just about to wash my cup when I heard a little whimpering from the boys room. I sat the cup down next to the sink and ran to take care of the puppy.

Okay, puppy taken care of. No messes. Where were we? Oh that's right the coffee. I put my sugar and cream in and filled the cup with a delicious Starbuck's roasted bean. Out the door I run, coffee in hand, and off to the youth group.

I get to the group all right and didn't have a sip. Fortunately the cup I used keeps the coffee quite warm. It is around 7:30 now and I am off to the other side of the city for a meeting with my boss. It is now time to enjoy my coffee. I take a sip and realize that I never actually cleaned the cup.  All I did was fill the cup with soap. It all comes back to me that I had to run to take care of the puppy and that I set the cup down next to the sink without washing it. Man, all I need is another bagel and this coffee would be perfect!!!

On being Blogger of the Week

I would like to say thank you for choosing me as Blogger of the Week.  I get a kick out of writing stories about my family when I can, and that just made it really special to me.  It is nice to know people enjoy my family as much as I do.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

The Dangers of Homeschooling

I know we are supposed to be homeschool advocates, but I have just run into several dangers of being a homeschool parent.  These are not little pitfalls, but major death defying dangers.  I am scared to write this as I know some left leaning anti homeschooler will use this as proof that we are radicals.

Several days ago I came home.  I was tired and slightly discombobulated.  I was running low on blood sugar from not eating the entire day at work.  I had a few minutes to spare between appointments so I wanted to eat a very quick bite and be off.

I looked in the fridge (where the chicken mummies nearly fell on my head when I opened the door) and found a rare treat.  Bagels.  Oh what a delight!  Bagels are wonderful.  I was so excited to have a bagel.  Oh, and look at that on the counter.  Could that be cream cheese?

I was so excited to have a bagel with cream cheese that I hardly noticed it was a little hard to spread.  Maybe it was accidentally put in the freezer.  No problem, I will just put it in the microwave and warm the whole thing up together. 

30 seconds had passed and the cream cheese melted into the bagel.  I could hardly wait to eat this wonderful little morsel.  Hope sprang into my body, and just the smell of warm bagel was revitalizing my energy.  I took a bite.  Mmmmmm, mmmmm, ummm...

Something was a little out of the ordinary on that bite.  No matter, all will be right with the next bite.  Slowly I closed my eyes and opened my mouth to taste that wonderful cream cheese, but...  Now it was certain.  Something was definitely not right here.  Maybe it was the cream cheese.  Maybe it had been sitting a little too long on the counter.  I did notice it was a little hard to spread.  Well, I was hungry and there was no point in wasting a bagel, even if it did taste a little weird.

I went on to nearly the end of the bagel wondering where I had tasted that wierd taste before.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  Suddenly, the wife and kids burst through the front door. 

"What are you eating," my wife asked. 
"A bagel and cream cheese," said I.  "Would you like one?"
"Sure" was the unanimous reply.

We started to eat bagels together and I noticed the kids avoided the cream cheese on the counter and instead went for some other cream cheese in the fridge.  Fortunately for them, the chicken mummies had been moved so they wouldn't fall on their heads.  I asked them why they didn't finish the cream cheese on the counter.  "Dad, that isn't cream cheese.  It's a bar of soap!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ray's MTB Park

I had a chance to go down to Cleveland with my sons this past weekend:,com_zoom/Itemid,50/catid,5/

Jordan, my youngest son

Nathan, my oldest child

Me, and the trick that opened up the door to share the Gospel:

If I could pass anything on to my kids during such a  fun day, it is to be the Gospel to people and to be it in season and out of season.  I had no intent of doing anything but having fun.  Since we have hardly had a chance to ride this year, I wanted to make up for lost time.  The opportunities to model Jesus just happen, and you gotta take em.  They weren't big or grandios (sp?) but they were opportunities to be a model of Jesus to people and that is what we are called to do.

The park was a blast.  I loved everything there, though the pump track was my favorite.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Favorite Pictures

Well, I still have some more favorite pictures.  I know this isn't exciting reading, but I wanted to share.

Here is the gallery
and here are a couple of my favorites.

This was at a gravel pit.  What makes this cooler is my older son Nathan also did this.

This was taken by my son Nathan.

This is just the feeling I get when I am on a bike.  There is no other way to describe it.

Well, if you have time, review the pictures.  There are also some funny bloopers there.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Building a youth alternative community

I, like many of you, know youth in the MySpace world.  I am not going to rant, but am going to say what I am involved in.

I am involved in a ministry called Youth Net and was asked by the leader if it was possible to build a similar community.  I am a web hack, so I am testing a bunch of components to see what we can do.  I finally have something working with very few bugs.  I am asking people to help me test it so I can see what needs to be changed.

Currently I have a personal blog feature similar to HSB, with comments and the like.  I have a user list and private messaging.  I also have a user web gallery.

I am not trying to reinvent the wheel and ask people to come over to my site.  I am asking for help in developing it.  Ultimately, I may take this don from my site when I feel all the bugs are worked out and it is safe to rebuild at Youth Net.(The goal of YN is to build a site where students can blog about their Christian groups in school and support eachther in prayer).  I may keep it for the youth in my church that I minister to, but all that is still up in the air.  Right now the goal is to get things working.  For the sake of my youth, I would ask for help from other Christian youth and parents.

Please take the tme to check things out at

Some of my Favorite Mountain Biking Pictures

I was going through old pictures the other day and decided to put together a few galleries of my favorites.  This gallery contains some of my favorite biking pictures over the last few years.  I took most, but not all of these pictures.  Please note, though some of the pictures are some of my better camera work, some are just sentimental moments.

Favorite Biking Pictures

Friday, August 25, 2006

Another Tag

I was tagged by Christina.

1. what is your favorite color?

Blue, Silver, Black

2. what is your favorite food?

Oh boy, food.  My favorite!

3. what is your favorite clothes store?

I don't like clothes stores.

4. what have you eaten today?


5. who are your heroes?

Too many to list.

6. what is your middle name?


7. what is/are your pet peevs?

Moving my tools around my garage. (Other people that is)

8. what was the saddest day of your life? happiest?

Saddest hasn't hapened yet.  Happiest?  There have been 6 or more.  Being found by Jesus, wedding, Nathan's, Jordan's, Ally's, and Kitty's Bday.

9. what is the most necessary accessorie? (sorry about my spelling!) ex purse, jewerly?


10. who is your favorite actor/actress?
I don't know, probably Gene Kelly.

11. what is your favorite drink? cola, water??

Mr. Pibb

12. do you like school?


13. what is your favorite subject?


14. are you annoyed with how long this quiz is?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dealing with Daggers

If you have been reading my blog
lately you know I have been taking a look at my life, trying to learn from
it, and trying to move forward with my family.  I have been looking
at my upbringing and typical parenting things, and trying to change things
in my parenting style.  Well something got me thinking about external
issues from outside family and how to deal with them.  I am also wondering
what role this issue will play in my family and its future.

I noticed I have had a lot of daggers
stuck in my back over the years.  This epiphany came as I was working
through pulling several recent daggers out.  I was in a conversation
the other day where I realized I was having a "discussion" with a person
over some semantics of a conversation I had with them before.  The
problem was I NEVER had this discussion with this person.  This conversation
had nothing to do with the person I was talking to at all.  It came
to me that I was getting yelled at over a conversation that another friend
talked about behind my back.

Like any person, this bothered
me greatly.  According to Scripture I know I need to forgive, and,
since I have been forgiven so much, I am working through it.  I must
admit it is tough, though.  But, in looking at it from a higher perspective,
I see this is something I have been plagued with through all my life.  Over
the years I have been accused for a number of things.  In my history
many of these things have been false accusations.  There have been
times I was vindicated after the fact, but I have had to go through it
just the same.  I have also just plainly been stabbed in the back
by other methods.  Friends talking about me have stabbed me in the
back.  Trying to help has gotten me stabbed in the back where I have
been involved with projects that others have held up.  Unfortunately,
I could go on.  

I am also watching this false accusation
issue happen with another of my friends.  I have known this friend
for a long time, and am so frustrated on his behalf.  I know, in the
end, the whole mess will be straightened out, but watching him have to
deal with this simple misunderstanding turned mountain is so irritating.
 Of course, back to Scripture we have to go.  The Bible says
these kinds of things are going to happen, and gives us instruction on
how to deal with them.

Okay, so I have to look forward.
 As you know I am looking for things in my life that I have let in,
and dealing with them both in my life, and in the lives of my wife and
children.  This is part of my quest to raise a Godly family.  I
am not sure where to go on this as a father.  It is obvious that the
Lord is showing me something, and bringing this issue to the front for
a reason.  As a father I see my kids coming to the age where we will
have to deal with offense.  I wonder if this is coming to the front
because I will have to see my kids stabbed in the back as I have been,
and I wonder if I can teach them to walk uprightly with the Lord where
I have not in the past.  I wonder if I had to get stabbed in the back
again to take a critical look at if I can handle walking uprightly with
the Lord myself so I can teach the kids.  I am hoping that I only
had to go through this the last time so the Lord can say, "son, I am going
to spare you from watching your kids go through this."

I am hoping I can beg the Lord
to let this be the case.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Notes From Communicating What You Believe

I really appreciate the time taken by the men to discuss this matter here.  I feel the need to bare some weakness in the hopes of becoming a better father, and the input given has been very helpful. 

Steve Walden took the time to follow up twice on my original post. Here is the Second Article.

I really don't have much of a response to this article other than to totaly agree wth it.  I have been praying about this very thing:  Being a Pharisee, being a dog trainer, or being a father and a pastor.

Being a Pharisee.  I think that is a trap many of us fall into.  It is easy to 

compromise for ourselves.  It is interesting what Jesus says about them in Matthew 23:3.  He basically says do what they tell you.  They have good teaching.  Then He goes a little further and points out what Steve did in his point #1. 

Being a dog trainer.  This is where I am at my weakest in the home. It is easy to "ark out" the rule.  Wait, that would make you the dog, wouldn't it?  Anyway, it is easy to throw the rule out to the child.  It is harder to teach the child to follow the rule.  It is hardest to teach the child the rule, the importance of it, and the Father behind it.  I teach my family the father, but am weakest in this area.  Again, I am puting together a plan based on the advice of the men who have taken their time to share.

Finally, being a father and a pastor.  I am both.  I was always both.  I am going to always be both.  I just think I missed the connection here.  I have been a father in the home, and a pastor to my youth ministry.  I need to walk in both simultaneously.  Funny, with my 8Mile youth I can father and pastor.  I need to work on this in the home.  I think this is a problem for many men.  Work is something men can create an identity and be different in.  Home is where you go when you are tired and can't walk in the identity anymore.  I just need to slow down and relax on the work end, and be who I am.

Notes From Becoming a Genuine Father

Steve Walden wrote a reply to my earlier post Fathers and Families.  Here is his reply.

I read this reply and took a deeper look at things.  Being a son of a good, fire fighter dad made quality family time tough.  It is funny, I can draw some parallels between his job and his fathering style.  I am not finding fault with him in any way.  I want to make sure that is known.  I am learning from where I am plain and simple.

I look at how I was raised, and was raised with a lot of freedom, and a lot of discipline.  I was not raised with a lot of communication.  Communication was used as a tool to put out fires.  It was sprayed as needed over the parts needing the most attention.  There was always a sense of urgency and tension when it was used (as in fighting a fire).  It was also not used more than needed.  This was in everything from correctiona nd discipline to joking around. 

I know there is freedom from generational sin.  I have seen that.  I know there is also a way to learn to better communicate.  You wrote of your fathers' promise never to fall into some things, and I have been similar in my parenting (in making promises that I would change certain things).  I am very involved with my kids.  I love them and do spend a lot of time with them.  I talk a lot with them and do listen to them.  That being said, I feel like I miss a lot in the area of developing their Godly character and discipline, and "parental" issues.

As I wrote in my response to Scott Somerville, I am in need of spending time with my "DAD" more.  In this area, I relate to my children how I was related to on earth.  I see the need to create a better devotional time for this purpose.  It is funny and embarrassing that I can be a better father to my youth ministry in the area of correction than I can in the home.  This, as it is unfolding, seems to be because my focus is evangellizing and reaching my youth in the 8Mile area. 

Saturday, August 5, 2006

More Fathers and Families Learning

I appreciate the gentlemen who have
taken time to share their hearts with my previous post.  I see
something I would like to incorporate in my family, and hope these
post conversations help more than just me.  I plan to answer
each of the replies and posts, but have just returned from a youth
camp, so I will start with the comment from Scott Somerville.

"I don't have any overarching
answers, RC, but here's a question. Do you have times with God that
change the way you think? If you do, does that change the way you

I've noticed that when I
get something fresh from God, it bubbles up all day long. It's on my
mind, and it's what I talk about. ("Out of the heart the mouth
speaks," as Jesus observed.)

lot of us dads are so busy we short-change our times with God. For
years I would get up and out the door and then pray as I drove to
work. That was a good effort, but it meant I was always telling God
what was on my mind, without giving Him much of an opportunity to
CHANGE what was on my mind. When I finally made time to dig into the
Word BEFORE I got in the car, my whole devotional experience was

Do I have times with God that change
the way I think?  Yes and No.  I am a "traveling"
salesman, so I send a lot of time on the road.  I try to put in
some quality prayer time on the road.  I am also always looking
for Him in a lot of other areas, but, unfortunately, only some of
which are study.

I am starting to sound like your exerience. 
I used to have a good devotional time, and got busy.  I really
got busy int he last two years.  I moved into the corporate
life, and I moved into the youth pastor position at my church. 
I spend time in the word, but it is usually for "giing out"
with the youth of South Warren and Detroit.  I am focused on
building something in them. 

I am also distracted in
this area from corporate life.  These guys live, eat and breathe
Linde Gas.  In order to be successful here, I must do the same
to some extent.  Longer hours, blah, blah, blah.

So, in
reading your post,  stand convicted that I need to take the time
to refresh myself in the word, not just for prep and trying to
effectively minister to my youth in the church.

I also see, in
writing this, that I need to tune in more to my family.  I can
tell you a lot about where I minister.  I am part of a rare
church bridging the gap ethnically, and socio-economically.  In
years to come, I will be one of the people writing the books about
effectively ministering to the "other".  This is true
about understanding my family, but not the next step. 

Connecting is where the original post came
from.  There is a lot of history that can be written about the
generations over the last 100 years and the cause of the weakness of
connection with the family, and, as you can see, I am at no loss for
words in writing about my own experiences.  I am effective in
connecting to my 8Mile youth.  I ave a heart and a sensitivity
for them.  I have a heart for my own youth in my house, but
connecting with them, other than being dad the jungle-jim is my

Here I stand convicted by your post again.  I
take the time to study and reach my 8Mile youth, and I need to study
my own youth a little more.

Thank you Scott.  Can you
have a seminar here in MI?

I will get to the other comments in the next two days.  I have to sleep for church, and have to shoot pictures for a church in the inner city tomorrow.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Fathers and families

Well, like many of you, I read the interview of Scott Somerville over at the TOSPUBLISHER page. I found it was very iteresting and had some bits of knowledge I can learn from. As I was reading it, I began to think of my family and my involvement in it . Not just the homeschooling area, thogh that was a big part of my thoughts, but who I am and why I parent the way I do. I thought I would take a little time exploring this here so maybe some of you could comment, and I can learn things I may need to at this point in my parenting.

First, let me say something about myself. I am 36, and married for nearly 15 years to my beautiful Andrea. We have four children, Nathan, Jordan, Allyson, and Kathryn. I love and adore my wife and family, and am typically an affectionate person. This is where I have to dig deeper and expose myself for the sake of learning.

I am one of those early GenX'ers. I came from a good family, but I think it is important to note that. This isn't a blog to bash my parents, or how I was raised, but one to look at how I can grow from where I am. There were some things in my life that I wish weren't there, but for the most part, I am a product of society in certain areas. I grew up in a home where I was given much freedom. The Gospel was put aside in our house when I was about ten. I was allowed to ride and hang out anywhere I wanted. I came home to check in, not to communicate.

Communication wasn't one of the strong points in my house growing up. From time to time we would talk, or joke, but we weren't deep. This was a rough area for me as I am a deep person who loves intamacy. Our house was a home where we showered and watched tv. We rarely ate dinner together after I was about ten. We would watch some tv together, but mostly, we would take turns watching whatever.

This might be how many of us were raised. GenX'ers raised from Boomer Me people. As I investigate myself, though, I find this is where a plug was pulled in my plugged in society. My wife will tell you I am a caring man. I am. I just can't get past the surface in certain areas though. I look at some of the fathers here and realize I am not doing all I can in the home. Though I am very outward in my focus, I find myself at a loss where home is concerned. I find this funny. I sell industrial gases, I am a youth pastor, and a chaplain in Boy Scouts.

I talk like crazy. I do talk a lot in the home, but I just don't seem to be that father I should be. I notice lately that I spit out that which has been put into me over the years. I will often entertain my kids and others. I was influenced by that whch I watched. I will either regurgitate a comedy bit from someone else, or adapt one of my own to get a laugh. This is rough for as I have much deeper inside myself that I don' know how to bring out in the home.

This is where I get into it. In the home I regurgitate rules and conformity. "You must behave like this", "you should know already how to act", these are how I was parented. I noticed this a few weeks ago when I was trying to show my oldest "why" I felt the way I did about something. "Do you understand?"

"Yeah, you don't want me to watch that movie."

This told me a lot about where I am missing the mark. I want to teach my kids to have convictions, but istead I teach them robotics. Move this way, act that way. This is where I read other men and their experiences, and I see myself missing it in the home, and possibly the ministry. This is where I look to you for help. I want to see my kids going deeper than te surface. I want them to know why they are who they are. I want them to see deeper. I want them to understand what the Father loves and hates so they might desire to please Him. I feel I have not put that in them to this point. I feel as though I put a lot of "if, then" rules into them, and taught them memorization of behavior regulations, not a passion to live a righteous life.

Any input would be very helpful.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


My son, Master Windu
TAGGED me. In an effort to keep the game alive, I will answer.

1. Where would you live in Narnia?

The Beaver dam

2. Which item would you like, a healing cordial, bow & arrows and horn, or sword

and shield?

Sword and Shield

3. Who would you want as your brother or sister , Lucy, Edmund, Susan or Peter?


4. If you were King or Queen of Narnia what would your name be? (Ex. Edmund

the Just)

Rob the Round

5. What is your favorite Narnia creature?

The bird cat thing

6. Who is your favorite Narnia hero Peter or Aslan?


7. What is your favorite Narnia scene?

When Alsan first comes out.

8. Having fun?

Sort of

9. What is your favorite book?

The Cat in the Hat

10. Who are you going to tag?

Monday, July 10, 2006

More about Guatemala

I had a lot of awesome experiences when we were in Guatemala a couple weeks ago. We got to feed the hungry and love the needy. We saw many people give their hearts tot he Lord and many healed. We were a large team working as one. It was really a great time as many mission trips are.

The biggest thing that impressed me this time, I think, was that where there is unity in the church ( I mean the churches in the areas we ministered) there is big fruit. We have been on trips where there was no unity in the church, and have seen people come to Jesus, but not in the way where the church is working toward the common goal. When the church is on the same page, there are no personal agendas or anything to hinder the Lord from doing its work.

Why do I say this? If you follow anything about world religions, you will know there are really only two major Muslim threads, where there are hundreds of Christian threads. Islam is growing faster than Christianity in most areas. While we argue over things like speaking in tongues, healing, the right way to baptise, disciplining children, and the like, the Islamic church is mobilizing. This can also be said about the Jehova's Witnesses. While preparing for a bike ride, my boys and I were approached by a JW.

I was sitting there thinking to myself, "I just got off the high point of my mission trip, and am shamed by a false religion in my own backyard." This may be a competitive male attitude, and I am not really too distraught over it as I work as hard as I can in my local church vineyard, but it did get me thinking. There may be things that we can disagree on in the body, but those things really divide us more than necessary. It is almost as if the church here is the most offended group in the world. Instead of walking in victory, we walk in rejection and despair. We worry for the catholics, and wish the baptists would get filed with the spirit. We bicker with eachother and build new churches out of spite for our old leaders who were "wrong."

I was also reminded of these things at a recent meeting where I was asked to share with some other HS parents about the trip. There were people upset about us working there. "Did you just lead them to the Lord and no follow up?" "I don't think healings are for today." "Don't you think you should be doing more here?" "Don't you think you are doing your family a disservice?" These were some of the things asked of me as I shared. There was a great debate that followed and I just was amazed.

As I sit and type, I know two things:
1. I am going to offend someone.
2. I could go on for hours and nail more truth to the wall.

Neither one of these things is my intent. I just wanted to ponder these things aloud. It just depressed me that false religions take the Great Commandment more seriously than the Bride of Christ does. It also depresses me that there are so many lost and dying while we debate symantics. As a father, I want to teach my kids to be outward. I want to show them that there is a world out there that needs Jesus and they are part of getting Him out.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Mission Trip Humor

Well, I just returned from a VERY long month of mission work both in my local neighborhood and in Guatemala. I am going to break from the no talking about ministry rules for a little while to share my experiences as I am so amazed at our God and His power. I will be writing in a few installments about these experiences. I am going to start things off with this post:

Top Ten Funniest things I experienced on this Mission Trip:
10. Store Vendor, "Hello"
Pastor Janine, "No, that's too much."
9. "Would you like a Mango?"
8. Miss Ina Walker playing the part of a drunk lady in a drama.
7. "You really have a good singing voice."
6. "That fat Scottish guy is really nice."
5. "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" shower music.
4. "Liver alone, cheese mine."
3. Shoulder roll
2. "Is that Ashton Kutcher?"
1. "Oh God, we lift Bhudda before you..." Prayer for a teen in our group.

I know some of these won't make sense to you, but they were funny to those who were there.

Pictures of the Mission trip can be seen here Guatemala Pictures
Pictures of our VBS can be seen here VBS 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A few more tests

Well, since I am on the kick of these tests, let me put up a few more links to look at. I guess, if you are really interested, somewhere in the cross section of these tests is an idea of what you take them for.

I know this is more the job of relationship with the leaders in the church, so I am not saying these tests are Gospel. What I do like about them is that they make you think about things. You have to take a look at yourself when you answer. That is important as many times we just don't do this.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Ok, I took the test

I finally had some time to take the spiritual gifting test. It was pretty interesting.
Here is how I scored in case you wanted to know:
  • Evangelism 15
  • Prophesy 16
  • Teaching 15
  • Exhortation 15
  • Pastor/Shepherd 21
  • Showing Mercy 15
  • Serving 17
  • Giving 13
  • Administration 17
This basically shows about where I am. I see I have to work on giving a little more. I was disappointed to see that number. I guess I need to check my heart in that area.

What is also interesting to note about this test is that in the people surveyed in the church at large the three weakest areas are serving, prophesy and giving. Less than 2% of people surveyed were strong in prophesying and giving, and around 3% in serving. That sounds like the American Dream conflicting with the Gospel.

Well, other than that, this test is pretty accurate about who I am and how I am gifted.

Friday, June 2, 2006

A test I want to take

This oughtta be interesting.

I will write about the results when I finish the test. It should be interesting as I want to know what I am supposed to be doing in light of my current situation as a youth pastor/leader, missionary, ministry website designer (is that part of the five fold ministry???) and what has been prophesied over me.

Yes, I am being somewhat sarcastic. Please cut me some slack, I am recovering from a concussion and watched Cassablanca last night. It should be interesting to look at though. Sometimes things like this bring up things you don't normally think of. They do require a little thought.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The First Bike Ride

Over Memorial weekend I was finally able to get away for a few hours to ride mountain bikes with my boys. Normally I have over 15 rides in by this weekend, but this has been a very busy year. Since I am going to Guatemala in a few weeks, and there will be a lot of climbing involved, I chose to take the boys to the hardest local trail I could think of. Yes, this is the Polish logic in me coming out.

Well, the trail is like this. It is a technical trail with about 1300’ elevation over ten miles long. It is a beautiful singletrack with long climbs, off camber sections, and some fun downhill runs. We were very excited to finally get out together. We joked together that we would ride this trail then ride another trail on the way home.

With the bikes unloaded we began to take to the trail. I knew this was going to be one of those rides the kids and I would be talking about for a long time to come. I had it in my mind that we would really have a good time. Five hundred feet into the trail was the beginning of the reality. “Dad, where are you?” was ringing through the woods. We hadn’t even hit a turn yet before my younger son was screaming this at the top of his lungs. “Shut up, for cryin’ out loud we’re right in front of you” was the reply of my older son. Yep, this was going to be a great ride.

I took the time to explain to both sons that I was not going to ride very fast. I also reminded them that neither one of them asked my permission to be mean to each other and that I wasn’t about to give it anyway. I also reminded them that they were both experienced riders, boy scouts, and anything else I thought might help. That seemed to help… For about five minutes. My older son was letting me know that he really didn’t like mountain biking anymore, and this trail had too many up hills. I told him I would take that up with the management. My anticipation turned into a prayer, “God, please let this be a good ride.”

Okay, now we are finally finding our groove. We are more into the freeriding thing than cross-country, so we are begging for a downhill. The first one hit us. After climbing forever, the trail turned downward. We began the fun and finally had something to cheer about. I was especially happy, as I was sure my lungs were going to explode. The trail continued rolling along for a few miles and we had fun. The complaining turned to laughter, and the fighting turned to encouragement.

Enter mile four. We decided to stop for a break. “I don’t like raisins” was the first thing I heard. “I don’t like nuts” was the second. As a father, you really want to encourage your boys and remind them to be polite. At this moment I realized that I was 100 pounds overweight, my lungs were sure to stretch out, and that the stars out that day were too beautiful to listen to this. Wait, why are there stars anyway? I digress. I told the boys that unfortunately there was no McDonald’s near by, and that this was the only thing on the menu. Being the man and head of the house that I am, I did what any father who wanted to have a good time would do. I begged them to eat this stuff, as I was sure to die out here if I had to carry them. They agreed to eat and I got a chuckle as I watched one eat nuts as the other chewed raisins.

We went to start riding again then I heard my older ask my younger for a drink. “Uh, guys, we have six miles to go, why are you out of water?” “I drank some and I had to wet my hair,” was the reply. Okay, dads, this hair thing, what do you do about it? I want my son to be who he is, but is a big shaggy mess a fighting topic? I wanted to shear him right then, but the water was a much more pressing problem. I knew the trail got tougher from where we stood. I decided hair is not important, but trying to conserve water and survive was. I love my son, so instead of blowing up, I told him not to use any more water on his hair and that we could share. This was also a good time to teach on the topic of nutrition and how important keeping hydrated is.

Well, we were in luck for a while as it was another long rolling section. We attacked the downhills and had tons more fun for the next half hour. We were back to the encouraging and everything when out of nowhere a mountain sprang out of the ground. I am sure I don’t remember climbing anything like that on my previous trips there. Slowly we made the climb. Stopping to sip water was about the only time we spoke. All energy was devoted to climbing.

We continued like this for half an eternity. I began cramping up, and the boys were looking pink. We needed another break. It is amazing that when you are staring death right in the face if you don’t eat something that will give you energy, raisins and nuts are like the best things in life. My boys attacked the foods with all their might. We rested and drank a little water. We realized that we were under attack. A mosquito air force decided to take us on. We took off as fast as possible. Four hundred bites later we were gone.

This was a bad move for “daddy fatty” (a name given to me by my littlest girl). I was convinced that I was in a time warp. Things were moving very slowly around me. I was looking for the medivac. I was talking to trees and asking them for help. It was the end. The boys would have to bury me there. Good thing they were boy scouts. They would know what to do with my body…

As we were walking along… hey wasn’t this a bike ride? As we were walking along, God finally smiled on us. You know the scripture about all things working together for good? Well, at this point in my life, I was sure the devil had planted a mountain here in flat Michigan to kill me. God worked it together for good as He, in His infinite wisdom, knew exactly when I was having enough and dying. For every uphill, God will give us a downhill exactly when we need one. This downhill was one of the funnest I have ridden in a while. No it wasn’t on par with a downhill racecourse, but it was great nonetheless. It flowed well, was very long, and allowed all of us to regain consciousness again. It allowed me to have all of the fun I had missed in the previous months of not riding.

We finally finished riding, and put the bikes into the truck. “Dad, thanks. That was tough, but it was one of the best rides we have ever been on.”

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Prayer, the specialty tool


I had the opportunity to sit down with a
group of men at our church's Men's Ministry. I know many of these
men, so this is a tricky thing to write about. Please understand
that I know these men, and know their hearts, and that this is an
observation of a larger thing than this particular group.

sat and people shared. God is moving in our group. This is always
awesome to hear about. Some men talked about their current
situations and how God is changing them into new men in Him. Then,
it happened... Someone brought up how they were in a situation that
they felt like they were taking on the feelings of a group in a
different part of the world. “What does that mean, and how can I
fix it?” was the question asked. This scene needs to stand on
hold for a minute or two.

ago, I felt like I needed to get to know a person. That person was
struggling. I found this out, and then felt like I could help
minister to them. The opportunity to get to know that person never
came. I went through a similar experience later. Then, I went
through another similar experience. Several more followed.

After a number of times of this, I noticed
something new happening. I noticed the weight of situations
affecting me. I started to see the connection between the weight of
struggle of an issue in another's life and the connection was that I
was to pray into it, not to fix it. I saw that God was trying to
show me that He was developing a burden of intercession in me. God
was trying to get my attention by putting
people on my heart,
but I wasn't getting it. So He had to up the ante. He was trying to
get me to be sensitive to Him. He was trying to develop something in
me. For the longest time, my propensity was not to pray, but to fix
the problem. I would make the connection, but I felt that God wanted
me to act and jump into my “Tim the Bible Toolman“ clothes and
take care of it like a Man!

back to the original story... The men I speak of are men of action.
They are great brothers and great workers in the kingdom. I am glad
to know them and have them as friends. I love these brothers.

Knowing that many church intercessors are
women, and often times men are not the prayers they need to be, I am
just pondering this out. Is it coming that God is trying to raise up
more men to be intercessors? Men are great workers. Knowing what
the Lord has taken me through, I wonder if God is trying to encourage
men to add a new tool to the box. I think about this tool and think
about the fact that it is like that specialty wrench. Often times,
men will grab an adjustable wrench, but in reality, we need to grab a
deep well socket. The adjustable wrench may or may not work, but
grabbing the right tool will make the job so much easier.

wonder if other men are wondering about the connection as I am.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Not Today

The other day I was sitting at the dinner table with my family. We were talking about six different topics at once as larger families usually do, when one of the kids said something about "not today."

For some reason, "not today" caught the attention of everyone, and from there on out everything was noted with a "not today" remark. '"Dad, can I play computer?", "Not Today." "Do I have to mow the lawn?", "Not today." It was a very funny thing for our family to share together, and I don't expect everyone, or anyone for that matter to understand something you had to be there for.

As a husband and a father I enjoy moments like these. Those moments when we all get to laugh together and take a break from our roles as parent, kid, brother, sister, etc. all help make up the best in a family. We look across the table, forget who spilled milk on who, or who didn't do their chores, who was too strict in their discipline, we forget everything really and just enjoy eachother for who God made us. It is those "not today" moments that I teasure. It is those "not today" moments that I hope our family stores up in their memory.

Well, I hope you all share moments like these.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Does too much on your plate leave you full or empty?

Sitting at the dinner table last night, we had one of my favorite dishes, beef stroganoff. Needless to say since I am a big guy, I wanted to load my plate with my wife’s wonderful cooking creation. This got me thinking…

It is obvious that too much food on your plate will make you full. You put too much on your plate and you get stuffed to the point you can’t breathe. By the time you are done eating, you are sitting in your chair, fighting falling into a coma, sure you are going to get at least 10 stretch marks, and convinced you added 20 pounds to your frame. What we also know about too much on your plate is that it is unhealthy for life. Well, this really intrigued me so I thought more…

I am a husband, father of four, full time employee at Linde Gas, youth ministry leader, webmaster of a number of ministries and businesses, Boy Scout Chaplain, and… I think about this and say to myself, “self, you have way too much on your plate.” How does that make me feel? I look at all of this stuff I am doing, and how much I am giving out in the Lord on a regular basis, and it all starts to make sense why I feel like Gollum looks; drained, malnourished, thin… come to think of it, this may be why I can sometimes act like Gollum, too; talk to myself, extremely moody, angry. But I digress.

It starts to hit me that too much on my plate of life does not leave the same happy feeling I get when I gorge on Thanksgiving (this is a joke, but we all know how exciting the senses get when we get around tons of rich tasty food). Too much on the plate of life makes me feel empty and weak. It makes me feel like I have to do finish it all myself. I think this is exactly what the devil wants. Without getting too spiritual (since I don’t have a Bible handy right now) this act of filling my plate with “good things” keeps me feeling, though I am working for the Lord on most of these things, I am becoming too empty because there is so much to do. To add to this that I am spending so much time to do these things, and I end up doing them in the flesh. Then, there is so much that needs my attention outside of my family that I end up leaving them feeling empty too!

So, as I look at it, too much on my dinner plate can be bad for me, leaving me too full. Too much on my life plate leaves not only me, but also everyone in my sphere empty. I guess I will need to be more like Martin Luther. He once said he had so much to do that he had to spend an extra hour in prayer to accomplish it all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I am a happy dad


Allow myself to introduce myself. I am Rob. I am a happily married father of four wonderful kids.

Since I am married, I have a wife. Her name is Andrea, and she is my wife. I love her and am very fortunate to have married so well.

I mentioned I have four kids. Let me tell you about them. They are all younger and shorter than me.

I have two sons, and two daughters. For now, we will address them as Potato, Monkey, Pumpkin, and Peanut.

Potato is a very fine 12 year old son. He is growing to be quite the handsome young man. He is a very talented bike rider and Basketball player. He is playing pano and learning guitar. He is also a Scout.

Monkey is a very agile 10 year old. He is into basketball, biking, and drums. He is also a Scout.

Pumpkin is a very determined and beautiful 8 year old little girl. Her interests are teaching herself to do anything feminin.

Peanut is a very beautiful 7 year old girl. She is very tiny, thus the name Peanut. She sometimes goes by the name Dinkerbell. She is also very into being a little girl with dresses and the like.

This is a little about my family. I am a dad who really loves my family and loves the Lord. I get a little too busy with work and ministry, and need to spend more time relaxing. Hopefully this blog will be a fun thing for our family to enjoy together. Thanks for making it available.