Dixon Van Back in Action!

yes i was chubbier then

When Kamryn was born we quickly decided that we needed a vehicle with a 3rd row for transporting our little family and a couple friends as well. (Yes I was chubbier then) Traci and I bought a used Honda Odyssey with the intention of driving it till it was no longer drivable. Little did we know, the 2002 Honda Odyssey line was notorious for having major transmission issues and became “no longer drivable this Spring! We have had issues with it slipping on occasion for about a year but kept putting off doing anything about it due to the repair bill being around 3 grand to rebuild it.

Well, it got bad. Scary and unsafe. It sat in our driveway for 2 months till we secured a loan to rebuild the tranny. We ended up having to refinance the van adding the $2500 repair cost to what we still owed on the previous loan. Today we picked up the repaired van with a renewed sense of owner’s pride. Not fancy at all but once again, a provision that we are thankful for. We have plans for cleaning it this weekend and maybe even rolling the windows down and cruising through the neighborhood blaring some old school Snoop.

Addison the obsessive.

We really think that Addi is obsessive. She get’s something in her head and will not let it go till it has been accomplished or gained. This is sometimes very hard to deal with and can result in the need of our correction. Sometimes it’s adorable, super sweet and loving and deserves unrestrained hugs and kisses. All depending on which side the coin lands. None-the-less, this girl is awesome! Here is a pic of her the other night at bath time. She was obsessed with making the “covers” perfect while putting her “babies to bed”.

Another Enjoyable Weekend

Saturday morning I had to work. Saturday afternoon we took Addi and Kam to Grandma and Poppy’s house in Quitman to spend the evening. They love doing that and so do we. Saturday evening we hosted a dinner party at our place. Sunday Traci and I spent the morning eating breakfast at the Eatery, went grocery shopping, and explored the vegetables and herbs at Lowes. We went to claim our babies back, had a great lunch and afternoon at the Clarks. Later we went to “our” trails, ran a few, came home, grilled some hotdogs, put the girls to bed, then watched Extreme Makeover (Mineola) Edition. Relaxing Sunday for sure. Tonight we are going to plant a small garden in our back yard. I bought the girls each a small hand shovel. Great start to the week!

Where's my iPhone 4G? Oops!

Ok, I’m a nerd. I love tech stuff. Engagdet is a tech site that I look at sometimes multiple times a day, posting latest technology news and releases. This weekend they posted info and pictures that Gizmodo (another nerdy tech site) had posted on a secret “leaked” iPhone 4G! For those who don’t know what that means, this is the next iPhone that has not even been announced by Apple yet. Apparently it was found in a bar in California. Oops! That guy is in trouble! Click here to see the video footage and specs. I can’t wait till this momma gets on the market. Just thought I’d pass along the happiness to all the other adoring iPhone fans out there. Peace!

This weekend in Austin.

Friday we left town to head down South to the great land of Austin. We stayed with Traci’s brother Kelly and his family in Georgetown. While there we enjoyed pit fires and conversations in their backyard and laying in the sun Saturday on their trampoline. Very relaxing. The weather was perfect! Our main purpose for going there this weekend was to run in the Austin Capitol 10K which was this morning (Sunday) at 8:45am. Traci’s dad Kip and brother Jeff strolled Addi and Kam around the race start and finish as Traci and I ran the route. Up to the capitol, around the down town area and back around by Town Lake trails. 6.2 miles. Traci and I ran together through the drizzle and mist, finishing at a 9 min per mile pace. We quickly changed clothes and made it to the 11:15 service at the Austin Stone for yet another incredible message and worship session. This evening we were able to hear Kelly speak at this church in Georgetown at TXT3 and then a 4 hour trip back to Tyler. We had a great time this weekend despite Addi being sick with a cold and fever. I love Austin!

Apache Belles 2010

Another long week for me starting last Saturday. I am engineering the audio for the TJC Apache Belles performances beginning tonight (3/25) thru Saturday evening. This one have been fun to work on. A few mics, but mostly music from multiple genre’s. In the evening around 6pm after scarfing down dinner and kissing my babies good night, Addi asks if I’m headed out to work with “the dancing girls”. Hopefully she doesn’t repeat that her daddy works at the dancing girls to her friends and teachers!

Spring Break 2010… the planning.

Everyone that works in the education field knows that one of the best benefits to the job is all the time off. The pay is mediocre and the health benefits are nice, but the time off is exceptional. 2 weeks off for Christmas break, a handful of holidays like the 4th of July and a week for Spring break comes to 4 weeks a year paid leave. Yippie!

Next week is my Spring break and I am pumped. I’m going with some old friends down to South Beach for a week of unrestrained craziness. LOL. Actually, I plan to run, read, catch up on some sleep, cook more complex dinners than usual, go see the new Alice in Wonderland, have my usual lunch with my beautiful woman and spend some extra time with my babies. I don’t know yet what I going to do specifically, but I am planning to rescue each of them from school and take them to do something fun. Just daddy and Addi one day, and daddy and Kam another. It’s interesting to think of what would be fun for a 2 and 3 year old girl in the middle of the day. The only subjects they talk about these days are ballerinas and snacks. Any suggestions?

Should Tiger Woods be Forgiven?

I have cable TV on in my office pretty much all day here at work. In the mornings I typically watch ESPN (in football season) and FOXNEWS when it’s not. Afternoons = Food Network. This morning… FOXNEWS. Just now, there was a question and on-line poll presented asking, “Should Tiger Woods be forgiven?”

Wow! Seriously? Should any of us be forgiven of anything?

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13

"Need money for rent and bills." PART 2

PART 2:

As an alleged believer and follower of Christ it’s hard to write (and read) statements like I those made in PART 1.

First of all, I have no money and never cash. Secondly, I have worked very hard for the very little that I do have. I went to school, learned, got jobs, moved on to better jobs, eat on as little money as possible, spend literally nothing every month in our budget column labeled “fun”, sell prized possessions online just to pay for diapers, have picked myself up after layoffs and take on side jobs whenever they are presented. I tend to get very frustrated when I think about the fact that I do and have done far more than the listed and I work all week and even some evenings because I too “Need money for rent and bills”.

If you’ll notice in my type, when I begin to think this way it’s all about I, my, me which is perfectly normal and perfectly wrong. Are any of the things that have come to pass in my life, good or bad, accomplished on my own power? Absolutely not. As we learn through the life of Job, God’s even allows tragedy for us to look inward, upward , and outward. We especially can not claim ownership of the good stuff. James reminds us (1:17) that every good and perfect gift is from our unchanging God. A gift, not a reward or earning for being “good” or “a hard worker”. A gift just because He cares. So when I look at my life and my pocessions, there is no way that I can justify not sharing with those in need. We are all in need.

Throughout the Gospels Christ continually responds to the needs of others. Often the needs of the social outcasts, the hurting, the beggars. He always responds with overwhelming compassion. Doing so, He doesn’t agree to only meet the temporal needs, He busts through it and exceeds the requests with total healing, both physical and spiritual. A perfect example of His excessive provisions is in Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding with a wine shortage. He not only met the need, He produces 180 gallons (900 bottles) of most likely the best wine EVER, in record time, and out of water. He dramatically meets our needs in excess… all the time. If we claim to live as a Christ follower, shouldn’t we do our part to meet the needs, whether big or small to those we encounter?

Even in understanding the proceeding truth we can still be hesitant to give to people claiming need. “What if they use the money I give them something malicious or counterproductive to their ultimate need?” It’s very easy to slip into questioning “What if they use it for drugs?” and rationalize my attitude with past stories I’ve heard. I’ve even known acquaintances that had friends that seriously made a great living off of begging, swindling susceptible givers. So maybe I shouldn’t give any of them anything, right? The problem with all of this speculation is I end up pre-judging these people. I can assume this and that but if I give (like God gives) to these humans in need, then they are responsible for what they do with it, not me. Just as it’s my responsibility to listen to the still small voice and give from what He has given me. That’s it. For me it’s about being obedient and sacrificial to my Master. Obedient and sacrificial. Not pre-judgmental or pretentious. Interestingly, we often beg God for even piddly things and often squander His provisions.

Wow. Processing these revelations have been so good for me. We all are in need of God’s provision and He directs others to bless my life, so maybe He’s directing me to help the needs of the corner paupers. So how do I apply this truth to my life, to this daily opportunity that I have driven by for months now without doing anything at all?

…To be continued.

Winter Olympics

I really enjoy the olympics, Summer or Winter. It’s all really fascinating and I love that they are presented in high-def these days. The thing that baffles me on this is that people devote their whole lives to events like skiing on a flat surface and shooting a gun then skiing some more. Really?

Like luge. “So Tim, what do you do for a living?” “We’ll Ryan,” Tim answers “I am an olympic Luger.”

Ryan continues, “Interesting Tim, how do you support your family with luge?” Tim replies scratching his head, “umm…?”

"Need money for rent and bills." PART 1

Recently I have seen quite a lot of beggars around our part of Tyler. There is a block that we travel though all the time to church, school, work, our grocery store and basically anywhere in South Tyler. Two men specifically are very dedicated to their efforts. On my way to pick up the girls after work I pass them both; holding battered and marker scribbled cardboard signs stating, “Need money for rent and bills.”

There are basically two ways to respond to this multiple-times-a-day scene. #1 Give them money or #2 Don’t. I usually respond with the latter option and when I process this it’s very easy for me to justify my decision.

First of all, I have no money and never cash. Secondly, I have worked very hard for the very little that I do have. I went to school, learned, got jobs, moved on to better jobs, eat on as little money as possible, spend literally nothing every month in our budget column labeled “fun”, sell prized possessions online just to pay for diapers, have picked myself up after layoffs and take on side jobs whenever they are presented. I tend to get very frustrated when I think about the fact that I do and have done far more than the listed and I work all week and even some evenings because I too “Need money for rent and bills”.

So what’s the difference? Am I wrong for feeling this way? I mean sure, I don’t know these guy’s circumstances. They may have just experienced their own tragedies. Broken, sad, desperate, lonely and possibly embarrassed beyond anything I have ever or may ever experience. But capable bodied men standing on the corner all day to collect money for rent and bills? Really? I have seen signs that say “Will work for food”, “Stranded and need a ride”, “Need money for gas”, “Hungry and need food”, etc. I even saw a sign in Austin once that said “Don’t need food, just want beer”. All of these in some way seem more compelling that the one’s that have me so baffled and inspire this string of posts.

*Please bare with me here. This is the beginning of a revelation of which is developing in me and I will deliver in future posts.

Super Bowl 44

We enjoyed last nights Super Bowl. We have some friends over from our community group for food and fun. I’m so sad that it will be 7 more months till football season comes around again. Time to catchup on our DVD collection and DVR’d playlists. I mean really, who likes basketball? :)

Friday's funeral inspired thoughts.

This past Friday me and the guys from my department went to a funeral in support of one of our own’s father in law’s passing. Funerals suck. I hate them and avoid them like a plague. The last one I had been to was about 4 years ago and I hated that one too. If you don’t come to my funeral one day, I wouldn’t blame you. But then, who likes funerals?

Typically funeral messages reflect on what the recently departed did for a job, who they were as a parent or spouse and how they we loved by others. The message at the ceremony was fine. Typical. My friend’s father-in-law seemed to be well respected man by friends and family. Due to his own and personal experience, the preacher determined that the departed was with Christ and that he was not wanting anyone at his funeral to be sad or cry because he was in a better place. He continued to share the Gospel in an ordinary and seemingly surface way. “God loves each of us and wants us to be with Him.” He continued, “if we believe in God we will one day be with Him as He welcomes us saying ‘Well done my good and faithful servant'”. I mean this out of no disrespect for the presiding preacher or the departed, but is that seriously how he will respond to us?

Will the God of creation and the one who endure mocking, lashes and crucifixion for us commend us for being a good person? I didn’t kill innocent people. I worked a job for many years and had kids that I loved and taught to be upright citizens. I loved my wife and went to church when it fit into my schedule. I prayed before meals and valued honesty and lived a moral lifestyle. I believe in God so that makes me a faithful and good servant to Him right? Who are we fooling?

Christ says over in over in the Gospels that to be a true follower of His we must be hardcore. Throughout His ministry Jesus weeds out people who are shallow, weak, and along for the ride. He tells people that true followers eat His flesh and drink His blood. He states that true believers die to themselves and live to accomplish His purpose not just when they feel like it or when it’s scheduled, but everyday. Sacrificing family, careers, self passions, desires and comfort. Jesus is hardcore. He died for me. A true servant works selflessly without fail for a given purpose. He’s the prime example of this.

I guess in some part funerals are really good for us. Humbling, they remind us of the “vapor” that our life is and constantly need to be remained of. Everyday could be our last. Tomorrow even on the way to work or the grocery store our last breath could be taken before that unattentive driver in the SUV plows into us. Morbid though? Sure. But the true focus here is this: Will He, the creator of the universe and the sacrifice for all of my crappy decisions in life really embrace me with gratitude and the sense of a proud father? Or will He give me the familiar nod that we often lend to those we see and barely know as we pass on by?

Frustrating: Where is my FOOTBALL?!?!

where's my football

In todays MEDIA driven world with facebook apps at the swipe of a finger on tiny communication devices like the awesome iphone, high-def movies at the click of a button can be streamed to your blu-ray player as you download music, apps, TV shows and podcasts in seconds… I STILL CAN’T WATCH MY FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAMS ON TV!!!!!!!!!! Why? This is ridiculous!

How is it that there are 900+ channels on our Direct TV and I still rarely get to see my TEXAS TECH and REDSKINS? (yeah the REDSKINS have been a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT this season… but still!) I know you can see a silly cartoon football flop across the screen on these play by play updates, but I want to SEE it! You’d think that with as much WEB/TV sites such as HULU and TV.com someone, somewhere, would be able to figure out a way (be it legal or not) to deliver the un-aired games to the masses. Hello? Anyone out there feel my pain? Anyone have a solution that I my not be aware of?

random thoughts for the day…

-french toast made with fresh french bread from the bakery is by the far the best.  

-my dog makes me so mad when she gets in the trash!  ugh.  i mean seriously, she has such a good life…she lays around on nice furniture all day in the cool house & gets petted (not sure if there is a past tense to pet) & gets food & water provided constantly…and yet, she can’t help herself when we leave…the trash is like her obsession.  sicko!  she’s such a good dog…this is her one thing that she does & its like she can’t help herself.  makes me so frustrated & grosses me out!  um, please don’t lick me anymore.

-i LOVE watching movies at the theater.  today ryan, jen & i went to see a movie.  oh yes.  i had popcorn drizzled in butter & a coke…split it w/ryan of course.  enjoyed every bite!  its great to escape the craziness of life for a couple of hours & indulge yourself into fiction while stuffing your face w/yummy treats!  oh, and i finished it up w/some gummy bears.  

-tonight’s 4 mile run was pretty sweet…weather had cooled off, thanks to the rain!  my time was 8:57 pace…not too shabby!  :)  

-i’d like to lose 5 more pounds before san fran…better cut out the french toast & buttery popcorn!  i have a “goal weight” that i’d like to reach before our big race.  i really need to drink more water!

-kamryn is soooo sensitive…if people she doesn’t know talks to her, she cries real tears & her bottom lip comes out & she SCREAMS until she gets her mommy…i hear that’s exactly how i was as a baby…i guess my sweet kam kam is a lot like her momma!

-addi talks SO well for her age.  she speaks in whole sentences & has conversations w/you.  she says hi to everyone at the coffee shop & is so outgoing & sociable.  she’s hilarious & cracks us up!  last night, she asked me to watch “nemo.”  we’ve never watched nemo…not sure how she learned of nemo.  so i put it on…and then she says, “fish! where are you?”  hehehe.  she’s a nut!

-i may have a chance to go to new york city in a couple of weeks w/my sister….trying to figure some things out & see if we can make this happen….HOW STINKIN AWESOME WOULD THAT BE???  i would totally miss my sweet husband & adorable girls….but its a short 4 day, 3 night trip…and it would be free…so we’ll see!  i’d love to run in central park for a few days & eat at serendipity.

-we visited grace community church in lindale (www.gcc.org) this past week & really enjoyed it.  seemed real & relevant…i’ll keep you posted on this….we will visit again i’m sure.  we are searching for a church home here & are praying that we can find a place to get plugged in.

-off to shower & to bed, 5:30 a.m. comes very quickly!  thank goodness i work at a coffee shop & have easy access to espresso.  tomorrow, working the shop & taking addi swimming in her new froggie pool (thanks to my friend vicki for the recommendation! we can’t wait to try it out)  nighty night! 

Hello world!

Hello blog world.  This is my first official post!  I plan to use this site to post pics & to share stories about my crazy family, running, and anything else life throws my way.  Thanks for checking it out & I will start posting more later on.  Til then…have a great afternoon!