Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Funny

I hate how St. Patrick's Day comes and goes so quickly. I'm holding out one more week and to that end I bring you a few more good Irish jokes. I promise to go back to non-Irish humor next week. Enjoy.

Old man Paddy Murphy had a little too much to drink and was driving home from the pub late one night. As could be expected, his car was weaving violently all over the road. Officer O'Conner saw his erratic driving and pulled him over.

"So," O'Conner said to Paddy, "where ya been?"
"Why, I've been to the pub of course," slurred Paddy.
"Well, it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening, Paddy."
"I did for sure," Paddy replied with a smile.
O'Conner straightened up, crossed his arms and asked, "Did you know that a few intersections back your wife fell out of the car?"
Paddy sighed a huge sigh and answered, "Oh thank heavens! For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."


Mary Clancy went up to Father O'Grady after his Sunday sermon, her eyes filled with tears. Seeing her sadness Father O'Grady asked, "What's bothering you Mary my dear?" She replied, "Oh Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night." The priest was shocked and said, "Oh Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, did he have any last requests?" She thought for a minute and answered, "Why, yes he did Father." "What did he ask, Mary?" She said, "He was crying and said, 'Please Mary, put down that gun."


And finally a classic for all times...
Brenda O'Malley was home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan knocked on her door.
"Brenda, may I come in?" he asked. "I've got somethin' to tell ya."
"Of course you can come in," replied Brenda. "You're always welcome here Tim. But where's my husband?"
Tim looked at the floor and said, "That's what I'm here to be telling ya Brenda. There was an accident down at the Guinness brewery."
"Oh goodness no!" shrieked Brenda. "Please don't tell me!"
"I'm afraid I must," said Tim. "Your husband Shamus is dead and gone."
Through her tears, she looked up and said, "How did it happen Tim?"
"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness stout and drowned."
"Oh my dear sweet Shamus. But tell me the truth, did he go quickly?"
Tim looked confused and said, "Well, no he didn't. In fact he got out three times to go pee!"

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I watched a great PBS documentary last night called "The Boomer Generation: 1946-2046" It went through the decades of the Baby Boomer generation and all that they saw, experienced, fought for, won, and so much more. It discussed the age of women's liberation, the advent of computers, growing racial equality, the surge of credit cards and their result on finances, health care, Social Security, the death of retirement, and so much more.

One thing really struck me and made me reach for some paper to pen my thoughts. The 20th Century developed a new age-class called adolescence, the time between childhood and adulthood; something that was almost non-existent before the 1900's. The 21st Century is developing another age-class called Middlescence. The space between adulthood and old age. Our culture is finding the golden years, the 50's and 60's, to be much different than they were even 10 years ago. Most people are finding they are much more healthy at that age than their parents were. Many people are retiring early and starting new careers or new ambitions. And those that retire at the used-to-be-normal age are finding they still have a lot of life left in them. That is due largely to the fact that age expectancy is raising every day, producing a vast group of spry, youthful feeling 50 and 60-somethings.

This is evidenced by the birth of sports fantasy camps, mostly visited by that age group. Music stores across the country report a 250% increase in musical instrument sales to people over the half-century mark. The number of people going to college from that age group has doubled in the last ten years. There are more people over the age of 50 starting new businesses than under. Pretty amazing stuff, isn't it?

The downsides are obvious though. At the height of the baby boom, there was a baby born in this country every eight seconds. Now there's someone turning 60 every eight seconds. In 1950 there were 46 workers supporting every 1 person receiving a Social Security check; today there are only 3.4. Nursing homes are quadrupling their beds, and health care costs for those people are bankrupting their children. And worst of all, the "We" generation has turned into the "Me" generation and those are the people that are running our country. Many of them with no regard for the future generations but rather only what's good for them right now; and they're proud to say it.

No matter how you look at it, the "Boomer Generation" was and is a fascinating phenomenon. Those of us not a part of it could learn a lot from them, both the highs and the lows. Hopefully we can learn from their mistakes, build on their successes, and fill in the gaps in between. If you get a chance to catch it, I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone of any adult age. It raises a lot of great points that are sure to spark a ton of thought and conversation.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I did it!

The weather has been pretty amazing here in NE Ohio for the last few days. Day temps in the 70's, night temps in the upper 40's. No need for a fire, no need for a jacket, no need to stay inside b/c the air is too cold outside to function. It's been awesome.

I pulled in the driveway last night and Ell was outside working on the yard. She's on spring break this week so she's actually been able to breath and relax. She had cleaned out her small herb bed as well as picked up most of the downfall branches from the winter. I quickly changed out of my shirt and tie and went outside to help her. After we filled our kindling bin to almost a third of what we'll need for next winter, we headed to the garden. I dug up the leftover leeks while Ell pulled the kale. And that's when it hit me.

For years now I've had a dream of having a 12 month garden. In other words, having something growing in the garden all twelve months of the year. For people in warmer climates that may not seem like a big deal, but for 99.9% of people who live in this part of the country it's unheard of. Most people start their gardens in May or June, cultivate and weed for a couple months, and harvest through September. Then the garden just sits till the next year. But after years of study and conversations with my dear friend and co-op partner, I've come to the realization that with careful planning and some care we could have fresh vegetables year round. And as I worked in the garden yesterday, I realized I did it. Not to the measure I dream of, but I've had at least one kind of vegetable growing in my garden since October of 2005. What a great feeling! It made my day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Funny

A couple leftover St. Patrick's Day jokes.

Three guys, one Irish, One Scottish, and one English were out walking along the beach one day. They come across a lantern and a Genie popped out of it as they picked it up. "I will give you three wishes, one for each of you," said the Genie.

The Scottish guy replied, "I am a fisherman, as was my dad and his dad, and I want my son to be a fisherman as well. So to ensure my son's lifelong employment, I want all the oceans to team with fish for all eternity." So with a blink of the Genie's eye, the oceans were teaming with fish.

The Englishman was amazed. So he said, "I want a wall around England, protecting her, so that no one will get in for all eternity." Again, with the blink of the Genie's eye, a huge wall appeared around England.

The Irishman asked, "I'm very curious. Please tell me more about this wall." The Genie explained, "Well, it's about 150 feet high and 50 feet thick, protecting England so that no one can get in or out."

The Irishman smiled and said, "Fill it up with water."
Three Englishmen were in a bar and spotted an Irishman in the corner. Seeing no other Irish looking guys, they decided to have a little fun with him. One of the Englishmen walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Hey, I hear your St. Patrick was a drunken loser!"

"Oh really, hmmm, didn't know that," was his only reply.

Puzzled, the Englishman walked back to his buddies. "I told him St. Patrick was a drunken loser and he didn't seem to care." The second Englishman remarked, "You just don't know how to set him off. Watch and learn." He ambled over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder and said, Hey, I hear your St. Patrick was a lying, cheating, idiotic, low-life scum!"

"Oh really, hmmm, didn't know that," was his only reply.

Shocked beyond belief, the Englishman went back to his buddies. "You're right. He's unshakable!"

The third Englishman was determined to get this Irishman riled up. He walked over to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I hear St. Patrick was an Englishman!"

The Irishman looked up and said, "Yeah. That's what your buddies were trying to tell me."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Houdini may have been murdered!

I heard on NPR this morning that the Great-Nephew of Harry Houdini has requested that his body be exhumed. The news story is HERE.

The basics of the story are this:
-Houdini died on Halloween night, 1926.
-Death certificate states cause of death as an adverse reaction on the appendix resulting from a punch in the stomach.
-No autopsy was ever performed.

Houdini's authorized biography lays out some pretty good cases for his death being anything but an accident; the Death Certificate being only the tip of the iceberg. It was completed after Houdini was already buried, and the wording is wrong on where the appendix is located in the human body. And medical experts even back then contested that the disease/complication that supposedly killed him could not have been caused by a punch or anything involving that part of the body. So why wasn't an autopsy performed?

The little twist in Houdini's life was his public refuting of a group called the Spiritualists. The Spiritualists were a group of men who claimed they could speak to the dead. One of their most renowned members was Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. He was heard on many occasions telling the press and anyone who would listen that Houdini would live a short life and die a mysterious death. Many doctors of the time were members, and part of the conspiracy theory is that they covered up the real cause of death. Which was what, according to his family? Arsenic poisoning! And guess what? That can be traced in hundreds-year-old bones.

So the family has hired the best forensic scientists in the world, including one who worked on a JFK re-investigation and Jesse James' recent exhumation. So we may know very soon if this super healthy man was killed or actually died from a punch in the stomach. Isn't this stuff cool?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Did I just see a dead guy?

On the way to work this morning, I was driving my usual 64 in a 55. You know, 9 your fine 10 your mine. As I was cruising along, I looked in my rear view mirror only to see a State Highway Patrol car coming quickly. I know better than to slam on my brakes and draw attention to myself, and since he already had me if he wanted to, I just slowed down to a better speed. To my surprise he flew by me followed by another State boy I hadn't even seen. As I looked in the back seat of the second cruiser, I swear I saw that guy that was supposed to be put to death on Tuesday. When they stayed his execution they transferred him to the Youngstown, Ohio maximum security prison. I haven't been paying enough attention to know if they rescheduled it. But I do know that if it's back on, they would have to drive the exact roads I do to get to the Lucasville, Ohio prison where the execution will take place. So anyway, I may have seen a guy that will be dead tonight. Weird, huh?

Quick facts about capital punishment...
Only two states in the union completely dis-allow executions. New York and Kansas.
Eleven states don't have a death penalty statute.
Three states allow the death penalty but haven't had an execution since 1976.
All the rest perform executions.

What do you think? Is the death penalty for murdering someone right or wrong?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Church part 3

First of all I want to thank each and every person who contributed to this conversation. One of the reasons I love being part of the Body of Christ and a citizen of this country is that both allow us to have our own opinions and our own beliefs. What an awesome thing! So thank you for expressing those rights.

I am a bit dis-heartened that some of the responders took such strong offense to my thoughts and that others felt the need to be downright mean. I went back and reread my original posts and I'm sorry if I wrote in a way to make those people get so up-in-arms.

That said, I want to emphasize the point that I wasn't in any way downplaying the attendance of meetings or the benefits of those meetings. That was best said when Dave wrote, "...what Sam or trying to put out on the table is concerns 'why' of 'going to church' not just the 'whether'. And also the 'what'-what is church anyway?" I love the fact that the weekly meetings are a recharger and a refresher for so many. But to quote Andrew in his deleted comment, "If you find God in a building on Sunday mornings, Awesome! Keep attending, but in the meantime starting looking for God other places, because He is there." What truth there is in that! I would never suggest you deny the workings of God just b/c you don't find it in the same places I do. I'm not that kind of person. But I would challenge you to remember that Jesus didn't only share that time of refreshment once a week, but all the time. Our lives should reflect that if we are truly living out a pursuit of our Savior. And remember, it's not the church's responsibility to spoon feed you. Don't blame others for your lack of community outside the walls of your steeple-holder. No, I'm not a Mom so I don't have a frame of reference for where mom's are at, but don't cry you can't get out and meet people b/c of your kids, lots of other moms do it everyday.

Amy, you are so right. There's no way I can assume where Jesus would go if He were here today. I'd like to think I have an idea, but no one can be sure of a rhetorical thing like that, or of the mindset of our almighty God if He were here. Thank you for calling me on that.

I am excited for the energy this topic has created. I think we are living in an era of change that is a good thing. Church as we have known it is in a state of decline and/or upheaval. If you doubt this, take a step inside 3 out of 4 denominational churches and you'll see and hear it. That which has been tradition and habit is becoming stale and ineffective. I am not saying to walk away from your church if it is one of those 3; nor am I saying to relax if you attend the 1. Rather, what I encourage you to do is take a look at your weekly meetings in a pure and God-seeking way. Ask Him what He would have you do outside the building to actually "build" the kingdom and "reach" the lost. No matter where you attend meetings, the sinners aren't storming your doors or congregating in your sanctuaries. Find out where they are doing those things and meet with them there. That is the Jesus-minded missional work we are called to.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Funny

A couple of Irish jokes to celebrate the season.

Overheard in an Irish pub...
First drunk guy: "Can I buy you a drink?"
Second drunk guy: "Why of course."
First: "Where you from?"
Second: "I'm from Ireland."
First: "You don't say, I'm from Ireland too! Let's have another round to Ireland!"
Second: "Of course!"
First: "Where in Ireland you from?"
Second: "Dublin."
First (getting louder): "I can't believe it. I'm from Dublin too. Let's have another drink to Dublin!"
Second (also getting louder): "What school did you go to?"
First (louder yet): "Saint Mary's. I graduated in '62."
Second (even louder): "This is unbelievable!"
First (quite ear-splitting now): "What's so unbelievable about that?"
Second (as loud as loud can get): "I went to Saint Mary's and I graduated in '62, too!"

Another regular at the bar asked the bartender, "What's going on over there?"
The bartender replied, "Nothing much. The O'Malley twins are drunk again."

Father Murphy walked into a pub in Donegal, and said to the first man he met, "Do you want to go to Heaven?"
The man said, "I do Father."
The priest said, "Then go stand by the door and wait for me."
Then the priest asked the second man, "Do you want to go to Heaven?"
"Certainly Father," was the man's reply.
"Then go stand by the door and wait for me."
Then Father Murphy walked up to O'Toole and said, "Do you want to go to Heaven?"
O'Toole said, "No I don't, Father."
The priest said, "I don't believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to Heaven?"
O'Toole said, "Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now."

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Church, part 2

Amy, it's spelled E! LOL

One of the main reasons I hesitate to write about touchy subjects is b/c people assume I'm an all-or-nothing type of guy. Maybe it's how I come off or how I write, which I can work on. Like the topic of what I wrote I must hate the organized church. I don't. I just think that the structure we've built up has become a crutch for so many people. Not that I'm insinuating this for all or even most, but many. For those people, an hour or two one day a week justifies their Christian existence. They are involved in no missional activities during the week, no evangelism outreach, no feeding the poor, no sharing of their faith to others; need I go on? We as 21st century Christians sit in our pretty steeple-holders on Sundays and feel justified in our walks. I live a "clean" life so I'm doing what God wants. What a lazy pathetic response. (And don't get me started on what a 'clean' life is.)

I'm not picking on you Amy, but I disagree with what you said about church being where we fellowship these days. We've been meeting in a building and calling that building a church for 1700 years. Does anyone know why? By mid 300's AD, the Roman Empire had conquered or destroyed every country and power they wanted except for one. The Christians. So what did they do to control them? They made Christianity their national religion and forced all people to attend church every week. Refusal to comply meant torture, imprisonment or death. Most Christians loved the idea b/c it meant everyone was part of their religion. But what that did was take away the right to decide to follow God. It was the very thing Jesus preached about a hundred times. That continued until the 1600's when people made a mass exodus to America to get away from the persecution. My point is, we've grown accustomed to the church building being the only place where fellowship and worship and exercising a Christian life can happen.

The church isn't evil. Pastors aren't evil. Christians aren't evil. The establishment and practice of living out our faith has just become ingrained and a habit over 1700 years and that has produced what Kyle was talking about. I still hold to my belief that if Jesus walked on the Earth in 2007 he wouldn't be in our church building Saturday night or Sunday morning. Maybe once in a while, but usually not. He'd be out ministering to the lost and slumming it with the sinners. IF we're truly attempting to "be like Jesus' that's what we need to be doing too. No disrespect to those with talents they utilize in church buildings, but how much more effective would our talents be utilized among the hurting world? Just a thought.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thanks Kyle

I would highly encourage any and all to click on Kyle's blog and check out his recent post(s) and be sure to read the comments. He brought up a subject that's been on my mind for a long time but I never had the brains or balls to put my thoughts down. The subject is church. I don't want to steal any of his thunder, but he has inspired me to share at least a little something.

I was raised in a home that enforced the importance of attending church. The scripture about 'not forsaking the gathering of yourselves together' was pounded into my skull every time we wanted to stay home. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. In fact I'm very proud that I was raised with that mentality and thankful to my parents for their wisdom. And I'm happy that I have an inner-most desire to meet with other believers. The downside is that now that Ell and I don't attend a Sunday service I have a strange guilt in my gut. I'm thirty-something and I can still hear my mom's voice quoting that scripture.

My problems arise with the definition of church. Even though the 'Body of Christ is the Church' is preached often and earnestly from the pulpit, those same leaders need the regular attenders to keep coming to their building to keep the place open. (And to cash their paychecks.) But a pastor I respect deeply (who shall remain nameless so as not to start a revolt in his flock)challenged me with what I think of when I hear the word church. Phrases like, "If you go to the church you can..." or, "I left my papers at church on Sunday..." or, "Where's my church key..." or "Where do you go to church..." insinuate that we look at church as a place. Not the 'Body of Christ' after all. Can most of you relate?

Steve sent me a link to a site where I found the following quote:
What or where you attend on Sunday morning is not inherently equivalent to being a part of ‘the Church.’ In fact, a person can easily attend a service every week and have virtually no connection or relationship with the Body of Christ.
Likewise, it is perfectly possible for a person to attend no regular service, but maintain rich fellowship and relationship with the Body. Like worship, it can happen wherever and whenever believers are gathered. ‘Church,’ in its truest sense and form, is simply this: relating to Christ in one another.

And that's where I'm at right now. I lead a Bible study on Tuesday's where I pray and fellowship and worship with my brothers, but b/c of my mentality of what church is, I still feel that weird thing in my gut not attending a steeple-holder on Sunday mornings. Isn't my "Band of Brothers" a church? Doesn't it fit the 'assembling together' criteria? Of course it does. But most people can't deal with services being any other day than Sunday. Even if a church starts a Saturday night thing, it has to be a "second" service. How dare it be called it's own church. Even though it is. I think I'm getting off-track so I'll quit.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Funny

The man looked a bit worried when the doctor came in to administer his annual physical, so the doctor asked him what was wrong.
"Well to tell you the truth, doc," the patient answered, "I seem to be getting forgetful. No, it's actually worse than that. I'm never sure I can remember where I put my car, or whether I answered a letter, or where I'm going, or what it is I'm going to do when I get there-if I even get there! What can I do?"
The doctor thought for a moment, then answered in his kindest tone, "Pay me in advance."


For those that feel slighted by my absence last week, here's an email I got yesterday about when Hallmark writers have a bad day...

My tire was thumping,
I thought it was flat.
When I looked at the tire,
I noticed your cat. Sorry.

Congratulations on your wedding day!
Too bad no one likes your spouse.

I've always wanted someone to hold, someone to love.
Now that I've met you, I've changed my mind.

Congratulations on your promotion!
Before you go...
Would you take the knife out of my back?
You'll probably need it again.

Happy Birthday.
You look great for your age.
Almost lifelike.

When we were together, you always said you'd die for me.
Now that we've broken up, I think it's time you keep your promise.

We've been friends for a long time,
Whatdya say we call it quits?

You're such a good friend,
If we were on a sinking ship with only one life jacket,
I'd miss you terribly and think of you often.

And for the finale...
Happy Birthday Uncle Dad!
(Available only in Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Mississippi.)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who's Who

Over the past few months I've had about a hundred hints and suggestions and requests to talk about my blog roll. Who are they, how I found them, etc. I also said I'd share some links for pictures from our trip. So I think I'll talk about the roll and let you know who's got good pic's while I'm at it.

Ell-This is my lovely wife. She writes about once a week and usually about her life and what's going on around her. She did some posts about Hocking Hills, including one before we left that has photos of the place where we stayed.

Rob Osborn-Rob is the person who introduced me to blogging almost a year and a half ago. His was the first blog I ever read, and the first person to link me on his site. He is the source of many of the blogs I link. Rob is a talented musician and his site has morphed from a basic blog into a marketing tool for his music, with links to his bio, his band, his recordings, as well as links to his musical tastes and influences.

GuyK-I found Guy when he commented on a pretty interesting political site I was on. He is easily the most active blogger I link to, sometimes posting 8 or 10 times a day. I don't always agree with what he says, but much of the time I do. But either way, I respect him for his convictions. He's a retired Air Force veteran who lives in Florida with his Sweetthing.

Adrienne-I found Adrienne as a link on Rob Osborn's blog. She is a mom who lives in Colorado with her husband and two young kids. She writes from the heart and her blog is easily one of my favorites. If you want to think about a lot within a single post, click on her site.

Kristen-My little sister. She mainly posts pictures with short stories about her kids. I use her site to keep up with my family who all moved too far away to visit often. A lot of people say if you want to see what I looked like as a baby, her little girl is a good snapshot.

Canadian Loonie-I used my profile favorites section to find people who had blogs about the Appalachian Trail and found this eccentric lady. Besides attempting a southbound AT thru-hike, this single lady is a lab-tester in DC, she's in a quilting club as well as a movie review club, she kayaks, she does her own car repairs when she can, she attempted writing a novel this past year, and she makes her own beer. You never know what you're find reading her site.

Dwight-My dear old Dad. A wheelchair bound guy who until he stopped posting last year, had a great little ministry to people broken by life. Hopefully he starts up again, b/c he was really helpful to a lot of people.

Kimmy-The smug queen herself and another Rob link. I've known Kimmy for a few years now, but really got to know her through her blog. She puts on random Blog-Point challenges, posts almost daily, and loves winter. She can be a bit crazy, but she loves it. For a quick dose of smugness, check her out.

Bethy-Beth was one of my sister's friends when we were young. She married Kimmy's brother and has two cute kids and photographs them often. She is another link I got from Rob, and it's great to catch up with her after all these years.

Ruth-I found Ruth using the "Next Blog" radio button at the top of most Blogspot pages. She is a Chinese-American young woman living in California (I think.) She is a college grad, really enjoys being married, an avid sewer with her own sewing blog, and a Christian struggling with much the same stuff we all struggle with. She has a sensitive heart and I'm glad I found her.

Kyle-I met Sir Kyle in the youth group I used to lead. He attends Bluffton University and is studying to go into full time ministry for God. He started his blog for a class assignment, so he doesn't write often enough. But when he does, he is one of the most honest young men I've ever met.

Laura Young-I found LG by clicking on her name after she left a great comment on a blog I was reading. She lives in Colorado, and makes her own jewelry. If you want some one of a kind gorgeous jewelry to buy for someone, or want to read some great poetry, click on her name.

Kevin-Kimmy's husband, a die hard metal fan, and another link from Rob. To say Kevin posts almost never would be an exaggeration. But maybe that's his plan to make the world really love him when he does get around to writing. I know I still click to check.

Kim-Kim is an artist, a musician, a martial arts hero, and looks just like Uma Thurman. She used to post less than Kevin, but has lately been a regular. She an a unique perspective on the world I don't find on anyone else's blog. Also another link from Rob.

Cynthia-Rob's youngest sister and my youngest link. A sporadic writer, but interesting nonetheless.

Karin-I am the oldest child of 3 and this is the older sister. She posts a lot of pictures and can get pretty deep when she writes. The wife of a State Trooper, a workaholic, a grad student who graduated with 2 degrees, and a mother of 3.

Brad-One of my kids from youth group who has grown up to be one of my friends. Not a consistent poster, but worth reading when he does. He went with us to Hocking Hills and did a post about it with photos.

The Theory Room-This is another one of my kids who grew up to become one of my best friends. His brain is way beyond his age and he writes with the same maturity. He has a link on his page to his photo blog where he'll be posting pictures of our Hocking Hills trip all week. He's becoming a great photographer and I highly encourage you to check his sites out.

Steve-Many years ago Steve was my youth pastor and I'm now a friend who was once his kid. Steve recently come back into my life as a member of my Bible Study and his Spiritual maturity is needed and welcomed and his blog is a reflection of that.

Amy-Amy is another childhood acquaintance I have gotten reconnected to through her blog. She is also an aspiring photographer with great pics. Her writings are great windows into her life as a Christian wife and mother.

Lyndsay-Another of my kids transformed into friend and Andrew's girlfriend. Her blog is one of the only ones I know where her writing is an exact representation of her speech. Honest, open, real, and great to read. I enjoy reading her stuff as much as I enjoy talking to her.

Faye's Photos-A photo blog I found on Andrew's page. Faye posts a lot of pics of old buildings and cars which are some of my most beloved images. She loves to takes pictures and it shows in her work.

Evan-My friend (and Ell's cousin) serving in Bahrain with the United States Navy. He's only posted twice, but both are good reads.

nodoze-My personal Appalachian Trail website.

Dave-Andrew's Dad, the guy that married Ell and I, and maybe the most spiritually intelligent and interesting person I know. New to blogging, he's already got some good thoughts on his site.

Zack-One more kid turned friend. Zack's writing is actually thoughts he had in a journal for some time and is now sharing them with the world. Pretty interesting things coming from a 19 year old.

And there it is. My blog roll. I have a few others I read regularly (Eliza, Rob's wife) but can't link due to work or other's I only randomly check. I welcome each of you to check out anyone on my list and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A much needed escape

Last Thursday Ell and I headed to Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio. We stayed until Sunday, but as usual, wished we could have stayed forever. Ell had just finished working two weeks of filling in for other people, which involved 1 am shift starts and 6 day weeks. All while still going to school full time and taking care of me. She wrote a little about it on her blog, but she's way too modest to tell it all. I don't know how she does everything she does and still functions like a normal person. She truly is an amazing women. Anyway, she needed this trip really bad. And we had a great time like we always do.

When we'd been dating about four months, Ell and I went with her Mom and kid brother to Hocking Hills. We fell in love with it and it's a trip we've been taking every year since. The Hocking Hills region is an awesome place filled with massive waterfalls, gorges, caves, hiking trails, the only old-growth forests in Ohio, and so much more. There's really no way to describe it in words, so if you want to see some pictures, go to or to see what I'm talking about.

Ever since that first year, we've wanted to introduce as many people as we could to the area. So we started taking new people every year. We've taken 25 new people so far and helped many others make the trip themselves. We've tent camped, car camped, stayed in the State cabins, and stayed at various fully stocked private rental cabins complete with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, hot tubs, game rooms, etc. We've gone for 1 night, up to 4 days like this last trip. No matter how long, it's never enough.

I could talk all day about the trip, and I'm sure some of those that went will write about it too. But the one thing I want to mention is a feeling I got this year I don't remember having previous years. As I sat in my office yesterday and then at home last night, it felt like I was still there. I'm sure I was still relaxed, but it was more than that. Maybe it was the company this year, maybe it was place we stayed, maybe the length of time took off, I don't know. But even while wading through the piles of paper that had built up on my desk, and even cutting firewood to heat up our 42 degree house, I felt so calm and at ease. And Ell said she felt the same way too. I don't know what it was, but it was nice to be in that mindset. And I can't wait to go back.

If anyone posts pictures, I'll link to their sites so you can see them.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Winter Wonderland

We took a mini-vacation last week I want to write about, but I'll wait until tomorrow to do that. Today, I have a confession to make. As much as I detest the ugliness of this season, I have to admit that it looks gorgeous outside right now. In the words of one of my tellers, it looks like we're inside a snow globe. The sun is shining and the air is filled with huge puffy snowflakes. It truly is an amazing site. I'd still rather it be summer, but this is really pretty.