Sunday, July 29, 2007

Elkhart Co. Fair in review...

I was hoping to get to this one a bit sooner (like while the fair was still going) but when the schedule is pressed blogging gets pushed WAY down the priority list. What follows is merely my humble opinion on the parts of the fair that I was able to take in.
Not a long list here. Saw a few of the harness races the first Saturday. One of our boys picked the winner all three times. That is a power that could be used for evil.
The kids got wristbands on Thursday because the $1 ride night was rained out largely Wednesday evening. I did not personally ride any rides this year but the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. In the I'm getting old category; this is the first time in my life's memory that they did not have the Zipper ride. It was fun to watch my kids enjoy some of the oldies like Tilt-A-Whirl.
The tractor pulls were Thursday and I was able to catch almost all of them. The massive, multi-engined, or jet powered ones are cool but my favorites have always been the 2 and 4 wheel drive pickups. They did have the semi tractors this year, which were fairly disappointing; save the first one with the sparks. I took quite a few pictures and when I have a chance to sort through them a bit will be posting some of my favorites.
Due to the overlap with Camp we were unable to check out the rodeo or demolition derby.
Dog Club:
This portion was definitely an up and down thing. We went into the fair with fairly good hopes of high showings; Chili was really seeming to get it, even the off-leash stuff. In both Agility and Obedience demonstrations he started off strong and got distracted midway which led to disasters. In Showmanship things went smoother but a couple minor things cost Caleb in the end. He finished 1.5 points behind the winner. The important thing is the discipline and confidence building that comes out of these experiences. Ribbons are nice but character lasts.
Let me quickly begin with my main beef about this year's food: WHERE HAVE ALL THE CURLY FRIES GONE???? The places that have always had the fresh made curly fries have gone to the pre-bought bagged seasoned ones -- not the same. It seemed to be the year of the onion blossom (we never got one though) everyone had them it seemed. I'll quickly run through what I and my family deemed the best this year: (in no particular order)
Neddermans: although I personally never visited the "steak tip man" this year, he was there and as always had a line of people waiting. My family made a couple visits.
Flappers and More: right next to the steak man is probably my favorite newer booth. They have been at the fair for a couple of years and they are great for their food and especially their value. Pulled pork sandwiches, Pig wings, and my favorite: Southern fried wings are on the agenda here. You get 12-14 of the fried wings for $5.
Dairy Bar: Year in, year out, you cannot miss getting a custard from here
Giant Tenderloin: raised the price but still a full meal. The patty is nearly the size of the paper plate it is served on.
Bounthans: This is almost always one of my favorites because I love Chinese and they have a great value and big portions. Fried rice, entree, and an egg roll for $7. This year it was just OK.
Nelsons: They win for best surprise this year in my book. For $4 they make a large wrap sandwich with their chicken (mmmmmmmmmmm), lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
We spend a lot of time at the fair so good value is something we look for; it's getting harder to find all the time, but it is out there. Another good year -- not the place to hang out if you are trying to lose a few pounds though.

What type of conservative are you?

My results...

How to Win a Fight With a Liberal is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Conservative Identity:

You are a Flag-Waving Everyman, also known as a patriot. You believe in freedom, apple pie, rooting for America at all times, and that God gave us a two-day weekend so we could enjoy football and NASCAR.

Take the quiz at

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bible Spoiler post

With all the mania surrounding the new Harry Potter book and the near paranoia level some have had regarding spoilers to the book I thought this image was appropriate and hilarious. Thanks to BON for the original posting

Better Blog Reading

Abraham over at Desiring God has a great post about being a better blog reader. Well worth reading through and putting into practice. Check out the link below.

Anyone who is not yet using some program or website and making use of RSS is slowing themselves down. I personally use Bloglines, it has been great for me. I am constantly adding/ removing blogs as I check them out for a while to see if they are useful for me. This is a tip I would highly recommend to anyone who spends any amount of time in the blogosphere.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Link Dump -- July 23rd

A few items of interest...

Great Quote

"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?"

---> Not sure why but I found this hilarious

Anniversaries, Fairs, dogs, fires, camps and the like

Its been a few days since my last post; time flies while life keeps chugging along. Here are a few things that have been going on and some random thoughts that surround them.
  • Friday was our anniversary. 16 years ago Micki and I said "I do". I can remember the time that I thought that that was an eternity. I can't honestly think that it has been that long. Time sure moves. It has been great and I can't wait to celebrate the next 16. Next time I hope the steak dinner I buy her isn't at the 4H fair though :)
  • Speaking of the fair; Friday and Saturday were the agility and obedience judgings for Caleb and Chili. The dog had been doing quite well in practices leading up the fair. This is the first year of "off leash" portions of judging. In both competitions it started well and came to a crashing halt about halfway through when Chili decided that he was done and wouldn't listen. Disappointing for sure. Thankfully Caleb still has showmanship. I think that he can do quite well on that one!
  • We got to walk around a bit Saturday at the fair. We took in a few of the harness races, saw the Star Family Circus (pretty good show), and saw an acapella group called Tonic Solfa. They were good and did an interesting rendition of "The Lion Sleeps" using the voices of The Muppets. Micki and Bethany took in a clogging show and we ate (I'll be adding a post about fair food soon)and checked out the commercial exhibits before calling it a day.
  • The church across the street from ours burned down Friday night. It is sad for a couple of reasons. It is always tough to see a congregation of believers struggle through this type of loss. It is also the building that our church met in before moving across the street. 130 years of history gone in a couple of hours. Thankfully the CHURCH is not a building but the people.
  • As we race on through this week we have a "camp" theme. With fair activities tied around them we have a cheer camp, a picnic at a camp ground, and the beginning of Family Camp. Looking forward to being with people at all of these events.
  • Looking forward to the Tractor Pulls on Thursday (time to be a little redneck!)
  • Only 5 weeks until the first ND game.
  • If you are a CRMCer, make sure you are checking in at CRMC Campfire
  • Hope you have a great day/ week

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What I learned on the way to Multnomah Falls

Last week while in Oregon I had the opportunity to see Multnomah Falls. Pictures cannot do this work of art justice. The waterfall measures in at over 600 feet and is truly incredible from any vantage point. What you cannot see in the accompanying photo is that off to the right of the bridge starts a trail. This trail proceeds over the bridge and on up the side of the hill for approx. a mile in order to reach an observation platform at the top of the falls (also unseen in the photo). The path, while paved, I would estimate varies from 30-40 degrees of incline the whole way to the top. I began to realize during the climb and have had even further reflection on the trip and am amazed at how much that journey is like our own discipleship. What follows are several things that I have taken from the experience. I may need to add more later as I gain even more perspective. These come in no particular order of importance. They all have significance in my mind.

  • There are lots of people on the trail. We often feel like we are stuck only within our circle of friends and church members. This is a trick of the enemy to isolate us.
  • There are lots of differing levels of maturity on the trail. Maturity does not equal age. There were younger and older people who had never been to a place like this as well as those who were more seasoned.
  • Take time to enjoy the view! If you just put your head down and climbed the trail you missed an awful lot. There were views of the falls, the Columbia River, railways, interstate highway, just to name a few. We need to do a better job of taking in what God is doing in the world around us while we are making the journey.
  • Sometimes people get hurt on the trail. I ran into a girl who was I believe with her mom and sister who had turned her ankle. They had stopped to rest it for a few minutes and were going to begin to help her back down. I got about as bad a charlie horse in my left calf as possible. I was about a third of the way up and had to make a decision. Go back down or go ahead. I decided that I needed to finish what had been started and that since I was likely to have a pain in my leg anyway I might as well get the reward of the view from the top. At that point I felt more angry than hurt about my injury. It was shortly after this that I ran into the injured girl and her family. Two thoughts ran through my mind as I continued; Philippians 4:13 and the fact that we have been studying Haggai and that giving up is the cop out way to go.
  • You need partners on the trail. There are tons of people on the trail and we don't help one another. That's just plain dumb. We have grown up with the lie that our journey/ relationship with God is a private thing. It was never intended to be that way. We are to share the journey. Bud and Matt had gone on ahead as I was going slower, stopped to take a few photos, and then got my Charlie horse; which made the climb even slower. Matt called on the cell when I didn't show up and gave a word of encouragement. As I was getting close Bud came back down a ways, met me and walked back the rest of the way with me. That was a great reminder of our need for brotherhood on the trail.
  • All of the work is worth it!!! I cannot say this enough. I cannot image the regret had I not finished. I would have missed the stream leading to the falls, the view from the top, and the knowledge and feeling of accomplishment. All the more I am encouraged to strive on to finish the race that is set before me...

You sure do learn a lot when you make a journey. Next is the application to everyday life.

Game of the week -- The Impossible Quiz

Just see if you can stay with it until the end....


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Welcome to G-Rap

3DYC is on the horizon. Make your plans now. This video is a tour of the new venue in Grand Rapids aka GRap

Book #11 - Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin

While traveling last week I read Samson and the Pirate Monks. It is a fairly quick read but a book that will stay with me for some time. The author is brutally honest about his struggle with an addiction to sex and how he overcame it. Through that he has been led to start the Samson Society (see link above). It is basically a 12 step AA type group centered around Christ. The book is about his testimony and how to start a Samson group if you feel led.

There are several takeaways for me from this book. As I look at my role as a Christ-follower, husband, father, friend, and leader in the church I see the value of this type of support and accountability in the lives of men. The main things that I will draw on from this book are:

  • the church needs to take notice! men need and desire a place to be brutally honest about what they are dealing with in their lives without the fear of becoming the topic of "prayer requests" for the foreseeable future

  • the walk of the disciple is not and has never been intended to be walked alone. Christ called his disciples in groups and sent them about the business of the Kingdom two by two. The thought that my personal walk is "just between me and God" is a lie!

  • I can only imagine the power that men would have over sin if they would enter into these genuine relationships of support

  • it does not matter what the struggle is with (sex, greed, drugs, alcohol, lust, money, foul language, pornography, etc., etc.) or how deeply involved we are in it (active, recovering, or just plain knowing that we have an attraction to it) addiction is in many ways addiction; period.

  • Even if I do not personally start or become involved in an active Samson group, I need to find a Silas for my life

  • Keeping in mind that like both Samson and David we have all failed I need to be like David and be the man God has intended and not fail in the mission I have been chosen for as Samson did.

I am sure I could list a few more. This book is definitely worth a read from the powerful testimony standpoint and will encourage you to seek out brotherhood as intended by the Lord.

Will It Blend? - iPhone

a pretty expensive sales gimmick, but funnay and cool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Away at Conference

There may not be much activity here this week as I am away the 2007 Missionary Church General Conference in Portland, OR. I am our church's lay delegate. You can keep up on the goings on and some photos at the church blog if interested.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Link Dump -- July 7th

Four Characteristics of Innovative Leaders
Stove-top Baked Beans Recipe --- a great bean recipe
Where's the Pickup Tonight? -- hilarious!!
What is the Measure of a Man?
Jeopardy Bans Bible Category -- I guess I shouldn't be surprised... read the linked article for some interesting insights as well.
Why I don’t like Harry Potter -- good to see kickstand back in the blogosphere
Why I’m glad I didn’t go to Seminary
Proving to Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus is God
Fans brawl at Russian national wrestling meet -- this was not WWE
Men, women and their word count --- this one is getting a lot of buzz in the blogosphere and I am sure will be picked up by the major media next week
8 (Or So) Questions About Your Church Signage -- we need to better at asking ourselves the hard questions about ourselves
A Virtual Tour of historic Rome -- interesting
Saving "the Lost"...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Will It Blend? - Baseball

On our National Day, a little twist on the national pastime.

A grilling we will go... Part 2

As promised, here is the update to the saga of the cracked grill. Yesterday morning I loaded all the parts/ boxes/ foam on a drywall cart a proceeded into the store. After receiving an odd look from the young lady at the returns counter I explained the situation and provided her with my receipt.

I became a little nervous about the situation when she called a guy up from the grill section to "look at this before I return it". Upon his arrival I repeated my story and he proceeded to simply agree that the unit was in fact damaged and quickly retrieved another unit and loaded it on a cart for me. I walked out of the store with my new grill and a grill cover in less than 10 minutes! Way to go Lowes. This is how customer service should work.

I was able to assemble the grill (it took about 90 minutes instead of the 50 listed in the manual) and we officially christened the grates last night with bratwurst. Looking forward to something else today. We love to cook on the grill, this will make for a fun rest of the summer.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A grilling we will go...

We decided to go ahead and get a new grill. We love to cook out and the one we have has seen its finer days for sure. So after looking around a bit we decided on a grill from Lowes. This is where the customer service portion of the program takes off. We got a great deal (20% off) and got a little nicer grill than we might have for the money.
After making the purchase (my wife was by herself) an employee helps her with getting it to the van (good service!). Then it is discovered that the box will not fit even with the seat folded down, so a decision is made to unpack the grill from the box and place everything in the van. Upon getting it home and preparing to set it up my wife discovers that the grill lid id damaged and cracked. UGH!
As of typing this all of the parts have been re-loaded into the van and will be returned to the store in the morning. I'll give an update on how Lowes handles this customer service opportunity. I have the receipt, all of the parts, but no box. I am hoping for an easy exchange.

Link Dump -- July 3rd

What is the Measure of a Man?
What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos?
25 Reasons I'm No Longer a Christian
Mastering the Faith
An Almighty Flop - so much for the summer blockbuster for Christians
Explosives Camp -- anyone else see any issues here??
The Spy Rules