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"It seems to me what you lose in mystery, you gain in awe."
Sir Francis Crick

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."
--William James

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Go Tigers

I just have to make one more post before I leave. I will miss 2 Clemson games while serving in Africa. So, given I will be on the other side of the world come Saturday evening...


Go Tigers!!!!

Last Post Before Africa Trip

This will be my last post before we head to Botswana tomorrow. Be sure to follow along for our journey from the Africa blog:

We had a HUGE rain yesterday thanks to the remains of Hurricane Fay. It's not enough to end the drought but will bring some relief. We had a river of water going down the street almost the entire day. We are expected to get a little more today and through the weekend and Gustav may bring more depending on what course it takes from the Caribbean. Keller was one wet puppy at the back door yesterday. He was drier this morning when we went on our walk so maybe he finally figured out the dog house is warm and dry compared to the dirt under the back deck. Of course, Shadow didn't venture out past the garage yesterday.

Last night, I went to a town hall meeting with Rep. Bob Inglis regarding energy policy and the solutions needed to break our addiction to foreign and domestic oil. I heard some good things and some of the same old things too. But, it's good to hear we do have someone who is dedicated to the cause. Rep. Inglis has done his homework for a few years now and seems ahead of the game. Hopefully, some of the other members of Congress will remove the cotton balls from their ears and the cash out of their hands long enough to get something moving towards energy freedom. It's now or never.

Tricia and I also watched more of the DNC from Denver last night. I think Hilliary gave a great speech that really summed her entire campaign. I hope the party can get it's act together and move our country forward, regardless of who is elected, we will still have Republicans and Democrats in charge. Both parties need to grow up and get real and break their addictions to cheap and easy fixes that come back to haunt us and our grandchildren.

Well, I will climb down off the soap box and get back to work.

Please know that I couldn't do this Africa trip without you and your support. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and encouraged. I look forward to telling you more about what God is accomplishing in Africa very soon.

See ya!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jazz the Ripper

Here's part 1 from the Jazz the Ripper show for Music in the Woods at Paris Mountain State Park.

Remember the youngest member is 13 and the oldest is 17. Pretty amazing kids!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jerry Douglas at the Bohemian Cafe

Miles and I went to the Bohemian Cafe to see Jerry Douglas for the CD release party of his new CD, Glide. One of the best shows and he played a full set too with a crowded overflow crowd in rapture. It was very cool to be in Gvegas yesterday!

See ya!

Montana and Yellowstone Video

I put together a quick video of my Yellowstone video and Bozeman area hikes with a few pictures. I used Neil Young's elegant "Natural Beauty" as the soundtrack. Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Well, what a week. I feel really refreshed and charged after my trip to Montana. It was a needed escape for me and time for God to speak to me and challenge me for my trip next week to Africa. In fact, this time next week, I should be in Botswana. I am looking forward to what God has in store and excited and scared too. But, I have laid it all in God's hands. Tricia is going to have more back-up support than she will need from our good friends here in Greer and elsewhere.

Today, Miles and I are going to the Bohemian to see one of the true pioneers of music, especially bluegrass. Jerry Douglas is giving a free show at Horizon/Bohemian. Jerry is like the Hendrix of Dobro. He also plays in Alison Kraus' Union Station band. It's going to be so much fun. We are also going to head over to Paris Mountain State Park to see a jazz band tomorrow afternoon. The boys will get a kick out of the fact that the band is all under 18 but they are great. The band is called Jazz the Ripper and it's funky jazz, one of my favorites.

We are also going to try and finish the fort and zip line tomorrow if all goes as planned. The boys, especially Dylan, are enjoying the fort. Well, gotta run, my conference call is starting.

Enjoy your weekend!

See ya!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Montana "M"

I had some extra time this morning, so I got up at 6am and hit the road for a short drive out of town and into Hyalite Canyon. Wow! Is all I can say to describe this place. It's so close to town and just a paradise. Check the pictures when you can.

I then headed back across town to climb up the hill on the other side of Bozeman to the big "M" in the side of the mountain. It's supposedly for Montana State University; but, I am thinking it's for Mark.

I am out the door in a few to hit the airport and fly back home. It's been a great work trip and very refreshing for my soul. I really miss the summers out West and this has definitely left me wanting more of the same. See ya!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dodgin' Bison

What an incredible day that was just crowned to perfection with one of the biggest full moons I have ever witnessed coming up over the Rockies.

I left Greer at 5am but I had been laying in bed since 4am listening to the thunder, wind and rain. I made to Charlotte just in time, slept a little on the flight to Chicago and got a great view Lakeshore Drive on a sunny Chicago morning on the way into the airport. A quick latte from Starbucks and then off (early no less) to Bozeman.

A small, but beautiful airport greeted me and then I found myself in a nice, fully loaded 2009 Subaru Outback rental (thank you God and it had GPS and iPod hook-up).

I got to Yellowstone around 130pm local time and spent the 6 hours ridin' around the park. It was a squintiful (my new word) BLUE sky day that made the gorgeous landscape that much more. Lodge pole pines everywhere on the brown scrub mountains. I got to see Old Faithful do it's water version of the roman candle, I saw elk, 1 coyote (too small for a wolf), a moose and tons of bison, some up close and personal. Nothing stops the flow of vacation traffic like a 3000 lbs bull in the middle of the road. I may write about the idiots who got out of their vehicles some other day.

My steak just arrived and I am hungry after this long day in God's country. More tomorrow night! See ya!
on Blackberry
Ok, I am back at the hotel and finished with the shower and teeth brushing (ahhhh yes). Corrected a few errors made on the blackberry, thumbs were working hard there at the steakhouse. I'm tired and have lots to do tomorrow. I will write more about my Sunday tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Dark Knight

Well, I went anyways. My buddy Dan and I went to the 0745pm show for The Dark Knight last night since Tricia was still working on preparations for her room at school. In fact, she got home just as we did after the movie. So, it was better than hanging out with Shadow all evening :-)

Wow! I have to hand it to the late Heath Ledger. He did an awesome job as The Joker. He was very much into the animated inner workings of his character. I also liked this Batman more than I have since maybe the first one way back in the 1980's. The plot was a little thin and I found the DA's turn to the dark side a little thin on character build. But, the action was cool and fast. Great summer movie. Not as twisted as I though it might be and not one useless dirty word just to make the rating. The violence took care of that for the PG-13 rating.

The boys should be home from their last week at Nana's very soon. I'm finishing up some work and then heading down to the Bohemian for a free Edwin McCain show. Gotta run!

See ya!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blood Diamond

Still loving all this rain and cool weather. Reminds me of Washington State, my home away from home :-) Tricia is working hard to complete her room and get ready for the student/parent "Meet the Teacher" fun tomorrow night. The boys are down at Nana's and will be coming home tomorrow with Pete and Betty. They are also bringing up the old wooden playset from Susan's (my sister)backyard. It's the first installment of our backyard fort we are going to build, including a zip line down the hill!!! The boys are excited about that, me too.

Tricia and I have taken advantage of the boys being gone by watching movies at home this week. I have watched Braveheart, Supersize Me (watched online via Netflix, that is so cool!!!), Who Killed The Electric Car, and Blood Diamond so far this week. Needless to say, my reading of Cold Mountain has been slow this week! All of these movies have been very interesting and stirred some dark emotions, whether anger, frustration or fear within me. Occasionally, hope and dignity showed their faces too. I was going to see The Dark Knight this week too but that might have been too much considering the theme of the others.

Blood Diamond was very intersting to watch considering my upcoming trip back to Africa. Security is a big issue in Africa, regardless of where on the continent. But, I just can't imagine living in the war zones like that movie portrays. I will again be landing and refueling in Dakar, Senegal on the way to/from Botswana. That's as close as I get to Sierra Leone and Liberia but the French-speaking Africans that service the planes during those stops look a great deal like the ones in the movie. We just don't know how good we have it here Stateside until we take a step outside of our little box. Continue to pray for our trip and those on the mission. We got word this week that the church there now has a new building permit. They said, "bring your work clothes!!!". Should be fun!

See ya!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Kids are at Nana's

The kids are off at Nana's place this week while Tricia digs in for the first week of school with inservices all week for teachers. I am prepping for my trip to Montana on Sunday and taking the time to watch some movies from Netflix.

Tonight, our new friend, Dan Wallace who just recently started coming to Freedom Fellowship came over for pizza and a movie. Dan and I have very similar musical taste. I did turn him on to Steve Kimock, Derek Trucks Band and The String Cheese Incident while he was here. He left with a great CD of mp3z for his drive to Atlanta tomorrow. Dan also is in the software industry, he designs websites. Check out this one: Steakhouse. Dan's got skills!

Ok, back to the movie. I put Supersize Me in the queue at Netflix not long ago and a movie caught my eye, Who Killed The Electric Car? It will make you mad and it just reinforces my crazy idea that Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Car and Big Beer are not good for our country or our freedoms. The fact that GM collected all of the EV1s and had them destroyed still leaves me scratching my head. But, hopefully, with the price of gas staying well over $3/gallon, we might see more of this technology like the plug-in hybrids making big inroads soon.

I also watched Braveheart last night! Wow! I can't believe I waited so long to actually sit down and watch the whole thing. Great movie! BTW, a crazy looking Mel Gibson was an EV1 owner interviewed for the Electric Car movie. Weird connection for me.

BTW, I'm posting a little more on my other blog these days and that will likely be the case until I get back from Africa. Africa Blog, we have a good discussion of encouragement going on over there. Stop by sometimes and leave a comment of encouragement for the group. Of the 11, only 2 of us have been to Africa. We all continue to seek your prayers of safety and encouragement!

See ya!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Africa Blog

Hey, I am managing a new blog for our trip to Botswana (in 17 short days). Check it out!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

13 years ago

Today is August 10th. Thirteen years ago, my life was changed when I stepped up to a beautiful young lady outside a military dining facility and introduced myself. It was as if I had known her all my life. Little did she know that this was not my first time looking at her face..

I clearly recall turning to see her the day before. My vision was blurred except for her face, sounds faded other than my heart beat and I knew to my soul that I was looking at the woman with whom I would spend the rest of my life. It was and is the miracle of God's plan for bringing me closer to him. Today, I thank God for the sweet, small miracles and little victories that have built my life.

We took a walk on the beach this morning before the boys got going. I told her again how important this day remains to me.

Ain't Life Grand!!!

See ya!
on Blackberry

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pickin' Peaches

We took the boys and Calvin out for some peachy fun at Fisher's Orchard yesterday. We picked Blake (the orange peaches) and Georgia Belles (the white peaches). We have plenty to go around and will making deliveries this weekend at the beach and in Sumter. We are heading out to Hilton Head to spend the weekend and see Tricia's sister while she is down there with her inlaws.

See ya!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Africa Bound

3 weeks from today, I will be heading back to Africa. We will be in Gabarone, Botswana. I am preparing myself mentally, physically and most importantly, spiritually. Please pray for me and the rest of the mission team. We will be working with some of the poorest children of the region, most orphans from the HIV/AIDS pandemic of sub-Sahara Africa. There is so much to be done but God is in control and it will be because of his plans. I have a meeting with the team in Sumter this weekend and will be heading there on our way home from the beach. So, pray for focus and clarity of mission for us and a daily prayer of protection for us. I plan to use this blog as a means of daily updates from the field for all on the team. The details will be forthcoming. Thanks in advance for all the support and encouragment.

See ya!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Indy Jones and Keller's Love for Rubber

Well, as promised I thought I would write something about the Indiana Jones movie we saw last Saturday; but, I just can't seem to think of much to say. I never thought we would see another one but cash talks and integrity walks. I always find myself unable to suspend my disbelief with these movies and this one was even worse. It was like all the Spielberg action movies rolled into one. I noticed parts of Back to Future, Star Wars, ET... you name it. It was fun but I felt like I seen it all before and some of the action scenes (cars and guns) went on way too long. The boys enjoyed it and it was timely for us as we just finished watching the first 3 over the last couple of family movie nights. Our neighbor, Calvin, went with us too. He and the boys are now hanging out again and having fun wrapping up the last remains of summer 2008. So, back to the movie. It would have made a nice DVD night but I felt a little jipped on the $35 I spent for tickets and popcorn. Oh well.

The rain barrel I was so proud of? Keller is too. He thought he would help size my drain hose to the proper length by chewing it into pieces. Regardless that I have hose all over the yard in different places. He thought I needed to make some adjustments on the drainage from the overflow for the barrel. What a smart puppy! As long as he leaves the others alone, I can live with the short pieces of hose. Well, my break is over!

See ya!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Yesterday was my sister Amy's birthday. Today is my Mom's birthday. My Mom is not only a great grandmother (aka "Nana") but also a great Mother, Sister and wife. She somehow raised 4 kids as a working single mother without killing one of us or abusing alcohol or drugs (or at least hid it from us very well :-) ). Working night shift, evening shift, and day shift as a nurse at Tuomey with 4 kids must have been unreal but somehow she kept it all together. She attributes a lot to prayers, church and her large circle of brothers and sisters. She's a tough farm girl and taught me a great work ethic and set me on the path of salvation many years ago.

She is now enjoying her retirement from Tuomey but still is a nurse to Pete, her brothers, sisters, inlaws and extended family. She has a genuine concern for others and will let you know about it too! We love her for your many acts of service and support. So, here's to you Mom on your last birthday in the 60's! You look great and we hope you have many more to celebrate in the future. I owe a great deal to you and hope that we always make you proud.

With Love, your Son

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Rain Barrel

I finally have some rain in my rain barrel to work with. We have had a few storms in the last week, one of which knocked a huge limb out of a tree. That huge limb crashed on our fence and tore a few of the boards loose, actually it ripped them into shreds. The support beams are fine so I just need to get the 4 boards replaced. The winds actually picked up the dog pen my neighbor has and lifted it clear over the 6 feet of privacy fence, completely clearing the fence and putting it in the woods behind the yard. The paper reported 65 mile/hour winds. It looked like a tornado had hit the neighborhood when we came home from the Indiana Jones movie. We didn't see the real damage until this morning.

Ok, back to the rain barrel. I have had been able to water all my trees, plants and transplanted grass with no problem with my rain barrel supply. It gets supply right of the gutter drain that I rigged into the top. It has a mosquito net on the top too. I have the overflow going out of the hose you see at the top and I put it on some cement blocks to allow me to easily get my water jug under the spigot on the bottom. One of the coolest things is that this is actually a recycled pickle barrel that was rigged to be a rain barrel by someone with Upstate Forever. It's also helping me with the rain drainoff that is eroding part of my yard back there too. So, for $50 I am saving more than money on the water for my trees and plants. Just wanted to share with you the happenings in the backyard at the homestead. I might try to put together my thoughts on the Indiana Jones movie tomorrow. Tricia and I are working on the budget tonight, so pray for us!!!

See ya!

Friday, August 1, 2008


We had such an awesome day yesterday at Carowinds with my sister Amy and her friend Katelyn. This was Dylan's first trip to Carowinds and Miles' second trip. We took Miles a few years back and he has been talkin' it up to Dylan ever since. I'm pretty sure it lived up to his expectations. Dylan yelled "That was awesome!!!" several times yesterday. He has had a great birthday week with camp and Carowinds.

My favorite ride yesterday were the After Burn which will forever be known as Top Gun regardless of who owns Carowinds. That's a very fast ride and so smooth. I like it much better than the Borg, now known as the Nighthawk. I don't really care for laying down on a rollercoaster like the Nighthawk and the line to get on that ride was not worth the extra wait. The crowd was thin yesterday and the rain that came later in the afternoon made it even thinner. We were able to do just about everything but the log ride which needed some repairs. I also enjoyed the Drop Zone or whatever they call it. You basically go up, way up, and then drop down as fast as you can without crashing into the ground. It's a fun, smooth drop. Miles braved that one with me too. Tricia rode a good many rides, most with her eyes closed. She was on full safety patrol mode yesterday too. So, we had at least 1 parent in the group :-) I also enjoyed the Scream Weaver which is a wheel with car/compartments that you ride in. The wheel spins and then changes axis to spin you vertically. You get the full G force effect from the centrifugal force. It's an awesome ride with your eyes closed and hands to the side, like the swings on steroids.

It's pure joy to ride with Miles and Dylan on these rides. It's worth all the hassles of the drive, the lines and the ridiculous food prices to yell and scream in delight with my sons on a day when we forget the world and just have fun. We are hoping to catch the new Indiana Jones movie sometime this weekend to continue the fun! More later!
See ya!