"Putting kids to bed is like herding cats" - Art

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Pa Really Does When He's On Travel Paty 3

All Aboard!


In need of fashion advice...

Untucked? 



or tucked?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Pa Really Does When He's on Travel...

Just hanging out with the gang...



Get your foot out of my ear!



Study time for the gang...

Monday, February 8, 2010

FEAR THE TURTLES!


Maryland Victory Song

Maryland, we're all behind you.
Wave high the BLACK and GOLD,
For there is nothing half so glorious
As to see our team victorious.
We've got the team, Terps,
We've got the steam, Terps,
So keep on fighting, don't give in!
M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D
Maryland will win!

Fight, fight, fight for Maryland!
Honor now her name again,
Push up the score, keep on fighting for more,
For Maryland. GO TERPS!
Go on and fight, fight, fight for Terrapin,
Keep on fighting 'til we win,
So sing out our song as we go marching along
To Victory!

Hail, Alma Mater, Hail to thee Maryland!
Steadfast in loyalty, for thee we stand.
Love for the BLACK and GOLD,
Deep in our hearts we hold.
Singing thy praise forever,
Throughout the land.

Wondering what this is? Click here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eventhough I Didn't Ask...

... God had a plan for my life.

This is my personal testimony of how I came to know the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour.

When I was a youngster, my family went to Church every Sunday at Lewistown United Methodist Church. Every year I received a pin for my perfect attendance in Sunday school. Sunday school was fun. I learned a lot of neat stories and did entertaining craft projects. For two years, my cousin was even my teacher. I was known as one of the best kids in class, especially when my cousin was the teacher. I don’t remember too much about church service except each week there was a neat story about God doing something amazing or a good lesson on morals or how we should live our life. I didn’t like or dislike church it was just what we did on Sunday, and only on Sunday.

When you reached a certain age the church gave you a Bible. I never opened the bible except for church and only then for the scripture reading at the beginning of the service. I enjoyed Jesus’s parables but otherwise nothing really stood out to me from God’s word. My parents believed in God as did my extended family most of who all went to the same church. My Pastor and teachers told me God was real. This is how I knew God was there and He was real. I had no real concept of heaven other than that was where you went when you died, unless of course you were really bad. I never spent too much time reflecting on these things for myself, I just took everyone’s word for it.

Under the direction of Pastor Yocum our church was beginning to grow. There were big plans of an addition. When I was thirteen, I went through confirmation class for thirteen weeks under his teaching. When we graduated, we each received a new Bible. This was his last confirmation class, though. Things began to change at our church. Because his daughter was ill, Pastor Yocum left to go to another church, where he could take a position as assistant pastor. People didn’t care for the fact that he was replaced with a lady pastor. Our family stopped attending church regularly around that time.

Out side of church, we were just a typical American family. I had a brother and two sisters. We lived in Lewistown, just North of Frederick. Our Mom stayed home until the youngest sibling was in school. Then she got a job in the school cafeteria so that she would always be home when we returned from school in the afternoon. We all got along. My parents loved each other and us. I never saw my folks fight or argue. We had a stable home. They instilled good values in us. We knew right from wrong and did what was right. My father was a hard worker and taught his sons a good work ethic. As he worked, he taught us how to do many things like home and car repairs. I went to public school in Frederick county and spent my weekends and summers working on my uncle’s dairy farm. We weren’t poor but we had a modest life, yet I never thought there was anything missing from my life.

During high school, I got good grades and stayed out of trouble, despite the fact that I didn’t have the best group of friends. I was tired of school and wanted to be done with it. I had no future plans for college or marriage. I started working under a top notch carpenter and learned the tricks of the trade so that I could be gainfully employed the rest of my life. In the evenings, I liked to watch Star Trek and other sci-fi stuff because it seemed scientific and I was interested in things of science. Most of all I liked it because good always prevailed over evil. The good guys always won, despite some temporary difficulties which they had to think their way out of, which is how it was supposed to be.

That was my childhood and teen years. I never gave much thought to God’s plan for my life, but I always felt his presence with me. I prayed to God when I needed big help, like on the first day of school each year, when I didn’t know what was going to happen and there was a big pit in my stomach. Otherwise, He was far from my thoughts. I knew God was the creator, but I made up my own view of God that worked with the scientific view of the world.

After I graduated high school I went to work full time for my carpenter mentor. I thought this was where I’d be for the rest of my life. And I was happy with that. As the country went into a recession, however, Dave ran out of work. He was heading to California and I had to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I started working for a large construction company as a trim carpenter. Morale was bad at that company and it wore me out. The people were lazy and took no pride in their work- just doing enough to get by. Working for David, I had been important, but now I was just a cog in a big machine that was valued just as much as the guys who did only enough to get by.

I needed to seek guidance for my future, but it never occurred to me to go to the Lord. The Bible says in John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou heareth the sound there of but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth so is everyone that is born of the spirit.” Sitting on David’s front porch just before he left for California I was trying to figure out what to do now and David suggested I go to college. That fall I enrolled at Frederick Community College to begin my studies toward an engineering degree. God was blessing me even though I wasn’t seeking his direction. That November I was laid off which got me out of a job I despised and enabled me to begin school full time. I finished my preparatory work at FCC and Hagerstown Jr. College then transferred to the University of Maryland in College Park. By then Dave had returned from California and I went to work for him again through the summers and on the weekends to pay my expenses.

It was during this time, under rather unusual circumstances (which to explain would take up too much time), that I met Kathleen, the women I would later marry. She was Catholic and so I began attending church services with her since I wasn’t attending church anywhere else. Sitting in church each week I still gave no real thought to God, salvation or eternity. I assumed I was going to heaven because I was a good person and that was all I needed to know. I had thought about joining the Catholic Church because my future wife’s family was very devout. Then I found out how much work and time was involved in the process and decided to just keep attending as a non-member.

For the first time, I gave some real thought to my future, however. In fact I had my whole life planned out. We wanted lots of children and we would design and build our own grand two story house with real hard wood floors. (You can see how well my plans worked out.) I would work as an electrical engineer putting away a large retirement for a few years and then “retire” to a comfy job with the government.

After completing college, I went to work for Hughes Network Systems. And there we were. I was living in middle class suburbia, commuting to Germantown, raising our two kids and going to church on most Sundays. I was living the American dream and had no idea that I was missing the most important key. I was lost and on my way to an eternity in hell and I didn’t even know it.

I hardly noticed my wife’s mention of God and the Bible. Even now I still can’t recall any deep conversations about God. My heart just wasn’t ready. God was working in my life and providing for my family in so many ways, and yet I never saw it. When we were broke and our children had medical needs or we had just cereal to eat for dinner, I figured I’d done a good job at working it out because we never went hungry, we always had a roof over our head and we were able to manage to scrape up money to pay for our needs. I wasn’t giving God the credit he deserved. Matthew 6:26 tells us that it is God who provides for our needs “Behold the fouls of the earth for they sow not neither do they reap nor gather into barns yet your heavenly father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

When Kathleen, who had been saved several years prior to our marriage, asked me if we could seek another church I figured all churches are the same. I told her “no” that since I was born Methodist and she Catholic, we would be either be one of the two since that was what we knew. And so on Sunday we went to church and on Wednesday our children started Catechism classes.

I was known as a nice guy, someone you called on when you needed help but I had no thought for spiritual things nor a vision for God’s will in my life. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” I wasn’t seeking His kingdom. But God had a plan. Little did I know that my wife had been praying a long time for a new church. God had been preparing the way through a long chain of events leading back to before my wife’s salvation. The answer to this prayer was to prepare the way for the Salvation I still didn’t know I needed.

It all started when we were looking for a dance instructor for Kaitlin. Kathleen chose one at the recommendation of our former babysitter. It was at that ballet class that we became acquainted with the Tepper family. Two years later when seeking a piano instructor the Tepper’s introduced us to K.P. (Names have been abbreviated to maintain the privacy of others). Several months later, when we were looking for a new babysitter K.P. gave us the name of two of her friends- J.P. and A.S. Kathleen left messages for both girls but it was J.P. who called back. After interviewing her and at a mutual friend's recommendation she came to work for us watching the girls on Monday nights.

One Saturday afternoon, the following Spring, Julie sat with the children. As she was leaving, she invited us to fifth Sunday fellowship at TJ High School the next day. The children were eager to go and so we did.

I listened to what the Pastor said about Jesus dieing on the Cross and all of us being sinners and our need for salvation. It wasn’t anything I didn’t already know in my head. I’d heard it during my years of sitting in church and Sunday school. To me it was kind of the same thing I had heard about in church and Sunday school while young. It was just these Baptists were much louder about it. Yet, I didn’t really know it. When Kathleen asked what I thought about the service and if we would go back, I said, "That Pastor was too loud with all that yelling and we were not going to that church again." I remember my eardrums vibrating as he spoke, I thought it was because Pastor was so loud, but now I believe the Lord was trying to get my attention. The following Sunday we went back to our old church.

In July, J.P. again invited us to church for the Fourth of July service and picnic at Overlook Park. After this we continued going to Victory each Sunday because the people were nice, I really hadn’t come up with any alternative in the few months and Kathleen really wanted to. We became very involved in church taking part in every activity and becoming friends with members of the church and even attending family camp. All this time I figured I knew all Pastor was saying each Sunday and I was OK. I didn’t realize that I was lacking the heart knowledge necessary to secure my salvation.

As we had been attending church regularly, I had begun studying the Bible daily. I was eager to meet with Pastor when he called the week after family camp, in November, and asked if we would start a four week Bible study. At the last minute I was called out of town on business and needed to reschedule.

When Pastor came the following week he began talking about Nicodemus and the second birth. He read John 3:3 “Verily, Verily, I say unto you except a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of God.” It was then that I saw there were conditions to getting to heaven and God didn’t let you just because you were a nice guy. I realized I needed to be saved. Pastor asked me if I knew I was a sinner. I said yes, I knew that much already. By the time he asked did I know I needed to be saved I knew I did and I knew how simple it was. John 3:16 “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Then and there I bowed my head and prayed for the Lord to save me. Now I had the heart knowledge I had been missing through all my life of moral living and years of Sunday school and church. I had the assurance of salvation and the hope of heaven.

What’s different in my life? I was a pretty nice guy before salvation. Prior to my salvation I drifted along never seeking the Lord’s will. I tried to not live immorally and I didn’t necessarily go against God’s word. I just never sought for His purpose and His will and His word. Now my life is centered on doing what God would have me to do. I try to seek his vision for my life and my family. I am eager to follow His desires even though at times it is not what I would like to do and sometimes I don’t understand His leading. Before my rebirth I just went where the wind took me always trying to the make the best of the situation myself. Now, before making decisions ,I pray, study scripture and wait for the Lord to guide me. I realize that He is responsible for all that I have and He will direct me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leaping Lizards!



This post was supposed to go up Sunday night but time is like a vapor (or something like that) and I was falling asleep so I missed my publishing deadline. Good thing the staff editor is "out of office". So take a step back in time with me...

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Today (Sunday) was one of those fall days that happens only a few times each year. The temperature was in the mid 70's all afternoon with blue sky and bright sunshine. It reminded me of that day a fews ago on November 4th when we had a spontaneous birthday party for Kaitlin so she could have an outdoor birthday for once in her life. It was perfect...

The day started off great also. I was a little worried about getting everything up in running in the am but God was gracious and I awoke early and got a good start on the day before any of the kids were up. I tell you I had things running like clockwork. Breakfast, get dressed, get in the car and go to church. Unfortunately my clock must of had a Daylight Saving Time hang-over and we still ended up 4 minutes late to church. At least I had a great excuse to fall back on.

Pastor Jonathon preached a great sermon on Achan and hidden sin. For his visual he brought in a cardboard box that contained something unknown. He dropped a few hints during the sermon about what was in the box but we were all quite surprised when he pulled out of the box a cage containing Katie's tarantula. Sin doesn't look to bad on the outside but it is dangerous and can greatly affect those around you.

After service we did a little visiting and found our way to CalTort. Not having Kathleen there completely threw us off our ordering routine and it seemed to take us nearly half an hour to figure out who was sharing what with whom. And the new cashiers were just no help either. Morgan where are you?

We came straight home after lunch and I sent the little ones in for a quick 1 hour nap so they could enjoy the bulk of the sunny afternoon. After Sam was tucked in bed he came running out saying one of his lizards had gotten out of the cage. KK went to check things out. She was thinking like me that one of the lizards was just hidden in the cage and Sam didn't see him. A few moments later I heard her yell "Pa" and I knew what I had been dreading since we first became lizard owners had come to pass; a lizard had escaped.

Miss Sally was on the window ledge in Sam's room also apparently enjoying the fall sunshine. It took a while for me to formula a plan since these lizards are not hand trained like our birds are. I put out a hopeful "who is good handling these guys?" wishing that KK would volunteer to capture our escapee. I am not a big fan of bugs, or insects or critters of any sort that are smaller than say a parakeet so I was really hoping to not have to do this. KK however gave a feeble "I only clean their cages and just put a cup over them so I don't really handle them" answer and I knew it was up to me. I grabbed various Tupperware items with lids and then we put clothes under the doors to seal off Sam's room. Of course with the choas every other child had to enter the room and the doors were opened many times. After a few misses we finally got the Tupperware over top of Miss Sally and then slid a piece of paper under her. We then dumped her back in the cage where she resumed her normally scheduled Sunday afternoon.


The Escapee (look closely)


The capture


After that little bit of fun we then got everyone back in bed for a quick snooze. One hour later we went out and enjoyed the weather.


Ellie steals the football!

Aedan perfects his riding without training wheels


It was a great fall afternoon and evening. We wrapped it up by getting some chinese for dinner.


Followed by a mean game of air hockey.

What a great day.

Ciao.

Chili's Art

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Step aside Reuben!


We taking sandwiches seriously around here. To me a nice deli style sandwich is a gourmet meal up there with anything made by Julia Child. In Salem, VA (near Roanoke) there is a restaurant with nearly 100 different types of sandwiches on the menu. It takes me forever to figure out what to order.

Where am I going with all this? Well, one night back in January when we were reading the book of Genesis together as family we can across the list of Jacob's sons; the twelve tribes of Israel. Suddenly I wondered out loud why only Reuben had a sandwich named after him? I mean imagine what a Zebulun or a Naphtali sandwich could be like? We explored the ideas that night and decided to make it happen. But when? Creating a new sandwich to honor one of the sons of Jacob is not something to be taken lightly. When it was decided that Kathleen was going to Italy to visit Diann I saw an opportunity. With full control over the kitchen I would oversee the design, construction and implementation of the "Naphtali". Last night was THE night.

Via something that only be called inspiration (or maybe an empty stomach) we came up with the ingredient list below.

- 3 slices rye bread with seeds (you can lightly toast or not)
- Salsalito roasted turkey breast (Boar's Head)
- Genoa salami (sliced thin)
- Corned beef (sliced thin from the deli)
- Alpine Swiss cheese
- Fresh Lettuce
- Thinly sliced tomato
- Hellman's real mayonnaise
- Pitted, sliced kalamata olives (or sigonella if you are Ben)
- Delicatesin sour kraut (not the stuff in a can)
- Banana peppers rings


Why these ingredients you ask? The rye bread, corned beef, sour kraut and swiss cheese honor the 1st sandwich of the 12 tribes - Reuben. The inspiration for the other ingredients came from various sources. The Salsalito turkey breast with it's Italian name is in honor of my dear wife who is away from us in Italy at the moment. The Genoa Salami is just so good it should be on every sandwich. The kalamata olives were a last minute thought. We owe that to Ben Rickert. His sin of throwing away all those olives from my wife's great cooking just needed redeeming! See Art's Chili previous post.


Here's how you stack it all up:

Spread mayo on one side of all three slice of bread. Place a piece of lettuce on one slice. Add 2 thick slices of Swiss cheese. Roll up four slices of turkey and place on top the Swiss cheese. Next roll three slices of Genoa salami and continue to build. Just to get some nutrition we then add a few tomato slices. Top the bottom half of the sandwich with the sliced olives the mild banana pepper rings. Insert the second slice of bread mayonnaise side down. The top section is like a Reuben so stack up the corned beef bread and sour kraut. Last comes the lid. You need to pin down the four corners with sandwich tooth picks. Cut into quarters and enjoy!

We tried some with toasted bread and some untoasted bread just to see which way we liked better. On our test run the toast was a little burnt (yes, we burn water too with our head chef away) so it was a little too crispy for some. We were split as too which way was the best but all agreed it was a fabulous sandwich.

Her are some pictures from our first go at last night.


The building process




The masterpiece!




Don't be scared of it Aedan!


Taste Test




Ciao.

Chili's Art