Sunday, March 30, 2014

Typical Sunday Morning

My wife and I have a bunch of kids and we love them dearly, really we do.  But there's just something extra special about a whole family trying to get ready for church on a Sunday morning that, well, gives me a special headache. 

For example, here are just a few of the questions and comments that were fired at Dear Ole' Dad (a.k.a. me) this morning between 9:00 and 9:30.

  • Can I have a banana?
  • Do you have to go to work today?
  • How many days until we go to New Jersey?
  • Will you download Monkey Soccer on my GS?
  • Are we go8ing to church?
  • Are we eating lunch at church?
  • Does this sweater match?
  • Will you get my shirt down from the hanger?  I can't reach it.
  • I can't find my shoes.
  • Did anyone feed the dogs or the birds?
  • How many toys can I take to church? 
  • Will you take me to Kmart for batteries?
  • What's for breakfast?  Can I have a banana?
  • Can I have a cookie?
  • Are you gonna finish that coffee?
  • Do I look stupid in this?
  • Can I watch a movie?
  • Will you button this?
  • Can I have a piece of cake?
  • Will you open the garage so I can get my bike out?
  • Are we going to Grandmom's today?
  • Can I watch TV?
  • What was your favorite song in "Frozen?"
  • You should direct a play.
  • Can I audition for Tri-Town Theater?
  • Do you like Clifford?
  • Is this too small on me?
  • Did anyone see my pocket knife?
  • Will someone please go down the cellar for toilet paper?
  • Can I have some Mentos?
  • Will you unbutton this?
  • Can I have a piece of tape?
  • Will you pour me some milk?
  • Can I have another banana?
  • Maggie's chewing my sock.
  • Are we having pizza?
  • Is anyone going to make more coffee?
  • Why is she having a cookie???
I just thought I'd share a typical, peaceful Sunday morning here in our house. :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

I'm Cold.

I've never been cold.  Always warm.  Even in the middle of winter I have comfortably worn a t-shirt without being subject to the shivering that is so common when the temperature drops to arctic depths. Maybe I needed a coat to keep me warm, but I was never uncomfortably cold.

That is, until I had surgery.  In the time after a minor health issue and a few surgical procedures I have turned into a different creature.  I'm cold.  Shivering, shaking, creaking bones, can't catch my breath cold.

It's true that I complain just as much about the summer heat, as I am unable to breathe when the temperature rises. But I am ready to admit that I have had enough of the climate in New York and I am ready to move south to a warmer place. 

Yes, I'm that cold.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me

Birthdays.  They come every year.  Yesterday was mine.  I’m getting close to the “mid-point,” if you know what I mean, and as I gain years and wisdom I find myself thinking more and more about what really makes me happy.
Image courtesy of

The question “what do you want for your birthday?” inevitably comes up when my special day approaches, and I never know what to say.  Sure there are things I want but do I really have to have them?  I also want some things that aren’t things, but I have pushed aside many of them as impossible or at the very least too exhausting to achieve. 

I generally answer the question by stating that as long as (1) my family is around me and (2) there is cake, I’ll be happy.  Presents are nice but in the end they are things that don’t last.  The non-things I desire are what will bring true happiness. 

Yesterday I had a steak dinner, birthday cake and ice cream, was surrounded by my family and friends, and received a few gifts that I both wanted and needed (okay, maybe I didn’t need a grocery bag filled with M&Ms)

It was a good day.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hwy 7 Bar and Grill

Last night I went to Hwy 7 Bar and Grill in Bainbridge, NY to have a late supper with some friends.  The atmosphere sort of reminds me of a cross between a friendly neighborhood bar and a Texan sports bar with rustic charm.  A number of flat screens are tuned to different channels throughout the place and classic rock mixed with 60s and 70s tunes were playing over the sound system. Our table was in a warm corner and even though it was near the door, we were quite nicely protected from the cold air when people entered the

The staff was very friendly.  We even had a personal visit from the owner, as did every other table in the joint.  Our drinks and food arrived quickly after being ordered, and refills were offered frequently enough that we didn't run dry.

The food ... The first thing up was a dessert pretzel item that included a sweet, creamy white chocolate, whipped cream dipping sauce.  This was the most unusually delicious appetizer I've had in a very long time.  It seemed almost wrong to have a dessert-like appetizer, but it sure was tasty!

I ordered the American cheeseburger, which consisted of 1/2 ground round with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion on a brioche roll.  Cooked medium, please. :)

That's what I ordered. I received the "Amazing Bacon Burger."  Someone else got my order.  I decided to not make a big deal of it.  After all, it was still a burger with a; those things a burger normally has, PLUS BACON!  And even though it was well-done as opposed to medium, it was juicy without soaking the bun, and the condiments were well-placed on the burger so they stayed put without destroying the integrity of the sandwich. 

So, even though my order was wrong, I still had a very good sandwich and a pretty good experience at Hwy 7 Bar and Grill in Bainbridge, NY.  

I definitely would give it another try.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

When the Missionary Becomes the Mission Field

Eventually they get thrown out.  The people they trust get their nasty on and put them out like trash, wiping their hands back and forth as if to say "We never wanted your kind here in the first place."

I've seen it happen many times.  Men of God - hard working men - who are called into ministry and try their best to obey, to serve, to lead, keeping in mind that one person can not please everyone. 

Sooner or later these men do something to tick someone off.  Not just any someone.  Someone who is connected to the ear of a board member.  The ticked off party starts mouthing off a little bit - complaining (gossiping?) if you will - to his friends.  They in turn do likewise and eventually the entire organization is abuzz with discontented opinions about which "the board" feels the need to act.

Then come the secret meetings.  Shhhhh!!  We can't let so-and-so know we are meeting tonight because the meeting is about him.  Sheesh!  There ain't nothin wrong with that picture, eh?

Then there is the big public ugly that has to happen so that in case anyone had any doubt about what a scumbag this godly man is, they will have an opportunity to witness a grotesquely humiliating public flogging after which God's called servant has little choice but to get out of Dodge like a drunk being thrown from the saloon into the horse trough. 

Trouble is that most of the time these men haven't disobeyed the Lord.  They haven't acted immorally or done or taught anything unbiblical.  They simply ticked off the wrong person. So they got thrown out. Goodbye.  Adios.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.  That's it then.  we officially wash our hands of you.  Oh, and by the way ... here's an envelope of money - a "love gift" - because we care about you SOOOOOOOO MUCH.

Soooo .... what happens next?  To the man of God I mean?  What's next for him, his wife, their children, their friends?

Um ... Uh ... You mean he still exists????  Even after we threw the bum out?

Well, yeah.  He still exists, he still has mouths to feed, a mortgage, children, car payments, etc ...
Oh, yeah, and he likely isn't eligible for unemployment.  Nice, eh?

This godly man who was called by God into the mission field ... IS the mission field now.  He needs help.  He needs all those things we tout ourselves as being called to do.  Fuel for the furnace.  Food for the table.  Clothing for his family to wear.  Cash to pay his bills.  He needs our prayers.  He also needs a good job placement counselor and relocation services.  Oh, yeah, and a good Christian psychologist would be good, too. He and his family need all those things he has led us to do for others.  He is now one of those "others."

So, before you vote to throw some poor bum out, stop and pray about it.  And after you have considered all the options and still come to the conclusion that he has to go, please be sure to understand the long-term commitment of changing a missionary into a mission field. 

Don't just leave him in the desert.   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sloan's New York Grill

I have to be honest.  When my wife and I entered the building we expected to see the same thing one generally finds when someone opens a new restaurant in a former steakhouse; the same old steak house with a redesigned menu.  However, that is far from what we discovered.

Located in Oneonta, NY in the former Ponderosa Steak House, Sloan's New York Grill is an elegant, cozy space with a stone fireplace and a full bar for those who wish to indulge.  The menu features natural, local meats that are also available to purchase by the pound from their meat counter.   At first it looked slightly pricey, but with sandwiches ranging from $8 to $11 including side dishes, it was affordable enough for a couple on a budget who want a quiet, intimate lunch.

I enjoyed the pulled chicken barbecue sandwich with curly fries and two of their specialty house pickles.  The chicken was lightly pulled - chunky rather than shredded - and slathered in a delicious sauce that was slightly more spicy than sweet.  The curly fries were well seasoned thin wisps of potato that were fried to perfection. The pickles?  Mild and sweet with a slight kick at the end.

My wife ordered a sandwich with deli turkey, provolone and bacon, drizzled with peppercorn ranch dressing.  The sandwich was so good she wants to learn how to make them at home!  Her soup (tomato basil) was creamy and sweet.  

The staff wore black t-shirts and jeans, reflecting the casual, simple lifestyle of upstate New York. Our server Rachel was friendly and attentive, making sure we were satisfied with everything.   She was professional and well trained, explaining the specials and answering all our questions about the menu.

A great experience!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I sing.

I sing.  That's what I do.  I'm not a rock star or an opera divo.  I sing - that's it.  That's what I do.

So ... like ... you play the guitar and sing and stuff?

No.  No guitar, no stuff.  I sing.

You play keyboards and sing and stuff?

No keyboard.  I sing.

So .... what are you, like a songwriter or something?


Well, what do you do?

I, um, sing.  You know ... sing?  As in ... singing?

You mean you don't do anything?  You just ... sing?




I sing.

I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:6)

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. (Psalm 147:1)

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.(Psalm 104:33)