Friday, June 29, 2007


***Updated for clarity***

When I arrived at work yesterday morning, I backed into my usual parking space in the lot about a block down the street from our office building. I normally try to park near the big light pole, since it makes it easier for me to get out, and also so I can keep my front bumper from sticking out into the drive lane. (I drive a full size, extended cab pick-up truck).

As I eased into my usual spot, I noticed I got a little close to the car behind me, but my rear bumper never once touched his. When I got out, I checked to see how close I got and noticed that I had come within less than two inches from that car’s rear bumper. I’ll admit, I was somewhat impressed with myself. I actually thought to myself “Dang, I’m good!” and I continued on to the office.

After work, when I got to the parking lot, the driver of that car was waiting for me, it seemed. He was in the process of writing a note to leave on my windshield. He saw me walk up and put my stuff in my truck.

“Is that your truck?”
“Did you see this?” Pointing to the space between our vehicles.
“See what?” As I walked around to take a look.
This is when I noticed the two inch space between our bumpers was now two feet.

*** Please note that these parking spaces are in the middle of the lot, and both vehicles were facing outward, toward the drive lanes (He was backed in also, from the other side). At no time was anyone "blocked in". Which is why he was able to move his car forward by two feet.***

He held up his hand with his thumb and finger about one inch apart and said,
“You parked this far from me!”


“Look what you did!” He pointed to a small indentation in the black plastic piece of his bumper, just under the license plate. “This mark lines up with the hitch on your truck!”

It didn’t look that way to me, but I kept my mouth shut.

“Well? What do you intend to about it?”

“Nothing. I didn’t do this” (Remember, my bumper never touched his this morning).

He stared at me quite angrily, with his right eye, big and round and bulging out with his left eye sort of squinting. He seemed to be trying to look at me as menacingly as possible.

I almost snickered. I didn’t get upset, or return his anger. I did, however, remember an e-mail a friend sent me earlier in the day, titled The power of one sentence! It said,
God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor.

The man said, “Be more careful next time!” And he got in his car and he left.

I guess it worked. I just let the power of God consume me and keep me from anger and keep me from harm. And I refused to be bullied into admitting to something that I didn’t do.

That whole scenario reminded me of the stories my grandfather used to tell me about how he dealt with bullies when he was young.

When he was a small boy, my granddad lived in Washington State and lived near a lake. One day, while playing with his brand new little red wagon, the local bully came by and told granddad to push him around in the wagon. So he did. Faster and faster he pushed that bully in the little red wagon. The bully enjoyed himself so much that he never noticed when granddad pushed him down the length of the dock and off the end of it into the lake! Then ran home to tell his dad how the bully had taken his new little red wagon and tossed it into the lake. The dads met and the bully got into trouble.

Another time a few years later, granddad was being picked on by this same bully, only now the bully was bigger and “fatter”. Once he’d had enough, granddad popped him one and took off running. Naturally, the bully chased him.
So granddad jumped over the fence and ran up to the top of the hill and jumped over that fence. Once the bully climbed over the fence at the top of the hill, granddad climbed over it and ran down the hill and climbed over the fence at the bottom.
This continued for awhile. Every time the bully caught up and climbed over the fence, granddad would climb over and run up, or down, to the other fence. Finally, as the bully, completely exhausted and out of breath, got to the top of the fence at the top of the hill, granddad turned around and hit him as hard as he could.
Of course, that bully went down for the count. That particular bully never bothered granddad much after that.

Granddad told me these stories to make a point. And that is that you don’t have to be bigger, or stronger, or faster, or tougher than the bully, you just need to be smarter than him. And with bullies, this usually isn’t too difficult. Keep your cool and use your head.

It sort of reminds me of what Jesus did for us at the Cross. The worst bully of all, the devil, thought that he had won. But on the third day, Jesus got up and walked out of that tomb. The devil fought dirty – Jesus didn’t. Jesus is smarter.
Jesus beat the devil with a big, ugly stick. And He did it all for you and for me.

You just can’t keep a good man down.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wordless......? do YOU look in the morning?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Should I Be Disappointed??

Just out of curiosity, I checked to see what rating my blog would get.

Online Dating

They don't even give this rating to Saturday morning cartoons or Disney movies anymore.

It did say that I used the word "pain" once, and the word "fart" twice!
Oh, my goodness, me! Whatever will I do?

Apparently they just look for keywords and ignore references made to Potty Humor, or Anger issues.

They've even ignored the articles dealing with the dangers of meeting up with a Rattlesnake in the wild, getting shot in the face while driving your car, Infidelity or just plain old sin in general.

Gee, if I use the word "fart" more often, will I lose my "G" rating?

Be careful out there, apparently, someone's watching.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father’s Day 2007 – The Power of Dad

A child will not see the Father in God, until he sees something of God in his father.

It is Father’s Day. We’re going to see a lot of posts, articles and advertisements about Father’s Day. What are you going to give to the “father” in your life? (Husband, son, grandfather, uncle, father-in-law……etc.) What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received (assuming you are somebody’s Dad)?

The best Father’s Day gift I can remember is the first time one of my children said to me, on their own, “I love you, Daddy”. What more could any man ever want after that?
(This is my 19th Father’s Day as somebody’s Dad, and I have never been given a neck-tie!)

Before my kids came along, I read books and studied about how to be the best husband I could be for my wife. Once I found out I was going to be somebody’s Dad, I started studying things to help me be the best Daddy those kids could ever hope for.

I have made way more than my fair share of mistakes along the way, so I am by no means a perfect Dad. I don’t even come close.

I read a lot of books and I take every opportunity to study, listen and learn how to be the man God wants me to be by learning how to be the best husband and Dad I can possibly be. Most of what I learn is by trial and error. Maybe more error than trial.

My grandfather once told me that the smart guy learns by watching others. This may be due to the fact that I don’t believe I could possibly live long enough to make all those mistakes all by myself.

The following is a collection of things that I believe every father needs to say to his children. (in no particular order….)

I Love YouYour kids need to hear this. A lot! Your children should hear this from you at least once a day. I have known so many people who never heard this from their father, but have been told by someone else, “Oh, you know he loves you”. Or the dad may say that his children know he loves them and that he doesn’t need to say it to them. Why take the chance? Why leave any room for doubt? Why leave it up to some other well-meaning person to try to make your children feel better by saying it for you?
Your children should never be in a position to be asking themselves, “What does my Dad think of me?”
You know, if you remove just one word from that question, you get an even better one. “Does my dad think of me?” They need to know that, too!

Dad, if you haven’t told your children that you love them today, or if you haven’t said that to your Dad yet today, then go tell them. Right now. Seriously. Go. Tell them. We’ll wait for you…….

Okay. Are you back? Did you tell them? Good. Now don’t you feel better? I thought you might.

I Am Sorry
Are you too proud to admit when you are wrong or have made a mistake? Then shame on you.

If you messed up, your children will NOT think less of you if you go to them and tell them you are sorry. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to my kids, gotten down on my knees, and asked them to forgive me. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have responded that way, I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
This is huge, Dad. This is one of those things your children will remember forever. They will also remember HOW you tell them. If you are standing above them, looking down at your child with your arms crossed and sternly say “I’m sorry”, then you have wasted your time and perhaps done more harm to the situation. Instead, get down on their level. Get down so you can see them eye to eye. And tell them, in a soft and sincere tone, that you are truly sorry and ask them to forgive you.

I Believe in You
This also goes along with saying I Am Proud Of You. Dad, your son needs to hear this from you, even more so than your daughter does. Both sons and daughters need to know that they are important to you. They need to see it in your actions as well as hear the words from you.
My father often told me he was proud of me. I don’t remember ever hearing those words from my step-father, even though he is the guy who raised me since I was eight years old. (I always assumed he was proud, but he never actually said those words).

In little league, I was the pitcher, I lettered in wrestling and cross-country in high school, I earned two black belts in two different martial arts styles, I earned two college degrees, and passed all the exams for my professional registration. I rarely saw or heard from my father, but when I did, he would tell me he loves me and that he was proud of me. I didn’t understand why, since he wasn’t the guy who raised me or taught me how to do things like build a camp-fire or how to catch a fish, etc. But the guy who did raise me? All I heard from him was “Nice job. I’m surprised. I didn’t think you would actually make it”.

My father, the guy who left me when I was six, often told me “I believe in you. You are my son, and you can accomplish anything. You can do it and I am proud of you. I love you, son.”
Now, who do you think I am remembering today?  (not quite sure myself really.  My father affirmed me with words, and my step-father led, and leads, by example)

On November 18, 1997, my father passed away at the age of 59. They say he had a bad heart. I’m not so sure about that. I miss him.

You Are Lovely
Dad, your daughter needs to hear this from you. More than just once in a while. I know of too many girls who are starving for some kind of affirmation from their Dad. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but Dad, if you aren’t the one who is telling your daughter that she is pretty, that she is lovely, that she is important, that she is loved and highly respected, then she is going to find it from someone else. I really don’t need (or want) to elaborate on this one. Use your imagination. Think about it. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. You have that power.

That, my friends, is also about the Power of Dad.
By the time our children become teenagers, they want to be free to do the things that they want to do. And the parents want to be able to have some sort of control.
Dad, would you like to be able to control your kids? Be honest. Even if you won’t admit it, I know that you do. It’s a guy thing.

Then use your Power of Dad wisely. Do those things you just read and start now!
Start now while they are young and they will remember those little things as they grow up. You cannot make your children love you or respect you, but you can give them good reason.

You should also know that this Power of Dad can also be damaging if used for selfish reasons in an effort to manipulate your children or try to make them feel guilty. I’ve seen a lot of that too.

It really burns me up when I hear teenagers say things like “My dad is such a jerk!” And then these same kids will bust their butts to try to earn his respect and make him love them. That man has abused his Power of Dad.

So, what kind of Dad are you? How are you using your power?

Happy Father's Day.
Now, go love on your kids.


He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.Proverbs 14:26

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gettin’ all Crafty….

Terri, over at My4Kids, is asking everyone to show off their “crafty” side. Anything that you have made with your own two hands is fair game. So, here’s my stuff……

Often times it is difficult to decide what to do when it comes to gift giving. So, rather than spend money on something that someone may not want or may already have, I figured I could give them something no one else has. Something hand-crafted from the mind of Alpha Dude.

Each one of the following pieces is hand made by me. Each piece is made from Red Oak and was crafted by hand using a jig saw, a router, a wood burning iron, some walnut stain (inside the routed letters), some sand paper and some lacquer. Each piece of wood is hand picked by me for its wood grain, which gives the piece its own personality. I personally like the way the lacquer-only finish brings out the beauty of each piece.

I’ve made a few of these and given them to family members. Being as our family are major fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, the bite missing out of the sign fits in like a puzzle piece and spells “Bengals”. One of these days I need to make one for myself.

In May of 2006, my 10 year old little girl won the competition and became a Rodeo Princess. So, for her 11th birthday……..

I had some wood left over from making my daughter’s plaque, and I needed a place to hang the spare keys, so…………

Some close friends of mine has a daughter who is married to a guy with the last name of Looney. Seriously. Well, I couldn’t just let something like that pass me by…..

I saw a rather crude version of this one somewhere and decided to make use of some extra Red Oak board I had left over from another project…….
Authentic Rope Barometer
If Rope is Wet
…… is Raining
If Rope is Frozen
……… is Cold
If Rope is Swinging
…………it is Windy

I have also restored a 1964 Steinway Piano and there is an antique dining room table in my garage which I will begin to restore this weekend.

If you have any cool ideas for signs, plaques or other fun wood projects, feel free to share them with me. You never know, I just might make one.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Don’t Be Nervous

The purpose of life is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, but to make them fly in formation.

It was the Alpha program dinner, our final meeting of the season, and I was asked to speak and share about my experience serving. The room was full, over 200 or so people, and I was a bit nervous. I stepped up to microphone anyway.

Being the Alpha Dude, I was wearing jeans and a Hawaiian shirt, only half buttoned, over a t-shirt that says “Surf’s Up”. Hidden just under my shirt was a whoopee cushion with the “valve” near the top, just under the opening in my shirt.

With my hands over my heart in that loving Christian gesture (actually, holding the whoopee cushion in place), I leaned into the microphone and said, “Hi, I’m Alpha Dude, and I’d like to share a little something with you all.”

Then I firmly and quickly squeezed my hands against my chest.


The laughter was deafening. I guess no one had ever heard a fart in church before. At least, not from the guy on stage with the microphone. I took the cushion out from under my shirt and told them, “It wasn’t me, really! It was just this thing”. Then I tossed it over to the Alpha Director and said, “Thanks. You can have it back now”. More laughter.

The pastor just sat there at his table in silence. The look on his face said he wasn’t sure if he should wait to see what happens next, or run up on stage to stop this train wreck!

I looked out among the 200 or so people in the room, shifted gears from the "Southern California Surfer Dude" voice and told them this:

“Now you all laughed at that funny noise, didn’t you? It’s just a whoopee cushion. It makes a funny sound. But why do we laugh at that particular sound? I think it is because that sound is so unexpected. Okay, so maybe it’s expected on a guy’s only camping trip or at the Chili Cook-Off, but it sure is unexpected in a church.

We often laugh at, or pay attention to something, simply because it is unexpected. If you knew it was coming, it wouldn’t be as funny. Like, sometimes when the Alpha director tells (reads) a joke, if you heard it before, it isn’t as funny as the first time you heard it. Okay, maybe for some of you since by the second or third time you heard it, you finally got the joke.

Sometimes, unexpected things are not so funny. They’re even sad. Picture someone who suddenly finds themselves standing in front of the throne of God. (That means they just died and are now facing judgment). Trembling at the very presence of God and His Son, Jesus. If this person never accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, they’re not getting in. Jesus will say to them “Away from me. I never knew you”. And that person will be cast into the lake of fire. (That’s hell, in case you didn’t know).

Now, imagine that you are there, witnessing the whole thing. And you recognize this person – you met them during your life here on earth. As they are being cast into the fire, they see you and they recognize you. In that moment, they realize that you had the information they needed to stay out of the fire, you had the knowledge to share with them how they could know God and spend eternity in Heaven, and they cry out to you, as they are falling towards the flames, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Dudes, I don’t ever want anyone to be able to say that to me. Every Sprout I meet is going to hear the truth about Jesus. So is every person I meet as well. Thank you so much for letting me work with your children (the Alpha Sprouts) and tell them about Jesus.

One of our lessons during the Alpha Course is on “How and Why do I tell Others About Jesus”. How do you do it? That depends on you and the current circumstances, just let the Holy Spirit guide you. Why? Well, I’ve already told you my reason.

What’s Yours?

No one was laughing anymore. And my pastor was smiling.

Yes, I was nervous and sweating and feeling shaky inside, but the desire to please my Heavenly Father is far stronger than any fears the enemy would have me focus on.

That was just about eight years ago, and they still won’t let me near a microphone.

“Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world”