Friday, May 30, 2008

You Gotta See This!

This young man auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance the other night. I don't follow the show all that closely, but my wife has started watching it. All I can say is, "You gotta see this!"

Time For Another Concert

Tonight we're going to see another Southern Gospel concert, The Booth Brothers. This will be the second of three concerts we will see this year. Last month I blogged about going to see the Gaither Homecoming concert in Tulsa and in July we will return to Tulsa to see Signature Sound. The Tulsa concerts are in venues that seat 4,000-8,000 and are truly wonder events. Tonight's concert will be in a 750 seat auditorium and I am expecting it to be a truly special night. I truly love the more intimate settings. We have tickets for our close friends, one who has ALS and we are really hoping that he will feel like going. So, when you read this, pause for a minute and pray that our friend will be able to attend. It would mean so much to him to be able to hear this music live and in concert.
As you have probably guessed, this is Friday, it is time for the weekly inspirational song and it will come from the Booth Brothers. Enjoy.

Through It All - The Booth Brothers

He Saw It All - The Booth Brothers

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday's Hero's

Sgt. John F. ThomasSgt. Ronnie L. Shelley
Sgt. John F. Thomas(Right) & Sgt. Ronnie L. Shelley, Sr.(Left)
33 & 34 years old from Valdosta, Georgia
2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard
July 24, 2005 & July 30, 2005
Army National Guard

Sgt. Ronnie "Rod" Shelley and Sgt. John F. Thomas became best friends in the Georgia Army National Guard.

They both were ex-Marines, both about the same age, and both enjoyed searching for arrowheads and fishing together. As their friendship grew, Thomas often came over to Shelley’s house for steaks and ribs barbecued by his friend. And when their infantry unit was sent to Iraq in May of 2005, they went to war together.

When their unit was mobilized for combat duty in Iraq, Shelley promised to watch out for Thomas. "Ronnie said, 'Don't you worry, I'll bring him back safely,"' said Thomas' grandfather. But neither Sgt. Thomas or Sgt. Shelley made it back safely. Sgt. Thomas was killed July 24, 2005 by a roadside bomb near Baghdad. And Sgt. Shelley was killed six days later on July 30 by another roadside bomb, also near Baghdad.

Shelley was a family man, married with three children, who was obsessed with having a neat yard, his wife said. "The grass had to be two inches," she said. "If the neighbor mowed the grass, Rod had to mow. He also wanted the biggest, baddest lawn mower."

She said she fell in love with his "gorgeous blue ... eyes," and "he had a laid back attitude. I could not make him mad."

Thomas was married but had no children. His grandparents said he dreamed of becoming a forest ranger. "John wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Now the only trail he can walk is the trail in heaven," the grandfather said.

Mrs. Thomas, wiping back tears, said the soldier felt responsible for the others in his unit. "He cared for people," she said. "That's why he had so many friends. People cared for him."

Killed alongside Sgt. Shelley were Staff Sgt. David R. Jones Sr., Sgt. 1st Class Victor A. Anderson and Sgt. Jonathon C. Haggin and killed alongside Sgt. Thomas were Army Spc. Jacques E. Brunson, Army Staff Sgt. Carl R. Fuller and Army Sgt. James O. Kinlow.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weighty News Update

Eight weeks into Weight Watchers and I've dropped 10 pounds. So far so good!
I was not totally committed to the task this Holiday week-end, but I didn't fall off of the wagon either. We did have breakfast at Mimi's yesterday and I'm pretty sure that was not a good thing. Tomorrow is weigh-in day, so I'll know how I did then.
That's all I got for now. Sorry for the short post.

On another note, I did buy a new grill/smoker yesterday. As soon as I get it put together and fire it up, I'll post the results. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

It seems to me, that over the years, we have lost the true meaning of many holidays. Christmas has become so commercialized that it's true meaning is hardly recognizable. I doubt if many people know to whom we are to truly give thanks for our blessings on Thanksgiving Day. Then there is Memorial Day. Many folks see this as the official start of the summer vacation season. Others see it as the week-end of the Indy 500. But this holiday had a much more somber beginning. For whatever reason, I felt compelled to do a little search and share some of the original purposes behind this holiday. I will preface my findings by saying that it started as an observance of those military personnel who gave their lives in service to their country. The following little history lesson is a series of excerpts from a Yahoo search I did.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed in 2008 on May 26). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. It is also traditionally viewed as the beginning of summer by many, for many schools are dismissed around Memorial Day.

Memorial Day formerly occurred on May 30, and some, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), advocate returning to this fixed date, although the significance of the date is tenuous. The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address, "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."[1]

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances eventually coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days.
According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. A parade with thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic.
The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter, and because it is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth.

At some point we expanded the observance of Memorial Day to remember anyone who we wish to honor in some small way, be they friends, family, etc. We remember and honor anyone who had enough of an impact on our lives to have left an impression on us. At a time when we find ourselves as a nation involved in a war on terrorism and the Islamic extremist philosophy that clings to this method of spreading it's poisonous venom around the world, I thought it appropriate to return to the roots of Memorial Day. Pause, give thanks not only to those who have given their lives to the service of this country throughout history, but remember those who continue to willingly place themselves in harms way to preserve and protect the quality of life that we so dearly enjoy. Freedom is not free indeed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

After Taking a couple of weeks off from the Thursday Thirteen, I am returning with the continuation of the one word meme that I posted as a part of my last Thursday Thirteen. So here are some additonal one word answers that may or may not reveal much more about me. Well, I am a man of few words, so these one word answers suit me pretty well.

What You're Not: Small
Muffins: Banana Nut
One of Your Wish List Items: Bass Boat
Time: Late.
Last Thing You Did: Thursday Thirteen
Your Favorite Weather: Clear
Your Favorite Book: Bible
Last Thing You Ate: Cereal
Your Best Friends: Church
What Are You Thinking About Right Now: Ice Cream
Your Car: Frontier 4x4
Your Summer: Disney
What's on your TV: News

OK, so a couple of answers required two words. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's A Quirky World

I found a little meme over at Mama Archer's that sounded like a lot of fun.
I won't explain all of the rules here. You can find her link in my sidebar if you want to know all of the rules. At any rate, it is based on telling the blogosphere six quirky things about yourself. Why do bloggers want to share their odd personality traits with the entire planet? I have no idea, but I'm going to do it anyway.
1. When I'm in the Men's department, if the shirt and ties displayed don't go well together, I will rearrange them.
2. If I find a good sale on an item, I will almost always buy two (shirts, shoes, slacks, fishing lures, etc.). Yes, that means that I like to shop. Deal with it.
3. I doodle! If there is a pencil and paper nearby, I will doodle...while I'm on the phone, in a meeting, it doesn't matter.
4. I will stop by Office Depot every couple of weeks, just to see what's on sale!
5. As an architect, I am a sucker for a really cool pen or pencil. And, if I find one I really like, I may buy two.
6. I sign all important documents in blue ink. With the extraordinary quality of copiers these days, the blue ink is sometimes the only indicator of an original document.
There you have it. Six little quirks in my personality that make me different than you. So, what makes you different from everyone else?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wave the Flag

Today it dawned on me that we Americans are a patriotic lot. In fact, we dedicate three holidays to showing our patriotism. Very soon we will be celebrating the first of those occasions, Memorial Day.
Originally Memorial Day was established to honor those Union soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. After World War I it was expanded to honor all service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
Our second opportunity to wave the flag comes in July. Independence Day is more than a Martina McBride song or a Will Smith movie. It celebrates the signing of the Declaration Of Independence. It marks the occasion of the birth of this great nation.
November brings fall, football and Veterans Day. Originally celebrated on November 11, and called Armistice Day. It celebrated the signing of the peace accord that ended World War I. Peace came on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The day is now celebrated on the first Monday in November closest to November 11. We now honor all of the veterans who have served in the military. Since we honored our fallen heroes in May, it only seems proper to honor the living who have served in November. As you have the opportunity this year, visit the grave site of your friend or loved one who served. Call or write your friend or family member who fought in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, The Gulf, or Iraq. Thank them for their service. Both of you will feel better, I promise.

As one of my commenters has pointed out, there is also Flag Day. On June 14 we honor the adoption of the Flag. I just don't remember getting this day off from work. But, I don't work for the Post office and they seem to get more holidays than anyone.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Morning Mug Meme

I saw this one over at Trav's Thoughts, but it originated from Lowdown From Lois.
The rules are pretty simple: Most folks drink some sort of a morning beverage, be it coffee or tea, and most likely from a mug. Please share a photo of your favorite mug(s) and tell a story about how it became your favorite. Include what you drink with this mug.

This is my coffee mug at the office. I got it in Las Vegas while attending the national convention for the American Institute of Architects a couple of years ago. I just liked the classic graphics and the mug is the ideal size for me. The handle is even designed to fit your thumb and forefinger.Coffee of choice is Folgers Gourmet Blend.

This is my collection of University of Oklahoma coffee mugs. The one on the left says "Alumni", which I am. The other two feature more traditional Sooner logos. I don't really use these mugs. They're my display models. They reside on a book shelf in my office.

This is my home mug and probably my favorite of all. It is stainless steel, inside and out, so you don't get any plastic odor or taste. It is rugged. I can carry it around the house, take it out to the garage, in the yard, or put it in the truck and go anywhere with it. It has a soft touch handle with a perfect grip for my hand. This is my go anywhere, do anything, anytime mug. This mug is the first thing I find on Saturday mornings. With this mug filled with my favorite coffee (see above) and a little half & half, sitting on the back deck, watching the cardinals and woodpeckers is a perfect way to start the week-end.

OK, it's Friday and that means it's time for the inspirational song of the week. I'm going to reach way back into the archives and the roots of Gospel music. This song is by the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. I'd love to be in one of their church services. Enjoy.

Something Got A Hold On Me - Five Blind Boys of Alabama

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday's Heros

While making the rounds on some of my favorite blogs ,, I came a cross this. Bloggers post alot of meme's for fun, entertainment and interaction with one another. This happens to be an opportunity to recognize the heros in our country and give them the honor and credit that they are due. Most of them will never know that they're names and stories have been posted in the blogosphere for the entire planet to read, but I still like the idea of recognizing them all the same.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Davila
Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Davila
From Sierra Vista, Arizona
U.S. Naval Reserve

On the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States, Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Davila raised an American flag over Camp Korean Village, Iraq, he brought with him from Arizona.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Sierra Vista firefighter and emergency medical technician Chris Davila presented that flag to Fire Chief Randy Redmond as fellow firefighters looked on. Monday, May 5, 2008, was Davila’s first day back on the job with the department after being gone for nearly nine months, with seven of those months deployed as a Navy Reserve corpsman serving with a Marine unit near the Jordanian and Syrian border area in Iraq.

And, as luck would have it, on his first shift saw him responding to a blaze in Sierra Vista. "Right back to work," he said with a laugh.

You can read the rest of PO 2nd Class Davila's story here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oh, What a Time!

When I posted the video, "Oh What A Time", last week as a part of my anniversary celebration, I had no idea how profound that would be. Saturday night I took my bride to the Gaither Homecoming Concert in Tulsa,and Oh What A Time!
Those of you who have read very many posts on this blog know that I love music in general and Southern Gospel Music in particular. I like Christian music as a whole, but the past five or six years have found me gravitating toward gospel music. There is a reason for this shift in my taste in inspirational music, as some would call it. As "Christian" music has changed in the past ten years or so to become more praise and worship, or more generic in nature, I have gravitated toward the message that is found in Southern Gospel. Unfortunately much of today's Christian music no longer contains the name of Jesus, Christ, Lord, or God. I'm not sure how you can priase Him if you don't mention His name. The result is that the relationship in the song could be with anybody. The message is pretty obscure in many cases. Anyone who does not know Christ as their savior would not know that some of today's Christian music is about Christ. Again, this change has really only happened in the past ten years.
Gospel music, and Southern Gospel music in particular, proclaim the joy of the relationship with Jesus. The music speaks of the hope that we have in Him. It speaks of that wonderful place that He has prepared for us and that death is nothing to fear, but a method of transitioning from this world into His presense. There is a message of joy, hope, love, peace, and forgiveness to be found in Southern Gospel music. We found all of those things in the concert Saturday night.
We arrived in Tulsa Friday afternoon, checked into the hotel and did a little shopping. We had dinner at a local steak house, then drove over to the Cheesecake Factory for coffee and dessert.
Saturday morning brought more shopping. By about three o'clock we decided to have lunch/dinner, since the concert started at 6:00. Back to the Cheesecake factory for a couple of excellent salads and, of course, more cheesecake! We got back to the hotel around four o'clock, rested for a little while then dressed and headed to the concert a little after five p.m. The concert started promply at six.
Featured groups were the Signature Sound Quartet, the Booth Brothers, Lynda Randal, Russ Taff, and the Easter's and, of course, The Gaither Vocal Band.
As I mentioned the concert started promptly at 6:00 p.m. Intermission was at 8:45! After the intermission it went from being a concert to being a worship service!! It was just amazing. We left the venue at 10:45. That's right, four hours and forty-five minutes of music. If you even think you might like Southern Gospel music, then you must see one of these events. You will not be disappointed. You can scroll through some of my posts and find clips of Gaither Homecoming music to help make that decision. Like I said, "Oh What A Time"!!!!

Glory To God In The Highest - Signature Sound

The River Keeps Rollin' - The Booth Brothers

Lord Send Your Angels - Jeff & Sheri Easter

At Calvary - Lynda Randle

Build An Ark - Gaither Vocal Band

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Now Pronounce You...

May 11, 1974
It's been thirty-four years since I heard those words, "I now pronounce you man and wife." I seems like yesterday, but as we all know, time flies when your having fun. As the song says we're "Still Crazy After All These Years." The picture above from our wedding kind of reminds you of "That 70's Show" doesn't it? Yep, brown tuxes, ruffled peach shirts, and mustaches. The only thing I'm missing is stacked heels!
The photograph below was taken last recently, and you can see that my bride has weathered the years much better than I. Neither one of us color our hair.

May 11, 2008

34 Years!

I'll close this week with my inspirational song. We're going to the Gaither Homecoming concert in Tulsa on Saturday night so here is a song from two groups that will be there, Signature Sound and the Gaither Vocal Band. As I look back over the thirty-four years that my bride and I have been together, I can only say, "Oh, What a Time"! Enjoy.

Oh, What a Time - Signature Sound/Gaither Vocal Band

For those of you who haven't been here is a few weeks, if you want to know the whole story, scroll down to Anniversry Week. Have a great week-end.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So, What's the Secret?

So what's the secret to being married for thirty-four years and looking forward to celebrating number fifty one day? All I can tell you is that our marriage is centered around our faith and that the message from God's Word is critical to the happiness that each of us enjoys.

First of all, God loves us and everything He does for us is for our benefit. He created the institution of marriage to be enjoyed by a man and a woman and to bring each of them happiness. The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on a cross for us so that we might, through faith, have eternal live. Christ tells the husband that he is to love his wife with the same love that Christ loves the church and gave himself for that church (Ephesians 5:25). If I love my wife with that kind of love, then everything I do, I do because I love her and I want her to be happy. I want her to be pleased with this relationship. I want my Lord to be pleased with me as a man who loves his wife and realizes that his wife is a gift from God created especially for me and for my happiness.
Secondly, marriage is a partnership. Like any relationship, it takes work to maintain that relationship in peak condition. A happy marriage doesn't "just happen". Both of us are committed to the relationship and to each other because we love one another and it is our desire that our partner be happy in this relationship. No major decision in this relationship is made without prayer and conversation. God is not the author of confusion, therefore He will not give my wife a different answer to an issue than the one that He gives me. Again, God created the institution of marriage for our benefit, not for our demise.
Finally, I married a woman far better than I deserve. I thank my Lord and Savior for her every day. My wife is the most thoughtful, caring and giving person that I know. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." I have found that woman. Proverbs 31:25-30 further states, "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and teaching of kindness is on her toungue. She looks well to the ways of her houselold, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." I married such a woman.
So, back to the original question, "What's the Secret?" The answer is, you have to give yourself to the marriage. You have to give yourself to your spouse. Whatever you have within you, you have to "Give it Away."

Give it Away - Gaither Vocal Band

I need to apologize to two of my readers for deleting their comments. I had mistakenly published only the title of this post the other day without the body of the message. My mistake made their comments look a little awkward after I published the entire post. So, Julie and Matthew, I am sorry for the confusion.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

She Liked the Roses!

My wife was out of the office yesterday when I arrived with the roses, so I left them on her desk. She loved them. Here are the pics of them and yes, I did the arrangement myself, just like I said I would.
Let's kill two birds with one stone while we have these photos and talk a little PhotoShop Elements. The first is straight out of the camera. The second photo has been cropped and a little "Auto Enhance" added via PS Elements. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I completed the second online PS Elements course and scored a 93 on my final. Whoohooo!!!




Monday, May 5, 2008

Anniversary Week!

Sunday, May 11, is Mother's Day. It is also our 34th wedding anniversary! So, you're going to get a week of posts (I don't post everyday) related to our marriage and the celebration of thirty-four years together.

Today I am buying two dozen roses and delivering them to my bride. How come you might ask. Well, our anniversary is Sunday and we will be out of town, so I decided to get the flowers early so that she could enjoy them all week at work. At our wedding the primary flowers were Talisman type roses. They are a peach-cream with dark reddish tips. So that is what I will buy. I have actually found them at SAM's Club. I will get some greenery, baby's breath and make the arrangement myself. She will love it, rearrange it and it will be spectacular.

So how did this relationship begin, you ask? Well, we were both working in Tulsa (We're returning to the scene of the crime this week-end) and lived in apartment complexes that were very close together. I used to ride the bus to work and she would ride to work with a friend. Apparently she saw me waiting on the bus one morning and decided that some day she would ride the bus for a change. Never underestimate the scheming mind of a young, single woman. The day that she finally decided to ride the bus home from work, it was standing room only. So I gave her my seat and the rest is history. Yes, we met on a Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority bus! Thanks MTTA.

We dated for about a year, only because we didn't want to upset her parents. She was 19 and I was 26. We knew within three or four months that this relationship was going to lead to the wedding alter. In fact, we started dating in May and I had the rings bought by August. I didn't give her the engagement ring until October, again, to keep peace in the family. She was from a very small town in Missouri and I grew up in the "Big City" of Tulsa. We just didn't want her parents to think that she left the country and was swept off her feet by the first city slicker that she encountered, so we waited as long as we felt appropriate before the engagement and marriage. Still, it was only slightly less than a year from the time of our first date until we were married. Well, that's our story and we're sticking to it. Excuse me, I gotta go deliver some flowers. Stay tuned, "That Seventies Show" will make an appearance here...if I can find our wedding album.

Friday, May 2, 2008


It's Friday! I don't have much to say this morning, so I will get right to the weekly inspirational music. Next Friday my wife and I will be headed to Tulsa to celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary! That doesn't sound all that exciting you say. Well, we're going to see the Gaither Homecoming Concert, and that is exciting for us. There will be other anniversary related posts next week. Anyway, in honor of the upcoming concert, here are a few of songs from artists that will be performing. Enjoy.

Give It Away - The Gaither Vocal Band

I Surrender All - The Isaacs

Stand By Me - Signature Sound

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 25

I found this over at Trav's Thoughts. Originally there were thirty two questions. I shortened it to thirteen responses. Maybe next week I'll do the next thirteen and ad the rest as bonus items.

Yourself: Unpredictable

Your Partner: Beautiful

Your Hair: Gray

Your Mother: Heaven

Your Father: Healthy

Favorite Item: Laptop

Your Favorite Drink: Coffee

Your Dream Car: 350Z

Your Dream Home: Lake

The Room You Are In: Office

Your Fear: Alzheimer's

Where Do You Want To Be In 10 Years: Retired

Who You Hung Out With Last: Wife
Those are my thirteen one word responses. How about you?