Archive for December, 2010

My Dad sent me the link below about how the Swedish government, in its infinite wisdom, has taken a child from his parents for a year and a half because they are Christians homeschooling him. This issue completely blows my mind in today’s modern age because of the freedoms I enjoy here in the United States. However, any time you get people in control who want to control others, it can be dangerous.

While working on the basement, I put in the Star Wars II (Attack of the Clones) DVD as periodic entertainment. I caught one part where Anakin and Padme are having a picnic conversation in a meadow. They are discussing politics and civilization and you can begin to see Anakin’s dictatorship philosophies. It is interesting how you see hints like that in politicians too — it is not just for movies.

So the Swedish government has proven to me that they are a nanny state incapable of values and providing freedoms to their citizens. I expect the downward spiral of that country within my lifetime. Until then, I will boycott ABBA and Volvos. (No need to boycott Saabs because, being the ugliest cars on the road, no one buys them anyway.)

Please keep this family in your prayers. They have been through so much and there isn’t much light in the tunnel for them right now.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

This morning, rather than working at work, I was on “vacation” working at home. I was determined to finish the last mile of our 4 year basement finishing project. The basement has been very functional however one last section of it is cluttered, has become a dumping group, and needs finishing touches like paint, trim, and a ceiling.

So I started by hitting our local Walmart/Lowes center. While at Walmart picking up a few things I decided to ask the clerk how her Christmas was. She was talkative and said she really enjoyed it with family. It was her little neice’s first Christmas which made it special. She is very close to “Daisy” and it seems like she has a larger, close family.

The next stop was Lowe’s for paint. After several grueling rounds with my wife on paint color which included negotiation, paint swatches, paint samples, and wall painting, we had come to an agreeable color. They say opposites attract and it is clearly evident in our selection of decor and choices. If she said black, I would say white. If she said plaid, I would say solid. If she said light, I would say dark. Need I say more? So it was a victory for both of us that I was even standing at the paint counter with an agreed-upon selection.

While at the paint counter, I chatted with the countergirl. As at Walmart, I asked how her Christmas was. She was not so positive as the Walmart cashier. She just said “Uh, it was tolerable”.

I asked her what would have made it better. She replied that if members of her family would stop alienating each other and picking fights, it might be a nice time. It seems her dad passed away 2 years ago and there is still a lot of pain and anger. Her family is not dealing with it well and is taking it out on each other.

I told her that I would pray for her family and for healing. She thanked me as she gave me my paint cans. As I was walking to the cashier, the Lowes and Walmart employee stories reminded me of a video I posted a few weeks ago where the guy starts his day with a bad attitude and is grumpy but gets a pair of “compassion” glasses and sees labels on everyone he sees about what they are going through. While we can’t wear those glasses literally, we can definitely take a few moments throughout our day to talk with folks and possibly learn what labels they have, what burdens they are carrying, and how we might be able to love them. If you haven’t seen the video, go check it out —

Upon exiting Lowes, the sliding doors separated to reveal a glorious crisp new day with the sun just peeking over the horizon bathing the area with orange light. I had lots to accomplish but already the day was off to a great start. I ended up getting all the painting and trim work completed thanks to help from my middle daughter K who stuck with me in the basement all day. It was hard work but I treated her to her favorite — Graeter’s Ice Cream, after my wife and I took her to dinner at our local BBQ Mark’s Feed Store.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

With it being the Christmas season, my family and I have been watching a lot of Christmas movies like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th St”. While these are dated movies, they are classics and still have some very applicable quotes in them. Below are two quotes from “Miracle” that I thought funny and true.

“There’s a lot of bad “isms” floating around this world but one of the worst is commercialism.”

“But maybe he’s only a little crazy like painters or composers or some of those men in Washington.”

Merry Christmas to all you readers!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
– Luke 2:10-14 MSG

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

In the past, I have written posts about some of the acts of kindness and service I have been moved to do. And then, not to boast, proudly posted about some of the other acts of service the guys in my accountability group have done. Well, today my wife had a good day being moved by God to serve and be open to His guidance and calling. Below are her words.

Sunday night there was a local family who suffered a terrible loss. Not only did their house catch fire and burn but their 6 year old daughter perished in the fire. I have been wanting to do something to help anyone this Christmas season but I have failed miserably. So Monday night during my accountability group the question came up on what action I was going to do this week. I said two things: 1) start doing devotions with my husband 2) help the family who lost so much in that fire. Well, Tuesday rolled around and I did not make that promised call to the Red Cross. The day came and went. I woke up this morning and my only intention was to stay in my pajamas and bake. I also had a terrible headache. You see, lately when God is trying to tell me something I get a pounding headache. This morning I woke up with a doozy. I knew why — “Help that family” God was saying. Selfishly I didn’t feel like it but I put some jeans on, didn’t bother with my hair or face and went out the door to WalMart. I had printed out a list of their needs from a news story. This is going to sound awful but I wasn’t getting a happy fuzzy warm feeling doing this. I loaded the cart and bought at least 2 of everything they needed. Toys for their youngest child, clothes for all of them, shoes for all of them, even some blankets I proudly found on clearance. Done. Let me pay and drop it off and get home.

As I headed to the register, I was stopped by woman I knew from my son’s Scout troop. She was just as happy as could be — a big smile and a heart of gratitude. I asked her how things were because I hadn’t seen her in at least 6 months. She talked about her own house catching fire and how she had to do most of the repairs herself. How two of her daughters and suffered terrible accidents but were recovering. All she could do was express gratitude and how blessed they were. She said they persevere and always count their blessings. Her joy was flying off her. I couldn’t help but be a little jealous and felt very selfish. You see, I had heard about what had happened to her months before and never did anything to help. I failed.

On to the register, let me get out of here. I emptied my goods onto the belt and as the cashier rang my stuff up she said to me, “This isn’t for you, is it?”. I asked how she knew. She said everything here is on her cousin’s list. You see, her cousin was the dad in the family of the house that burned. I didn’t know what to say except I was very sorry for her loss. She talked about the little girl; what a light she was; how sweet she was; how special she was. She talked about how that family was struggling but she said it’s ok because we all have each other and that’s all they needed. She said she was blessed to live in such a community that is helping to support them. She talked and talked and cried. I didn’t say a word. I was there nearly 15 minutes and nobody ever got in line behind me. Strange, because it was WalMart at Christmas time and no one got behind me in line. Maybe God knew she needed someone to talk to and put me there. OR maybe God knew I needed to hear what she had to say. She thanked me and I asked her if she could give me directions to the address I had. She replied that no one was home because they were all at the hospital. However, she told me I could drop it off at “Hucks” – a gas station down the road. I wished her a Merry Christmas and headed out.

Upon my arrival at Huck’s, I talked to the cashier who asked if I could wait while she got the owner. I went out to the car to get the bags and was greeted by the owner, the man’s best friend. He was holding his own drive to help this family. As we unloaded, there was one thing that got to my heart more than anything. He noticed I bought new shoes for each of them. With a tear in his eye he said they have never had new shoes before and that this will make them feel special. All I could think of was my endless trips to Shoe Carnival and my 50 pairs of shoes I own and never wear. Humble pie for me. When I went into the store to help him put the items in a box there was a woman who was buying a lottery ticket. She bought it and left. On my way to the car, I noticed her in a beat up old car with two car seats in the back. She was scratching off the tickets and I walked away. I thought to myself, why would she spend $5 on tickets when she has kids – that money could buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. I failed again, as I drove away my head was pounding. God told me it was not for me to judge.

I have learned a lot today. Actions speak louder than words. I do try but usually I just open up my check book; that’s the easiest thing for me. Jesus didn’t go the easy way, did he? Don’t just say you’ll bring someone a meal, DO IT! Don’t just say you will help, HELP. Don’t offer to donate, DONATE. Don’t talk about it, JUST DO IT!!!!

I spend money on my wants vs. needs; that is clear. I will be donating my shoes to Edge Outreach.

I won’t pass someone in need, even if I disagree with their lifestyle choices. I am not anyone’s judge for there is only one great judge.

I am blessed beyond what I deserve and I’m not always so grateful. I find things to complain about: my constant headaches, my fighting kids, my messy house, my weight, etc. Be grateful for all the good and Praise the good Lord for everything.

I came home and baked. I brought my cookies over to a neighbor’s house who was not home but her mother was visiting and informed me that my neighbor has been in terrible pain and will most likely need surgery. Her mother was so worried because she said she had to go home for a few days to get things in order and then she would return. She was concerned about what would happen to her grandson while she was gone; who would take care of him and her daughter? I wrote down my phone number and told her to call me when she left and I would be the one to help. I promised her and meant it. My headache is gone.

Devotions with my husband will be a go if he’s ready for it…

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

“And the word became flesh
and dwelt among us.”

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

On the way home from the Lights Under Louisville the other night we swung by the grocery store. My middle daughter K was with our family friends spending the night with their girls so we only had my son D and older daughter R with us. My wife and R went in to get things we needed and D and I stayed in the truck.

Upon returning, my wife and R were talking about the cute cashier guy or something like that. D picked up on the conversation and named him “Brian”. He then started to tease R and sang the teasing kid song which I am sure you are familiar with. However, he butchered the last part of it which cracked us all up.

He started with…..
“R and Brian,
sitting in a tree,”

here’s where it gets funny. Instead of “K – I – S – S – I – N – G”, he said,
“H, I, J, K, LMNOP”

We all cracked up and he thought he was funny…..until we told him why we were laughing and that he butchered the last part.

It’s the simple things in life, I guess. I still chuckle about it.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Normally this time of year our tradition has been to drive around a local neighborhood and look at Christmas lights while enjoying coffee and hot chocolate. This year, however, we tried something new. First, we met up with some family friends for dinner at a local pizza place. The kids all had a good time and the food and conversation was enjoyable.

Afterwards, instead of aimlessly navigating around a strange neighborhood on a wild goose chase looking for visual jackpots of Christmas lights, we went to “Lights Under Louisville”. You see, there is a megacavern under the zoo. It was an underground rock quarry that was also developed into a civil defense site during the cold war. They have over 3 million square feet of cavern-ness and they decorated an automobile path for Christmas. While the admission price of $25 a vehicle was steep, I really liked the fact that all I had to do was put the Tahoe in drive and idle along following the vehicle ahead of me. No meandering, no searching, no wild goose chase, no whining that there are no lights — just a 20-30 minute trail of lighted holiday goodness out each side of the truck. And it was nice and warm in there too — a constant 61 degrees displayed on the truck mirror in contrast to the 25F outside. And they had a Christmas music soundtrack blaring all throughout the caverns which added to the Christmas cheer.

It was Christmas light extravaganza one-stop-shopping. Below are some pix that K took.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Well, today is our 6 year anniversary in Kentucky. So much has happened and we have come so far. And while there are still things that come up that are “new”, this whole experience has now become our day to day routine. Kentucky is home and we truly have acclimated — to the changes in weather, to the people, to the state, to the slower pace, and to the not slower pace.

It is interesting because when we arrived in the state 6 years ago, it also was on a Friday. Below are each of my anniversary posts. Again, I am a person that likes to look back on milestones and admire the progress and growth — the lessons and experiences.

2005 – 1 year

2006 – 2 year

2007 – 3 year (no post)

2008 – 4 year

2009 – 5 year (no post)

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Well, the redneck snow plow might work great on the light, fluffy snow we had a few days ago. But it ain’t worth a darn on ice. Last night we received a one two punch of snow followed by freezing rain. And this morning everything was covered with a nice, shiny glaze of at least a 1/4″ of ice. I laughed my butt off when I let all three dogs out and they careened out the door like they do every morning but instead ran into the bushes or ended up on all fours. And I am lucky enough to be able to work from home on days like today. You couldn’t even walk on our driveway much less maneuver a vehicle down what had become a large asphalt slip and slide.

By the way, for all of you sun people down south, there is a distinct difference between sleet and freezing rain. Sleet falls from the sky frozen — like hard snow. Freezing rain, on the other hand, falls wet and liquid like rain, but instantly freezes to surfaces that are below 32F degrees leaving everything covered in a beautiful glaze — that also wrecks havoc for being anywhere other than inside.

Just thought you’d want to know.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net