Sunday, November 25, 2007


My dad turned 61 today. We went to church together and then home for leftovers for lunch. Gotta love that leftover turkey! Anyway, then this afternoon we all went to go see How the Grinch Stole Christmas- a play in Balboa Park at the Old Globe Theatre. Evidently this is some kinda famous tradition that's been around for a decade here, but it was our first trip to the theatre here for this play or any other. It's a really nice place and was fun and the play is 77 minutes straight- right up my alley. I really loved the storyline. It's been a while since I read the book, but it was great way to kick off the Christmas season with my Dad and family and being reminded yet again, that Christmas is something way deeper than the consumer culture that worships it too.

Then afterwards our play tickets also came with a free pass to the official tree lighting ceremony, so we hung around for that. Then we capped off the night with dinner at a famous seafood place here in San Diego on the waterfront- Anthony's. Dad was excited to know that both my dad and Anthony's Fish Grotto were birthed in the same year. Happy 61st to both of you. Maybe he should have drank a 61 year old glass of wine with the owner.



Soccer is over. TJ's team lost their last game which meant we got second place overall. Very cool. I loved spending the past several months playing soccer with my boys, but I must say, I was very ready for a free Saturday.

Several months ago, I promised my boys I'd take them to the desert to go off-roading and learn how to shoot a gun. So, we capitalized on this soccer-free-saturday to do just that. The women went shopping and the men went shooting. Seems like a fair trade. We had tons of fun in the desert. I love taking my "big kids" to the desert every year on our spring break man trip. It's so much fun to watch high school men become boys again. I think it's the big rocks and barren wilderness that brings out the little man inside. No TV. No electricity. Just adventure all around.

So, true to my experience, as soon as I opened the truck doors, the boys were climbing.

Then after climbing, out came the guns and up went the targets. We shot it up all day. Here's my favorite quotes:

TJ: "Mom, I shot a 22 rifle and a 20 guage shot gun!!"

Tyler: "I'm a lean mean shooting machine. You can call me dead eye Ty now mom."

Jake: "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for taking us to go shooting Dad."



The day after thanksgiving was a day of family bonding. We decided to ditch the crowds of shopping and go for a walk. We were initially thinking along the lines of hike Cowles Mountain again to burn off some calories with the family. But one of the grandpa's wasn't feeling so good and we opted for a new leisurely stroll I found on line called the La Jolla City to Sea walk. You drive to La Jolla and then walk a mile from the city's upscale shopping district down to the sea. You can stop and watch the sea lions (and get wet on the sea wall we found out). Right before the trail heads back to the city, we ended up at the Goldfish Cafe, this sweet little breakfast spot. The weather was awesome. I felt guilty that I live in San Diego. What a beautiful place this is. Shannon and I enjoyed it so much that I think we'll have to make it a date experience and go for a stroll when kids are at school. Great family bonding.


Friday, November 23, 2007


This year the crew came to us: both sets of parents, Shannon's sister and her boyfriend, and two family friends of Shannon's mom- 13 in all. We had a very full table. I put the turkey on the BBQ for third year now. I think that tradition is here to stay. It keeps the oven open for other creations and it's lots of fun outside. Here's the pic of the whole crew. Jake graduated from scraps to a turkey leg this year. The table was set with china I inherited. It's orange and brown so we affectionately call it the Thanksgiving China. For years it was "mine" (mostly cuz everyone but me secretly thought the color scheme made it ugly) but kept at my parent's house and we've eaten on it for years now. When we moved to SD... we brought it with us. This was also the first time in 13 years of marriage that we used all our crystal cups. I actually had to remove the price tags off some of them from wedding presents. HA!!

Also, we do a tradition that was started by TJ when he was 2 or 3 was something we now call the "Blessing Pot". It's where we pass out paper to everyone earlier in the day and then they write down what they're thankful for. Then one of the kids collects them all and we put them in a kitchen pot. Then after dinner, one person pics one at random (only rule is that it can't be there own) and reads it. Then whoever just had their blessing read gets to go next and they pull one and read it. This continues until they are done. Here's a pic of Tyler holding the pot and my mom reading one of the blessings on her turn.

And for fun, I wrote down what we each of the 13 pieces of paper said that we were blessed by this year. Welcome to our table. Mine is the last one listed.
  • My wife
  • I am thankful for my extended family, and always feeling loved and supported.
  • I’m thankful for a loving wife, good health, a great family and God’s provision for all of us.
  • God has blessed me with sharing this special day of giving thanks with this wonderful family around this table.
  • My biggest blessing this year was to watch my own son baptize his own son T.J. to watch my children all four of them and our grand children grow in their faith is pure joy and a huge blessing.

  • I am blessed to have a “full house” and a “full table” this Thanksgiving. Loving Husband, healthy, handsome boys, supportive parents, a part time job I am passionate about. My heart and life are very full. Praise God for his precious provisions for me.
  • I am thankful for my awesome room.
  • I am thankful for the blessing of love in my life that comes from my husband, my daughter, son in law, my grandsons, my sister and her family, so many dear dear friends and God’s love is so sweet and I am so thankful.
  • I am very thankful for my grandmas and my papas. I’m thankful for my toys. I’m very thankful for my Dad and Mom and my house.
  • Having been blessed with an amazing woman.
  • I have been blessed with God’s hand Guiding and Directing my steps this last year. Blessed with a small group, music ministry, and divorce care ministry. Praise God.
  • I’m thankful for my brothers.
  • A Job. Healthy Family. A Caribbean Cruise with my wife. A new clutch. New tires. Soccer with my boys. A house. Water. Fire Fighters. Blogging. God’s huge grace and blessings all around.



We have started a tradition of sorts I guess. Shannon and I for 2 years now have hiked Cowles Mountain here in San Diego. Lots and lots of people do this on Thanksgiving. But we joined the masses this year again and hoofed it with Zeus up like 1300 feet or so from the trailhead. Trying to earn the right to eat too much later I suppose.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


BRING ME THIS.  With java and some peppermint stick ice cream.  Maybe some rain, a warm fire, and a nice chair and a 3 day block of doing nothing but reading and sleeping.  Will that fit in your sleigh?  



"That's the big difference between us.  You westerners make love in public and pray in private.  We Muslims do exactly the reverse."  

Hmmm.  You can read the entire Time magazine article here.  

When I was in Israel in 2000, I walked away very clearly with a picture that the Middle East is a religious society with political overtones.   But the Western World is a political society with religious overtones.   The Middle East is also very clearly a place where no one would ever say that "all religions are the same".  That is a distinctly American idea. 

Reading this article resonated with that observation again.   I don't think Muslims society is more Godly, but it certainly has it's belief about God more central to it's decisions.    I think one of the greatest cross-culture things a Christian can do today is to live a God centered life in a Western Culture.    It is absolutely upstream from the way our capitalist society operates.



Just got an e-mail from the ONE campaign saying that CNN is teaming up with Youtube so that you can ask a presidential candidate a question in an upcoming Republican debate.  You record your question via video then upload it to youtube.  Details are here.  How cool is that.  

I wonder if there's a way to use this technology in church.  Our main service does a "chat room" a few times a year where the congregation  can text in questions live.  I think it would be cool to have people ask a few in advance via video.  That would be sweet.

Anyway.... now's your big day. If your question is chosen, the winners can get flown to the debate to see it live.  If you dig politics, you should chime in.



I just needed to YELL!!!!   Here's why:

  • 2 check books stolen.
  • 2 accounts canceled over the phone.  45 minutes later.
  • 2 new accounts opened.
  • Check card linked to wrong account.
  • Wife says account has no money.
  • Trip to Wells Fargo Branch- 1 1/2 hours later, problem "fixed."
  • Trip to Wells Fargo Branch to re-fix problem that was not "fixed."  1 1/2 hours later problem "fixed".
  • 3 letters come in the mail telling me stuff's not fixed.
  • Trip to Wells Fargo Branch to figure out what's wrong.  Find out they've charged me $262 in fees due to their clerical error.  1 hour later.  Fees removed and problem "fixed".
  • Go online to try and reconcile check book.  Find out all old data from previous 7 years of checking is gone from my access.
  • Call wells fargo to get it fixed.
  • Find out it can't be fixed and that all closed accounts are no longer viewable online.
  • Ask them to send me transactions then, because the account has been "paperless" for a while now so I can balance my checkbook.  They say they can't and I have to go to a branch office to "fix it."
MORAL OF THE STORY:  If someone ever jacks with your check book.  Don't tell anyone.  Just buy the $29 identity theft package from your local bank and go about your day.   Trust me, it'll save you like 15 hours of headache and a blog post.  

PS:  If I find the guy who jacked my checkbook,  I'm gonna punch him.    I just might punch someone at Wells Fargo too.  I think I'll wait a day or so before I go to the branch office.  They have video cameras there ya know.  

PSS: They have video cameras in the parking lot where my stuff was jacked in the first place.  Video cameras are lame.

peace out.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  

oh yeah.... and USAA- the ones I bragged about in an earlier post.... yeah well they haven't returned my last 3 calls.   AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! all over again!  


Thursday, November 15, 2007


When your kid's 5th grade class performs the emperor's new clothes, the emperor ends up just in his red long johns.  Not just his birthday suit.  Thank God for modesty.  All the kids in his class had a role.  They've been practicing for the last 6 weeks.  TJ played the role of one of the guys who fools the Emperor into buying his "new clothes" from them.   





My blog might be rated PG-13, but after marko posted on his intelligence level of high school, I got curious.  I don't answer the survey crowd.  But for some reason, these blog rating deals woo me over everytime.  Anyway, I figured out that I'm elementary school dumb.  I suck at big words.  Doesn't surprise me a bit. 

cash advance


Saturday, November 10, 2007


This post is for the grandmas.


Friday, November 09, 2007


This post might make about as much sense as the title... but oh well. It's my blog and my brain is a crazy web of stuff sometimes... so here goes:

regarding.... BRITNEY:

I don't want to jump on the Britney bashing bandwagon. In fact, I think this monologue by Craig Ferguson is better than most testimonies I've ever heard in church and I found a soul connection with him in how he responded to the news media surrounding her. It's worth the 12 minutes it takes to listen if you never have.

so now I dish to CRAIG:

which leads me back to BRITNEY:

But, that being said, I found myself shocked at these statistics that came out last week in her custody battle as she tries to decide how much money her ex really needs. In the process, she reportedly brings in a lot of flow. From where, I'm not sure. But from somewhere evidently HUGE...

Spears’ monthly income is approximately 737,000 dollars.

... which includes Britney's Expenses:

• 102,000 dollars on entertainment, gifts and vacation

• 49,267 dollars on mortgage payments

• 16,000 dollars on clothes

• 4,758 dollars on eating out

• 2,500 dollars on phone bills

• -500 dollars on charitable giving

which makes me ponder JESUS AND ME:

Do the math, that still leaves like half a mil a month unaccounted for. And this my friends, is at least one thing that's wrong with the world. Poverty is simply a subject of sin. Period. Those who make the money, get the money and keep the money, on the backs of those who made the money for them. Man I don't want to be part of this problem and yet I'm sure I am in more ways than I want to admit. I don't want money to be my God. I don't want to be the rich man at the table ignoring Lazarus and throwing him a bone here and there.

and last but not least, my brain wandered to TOM AND WARREN

Interesting enough, the second richest man in the world, Warren Buffet, said in the past few weeks that at least the American tax system is broken and he should pay more taxes. I loved this interview. Here's a bite size piece that made me really like the guy and made me wonder if maybe this rich guy might not have Lazarus at his gate.

Warren: I'll-- I'll bet-- I'll bet a million dollars against any member of the Forbes 400 who challenges-- me that the average for the Forbes 400 will be less than the average of their receptionists. So, I'm-- I'm-- I'm-- I'll give 'em an 800 number. They can call me. And the million will go to whichever charity the winner-- designates.

Tom: How much are you hearing from your fellow rich fellows, as you describe them?

Warren: I don't hear anything. They're happy. They are not paying the tax rate their receptionists are.

Be happy you only had to visit my brain waves in this post. I have to live in this crazy maze.


Thursday, November 08, 2007


Shannon and I tried to get away for a vacation to Idaho and it got jacked up by the fires. Then this past Monday was her 30 something birthday. We're evidently no longer saying 30 what exactly.... it's just over 30. So anyway, for the history of our marriage, Shannon and I have traditionally gone away for two weekends a year. One over her birthday, the other over our anniversary. And in keeping with that tradition, we had the kids taken care of with friends and hired help and we were off for 2 days of relaxing and enjoying each other's company. Or so we thought.

Rather than me telling you the story the old fashioned way. I put it together in comic book picture form. Seemed appropriate. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did :). Oh.. and before you ask... it's all 100% true and unaltered.


Sunday, November 04, 2007


Yesterday marked the last of the berrytribe soccer games in regular season. We now have 2 weeks of post season/playoffs and then it's over for another year. It's been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of work. But it's been worth it.

Here's the latest pic.


Saturday, November 03, 2007


If you thought the largest evacuation in california history was bad with close to a million people evacuated and some 2000+ homes lost, then try pondering 900,000 people displaced last wed. in Mexico due to flooding where no one has a home that will be inhabitable and mold will win the day.

On Thursday I'm leading a team of volunteers to go do fire clean up in North County. Man, it's a small world we live in and tragedy doesn't seem to care what your political, social, financial, or theological position might be.... we all suffer. We all need hope in something outside of this crazy rotating celestial ball.


Thursday, November 01, 2007


I've been meeting with a new friend/volunteer youth pastor weekly in my area for about the past month or so. He is at a small church in our community and yesterday he told me his pastor wouldn't let him bring in a friend to lead worship this last week because his friend leads worship at a Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa and his boss said that the Calvary Chapel is not Spirit Filled.

I said, "Tell me you're kidding." He said, "Nope." I said, "Dude, I could not work at your church. I'd have said that's b.s. You smell that? It's what we're stepping in and it's waist deep... and then been fired." We both laughed. It's just ridiculous.

To that end... in some random way, I read this awesome post. Loved it.

3 cheers for humility and heresy.



Here's a video our team put together via video using some of these comments in I posted earlier this week. Daniel, a gifted graphic artist/web/video guy who works part time at our church did the filming/editing. Sarah, my partner in crime, made the cards and directed it with our students. All I did was make the cards they put the initial statements on. Not much credit goes to me on this...



Last week. I had friends and family call and e-mail to see if I was ok during the wildfires. Those who didn't call or e-mail may have not thought it was needed or were busy or just assumed we were fine or talked to their friends who did talk to us or yatta yatta yatta. I didn't keep a list or anything, but there were quite a few.

Perhaps some just read my blog which got 800+ hits last week and gave daily updates of our family situation. I normally have about 250 visitors. However, it really wasn't cuz all my long lost friends and family were checking it. It was because Marko linked to me twice. Here and Here. And Marko gets like a 8 bagillion more people who care about what he says than I do, so their curiosity landed them on my blog.

But anyway, today I got a call from USAA, the company I pay for my home owners insurance. They called my cell phone to make sure I was alright and that neither my family nor my home sustained any damage that I needed to report. It was from a gal who was very sincere in asking how we were and making sure there was nothing they should be doing to help.

It was my INSURANCE COMPANY!!!! If there aren't enough claims at the end of the year, they also send you a refund check so they don't make more money than is reasonable. Go figure. I think I'll stay with USAA.



We had an 80's night in youth group tonight for Halloween. While setting up, I overheard this comment from one of my guys in my ministry. It made me laugh out loud and I blew my cover.

"Dude, Halloween is just an excuse for girls at my school to dress like hookers. If I saw one bumble bee today, I saw 50. I'm thinking bumble bee.., Yeah right... maybe if a it's a hooker bumble bee."

Life is hard to be a teenage guy. Even the insects are sexually distracting.



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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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