Thursday, October 30, 2008

Exercising our right

We are blessed to live in a country where we have the freedom to vote. Amber and I went to early vote last night ... we were lucky and only had to wait around 20 minutes. As I have been inundated with emails, text, and conversations from family and friends about their opinions between Obama and McCain, here is my viewpoint and thoughts for the record.

Being a Christ-follower, my decisions have to align with what Christ and Scripture says. If not, I'm not a Christ-follower. So, the most important issue above anything else for me is the right to life. I can't support a candidate that supports abortion. No exceptions. Another no-exception issue is sanctity of marriage. God created marriage between one man and one woman. No exceptions. Another no-exception issue is the support of Israel. God has said that they are His chosen people and that we are to stand by her side. That is where my Savior will be returning and how can I want to live in a country that doesn't support her or is friendly with her enemies? Because of these positions, I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

I could stop here as those are the top tier issues. What boggles my mind is that around 70-80% of the nation calls themselves Christians but they don't vote with those convictions. They let other things overtake their Christian beliefs, whether it is culture, economics, emotion, etc. I think we all know that 70-80% isn't realistic for our nation, but it's still intriguing. Nevertheless, everything else is just my opinion of government. But, hey, while watching ER, I might as well explain...

I believe in small government and not big government. I believe in capitalism and not socialism. I do not believe health care is a "right" and that the government should provide or mandate it. I believe in lower taxes to stimulate the economy. I believe that a good economy is a gift from my God and not from policy of man. I believe that the government should not interfere/bail out private business. I believe in the opportunities of this great nation and love that people want to be here to "pursue the American Dream" ... I just believe they should do that legally. I believe our nation should be a force to be reckoned with and a hand extended to those in need ... that is, by teaching a man to fish and not just giving him a fish. I believe in the right to bear arms. I believe political correctness can be harmful. I believe there is absolute truth and not everything has to be tolerated. I believe our nation needs to repent and turn from its wicked and sinful ways ... with us Christians leading the charge of turning from our worldly & sinful ways.

2 Chronicles 7:14 "if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I think we can all say that our land needs healing. And by the grace of God, He has revealed to us how for that to happen. Can you imagine what would happen if every Christ-follower humbled themselves like that?! I know that I'm the worst when it comes to it ... I get "busy" with life or with this or with that and God becomes my fall-back plan way too often.

OK, I'm done ... I'm sure that is not a full list but ... well, 5:15am comes early! :) ... and I don't mean for this post to instigate tension ... it is my interpretation of Scripture and my opinions.

Oh, btw, we're still waiting for AGCI to approve our revised home study. We were hoping that it would happen this week so we could send in our dossier next's praying it is tomorrow!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Time flying by...

Man, where did the last 2 weeks go since my last post!?! Alot has happened in that time ... hopefully, I'll hit everything.

First, on the adoption front. AGCI sent modifications back to our social worker Kim. Kim and I exchanged emails throughout today and she got the modifications back to AGCI today ... as I've said before, Kim is AWESOME! She's been so great with our home study. We also got the letter for our I-600A fingerprints. Both Amber's and my appointments are scheduled for next Thursday, November 6th, at 9am. Hopefully, by that time, we'll have our approved home study mailed into USCIS.

We've decided to remodel our living room. We had cedar planks on the bottom half of the walls ... that wouldn't have been so bad but 1) they were in a 'V' pattern which dated it severly and 2) there were knots that had fallen into the walls over the past 25 years so there were holes in the wood walls. We knew that when we get our child, everything, including the kitchen sink, would end up being put down those holes. So, we ripped out the wood and got to the exposed walls. That allowed me to run some electrical that was needed (eg: for a built-in desk we needed a plug there, for a hopeful future flat-screen tv, I ran cable and electrical to where we could hang it on the wall). I have all the new drywall up except one sheet by the stairs that will get done tomorrow. A buddy from our Bible Study has been instrumental in helping me get it done ... thanks Jason! Next will be the inevitable sanding and mudding ... and sanding and mudding ... and sanding and mudding ... and ... well, you get the point. The goal is to have it and the entry way painted by Thanksgiving...

This past Saturday was our 5 year anniversary. In so many ways, it feels like a lifetime but others, it feels like yesterday we were in the church saying 'I do.' What I do know is that God has blessed me with an amazing woman and I can't wait to see what He has in store for the next 5 years!

We decided to go to Gatlinburg to celebrate. We got over there on Thursday, got checked into our perfect cabin (great views and great price for peak season), and walked the Gatlinburg strip. We (especially Amber) loves P. Graham Dunn stuff so we had to buy something now for our child. Below is our purchase...

We then ate at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge which has GREAT corn fritters and fried chicken. They allowed Amber and I share a plate which was great since an order of fried chicken contains THREE chicken breasts!

Friday started off with breakfast at the Apple Barn ... they have phenomenal apple fritters and applewood country bacon .... good stuff. It unfortunately rained all day Friday so we spent the day just walking around outlet malls and the such. We went to dinner with Amber's cousin and his wife (one of her best friends from high school) at Calhoun's ... we had their patented ribs and they were fall-off-the-bone good. Amber's cousins had won/received tickets for the show Cirque de Chine (Chinese acrobats, etc) and they gave them to us to use on Saturday ... how cool are they!? Thanks Jarod and Patricia!

Saturday, we did breakfast at Flapjacks ... we split an order of their Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes ... by now, you can't tell that we're eating like kings ... or slobs :) ... but we knew that we don't eat like that often and took advantage of it! To try to work off some of that food, we hiked up to Clingman's Dome. It was beautiful up there but we were spoiled last year when we hiked the Chimney Tops and it's going to be hard to beat those views. Nevertheless, it was majestic (and cold!).

The best quotes of the weekend when we were driving up to Clingman's Dome. Amber said, "How can someone not believe in God when they look at this?" I responded with the typical response from non-believers ... things collided, etc, etc. She responded, "It takes more faith to NOT believe in God when you see this perfection." Very true.

We took rest of the afternoon easy and then got ready to eat dinner at Tony Roma's and go watch the Cique de Chine show. I think every ligament felt torn and every bone felt broke after watching this show. Those folks were absolutely amazing. I'd seen some similiar stuff at some circuses in the past, but not to the extent of this show. Unreal what people can do (and will do) with their bodies.

Sunday we drove back home early because our church had a fall festival that we worked at. We probably had 15,000 people on campus and it was amazing to see all the kids having such a great time. We were team leads for the servants' station (organizing/sending people out to games, etc when more people were needed) but we were short-staffed so Amber and I ended up working the pony rides ... it was fun helping the little kids on the ponies, talking to them about what their favorite things of the festival were, etc ... we are definitely blessed!

It was SO hard coming back to reality today and going into work ... and, of course, this week is a nightmare week of multiple deadlines ... welcome back Troy!

Below are a few pics from our trip...

View from our cabin...

The name of our cabin was 'Bears Den' ... this was the coffee table...

On top of Clingman's Dome...

Self-pic at the cabin before dinner at Tony Roma's...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Surrounded By Blessings

First, the Project Ryan fundraiser was a huge success. We had a good turnout with even greater hearts. I am forever humbled by the generosity of the people that came out. We had 113 tickets used for bowling while a ton of baked goodies and peanuts were bought. The silent auction was a huge hit with a couple a few items being fought over at the end. Nevertheless, I learned a ton through this fundraiser and know that God is preparing us for bigger and better things. We're not done with Project Ryan yet but we're closer. Ryan was in his new wheelchair and he was loving seeing all his friends and family. Just a huge blessing ... so to all of you who came out to support Ryan, THANK YOU. GOD will bless your giving hearts!

Secondly, a huge surprise and blessing today ... our social worker sent us our home study draft! Our social worker Kim ROCKS! Our home study visit was last Monday and she said that it could be up to 30 days ... well, 8 days later and we have the draft! WOW. Amber and I, of course, are going to go through it and make edits tonight and get them back to her tomorrow. She'll put those changes in and get it to her supervisor and AGCI ... how cool would it be to be on the list by Halloween!?! May not be realistic but here's praying and still trusting in God's perfect timing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Project Ryan Bowling Fundraiser


Hey all ... Sunday afternoon is our first major fundraiser for Project Ryan. It is noon - 4pm at the Smyrna Bowling Center. More information can be found at with more info on Ryan at

Ryan's a GREAT kid who just happened to be born with Muscular Dystrophy. I know times are scary/tough but we are all blessed so please think and pray about your involvement. We're just trying to give Ryan the freedom that most of us take for granted. Feel free to forward along to anyone that may be interested in coming out to bowl or donating to Ryan.

If you live in Middle Tennessee, it'd be great if you could come out to bowl in support of Ryan. Oh yeah, we're going to have tons of baked goodies and a silent auction which will include UT items (guy in our small group played for UT), restaurant gift cards, tools, MTSU clothing, etc, etc. If you know of any items or have any connections to get items donated for the silent auction, please let me know.

Let me know if you need any more info!

Thanks everyone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our work is finished!

So everything in our power is done. We went over our dossier documents tonight with our AGCI case manager and she agreed we looked like we were complete with those. We had our home visit with our social worker yesterday. We are still waiting for our child abuse check from the Department of Children Services. Besides that, it's just our social worker getting our home study written up. She said that 30 days is standard practice but she was alluding that the draft will be less than that. Hopefully, in a couple weeks, we'll be reviewing our home study to quickly get a final version of it into our dossier.

Congrats to all the AGCI folks getting referrals ... it's awesome to see and hear the reactions and Amber and I can only imagine what that day will be like ... all in God's perfect timing.

OK, back to watching the presential debate ... it's interesting to see family and friends coming out of the woodwork emailing, texting, etc me about their opinions. That's always awkward but I'm comfortable about my Christian beliefs and sharing how those influence my political position...