Monday, August 31, 2009

Caption Please

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Year Six In the Books

Here's a quick list of everything that's happened in this year of our marriage:

- Claire Kate was born
- Began working with e3 Partners
- Quit working at Concord
- Trey turned two
- Mr. Mugsy went to doggy heaven

These are some pretty major life altering events! Having babies, massive career changes, gains and losses. Walking through these things with Holly was a God-given blessing. No other woman would put up with me. No other woman would be so giving or understanding. No other hand would fit so perfectly in mine down this road of life. She's a terrific mother, and even better wife. My ministry would be impossible without her participation and support. Few wives would be real excited about her husband quitting a stable job with benefits to raise support and work in the most dangerous and volatile region on the planet. Mine encouraged me along the path to follow God regardless of where it lead, and consistently lifts me up on the days I want to throw in the towel. I'm grateful that when things are spinning out of control she's spinning with me. God has taught us a lot about faith and the failure of self-reliance. He's also showing us the magnitude of His Faithfulness, Protection, and Love.

Holly, you're more than I could have ever dreamed up. You inspire me to continue my pursuit of our Savior all the while forgetting my shortcomings. You amaze me with your strength, and support. I appreciate all that you do. I can't imagine a better mom, friend, helper, or lover. I'm yours! Here's to the next year and all that it might bring. I stand unafraid to face what comes knowing our Leader never fails, and our bond never falters. Baby, I love you!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Friends The Harper's

Hey blog friends. I want to introduce you to some friends of mine. There names are Greg, Lisa, and Jackman Harper. They are awesome! Jackman is a new arrival, who showed up exactly like God planned for him to, but it caught the rest of us a little off guard. I don't want to spoil any of it, so go read it for yourself. Plan to be encouraged by the faith of a young family. You're likely gonna laugh and cry as Holly and I have, but more than anything, I think you'll see the majesty and glory of a God and King that loves us as His children. Pray for this family in the days to come, and be an encouragement to them. Here's their blog http://harpertimes.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sister is a Copycat!

Me and Claire Kate's new game. You may have to watch it in Youtube because the size is off on the blog (sorry). Just click the video and it should take you to the site. Tomorrow I'll start posting some Israel stuff. Hope you enjoy this!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Few Peru pics


Kids that live on the street.
Iquitos
The only road out of the city. It's 100 km long, and this is km 56.
Houses on the Amazon.
Evening learning group.
A cool sunset and loving people.
The Catholic Church at night.

I haven't had an opportunity to do any post production on these photos. The church and the road pictures gave me an opportunity to play around with some long exposure times (shutter speed on the road was about 30 seconds). Anyway, I'd appreciate any of my photographer friends giving me some constructive criticism on these pics, so as to make me better on the next go round.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Dad

I had a good dad growing up. He made time for us, taught us right from wrong, and loved us. He still is a great dad, and loving Grandfather to my kids.

If I could pick one attribute of my father to display to my kids, it would be the love he showed to us through the time he spent with us. It taught me a lot about the love God has for us, and I would guess that much of what I believe about my heavenly father came as a result of my relationship with my dad. 

Every now and then my pops makes his way over here to read these posts, and I want to say a public "Thank You" for the security you provided, the display of Godly manhood, and the things you continue to teach me about loving my own children. I love you Dad, you were and are a blessing from God!

What about your father do you want to mimic to your own children?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tour Day, Part 2

In case you missed yesterday's post read it first, so that today's is in clear perspective and context. You can click here to read it...

After Monkey Island, there was a sense that things couldn't get any worse. We were wrong!

On the way into see our not-so friendly primate friends, David pointed out the Indian village we would soon visit. It appeared to be only about 10 minutes away, and would give a few of our team the opportunity to visit the facilities, so to speak. However, we quickly passed by the dock where we were supposed to stop, and a sudden sense came over me that we were going to see a different village. David mentioned that we must be going to a different Indian tribe, and we began to inquire of Freddy as the the whereabouts of our next encounter. To my great sadness, we would be returning to our original dock for more fuel, then another 15 minutes to meet the Bora Tribe. That's right, another hour and forty-five minute boat ride.

After running aground 3 times (sudden jerks are not good on loose bowels) on the way back, we finally had more fuel. The Amazon turned into a tributary, and as we continued into some smaller canals, Freddy pointed out the place where we would soon get to hold some Anacondas (that's right, Anacondas). Up ahead I could see the tops of a few thatch roofed huts, and got the affirmation that these were indeed the home to the Bora people. As we approached the dock I was enjoying the beautiful everglade-like scenery, when from the back of the boat I hear, "Are those boobies?" Now just this phrase alone has enough awkwardness to throw you into a "What is happening?" type moment. As I begin to get my bearings from being blindsided by that that word making an appearance, I look ahead in disbelief at the woman on the docks. We're still a good 75 yards away, but it's pretty apparent that this 60 something year-old lady is covering herself with only a loin cloth. In my mind I began to scramble. I had the thought, "I'm responsible for this team. I need to do something!" So, I did something... Stared... Ahead... At the lady.

Have you ever passed by a wreck on the interstate? You could tell from a distance that it was bad, and there was the possibility you would see something that would forever wreck your life, and give you bad dreams for weeks? Yeah. I stared. I would have glared longer but 15 completely naked children running around made me come out of my trance. I was in complete disbelief and shock. We were LIVING National Geographic. You can say what you want about their culture, but it ain't our culture, and as much as they are used to running around swinging in the breeze, we are not, and we are even more not used to seeing it. I could not believe this was happening. If we had been warned, it would have been one thing, but we weren't. I was just daydreaming and thinking how neat this all was when I heard the "b" word and saw it's reference point up ahead.

The village is made up of river huts. They are on the river, but exist on stilts, so to go anywhere you walk on planks. These planks were constructed with 4' 10", 145 pound Bora Indians in mind, and not 6'2", 215 pounds of pure table muscle. So, to walk across the 50 yards worth of planks was adventure enough of it's own. Little did I know the real adventure started at the entrance to the hut where we were greeted by 15 or 20 naked ladies. To be fair, they all had on loin clothes, but does that really qualify? I don't know that it would have been any more awkward if they had no covering at all. Anyway, they began to put necklaces and head dresses on us, which meant that I would have to bend way over (yes, this added to the uneasiness of it all). So in a neck turned and twisted state, as to miss facial contact with baby feeders, I received my new apparel and entered the tent to see what else might happen.

I looked at the ground a lot, but noticed Greg when he walked in. They had given him the designation of Chief, and his head dress was very ornate and big. Greg was still pretty upset about his earlier monkey attack and the ever increasing tension of this newest experience was not making him feel any better. But it got worse, quickly.

Freddy began telling us about the Bora people, how long they had lived there, how they maintained the area, what dialect they spoke, etc. Then he said these words, which I don't know if I will ever forget. He said, "They would like to show you some of their tribal dances. They will include you in the dance, and it is seen as VERY offensive if you do not participate." "Really? This is not happening," I thought. I looked at Greg, and his face went from slightly perturbed to an all out sense of helplessness, as did the rest of the team. These naked people were gonna dance, which was strange enough, but now we were gonna be involved. Seriously involved.

As they began to dance, the first person they grabbed was their chief, Greg. During his walk up to the dance area he shouted death threats at David and myself. We laughed, David filmed, it was a great time. One by one the team was personally pulled up to take part in an ancient dance of the Bora people. At one point I thought, "This is pretty neat. How many people get to experience this kind of culture, or do anything remotely like this outside of a strip joint? Nobody, that's who. But here we are, hand in hand with some naked people doing a dance to a chant I can't understand." So, I just kept glancing from the floor to Greg enjoying the moment in the only two safe places I could look without feeling dirty. David got two videos of this, and several pictures to document the occasion. I didn't load them on here, but if you want to see them they are posted to facebook.

What else needs to be said, really? I don't know many people who could honestly say, "I went on a mission trip, and while I was there we lead some people to Christ, did some discipleship, planted a few churches, oh, and I danced with some naked ladies." Never heard that at a missions conference, or during a trip report at a church. When we sat down, David asked if we would share this with the church. "Yeah, I doubt it," I said, "but you can bet your loin cloth and topless Boras it's going on the blog." You're welcome... you're welcome.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tour Day, Part 1

This all started on Saturday. None of the team could afford a real Amazon tour, so David Chism, or fearless leader, set up a home grown tour day for us. During lunch he saw a local guy named Freddy that he had worked with before, and asked him if he could set up an excursion for us on the Amazon River. Around a half hour later Freddy returned to give us a quote for such a trip, which would take place at 8 am the following Friday. We would visit Monkey Island, an Indian Village, and get to see some real life Anacondas. The group seemed amiable to the price and attractions, with only a few unhappy mumblings over the possible snake encounter, so we decided to go for it. We had no idea what lie ahead...

Friday morning we arrived at the boat docks at 8 am, but we were in Peru, so we knew that we would likely not leave until 8:30 (This is not a knock, just a realization that there is a difference in U.S. time and Peruvian time). When 8:30 rolled around we were still boatless, and I could tell Freddy was getting a little nervous. He hinted that he didn't think his reserved captain would be able to make it, so he rented a different, less sophisticated vessel for us to tame the great Amazon beast. We rode for 30 minutes. When I inquired as to the whereabouts of this famed Monkey Island, Freddy responded that we were still a good 50 minutes away. Perhaps it would be beneficial to mention here that more than half of the people who were on the boat were severely stricken with Montezuma's revenge, present company not excluded, and were not prepared for such a long aquatic journey. Nevertheless, with beats of sweat forming rapidly on our foreheads, we pressed onward.

The next time I checked my watch I realized we had traveled about an hour and a half, ten minutes farther than the expected time to reach Monkey Island. Freddy began to inquire of the boat driver where he was going, only to find out that he wasn't entirely sure where the specific location of said primate isle might be. We spotted a young child washing clothes on the bank of the river and floated over to get some decent directions. I never heard any words exchanged, but evidently a good hand motion does the trick because we were there in about 15 minutes.

I hate to inform you that I had some horribly incorrect presuppositions about this island of monkeys. In my mind, it was a wonderfully sunny place where our primate cousins existed in cages for us to gander at and photo. Oh no, I was WAY off. This place was a dark corner of the world where these creatures were allowed to roam free like us humans. They are free to grab you, or jump on your person, or throw their little doo doo balls at you with stunning accuracy.

We had not gotten off of the boat good when a red howler monkey walked up to Holly with his manlike hands in the air. She asked what he wanted, but in the blink of an eye, he was up on her shoulders laying across her back. In a moment where I should have been thinking of all the snide remarks I could have made about getting the not-so proverbial monkey off your back, all I could say was, "I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to touch them." Holly nervously begged, "Get it off me!" and being her knight in shining armor, with a touch of chivalry, I added, "Nuh uh, I ain't touching that thing, I don't like animals. Especially ones that have hands like me." Little did we know the fun was only just beginning. Seconds later Freddy, our tour guide, was attacked by two black spider monkeys. One jumped on each of his arms and began biting him. He was able to sling them to the ground, and they made their way into a nearby tree. My friend Greg happened by that tree and the two ninja-like monsters jumped down on his head. They commenced to whooping up on Greg by pulling his hair, beard, and sunglasses. They went digging in his backpack, bit his ear, and finally came to a place of rest on his arms before he slung them off while screaming, "I'm gonna punch you in the face and knock you out!" As they ran off with a monkey giggle, Greg said, "That's it! I'm ready to leave Monkey Island RIGHT NOW!"

We managed to separate Holly from her monkey, Rusa, and we made for a small building to get some cover from the little gorillas. Rusa would not be denied as he pulled apart some of the roof to get in after Holly, his new girlfriend. While we were in the building one of the team members asked me how I escaped having the monkeys get on me, and I explained that one of those spider monkeys had reached for my hand and I slapped him in his little monkey face as I explained that I wasn't playing around with him, and that I would body slam him as an example to the rest of his friends if he didn't go on. He must have spread the word because none of them tried anything else. We safely made it out to the boat, foolishly thinking that the worst part of the day was over, but we were wrong. What lie ahead would change our lives as we knew it...

Until Part 2 tomorrow, here's evidence of this small tale:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NEVER on a plane

I learned a couple of valuable lessons on this trip to Ecuador. The first was that you should never plan two trips back to back. It's too much! Another thing that I learned was far more sinister, and unforgettable. If you don't like my posts about bathroom things, now would be a good time for you to look away, and read someone else's blog. For the majority of you that find great joy and pleasure in my pain and stomach fails you may want to stick around.

I can sleep anywhere. Under any circumstances. Every trip that I ever took with students wrought a new picture with me asleep in interesting positions and places. The hum of a plane's engine might as well be Nyquil or Benadryl to me. I'm lucky if I make it off the runway awake. But on the flight home from Ecuador, I could not get comfortable. Then IT happened. Let me clarify...

Ecuador has possibly the best ice cream in the entire world. My stomach responds quite negatively to dairy products, but Ecuadorian ice cream is worth it. I had eaten massive amounts during the week with no consequence, but I couldn't let sleeping dogs lie. Saturday, late in the afternoon I made a poor decision. Someone said, "Let's go get one of those big ice cream cones one last time before we go home." At the time, this sounded like the greatest idea I had ever heard. Sure, I had a passing thought that it would be VERY bad to have an "episode" on the plane ride, but what could go wrong? I had eaten my weight in the stuff during the week, and nothing happened. This time would prove different.

At 3:30 am, 36,000 feet up, I awoke from a not-so-peaceful slumber mortified by what I knew was about to take place. There was no emergency landings, or turning the plane around. This was going to happen. My old friend, Cold Sweats was there with his good buddy Grinding Intestinal Pain. I spent a few minutes begging them to go away. I tried to rotate in my seat, sit up, lay back, lean forward, but there was no avoiding the inevitable. I was in a window seat, so I woke everyone up on my row as I scampered to the back of the plane praying for a miracle. God did NOT answer my prayer that night.

As I entered the 1 ft. x 1 ft. bathroom, I speedily made the necessary arrangements one does to be able to feel comfortable sitting in a place where others have stood, with bad aim. I quickly sat, and began to relieve pressure as quietly as possible. I thought things would be ok. I was wrong. We hit turbulence. Heavy. Turbulence. I gripped the sink and adjacent handle to try and hold myself down. Outside the lavatory I heard the Captain cut on the seat belt sign. I began to pray FERVENTLY something like this, "Dear Lord, I am begging you! Please commission an extra amount of gravity in this place right now. Let what has entered this toilet stay FIRMLY planted, never to rise! Lord, I will have a hard time giving thanks if you don't answer this prayer. Please send your angels to protect me...Amen!" Moments later things died down, but I was afraid.

As I left the tiny area, where I had confessed every sin, and made many promises and deals with God, I noticed people solemnly sleeping. They were oblivious to the danger that had existed only feet from them. They did not know of my torment and agony. They were ignorant of my groaning and near destruction. I made my way back to my seat angry with them and their peace. Soon, however, the hum of the turbine lulled me to sleep.

I record these things because in a month, I will be back in that land flowing with milk and honey almond ice cream. I will be faced with the same dilemma: To be overcome in the awesomeness of such a tasty delight, where evil is waiting, or to abstain and sleep well along with the others on my row. I want this to be here to remind me, so that I don't repeat former mistakes. But man, that cookies and cream was AMAZING...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Dentist

Have you ever stopped and thought about the dentist? It's one of those things that if you weren't brought up in this culture you would think was extremely strange. We're conditioned to believe that it's completely normal, but it's not. 

They drill in your mouth. Every drill I've ever handled had pictures of marred stick figures that got the drill too close to their face. This tender cartoon was intended to let those who can't read know that drills should not be used too close to your face, much less in it. They stick sharp objects in your mouth. Pretty sure my mom told me never to do that. While all of those tools are in your mouth, they ask you questions, but somehow still know what you're saying when you respond. Personal space issues seem non-existent. This is all terribly strange.

To top it all off, we pay for these things. "Yeah," we think, "you deserve compensation for this." Nice. Real Nice.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

Every time I keep the babies by myself I have a greater respect for what Holly does day after day. Today I kept them while she went to a Peru fundraiser for our upcoming trip in June. It's one thing to watch the babies, but she watches them, cooks, cleans, maintains herself, and looks after her man. What a woman!

Baby, I love and appreciate you more than you know! You amaze me! I realize I tell you this, but I want everyone else to know how special I believe you are. I couldn't have dreamed of a better, more perfect wife, friend, or mother. Happy Mother's Day! I love you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'll Ask, You Answer

How do YOU deal with disappointment?

Your thoughts...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Melting Heart

Every night we go through the same routine. After bath time, Trey and I play in the floor while Holly feeds Claire Kate. At the end of our play time, kisses abound, as do "I love you" and "night, night." It is all very sweet and beautiful. I look forward to it every day. Tonight was more of the same. I carried Trey in his room and laid him in his bed. He wanted to hold Elmo and listen to his Veggie Tales cd, which was pretty normal. As I made my exit from the room, I went over, kissed him on the forehead, and told him "I love you Big Man." When I got to the door as I began to close it I heard, "Daddy?" "Yes Buddy?" "I love you."

It was so tender and sincere. My chest swelled up, and tears filled my eyes. He meant it from the bottom of his two year old heart.

Our routine is great. I love it, and the 16 times during the day when Trey tells me, "I love you" are all very special, but there was something different about tonight at that moment. Perhaps God is similar toward us as His children. No doubt He is likely pleased with our worship, and even our "I love you" routines. But there is this part of me that just realized it's those times when we break from typical, and stop normal life to say I love you that make the Heart of a Father melt.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rats!

I have written ad nauseam about my dislike of animals here on Pertaining to all things Robertesque, but I once again feel the need to print that my least favorite of all the animal kingdom is rats. I mean, I really hate them! Not only that, if you like them, there is something wrong with you. Pet rats? Come on!

Anyway, today one was by my feet on the sidewalk outside. Holly spotted it and I shrieked like a little girl. It was tiny, but really, is there such a thing? There's no mice, only rats... and I hate all of them. So, I grabbed the shovel and in one swift move cut off it's head. I was slightly afraid that it might somehow jump on me. Not taking any chances, I left all of its body on the sidewalk in hopes that others might see it and continue past our house realizing that sure and certain demise meet all rodents in this abode. This is not true, because at the moment I see a rat in this house we are moving, plain and simple. But I want them to really wonder if coming in the Hope residence is the best choice for their little rat lives, with their crooked big teeth and beady eyes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gall Bladder Update

After all my tests came back, turns out there's nothing wrong with my gall bladder. It is fit as a fiddle. The doc said to watch what I eat. Haha. That's funny. I do that anyway. Not in the sense that I monitor a strict diet, I just post statuses on twitter about every meal, so I can later examine all that has been eaten. He also told me not to eat things that upset my stomach like Papa John's Pizza. That's not happening. In the future, I'll continue to decide if what I'm eating is going to be worth the pain I'll feel later.

Nice, real nice!

Friday, May 1, 2009

My First Photo Attempt





So I was commissioned to take some city photos for my first shoot. Here's the result. Some of my photog friends, begin your critique. I would like very much to improve.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Small

Last Saturday night Holly and I were hanging out with some friends of ours named Greg and Lisa. We like them. They are cool. 

It was during a very heated game of Spades (which Greg and I dominated), that the aforementioned Mr. Harper alluded to the fact that he recently began tracing his family lineage. This has always intrigued me, but I've never gotten too involved in the necessary actions to actually do a family tree. After we got finished destroying Holly and Lisa, Greg showed me ancestry.com. This was around 10 pm. At 2:30 am I had traced my Grandmother's maiden line back to 1279 in England. 1279. Unbelievable. That's like during the time of the Crusades. A contemporary of Genghis Khan (almost). It was before the Black Plague. America had not even been found, and would not be for another 220 years! I met some of my forerunners. They were an interesting bunch. The Hope family has had it's share of escaped convicts, aristocracy, and loons. 

Perhaps the thing that struck me the most while sifting through all of that history was how small I am. One in the midst of multitudes who were before me. The way that different families came together and produced offspring, that most of the time found a wife from a different family, to produce more offspring for generations and generations began to blow my mind. It is a miracle that I'm even here! I haven't been able to get over that feeling of smallness since that time. In the grand scheme of things, I'm quite insignificant. On the other hand, God is rather big... and long lasting. I wonder perchance if this is one of the reasons that lineages are mentioned in Scripture. To remind that generation in Israel that they were no big deal. God has been doing this for a while, and as much as we want to think that the world revolves around us, we are not the end all, or the pinnacle. Just another name in the line. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whatever Happened to Fortune Cookies?

"Leadership is an action. Not a position."

This was the "fortune" out of my fortune cookie. Dear friends this is not a fortune. It's a proverb. There's a difference. I don't want proverb cookies. I want free, stale tasting, non-sweet fortune cookies. You know, the ones with the lucky numbers on the back, and if your in real high cotton, the ones that teach you a Chinese word.

One of the previous fortune cookies I got said, "Please disregard your last fortune cookie." Seriously?!?!

Friends, it's time we take a united stand against proverb cookies! They are shameful imitations of a once treasured treat in many subpar chinese restaurants around this great land. I for one can take no more. Who's with me?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bizarre Choices Part 4

Here's another bizarre choice from Zobmondo's Book of Bizarre Choices. Which would you pick?

Would you rather:

Always have to wear wet socks?

OR

Always have to wear wet underwear?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Zoo: Honey Hide the Kid's Eyes!


Saturday we went to the Montgomery zoo, which, by the way beats the pants off of the Birmingham zoo. We were having a lovely time when we passed the monkey exhibit. They were lounging around looking at us as we were looking at them. It was quite awkward. Many of you know how I feel about animals, but monkeys are a step weirder because they are similar to humans. They have hands like us, and a striking resemblance to that distant cousin that lives in Shelby. You know what I'm talking about. 

I like the small monkeys. The tiny ones are really cute until they throw their little doo doo balls at you. The big ones are not so nice. How about this one? He's a BAD monkey. He exposed himself to all the passersby, some of which were children. Parents covered their kids eyes as they laughed that embarrassed, awkward laugh on their way to see the white tigers, who coincidentally do NOT have opposable thumbs.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Gallbladder Non-Update

Would have posted this yesterday, but youtube just published the video. Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter baskets


This was my Easter basket last year. Do you notice anything that you would not typically see in an Easter basket? How about the Hall's cough drops? Perhaps it would be beneficial to mention that I had no cough or medicinal need for them when I got this gift last year. I don't mean to seem ungrateful, one just never expects to receive cough drops in their Easter basket, unless of course they need it, which I didn't. 

I gave my mom such grief over it this year that I anticipated getting some again, but I did not. It almost didn't even seem like Easter without their cooling, mentholated comfort. This year I got some good candy and the new U2 cd. 

Two questions: 1. What did you get for Easter? 2. When did your parents stop giving you an Easter basket?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Potty Training

Hey parents, what age do kids normally begin potty training?

Trey is 22 months, and has gone number 2 twice this week in the potty. I'm not sure if it's just because of the m&m's he gets for going in the potty or if he's ready. Being our first, I'm not real sure how all of this works.

Leave me a comment with some help, and I apologize for all the bathroom stories this week.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gall Bladder Fail

Perhaps you missed last nights warning, but for some of you who are just now tuning in, tonight's story is not for the faint of heart, or gut. The tale I am about to divulge has not been altered in any way from the reality of what took place one fateful night. Let me set the stage.

Holly and I had enjoyed a nice, quiet dinner at Wings in Patton Creek. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere as always, was quite festive. Holly mentioned that she would enjoy a nice stroll around the local Toyota dealership, and ever the giving person, I politely obliged. Had I known what lay a-brewing I would have promptly ushered her to the car and we would have driven home as speedily as possible. This night, however, I would not be so lucky. Upon arrival at the dealership I felt this familiar gurgle in the deep recesses of my gastrointestinal region. I knew what was going to happen, it was just a matter of time. I told her to go ahead, I wanted to sit in the car because my stomach didn't feel right. She said, "Do we need to go?" "URGENTLY" I thought, but "No I'm ok, you go ahead and look" is all that came out of my mouth. Five minutes passed and the onset began. I put my feet up, I turned on my side, I laid back, but no position provided comfort. I could take no more. I got out of the car, and could see Holly on the other end of the parking lot. Two joyous couples were lazily strolling around hand in hand. They seemed so content and peaceful, until I shouted, "WE NEED TO GO!"

Holly could not have walked back fast enough. As she approached the car, she said, "Are you ok?" "I tend not to cause a scene in public when I'm doing ok. Please just drive home, and fast." As we got on I-459 the pain really hit. The kind you can't avoid. My intestines screamed out, "RELEASE OR ELSE!" Cold sweats. Discomfort. I speedily undid my belt and pants to relieve some pressure, but nothing helped. I cut the A/C on high and every vent in the car was pointed at me with my feet on the dash. "I'm not going to make it home." "What do you want me to do?" Holly asked. I instructed her to get off at 119 and make her way to the Racetrac. In my mind, I thought they would have the least dirty bathrooms, but at that point, the cleanliness began to concern me less and less. My friends I tell you a great truth in life. No person should ever consider going to the bathroom in their pants just to get some relief. But there, on that ironically beautiful night, I pondered, "If I just go, there will be a massive clean up effort, but at least the pain will be gone."

As we approached the gas station, I feared the worst. Holly did not get the car in park before I jumped up and ran into the building one hand on my pants holding them up. I was completely undignified, and unashamed as I barreled through the store. When I got in the bathroom I reached to clasp the door, but the lock was broken. "Oh no! There can be no witnesses to this crime!" I speedily moved back into the hallway and with a finger pointed at the door to the girls bathroom I yelled at the man behind the counter, "Is there a lock on this door?" "Is there some..." "IS THERE A LOCK ON THIS DOOR?!?!" I interrupted. He nodded and I exploded in the door...to the shock of the 70 year old woman currently using the facilities. (Not really. I made this part up, but what an ending that would have been.) I slammed the door behind me and fastened the lock. The events that came next I can not begin to describe in mere human terms, nor would you want me to. Allow me only to say that what I did in that place was a SIN. There's no two ways about it. It's the only way I know to describe it, sin. 

As I left that place I didn't look at anyone in the face. I had desecrated their porcelain throne room, and they knew it. I got back in the car and we sped away never to be seen again. From time to time I pass by that fine establishment on warm spring days filled with peace in my belly and with a wry smile tip my hat in gratitude for the now fond memories of once uglier times. I'm not proud of these events, but relay them only to let you know that this illness is not so funny as to be casually joked about on Facebook statuses by unsuffering minions who know the Ractrac as only the place to get cheap gas.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Look Away

Seriously, just turn away and read no further. I do not know why I post this, but here goes. I have stomach issues. I have had them ever since I had a horrible case of Mono after my freshman year of college. At that time, my body was producing too much bile and I've had problems with my stomach or gall bladder ever since. If I eat pizza, lettuce, butter, wings, etc. I will hate life about 8 hours later. Until now I've been able to deal with it, but it is getting out of control.

Holly had a friend who just had her gall bladder removed this week. They were discussing the symptoms over Facebook when Holly mistakenly posted this as her status instead of a wall post to her friend: "He has an attack probably once or twice (sometimes more) a month. Pizza definitely does him in! He has cold sweats and lots of pain. It usually happens between 4 to 6 hours after he ate whatever sets it off." And oh how the comments poured in on this one. Laughter seemed to be a common theme among all those who chimed in.

Well laugh it up buddies! I'll show you! Tomorrow night I'm going to relay one such story of pain and agony due to gastrointestinal failure that will forever change your life. I make no apologies for the dichotomy that exists here at Pertaining to All Things Robertesque. In fact, what did you think "All Things" meant? Only spiritual? Only serious? Oh no, I relate stories about my kids pooping in the tub right next to a discourse on faith. That's just how I roll, or role. So anyway, I warn you now that if you are weak at the stomach (like me) look away tomorrow. I'm going to unleash a true tale of just one episode when my malfunctioning gall bladder went haywire, and I annihilated a local convenience store wash room. We'll see who's laughing then. Hasta maƱana.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Fringes of Two

Trey is almost 22 months old, and has already begun the infamous terrible two syndrome. For the most part he's a pretty awesome little kid, and doesn't give us too much trouble. There are, however, the few times when he really kicks things into gear to make us truly grateful for his "seasons" of obedience. Trey has a lot of personality, and is extremely smart. Tonight we learned that he knows how to cover up things that he has done wrong.

Holly and I were getting ready for a meeting tonight while Trey and Claire Kate entertained themselves in the bedroom. The Wild Man was tickling Sister when I wandered into the closet. After a minute or two, I could hear Holly in her "I'm trying to be stern and not laugh where Trey can see me" voice. I asked what happened and Holly relayed that Trey had used his baby sister and a pillow as a ladder to climb up higher on the bed. When his feet became firmly planted in her stomach and chest, she began to cry. Trey was unfazed by her tears until he heard mom's footsteps coming to check on them. At this point he quickly jumped off of her and stuck her pacifier in her mouth to cover up the fact that he did it. 

Yeah, this should be fun in the years to come. He's not even 2 yet!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tell Something on Your Spouse

Holly, my wife has CRAZY dreams if she eats pickles. Tonight at dinner, she had one. Tomorrow morning should make for some good stories.

Leave a comment sharing an oddity of your significant other...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is In Panama

If I have a chance to blog I will, but don't count on it in the jungle. If not I'll see you in a week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yummy

Most people know that I have a pretty weak stomach. I always thought that I would be better when I had kids, but not much has changed. My gag reflex is pretty immediate upon something that looks or smells pretty gross. Kids tend to manufacture these smells and displays of grossness on a daily basis.

Anyway, tonight after church Holly and I took the kids to a carnival at the church where Holly grew up. When I got there I was starving, so it didn't take me long to find the food line for some delicious BBQ. I had a pork plate with some delicious slaw and baked beans. The sweet tea was awesome and I even scored a bag of Fritos. I was doing alright!

Trey got a bag of Doritos (possibly his favorite chip) and began to chow down while sitting in my lap. He loves chips, but often tries to swallow them before they have been properly chewed. Tonight was no exception. As he was sitting in my lap, he became choked on a chip that he inhaled. I had the last bite of my sandwich in my right hand, and had my left hand around Trey holding him, when his choke turned to a gag. Then it happened. He, um, purged. Out of instinct I caught it in my left hand. All of his dinner and chips lay in an orange liquid in my hand. Insert my gag sound here. I poured out my hand onto my plate, speedily handed Trey to Holly, and ran into the kitchen to wash my hand. I did not puke! 

I suppose that being a father really has helped my guttural weakness after all!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why I love Daylight Savings Time

I know there are many naysayers out there who HATE the time change, but I'm a fan. I like during the Summer when it doesn't get good and dark until 8 pm. I'm not a morning person, so I don't really care what time the sun rises. I also like the time change because we use less energy in our house, and thus lower electrical bills. More daylight=less lights.

Do you have a time preference?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dueling Floaters

Tonight was one of those nights where I was gonna be a great husband. I let Holly go to Walmart by herself, which I have found earns me MAJOR brownie points. While she was grocery shopping I was gonna surprise her by having the babies bathed and ready for bed with a load of clothes already in the washer and the trash out to the street by the time she got home. I came in and everything was right on schedule. I put Trey and Claire Kate in the tub, and they were clean. I ran to their room and got Trey's pajamas and diaper, then ran back to check on them (at which time I had to tell Trey to quit pouring water on sister's face). Then, I ran back to their room to get all of the same stuff for Baby Girl. As I re-entered the bathroom, Trey said, "Uh oh Daddy doo doo!" I looked and there by the drain of the tub was a man sized stinky. Claire Kate, not to be outdone had managed to work up a little carrot colored doo doo of her own. Hers however was piled up on her bath hammock. This, by the way, is the first time they have ever both pooped in the tub at the same time. I paused. What do you do first in this situation? In all my years of schooling and growing up, this had never been addressed. Now I faced two babies under two in a steaming pool of their own feces. I did what any man would do in this grave situation. I walked out of the bathroom. I closed the door. I walked over to the cellphone and frantically searched for Holly's number. 
"Where are you?" 
"In the check out line." 
"Crap!" I thought as I hung up. "I will have to face this on my own!" So I got Trey out and laid him on his towel. I grabbed the wet wipes and speedily cleaned the hanger on from out of his behind and put his diaper on him. I instructed him, "Trey, listen to Daddy. Stand right here. Daddy has to clean Sister up and you don't have your pajamas on." He looked at me with a smile and a quick chuckle as he said, "Sisty doo doo."
I got CK out and cleaned up. She had cakes of baby lotion on her as I slathered her into her pajamas. Trey was then given the same quick and mostly thorough treatment. As I walked them out of the bathroom I noticed Holly coming in the door. By the time I got them settled down she had already cleaned the tub, took out the garbage, unloaded the groceries, and washed and dried 3 loads of clothes. It was like magic! How she does this day in and day out so effectively I will never know. One thing I am certain of, I won't soon forget the night Trey and Claire Kate treated me to a game of dueling floaters!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Barnicles of Beardia Part 5

My wife is a stinky cake eater, and Trey speaks Spanish!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trey's first song

Trey sang his first song today. I guess to clarify, it was the first song that he's sung with words we could understand. He sings all the time, but we have no clue what he is singing. Trey also is in a big stage of association. For example, my brother Adam has a dog named Max. Every day, about 6 times a day, Trey goes through a roll of everyone he knows, and wants to know where they are. It was very cute the first 10,000 times he did it. Whenever he mentions "Uncle Adii" he quickly follows with asking about Max. Yesterday, he began associating Uncle Jo Jo with sleep, and he calls my dad Bobbo (Imagine Bob with a long o sound). All that being explained, his song today went something like this:

Bobboooooooo Bobbooooo
Adiiiiiiiiii
Jo Jo Night night
Max

It was a pretty funny, yet beautiful first song. Like father like son I suppose.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'll Ask, You Answer

What or where is your dream vacation?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Woman


...is virtuous.
...is incredible.
...was made for me.
...is the love of my life.
...takes care of her man.
...is more than I deserve.
...is an incredible mother.
...is completely trusworthy.
...is more precious than jewels.
...believes I was made for her. I agree.
...surpasses all others in the area of excellency.
...is an ever present reminder of the love and grace of God on my life.
...is my woman.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In Case You Missed It

By far the most awkward thing I've ever seen on TV!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Disclaimer

I'm not suggesting you watch all of their videos...simply mentioning that they are hilarious, and this video's pretty funny. Check out Albi the racist dragon also.

Flight of the Conchords

I would be a major jerk if I didn't show you these guys. I hope you've seen them before, but if you haven't, you're about to find out all you might have missed out on. Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Tonight, Claire Kate was a little fussy when she was getting her night snack. Holly scolded her for her unfavorable disposition, and she stared at Holly...and stared. For about 5 minutes she stared. I tried talking to her, but she wouldn't break her glare. It was hilarious. Primarily because, not only is she the spitting image of her mother, but she acts just like her! That is similar to a story I heard Holly's mom tell before. When Holly was small she had to get a shot. When the nurse injected the needle, Holly didn't cry. She just stared at the nurse with a mean look on her face, the same look her daughter gave her tonight. 

It makes me happy in my heart!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Ask, You Answer

Are you a Mac or PC?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bizarre Choices Part 3

Here's another odd choice from Zobmondo's Book of Bizarre Choices. Which would you pick?

Would you rather:

Lick the floor underneath a refrigerator 

OR

Lick the underside of a toilet rim?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Caption Please

Please write a caption for this photo. Haha! I love it!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Deer Story

Yeah, I haven't had a chance to tell you all about this, but two weeks ago today I shot a deer. She was beautiful! Her name was Betsy, and she was 112 lbs. Actually, I named her Betsy. In all likely hood, she didn't have a name, or if she did it would be some kind of deer name, and thus unintelligible to humans like you and I.

I shot her right at dark, and tracked her for an hour and a half Friday night. I couldn't find her that night, and it made me sick to my stomach. Luckily it was the night that the temp went down into the teens. The next morning I got up and tracked her for another 3 1/2 hours until I found her. She was about 400 yards from where I shot her, and when we got back from Dallas, we picked her up. She graciously provided us with a lot of delicious meat. If you would like to taste Betsy, give me a call and you can come over for dinner one night. Here's me dragging her out of the woods. I got caught on the game camera. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 25 Fact Craze

There's a craze sweeping facebook to list 25 random facts about yourself. My wife never does any kind of survey, but last night, I looked over and she was working on her list. So, I figured why not. Here goes:

1. I've always wanted to get my ears pierced.

2. I would like to get a tattoo.

3. I hate the sound of my singing voice.

4. In 2010 I will likely begin leading mission trips into the Middle East.

5. If I sit in a massage chair for about 15 minutes, I laugh uncontrollably when it's turned off. I don't know why, but I can't stop.

6. I will only eat Mayo on Saltine crackers.

7. I enjoy going different places, but I HATE to travel. I wish I could just materialize somewhere.

8. I believe mice are a plague from God.

9. Cats are only 1 step above mice, because they eat said mice. Other than that, I hate them.

10. I was in the Air Force for a year.

11. As a child, I was a K-Mart runway model. Just call me Blue Steel.

12. If I was wealthy, half of my net worth would be in guitars, pedals, amps, and guitar accessories.

13. I've never seen a single Star Wars movie.

14. I was diagnosed with lymphoma when I was 19.

15. I typically find something I like at every restaurant, and order it every time I go.

16. One time at Tannehill State Park I drove/rode a bike into a creek, by accident. I was fully clothed. It was funny to everyone but me.

17. Holly told me I was weird about twice a day for the first year of our marriage. It has since decreased to once a day.

18. I am a deep thinker.

19. Animals freak me out. I don't like being around animals. All I can tolerate is a tame, friendly dog.

20. I really enjoy hunting small game.

21. I think global warming is a joke, but I do believe we should conserve stuff.

22. I love awkward situations.

23. I feel more comfortable on stage than in the crowd.

24. When I was 2 I quoted Psalm 23 at a revival where my dad was preaching.

25. I could watch Discovery Channel 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What a Lame Dude

I have been such a lame blogger for about two weeks now. In my defense I didn't have internet access in my hotel during my time in Dallas. With everything going on, I probably would not have had time to write even if I had. I have been on information overload for the past week at the conference, and I'm trying even now to recover from all I've learned and experienced. We drive back tomorrow. Perhaps it will give me a chance to write some tomorrow, so that I can share some key points with you guys. It is as if I've been trying to drink from a wide open fire hydrant. What an amazing time and opportunity God has given me to serve with this ministry. I'm constantly amazed and blessed. More thoughts tomorrow! See you then!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barnicles of Beardia Part 2

Trey has a special message for you at the end.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Promised Land?

Let me start off by saying that I completely understand the excitement over Barak Obama as President. I hope he does an incredible job leading our country and he's been in my prayers since election night. I thought his inaugural speech was the best I've heard in a long, long time. I was moved to tears at times, and inspired. But over and over again today I heard about this being the fulfillment of MLK's dream. I don't disagree that it is a major step that our nation should be proud of, but I think Dr. King would be pressing forward to see a day where having an African American man becoming the President wouldn't be a big deal, but so commonplace that his race is overlooked. I feel that we're still a nation focused on race, by everyone, and that, my friends was NOT the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Until we as an entire nation are capable of objectively judging a man on the content of his character, and not solely on the basis of his color alone, the dream remains just that, a goal yet to be attained.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Busy Weekend!

I don't really even know how to tag this post. It has been such a busy weekend, I really need to regroup and post a few things. I'll do that tomorrow! Stay tuned for an updated Barnicles of Beardia, a deer story, and a medical rant. Until then, sweet dreams!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Top Reasons I Enjoy Hunting


1. Being outdoors - Here's the thing. Even on the days when you don't see anything, you're still outside, enjoying nature. This was my view this morning. Twas very nice, even if it was 15 degrees!

2. A different perspective - Life looks different from 20 feet up in a tree. The world around becomes smaller and there is an altered viewpoint.

3. I like to eat - We don't hunt anything that we don't eat. So, deer, dove, and squirrel end up on the table. If you eat meat at my house, it's venison.

I'll have to share about my hunt this afternoon tomorrow or the next day. Stay tuned!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Family Dance Night Part 2

I taught him the sweet move he uses at about 0:14.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Ask, I'll Answer

I got to thinking, today. Which is rare.

What do you want to know about me? You ask, I'll answer.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Get funky Grandmaw!

I laughed so hard at this video that a little bit of tee tee came out! IN-CREDIBLE!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Games

What in your mind is the greatest board game of all time?

For me, the answer is simple - Trivial Pursuit!

I am the Trivial Pursuit Champeen!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Unexpected Gift

It started just like any other night. Between 10 and 12 every night we go into the bathroom as a family and either Holly or I get in the tub with the babies.  The other helps out by bathing Trey while Claire Kate soaks. It's a great method. Tonight I agreed to get in the tub. Holly had just finished bathing Trey and was getting him lathered up with lotion, dressed, and ready for bed. I was holding up my end of the bargain by washing Claire Kate. I pulled my feet up to sit her elevated on my lap as I put the shampoo on her scalp. I got the soap and began the process of scrubbing her down. That's when it happened...

She sharted! 

On me!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bizarre Choices Part 2

Here is another bizarre choice from Zobmondo's Book of Bizarre choices. What is your decision?

Would you rather:

Always have a little black piece of spinach stuck between your teeth

or

a little booger in your nose that moves when you breathe?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Finding the Potential




One of the things I've learned about Holly during our time together is her ability to see potential. Whether this be in an article of clothing, a piece of furniture, or a person, she can visualize what can be. It's a pretty awesome treat to watch her work, and I'm often inspired by her creativity. Here are a few examples of things she found, or bought that were broken or ugly, and she made this happen to them. I don't have before pics, but she did EVERYTHING on these pieces of furniture. These are all parts of Baby Girls room. I feel blessed to be with such an awesome chick!

PS - She will custom make some furniture for you, if you pay!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009

This year is sure to be full of change for our family. When 2009 becomes 2010 I know our lives will look a lot different than they do now. I will be on staff with e3 Partners (assuming all of my support comes in), and probably not on staff a church. I guess that's all I know will be different at this point, but changing careers is a pretty big deal...at least to me. Here are a few other things I hope will be different:

I hope to be a better follower of Christ. This road we walk is either forward or backward. There's really never a standing still. Often I find myself becoming a "less gooder version of man that I don't want to be" - James Morrison. I hope to learn how to have greater faith, character, and passion. With these, I also pray that my pride, selfishness, and fear would diminish.

I hope my Spanish will be better. I've been learning through a computer program called Rosetta Stone, which by the way is the bee's knees. I also make leap year jumps every time I visit Central and South America, and considering I will likely make 4 trips there in 2009, I should be good on this one!

I hope to be a better leader. My plan for seeing this come to fruition is to read more than I watch tv, listen more than talk, and mingle with great leaders. In addition, I would like to practice the things I read with the teams I will lead on trips.

Honorable mentions: This is likely a wild hair so to speak, but I'd like to learn how to fly a plane. I want to acquire some snakeskin boots. I hope to kill several deer. Last, but never least, shedding 20 or so pounds wouldn't hurt.

I'll check back in on these to see how I did!