Top Left – Me over a small portion of Lake Mead that we went swimming in.
Bottom Left – Me sporting a goatee and the face of Hoover Dam in the background. Right – Looking north to the mouth of Lake Mead.

This was a neat day. The high temp reached 113 degrees. That is a record for me. You could actually feel your skin “changing” like you were in an oven. We went for a swim in Lake Mead because it was sooo hot. After we saw Hoover Dam and hung out we went back to the air conditioning of Las Vegas. I’m frustrated with the number of great pics of the terrain on this trip and knowing I can’t show them all. However, I have to get over it and post something as a glimpse of this great trip.

Coming Into Vegas

Coming Into Vegas


The time from the morning of July 2nd to the evening of July 4th, 2010, is my personal record for miles traveled and work accomplished. We left the Dominican, came home and I had to work at the church while Tasha ran our clothes through the laundry (while very sick…). Then we loaded up back to the airport for the 2nd part of our “vacation.”

4,000 miles give or take. That is what we did. It was awesome. But it was worth every mile.

As I was putting Sara to bed tonight I had a flashback moment. A flashback to 1996 and a time when Marena was 2 or 3 years old. I was so impatient back then, at a young age. It would be my turn to put Marena to bed and I’d think how easy it would be. “Ok, Marena. Off to bed.” As if that was all it would take. I’d get her to bed and she’d say, “Dad, I want a drink of water… Dad, I have to go to the bathroom… Dad, I forgot to brush my teeth… Dad, I didn’t hug my momma.”

Then Sara showed up and I’m older and wiser. I never once put her to bed without those essentials being taken care of and putting Sara to bed was never a ‘task’ to be completed.

Dear daughters, I love you soooo much. It has been such a pleasure to know you, to raise you, to influence you, and to just simply hold and care for you.

We had a great mini-vacation over spring break to Chicago. Marena had a follow-up Dr. visit at Shriner’s Hospital that we were able to fit in. Her healing from hand surgery is going as expected. We took the opportunity to get Sara a little exposure to the Art Institute since she hasn’t had that opportunity and Marena did when she was a little younger then Sara is now. The icing on the cake was a visit to Shedd Aquarium which is always fun. They have a 4D movie which is always cool, especially when you aren’t expecting mist, air bursts, pokes in the back of the seat, etc.

Tuesday night we saw the movie, “How To Train Your Dragon” at the 3D IMAX at Navy Pier. It is amazing how good the 3D technology is improving it. You can even afford to go if as a family you hold 3-4 jobs… We ate at Harry Carey’s and had a nice evening hanging out in the garden at Navy Pier watching the fountains jumping over our heads.

One of the highlights was the time we spent together at Leonardo’s Italian Restaurant in some burb north of the city. My girls are growing up and the conversation is getting more intellectually stimulating but still just as funny. Everyone was forced in to long periods of laughter many times at the table. A lot different then when we used to have to hush Marena at Chicago Water Grill when she was 5 years old, then I’d rush to the bathroom to change Sara’s diaper… This was a great night!

The Art Institute was great. They’ve changed some things up and it seemed more touristy then museum-y (I know its not a word). The Fantasea show at Shedd was more show then animal which was kind of a let down – but the kids probably didn’t know what they were missing.

Thursday morning at the hotel we treated ourselves to a morning swim, breakfast in bed, and a nap after breakfast before we started our day.

Here’s a shocker, the ladies went shopping…. More then once….

Dear God, thank you so much for the resources to be able to take my family on this vacation. I know that without You none of this would be possible for us. You’ve guided our family back on Your course and You’ve been our Guide for a long time now. It is getting easier to let You be in control. Please be with the struggling people that we saw in Chicago. We pray that they feel Your presence and give You a chance to work in their lives, too. Amen.

I love putting Sara to bed at night. We always say a prayer together. Sometimes she leads, sometimes I do. Sometimes it is the more ritualistic Lord’s Prayer. I always keep it a surprise for her what is going to happen.

Tonight was special, though.

It was her turn to pray and she did a particularly good job. We’ve been trying to get her to elaborate more on her thoughts in prayer – graduating from 1st grade prayer to 5th grade prayer is how I put it. So she was doing surprisingly well, going past 1st grade and making it to 5th grade. And at the end she says, “God, I pray that Natalie’s sister’s dog and Dawn’s (her aunt’s) dog have a good time breeding in the garage tomorrow. Amen.” Are you kidding! That about made me laugh all the way down the stairs!

Apparently we have a breeding opportunity and our home is the “place” to be and I had no idea. But Sara’s innocence was so precious….

And then Sara confesses that she’s been crying about the passing of Grandpa Phil recently. She says she drew a picture to deal with the crying and it was a picture of a sunny day with blue skies and Grandpa and her are holding hands.

Dear God, thank You so much for this brightness at the end of the day. Thank You so much for allowing my marriage, though challenging at times, to allow for moments like these that allow me to be such an important part of Sara’s childhood. Thank You, God. Thank You for my marriage. Thank You for my children. Please help me. Amen.

Here are some pretty flowers for my wife this morning. There are so many good things that I love about you! Keep smiling. :)

Somebody asked me yesterday if I “got their email.” YES I DID! There is a cool free tool out there that analyzes your Outlook email program. It said I received and sent a few messages last year. But I definitely didn’t reply to them all. I’m sorry. :( Can you imagine what the count would be if you add voicemails, text messages, facebook, blogs, messenger messages, etc.?

Dear God, please help me remember You! In all of the chaos that technology has created in the form of advanced communication, please help me to center back on You. The technology isn’t bad. You gave it to us or gave us the ability to create it. When used right, it glorifies You and reaches people so effectively. But help me to remember my priorities and use the technology in this order; God, Marriage, Kids (especially mine).

I know I’m putting a lot of pix of the family on the boat… But I like the boat! I enjoy the family time and this weekend mom went out with us, too.

Sep 022009

Last night I cancelled a breakfast meeting because I needed a break to be with my family in the morning. At the time I had no idea how good of a decision that could be. We just finished breakfast with the whole family. That is so rare for all of us to be home together anytime, let alone in the mornings. Sara, Tasha, and Marena were all great to be around and we had a nice time. We had another family over for dinner last night and that was great, too. Sometimes it all comes together and what a great feeling that is.

Check out Matthew 18:19-20. God was present with us this morning. Thank you God for wonderful times like these. Thank you for my family. Thank you for allowing me to see the good around me and to slow down to enjoy it and appreciate it. Please help my family seek You out in their actions today. Help them to honor You. Amen.

Aug 122009

Not much time for blogging in August. It’s all about a mix between work, cross-country, and family. But here is another quick pic of the kids having fun in the tube. The little guy is named Graham and this was his first time that he allowed me to go fast with him in the tube.

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