Monday, December 20, 2010

The Q Stove

Well, since I already gave Q the "Q Rider" the Mrs. wanted something for Q to open on our Christmas (we celebrate Christmas early as a family so that we can spend the 24th and the 25th with extended family). I took Q's side table, added some scrap wood, some spray paint, and 9 hooks and made the "Q Stove". A special thanks to Phyllis for providing the food and pots. He's smiling for you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Q Rider

I converted Q's tricycle into a wooden bike. I almost gave up last week because I do not have the proper tools or training to make this thing precise. However, since he is so small, he won't be jumping any ramps anytime soon. So here it is...the Q Rider.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Team Work

Q: Huh? What's that noise?
C: [mumbled "I don't know"]
Q: Is it Dada and Quinn?
C: Dada and Quinn. What's gonna work?
C. What's gonna work?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cooking With a Toddler Part 2

I once watched a documentary about an Amish family. The father said that they did not use electric tools to build things. He said this was not motivated out of a belief that power tools are of the devil. Rather, power tools disrupt community. He said, "Hand powered tools require the involvement of all of my family members. We want to be together." That is the only thing I remember about the documentary. It had a profound impact on how I view laborious tasks. I had never seen a person choose community health over ease.

Fast forward a bit.

A few months ago I started giving the Q food related tasks while I cooked dinner. For example, I gave him a bowl of dry beans and told him to use a spoon to move the beans into another bowl. We started adding other ingredients and then I thought, "Why not just give him real ingredients and have him help me cook." Cooking with toddlers takes a lot longer and it is much messier. But it is some of the sweetest time I have ever spent as a parent. I've started to do all sorts of my chores with him like mowing and carpentry.

While we purchased the reel mower out of a concern for the environment, it has been a great asset to helping us build community as a family. Speaking of the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars that are driven 12,000 miles. Americans burn 800 million gallons of gas per year by using lawn equipment. It doesn't take much longer to use this little guy and my lawn looks just as good as when I use a gas mower.

Doing carpentry with toddlers takes forever because you can't use power tools. Also, the end product is a bit crooked. However, to me it is even more rewarding than cooking. Me and the Q built a little loft for our new chickens. They no longer fit in it...

I am learning that cheaper, faster, and easier is not necessarily better. In fact, many times it robs life from its fullness (and vegetables from their nutrients).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Q Quote of the Day

We got chickens this past weekend. Here is a picture from this morning right after Q said this:

"Bu-bye chickies...ave fawn."

Smooth Translation: "Bye-bye chickens. Have fun!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cooking With a Toddler Part 1

Part 2 will have more to do with the title. I need to preface it with this post.

I've been reading a good portion of Wendell Berry lately. Berry is a farmer, a poet, an environmentalist, a novelist, and a speaker. Back in 1987 Berry wrote an essay titled Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer (that's right, I just embed a link to an essay called Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer). It's a fascinating read and a bit impractical. However, Berry makes some good points about technological innovation.

Here they are:
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

Berry is the first to admit that "like almost everybody else, I am hooked to the energy corporations, which I do not admire." His stance on not buying a computer comes out of his hope "to become less hooked to them." Again, the stance is not necessarily practical (yet) but it is needed.

This is not a politically driven blog. I am not looking for a debate regarding energy or corporations or computers (obviously, I'm typing this on a computer). This blog and its sequel are about point number 9 on Berry's list of requirements for technological innovation. I will end with one question. In an attempt to save time and money, how often do we do things that either circumvent or blatantly disrupt community?

That's all for now. The toddler part will come into play next week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Q's Youtube Debut

The Q has always loved looking at pictures and videos of himself. He is, of course, a human. Recently, he got a hold of the computer while Tammie was in the other room and recorded a few videos of himself. Here are the highlights.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Q Quote of the Day

In commenting upon the slow process of getting ready for dinner:

"Where'd eat pizza doe?"

Literal Translation: "Where did eat pizza go?"
Smooth Translation: "Where is the pizza mother?"

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Q Man

These days are filled with lots of laughs, wrestling matches, and games of catch. The Q is a blast. Last week my dad (Papa) and stepmom (Mimi) visited and taught him an Elvis impression. Check it out.

Q: Uh oh.
T: Say, "Thank you very much."
Q: Thank you very much. Mimi, Papa.
T: Say it one more time.
Q: Thank you very much. This one.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Know Your Farmer

I have been interested in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for some time now. In Portland there were dozens of CSA's from which we could choose. We paid $16 a week and got a HUGE box of organic produce a week. Our money went straight into the farmer's pocket and we got great vegetables at a great price.

Now that we live in Texas the CSA's are few and far between. However, a few months ago I discovered This company is based in Austin but delivers to San Antonio. They partner with area farmers, bread makers, dairies, hatcheries, etc. to provide fresh, local, and organic groceries. The prices are higher than standard grocery stores BUT the quality is better and the farmers get paid much better.

Last week I started reading Wendell Berry and realized that it is TIME to start knowing where my food comes from. More will come on Berry and my convictions later. I finally decided to give a try. We simply go to the website, order whatever we want ($25 minimum), and they deliver the next Thursday. Currently we order a local produce box and a farmstead box (cheese, bread, and other local non-produce available at the time). I'll send pictures when we get our "crops" in. Meanwhile, check out this video from one of the farmers that we support.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fire Truck Teeny-tiny

There's a new hit song around our house.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Public Radio Fanatic

I love public radio. A few months ago I was talking about NPR with a friend from church and he said, "NPR huh...we gotta do something about that." The thing is, I'm not so sure he has ever listened to NPR to have that opinion. However, among conservative talk radio audiences there is a rumor that NPR is communist or at least socialist. In honor of my friends who think I'm nuts for listening to NPR, I've decided to list my favorite shows. If you find information on how to cook a creative stir fry dish to be communist let me know. :)

1. A Prairie Home Companion - I'm told that before video killed the radio star families used to crowd around radios every Saturday afternoon to listen to plays, story telling, and live concerts. Prairie Home Companion has been doing just that since 1974 when host Garrison Keillor created the show. Tune in to hear hillarious stories, the best live sound effects guy in the business, and hardly known musicians who should be making millions of dollars but remain in abscurity.

2. Car Talk - Car talk is HILARIOUS. Two brothers named Tom and Ray Magliozzi have been hosting the show since 1977. The premise is this, cooky listeners call and ask random car questions (from what is that clicking noise under the hood to my wife thinks I kill more bugs when I drive than her because I go so fast...what do you think). Tom and Ray humorously interact with the callers and attempt to answer their questions. I love these guys.

1. This American Life - This show is easly my favorite weekly broadcast ever. Each week Ira Glass and his research team has a theme like "bridges" or "chickens" and then they tell 3-4 stories on their theme. As the name indicates, they try to tell stories about everyday American life. They do an amazing job giving listeners information in a captivating manner. I've heard all sorts of stories. In one a rancher cloned his beloved bull and in another a guy lived in a 5x14x8 feet hole in a major Chicago bridge. This is where I heard the most balanced report on health care. IT'S GREAT! If you can only listen to one of these LISTEN TO THIS ONE.

2. The Splendid Table - If you like to cook or eat you gotta listen to this broadcast hosted by Lynee Rossetto Kasper. About 2/3rds of the show is her talking with correspondents throughout the world who tell stories about restaurants and meals they have encountered. For the remainder 1/3rd of the broadcast listeners call in and ask her cooking questions. She is brilliant and makes me hungry evertime I listen to her!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Resurrection Story

Sin has lost it's power, death has lost it's sting. From the grave you've risen victoriously. - from the song "Marvelous Light"

I've been sitting here for about an hour trying to write a bible study for tomorrow night on the significance of the resurrection. At first I thought it was going to be easy. I've been a Christian practically my whole life and have been studying the bible longer than that. But as I began to think about it I could only feel the emotions of the power of the resurrection. I felt thankful, free, peaceful, but speechless. I immediately felt a bit could I, a wanna be theologian, not be able to articulate the significance of the resurrection.

I turned to my friend Google to ease the pain. One pastor wrote that if the resurrection of Christ had not happened "the gospel would be in vain, our faith would be in vain, and the apostles would have been false witnesses." So, in other words, Jesus had to rise from to dead to validate our belief that he rose from the dead. This is the classic error of "the tail wagging the dog." "Surely we are incapable of having a wrong belief therefor the story has to be true." This explanation completely misses the transformational power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Other articles I read were more theologically sturdy but failed to grasp the depth, the necessity, and even the relevance of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

Then I came across an article by N.T. Wright. He says, "It is the real world that the tyrants and bullies (including the intellectual tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and deconstruction, are not after all omnipotent. But it is the real world, in Jewish thinking, that the real God made, and still grieves over. It is the real world that, in the earliest stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection, was decisively and forever reclaimed by that event, an event which demanded to be understood, not as a bizarre miracle, but as the beginning of a new creation."

Ah ha! We are on to something here. In the resurrection story God is reclaiming the mess that his beautiful creation has become. This does not mean that we will not experience frustrations, cancer, high cholesterol, or divorce. What this does mean is that death does not have the last word.

In commenting on this topic Rob Bell says, "Resurrection announces that God has not given up on the world because this world matters...this world that God is restoring and redeeming and renewing. Greed and violence and abuse they are not right and they cannot last. They belong to death and death does not belong."

Jesus' life, death, and resurrection conquered death. Not only was it a nice metaphor but it literally happened. It is finished. Though I may never grasp the depths of this concept I pray that I live in the reality of the resurrection story. There is hope amidst war, depression, broken relationships, the daily grind, the emptiness of trying to keep up with the Joneses. His name is Jesus.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things People Told Me (or that I once read)

[written as the status update of a friend's facebook]

"it's all fun and games till someone starts espousing modalism…"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beautify the Ship or Set Sail?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a part of a movement that is more focused on maintaining the beauty of the ship than setting sail. I wonder where Jesus would be in this process. David Wilcox sums it up pretty well with this song. Be the mercy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Confession Part 2

So, I've worked hard to be home with the family as much as I can. I've lived up to my goal of working close to 40-45 hours a week. Sounds great right? Well, what's the point of being home if I am not mentally present? Every once and I while I wake up and realize that I haven't really spent time with my family even though my body has been in the same room as them. Two weeks ago I decided to stop distracting myself with fun but meaningless vices (like video games) and really try to make the most of those moments. You know what, I've had a blast! Tammie is fun and constantly teaching me how to live life in a more healthy manner. Q man is CRAZY and hilarious. We've played catch, read books, wrestled, drawn, built things, and laughed.

I don't want to miss moments like this

A Confession Part 1

I have written multiple times on the beauty and the necessity of slowing down and absorbing every moment in life. The truth is, I am not very good at it. I write these essays to remind myself of these important concepts.

There are two traps I fall into:
1) Wishing away the present
2) Working so hard I miss out on the present

I think I first started falling into trap one when I was in high school. I was always excited when school started because I could see my friends. Then I "couldn't wait" until football season was over because I was too tired. Then I "couldn't wait" until Christmas came because I was tired of school. Then I "couldn't wait" until Christmas was over because I missed my friend. The cycle went on and on until I arrived at college after not being able to wait and found myself miserable. At that moment I had two choices. I could either continue to miss out on the present and live in a false reality or I could finally deal with the stuff I was trying to run from. Truthfully, most of the time I find myself being tossed back and forth from both.

Trap two is seductive because it is an evil for which we are applauded. At times I get sucked into this trap because I am a driven person who loves planning and working hard. That is just how I am wired. However, other times, behind my "driven" mask is a person who just wants to prove his worth. The truth is, my insecurity has brought me much success over the years in athletics, academics, music, and ministry. But the ugly side of this driven nature is an inability to enjoy relationships, absorb life, and be thankful.

Here are a few words of wisdom that have helped me work through the above weaknesses:
1. Nobody applauds you for taking care of yourself. But how can you serve for the long haul if you run at that pace?
2. No matter where you run you'll always have your past and your pain. Process through the pain so that you can learn, grow, and be freed.
3. "Abandon your plans of escape and be where you are. Plant gardens, live, and live well. Life is truly a gift." - Kyle Lake
4. "I have come that you would have life - life abundantly." - Jesus

(note: I signed on to write another blog but this one became HUGE. I'll post part 2 in a few days)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Economics is Fun

Before I get to my post I want to let you know that I won't be writing much for the next few months. I'm in 6 hours at school plus all of my other "stuff." So I don't have any extra time.

Today I was listening to NPR and heard a great rap about economics. It explains the two main different views regarding the mess we are in right now. Check it out at