Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

I was off to the airport a bit early this morning thanks to the 5 inches (and counting) of snow that fell overnight and into the morning.  I had a 12:30 flight home.  The snow made slow going, which was not helped by the driver’s incessent need to look around and see damage from last week’s ice storm.  He slowed down even more.  A few times we were caught behind snow plows or caught in an accident slowdown.  So, the time before my flight decreased as my anxiety increased.

Shortly after 11 we pulled into the Albany airport.  There was no curbside check-in so I had to endure the line inside.  Anxiety level (sinfully) rising.  After checking my bag, I went up the escalator to security.  I still needed to go to the bathroom (I had a cup of tea earlier) and grab some lunch before hopping on the plane.  Predictably (?) the usually quiet Albany airport had a fairly lengthy line that was moving sslloowwllyy.  Finally 2 more TSA employees showed up to get it moving faster.  Yes!  The x-ray machine broke.  No!!  But I still got through with plenty of time to take care of my ‘errands’  before heading to the gate.


Read Full Post »

Everything seemed to get off to a good start.  We went to bed at a reasonable hour, mostly packed and oatmeal soaking for a quick breakfast for the kids.  We’d be getting them up a little early, not way before the crack of dawn like on other trips, to get on the road to the airport by 7:30.  This would give up plenty of time to get to OIA in time for our 10:05 flight to Albany.  But you know what they say about the “best laid plans of mice and men.”

It broke down near the end of my shower.  CavWife went to get the kids up.  CavBoy had peed so much it soaked through his diaper, PJs (which we were hoping to have him wear on the flight) and into his sheets.  So CavWife was involved with stripping his bed and sent him into a still-dripping dad to strip him down and put him on the potty.

This was the morning that he decided he had to poop first thing.  And it took time as the minutes quickly went by.  Suddenly I heard CavGirl screaming from the kitchen.  To help avoid illness being passed around the plane, we gave the kids Airborne.  CavWife mistakenly put it in CavGirl’s water bottle.  So, it fizzed away building up pressure until CavGirl opened it.  It erupted, spraying  our very dramatic/traumatic daughter.  So much for not having to change her clothes…


Read Full Post »

Joined at the Hip

Joined at the Hip

The last week seems to be a blur.  We are now back in hot, humid Florida.  The travel day was filled with way too much whining and crying.  Seems to put a damper on a good vacation.  Returning also means a return to my responsibilities- first of which is finding a way to support my family.  Yes, puts a damper on the whole thing.  But let’s ponder more interesting things!

Here are the “highlights”.

Monday night I learned that a church has begun checking references.  This is great news!  The result of the process is not certain, but the process has begun and maybe that will result in something really positive.

Tuesday we missed Tropical Storm Fay.  Our home got plenty of rain, but we did not experience the flooding many other communities in Florida and elsewhere did.  Better than that, CavWife and I stole away for a lunch alone.  A quiet lunch!  No crying, complaining etc.  We enjoyed each other’s company and talked about a few things- including my impressions of Job this time through (2nd time in a year).

CavWife's New Doo



Read Full Post »

It was a different week.  My brothers-in-law were away on a missions trip to Mississippi.  Not as much male interaction.  ESPN and ESPN 2 have not been available on the cable the last 5-6 days, so I’m suffering from the DTs.  I was also slowed down by a summer cold that started with sniffles => sore throat => running nose => cough.  A real pleasure.

I Need a Dentist

I Need a Dentist

On Wednesday and Friday we went to the Word of Life Ranch to visit the petting zoo.  The kids loved it.  They had goats, sheep, llamas (in desperate need of dental work), chickens, cows, horses, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets.  CavGirl’s priceless comment- “They’re stinky.  They need a bath.”  We were also able to spend time in the fort playground.  I pushed the kids on the tire swing, and they enjoyed the slides.  On Wednesday’s trip we had lunch at the WoL campground with some friends of CavWife who still work at Word of Life.  Both trips ended with rain shortening the stay.

Radio station options way up here are limited.  So for both rides to Schroon Lake, we ‘enjoyed’ the worst of the 80’s.  Lots of bad flashbacks, so I’m surprised we didn’t crash the SUV.  I hadn’t heard “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for many years, and heard it 2 times this past week.  Sigh.

CavParents arrived Thursday and stayed until Saturday.  They skipped the petting zoo.  Don’t blame them- smelly animals and poop-covered shoes.  It got pretty noisy around here though with up to 11 cousins running around.  Sometimes they played well together, and other times …. not quite.  The rainy week didn’t help matters.  CavBoy and his youngest cousin here are getting along famously.  Just like Frick & Frack now that she is feeling better.  This is good since CavGirl is able to enjoy her older cousins.  He doesn’t feel as left out now.

Friday night we all got together for dinner at Aunt Jane’s place at the bottom of the hill.  Mom’s lasaugna with meatballs & sausage, and Bernie’s eggplant parmesian (I passed on the eggplant) followed by ice cream.

Saturday I helped my sister-in-law work on their new home near the bottom of the hill.  I spackled over the screws in the drywall, helped move in some furniture, and helped with some staining of the trim.

On Sunday I preached at Calvary Bible Church in Wevertown.  I ended up choosing a shortened version of my sermon on adoption from Ephesians.  It went well.

I’m antsy … I want to become a productive member of society again.  Still no progress on any fronts.  It can eat at you if you have too much time on your hands, which, by definition, you do.

Read Full Post »

It is hard to believe it is Saturday.  Life has slowed down tremendously since we hopped on that plane Tues. morning.  The big rush to de-clutter the house was done.  We were packed and gone.

Since then I’ve been doing some reading.  That has been hard for me lately.  I’ve had trouble concentrating.  There were far too many things going on, and I deperately needed a change of scenery- and weather.  I got both.  So my concentration has returned.  As you may have noticed, I read Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian.  Dr. Nicole taught me to read those I don’t agree with (or other ivew points) so I can see their own arguments first hand lest someone mischaracterize them.  Glad I read it, and I still disagree with him.

In addition to starting to read Job, I’m reading Sinclair Ferguson’s book on Ruth, Faithful God.  It is really good.  As someone who is going through a difficult time, I need that reminder that God’s plan is not always evident until it has completely unfolded.  And that might be long after you’re gone.

It’s not all serious- I’m reading a Dean Koontz novel I picked off the bookshelf here.

I’ve been helping my brother-in-law get the website ready for his business.  I’ll also be helping to get their financial system integrated on the software.  My sister-in-law has too much going on the learn the system and get it all integrated herself.  Since the guys at Riedinger & Sons are heading off to Mississippi for a missions trip today, I’ll be able to work on this with no new invoices etc. 

The weather has been quite varied.  Plenty of sun, and plenty of rain too.  The tempuratures are mostly in the 60’s-70’s.  A very nice  change of pace allowing me to sit outside and read.  Sadly, no cigars to enjoy outside.  But my sister-in-law provided me with some Smithwick’s Irish Ale as a treat.  Quite nice.

I helped my other brother-in-law work on his new house today.  I was priming the dry wall in a few closets.  And tonight I’m cooking some Cajun Back Ribs.

I know some of you are more concerned about the kids.  They are having a blast.  CavGirl loves coming here and playing with her cousins.  It is the first time CavBoy has come to the Farm.  He might be feeling a bit left behind as she goes on adventures with her cousins.  But he’s getting more adventurous.  Both are playing long and hard, so naps and night time have been met with quickly nodding off to sleep.  Parenting has required less time and energy.

I got some great pictures of the humming birds.  At one point there were 5 vying for the feeder.  I couldn’t get the beautiful finch.  He was too skittish when I came near with the camera.  That and the territorial battle he was engaged in with another bird.  I don’t have the right software here, so posting any of them will have to wait.

I was disappointed to discover that my capo and picks were not in the guitar case where I thought I left them.  This greatly reduces what I can do with old vacation guitar while I’m up here.

Well, a beautiful sunny afternoon is calling my name.

Read Full Post »

The kids have been playing “going to the Farm” and “riding on the airplane.”  I think they are ready to head north, away from the heat and humidity to spend time with grandparents and cousins galore.

I know I need a change of scenery.  I’ll continue my “search for work” while I’m up there.  It would be great to have an offer on the house and a job close to in hand by the time we return.  I should spend some time working for my brother-in-law, so I’m not sure how often I post while we are gone.  Oh, and I do need to spend time with CavWife and CavKids!

I will be preaching at the small church nearby while we’re up there.  The pastor will be taking a trip himself.  I’m undecided as to which sermon to offer.

Read Full Post »

9 Mark Ministries compiled some ways for pastors to better love their wives (we’re talking a plurality of pastors, not polygamy) and kids.  Some of them are very good.  Some make me wonder “how?”  I’ll put my comments, silly and otherwise in brackets and in red.  Since they are compiled, there are some that sound inconsistent, go with it … they are suggestions.


  1. Take the initiative and establish a plan for family worship. Then follow the plan! (Don Whitney encourages “brevity, regularity, and flexibility” in family worship.)
  2. Come home at the exact time you say you will be home; and prepare your heart to serve your family, not be served.  [this is very difficult to do regularly, at least for me.  there is that sinful sense of entitlement that plagues me when I return home, I want to rest not parent/husband.  i need grace.]
  3. Take responsibility for your children’s education and discipline—don’t leave it to your wife to figure out.
  4. Share with your wife and kids some of the good things that are going on in the church, and then thank them for helping to make that possible.
  5. Use every hour of your vacation time. And take a vacation that does not involve extended family; restrict it to just your wife and kids.  [All of our vacations have involved extended family.  We can’t afford to go anywhere else- I’m a pastor!]
  6. Take a two week vacation.  [this is wise, i’ve heard it takes about 10 days for you to actually begin to relax.  our 3 week summer vacations, though with extended family, were very relaxing.  if you go  to vacationing spots, it is hard to relax since you are going to theme parks and events.]
  7. Diligently guard your days off.  [lay leaders love this, not!  it can quickly breed a sense of envy on their part, or assuming you think you’re better than them or special.  you have to work had to communicate this priority well.  but if you’re guarding your days off, they should be able to guard theirs from church business, so maybe they really feel convicted of their lack of attentiveness to their families.  who knows, but it can get messy, folks.]
  8. There are times when it seems like you have to choose whether to be a good dad/husband or a good pastor. Good pastors choose to be good dad/husbands.  [What makes this difficult is the success-driven culture of many of our churches.  They want you to be a successful dad, not necessarily a loving & involved dad.  Loving involvement will mean less time to building the empire.  I know building my relationship with my daughter ‘cost’ the church some of my time/energy that might have resulted in a different outcome for the congregation- and my family.]IN RELATION TO YOUR WIFE…
  9. Get up early and have your quiet time, so that you can take the kids in the morning while your wife has her quiet time.  [she’s up way before the rest of us, so this is a moot point for me.]
  10. Give her flowers and a hand written card when she least expects it.


Read Full Post »

Yesterday was a day away.  With the adoption of CavSon, we have yet to visit the in-laws down in Anna Maria this winter.  With the presence of 2 sets of Aunts & Uncles and 5 cousins- it was time.  CavSon got a crash course onthe beach & meeting family, CavDaughter got to spend time playing on the beach with her cousins, CavWife got to spend some time with her sisters and I went saltwater fishing with their husbands and 2 nephews.  Throw in Aunt Jane’s long-time fiance Bernie and we had a full boat.

We got an early start.  Well, we did have breakfast before we left.  We arrived by 10:30.  At first CavSon was clinging to my leg, a wee bit overwhelmed.  But he quickly felt more comfortable and had a great time.

This was my first trip saltwater fishing.  They went without me last year.  It was a mostly overcast day, so it was not too hot out on the Gulf.  The Gulf was not too choppy which is good since the boat was not one of those big ones with the chair you fish from.  It was easy to fish.  You basically let it drop to the bottom and wait for a strike.  The captain and his deckhand took care of putting on bait and removing fish.  That reduced the risk of anyone getting hurt, and made the fishing move quickly.

Patch got the first strike in a matter of minutes.  I started fast, and then slowed down for a spell.  We caught red snapper, sheep head, grouper (but they were all too small to keep) and I caught some mackeral.  Patch caught the same puffer fish 3 times in about 10 minutes.  It did not balloon up the first 2 times, but the 3rd time was the charm.  Patch really liked that.

We moved the boat a few times.  It was a great afternoon.  It was hard to keep track, but I think Rob took the most pictures, Bernie caught the most fish, Handy Dandy Uncle Dan caught the biggest sheep head, and I caught the biggest red snapper and grouper (which still had to be tossed back).  The kids had a blast, though Patch was wrongly convinced that I was a great fisherman.  I reassured him it was not my great skill, since I am not a good fisherman, and I had many slow spots. 

While fishing, I often leaned back against the captains station.  This may have been a mistake.  While the crew cleaned our fish I laid on a picnic table bench.  I dozed for a little while and when I woke up my back had stiffened up.  There was one particular spot in my lower back that was tender.

On the way home the kids didn’t sleep, though it was past their bed time.  Rather, they serenaded us.  CavDaughter started an impromptu song threading together parts of songs she knows interspersed with made-up lyrics about the sunset and other subjects.  CavSon joined alone providing oddly-in-tune moaning/groaning.  We wish we had the video camera to record it for it brought great joy to our hearts.

But we probably brought 25 lbs. of fish back to MeMa & Pop-Pop’s place.  Plenty for quite the fish fry or 2.  I brought one of the bags home so I could cook it up Friday when they all come over for the day (that and the big bag of wings we bought).  Overall a great day.

Read Full Post »


to St. Pete Beach for the weekend.  I’ll be filling the pulpit at Tradewinds Church Sunday.  Should be a good few days away, and the temps have dropped to the 80’s so it won’t be oppressive.

Our daughter woke up saying “go to the beach” and got herself into her car seat about 1 1/2 hours early.  She’s excited!

See all ya’ll Monday or Tuesday.

Read Full Post »

I flew back today from a long, long weekend with family in NH.  Unlike Mark Driscoll, I like flying Southwest.  While flying, and sitting in the airport, I listened to some of his sermons on Galatians.  This time, however, my bags were sent to Islip, NY, not Manchester, NH.  But, have no fear- they arrived by 9 that night.

I stayed with my parents, which meant limited internet access since they still have dial-up (pray for them).  I was able to enjoy watching some extra Red Sox games, lots of seafood (whole fried clams!!!) and some Indian Summer.

I was able to (finally) finish reading What Jesus Demands From the World by John Piper, and began Thomas Boston’s book Repentance.  For fun, I finished Ted Bell’s Spy, and began Dennis Lehane’s book Gone, Baby, Gone.  My hometown gets a not so nice mention in this book that is about to be released as a movie directed by Ben Affleck.  The movie is listed as having pervasive language.  I really enjoy Lehane’s stories, even though they focus on the darkest parts of humanity.  He’s got a quirky sense of humor I connect with, and the stories are based in Boston.  I’m still not sure how they are going to adapt this one to the screen without it lasting far too long, and still making sense.  But it was nice to sit on the porch, read a novel and enjoy a cigar.


Read Full Post »

Family Reunion

Been away at a family union.  Our family’s matriarch is 103.  No going and kissing the ring.  It was good to see the cousins and enjoy some Italian food.  Being a pastor, it is difficult to get back for most of these reunions.  But while in transition, I was able to take some time. 

I’ll be back soon.

Read Full Post »

Vacation, It Be Over

We left gorgeous upstate NY, clear skies and 70’s, this morning to arrive in the inferno we call home- Florida.  The last week of vacation was far more relaxing.  CavDaughter had a blast playing with her cousins, and roaming the many acres that make up the Farm.  There were lots of berry bushes to plunder, and fallen apples to gnaw on.  They could play outside all day.

CavWife was able to go to a Beth Moore event in Providence, RI with her mom, 2 of her sisters and a sister-in-law.  She had a great time- encouraged by both the teaching and worship in song.  The focus was on 2 Peter 1- that we have all we need to live godly lives in Christ, and how to grow in maturity.  I really wanted her to be able to go as we continue a time of transition.  Mission accomplished!

Sunday night the church her family attends had a cookout in the afternoon.  They were able to borrow some inflatables from Word of Life.  So CavDaughter enjoyed bouncing in the Moonwalk.  My nieces really wanted to get tickled.  Then my daughter and a few cousins derived great joy in climbing over my back.  Yeah, I don’t get it either. 

Monday night we had a big Mexican dinner to say goodbye- for now.  It is hard being so far away from so much of her family.  They are pretty close- closer than mine.  There were tears aplenty this morning as we packed up and left for the airport.

On a great side note, after 2 1/2 years of work, the APA (the environmental agency of the Adirondacks) approved the final subdivision of the property into 5 more lots.  Today her brother got a building permit for his lot.  They should break ground this week on their home.

Our daughter has flown roundtrip 6 times, and this was the first time she was scared.  She just freaked on take off.  She was able to calm down, but was anxious during the landing.  And now we are home… sweet, hot home.

Read Full Post »

Vacation Videos

We have not watched many movies on this vacation.  CavWife and I have been enjoying season 1 of Everybody Loves Raymond on DVD.  But here are short reviews of what we have watched.

Catch and Release.  This was Jennifer Garner’s attempt at romantic comedy.  It is an off-beat comedy.  Her adventure-loving fiance dies during his bachelor party get away.  What unfolds is that she gets to learn things, often disturbing, that she never knew about him.  She moves in with his old roommates, and his out of town best friend she just doesn’t get (and we just didn’t like).  I think it is a sad day when the most likable character is played by Kevin Smith (Clerks & Dogma), and he’s a complete mess.  But so is everyone else in this movie.  Sin reigns in how these people do relationships.  The most redeeming character seems to be the dead guy.  I didn’t feel even remotely uplifted- just dirty from the messiness of their lives and “love” (see their catch line).  In other words, I didn’t find the few laughs worth it.

Catch a Fire was more redemptive, but it didn’t look like it for quite some time.  Ultra-liberal actor Tim Robbins plays a religious, right-wing leader of a terrorist hunting unit in South Africa during the dark days of apartheid.  He’s odd, refusing to interrogate on the Lord’s Day even bringing a suspect home for dinner.  But he’s cruel, torturing suspects and their family in what he knows is a losing effort.  So, he works to prolong evil instead of speeding up needed change.  Derek Luke is a non-political foreman who just wants to do his job, coach soccer and raise his kids.  That is, until, he is falsely accused, arrested and interrogate, for a terrorist attack at the mine where he works.  After they finally realize he’s hiding an affair, not terrorist ties, he is released but his family has been destroyed.  Now seeking to overthrow an unjust government, he joins the ANC as a terrorist.  Redemption, in the form of forgiving those who betrayed him as well as the man who tortured him, comes nearly out of the blue.  But it does show all it takes is one decision to turn the direction of your life, and it isn’t too late. 

Finding Neverland.  Johnny Depp does a great job playing a struggling Scottish playwright.  He is struggling in a very distant marriage- finding it impossible to connect with his wife.  He is struggling professionally- his last play bombed.  In his attempts to prime the pump he runs into a family in the park.  He is able to connect with the kids, and the single mom, through the use of imagination.  As his wife pulls farther away, and his benefactor doubts the new play will make money, he rediscovers himself and the capacity to love.

It is a morally ambiguous movie.  All of the characters have failings.  But some have noble traits.  But the movie seems to reserve all judgment on their actions.  It seems the only ones put in a bad light are those who question the motives of the hero.  Still, it was an interesting story trying to recapture story behind the author of Peter Pan (much like Shakespeare in Love and Becoming Jane do to William and Jane Austin).

A Prairie Home Companion.  This off-beat film has a great cast, and some great music.  I’m not a fan of the show.  The plot of the movie is that it captures the final performance of a radio show that is being shut down by the new company that bought the station.  It focuses on the relationships between the regular performers.  There is love secretly enjoyed, love never embraced, etc.  There was also a great disconnect between public faith and private life.  Moving in the midst of the characters is the angel coming to collect a few of the characters because it is their time.  In the midst of this, there is a celebration of life, but no repentance.  Evil is “out there” not within each person.  This makes for an entertaining yet unsatisfying movie.  They are not delivered from cancellation, nor their own failings.

Read Full Post »

Fall has arrived early here in the Adirondacks.  Last week was jam packed.  Monday night 3 of the families camped off of Schroon River.  Tuesday, the rest of us joined them to float down the river and enjoy a cookout.  Being the wise man I am, I jumped on the one kyack pronto.  I figured the river would be chilly.  I was not mistaken.  I took to calling the group the Floatilla of Futility, as people’s rafts lost air.  In fact, CavWife ended up swimming most of the river (refusing to be towed by me just so you know).  I ended up taking on one of my nephews who was wet, shivering and crying.  Once he dried off, he was fine as we pulled into camp well ahead of the rest.  But all survived.

Thursday we headed farther north to what I now call The Enchanted Shiver.  Both years I’ve gone with them to the Enchanted Forest/Water Safari, the never-ceasing wind has made wet people seem very cold.  If you could just stay in the water.  This was the first time we took our daughter (she’s been to the one at Cypress Gardens with us).  She had a good time, but was a bit timid when it came to the dry rides.

Friday was the beginning of Farm Fest.  It is a weekend that is something of a family/friend reunion here at my in-laws farm (you all are welcome to come next year).  I had cook duty Friday night over the grill.  After dinner a cold front moved in bringing some rain.  Not exactly welcome for those in tents.  It made for a cool day, with blustering winds on Saturday.  But we enjoyed a good hike to Kibby Pond.  The way down was hard on my knees (man, I’m getting old).

This year we were able to borrow a sound system for the barn.  As a result, we spent about 90 minutes Saturday night singing worship songs.  Pat Walsh and I played guitar and he led singing.  I haven’t been playing regularly with the church transition taking place.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to play that long, but maybe the cold made my fingers numb enough that I didn’t feel the pain due to my diminished callouses.

Sunday morning Pat led a few more songs, and I preached on the doctrine of Adoption from Ephesians.  It has settled down now as just about everyone has gone home but us.  This should make for a relaxing, peaceful week in the cool of the NY mountains.  Time to do some of that reading I really didn’t get to last week.

Read Full Post »

It was a busy weekend here at the Farm.  Nearly all of the family is here now.  On Saturday, some of us went to watch my brother-in-law do some kyaking on whitewater during a dam release.  The river is low otherwise due to a lack of rain.  To get to the put out point, we had to wade in waist deep water (chilly water).  We enjoyed lunch by the river.  The release was over when we left and the water was barely to our ankles.

Sunday night all the siblings and spouses in town went out to the same Mexican restaurant (Marty’s Chili Nights) we went to last year.  A great time was had by all.  We apologized for being so loud but the wait staff told us we were supposed to have fun, and that too many people eat in near silence. 

Today I helped out my sister-in-law who needed a bunch of wood split.  This was not like the days of my youth when I needed the axe.  They had a 27-ton splitter.  You still get a good workout lifting the logs, and tossing the split wood onto the pile.  I needed that since I’ve been reading quite abit (and smoking some Maria Mancini’s too).  Good to sweat, and get some sun.  Tomorrow we’ll be off to play in the river.

Read Full Post »

A strange thought as we flew north yesterday.  I wondered why they don’t develop something like the “deep sleep” you find in sci-fi movies.  They could “gas” us to a light sleep, stack us like cord wood and I wouldn’t get so restless, or frustrated being unable to accomplish anything meaningful as we contend with our also restless & tired daughter (we left for the airport at 5 am).  Just a strange idea.

But… we are on vacation so my blog posts will be less frequent.  I will do maintanence just about daily because I keep getting some porn links sneaking through on the comments.  

For those who care, we are in the Adirondacks but the fierce attack pup is home guarding the family estate. 

My Random thoughts:

Go Sox (Red Sox that is)

Pollard (signed with the Celtics)

Keller’s sermon on the Lost Sons (I did listen to that on the plane) was great…. I’ll post on that soon.  Steve McCoy, Reformissionary, has a link if you are interested.

Read Full Post »


Read Full Post »

Friday Photo: 2/9/07


Read Full Post »