Monday, November 23, 2009

Farewell to one of God's "champions"

Sunday, November 22, 2009 will live in the hearts of many thousands of individuals as we said farewell to one of God's modern day CHAMPIONS - Billie Joe Daugherty, founder and Senior Pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He became my pastor in 1979, the year I graduated from high school. He remained my parents Pastor until his home going some thirty years later. Although throughout the years, I have moved around and lived in many different cities and states, I always considered Billie Joe Daugherty my "Pastor". I drew a type of strength knowing he was also "back home" in Tulsa, doing the work of the ministry and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.

When I told my employers I would need to be gone the day of his memorial service I told them that to say he touched the lives of thousands of people would be a gross understatement. It is without reservation that I can he touched hundreds of thousand of live and yes, perhaps millions! His was a global ministry in scope.

There were many thousands of people earnestly praying for his healing and complete restoration for the glory of God. What I have been sharing with a few people when I speak to them about his passing is that he DID receive his healing! He didn't get the type of healing we all wanted but what he received was the ultimate healing as he passed from this life and into the loving presence of our heavenly Father!

Yes, I have questions. But I know that my finite mind cannot possibly comprehend the things of God. What I do know is that God is still sovereign, the devil is a defeated foe and Jesus Christ is Lord!

I know that Pastor Billie Joe has left behind a beautiful and incredibly powerful legacy regarding the work he has done for the kingdom of God. His level of integrity and commitment to the cause of Christ is one that I could only aspire to achieve. The world is undeniably a better place because of this man's life. He has been a champion for God but has also raised up and trained an untold multitude of champions for the kingdom.

We bid you farewell only for a short while, Billie Joe - until we meet again on the streets of gold, with walls of jasper........

Saturday, November 21, 2009

how Helzberg spoiled Christmas!

Okay gang, I thought I had it all together by arranging Mama T's Christmas gift WAY ahead of time. You see, back BEFORE her birthday on October 17th, I had not only purchased her birthday gift at Helzberg Diamonds but had put a special something on lay-away for her Christmas gift. I am using an antique financial concept for gift purchases - I am paying 'CASH'.

So, in early October, I walk out of one of Warren Buffet's stores before Mama T's birthday thinking I've really, really well this year by not putting it all off to the very last second.

Well guess what arrived in the mail this week? Yeah, a 'reminder' message that Helzberg hasn't received my lay way payment this month (there isn't a structured plan) and what is even worse - guess who comes bringing it to me? Yeah, you guessed it....Mama T brings it to me saying...."This came into the mail today".

To say I was furious.....would be a little understated! I was so disgusted that I didn't know what I was going to do.

So a little later today, I will be paying a little visit to the local Helzberg store that I have patronized for the last couple of years and ask them why I would even think of continuing to be their customer after what has transpired.


one more time.....Breathe -

Okay, I'm better now!

Honestly, what a blunder! I guess the lesson learned here might be that I could have gone ahead and paid cash for both purchases at the same time. But frankly I really didn't want to fork over that much cash. I thought I would be just fine by putting in on lay away. Lesson learned, huh?

Well, this isn't really going to spoil Christmas. I will do something, I just have to "re-group".


Saturday, November 14, 2009

the new movie - 2012

Well, Mama T and I did a "first" together last night - we went to a movie premier! We had seen the preview a month or two ago when we went to another movie and decided this was a movie we definitely wanted to see. If you like a 'thriller' or 'grip the edge of your seat' movie - then this one is one you might enjoy. We didn't really care for some of the language content of the movie though it was only a smattering here and there.

I walked out of the movie wondering "haven't they found ancient sea beds here in Kansas and other parts of the midwest?" After seeing a movie like this I have a clearer understanding of how that "could" have happened. Yes, it is "Hollywood" and yes, it's only a movie; but you leave thinking "that was certainly plausible".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Personal Power

I remembered a couple of days ago that I had this little nugget of gold in my cache and thought I would share it with others.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love (from chapter 'Personal Power')

Thursday, October 29, 2009

42 years ago today - I became a BIG brother

Tell me it isn't true, it can't be - it simply cannot be true that my baby brother turns 42 today! I wish I had one of those newborn photos of him. He was a little runt of a thing!

It is also forever etched into my memory when Mother walked out of the hallway in her white robe -carrying our NEW baby brother. Of course I was so proud - just ask my teacher! My school records show that he's all I could talk about for some time.

Let's see now, what did we call him ? There was:
Jacobrino (or some derivation)
JAY. I have to refrain from calling him any of those "other" names these days.

He was always hangin' around, this tow-headed, bronze skinned little runt of a kid, with those big brown eyes and a smile that could melt a pat of butter from ten paces.

Then Rambo hit the silver screen.
Oh, good grief, is he wearin' those camo pants AGAIN; and that bandana. Does he ever take them off? When will he ever learn he AIN'T Rambo! Oh well, we all have our "phases" we go through.

Well, today - he's all "growduh up" and has been for some time. Nowadays, there are four little ones running around underfoot. All four have eyes that will melt your heart and smiles that brighten any room.

So when you don't have a pic, what does one do? Hmmm, lemme see now......I think I'll .......borrow one!

Here is one of him and his beautiful Queen just two years ago when he turned the BIG 40!!

Yup, he's my baby brother, he's a keeper. I might share him with you if you're nice. There's a story of kid I "laid out on the ground" one time for throwin a rock and hitting him. You can play with him or be his friend but just remember - BIG BROTHER is watchin!


Friday, October 23, 2009

My King

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Turn up your speakers because you are about to hear an eloquent "word" set to beautiful music!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A quick word

I am amazed out how much time has gone by without blogging. I can't even imagine out much our lives will change once we actually have children living in our home. Back in the recesses of my mind, I think a part of me says "if you think you're busy now....just wait!"

We took vacation at the beginning of the month. I wanted to get "out of town" since all hadn't been going well with the adoption process. We went down to my parents home in Tulsa and had a great time. It was a low key, a very relaxing time; and very much needed.

Of course there was the whole "drama" ordeal with my truck. I had the brakes worked on in the morning before we left in the afternoon. $550.00 later (gulp) we were on the road with plenty of stopping power! So we're tooling down I-44 in Tulsa and exit at Harvard Ave just about 1.5 miles from the parents home. Well, coming up to the intersection and traffic light, I push the clutch in to down shift and the clutch felt like "mush" and I couldn't easily pull the stick shift out of gear. I let out the clutch and stomped on it again - same thing. At this point, I had to "man-handle" the stick shift and yank it out of gear, all the while trying to come to a stop at the intersection. The light turns green, I try to put it in gear to go and it will NOT go into gear. At this point I'm thinking "OH, don't EVEN ....." I ended up shutting the engine off and it slipped into gear. I started the truck again and limped it around the corner into a Jiffy Lube parking lot. I had to call my Dad and tell him "I think my clutch just went out." So, he gets in the car to come and fetch Tamala & I and all of our gear. I left the "old grey mule" sitting right there in the parking lot. I had it towed to an Aamco station less than a mile up the road. This was Tuesday. Finally, Thursday afternoon they call me to tell me it's ready. $1255.00 later.....I'm rolling again. Yes sir indeedy......over $1800 in repairs all within a few days.

Thank God for Dave Ramsey and his financial teaching. Fortunately we had our emergency fund in place and with some other "moving money around" we met the challenge head on and paid the bill!

We made it down to my brother's home and spent a couple of days down there. There was a "house full of us" but hey, when you're with family it doesn't matter. We had a great time and loved every minute of it.

I've got to sign off because there are some more things that I need to get to.

Adoption -
Although our adoption worker is working with us a little better since our last visit on October 5th; the process hasn't seemed to speed up any. I and about to the point of sitting down and writing letters to heads of agencies and even State officials. I don't really want to complain to them - just tell them - this has been our experience. Who knows, I've even thought of calling the local television station. The thought HAS crossed my mind more than once!

Gotta run!

Be blessed!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Six weeks later - normal again

Finally,after six weeks of being "out-of-sorts", we are back to a state of normalcy. What is so unbelievable is that early last week, we received an email from the contractor that ABANDONED the job six weeks ago. His email said that he wanted to come back and complete the job and undo the damage in which he had left our home. I looked at the email and I was INCREDULOUS! I showed the email to Tamala and said "him he didn't even offer an apology!" I ended up just deleting the email.

So, anyway, we wanted to share a few of what was, and what IS now....

this is how the Entry Hall was left:

this is now:

this WAS the kitchen catastrophe:

the kitchen NOW:

Whew! What a relief!

Friday, September 11, 2009

"I'm sorry but we don't believe you're the parents for our children"

Here's a shock - we weren't chosen again! They might as well play a recording for us at this point since they say the same thing over and over again. The other family that was in the Best Interest Staffing for these two boys weren't chosen either. So these boys will stay in the system longer and longer. According to the State's own statistics, the older these kids get the smaller and smaller their chances of being adopted become. What a shame!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Health care plan -

Let me get this straight.

The President's health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it and whose members will be exempt from it,

signed by a president who smokes,

funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes,

overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,

and financed by a country that is nearly broke.

Scared, who me, what could possibly go wrong?!

I couldn't resist posting the above email received from a friend.

Monday, September 7, 2009

This is my Father's house

Yesterday, Sunday September 6th, after many long months, we conducted our first worship service in our new church building! Let's just say there was a "thunderous" praise that arose yesterday many times during service coupled with a great deal of rejoicing! Everyone wore a smile and there were many tears of joy throughout the servcie. Personally, the level of "anticipation" I had prior to the start of service was "off the hook!" I nearly trembled with exicitement.

Words are realy inadequate at this moment for me to try and communicate the depth of gratitude I have for our new worship facility. You see, Tamala and I have been without a permanent physical church structure for four very long years. When you don't have a building it is exceedingly difficult, not impossible, to conduct some of the ministry outreaches when you do have a physical structure.

We had an email last Friday afternoon that there would be some people at the church building setting up chairs in the sanctuary. They had just arrived that day. So after work, Tamala and I stopped for a quick bite to eat and headed over to the building. There were dozens of people that showed up to help - all on last minute's notice. We agreed to show up again on Saturday morning because Tamala had been asked if she could help out doing some cleaning in the building in preparation for our first service. I had mentioned to our senior Pastor that I would like to bring my power washer and clean off the side walk entrance just outside our main entrance where the construction workers had dripped paint from when they re-painted the canopy overhead. I also asked him if he would mind if I worked on the rose bushes outside and some of the shrubs. I told him I wanted to "shape" them up just a little bit. He said, "Kevin, you can do whatever you want". I was surprised and humbled that my pastor put that much confidence in me and trusted me to that level. As I was trimming the shrubs, picking up trash and debris in the garden beds, dead-heading the rose bushes, I had such a sense of peace and contentment overcome me because I was doing this "as unto the Lord". This is my Father's house, and I wanted to do what little I could to help make it beautiful. For me, bending over to pick up the smallest pieces of trash, sweeping the sidewalks, etc. is my way of "serving" my Father and his children. I definitely didn't feel a sense of pride, or accomplishment (which is a driving force for my personality type) but what I felt was a sense of serenity - yeah, that's the right word, knowing that I can make a contribution in something much, much larger than myself, and that has such eternal significance. Let me explain: the Word of God says that my Father's house, will be a house of prayer. Not only will my brothers and sisters in Christ be coming but there will be those that come that don't have an intimate relationship with my heavenly Father. There will be those that come to my Father's house, that are hurting, those that are sick in their mind, body and spirit. My Father's house will be a place of restoration and healing!

It is for all of these people and for my Father, that I can do the little things that I can. It is a "labor of love". It is a way of expressing my love and gratitude to a heavenly Father that has done so much for me and brought me out of places of darkness. So, every time I hand someone a tithe envelope, or help someone find their seat in the sanctuary for worship, or pick up a piece of trash in the parking lot, or trim a rose bush, I might as well lift mine eyes unto the heavens, smile and say - "Father, it's me - I love you so much! Thank you for all you have done. Thank you for loving me as much as you do."

I would like to extend to each of you an invitation. Won't you please join us for worship experience at our new "house of prayer"? I would count it a privilege to escourt you to your seat. It will be an honor to say......"Welcome to my Father's house"!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Getting back to NORMAL

Well gang, it's been a week and a half since 'THE ORDEAL' and slowly but surely our house is coming back together. We're getting closer and closer to normal; whatever that is!

We've had a guy come out several times now - AFTER he gets off his day job which is a Supervisor of the maintenance staff at an apartment complex in Lawrence, KS. He has come over and installed the carpet in the two bedrooms, hallway and two sets of stairs. It's looking WAY better than it ever has!

I would imagine this weekend will entail Tamala and I doing some work on the entry hall and kitchen floors. Like peeling up the rest of the "peel & stick" tiles and then nailing down some plywood. We've found some really nice flooring we want to install. It looks really simple, thank God for simple! I don't have the necessary skills for hard installation; or probably the patience.

Let's make this one short and sweet - what do ya say?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A brush with... a con man!

Dear readers - this last Sunday unfolded in a most unexpected way! Let me start out by telling you that Tamala and I went to church and had an intense worship experience! God moved in a "mighty" way and many lives were forever changed! We left completely re-charged, renewed and refreshed in our spirits, hearts and minds.

We needed to hurry home because we had made an appointment with a flooring contractor the day before to come to our house at 1pm and lay carpeting in the two downstairs bedrooms and the two stair cases. We had agreed on a price on Saturday and the amount of work that he would perform the next day. I told him that I wanted it in writing. He assured me that he would go home and work on it that evening and email it to me that very night. I checked my email just before going to bed. No written agreement.

I checked email just before leaving for church - no written agreement.

I sent him a text message just before church services started saying that "I don't do business without a writtent agreement". He sent a text that he would have it by the time he arrived to work.

So, we rush home. He was already there parked in our driveway. No problem. The very first thing I ask him when I get out of the truck is "Do you have the agreement?" He said that the Library doesn't open until 1pm and he didn't have it. He was standing there with a spiral notebook in his hand. I told him that he needed to write it down before he starts. Do you see where this is going?........

I turned and went into the house to change out of my church clothes. I'm down in the bedroom changing when I hear the very distinct sounds of work being done. I found this guy and said "Show me the written agreement". The spiral notebook was blank. I told him "Stop, right now. You have to write down the work that is going to be performed, the labor costs, and what products I will be responsible for buying. He finally wrote it down. I told him to sign it and then I signed it and made him a copy. He said something about an advance so he could go rent the tools to lay the carpet and buy the padding. "What! You didn't bring the tools to do the job? I told you yesterday to bring the padding to the job with you." I then told him that "I don't pre-pay anyone for a job". I also told him that if I was going to have to pay for renting the tools and buy the carpet padding that it was coming out of the agreed to price and that I would be going to Lowes with him to buy it.

We had drug a lot of our bedroom furniture out into the yard and moved the bed down into the basement so they could begin ripping up carpet and doing the job.

Well, about an hour and a half into the job he came into the living room where I was relaxing in a chair. Actually, I was napping. He told me that he and his helper was going to go get something to eat and some drinks. I told him "That's fine".

About 3:15 Tamala comes in and tells me that he's been gone quite a while and she got to checking around and they had loaded up their tool boxes. So I get up from my nap and started looking around and sure enough they had loaded their things.

I told her about 3:45 that they weren't coming back! Yep, that's right, this guy had ABANDONED the job! Take a look at what we were left with:

our things out in the yard!

how he left the downstairs-

But here's the real "kicker" -
While I was sleeping his helper had been peeling up all the "peel and stick" tiles down in our entry hall and in the kitchen. You CANNOT imagine the "stickiness" of the adhesive that was left down on the was GROSS!

Here we were, a house left in a mess, personal belongings out in the yard and Plan A had just abandon the job. Tamala was showing signs of being really, REALLY upset and I told her that we need to recognize what was TRULY going on here. We are under "attack" from the enemy and he was just trying to steal our JOY! I told her, "I'm just not going to let that happen, he's not stealing our JOY!" So I picked up the phone and started calling friends. Fortunately a neighbor came over and helped me load our belongings out in the yard back into the house. I called a contractor we'd used in the past and told him what had just happened. He said "I'll be there tomorrow night and we'll get this fixed". He was our CAVALRY!

He came out Monday night, Wednesday night and just left tonight. He's got the two bedrooms fully carpeted and all he has to do is finish the stairs. Tamala and I just have to decide what to do with the entry hall and kitchen floor at this point.

But, that's okay 'cause........Sunday's COMIN'! There is an old 'spiritual' that says that "late in the midnight hour, God is gonna turn it around!"

I told Tamala that we can give God praise because "this guy walked away without one red cent of our money. This is a test, and we're gonnna pass this test!"

"In all things, give THANKS to God!" I also know that He is the God of doing "exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you can even ask or think".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family Reunions and a "sense of family"

This past weekend Tamala & I attended not one, but two family reunions. In my previous post I mentioned that "life is whizzing by with the speed of a bullet train". Just a few short weeks ago we traveled down to Branson, MO (or Redneck Vegas as my brother puts it)to a family reunion.

Anyway this past weekend we attended the Graham Family Reunion in Ponca City, OK. How does one convey what attending this particular reunion really means. I guess I would have to try and start by saying means....ROOTS. Roots that run long and very deep within what used to be known as the Indian Territory and later became the state of Oklahoma. Roots that tell us our fore fathers bought the fastest horses they could find to run in the Great Land Rush on that fateful day! BOOMER........SOONER......runs in the veins of our roots! We know what those famous words really mean. We can see in our mind how it may have played out that day just before they fired the shot...then .... the race was ON!

This particular family had a visionary, entreprenuer and many other aspects of greatness; he was my great grandfather, Fulton Graham. He bought 2200 acres from the Indians for $.25 per acre! I just found that fact out from my Aunt Shirley after the reunion was over. Grandpa Fulton and his wife, Ethel, had nine children! Those nine children have been quite prolific and borne some 32 grandchildren for my great grandparents. It is these nine children that grew up on the 2200 acre Graham Ranch and lived a life that legends are made of.

To me, my great-uncles and aunts represent an era that is slowly fading into history. Last year, the only girl, Gladys, born to my great grandparents, wasn't able to make it to the reunion. Well, she lived in a really small town - Burden, Kansas. It was just a few miles outside of Winfield, KS where Tamala and I stay, with her father, while we attend the Graham Reunion. After the reunion was over, Tamala and made a side trip on the way back to Kansas City to see my great-Aunt Gladys. She was having a good day, that day. Her eyes were bright, and her snow white hair glistened like snow on a clear day. We visited with her briefly, not to tire her too much. I am SO thankful we stopped by to see her, because little did I know that would be last time I would be able to hug her, and gaze at her beautiful face. She went home to live with the Lord Jesus several months after last years reunion. We were blessed to have her with us over 90 years!

Three.....we have three still with us. Uncle "Curly", Uncle Johnny and Uncle Billy and their beautiful wives. All three of these guys can tell you stories that will have you mesmerized and fixed to your seats. They represent the "living and breathing" heritage of the very roots of my family. They ARE me; and I love them. When I think of them, I think of a ranch as big as a county, cattle drives, baling hay, a huge barn, prairie fires, thunderstorms racing across the plains, twisters, breakin' horses, "truck houses", dirt roads, rodeos, ranch-hands, priceless wood carvings and ...... family.

It is quite impossible for me to convey to you what family really means to me here in this short little blogspot.

"Home is where the heart is" is an expession I've heard for many years. For me, Family is what warms the heart, any day you need a sense of comfort.

"Listen......can you hear it?" Listen hard! Listen with me.....get real quiet! Shhhhh......

"Listen intently and you can hear....yes, YES, there it is....the wind blowing softly over the country road, over the alfalfa field, down past the barn yard, through the open sashes of the old bunk house and into the main house where you can hear the sounds of Grandma cookin' dinner". Listen hard, and you can always hear the sounds

Adoption update

Please forgive the delay in posting in a timely manner. LIFE is whizzing by with the speed of a bullet train!

We are being considered with one other family for two little brothers. The elder is 13 and the little brother will turn 8 tomorrow! Our adoption worker told us earlier this week that the boy's Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) wants to meet Tamala and I personally. You see, these little boys have already experienced one failed adoption just two short years ago. The GAL is the boy's legal representative and is responsible for looking after their legal "well-being".

We just completed yet another questionaire for our Adoption worker. At first blush, you would think that the "State" and all of their associates must think that Tamala and I have a crystal ball. For instance they want to know if we are prepared to handle all the strengths and challenges these boys will bring to our family. I want to tell them, "Well I'm really don't have any text book answers to give you here and if I did, I would expect you to bring us text book children." It's as if they want to play the .... "what if" game and want us to answer all their "what if" questions. I mean, they think there are parents out there that have ALL the answers?

Anyway, I'll step down off of my soap box now ...I was just about to work up a light sweat!

We'll let you know about the next steps as they present themselves....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Not one but TWO Best Interest Staffings this week- Adoption update

Great day in the mornin'....has it really been two weeks since my last post? Unbelievable! It really has.
We received word back when we were headed down to Branson for the family reunion a couple of weeks back that we were going to be included in Best Interest Staffings on two separate pairs of "brothers". Our first one will be on Wednesday ,July 29th and if we are "chosen" as the resource family our names will be withdrawn out of the next one that happens to be the next day, Thursday. So by this time next week, we hope that we will be able to post the great news!
This one is short, sweet and to the point!

Dare about Pop Culture? I do want to honor a real hero

It has now been better than three weeks since Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson all died. Then "pitchman" Billy Mays died unexpectantly as well. I have thought long and hard if I even wanted to blog about such things - like "pop culture". It is hard to believe that Michael Jackson is still so prevelant in the news even a month after his passing. I heard a news cast that stated it cost the city of Los Angeles between $1 and $2 million for all the security, etc. for Michael Jackson's funeral. So my question is and forgive me for being so blunt - "What did Michael Jackson really stand for?" "What difference did he make, if any?". They always say - "the King of Pop" - Michael Jackson and I am always very quick to editorialize - you need to say 'self-proclaimed' King of Pop. He called himself that and was allowed to get away with it.

What amazes me is that an authentic American hero died at the very same time and no one even mentioned who it was or what he did. So, I want to give honor here to someone who truly did make a difference and had a tremendous impact. I honor Ed Freeman by and through an email I received.

Ed Freeman

You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley , 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is half way around the world-12,000 miles away-and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the doctors and nurses.

And, he kept coming back, 13 more times, and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at the age of 80, in Boise, ID. May God rest his soul.

Medal of Honor


Since the Media didn't give him the coverage he deserves,


Sunday, July 12, 2009

A return from Redneck Vegas

Well, we have returned from a family reunion down in Branson, MO that my brother so aptly put it - "A Redneck Vegas". We had a great time seeing family that we haven't seen in a couple of years - some even longer!

We had luxurious accomodations at the Wyndam Mountain Vista Resort thanks to my parents and their timeshare plan.

We went to the Titanic Museum there in Branson. I would recommend seeing it. They have a few "actual" artifacts from the Titanic on display. You get to see and walk up an exact replica of the "Grand Staircase" that was in the ship. It's very educational and an enjoyable experience.

It is truly amazing how much Branson has changed over the years. The first time I really remember going there was back in summer of 1989. It was just before I started truck driving school. They have blasted through some mountains and completely leveled other I think just to build highways to accomodate all the traffic. Sometimes I wonder what the local folk think about all the traffic and tourists that come to their once "small town".

Anyway, we're back safe and sound - thank you Lord!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Things that make you go...hhhhmmmmm!

So, my sweet bride and I were returning from a weekend celebration of birthdays and July 4th. It's been a beautiful day and all was going well.

In the southern part of Kansas City we suddenly remembered we had to swing by Tam's work to pick up her car we had left there on the way out of town. It was a last second decision but I swerved hard right in order to make our exit ramp when I "heard" something. It sounded like it came from my truck but I checked the mirrors and didn't see anything rolling & tumbling on the pavement behind me so I thought all is okay.

Well we go a few blocks off the Interstate to pickup Tam's car, I let her out, then I begin to pull away when I hear this.... "blubb, blubb, blubb" sound and it didn't "feel" quite right. I looked back at Tam and she looked at me with this quizzical look on her face and began to point at the rear tire. YEP! You guessed it. I had a flat tire. I thought...well, no big deal, I'm not in any big hurry, the temperature is very pleasant outside, I'm in the shade.....I'll just pull this baby off, replace it with the spare and I'll be on my way, right? So you would think.

So, I broke the lug nuts free, jacked it up, removed all the lug nuts, gave a gentle pull, and.......nothing! Pulled harder.....nothing! I kicked it....nothing! I kicked it again, and again, pulled on it, pushed on it....nothing! I'm thinking "oh great, now what am I going to do?"

So, I call a tow truck. I figure I'll have him tow it back to the house and I'll take a hammer to it. He gets there and asks if I'd like to drive the truck home with the spare tire on it or have it towed. I said "Well, yeah, I'd like to change to change th tire now!" So, he pulls out a long two by four board and a big hook. He begins pounding it to break it free, nothing! He pulls on it, nothing! He kicks on it - nothing! He pounds on it some more with the wood and hook - NOTHING! We load it up on the tow truck and take it to the auto repair garage I've been using the past couple of years.

I pick it up the next day and am talking to the Service Foreman and I ask "So, how DID you get that wheel off the hub?" He said we didn't. The mechanic plugged the tire right on the truck. I asked "What causes something like this to happen?" He tells me something about they've been changing the alloys in the metals and coupled along with corrosion it really "binds" the metals together. I say "What am I supposed to do it I have another blow out somewhere?" **blink ** **blink**
He just looks at me.

Things that make you go ......hhhhhmmmmmmmmm!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrating Birthdays,Independence Day and a little Soul Food

Happy 4th of July to all my friends and family!! We are celebrating down at my brother's in Duncan, OK. It's 103 degrees in the shade!! We celebrated his two sons' birthday's yesterday with smoked pork butt, ribs, chicken, asapagus and a potato salad that was awesome! Actually, all of it was incredible! We had birthday cupcakes and attempted to make home-made ice cream but it didn't setup quickly enough. But all of that wasn't the "soul food". That part came in by taking part and having "family time". Today we took the kiddies to the park and the smiles and giggles were music to my "soul". There is something heartwarming about how my little nieces and nephews can giggle and laugh- it truly touches me to the core! Then there are the squeals of excitement when they are enjoying swimming in their pool.

Jameson turned 3 years old on June 21st! He really like his AM/FM "Mater" radio he got for his birthday!

Noah turned 1 on June 19th!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A little "pick me up" for you -

For your listening pleasure. Have a doubly-blessed day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quit digging!

I was listening to my financial advisor guy on the radio the other day during my lunch hour when he took a call from another listener. The person calling in said something in his introductory remarks that they had dug themselves into a hole (financial). When he said that, immediately I thought...."Quit digging". Then I thought...hmmmm - sounds like a great sermon title to me!
Sometimes when we've found that we've dug ourselves into a hole - it is at that point we need to tell ourselves to "quit digging". Tamala and I "quit digging" the summer of 2007. We stopped borrowing money and started "back filling the hole". We had to stop spending money like the politicians in Washington and create a whole new paradigm shift regarding how we thought about money, handled money and "seeded" money.

To date, we've paid off several thousand dollars of consumer debt and just this past week, we paid off one more credit card. We are "DISCOVERing" financial freedom and peace. That balance was just over $4,000 a couple of years ago; but it is $0.00 today!

Into the Crosshairs of our financial SCOPE -
Chase Bank has fallen into our crosshairs at this point! If all things remain constant we should completely retire this debt by September of this year, and, if we can keep the MOMENTUM, all of our consumer debt, Student Loans, etc will be completely paid off by April of next year! That's ten months my friend! That means we won't have any debt except our home in ten short months. I told Tamala yesterday - finally we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Let me tell you friend we have delayed many things while on our present journey. I can't tell you the number of times it would have been easy to go out and borrow money to do the things around our house that we have wanted to do. But that would have been just digging deeper into the hole of debt - so we didn't. We had to remind our ourselves that if we wanted different results than what we had been getting, we had to stop doing what we had been doing and try something else.

It seems almost trivial now, but 2 1/2 years ago we had some small doctor bills that we had to pay off. We were paying about $30.00 a month or so on three or four of them. So what we learned was when we paid our first one of those off, we took that same $30.00 a month and began applying it to the next payment and guess what? TRACTION baby - we got TRACTION!! Today, that $30.00 has grown exponentially!

That was what the billboard said here in Kansas City back in early 2007. When I read that... I thought "could that really be possible"? Today, I can really see that it is possible. What is really cool to realize is that when you don't have any debt no one can come along and take anything away from you.

Stay tuned - we hope that next April we will be able to post - WE'RE DEBT FREE!!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Adoption- a quick word!

I realized that I haven't said much lately about the adoption process. Well, we have been told that we will be considered in a Best Interest Staffing on two little brothers as soon as their Guardian Ad Litem returns from a trip to another country. Then a Case Manager for a sibling group of four is currently looking at our homestudy and will make a determination after that if we will be considered for a Best Interest Staffing.
Our Adoption Worker just emailed us a new picture & profile of two little brothers, 7 and 4 years old that Tamala and I will look at and begin discussing.
So, that's it! Short, sweet and to the point.

Friday, June 19, 2009

a time to GROW favorite time of year. I really enjoy when things begin to grow and bloom. First it seems to be the Daffodils that pop up and greet us. Then I begin anticipating seeing Tulips with their dazzling display. Although my Tulips haven't done much thse past two seasons - I think I'm going to move them.

A couple of years ago, we had a wonderful neighbor who gave us all kinds of plants, bulbs and shrubs; some of which I still haven't been able to identify.

I do enjoy growing the Hostas in the back yard. You'll notice they are under a black mesh. The last two years, my hostas were up and going great and then...overnight...they were gone! Something obviously was eating them. My neighbor across the street was having the same problem. I knew slugs like to eat Hostas but this was way too much for slugs to eat overnight! I started looking online for other culprits. I learned that deer have a taste for Hostas. That made sense to me at that point because I've seen deer crossing my lawn more than once. That is why this year I decided to put the Hostas under something - to protect them. I found this black plastic mesh at a hardware store - surrounded them with it and then laced the top shut with some twine. It has worked so far.

Friday, June 12, 2009

and then there's always....."HOME" by Joe Diffie

This one has been rollin' around in my noggin' for some time now. This is one of those posts you may want to take "nature break" now, grab your favourite beverage, prop your feet up - cuz we're liable to be here awhile.

Singer/songwriter Joe Diffie debuted "Home" back in 1990 and it has been my "anthem" ever since. The guitars, dobros, gentle rhythm and great vocal harmonies blend together to make "one hallmark" of a country song.

"Home" for me wasn't literally the place where I resided, but a very special place that lie in my past. When I was a child, it was a magical place; when I was a young teenager it was a place of warmth and love. "Home" was a 240 or so acre farm my grandparents owned near Newkirk, Kay County, Oklahoma. There were three different livestock ponds, hay meadows, wheat fields, cattle pens, barns, chicken coops, an out-house, yes I said out-house and yes I did use it, and a junk yard complete with old combines, 1940s autobmobiles, old abandoned farm implements, etc (a world full for exploration for a young, inquisitive mind). There were cows to milk, calves to feed, hogs to slop, yards to mow, ridin' on the tractor for endless hours while Grandpa plowed or disced, cows to milk again, beans to snap, taters to dig, chickens to kill and prepare, weldin' to do, feed to scoop, and did I mention-cows to milk.

What one of us grandkids couldn't think of to get into, well it was a sure bet that another could. I think one of the most memorable moments was one afternoon a group of five or six of us was lookin' for somethin to get into and sure enough that's just what we did. Now, remember I told you earlier there was always cows to milk? Well, where there's cows there guessed it....cow pies! Now I don't zactly recollect whose bright idea it was but we found ourselves out in the corrall where the cows gather before milking and someone picked up stick and... watch out -here's where it gets messy - they stuck it into one of those fresh cow pies and flung it at someone! Well, that was all it took....the fight was on! Everyone was grabbin' sticks and started flingin cow manure everyhwere. My brother Mike got hit in the ear! I think the grown ups made us git into the stock tank to wash most of the manure off before comin into the house. That was probably 40 years ago and we still bring it up at family reunions to this day!

In the attached video, someone is drivin around shooting the local scenery. Well, it might as well have been shot from my Grandpa's 1951 Studebaker pickup truck! I think over one winter he pulled it into the barn and repainted it red, white and gold if I recall. We started callin it the "Coke" truck. I am sure that if that old truck were around today and it could talk it would have some tall tales to tell.

Also in the lyrics of the song it talks about.... "the feel of a muddy role between your toes". Well, I remember a bunch of us always like to go down the "East" pond and go for a swim. Yup, I remember all too well the "feel of a muddy role between my toes". Of course, we always had to keep a wary eye out for "rattlers" and water moccassins but no one every got bit. My family and I were down at the East pond fishin one time and I thought I'd walk around to the other side where my Mom was "wettin' a hook", as I was walkin' around the waters edge I wasn't payin close attention and all of the sudden I looked down just as I was takin another step, I almost stepped on a water moccassin curled up right by the water's edge. Well I let out a war hoop and nearly peed my pants and the snake shot straight into the water. I started bawlin and carryin on! They sent me up to the house, I guess cause of all the racket I was makin after being scared spitless!

Not much left of "the ole place" these days except the milk barn my Grandpa built with his own hands back about 1969. I am told he didn't have a blueprint or any plans - 'cept in his head. It was a wondrous building back in that day! Just a few years ago I made a friend back down near Joplin and he had milk cows. I'd visit him every now and then and when I walk into his milkbarn, it had the ole smells of milk, feed, manure and must that my Grandpa's barn did and instantly - I was back "Home" again. Memories are a powerful thing!

They sold the "old Home place" back in about 1989 and it was like an "era" came to an end. I believe there had always been a Graham farm of some kind or another since the Oklahoma Land Rush in 1907. Both of my Great Grandfathers were in the Land Rush! But I've got some old milk cans, steel wagon wheels, milk strainer and a few other mementos that I wouldn't take anything for 'em. To me...they're priceless!

I wish I could go back but I can't. But every and then, I catch a whiff of, that smells just like Grandma's fried chicken, bread bakin' in the oven, or a wheat field just after a rain, freshly cut alfalfa... and instantly it takes me back and.....I'm "Home" again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

$1 Trillion dollars - just what does that look like?

All this talk about "stimulus packages" and "bailouts"...
A billion dollars...
A hundred billion dollars...
Eight hundred billion dollars...
One TRILLION dollars...

What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I'd take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.
We'll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go.

A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet...

And $1 BILLION dollars... now we're really getting somewhere...

Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we've been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros.
Ladies and gentlemen... I give you $1 trillion dollars...

you can't hardly see the man standing beside the pallets but he's in the very far lower left hand corner- it simply dwarfs him!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My newest blog - has to do with Missions/Outreach

It is so amazing - I now have two blogs to keep up with! You can check out my newest blog my clicking on the link - Launch Pad Studios to the left just under Tamala's picture. Don't forget to check out my brother's blog - The Extended Table too!

I've been on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Academy of Theatrical Arts for the last couple of years now and Launch Pad Studios is our latest endeavor. As you will read on the Launch Pad Studios blog - our first project is helping to educate Africa's young people.

A couple of years ago, I began to feel that there may be a missions trip to Africa sometime in my future. As a young person, I almost had a fear that the Lord would ask me to go to Africa. Now, I have a completely different mindset. It seems that since we are in the very beginning stages of this whole new endeavor - there may actually be a trip to Africa in my not too distant future.

Anyway - check it out and please.....leave comments!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Flinthills of Kansas, Dances with Wolves and The Man from Snowy River

What an incredible experience! Last Friday, Tamala, her cousin and myself left the hustle & bustle of big city life to travel to Lindsorg, KS (little Sweden of Kansas) in order to attend a wedding of one of Tamala's other cousins.

The Flinthills of Kansas -
We also travel through the Flinthills of Kansas when making a trek down to Tamala's family in Winfield, KS. Some may find them dull and boring because trees are not plentiful at all. I find the Flinthills an awesome spanse of land - rolling hills with lush prairie - thousands and thousands of acres of them. On some of the upper plateaus you can see for miles! I can almost picture a vast herd of buffalo grazing on the slopes or see a wagon train moving lazily "high atop the rim rock".

Of course my experience was heightened because I had downloaded the soundtracks from Dances With Wolves and also The Man from Snowy River and was listening to these magnificent musical compositions while moving throught the Flinthills. I must say it was a sensory euphoria to say the least......beautiful music and spectacular scenery. Behold the handiwork of the Lord!

Friday, May 22, 2009

To go... or not to go....!!!! It has been 30 years this month since I walked across the stage at my high school graduation! Seriously...that really cannot be true....30 years ago...COME ON!
My class reunion committee has posted a website and many of my classmate have signed on and posted stories and pics. Some look virtually unchanged, even after 30 years; while others I would have walked right past them on the street without a clue as to who they are. It is amazing how some people "age" and some don't seem to.

I've told my wife I really don't know what I want to do yet. I haven't kept in contact with anyone from my graduating class. I really don't see the benefit of going to a 30 year class reunion. It doesn't seem likely that I would continue to have a friendship with any of them after leaving the reunion. So, what is the real reason for going? Just to see how much everyone has "aged"? What kind of a reason is that? I have no desire to compare notes with other people to see how I "measure up" to them in the realm of attaining whatever success might have been reached in the last 30 years - that is just prideful and I don't want any part of that. Yeah, don't get me wrong, it would be nice to visit with a few of them and get caught up.

"to go.... or not to go.....that is the question"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"We wrestle not with...."

Dear Readers, Tamala and I want to take a moment to let you know how much we appreciate the outpouring of support and words of encouragement. You ARE a blessing!
That Wednesday when we concluded that we were being discriminated against as potential adoptive parents, we went to Bible Study that evening which is our usual commitment. As I was listening to what was being presented, I received a "quickening" in my spirit from the Lord that what we are dealing with is a spiritual battle and nothing more. The Adversary, or Satan his self, is not wanting us to have a child or children placed in our home; especially those children who have already been victims of his insidious attack on their biological family(ies).

The Word of God tells me in Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"KJV. the footnotes and annotations in my Bible tell me that these principalities and powers are "spirit rebels". I am convinced that we have stirred them up because we have taken a stand... we are committed to Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way that he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." These 'spirit rebels' know that we will teach our children about the infinite love of our Heavenly Father and supreme sacrifice our Lord and Saviour, Jesus of Nazareth made when he gave himself willingly as the eternal atonement for our sins, restoring us to right relationship with God the Father!

We stand on the Word and the Promises it has for us. My earthly father bestowed a blessing upon Tamala and myself during our wedding ceremony invoking the rights, privileges and blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant upon our household. Take a glimpse of a part of that blessing: " will have complete victory over all your enemies. You will be blessed in all that you undertake. The Lord God will open to you all His good treasure. The heavens will rain on all your lands in due season and He will bless the work of your hands. This day I decree it. I prophesy it! Be blessed, BE BLESSED!"

I John 5:4 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith". I am convinced that we have the victory over the world's system.

Besides, Grammie Palmer wants more grandchildren upon whom she will bestow a legacy of love. When Grammie prays, you'd better watch out! She has that calling, that anointing, a tenacity and persistence that gets the attention of God. She will "press in" and will NOT be denied when it comes to her children and grand babies. Trust me, I KNOW!

Principalities, powers and rulers of darkness in this world, you've been put on notice: If it is fight you want, then our battle cry has been sounded. We call upon the intercessors, the hosts of angels to go forth to do battle, the armies of Lord God Jehovah to break forth with the light of God and accomplish the mission of creating a Forever Family in the name of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Adoption update - Secular Humanism is alive and well!

I really didn't know how to title my post today - I wanted to let you know about the adoption update but also wanted to throw in the "spice" or maybe I should say "putrification" to really get your attention. Grab a cup of java or whatever your favorite beverage might be, this could take a few minutes. This will likely turn into more of a RANT by the time it ends.

As most of you know Tamala & I have been preparing for adoption for over two years now. I've shared on here in the recent past how many times that she and I have not been selected as an adoptive resource for many sibling groups. In case you aren't aware, it's been like five different times aleady.

About a week ago our adoption worker sent us information on a little brother and sister needing adoption and we told her that we wanted to be considered along with other families in the Best Interest Staffing for these two little ones.

Well..... yesterday..... I get an email from our adoption worker saying that the case worker and the supervisor for these two little ones wouldn't even consider us as an adoptive resource. Our adoption worker told them she had to know why. Then she emailed me asking if Tamala and I could come to her office and meet with her so we could discuss the reasons. I simple picked up the phone and called her because I knew something wasn't right and I wanted to know what the deal was and I wanted to know, NOW!

Let me take a really quick moment to explain that our adoption agency is contracted with the State of Kansas (think beauracracy here, okay, with all its "agendas").

I'm going to cut right to the chase here - Our adoption worker explained to me that because we took a stand in our homestudy process, that we do not believe that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle, and that if any of our children told us they thought they may be "gay" that we would seek out psychological and spiritual counseling in an attempt that they would "know the truth and the truth would set them free" - they wouldn't even consider us as an adoptive resource for these children.

*blink*........*blink, blink*.... "What did you just say? Surely, I did not hear you say what I think you just said, did I?"


So I ask our worker: "So you're telling me that if an 'openly' gay individual or even a 'gay couple' comes into your office and says they want to adopt a child(ren) that your office will adopt children out to them?"

Answer: "Yes, we will"


"So even though we have made it 'crystal clear' to you, our adoption worker, that if any child of ours that we adopt should at some point in the future decide they are gay, that we would continue to love them and help them in every way we possibly could. We know that "loving people through things they encounter in life" is a {PROCESS}. We would share with them that life is a series of "choices" and sometimes we don't always make the best "choices" - that doesn't 'undo' us as a family. Families go through things... life experiences... and still survive. So, Ms. Adoption Worker, none of what we assured you of regarding this issue was believable?"

"blah, blah....blah, blah,'s not quite that simple, Kevin. Let me get my Supervisor on here with us. (pause) Supervisor - " blah, blah....blah, blah, blah... and we can't help it if people in our own office might have a prejudice against you for the stance that you've taken on the homosexuality issue".


Now, I have to go home and somehow break the news to my sweet wife - that we have just wasted the last two years of our lives dealing with some beaureaucratic entity that doesn't have any official inter-office policy on how to keep your own personal biases and prejudices from entering in on your professional decision making ability when trying to find families for babies and little children who desperately need a "forever family".

Because my wife and I will not openly embrace and uphold the homosexual lifestyle and teach children that it is an acceptable lifestyle; because we choose to stand unwaveringly on our Judeo-Christian values - our adoptive agency will find it exceedingly difficult to find a child or any children for us to adopt.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the story of ....Rindercella and the Prandsome Hince

I used to love to hear Archie Campbell tell his stories on Hee Haw as a kid. I can't tell you elated I was when I found it on YouTube.

I would especially like to dedicate this to my youngest nieces and nephews or as Archie would say it: my neautiful bieces and nandsome hephews - Landison, Meah, Nameson and Joah!

Love you all!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Totally TERRIFIC time with the Tots!

Okay, sorry...but I couldn't resist the alliteration. It might sound cheesy but we really did have the best time with our nieces & nephews earlier this week. REWIND.......

Friday, March 20th the wife and I piled into the F150 after work and headed toward Duncan, OK with planned stop over in Winfield, KS. We planned on taking our Toyota Corolla but Friday morning the check engine light came on and we took it to the local mechanic's garage for repairs. We arrived at Tamala's Dad's house that evening and visited a bit and then retired for the night. We took him and his "lady friend" to breakfast Saturday morning at a little Bistro place there in Winfield. They have decent food and quaint atmosphere for Winfield and what it has to offer otherwise. Then we piled back into the truck and headed for the Palmer Kingdom in Duncan, OK, US of A to visit the "Royals".

You see the eldest lassie in their clan was having a birthday! Her Royal Highness the Drama Princess, Princess Madison, was turning six years old! She has grown so very tall over the last few years. There was a birthday party being held at the local bowling alley and many of her little friends came and had themselves quite a time. Of course her younger sister, the Prosecutor - Princess Leah, brothers Prince Jameson and baby Prince Noah were all in attendance as well. For those readers not familiar with these titles, they are borrowed from their father's blogsite - The Extended Table - who consistently writes about current events that happen within his "kingdom". Her Dad, had made her a Barbie cake to take to the bowling party along with some ice cream cones with cake baked inside. I helped him finish frosting the ice cream cone cakes with the cream cheese icing. I had never seen this done before but they were perfect for all the little ones to hold and get to enjoy birthday cake. Once the icing was on, they looked like real ice cream cones. So after the party we all go back to their house and Madison received a few gifts. Since she was the birthday girl she got to choose where we went to eat that evening. Well, wouldn't you know, she chose The Olive Garden! Duncan doesn't have an Olive Garden so we all piled in the family van and went to Lawton, OK and had a great time and delicious meal.

We enjoyed our time so much with the family! Little Noah will be turning one in mid-June just a couple of days before his older brother Jameson turns three! So I imagine we will be planning another trip down the Royals palatial estate to party down again! We enjoy them now while they're small because they grow up way too fast. Our eldest nieces have been married almost four years now and they've been having babies of their own. They grown up just too fast.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm going out on a limb here

I've been contemplating this for some time and recently when a speaker at function I was attending alluded to it, I figured I might as well go on record.

I have been probably considering this since before the last Presidential election, the tax exemption status of the "church" here in the the good ole USA. I've heard it said that Pastors, Priests, Rabbi's or whatever you call your local spiritual leader, cannot make certain kinds of statements to those that attend their services. I.e, they cannot endorse a political candidate and if they do they can have their tax exempt status revoked. I think there may be some other topics they cannot touch on either. If the gay & lesbian machine keeps pushing their agenda of being designated as a recognized minority group, and they will, I could see the day come requiring churches to employ openly GLBT people. If a church took stand against this they would have their tax exempt status pulled. Well, I say.......

GIVE IT BACK NOW! I really don't think its too far down the road anyhow. I also think that we as tax paying citizens will lose our tax credit for contributions to our places of worship. There, I've said it! It's on paper (figuratively), it's on purpose.

How do I feel about that? I will continue to pay my tithe because the Word of God tells me that He will supply all of my needs, according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. I was reading a commentary a few days ago and the author made a remark that the concept of the "tithe" was in practice even before the Law (Mosaic Law). The Old Testatment will tell you that Abraham practiced the tithe well before Moses took pen & parchment and wrote the Law. This is something on which I am still contemplating, meditating, mulling over, etc. I think I should go back even further in "time" to Adam & Eve's sons. Of course I will need to go back & read it again but if my memory serves me I think Cain & Abel fell into their diversity over their sacrificial offerings to Lord God Jehovah. Was this not their tithe? Yep, I need to go back and study up on this. I guarantee you neither Cain & Abel, Abraham, Moses or any of the rest of them got a "tax deduction" on their monies given to the Lord. The Lord took care of them and blessed them abundantly!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

a little update

It doesn't seem possible that a month has elapsed since my last post. Things have been moving along here at the Palmerosa of Kansas City. We have been taking a very long time to prepare a bedroom upstairs for the impending adoption. It all started maybe three years ago when Tamala and my mother began peeling off the wallpaper in this particular bedroom. There wasn't a "plan" for the room we just knew that we hated the wallpaper. When you don't have a "plan" it is really hard to "work the plan" so it hasn't been a high priority. Well, sometime last summer I think it was I went ahead and tore the drywall out. I'm glad I did because it settled a question I have had since we bought this house. It seemed the utility bills were pretty high. The reason is that there isn't any insulation in the walls! We insulated the attic last May because there wasn't any insulation in the attic either. So after we hauled out the 18 large bags of busted up drywall, I bought some insulation rolls and finished the insulation job in the bedroom.

Now we have new drywall, carpet padding with new carpet and new paint. The only thing left to do is finish the trim work. So, it's very close to being finished.

The funny thing about this whole process is that we don't even know if the child or children we end up adopting will be placed in this room. We don't know if we'll end up with an infant(s) or toddlers, or pre-teens or just exactly what or how many. We don't know if we should paint pink or blue, buy stuff for a girl or boy's room. So, we'll just wait. We have money saved up and it won't be a problem to go on a massive shopping spree!

Since Spring represents the season of new beginnings, growth and propogation; I would like to think this Spring will hold special significance for us.

If you read this before Thursday, March 5th you might find it interesting that we will once again be considered in a Best Interest Staffing for a 10 year old little girl. We just want God's perfect will in this whole ordeal and pray that little Elisabeth will get the parents that God intends for her to have.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chosen! - but not selected

the Word of God tells me that he knew me even before I was born. I was "chosen" to be an heir in the kingdom God established untold millenia ago. There is a people who "chose" to covenant with Jehovah and by doing so became His "chosen people". They hold a special place in His heart. I do not come from the Jewish lineage and had no hope of inclusion in this special relationship. Ahhh, but Lord God Jehovah in His infinite wisdom devised another plan borne out of His immeasurable love for humanity. He "chose" to cut a new covenant and open up to all of humanity the opportunity to obtain "special" relationship status.

A part of "cutting a covenant" with God is that an exchange has to take place - one life force for another life force. In ancient Jewish tradition, a sacrificial lamb had to be slain and offered upon an alter to atone for the sins or shortcomings of the people. The life force of the lamb, the blood, was drained from its body; and exchanged for a restored right relationship with Lord God Jehovah. He chose to send His one and only Son to earth to accomplish this plan. His Son, Jesus, was born, lived and walked among us. He performed more miracles than can be chronicled. He was the "chosen One" destined to become the sacrifcial lamb that would shed His blood to cover our sins and restore us to right relationship with God.

I became "chosen" when I made the choice to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. As Tamala & I have been walking through this adoption experience we have had our names included with many other families to be considered as the adoptive family for several different children. We have always been and will always be "chosen" however we haven't been selected as "the adoptive parents" for any children. I see these as two very different processes. I believe that when we are selected and we establish a family, we will be able to teach our children how valuable and precious they are and what it means to be "chosen". They will come to know and understand how God orchestrated the entire process of creating our family. We recently had our name in to be considered for three little brothers, we were not selected. We are fully trusting that God is going to bring into our lives the children He wants us to parent. What a day of rejoicing that will be when we have been selected. We ARE "chosen", we just haven't been selected......yet!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Gene pool

I've been thinking about this post for a few days, wondering exactly how do I write it. I am still not quite sure how so I'll just start writing and we'll see just how this turns out.

It was better than 20, no maybe 25 years ago, that I was working out in my Dad's barn at the Palmerosa in Owasso, OK which would put me in my early twenties. I was working on something I don't remember now what it was when all of the sudden I realized......that was listening to my Dad's radio station, and ................... (gulp) enjoying it!! It was really a bit of a 'revelatory moment' for me. I thought how could this be? He had the radio somehow wired to the light switch in the barn that when you flipped on the lights, the radio came on too. So I was listening to KBEZ, a Tulsa radio station that played light easy listening music. He always enjoyed talking about The Big Band era, listening to The Glen Miller Band, Benny Goodman, etc. To hear him tell it, he could really "cut a rug" too. He claims he was quite the "dancer" back in the day!

So anyway fast forward to present day. Now over the years, let me reassure you dear reader, that I have NOT missed many a meal. Since I have been working a desk job for the last 20 years, and eating just about anything I wanted, whenever I wanted; I really packed on the pounds. I developed a "belly" just like my Dad's! I've also noticed that my hairline has receded in the same manner his has too.

It was a short four years ago that my parents came up to visit me in Kansas City and help us celebrate a surprise 40th birthday party for Tamala (we were dating at the time). Well I was up in the choir loft with my Singles Pastor, Mark and trying to point my folks out in the crowd because he was going to get them immediately after service to take them back to the room where we were going to celebrate Tamala's birthday. Well, he finally "spied" them in the crowd and he said.. . "Oh, the guy that looks just like you, only a little bit older?!" I said "yeah, that's my Dad, his name is Gene and my mother, Pat, is standing right beside him."

Present Day-
one of the benefits of having 'high speed' internet at my work, I can 'stream' music over the internet through my speakers on my desk and enjoy music all day while I work. I don't play it loudly at all, just very softly, hopefully that only I can hear. I think everyone at the office knows I do it because they all stop by my desk from time to time. I've played jazz, contemporary Christian, light Opera, R & B, and worship music with a few other genres mixed in between at times. But you know what I've been listening to the last several weeks? Yep, you guessed it - Easy Listening. I've heard Glen Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Floyd Cramer, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra and a whole host of others.

It is like the music from the 40s and 50s take me to another time. It helps me 'escape' the ugliness of the current political and social/economic landscape. Music has always been escape and source of inspiration. Its been a coping mechanism for me. I remember back in the early 90's when I owned a Porsche 944, if I had a particularly stressful day in the office, all I had to do was take the sunroof out of the car, pop in my Cool Jazz cassette tapes and just for about 30 minutes; then all things were fine.

There may have been a break in the DNA chain however. You see my Dad, and my brothers too, love to sit and watch sports. If there is a football, basketball, or baseball game being broadcast over the air waves, you can just about bet that they'll be watching it. Don't even get me started on the subject of when they were manufacturing television sets with the "picture in a picture" tvs! Two an three games at one time.

Even as I have been writing this post, I have been listening to, yes - you're right again - the Easy Listening channel on Pandora Radio. I can't help it. It's all apart of.........

the Gene pool.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Three very special little visitors

Albeit this post is a bit "tardy", I still wanted to get it in. Mama T and I had the pleasure of welcoming three special little visitors (our nieces & nephew) to our home Tuesday, December 30th. They were brought to us by none other than the Grammie & Grampie Express Van. For those of you not "in the know" Grammie & Grampie are my parents. My younger brother allowed his three eldest children come up for a little visit with us.

Well we were thrilled they were able to come. I had planned to take them to T-Rex, a well known children's restaurant in Kansas City, KS near the Kansas Speedway. We took the family there when they came to visit Christmas of 2007. The kids really enjoyed themselves seeing all the dinosaurs, ice caves, fish aquariums, etc. It really is a "magical" place for the wee-ones to get to visit. But alas, after they arrived the "cold bug" began working its own plan and we didn't make it out to see any of the places we wanted to take them. We had also planned to take them down to see the Christmas lights at The Plaza.

We had quite a time though. They found Auntie Tam's exercise ball behind one of the chairs i the living room and let me tell you they had a lot of fun with that ball. Of course the ball (almost 3 feet in diameter) was bigger than my 2 year old nephew but that didn't stop any of them from bouncing on it, laying on it or anything else they could dream up. Of course there were a few 'accidents' and a few tears but it always amazed me that after about 15 minutes they were up and at it again.

We played, let's see if we can hide from Uncle Kevin and then run when he sees us and see if he can then catch us as we run through the house 'screaming all the while'.

I told my brother Jay that hopefully they will be able to come up later this summer for a visit because the first phase of the Schlitterbaughn Vacation Resort and Water Theme Park will be opening up just about 15minutes from where we live. As the kids get a little older we will of course want to take them to Worlds of Fun over on the Missouri side of KC.

Everyone piled into the Grammie & Grampie Express Van soon after we ate lunch on New Years Day and headed back to Grammie & Grampie's home in Tulsa. It was reported back to us that the wee ones were soon fast asleep after they left and slept most of the way.

It wasn't five minutes after they left and I looked and Auntie Tam and said "it sure is quiet in here". I remember the night after they had arrived we were playing ball and doing other fun things and I thought to myself... this is like a mini-training session for Auntie Tam and I since we are planning to adopt. All the activity, commotion and busyness of having three little ones in your home; well there's nothing quite like that. We're ready....bring it on.....we're definitely ready.

We thoroughly enjoyed having everyone and are looking forward to having them again. It just can't happen soon enough though. We do love our family!