Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sabotaging Success

Why do we do it? Why do we take actions that are in direct opposition to the things we want to accomplish?

Angie and I have been talking about that lately. It has come up in response to some of our own sabotaging and to others around us.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Recently, I posted about how Angie and I attended a Financial workshop, and coming out of that workshop, we decided on a course of action culminating in a budget. We decided, together, that we were going to get out of debt, save up to purchase her next vehicle in cash, go on vacation (paying with cash), and then start investing regularly. That budget started with the paycheck I received on Friday.

By Friday afternoon we were off plan. I mean it literally took a couple of hours and we were done. My purchase of some Wii equipment for the house was all it took.

Looking at my inability to stay on a diet would be another great example. Why is it I can rationalize the need to lose weight. I truly understand to the core of my (too large) being that I need to lose weight. My weight keeps me from enjoying time with the kids the way I should be, it keeps me from enjoying time with Angie the way I should be, and ultimately keeps me from doing some of the things I want to do - yet, I seem powerless to stop sabotaging the plan that I know would change things.

Since the confessions are flowing, I'll give one last example. Angie has complained about how I talk to her for years. And, for years, I've tried to address it. Although things are a little better in that not all of my reactions to negative things are harsh, they are still too harsh too often. I know this and yet have been mostly unable to change. Again, I am sabotaging the most important relationship I have on this earth.

So, the fundamental question I must ask myself is why. I know I'm not alone. Angie does it. The kids do it. Our friends do it. Our families do it. There are stories of people sabotaging success all around us, both in the news and within our circles of friends and family. Are we so flawed that we cannot help it? Are we so broken that we cannot abide by happiness? I don't believe either of these are true, but they sure seem so.

I think the answer lies in the fact that we do everything for a reason. A good bud of mine always asks me "what's the payoff?" By this, he is asking me why I did something. He explains that we do everything for a reason and often the reason we do things that we shouldn't are for a perceived payoff, or to put it plainly, because there is an expectation that we'll get something in return for doing it. Why over eat? Because the comfort value in food in the short-term is more desirable than losing weight in the long-term. Why purchase outside of plan? Because the return of good grace from the kids (short-term) is more important than getting out of debt (long-term).

Although the above analysis seems to make sense, it doesn't address the other main question - how to change the behavior. For this, I don't have the answers. If I did, I'd be at my ideal weight, out of debt, and have the perfect relationship - among other things. I do know, however, that these issues are mine. It's too easy to blame OTHERS for this...I don't know how many times I've said, I wouldn't be so harsh if she were so [[insert perceived failing]]. What a bunch of crap that is. Yes, I may run to the fridge after we fight, but that's still MY decision.

Ultimately, that may be the answer. Perhaps we have to focus on us within the process and "ignore" what's around us. It seems easy to allow excuses to creep in. Perhaps if we can just remain focused on our part, the others will come around. That's sort of the topic of my last post. Instead of going out and spending, just because Angie did and I feel "entitled", I can choose to break the cycle.

The cycle of sabotaging my success and ultimately my happiness.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Never Leave Your Controversy Behind

Angie and I watched the movie Fireproof last night. The movie tells the story of how a man (who happens to be a firefighter) saves his failing marriage by taking "the Love Dare". The Love Dare is a book of 40 daily devotionals and actions that are meant to teach him and his spouse what it is to love unconditionally - the same unconditional love that God has for us.

We very much enjoyed the movie. Yes, the acting is pretty bad and the "cheese" factor is on the high end, but the message is outstanding - and real. Any married couple can relate. We are all, to some degree, selfish and for those of us that are married for any amount of time, our marriages need work. When you bring two broken people together into a marriage, you invariably get a broken marriage. The movie's message - one in which I could always stand to hear, is that we need to give to our spouse to get. If we want our spouse to love us, we need to love them - unconditionally and without the expectations of reciprocity.

What I personally found compelling about the movie is the reactions of the couple during the 40-day challenge. At day four, the husband thinks about quitting because his wife isn't responding. That would be me. I'd be like, "I've broken my ass for four days and it hasn't meant a thing..." I appreciate the movie for going over the top in this respect. At day 18 he makes a candle light dinner. His wife walks away. Another day he leaves a love note and flowers. Her response - divorce papers. As I watched, I came to understand that the movie HAD to represent the results like this...because it would be exactly the same way. He tries, she doesn't respond, we wants to quit. Why? Because his actions are still for all the wrong reasons. It isn't until he understands that his relationship with his wife is exactly like his relationship with God (albeit with roles reversed) can he understand what it is to love. God loves him, but he continually rejects God. In this lesson, he learns what it is to unconditionally love. He now can unconditionally love his wife. Then, she begins to respond.

This message is biblical and is the same message that we've seen elsewhere, either through teaching at church or through other couple's studies that we've done. However, dramatizing this process is very effective in making it real to us. Being preached to in a sermon is one thing. Seeing it happen in a movie is another. This is what makes this ministry so powerful. The movie was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. They also made "Facing the Giants". My understanding is that the cast (except for Kirk Cameron) are all church members. It's great to have a resource that makes Christian based movies. What I have a hard time understanding is the venom with which some have responded to this movie. The following is but one of the many negative reviews of the movie from

Could have been a good movie. If i want to be preached to I will go to church. I think they should put an evangelical warning on the cover of this movie.

I'm not sure I understand that. Should film makers put warnings on movies that contain anti-Christian sentiment? Isn't watching a movie a purely voluntary act? Couldn't the reviewer have turned off the movie if he didn't approve of the Christian message? Since when do we have to project our children from Christian and biblical concepts?

I particularly seethe at the reviews that treat faith as some kind of crutch. Not because I don't understand that position, but because I do. Although I have always been raised a Christian, I have not always lived a Christian life. In fact, I believed as many of "crutch" commenters believed, that having faith was a crutch. In my BC (Before Christ) life, I thought the religious a little wacky and a little weak. However, I no longer hold that belief, not because I have become one of them, but because I have learned the truth that they knew. There is only one truth and the realization of that isn't a crutch, or being judgemental or elitist. It just IS.

And, through time, I've come to experience the truths of the bible AND of the movie Fireproof. The more I make it about Angie, the more I get in return. It's one of those miracle contradictions of life. You have to give to get. However, the key is to give with no expectations of getting. That's the hard part.

Its changed my life and its changed my marriage. If you allow it, it can change yours, too.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Too Good To Be True

Moving into the manor this week is R. Allen Stanford. He'll be bunking with the manor's first resident, Bernie Madoff. They have a lot in common and should get along just fine.

Like Madoff, Stanford is accused of bilking investors of billions. His toll is expected to be around $8 billion dollars affecting as many as 50,000 investors. His modus operandi was promising investors impossible returns. It would seem that there really are things that are too good to be true.

What is interesting about the Stanford case is that there may be a lot of collateral damage. Not from the investor list, but with whom Stanford could call associates. Apparently, Mr. Stanford has some contacts with Washington and it will be interesting to see who gets some heat for any possible association. Already mentioned are several campaigns, including Obama's presidential campaign, John McCain and fellow Texan John Cornyn, among others. I wonder if any of them are potential future residents. Stewart Parnell needs a roommate.

Also under scrutiny is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who apparently allowed Stanford to continue to operate even though he was high on their list to scrutinize and that they (the SEC) only stepped up an investigation after the Madoff story came to light.

The FBI finally found Stanford serving him court papers that declare the SEC suing him for perpetrating a "massive and continuing fraud". Why the 239th richest American (worth $2.2B), who is a distant relative to the founder of Stanford University, would defraud that many people is beyond me, but he still sounds like the perfect new resident to our little hall of shame.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

You're a Dick, Ted

I apologize for the crass phrase, but that's how it sounds. It's pretty much become a joke between Angie and I. She says it, then I complain that my name isn't Ted.

What's she is really saying is: "You're addicted". The object of my supposed addiction is Facebook.

I am neither addicted to Facebook nor I am that other word (mostly). However, in the three days that I been connecting, it has been a very interesting experience.

I've garnered 43 friends without trying. I think Angie sent out a notice that I joined, so I got a lot of invites from that. Also, it would seem that my entire extended family from NY is on, so many of my friends are actually blood relatives.

I've chatted or communicated with four family members that I haven't seen in at least 15 years. That has been awesome. I can't believe how much every has grown. Some of us even got old.

A "technologically challenged" aunt joined and a "manly" cousin joined. She's lost and he's convinced that the only fun to be had it to make fun of family. I can understand her issue (I'm still a little lost on how to do things) and it's been fun abusing family (AND BEING MADE FUN OF).

I've joined an old neighborhood group and have found many long lost friends and acquaintances from the 'hood. My sister and others have been posting old pictures from the first days of school to school closings to parties. Neighborhoods were different those days. We played from sun-up to sun-down. We never checked in and our parents never worried. They knew that most of the other parents in the neighborhood were watching out for us, too. Everyone knew each other and there were always ample friends of similar ages to play with. Heck, the day started "calling for someone" and ended at dark. Now, Cassie doesn't walk two houses up the block without an escort.

When I get a chance, I will start putting an effort into reconnecting with more old friends and family. I'll also start reinforcing newer relationships.

It's funny. One of the guys from the neighborhood commented on how he's come to realize that relationships get to the heart of what's important. I'm coming to understand how correct he is. It's typically not what I've been good at, nor has it been something that I've focused on, but I see that changing. Doesn't the bible command us (as the most important commandments) to love God above all else, and others as ourselves?

I still don't get a lot of the stuff going on and I have no clue how to "tag" someone in a photo...but maybe I'm less addicted and more interested in using Facebook as a tool to live out the second part of that commandment.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saving Face(book)

I swore I'd never do it. I've been on Angie's and I've been completely lost.

The truth of the matter is that I don't get it.

However, I've succumbed. I joined Facebook.

Why the change of heart? I was messing around with Angie's the other night. I honestly still don't get it. However, I was linking through family and ended up at my sister's page. I looked through her friends and saw cousins that I haven't seen or spoken to in years. Not just a couple of years, but many years. I saw that one particular cousin commented about my picture. I saw young cousins that I last saw when they were babies (they are high schoolers now). When I saw them, I really started feeling like I was missing an opportunity...a chance to reconnect with family that I've allowed to fall out of touch.

I decided that now that I am older and wiser that I'd use the networking site as an opportunity to reconnect with these people. Who knows, maybe even a family reunion with long lost family is in our future.

I'd joined today and I've been poked (not sure what to do with this), befriended, and even asked to confirm that Angie is my spouse. I've been called "a hottie" and thanked for taking care of some basic car repairs.

I've also looked up some high school friends and a couple of other people that were important to me at some point in my life. I look forward to reconnecting with them. I may never get to 575 friends like my buddy Bob, and I will never maintain my page like I will maintain this blog, but I will use it as a tool to connect with others.

Who knows, in the process I may even find myself.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Miscreant Manor MonTuesday

It took all of five minutes of research to find enough on this despicable human being for a post.

The short story. He's a scumbag. He ran a peanut company, but couldn't see past his profit to take the appropriate steps to maintain quality standards. Because of this, salmonella found a home in his products. He was informed about it. He couldn't risk his profits so he shipped the product anyway.

His quotes:
"I go thru this about once a week. ... I will hold my breath .......... again,"

"We need to discuss this ... the time lapse, besides the cost is costing us huge $$$$$..."

"Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer your questions based on the protections afforded me under the U.S. Constitution."

The toll:

9 dead
600 sick
and, last week, his company filed for bankruptcy protection.

I can't wait until I can add "indictment" to the list.

He's a perfect find to add to the list of manor residents.

Here are some dishonorable mentions that just didn't have enough scumbaggery to get into the house:

1) Luzerne Co., PA judges Mark Ciaverella and Michael Conahan
2) NY Yankee Alex Rodriguez
3) Bradenton, FL Dad Of The Year Mark A. Belanger


Sunday, February 15, 2009


The same day I posted my Miscreant Manor introduction, I received an e-mail with a link to the story of Patrick Henry Hughes. He, and his father, are an example of all that is good in us. Enjoy.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine of Nothing?

I am a very lucky guy. There are so many things to love about my wife Angie that I could fill a daily blog about them. However, this Valentine's Day, I'll talk about one of the things - the fact that Valentine's Day isn't a big deal to her.

Does she need flowers today? No.

Does she need a present today? No.

Is the day a loss if nothing sparkly comes her way? Nope.

Admittedly, she likes those things, but they aren't important to her and she isn't disappointed if she doesn't get them.

She would much rather have a pleasant day where he kids and husband to something nice for her and get along than have selfishness and a new necklace or bouquet of flowers.

Her love language is all about service.

I love that about her. I love the fact that she doesn't have a materialistic bone in her body. I love the fact that she'd rather spend a nice day with her family than get presents. I love the fact that I know these things about her and meet those needs.

She got a card this morning and that made her feel good. However, she'll feel much better about the fact that I finally spent some time getting her cross wall up. And, she already feels great about the fact we told the kids we were gonna get them a Wii because our tax preparer gave us good news. And, when momma is happy we are all happy.

I gotta go - I got some service to do.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Miscreant Manor

A few posts ago, I blogged about Bernie Madoff. I referred to him as a scumbag and I stand by that post. Since that post I've seen a lot of wacky stuff in the news. These wacky news stories range from people succumbing to unbridled greed to just plain lack of common sense.

Now, the truth of the matter is that I don't judge these people because they gave into temptation. I do that daily. I give into my anger and lash out at Angie or I give into my selfishness and act accordingly. I completely understand that we are human, flawed and sinful. I am not above that.

However, there really must be a special place in hell reserved for those that are just plain depraved. Madoff may be one of them. There is such a huge difference from defrauding a couple of wealthy investors of a couple of millions of dollars to ripping off a ton of people of $50 BILLION.

The question to me is one of scale. To me, there is a huge difference between a CEO of a company “cooking the books” to make his personal stock portfolio more valuable and Stewart Parnell. If you don't know who Stewart Parnell is, you will. He will be the focus of my first “Miscreant Manor” post. I will summarize the account of Mr. Parnell and how his greed has been responsible for the nine recent salmonella deaths in the United States. With that post, Mr. Parnell will join Bernie as the first two residents of the manor.

I feel compelled to spew off on these scumbags, er...miscreants. Whatever you want to call them, they are examples of what is worst in humanity. I have such a visceral (non-Christian) response to these people as I read their stories. I hope my posts help get you angry, too - angry at the unbridled greed that seems to be so pervasive in our society. I am all for corporations being successful and earning profits. I should be, I work for one. However, I truly believe that these corporations have a responsibility to the community and profits, although a primary objective should never be realized at the detriment of mankind.

Therefore, I present to you, “Miscreant Manor Mondays” (selected as the name of these entries instead of “Scumbag of the Week.”). Bernie Madoff already lives there and we’ll add a new occupant every week as warrants.

These people and their stories should get you really pissed off.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Transmission Received

Hello Earth. We are receiving your transmission.

Unfortunately, Angie’s 2002 Dodge Caravan is receiving a transmission, as well.

Angie’s tranny has been slipping for a while now. When we added fluid, it rode better, but never for long. Hard “clunks” when putting the van into drive followed by “stuttering” on the up shifts and a hard “bang” on the shift into first were real signs that we had a real problem.

She drove several hours to Granbury this weekend. At the end of the trip she complained that the van was really driving crappy. We used her car to get to church on Sunday and when I drove it I knew we had a problem.

We took it to the transmission repair shop as soon as we could.

The 10 minute test drive was enough to experience all of the problems. For a small amount ($360.00), they took apart the tranny and inspected it. It was interesting to hear the owner/operator tell me that he was legally obligated to inform me that this $360 did NOT include reassembling and putting the tranny back into the van. In fact, he was clear, that even if he gave me an estimate for $1M, and I told him to “go screw yourself”, that he would box the transmission and that would be the extent of his obligation.

After about 24 hours, the owner/operator called. A transmission overhaul with a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty on the entire transmission would cost us over $2,600. A $2,200 option which just replaced worn out parts had a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty.

Since we expect to have Angie’s van for several more years (my cousin, the Yankee, Jon-Paul, inspected the van when he was down here and said it still had several good years left in it). We decided on the longer warranty and more thorough service.

Hopefully, that this service will hold us off until we trade the van in for a new car for Angie. That's the transmitted message that I want to receive.

So, is this experience normal? Did I get screwed?


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hair Raising Sound

There are few things on earth that cause me to get spooked. When I say spooked, I mean the kind of eerie feeling that makes your stomach queasy and causes a cold chill to go down your spine that ends up raising the hair on the back of your neck.

I’ve felt that way three times in the nine plus years since I moved to Texas.

It’s the feeling you get when you hear a tornado siren.

I’ve written many times about the awesome springtime storms that we experience in North Texas. I’m still unaccustomed to the rage within the thunderstorms that we get. In New York we’d get thunderstorms and some lightening, but nothing like what we get down here. The storms are awesome, and I often sit by the window just to watch the light show.

However, on occasion, the storms are so fierce that they require a bit more diligence. Last night was one such storm. Angie and I were watching a movie in my office when the storm hit. Right outside the window we experienced heavy rain, 70 MPH wind gusts, thunder and lightening. The kids were in bed and Angie commented how they were likely to join us. We turned off the movie and turned on the local news. I put some lights on and got a flashlight in preparation.

The kids didn’t join us – they are hardened to the storms. Dylan complains that he cannot sleep due to the noise on his window, but none of the kids are particularly scared by thunder and lightening – unlike me.

Angie and I noticed that the news wasn’t reporting a whole lot in the way of tornado warnings and the radar wasn’t showing rotations, so we decided to go back to our movie.

Then, things changed and changed fast.

I heard them first. I turned to Angie, “You hear that?” She said “no”.

I muted the movie. The sounds of distant tornado horns could be clearly heard. They sounded like they were from another town, and not the sirens in Rowlett. There are two sirens relatively close to the house and they would have sounded much louder. However, they were loud enough. Marissa joined us first, followed by Dylan. They were scared, but (truth be told) not nearly as scared as me. In fact, my fear has become a little bit of a joke with the kids. Although I try to keep a tough exterior so they aren’t scared, tornados are terrifying to me. Give me a hurricane any day because that is what I grew up on – and they were typically infrequent and weak by the time they got to Long Island. Tornados are killers and I have never been sensitized to them.

We watched the local news and they started to report about the rotations in the front end of the storm. By the time that they formed, they were past us. Those were the horns we heard. I’m still not sure if anything every touched down or not, but I tend to think not since the news isn’t reporting anything except for wind damage. Unfortunately, that cannot be said for Oklahoma, as it appears they had three tornados touch down with this storm, one of which killed several people.

I remember very clearly the other tornado sirens that I’ve heard. I blogged about the previous one from April 2007. The other was from several years before that as a new Texan. I was working late one evening and heard a funny sound. I didn’t know what the wail of the siren was, but I did get that creepy feeling. Only later did I learn that there had been a tornado.

You know, now that I think about it, it’s the same feeling I got when I experienced a small earthquake in Southern California. Mother nature can be awesome!

I sure do miss those hurricanes.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reply From The Troops

There are many things I've never done. I've never picked up a rattlesnake. I've never eaten haggis. I've never ridden a bull. Up until yesterday, I never received a letter from Afghanistan.

The 715th Military Police Company, currently deployed at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, replied to the letter and candy that the girl scout troop sent them in November.

It was so exciting to open the letter. Those boys and girls are putting themselves in harms way for us, and for them to take a moment and acknowledge our support of them...well, it was pretty special for me.

Cassie read the letter to me and I welled up. Heck, I'm welling up typing this. She didn't get it. To her, it was a piece of paper with some cool pictures of the troops and the beautiful snow covered mountains. To me, it contains pictures of sons, brothers and fathers. I'm so proud of our troops and cannot begin to fathom their sacrifice for us. I hate being away from Angie and the kids during a three day business trip. I could never imagine the heartbreak of being away for a year. Not to mention that every day their lives are in danger as they carry out the orders of our commander in chief. I don't care if you agree with them being over there, or not. You gotta appreciate what they do.

I did a google search for "715 mpc" and learned that the 715th Military Police Company is part of the Florida Army National Guard based in Melbourne, Florida. They deployed on June 24, 2008 after a "short fuse" deployment (three months notice instead of the normal year notice). Knowing where their from makes it feel like I know them a little better.

And, I'll remember that as I pray for their safety.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Let's Get Physical

I just got back from my semi-regular annual physical exam. I typically get to them every other year or so. I figured with 40 approaching, I'd get checked out. I did it a couple of months BEFORE my 40th so I could argue against the 40-year old baseline, PROSTATE check.

My argument worked. I've postponed that unpleasantness for another year, or two.

However, after a substantial wait to see the doctor, we talked about my weight. Every issue that has him concerned stems from my weight. It was interesting to see the timeline. Over the course of the last several years, I've had two significant periods of weight gain. The first in 2005 that didn't coincide with any particular event, but did relate to some physical complaints.

The second was May of 2007 when I quit smoking. Since then, I've packed on nearly 40 pounds to my already too large frame.

I've posted and shared about my weight on the blog many times. Clearly, public ridicule has not helped motivate me. Nor has back trouble and other physical issues. Perhaps financial impact will make the difference.

As part of the Financial Learning Experience, we learned that we don't have nearly enough life insurance. Since I pride myself on my ability to provide for my family, it only makes sense that we take the appropriate steps to ensure that they are taken care of in the event of my death. However, as we start in inquire about quotes, it is clear that my weight is driving up premiums. Perhaps if I can lose a bunch, I will also lose some of the premium amount.

It sure wouldn't hurt my blood pressure or cholesterol, either.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

I Was Broke...

...and I'm still broke, but at least NOW we have a plan.

Our church ended our annual money series today. Oh boy, I can hear the reactions now. I totally understand those reactions, too. Everyone has heard the horror stories of churches or ministers and how they take advantage of the well meaning. I've heard those stories, too. Heck, I grew up Catholic and had a very weird understanding of giving, tithing and the Church.

When we started attending Springcreek years ago, we did not give. Springcreek did not ask us to give nor did the plate get passed during service (Instead, there are offering boxes at the exits for those that choose to give).

However, as we became at home at the church and as we became part of the church community, we decided that we wanted to give. We wanted to support the church that was teaching us and that had become home. We were motivated by the desire to support our church so others could find what we found. At first, we gave sporadically. Sporadic giving became regular "first-fruits" giving. Now, our budget and our plan includes automated giving, as well as, regular sacrificial giving. I mention this not for a pat on the back, but to frame the rest of this post.

Angie and I have come to believe that we have been incredibly blessed and that our blessing has a purpose. To share more and more. We try to live our financial lives according to biblical principals, particularly the "Parable of the Talents (MT 25:14-30)." Ultimately, our purpose is to do His will and to help others and thus, His kingdom.

However, Angie and I are not perfect. We have been incredibly blessed, but have allowed ourselves to get into some credit card debt. We honor our gifts, and give regularly, but often purchase on credit - robbing us of freedom and of money. Starting today, that will end. We attended Joseph Sangl's "Financial Learning Experience" at church was the PERFECT ending to the six part series on money and biblical principles we just concluded at church. Based on his book, "I Was Broke, Now I'm Not", Joe discussed how to make money work for us, how to get out of debt, and other financial principles. Based on this conference, Angie and I are going to alter our budget with the plan to get out from under our credit card AND to start having our money earn more for us.

Why? We answered that question at the beginning of the conference. Our answers we to eliminate worry and conflict, to give the kids the best of everything, to have freedom, to retire earlier, and most importantly, to give more away.

We aren't real fans of the whole "gnashing of teeth" thing.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Super Entertaining Weekend

No, the weekend wasn't super entertaining. Actually, it was...but that's not what I meant.

What I mean is that Angie and I entertained this weekend and it was awesome. In fact, late last night while we were cleaning up, she said to me, "We've entertained more this weekend than in the past several months combined."

I love hosting in my home. It's one of the reasons why I feel like we have a larger home - so we can have people over comfortably. We've done some big ones in the past. We had 40 plus for a July 4th party. We've done New Years. We've done holiday get togethers, etc.

This weekend started with Cassie's birthday (see previous post).

On Saturday, all we had to do is straighten up from the party and we were ready for our couple group. We belong to a group of like minded Christian couples where we ditch the kids for a couple of hours every other Saturday night for some food and fellowship. Typically we do a bible study as part of the meeting. This turn was at our house. Angie prepared a wonderful dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. She made a very nice salad and a refreshing dessert. We sat around the table and ate and joked and talked. It was so much fun that we never moved to the living room to watch the video for our study. We just continued laughing and eating that we never did do the study. It was the best group session we've ever had.

Sunday continued the entertaining. Since church cancelled the annual Superbowl party, Angie and I decided to have one at the house. What the heck, the house was already cleaned, right? All we did was do some more vacuuming and we were good to go. We had a couple of friends and their kids over. We never saw that kids as they played outside and upstairs. Us adults, we watched a great game and enjoyed the commercials. The Doritos one with the snow globe was really funny and the commercial was good, too, but the one that elicited the biggest reaction (especially from the guys) was - no - not godaddy, but the G.I Joe movie commercial.

Since the game went to the wire, the kids stayed up late - but everyone had a great time consumer good food and enjoying each other's company.

Angie and I cleaned up, unwound and went to bed exhausted - but very content.

She even said she appreciated all the help that I had given her all weekend...the best compliment of all.