Wednesday, June 22, 2011

..where i am now..

of course i would love to be on the computer posting everyday but it is nearly impossible for me. 

this warm weather has once again taken me outside to beautify my yard and bbq several times a week :)

i have enjoyed the sun more frequently lately allowing me to do some projects outside the house that have been a priority for a while. pictures to come soon...

so i think i could boil my life down into this right now. not much job stress but plenty of work. 

if i am not working at either of my jobs i am working at home on some project. it seems like though my schedule has been jammed full and very few days off work. this week has been a little nicer with some time to breath in between work. i have got to enjoy landscaping around the front of the house some. work on my garage. paint some chairs in the back and especially enjoy barbecuing several times a week.

at night i have actually had some time to sit back with susie and enjoy a few shows and a couple good movies. i really enjoyed a suspense.thriller.drama.romance the other night called "the next three days" with russell crowe and liam neesen 

all in all i think that god has been giving me lots of energy to work and lots of energy to think. 

i am feeling good about life but am continually missing youth. there is a bittersweet feeling i get each week with where we are right now. 

i am at the point now where i am over the stress of the previous church and now feel like i am healing and learning more about who i am and really listening for God and where he wants to use us. 

lets put it this way. i am praying every minute that God uses me to His fullest and not what will only please me but Him to the fullest!

with that i am putting plenty of fillers back out there to see what is next and allowing God to work through me in whatever situation but looking for where He may be calling us next to go. 

at this point i have not felt like he has a set place for us and that is frustrating times because it is almost like i am in a holding tank trying to get comfortable but there is not enough room and i feel out of place. so it is frustrating because i want to settle down but i think God is preparing a way for us as we speak. 

it is comforting to know that susie is open to pretty much wherever God can use us most.

so ...where i am now... is at a point of rest. re cooperation. searching. listening. obeying. loving. nurturing. forgiving. and open

i know that i can trust God to lead us to a place of comfort. peace. fruitful. eventful. worship. content.

here is a verse that i love and helps me continue to remember God is in control and takes care of me every day and every way. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

..greener grass syndrome..

i have enjoyed the different seasons of life that God has given me. i know that he has a plan for susie and i and i am excited to continue to follow His plan. 

over memorial day weekend we went to charlotte to spend time with friends and family. it was so much fun relaxing, grilling out, and go on motorcycle rides. 

we also went to elevation church in charlotte. this church is the 4th fastest church growing in america. it is unreal within 5 years it has 4 campuses with packed houses. i really enjoyed the series they were finishing up. it was called "mr. and mrs. betterhalf." 

during this sermon series focused on how to win a woman. how to keep a man. 

the big idea that i grabbed from the message which was very moving was 

"if the grass is greener over there, then try watering your own lawn!"

this grabbed me and has stuck with me since. 

i have been thinking about this all week through many things. mostly my life not my marriage. 
at this point in my life i have not questioned or struggled with green grass syndrome in my marriage and i hope i never do!

i have thought about this where we are now in our life. 

how can i water my grass have a beneficial future for my family 

...effective and God-centered ministry 

...faithful to my wife

...loving to my family

here are some verses i feel that comfort me and continually lift me up and remind me to lift myself up for another day of 




..and one day being a father 

Galatians 6:9 let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

somedays it is tough to get up and give it your best but with God's reminder in the back of your mind we can do all things and at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we keep watering our own grass

i love the verse  ecclesiastes 4:12 where i am reminded
 though one may be overpowered, 
   two can defend themselves. 
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

this can mean your spouse or even best friend that will continually lift you up and work as a team through the thick and thin

i know that where we are at right now is not exactly where we want to be as far as jobs and house but we put our faith in God he will continually bless us. 

many times i look at other peoples grass literally and figuratively and think that i wish i had their life, but i am reminded God establishes our steps. (proverbs 16:9)

i may continually want certain things for our lives but i believe the Lord does not give us too much at once. 

our grass may not be as green as we want it to be but i do know for sure
..we are blessed 

so my prayer tonight is that my wife and i will faithfully follow the Lord's steps that he has laid for us. 

i do not want to catch the greener grass syndrome and wish my life away. 

i shall continue to water my own grass because i do not want to be looking like this cow 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

..susie's graduation..

YAY!! the day has come. we are both finished with college and stress free at this point. 

saturday.may 15. 2011. susie graduated college from Cincinnati Christian University with a degree in History. everyone that attends CCU gets a biblical studies degree but susies was practically history. she took every history class that CCU offered and more. it was exciting for me to hear about all that she learned through the many courses. 

one year ago i graduated from there with a degree in Urban and Intercultural Studies. 

i really feel that we have both been blessed to attend such an excellent school. now CCU is not a top notch school for academics or anything but i feel that we were taught so much more. it is a school with a great community and especially an excellent community of believers. i built many relationships with students and professors that i know will be lifelong relationships. 

CCU has brought me and susie to be the people we are today. it taught us many things about being leaders in the church to being strong followers of the Gospel. 

susie and i continually put Christ at the center of our lives and that is the biggest thing we have learned that has brought us to where we are now. 

school is over, whats next?

at this point i am happy to say that we are continually praying for God's direction in a ministry that will be beneficial to us and His Kingdom. 

i pray that in this season of life that God will continue to teach us to follow His ways and build us up to be leaders in the church that are strong and will persevere through thick and thin. i pray that he teaches us how we can be faithful to Him and in love and truth and our actions pleasing to Him and share his love with those around us. 

..God has big plans, let's work together to follow them..

ive been very busy lately and not on the computer much. with the nicer weather that has been moving through the area occasionally i get a day to go outside and work. i spent many hours building a retaining rock wall in the back yard and cutting brush along with putting up lattice on our back fence to beautify our back yard. it has been a slow process but it is going to be well worth it! 

i love working out in the garden and landscaping our yard. it has been rough though with the record rains that we have had. in the month of april cincinnati set a new record for the amount of rainfall we had.. from 13.52" set in 1937 to almost 14 inches this year. may has continued to allow the rain to keep moving through the area. i have mowed the grass once this year and will be mowing again on thursday because the lack of dry days we have had. i have not had the chance to do anything in the vegetable garden yet.. everything is still indoors. my grass seed that i planted outside had to be replanted 3 times due to the wash out from the heavy rains. 

it has been nice working inside though and getting some things done in the house. 

other than the work at my house i have been putting in a lot of hours in at work as well so we may have some time to travel this summer. 

i love the flowers blooming in the spring time. soon i shall have some new pictures up of all the things i have been working on but here some some fun pics in the mean time. 

on a rainy day..

sip from a a book.. the rain..


the time we spend weathering the inclement.. makes the sunny weather more anticipated. 

did i mention i am ready for sunny days to ride my motorcycle for long distances..

i continue to praise God day in and day out for this season of life He has given me.

..i am truly blessed..

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

..a taste of His goodness..

an enjoying morning to reflect God's wonderful grace and forgiveness started with a delightful caramel macchiato from my kitchen.

it was a delightful morning not getting up super early partly because i did not have to wake up for work and the other part was being disturbed by a crazy storm last night. the sirens went off for a tornado warning and the thunder shook the house therefore it was hard to sleep. 

today has been nice though drinking a delicious drink along with hearing a new band. the city harmonic.

.the city harmonic. .manifesto.  

this is a band that has a powerful message of God and the pulse coming through the speakers will hook you instantly. i encourage you to listen to them and see what you think.

this is the biography on their website which i feel even more in tune with! it is incredible to see what their focus is. honestly i cannot wait for their full album now. 

read this and i have highlighted some areas that have stuck with me today.

You know, without audio I’d swear this crowd was at a seriously great hard rock show,” suggests the Bible camp’s video producer as he watches footage from a worship concert played by The City Harmonic the night before.  The crowd pulses along to the band’s piano hook-laden “Manifesto” with hands and fists raised in worship while they swing back and forth like a hammer to its steady, driving beat. And even when the band puts down their instruments the crowd takes over, raucously singing again and again the chorus to a tune they have only just heard.  Before long the band stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other, and eye-to-eye with their audience, gathering whatever instruments they can find and leading the room in a rowdy, folk-tinged rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” In the middle of the stomping, clapping and shouts of “comin’ for to carry me home,” it’s clear that for the crowd, this moment isn’t only shared with God, but also each other.
When listening to The City Harmonic, you instinctively turn up the volume and join the chorus as the music dynamically bounces from sparse intimacy to soaring celebration and back again. It’s a musical metaphor for the band that plays it—with their feet in the dirt and their eyes toward the heavens.  It isn’t long before you find yourself singing along and not because you ought to, but because you want to. Like a spontaneous outbreak of “Hey Jude” around the campfire, you want in on the moment. And getting people in on the act—hearts pounding and feet moving—is at the core of what The City Harmonic is about.
The Canadian band’s six-song EP debut, Introducing The City Harmonic, is a nostalgic Brit-pop meets campfire sing-along mix that features raucous, gang vocals along with agile, soaring anthems crafted to include the listener.  The band, consisting of front man Elias Dummer, bassist Eric Fusilier, guitarist Aaron Powell and drummer Josh Vanderlaan, isn’t as interested in finding fans as they are looking for participants in the journey. “Both art and worship are participatory acts—not consumptive acts,” says Elias. “What is meaningful for people is the experience, that creative moment when art is shared. To us, it’s almost as though these songs just don’t sound right without everybody involved.”
The songs on the self-produced EP seem to embrace the horizon line between the wonder of God and every-day life, and nowhere is this more evident than the opening track, “I Wonder.”  A pulsing chant-a-long driven by Aaron Powell’s soaring, echoey lead guitar and accompanied by a sweeping string arrangement, it is a song that captures the band’s fascination with the overlap between this world and the next. Front man Elias shares, “There’s this old Celtic proverb that I love: ‘milking the cow is Holy.’ It reminds me that everyday moments are profound and that we worship with our lives, not just a couple of songs. Just think about that first ‘true love’ moment in your life. People have written more songs about that moment than any other event. How much more profound will our first face-to-face moment with God be? ‘I Wonder’ is really about approaching these moments with wonder and knowing it’s a glimpse of even better things to come.”
Even the band’s name is partly derived from the sense that in communal worship we catch a fleeting glimpse of the world that we pine for. Elias explains: “C.S. Lewis said this thing that’s always stuck with us:  ‘If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’  It’s like there’s this hopeful nostalgia within us all for the way things ought to be. It’s great when coming together feels like that – like it’s the unveiling of something bigger and better than ourselves. If we can somehow spark in people a dream, something they just can’t shake, then that will inspire them to sing like every word matters, to live like every day matters, and having tasted heaven they’ll get on with helping this world feel more like home.”
For much of the past decade the band members have worked with TrueCity, a movement of local churches in their hometown of Hamilton, Ontario working together for the good of the city. Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’”  “Sure, we hear this all the time – but there are six important words that are often overlooked:  and the second is like it,” says Elias.  “God doesn’t separate our ability to love our neighbour from our capacity for loving Him.  It doesn’t matter how much so-called religious fervour we muster up if we’re living selfishly. It’s no wonder, then, that we should care about social justice if the thing most like loving God is to love my neighbor. It’s a no-brainer.  It just makes sense.”
With a sound informed by mainstream acts like Arcade Fire, Coldplay and The Beatles, The City Harmonic seek to create music they enjoy themselves “I guess we didn’t worry too much about whether these songs were ‘singable’ or not,” admits Elias “People don’t sing along to old hymns because they’re ‘singable’ – the songs move them and mean a lot to them.  They weren’t simple in the way that people sometimes suggest worship songs should be, but people connected with them anyway. We can’t make worship music formulaic, we have to move and inspire people. I hope we can write songs that are creative and honest. The kind of songs that capture people’s hearts and minds – then I believe their voices will follow. I pray people can connect with them and make them their own. Hopefully they aren’t worship songs simply because we say so, but because they come from honest, worshipful lives and inspire the same in others.”
Introducing The City Harmonic is just a taste of what’s to come from this creative Canadian foursome. The band’s upcoming full-length album will continue the journey—songs and stories that tell of hope, unity and seeking a greater kingdom, and music fans are already pulsating and singing along at the top of their lungs as they eagerly await this highly anticipated debut.

it is awesome to see a new band coming forth to give us a taste of His goodness. through this music we hear how amazing God really is!

in the song .manifesto. verse 2 goes 

We are free, He died and lives again
We will be a people freed from sin
We’ll be free, a Kingdom with no end

today as i reflect more about Jesus death i remember its to free us of sin and i continually praise God. through this music i feel closer today. 

.i want to make my everyday moments profound.

..these past couple weeks..

over the past few weeks i have enjoyed some spring cleaning. there have been a lot of things that susie and i have wanted to do around the house to make it more of a home but life has been very busy between my jobs and her schoolwork along with her work at Fossil as well. 

so we made out a plan and said what we wanted to do and things have been moving really swiftly. at the beginning of the month i saw a killer deal on a new refrigerator so i had to take advantage of the new samsung.side by side.led maker.water dispenser and two times as big! of course it was in the scratch and dent section but not at a place i would picture buy..

i enjoyed picking it out and getting it delivered because our stairs to climb would kill a normal man and it was free delivery and haul away which made us very happy. getting a new fridge is also part of our process of remodeling in the kitchen a little more to make it more up to date. we are adding a pantry in there and trying to make it more 2011. with the new paint and new floor last year this year we wanted to continue to add our touches.

so this week we had the refrigerator delivered and it is so much bigger and nicer and susie's favorite part is it will keep our ice cream completely frozen :)

some of the other projects we are undertaking is getting more pictures up in the house which is a lot of fun. we spent a whole afternoon cutting out mattes and framing some art that is vintage looking. we put up a new coat hanger in the entry way so that we do not have to hang our coats on chairs or others up in our closets. these are things that we have been talking about for a while but it was just finding the time to do it.

one of the bigger task that we are doing is going through each room and reorganizing each and everything. from clothes that we are donating to rearranging closets and moving dressers the task are kind of fun to think of things we used to wear and thought was trendy or cool. yep. you know what i am talking about the things we thought were cool. now it makes me want to go look at pictures of when we were young to just laugh and reminisce.

here are the pictures we cut mattes for and framed.

two of them went up in our living room.

more pictures to come soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

..visit to Tom & Valarie's..

as i arrived to frankfurt, Germany i hopped on a train where i would spend he next hour and a half seeing the country side of Germany at it's finest.

i asked to borrow someone's cellphone when i arrived at kaiserslautern. it was interesting when the person said sure but they wanted to make sure i was calling a landline because calling other cell phones cost.

a few moments later tom pulled up in a bmw to pick me up. we took a 15 minute drive to the cute little town of baalborn. soon enough we were doing things that we did when we were roommates in college.. exploring.

we took a hike through the beautiful country side of germany into the woods where we soon wound up in a field that was an old battlefield. there we found no vegetation and several old foundations to old forts and an old bunker with a supply train track to it. 

after an adventurous afternoon exploring and retelling many memories we had from the good ole' days we met up with Val to go eat at a german pizza place. 

the night ended with all of us outside of their house next to a fire pit enjoying the brisk spring air telling many stories. 

for the next couple of days that i was going to be in germany tom and val wanted to take me around and show me some of their favorite places. 

landstuhl castle ruins. this is a great castle that is located on top of a hill that over looks the beautiful city of landstuhl. today they use this castle for tours and shows taken place in this stage area below.

the beautiful city behind us 

next destination was "Falkenstein" or falcon rock. here we were at one of the highest points in the area. 

the view from Falkenstein 

Falkenstein castle 

the village below the castle 

after exploring some more we got very hungry and went to the restaurant in Falkenstein 

it was 65 and sunny with a little bit of haze but we could see for miles

 tom wanted me to order "Falkensteiner Teller" extremely bad but I had to get a schnitzel so he got the teller and had me try it. (saumagen is pig stomach)

"Falkensteiner Teller" i tried some of tom's and it was surprisingly tasty. the dumpling was like meatloaf and the pig stomach was like a sausage with a little spice with meat and potatoes inside

"Allgauer Art" noodles with lots of cheese and onions

i had the zigeunerschnitzel with fries and a salad and it was really good. the sauce was rich and the breaded pork was tender. the fries were extra crispy and the salad had a creamy delicious dressing. 

from castles to countryside with excellent restaurants along the way this was an excellent visit to germany. cant wait to take susie back with me!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 adventure..

as i sit on the plane to Frankfurt Germany i feel my worries just disappear.

 i am reminded in Matthew 6:25 that i really should never worry but it is something i believe we all deal with. i just finished up a nice meal and am now sitting back to relax and it is especially nice in business elite class. my chair goes all the way back and I have the bose noise canceling headphones thanks to delta. there is just something about traveling on planes. you do not have any control. you can sit back and relax. you trust someone to take the lead. rest... i am constantly reminded of these things and how truly important rest is. actually a was just reading in usa today how people with the recommended amount of rest stay in better shape or are more disciplined at times.

i think about a lot of these things here and rest is really something i continue to look at more. this doesn't have to be more sleep but time away from busyness or constant running around.

 as i was getting ready to go for my trip today i was in a panic or in a state where the worry would not go away. i wanted to make sure i had everything. i had a hard time leaving Susie behind this time because is it so great traveling with her. but soon enough we will get back on plane to head somewhere else interesting.

worry..panic.. why?

now this is something that is hard to get over maybe when you are traveling especially when you are bad like me and wait to the last minute literally to pack.. but I want to think about these things more in our every day life.

worry seems to come maybe by a fear. fear that we are going to fail or not meet certain expectations. possibly forget something or be late for the plane in this case.  worry comes when we feel uneasy about something that we are going to do. i could tell you time and time again about how i have worried about something i had no control over. just like right now, i have no control over this aircraft. all i can do is sit back and relax and really enjoy the flight. i believe there are times where we must take the controls but even more often when we should sit back and ...listen..relax..enjoy the ride.

now when i think about a lot of this i am thinking about my daily walk with Christ. i want to be the best at what i do and continue serve and be more like Christ. there are way too many times that i try to put life's problems in my basket and carry all of the weight myself and steer the plane without any guidance or help. and when i do that ..worry.. i don't put my trust in Christ or ask for help and try to handle it all myself then wear myself out over and over again.

so as i sit back and relax i just continue to talk to Christ how i need to let him guide me more. as i say relax and let him take the wheel, there needs be an effort to call upon him for help and let him push the brakes and really control your life.

so today i am letting God take control while i sit back and listen.


..don't worry...


Sunday, March 20, 2011

..and the award goes to..

so tonight was a night full of taste.

earlier today i said to some guys..

what if we did a taste test of all the best burger joints in cincinnati


that is exactly what we did.

we started off with a place called arthurs located in hyde park. it is known for their burgers so we decided to give them a shot. there were 5 of us and we did not want to indulge ourselves but simply savor the taste. 

at each location we where going to get the original burger with the original toppings 

at arthurs. the burger comes with fries ($7.50) on a toasted bun with a thick juicy burger topped with lettuce.tomato.ketchup.mustard with fries on the side. the burger was definitely a good burger but was not a grand slam to my taste buds. the fries were definitely good and even better with some of the best ranch around. so if it wasnt the best burger they definitely had some serious homemade ranch.

sun-tues they have a special of burgers that will run you $7 for a burger and fries with up to 6 toppings and $4 burgers during happy hour 

the atmosphere is great here. the best place to sit is outside in the patio area. it is a fun reasonable place in hyde park. 

up next is zip's cafe in mt. lookout

zip's is a small hole in the wall burger joint that dates back to 1926.

it is a seat yourself type of place that is most always busy. this place is hyped up to be one of the best burger places in cincinnati. the atmosphere is pretty noisy all the time.with a low light dark saloon feel and a neat train zipping around the walls of the cafe.

once again we ordered the original burger one with cheese($5.25) and one without (4.75).
 the burger comes out with lettuce.tomato.onion.special sauce.ketchup.mustard. you can add fries for another 2.25 but we werent out to rate fries so we just stuck with the burgers 

the burger was a lot thinner than the burger previously at arthur's but boy did it have a taste. the fresh bite of lettuce.tomato.onion with a well seasoned burger with special sauce was delicious. the burger could compare with an in n' out burger, with the special sauce they have going for them. if you are looking for a old fashioned burger then this is the place. it was ideal for original burger that would hit the spot and make savor the test as we went to the next place. 

the next joint on the list is a place called terry's turf club

now terry's is a place you wont forget because of its unique look. it is on a street where not much is happening except this place. when you pull up to to terry's you may think is this vegas or an antique shop?

the wait is usually long for this place because it is a small place that always seems to be full. so we went ahead and called ahead because we were not willing to sacrifice 45 min just for a wait because we had one more place to go. 

we grab two burgers to go and continued our taste test. the burgers are very plump served on a toasted croissant with lettuce.tomato.onion.ketchup.mustard and very juicy with some substantial amount of grease making them a little messy. the burger was definitely a big burger but for a classic burger taste it was nothing spectacular for $8. 

now from what their menu had there are plenty of other crazy burgers to try out along with peanuts while you wait for your meal just like the good ole' days at the steakhouses. prepared to go home full if you get a burger and fries because they do not mess around when it comes to size. terry's is a very good.messy burger but what really makes this place fun is the environment.

last but definitely not least.. Quatman's Cafe

Quatman's is located in norwood right off montgomery road. it was about 9 when we showed up to our last well.known burger joint.

we heard that this place was a bar and was not too big. i believe this place is bigger than most of the burger places we went and if not the same size. we thought this place would be busy but little did we know we went at a perfect time. as we walked in the door we all said that this may be a hidden jewel but we had to eat the burger to find out the truth.

as the waitress .sheila.employee of 18 years. came to our table she asked what we would like tonight. we said that we were doing a burger challenge and she said this was the perfect night because a burger.fries.and.drink. is 6.19! we all said 6.19? we could not believe it and were thinking this may truly be the hidden jewel once again...but we didnt want to speak too soon. we asked for the original burger with the basic toppings lettuce.tomato.onion.ketchup.mustard.

sheila quickly interrupted and said that lettuce and tomato go on a salad not a burger.. at this point im really started to dig this place. 

a few minutes later our orders came out on a paper plate with half of a plate full of fries and a well over quarter lb. burger with ketchup.mustard.onion.pickles. sheila informed us that there is a local meat locker that grinds Quatman's meat for them daily so their beef is always fresh.

as we tasted our last burger of the night we truly felt that we found a hidden jewel. this place is a old style bar/restaurant that used to be half bar. half grocery store that delivered now there is just a bar/restaurant with some quirks of the grocery store left including the meat & cheese counter.

the burger tasted really fresh with a perfect amount of condiments and flavor that left your tastebuds wanting more. the fries reminded me a good ole' fashioned diner and really this entire visit felt like that. with the excellent waitstaff. hometown personable feeling. a small grocery store area and the honor system of paying! they do not bring you a bill so when you go up to the register you tell them what you had and they ring it up for you. and for three years now they have been accepting major credit cards. 


what a night. 

what an experience. 




simply a fun way to find the best burger place in town..

so we had to do an overall rating at the end of the night and .. 

..and the award goes to.. is Zip's Cafe. the special sauce.with pickles.onion.tomato.lettuce.ketchup.mustard. and the well seasoned burger.

coming close in 2nd is Quatman's Cafe with the fresh fresh tasting burger

3rd Terry's Turf Club with the huge juicy.greasy. burger

4th Arthur's plump original burger with lettuce.tomato.pickles.ketchup.mustard

now all of these burgers were delicious and some places may have better speciality burgers but this review is simply on the original burger

..what an experience..