Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Afterglow/2007 In Review

Work has kept me pretty busy lately. It has been great, though.

We had a nice Christmas. Tracy got an iPod Nano. I got the Die Hard collection. I enjoyed the time with family and ate too much as always.

For the most part, 2007 was great. I blew my goal of losing 30 pounds sometime in April. Perhaps I'll give it another whirl in 2008. The new goal will have to be 50 pounds, though. One too many trips to the table this year, I'm afraid.

In 2007:
- My vehicle was paid off.
- I was laid off from a job.
- I got a better job.
- I turned 40.
- I went to Seattle.
- I wrestled my first match in 2.5 years. Lost. Chairshot to the head.
- I learned to speak Unix (I have a nice cheat sheet).
- I lost 17 pounds, and then gained 35.
- I took a generational photo with my Dad's brother and my son.
- My wife inherited some family property.
- I rediscovered The X-Files.
- I saw some fine jazz and blues.
- Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth.
- George and Steve (and Mot) joined the blogosphere.
- Packers are 13-3. Curse the Bears!
- I almost became a cop.
- I applied to the FBI as a Field Agent. I'm too old. 39 is the cutoff. Bummer.
- I threw snowballs at James in Seattle. We celebrated with a Smithwicks or 8.
- I have nearly lost all interest in organized Christianity.
- I upgraded my cell phone.
- I continued my search for M. Homer.
- I missed two fun engagements with CHUCK, Rick and George.
- I discovered a grey armpit hair.
- I made friends with 2 gay people.
- I grew my hair back out.
- I grew my back hair out.
- I read 19 books.
- I watched approximately 1,092 hours of TV.
- I made two trips to the ER. One by ambulance. Vertigo. Sheesh.
- I managed Buff Bagwell for one show.
- I met The Rocker Marty Jannetty.
- I got beatdown twice by T-Money. My family laughed.
- I had my trust broken by someone very close to me.
- I put 42,000 miles on my truck (remember the one that's PAID for?)
- I learned to respect Oprah.
- I quit watching ER.
- I started watching "Tell Me You Love Me" on HBO. (ER is far less risque')
- I sent out 89 resumes and had four interviews.
- I started exercising again. Then stopped. Then started. Then stopped. Sigh.
- I had a good time with all the people I love and look forward to more of the same next year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays From Me To You

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Random Ruminations

1) Peter Frampton recorded some really good songs back when.

2) "Peace on earth and goodwill to all men" does not apply at Wal-Mart or the mall.

3) I wonder what has become of Paul Whitehead.

4) For the last two nights, Chris Catoe has been in my dreams. In the first dream, he was gay.

5) I don't believe I have ever seen a "Chestnut."

6) I was always taught to walk on the right side of the hallway. Lately, I seem to be bumping into all sorts of people who choose to walk on the left side. They do not move, and it really annoys me.

7) I think my cat is the only person who gets me anymore.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Top Five (actually Six) Christmas CDs


The more December-ish weather here gives rise to a Christmas-ish post (ish?):


1) A Christmas Song Russ Taff. One of the greatest male vocalists I've ever heard.

2) Christmastime Michael W. Smith. Smitty has such a way with yuletide tunes.

3) When My Heart Finds Christmas Harry Connick, Jr. He can't sing or act, but I enjoy this offering.

4) Christmas Songs Diana Krall. Yowsa!

5) A Christmas Gift of Love Barry Manilow. Does this guy ever fail?

6) Home For Christmas Daryl Hall & John Oates. Christmas with soul. The boys have still got it!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

All Right, Who Stole December?

Welcome to my annual gripe about the weather. Go ahead, visit my December archives from previous years. My annual SC winter gripe has become an institution in the blogosphere.

Last week I saw snow in Seattle. I was cold, and I liked it. Today's high in Leesville, SC was 81 degrees. I have had to turn the AC back on. Last night we put up our tree, and I was in shorts and a T-shirt....sweating.

It was 19 degrees today at Lambeau Field. It was 81 degrees here. I hate this. I have lived in SC almost my entire life, and it seldom turns cold before Christmas. Then once Christmas is over, the weather typically cools to a more seasonal fare, but it's too late for me.

December? Phooey! This is July.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Badgers Going Down Under...Sort Of



Badgers are taking on the Vols New Year's Day. Both teams are in for a tough game. I can't think of a better start to 2008 than a Wisconsin victory in the Outback Bowl.

My Christmas List (Revised)


I was sitting in church with James and Caryn this past Sunday, and during a reading of Psalm 27, I heard a phrase that I had never stopped to ponder. Oh, I have read it many times, to be sure, but it was never so clear. Look at verse 4:

"One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I shall seek. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple." (NASB)

Notice how it begins: "ONE thing I ask." Only one thing. My list always contains several things. Practical things. Financial things. Family things. Job things. Menial things.

Here is someone who is asking for something with eternal value. His focus is above the stuff of earth, and fixed upon what lies above. I was challenged by this thought: When is the last time my prayer was simply to be in the presence of God? What kind of spiritual life does it take to pray for this ONE THING and nothing else, although I have many needs?

It really hit home on Monday. The moment I stepped out of the airport in CLT, I was greeted by my wife who began to cry on my shoulder. At first, I thought she was just happy to see me. Then she explained that moments before, she had received a call from our daughter, stating that a Sheriff's Deputy had just served her with papers from her ex-husband. It was a summons to appear in court the following Monday to rule on some child support/custody issues. My first thought was of my recent unemployment and how we were going to afford an attorney. I then thought of Christmas, and wondered how we were going to buy any gifts for the kids. Then I heard it. The Voice. He said, "Are you still going to try to ask for that "ONE thing," even though things are rough today?" My reply was, "How?"

You see, we have been struggling financially since 2005, when I broke my arm while wrestling, and then lost my job. We have been playing catch up ever since. Last year, we had NO Christmas for the kids. None. They were OK with it, but Mom and Dad were/are devastated. It seems every time we are close to catching up financially, something comes up. Another expense or emergency that we are not prepared to accommodate.

So, in the midst of the struggles, how can I NOT pray for what we need? In Psalm 27:4, David, who certainly had big problems. was only asking for one thing. The one thing had nothing to do with earthly matters. So, this past week I have been trying to focus on Heavenly matters in the turmoil of the week. Here is the result thus far (not that I was looking for any):

I have received not one, but two lucrative job offers. We have been able to secure an attorney who is willing to work with us financially. And I have a peace in my heart that surpasses understanding. I am reminded of Matthew 6:33: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS (not just one thing) will be added to you (emphasis mine). God is so unselfish and giving. I am better at asking and taking, or so it seems.

For a long time, I have questioned the faithfulness of God. The problem was not with God, but with me. He is faithful when I am not. He is loving when I am not. He is there when I am here. He speaks, and I do not listen. He calls but I do not answer. He doesn't change; I do and I have.

I thought I was going to Seattle to have some fun with James. I did, but I was also able to hear God's voice in a Presbyterian church from a pastor who wore an earring.

Needless to say, I have not only revised my Christmas list, but I have scrapped it altogether. I am daily endeavoring to focus on having that one thing and that one thing only. I have been driven to the Lord's presence. I have no more ideas and no more resources. I have nowhere else to turn. I have only to obey and trust by blind faith.

And as Cousin Eddie says, "That's the Gift that keeps on giving...all year long."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life Begins at 40


...or so I am told. My Grandma Redders used to say that "You're as old as you feel." That being the case, I need to begin searching for a decent retirement village.
Truthfully, I don't feel any older. Maybe I feel a little wiser. Definitely heavier.
At least I still have most of my hair.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sleepless in Seattle




There was little time for sleeping over the last weekend. I was blessed to be able to hang out with James and his wonderful family. We experienced some live jazz with Chick Corea on Friday, live blues on Saturday, SNOW, Starbucks & pub hopping, church and a Christmas bazaar on Sunday, dinner at Famous Dave's Ribs (I never want to see ribs again!) Sunday night, and we did much catching up, which included the exchange of some talking Star Trek cards and a birthday toast. The trip concluded with a delayed flight due to bad weather, and one of the bumpiest plane rides I have ever been on ("Fists with your toes," eh Rick?).
More pictures of better quality will follow.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Birthday Milestone

Today marks a milestone in my best pal's life. James turns 40 today. As of this date, James and I have been friends for 32 years and change. One of the things which binds us is the fact that our birthdays are exactly 7 days apart. Over the last 3 decades, we have hosted some darn fine birthday bashes. I am grateful that I am able to share this particular milestone with him in Seattle this weekend. Bash 4-0, he we come! Here are some photos:



This is us at age 20. Notice the cool 80s hairstyles and shades. To document the fun we have had through the years would take volumes, but it would be well worth the read.







Here we are last year at our 20th high school reunion. More weight, less hair, and slightly aged like a fine wine. Happy birthday, my friend. I will see you when I step off the plane at SeaTac! Yippie Kai Yay!

Spreading Some Cinematic Yuletide Cheer

For those rare quiet holiday moments, allow me to offer my top five favorite Christmas flicks in no particular order:



A Charlie Brown Christmas. No holiday is complete without viewing this classic with your family. I remember that when I was young, there was only one chance per year to watch CB. Now I own the DVD and can watch as many times as I wish!




Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is one of my all time favorite holiday flicks. One of the most stellar performances ever by James Stewart tops this must see Christmas DVD.






Okay, so I dig Die Hard as a pertinent Christmas Classic. Sue me.








The Family Stone is one of the best holiday films I have seen in years. A well-rounded cast headed by Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker along with Luke Wilson, Craig T. Nelson, and Dermot Mulroney bring Christmas in the 21st century alive. No special effects, no guns, and no explosions (see above). Just well portrayed drama that will tug your heart strings and make you hug your Mom.


I first saw Home Alone on the big screen when it debuted. I have watched it every year since then, and I never tire of it. The first time I watched it, I laughed so hard my ribs ached. My family and I watch it on Thanksgiving night every year. They never tire of it either.
Honorable mentions are The Family Man with Nicolas Cage, and Star Trek: Generations. Merry Christmas and a happy VIEW year!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Couldn't Resist



What would an appropriate caption be for this comical photo?

Mad props to Rick for the photo; thanks to Verizon for the effect.

Reconnected and It Feels So Good


One of the thorns in my flesh lately has been my cell phone. It had a bad battery and could only hold a charge for one phone call. One of the benefits of my recent employer was the use of a company cell phone in place of my crappy personal phone. Sadly I had to turn the work phone in this morning as I was being laid off. On the way home I stopped in the local Verizon store and used my free upgrade. I was able to pick up this LG-VX9900 for nothing. I must confess that getting a better phone did help alleviate the pain of the layoff. Now I can use my cell phone again, and I won't need to take a camera to Seattle!

Alive and Rickwell


Been offline for a few days due to technical issues. In my impending old age, I totally forgot to meet the guys for breakfast last Saturday. My apologies to Rickwell, George, and Chuck. I'm sure you guys had a blast, even without little ol' me.
Thanks also to Rickwell for his friendship and concern for yours truly. These last few days have been rough. As of this morning, several of my co-workers and I are on the unemployed list. We suspected that it was coming, but it made the blow no less painful. I have many "hooks" in the job pond, and I am hoping for a nibble in the short term.

Meanwhile, my wife, children, and pal James have given me a trip to Seattle for my birthday. I am looking forward to spending time with the K's and catching up on some live jazz. I fly out of CLT on Thursday, and I will be home in time to face the realities of turning 40 and having no job. On the upside, I have a very big interview on my birthday. I intend to use the birthday to my advantage. This job would provide much more security and stability than I have had in a long time. Please pray.
I am truly blessed with the support of a beautiful family and a great group of friends.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Movie Review

Realize that I am always a bit behind on my movie viewing. I usually have to wait until a film is released on HBO before I can actually see it. I finally caught The Departed. It is a story of two men, on opposite sides of the law, who are working undercover with the Massachusetts State Police trying to nail the Irish Mafia. Because the film was direct by Martin Scorsese, I had high hopes. Sadly, by the end of the film, many of my hopes were dashed.

Yes, I realize that the film won 4 Oscars. I have come to expect more from Matt Damon, however, and I feel he was the weakest link of this film. Thankfully he did not employ the overkilled Boston accent he used in Good Will Hunting. I was also disappointed in Leonardo DiCaprio's performance. I have a great deal of respect for his work as well, but felt let down this time.

Also in the cast were Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin. There were some high spots with each of these, but ultimately, for me, the only redeeming quality of The Departed was a stellar performance by Jack Nicholson as Irish mobster Frank Costello. Nicholson, as always, created a dynamic character. Does this guy ever bomb?

The plot kept me hanging but totally deflated me at the end. I liked the cast ensemble, but was looking for more from them and they never delivered. The story was intriguing, but I feel the ending was written during a coffee break. Had I bought a ticket to this movie, I'd have felt ripped off.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Helping A Good Friend

A buddy of mine asked me for help in promoting some sites. David is a veteran of the Investments industry and a Christian brother. He advises his clients according to biblical principles and is not out to make a quick buck. If you have some IRA rollovers or money to invest, let me know and I will hook you up with David. Meanwhile, visit these sites:

www.smartmoney777.blogspot.com
www.behindthefed.blogspot.com
www.smartmoneyquotes.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Matrixx Reloaded


Todd Matrixx returned to the ring after a 2.5 year absence. What better place to make a comeback than the Chapel of Redemption?

T-Money gave me a shot at the Cross Division Championship, and cheated to retain the title by bashing me in the head with a chair.

Tonight was a boyhood dream come true. It was good of Rick to come and take some photos. It was good to finally get back in the ring and have zero broken bones. I may be able to hang up the wrestling thing now and feel good about it.

Or I could always invoke my rematch clause...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Only Constant In The Universe

I have been rather bored with my blog, and felt it needed some freshening up. I hope you like the new look, the new name, and the new feel.

Take her for a spin.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's About Time!

Steve R., another of my high school chums, has finally planted a seed in the Garden of Blogging. Welcome, my friend.

You will find Steve to be a man of deep thinking, as well as one funny sonofagun. He is a USAF pilot and a budding chef. Not to mention a proud husband and father. But don't let me steal his thunder...go check him out!

My fondest memory of Steve (there are many) was a trip to Carowinds with the USC Baptist Student Union. What's funny is that neither of us were USC students or BSU members. We were invited by Rick and his main squeeze Vicki.

Steve and I, along with some BSU college babes, were standing on the bridge overlooking the log ride. Picture two guys, trying to be cool, putting the moves on two babes, on the bridge, overlooking the log ride. What we didn't realize was that each time the log ride concluded just below us, it produced a huge splash which saturated the bridge.

Without warning, Steve and I realized that 52 tons of water were suddenly being hurled at us from the ride below. There was nowhere to run, no time to figure out why we didn't know this would happen, and no time to consider how foolish we looked trying to run away from this giant wall of water. I may have screamed; I can't remember. Within seconds, we were soaked from head to toe, laughing hysterically (or were we crying?), and there was no sign of the BSU college babes.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Steve. Rock on, man. Rock on.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Land Ho!


View Larger Map

My beautiful wife, whom I believe many of you know, has inherited about 7 acres of land not very far from our current dwelling. We spent Saturday looking for homes to put on this land. Her dad has cleared our spot, and with some TLC and a few yardwork miracles, it should be a wonderful place to grow old.

We spent Saturday with the kids. Tracy and I were exhausted from work, but we had a great day. They all loved this one home we looked at, and we did the paperwork and are waiting to hear if we have been approved. It was a gorgeous home.

Next we hit the local Taco Bell for some pseudo-Mexican cuisine, got Dad and Cody a haircut, and headed to the land to do some prep work. Our three girls were covered from head to toe in dirt. They actually rubbed dirt on their faces as they took turns burying one another in the earth! Quite hilarious! The boys climbed trees and swung on vines. They are so excited about living out there. It is really breathtaking.

I stood in one place and did a 360. Everything I saw was ours. We are so thankful for this wonderful gift. The most exciting thing to me is that there is room on the land for every one of our children to put a home one day, if they wish. Picture me standing in my yard wearing plaid bermuda shorts with a white T-shirt, white shoes, and black socks, watering my roses and watching my grandkids play. At least I am wearing a shirt!

That evening the folks took us to the Old Mill Pizza Buffet. I really scored in the in-laws department. Julius and Linda are great people. They are wonderful grandparents. They make me miss mine.

Except for the Badgers getting creamed by Penn State, it was a exceptional weekend.

One final note: on Friday my vehicle will be paid for! Pray that she holds together!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Fraught with Fun and Frivolity

After an 8 month absence, it warms my heart to welcome my honey back to blogging. She has issued a challenge, and since I am all out of political, social, economic, spiritual, and movie industry opinions, I will accept her challenge and encourage all who read to follow suit.

What is your favorite color?
Green and Gold!

Baseball or Football?
Yes!

What team?
Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Seattle Mariners

Favorite candy including chocolates?
Tootsie Rolls/Pops

Favorite restaurant?
TGIFridays, Wings and Ale, Dukes in Seattle

Favorite food?
Steak, Fish, and Pasta

Favorite car?
Dodge Viper---though I doubt I would fit in one

Most favorite place you've been?
Carolina Beach, NC for my cousins wedding

What do you do for enjoyment when you're not working?
I like to watch movies and sporting events; if I ever had a few extra bucks I would like to bowl or shoot pool

Any hobbies?
Paying down debt

Do you have a favorite author and book?
Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, James Patterson, John Grisham, James Kirk; my favorite book is the Bible. It really is.

Favorite movie(s):
Godfather Trilogy; Field of Dreams; Midnight Run; The Family Man; anything with Mel Gibson

Favorite music:
Jazz, 80s, Christian Metal, 70s rock

Favorite band:
Kiss, Whitecross, Stryper, U2, Living Sacrifice

T-shirt and jeans or a suit?
I'll take business casual any day of the week

Traits that you notice in the opposite?
Opposite what?

Long hair or short hair?
Long on head, short on armpits

What's important to you in a relationship?
Trust, honesty, affection, backrubs

Who's your best friend-the person that you'd trust with your life?
My wife and Jay

What do you dream of?
Being debt free, playing in a bowling league, taking my family on vacations, being 30 pounds lighter, owning another Harley, having a simple yet fulfilling life

If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
Travel. I would love to visit Norway and look into my family lineage. I'd love to live in London and write a novel. A Packer game at Lambeau Field would be a dream come true. I'd love to have my own radio show, earn millions, and build schools for children in underprivileged countries. Lastly, I would love to ride a Harley cross country, stopping in every small town along the way.

Anyone else wanna play?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Disclaimer

Yesterday's blog post was fraught with controversy. I generated 7 comments, which is more than I have ever had in one day. Even my cousin Ben from Milwaukee chimed in (Go Packers!).

I confess that some of what I posted was placed there strategically. I just wanted to see how many folks actually read this thing. I would like to thank everyone who commented, and I hope that you do not feel duped.

I would now like to clear the air on a couple of points:

  • I am not supporting Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. I would not support her for President of the Glee Club. I am as of yet uncertain about who I like for President. I kind of like Fred Thompson, but only because he was so cool in Die Hard 2. Hardly a reason to support a man as leader of the free world. Although President Reagan was very cool in Knute Rockne: All American and he restored hope and patriotism to our generation as President. Food for thought...?


  • I do like Sean Penn's work very much, but I was exaggerating when I referred to him as the "Best actor of my generation." Hey bud...I was kidding!

The rest of what I said holds true for now. However, I have learned to be flexible and teachable. I certainly do not hold all of the answers in life and I try to learn new things and new ways of looking at old things. One thing I do know is that no matter how you look at it, the Word of God is always true and relevant.

Once again, my thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. I enjoy blogging, and I appreciate this forum and the ability to enjoy it with friends and family.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, Why Not?

This morning I did my usual perusing of my blogger buds to see what is going on with all of my pals. Remember the old days when we would just pick up the phone and call, pass notes at school, or meet at the Kettle? Now we blog.

I digress.

As I was checking out my pals in the blogosphere, I found some interesting posts about Christianity, Politics, Finances, Famous Dave's Ribs, Home makeovers, and spiritual growth issues. I returned to my blog to find Tommy Bowden picking his nose (old news, but still very funny to me).

It may cause my blogger buds to wonder, "Is Todd an idiot?" Not entirely, dear friends.

My blog is, well, mine. It is my world where I am free to blog what I want when I want. There are no agendas here. The Word of Todd is my way of allowing family and friends to check in on me risk free. I also am leaving it for my children (and one day grandchildren) as a way of knowing me after I am gone.

However, I actually do have political, social, religious, and financial views. I just elect not to share them publicly. They are my views, and they are not up for debate as far as I am concerned. But (Ala' Al Pacino in The Godfather) this one time...I will offer my viewpoints if for no other reason than to prove to my blogger pals that I am not a total idiot.

Ahem...
  1. Politically speaking, I am a card-carrying moderate. I used to be a full-fledged Republican. I went to the meetings, wore my Silver Elephant lapel pin, and voted "party only" on every ticket. Time and perhaps wisdom have shown me that politics, like Christianity, is more about BEING right than DOING right. I am thinking of the war in Iraq. War has its place in our society. It is a necessary evil sometimes. I personally feel that the current conflict has overstayed its welcome and that we have not fulfilled our objective in the middle east. The people who are getting rich off of this war are doing all they can to keep it going. I am still paying almost $3.00 a gallon for gas, and I am angry. However, our troops deserve our heartfelt gratitude and respect. They know why they are there, and they are making it possible for us to sleep every night under the banner of freedom. One final political note: HILLARY 2008!

  2. Spiritually speaking, I used to be a Bible-thumping, hard nosed, ultra-conservative. I began to discover that I had become the very thing against which Jesus taught: a Pharisee. I was religious, competitive, and uncompassionate. I was more interested in BEING right rather than DOING right. When my first marriage ended, it caused me to take a long hard look at myself. Particularly because all of my Bible-thumping, hard nosed, ultra-conservative comrades excommunicated me. Apparently there was no room in God's kingdom for a man who couldn't hold his marriage together. I had failed to give compassion as a minister, and when I needed it, compassion was not there for me either. I decided it was time for some changes. By no means have I "arrived," but I treat people differently than I used to. And while God's Word is absolutely true, we do not live in an absolute world. Jesus met people where they were and offered grace. I try to do the same. Pastors Dave and Shane have helped me a lot in this journey. Rick has been my compass. He keeps me real and honest.

  3. Home makeovers are out of the question at this time since I am renting, and were I to take my 7 children to Famous Dave's for rib platters, the math would not be in my favor. My financial life consists purely of debt management. It is getting better....slowly.

  4. I think Adrien Brody is one of the greatest actors of this new generation. I am convinced that Sean Penn is the greatest actor of my generation. Tom Hanks is right up there with him.

  5. I am fanatical about Wisconsin football. Beyond that, I am only fanatical about Jesus and my family, which also includes my closest friends, my cats, and my dog. I love my job; I love my church; I enjoy pro wrestling, though not as much as I used to; I love jazz, but on occasion I will "bang my head" down I-20; Christian music of today makes me ill; on rare occasions, I enjoy a cold beer; if I could go back in time and do something differently in my life, I'd have taken better care of my teeth; I am crazy about my wife but I am not crazy about turning 40; I miss my family in Wisconsin and wish I didn't live so far away, yet I would never want to leave SC.

And that's the way I is.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pick of the Week

"Gee, the whole country is watching, and we're losing; why don't I just shove my finger up my nose?"

(ht: Rickwell)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend in Wisconsin


Oh, what I would have given to have been in my homestate this past weekend. My Badgers prevailed, and so did my Packers. Brett Favre is the only QB whose career I have followed from the very beginning. To see him tie Marino's record caused a lump in my throat (or was that popcorn?).
My only disappointment came from the Brewers. Although I was happy to see the Braves doing so well.
I could almost smell the bratwurst coming from Lambeau Field yesterday. Oh, to have been there, clad in my Favre jersey and a cheesehead hat, with my face painted green and gold. On Wisconsin!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Can Dream, Can't I?

I am obviously obsessing with turning 40 this year. Some of my comrades are probably a bit unnerved by my continual pining over reaching one score years. In total fairness, this is MY blog, so I can pretty much pine all I want! :o)

Actually, I do not intend to lament the first 39 years here tonight. Instead, I am posting my 40th Birthday Wish List, with emphasis being on the word, "Wish."

  1. The complete set of Ally McBeal on DVD. No, I am not joking.
  2. A Packer game at Lambeau Field complete with Beer and Bratwurst.
  3. A weekend getaway with just me and Tracy.
  4. An alternative wish to #3: a weekend with no kids, pets, or in-laws.
  5. A sky jump. I can already feel the adrenaline!
  6. The financial ability to afford instruction in the art of Jeet Kune Do.
  7. A new tattoo. Either that, or an upgrade to the old tattoo. It looks like it was drawn with a marker.
  8. An evening with James, Jazz, and/or an evening in which I am allowed to be totally sophomoric with James and Jazz.
  9. Tickets to Manilow in Vegas. Maybe throw in a couple grand for the Baccarat table.
  10. A reunion tour of Van Halen with David Lee Roth back at the microphone.
  11. Last but not least, a ride in a Dodge Viper (provided I can fit inside of one!).
  12. In the event that #11 is a "no go" a ride in Rick's mini will do.
  13. Cruise for brunch with Chuck in a 1980 Chevelle/Chevette (sorry for the oversight, Amigo).

Wow, that was fun! Now back to reality. Even though dreams help us keep plugging away.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Plagiarism Is Alive and (Not Very) Well


It seems I have a "blog stalker." Not only has he copied my name, but the name of my blog and he is using it to propagate meaningless Howard Stern-esque banter. I have been forced to moderate any comments from him on my blog, since my blog is rated "G" and his comment profanity is almost an art form.
However, I have resolved to pray for "Evil Todd" and his followers, that all three of them may find grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It's kind of like the Star Trek episode where the transporter creates two Kirks, the evil one and the good one. In the end, both needed each other to survive. I suspect that this will not be the case here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

And So It Begins...


This has been a big year for me personally. Soon I will be saying "fare-thee-well" to my first 39 years. I have two children who started high school this year, which rebooted my prayer life somewhat. Yesterday was a big day for my son; he now has his first "girlfriend," a nice young girl from our youth group. I am happy for him, but at the same time, I don't want him to allow girls to do to him what they did to me. I am praying for him to be sure enough of who and Whose he is so as not to allow some girl to destroy his self-esteem or to put his heart in a blender and press "frappe."
I was proud to see him holding the door for his new friend and conducting himself like a gentleman. That he got from his Dad!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Random Ruminations

  • During WWII, it seems that there were a lot of "war pictures" made starring the likes of John Wayne. Perhaps the images of war heroes on the big screen fostered the sense of unity and support for our soldiers that those of "The Greatest Generation" displayed. Maybe we need some films about our current conflict to remind our nation that there are Dads, Moms, Sons, and Daughters sacrificing the basic luxuries we take for granted not to mention the presence of their loved ones and in some cases, children whom they cannot watch grow up.
  • I recently viewed JFK, the Oliver Stone film starring Kevin Costner and an all-star cast. I had never noticed that the only things written on President Kennedy's grave marker are his name and the dates of his birth and death, separated by a hyphen. It occurred to me that I am in the process of living in the hyphen, as it were. Someday (not anytime soon I hope) there will be a marker with the dates of my birth and death, separated by a hyphen. What legacy will I leave between those two dates? Have I really made a difference in my world? I cannot help but think of all the years I have wasted in front of the TV. Here lies Todd Vick; 1967 - ?. He saw Die Hard 179 times (actual total)! Surely I can do better with my life. I turn 40 this year. That is a huge milestone, and, statistically speaking, over half of my life. If my wife and children are proud of me and that I am trying my best, I suppose I can't ask for much more.
  • I am not a rich man. I don't have a huge house. My clothes are mostly hand-me-downs. I have worn the same tennis shoes for over a year now. My truck is 10 years old, and still gets me back and forth each day. I am blessed and very wealthy though in the area of family. My wife is amazing. Everybody loves her. And my children, though not perfect, are pretty darned close to it. We have our moments here and there, as well as the growing pains of a large family, but I have a great crew of young 'uns.
  • I am also blessed with great friends. They are gold. They have been with me for a long time. They have seen me at my best and worst, and never fail to cheer me on or catch me as I fall.
  • I must confess that I have sorta dropped the ball on my New Years Resolution to lose 30 pounds by 2008. I guess I better start over. I may yet make it.
  • Since Katie Couric left the Today show, I haven't had much use for it. At the same time, I have only seen her on CBS Nightly News once.
  • I was horrified the other day at Olive Garden when I saw that Chicken Parmesan costs $12.50!
  • It really bugs me that I have over 300 channels and yet I can never find a Packer game.
  • I really, really, love my job! It is the first time in a long while that I have been able to make that claim.
  • I can draw pretty good, but I am a terrible doodler. Is that weird?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering

It was a day like any other day. I called my step dad to wish him a happy birthday, then I was off to a meeting at Shoneys. While there, I noticed all eyes were glued to the TV screens. Apparently a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. Moments later, I witnessed a second plane crash into the other tower.

In a restaurant full of strangers, we all shared a bond. We were all Americans, citizens of the greatest nation on earth, and we all felt violated. How could this happen? We were afraid. My only thought was that I needed to go and get my children out of school. Nothing else mattered. I spent the rest of the day glued to CNN, waiting for questions to be answered.

That was six years ago today. Not a day goes by that I don't cringe when I hear an airplane fly overhead. Not a day goes by when I don't wonder if it will happen again. In the 80s, we feared nuclear holocaust. Today we fear terrorism.

I will never forget the one thing that really stood out for me during the 9/11 terror. For one day, we were not black, white, oriental, republican, democrat, liberal, moderate, or conservative. We were Americans. We were unified. We believed in our country and in our system of democracy.

Today, six years later, I imagine all of those brave men and women who lost their lives, and those US soldiers who have lost their lives defending us are so proud of how far we have come since that fateful day. I'm sure it would please them to see Paris Hilton in the headlines while the soldiers defending us are ignored and possibly forgotten.

What will it take to unite this country and make it last? Another tragedy, or perhaps a simple choice to unite. I don't know. All I know is that it has been six years, and I feel more vulnerable today than I did then.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Movies I Have Finally Seen and What I Think of Them

Superman Returns was more than I ever hoped for. We have an entirely new cast, except for Brando, which was extremely cool. And the producers maintained the original soundtrack which also rocked. It is hard for me to admit this, but I have to give Kudos to Kevin Spacey over Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Brilliant! The story showed more than just the Man of Steel's outer strength, but his inner strength as well. I love stories where the hero fights back after much adversity and then triumphs. I can relate.



The Prestige stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman. I was intrigued with this film from beginning to end. Aside from the fact that I am a huge Caine fan, I love a film that reels me in (no pun intended---well maybe it was) and keeps me hanging until the very end. Bravo, two thumbs up, and I look forward to more from Bale.






X-Men: The Last Stand did nothing for me. I read this film as Patrick Stewart, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, and Famke Janssen saying, "That's it. I am not doing anymore X-Men films." After viewing The Last Stand, neither will I.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reading is Fun, and The Mind is a Terrible Thing

Upon the advice of my best friend's charming wife, I recently purchased a pair of drug store reading glasses. The difference that they have made in my life is extraordinary. Because I can now read again, I am spending a lot more time in the lavatory, much to the dismay of the wife, kids, and cats.

Now if I could only remember where I set the darn things.

Friday, August 24, 2007

No, We Are Not Related



Couldn't resist posting this "Jury Selection for Michael Vick" photo.

Oddly enough, I DO have a cousin named Michael Vick who lives up north. He is a plumber's apprentice and loves animals, however.

Scooby Doo looks P.O.'d. And Snoopy, well..., if looks could maim...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Say hello to some good friends

Please join me in welcoming George and Caryn to our little corner of the blogosphere. Both of these people hold a special place in my heart.

Caryn is a wife, mother, educator and soon-to-be famous author. She is married to my best friend and mother to my favorite little mouseketeer in the Pacific NW.

George is a husband, father, musician, and beer connisseur who made history playing the Adjutent's Call for the AHS ROTC in 1986. That story never gets old!

Send them some love!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ministry and the Monday Thing

When I was a student in Bible College, I remember students who were pastors talking about "The Monday Thing." The Monday thing is, simply put, the blues. You have a great Sunday where God moves and lives are changed. Then on Monday you wake up and feel like crying. I don't get it, but I know the Monday thing all too well.

Saturday night was awesome. WFJ was at the B-L Leisure Center and not only did we have a great show but the ministry time was awesome. Grown men were crying and lives were being touched by the Master. Amazing!

Then Sunday at church we had a wonderful time in the morning AND evening services. Attendance is picking up and many are coming to Christ!

Then Monday came. I could hardly force myself out of bed today. A good friend called, and I couldn't even force myself to answer the phone (don't you hate when people don't leave a message?).

But I am making it. Got a sale first thing this morning. My wife is in a good mood, and we might actually get some rain today.

Does anyone have a Biblical explanation for the Monday thing?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tagged!

Alas, I have been tagged by Rick!

Here are the rules:
The rules are simple…Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.


And we're off:
  1. I can shove 8 Tootsie Rolls in my mouth at once. No one but me is impressed by this.
  2. Whenever I watch "The Brady Bunch," I get really, really cranky.
  3. My sons and I are convinced that their sisters are from another planet. They speak a language foreign to us and they smell funny.
  4. My daughters, on the other hand, are convinced that the boys have silly putty for brains.
  5. Coffee and doughnuts are the only vices I have left...but in moderation, of course.
  6. I often wonder what Junior Samples did BEFORE Hee Haw.
  7. On July 4th, I enjoyed the annual "Twilight Zone" marathon on Sci-Fi. Rod Serling was so far ahead of his time.
  8. I might be the only person without an iPod.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Shhhhhhh...can you hear that?


Of course you can't. That is because it is SO quiet at the Vick hacienda right now. All the kids are with their other parents for a few days, and it is blissfully quiet. Tracy is off today and she is actually taking a nap rather than running kids to doctors appointments or grocery shopping as she does on any other days off. As for me, I am working from home today and I don't have to remind anyone to be quiet while I am on a business call.
As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be a Dad. I also have always wanted a big family. We are very blessed in that department, to be sure, but every now and then, we just need time to be Todd & Tracy. It is nice to have these moments when we can.
I have to go now...a program that I want to watch is on TV.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why?

Today I am just asking the question. I am certain that I will never have all the answers, but I just have a lot on my mind today in light of the unfolding Chris Benoit tragedy. I have been rather quiet in the blogosphere this month, and I guess I just need to download a bit.

I understand that we live in a fallen world and that evil happens. We live in a world where an icon of professional wrestling for 22 years can murder his wife and son, and then hang himself. I didn't know Chris Benoit personally, but he was what I would consider to be one of the very few pure wrestlers left. I would always feel tired after watching Benoit wrestle. He was great. What happened to him to drive him over the edge? I may never know. But it hurts and I feel like I have lost a friend and in the process, realized he was not who I thought he was.

I understand that we live in a world where the atrocities of places like Darfur can happen. I don't have an answer for those people or their politics, but I weep for them.

I understand the we are fighting a war that we don't understand anymore. The politicians rage, and our soldiers sacrifice all...willingly and bravely. All the while the Rosie O'Donnells of the world get to be on the news.

I understand we live in a world where men, women, boys & girls shamelessly bear it all on places like MySpace looking to hook up with that "special someone."

But why? Why can't I fix it? Why do I pray while my Father seems silent at times? For years I have endeavored to share the gospel in various ways and in all kinds of places. I have had automatic weapons pointed at me while doing missionary work. I have nearly had my face bitten off by a wild dog while sharing the gospel on someones doorstep. I have had my arm shattered while trying to share Christ through the medium of professional wrestling.

Like Agent Smith in the Matrix Revolutions I ask myself, "Why? Why do I persist?" I answer as Neo did: "Because I choose to."

Maybe I am overwhelmed by the world today because I have been hiding in a spiritual cave for awhile. I have been apathetic and indifferent. I have allowed my own problems to take priority over the rest of the world. I have been sitting on the bench while the Coach beckons me back in to the game.

I find myself very grateful that I do indeed care, and that what breaks the Lord's heart still breaks mine, too. I will do all that I can until He comes back. It is what I set out to do a long time ago.

Like the Apostle Paul, I press on. Why? Because it is all I know to do. And it is worth it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Post Doctor Visit

Today I had a thorough physical (minus the rectal---thank you, Jesus). All the tests came back normal, and I have the lungs of a 35 year old. I still need to exercise more, lose weight, and find peace in the midst of stress.

It seems that my three biggest challenges are vertigo, anxiety, and sleeplessness. I am trying a fairly safe regimen of medication and I will be scheduling a sleep study very soon.

All in all, I am thankful for good health and the chance to make it even better.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Blues

While taking time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, I also took time to visit the doctor.

I do not like to take medicine. I prefer vitamins or a more holistic type of therapy. Today, however, I have been forced to face certain realities, namely the need for medication. Hopefully my new regimen will be temporary. I am also going back to the doctor on Friday for a complete physical. It has been 4 years since my last one. In addition to the co-pay, I will be rendering my pride for the inevitable prostate exam.

Whoever said life begins at (almost) 40 must have said this BEFORE undergoing this dreadful exam.

I am thinking of Chevy Chase in "Fletch."

"Mooooon River!"

I am going to have lunch now. Charging it to the Underhills.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Vertigo Away


It all began a couple of Saturdays ago. I was sitting on the couch, somewhat reclined, when the ceiling began to turn black. I then began to sweat, shake, and was overcome with nausea. I got up, walked around, splashed cold water on my face, all to no avail. I also noticed a constant hum in my ears, which seemed to resonate from within my head.
Like Fred Sanford, I thought maybe this was "the big one."
After a trip to the ER which ruled out anything major, I would later realize that what I have is a nasty case of vertigo. For years I have had trouble walking down steps. I usually have to hold the railing pretty tight. I also have had trouble sleeping for the last several months, which compounded the vertigo.
I will be following up with my family physician, and possibly a neurologist. For now, if you spin around in circles 50 times, you will get a good feel for how I spend my days. I can still drive and work. I guess I just need to quit putting off that exercise program.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sister, Sister



I grew up in a house with three women. Two of them are my sisters, Terri and Tiffani. Two sisters. One older, one younger. It was rough at times growing up. We always stuck together, though. We still do.

We all have families of our own now. We have sporting events, school activities, church stuff, etc. We don't get together as often as I would like, but when we do we laugh and laugh and laugh.

What else can we do?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!



I hope you had a great time with all of us today. We are all so thankful to still have you to celebrate with. May you live to be at least 100, and in the process learn to mellow out a bit.
Furthermore, I have not had your potato salad in around 17 years. In fact, I hear that it has been that long since you last cooked. Mom's potato salad, as well as her cole slaw, are one in a million.
My favorite breakfast as a child was Mom's real oatmeal, cooked on the stove like it was meant to be. Served with milk and tablespoons of sugar.
I have Mom to thank for my addiction to coffee as well.
Most of all, thanks to Mom for raising us alone on less than a third of what I make, and yet always having what we needed when we needed it.
Thank you for never missing the ball games and band concerts, which had to be hard to sit through.
You can be difficult at times, especially in crowds, but deep down you have a heart of gold. We all know it, and that's why we tolerate your crap. I love you, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My Aflac One Month Report Card

Top Producers for Week 17:
Jackie Allen - $15,208
Todd Vick - $3,096 Number TWO in the Region!
Wayne Pierce - $2,802
Louie Jones - $2,350
Mary Jones - $1,454

Not bad after less than a month in the field. I hope the momentum continues to build.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pastor In, Christian Behavior Out

Long story short is that the meeting at church last night favored my pastor by an average of 5 to 1 or better. All the allegations and the questions revealed themselves in one bitter person. Once she spoke, everyone could see what was really going on. The fact that she was the associate pastor's wife made her conduct even more despicable. The vote is over, but a period of change, healing, and restoration is before us, as well as the ever-present question, "How did it ever come to this in the first place?"

We are glad to have this lunacy behind us, and perhaps now we will strengthen our resolve to put our hands to the plow and not look back.

From the dust of this act of spiritual terrorism came an invitation for me to speak in Illinois sometime in October. The possibility of me serving my pastor as a part time Associate has also been brought up. In this regard, I would have the best of both worlds, so to speak. I could continue to build my Aflac career and minister alongside of a great man of God.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Processing...

I have what one might refer to as "brain overload" lately. Or in simple terms, I have a lot on my mind. Some of it is potentially fruitless thought, while the rest is basically a waste of decent Alpha waves. Nevertheless, here are but a few of my ponderings...
  • This whole Virginia Tech shooting has messed me up. It is the umpteenth time in recent history where someone has committed a heinous crime against humanity and then taken their own lives in order to avoid the consequences. What message is this sending to our children? I once counseled a young man who was incarcerated for gang crimes. His parents were members of my church, and so I built a relationship with their son. On many occasions, he told me of his plans to escape the facility he was in, and should he be caught, he would simply commit suicide. The blanket of deceit that rests over our world staggers the mind. As the body of Christ, how should we respond to this playing of the suicide card? On the flip side, are we willing to sacrifice our own lives for the cause of Christ? Am I? I am not suggesting that Christians should all commit suicide for Christ to make a point, but to revisit that place where Jesus said, "whoever wishes to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Face it, the enemy's people are ready to die for the cause of evil, and we still argue about whether or not people of color should be allowed in our church.

  • Is anyone else tired of paying almost $3.00 a gallon for gasoline?

  • I have been dealing with some personal issues lately that have really challenged me on many levels. "Personal issues" could more accurately read, "Character Flaws." It's like I have looked in a mirror for the first time in many years, and I have been flabbergasted at my reflection. I am speaking figuratively, although my literal reflection has the potential for clock-stopping as it were. (ha ha) Like the "Six Million Dollar Man," I am wrecked, yet I am hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, "We can rebuild you...better than you were." Does this include better LOOKING? I will let my wife be the judge.

  • There is some hoopla going on at my church. It is the classic power struggle between families that will come to a "vote" this weekend. Regardless of the outcome, does anyone really win? For a month now, the ministry of my church has been trumped by the backbiting and struggling for control. If I didn't love my pastor so much, we'd have gone elsewhere. So if the vote goes toward pastor, then what? Months of healing and wound licking with little if any reconciliation with the opposition. How does this honor Christ? It doesn't. And yet I have allowed myself to be dragged into the fray. I guess it is because I have been on that pastoral chopping block before and can empathize. And if he is voted out, what then? Start a new church born out of a split? There is no way to make this good. Only the Lord can.

  • I am really enjoying my new career. The career has really been the catalyst for my looking into the above-mentioned "mirror." I have been given a wonderful gift with which to build a better life for us. Pray that I do not waste it, as I have wasted so many other gifts and opportunities that the Lord has given to me.

Much more going through my brain. I am not sleeping well. I am being forced to draw nearer to God, which is not a bad thing. I am also being drawn to call on some old friends for wisdom and encouragement. If you are thinking, "Hey! You haven't called me!" Don't be offended. Be thankful.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Generations

I have always regretted the fact that my Dad died before my son was born. I am a sentimental sort, as you may know, and one of the things I have always wanted to have is a generational picture. I am pleased to report that I have the next best thing.

The man in the left of the picture is my Uncle Bob, my Dad's younger brother. Uncle Bob is my godfather as well. My family is primarily Lutheran and this is something that is done when a child is born: a "godfather/godmother" is assigned. Their duty is to care for the spiritual well-being of their godchild in the event of the death of the parents. My Uncle Bob has really stepped in and filled the void left by Dad's untimely death.

He has taught me about our family history, given me photos of my ancestors, and taken me to some of the important places regarding our family history. I am pleased to be able to pass this on to my son, and during a recent visit to SC, Uncle Bob posed in this photo with Cody and me. Dad is not in the photo, but I am quite certain he would be honored to have Bob stand in his place.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Kids On Spring Break; Dad's In School

I am off to Mt Pleasant for three days of Aflac training. The preparation for this sales school was the most intense thing I have ever encountered. There were many things which needed to be completed before I could even attend this training. I finished the last of it at 11:30 last night!

In addition, the kids have been passing around the stomach thing that Tracy and I had a couple weeks ago. I hope they keep it to themselves and away from me. Tracy caught a wee bit of it over the weekend. So far so good for me.

For all you USC Sports enthusiasts, my roommate for sales school and new co-worker is none other than Jamel Bradley, former USC basketball star. What a humble man he is. I look forward to getting to know him. Google his name to see the number of articles written about him. I regret I am not much of a b-ball fan. I'd have enjoyed seeing Jamel play.

I am that guy who doesn't own a laptop, so I am not sure if I will be able to post from Mt. Pleasant or not. Pray, if you will, for a safe trip, there and back, and for immunity from the bug. Much thanks!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To Blog Or Not To Blog

Much has happened since my last post. I have wanted to blog about it, but have just been either too busy or too tired. However, I am not one to disappoint my blog fans (hope you both are well). I will now attempt to encapsulate the last couple of weeks.
  • I have finally been "delivered" from the pizza business. I left Papa John's a week earlier than I had originally planned. I am now 100% Aflac. In retrospect, I am certain that many of the management habits I picked up in the pizza industry will serve me quite well in my new endeavor. The coolest thing about all of this is the support I receive from Tracy. She is actually considering working for Aflac as well.
  • Yesterday, after much prayer and studying, I passed the state insurance exam. I had planned to take it Friday, but my test time was pushed up to yesterday. I needed to get it done this week in order to accommodate the Aflac training which starts next week. I stayed up late, crammed, and passed. A score of 70 is required to pass. I made a 75. Works for me.
  • I am truly enjoying being home at night. I still have this nagging feeling that I am scheduled to work at Papa Johns, though. My therapist informs me that this will pass. My cat is my therapist.
  • I am off to beautiful Mt. Pleasant, SC on Monday for 3 days of training. I am particularly excited about crossing the Cooper River Bridge again. I confess that living in the Lowcountry of our state, though only for six months, really got into my heart. SC is such a beautiful state. I hope to get a chance to see some of my friends while I am in the area. Several of my wrestling buds live in the area, as well as friends from Walterboro.
  • On the home front, I have 2 kids in softball, and one in karate. My son is about to test for his Jr. Green Belt. I am delighted that he has found something he enjoys so much, and I love going to softball games. Tracy is very happy about my career move to Aflac, and even more happy to see me at home more. I am happy, too.
  • The WFJ event was a huge success. The event began with me going to the ring to do the "Pastoral Welcome." During my welcome, T-Money, the most hated man in the WFJ (though his alter-ego, Tim Blackmon, is one of my best friends), came out, entered the ring, and without warning, beat the starch out of me. I had to be carried from the ring. In reality, I was unhurt, but it established T-Money as the "bad guy," setting up the main event, T-Money vs. Buff Bagwell. I had the privilege of being Buff's "manager," and helping him win the match. Buff was a really nice man, and does he ever love Jesus. By the way, they call him Buff for a good reason. His arms are bigger than my legs, and you could land a Cessna on his pecs. I'm glad I was his manager and not his opponent. At the end of the event, many people came to Jesus, which is why we do it at all.

You are now up to date. Now, to clear up one quick myth: I am not selling insurance. I am selling insurance supplements. In other words, I will be helping people by picking up where their health insurance leaves off. That is why I believe I will do well at Aflac. It is a place where I can actually be of real help. I mean, honestly, does the world really need another insurance salesman? I think not.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Any plans for tonight?

To all my local friends, if you are in the Batesburg-Leesville area tonight, come on over to the B-L Leisure Center and see the live WFJ Event with our headliner, Marcus Alexander "Buff" Bagwell. I have it on good information that Todd Matrixx is going to make a special appearance as his manager...

Mayhem with a message, and Todd Matrixx, too. Sounds like a fun-filled evening, and a visit to the chiropractor next week for Todd Matrixx.

Friday, March 09, 2007

NYR: Update

Since the first week of January, per my New Years Resolution, I have lost 16.2 lbs. My goal for the year is 30 lbs. The recent stomach virus helped with the most recent 5, to be sure. Nevertheless, I am pleased. One of my children recently pointed out the loss of my double chin. Will post new photos soon!

Halfway there!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yuck

Two days off this week, and I spent both days down with the stomach flu. Tracy had it, too. Nice how we share EVERYTHING isn't it?

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Picture Is Worth 20 Years

Yesterday I went to the DMV to change the address on my drivers license, Naturally, I had to take a new photo. I do not photograph well, anyway, so I wasn't expecting to look like Fabio. But I didn't expect to look like Ernest Borgnine, either!

The photo made me look at least 20 years older.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Making Plans

Not sure who said, "Man makes plans; God laughs," but there may be a ring of truth to that statement. The last couple of years have proven that sentiment time and again.

Let me be frank: I hate pizza. I am using the word "hate" here. Since I was 16 years old, off and on, I have had to work at a pizza place in order to make ends meet. I have done two stints at Pizza Hut, and I am presently in my third stint at Papa John's. The problem is that I am very good at it. Recently, I was made Assistant Manager, with a view to moving up to General Manager at some future date. I started as a delivery driver, and I was cool with that. The problem was, I was too good at it. My philosophy in my work, and I guess in everyday life (most of the time) is not to just be good at something, but to be the best. Maybe it is insecurity; who knows? Nevertheless, I have tried to settle into the career of management, thinking it must be God's will, since the 100 resumes or so that I have sent out have turned up empty. The problem is, you will recall, I HATE pizza. I can't even stand the smell of it anymore. As a manager, I feel more like a babysitter, and the pay is not all that great. Consequently, I have been miserable. I work 60 hours a week, never see my family, and make crappy money.

But who doesn't? This is just what people do. I don't mind working long hours. I just want to be able to get out of the red at the end of the month. Besides, is it so wrong to want to enjoy your work? I miss the ministry, but reality dictates that doors are not opening like they used to. I am almost 40 years old, and it is way past time for me to grow up and settle into a career. Fine, but please, ANYTHING but pizza!

For years, people have encouraged me to pursue the insurance industry. I have politely declined, thinking that it wasn't for me. But I had a strange call from my sister this past weekend. Terri is a fairly spiritual person, though, and called to tell me she felt "led" to tell me that I would really be helping people by working in the insurance industry. I had never really thought of it that way, and so I filed the conversation away and gave it some thought. Anyway, that same night Tracy and I were talking about making some changes in our careers, and how unhappy we are, etc. etc. I then called my longtime friend Greg, who works for Aflac (the one with the duck) to inquire about the insurance industry. He offered me a job on the spot. I was able to reactivate my insurance license with little trouble, and everything has fallen into place. I will begin work as soon as all the paperwork settles and I can give Papa John sufficient notice. I am excited about this opportunity. I have not been this excited about a career since 2003.

I also realize that in the last 4 years, I have had a bunch of jobs. That has got to stop. I believe that it will now. Aflac is going to open some doors for Tracy and I that we have been praying for for a long time. The trade off is this: instead of coming home every day covered in pizza slime and smelling like anchovies, I will have to endure people doing the Aflac duck impression.

I can live with that.

Update: Yesterday afternoon when I returned home from doing all the Aflac paperwork, a job I applied and interviewed for in December of 2006 called to tell me that they need me now. Two months with no word, no returned phone calls, and no job. NOW they need me. Furthermore, the pay they are offering is less than what it was in December. No, thank you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Spring Fever

Today I officially sached from "Snow Fever" to "Spring Fever." I took my daughter to softball practice today and the weather was absolutely grand.

Fresh air, nice temperatures, the sounds of bats hitting balls, the smell of hot dogs, and the advent of the new baseball season is upon us. And let us not forget the falling of pollen!

I enjoyed the brief cold snap we received this year...way after Christmas. Today I realized that I am ready for Spring to come.

Batter up! Kleenex out!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Valentine


I have an amazing wife. It is so refreshing to be married to a woman that everybody loves. All my friends adore Tracy. Even my family is coming around. You just cannot help but to love her.
I never run out of underwear or socks. My work clothes are always clean. She even makes the bed! Tracy doesn't drink coffee, but she makes mine every day.
She is beautiful, too. What makes her more beautiful is that she is so full of love for everyone. She is a giver, a helper, and a pleaser.
I scored. Big time.
Happy Valentines Day baby. Many more to come.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Possible Summer Vacation

My cousin Charlie is a pastor in Thompson Falls, MT. I have always wanted to travel to the northern portion of our great nation. I have been to Seattle, but never Montana. He has invited me to do a revival in June of this year. I am very excited. We may make it a summer vacation.

I can hear the kids now, as adults, saying to their kids, "I remember the summer they made us drive to Montana...37 hours in the vehicle, with Dad stopping in every state and making us get out and walk around. I still have nightmares about that trip!"

I am reminded of a summer vacation from the pages of my own childhood. In the summer of 1979, we drove to Orlando to visit a pre-Epcot Disney World. I seem to recall the trip taking about 14 hours. Not bad, except for the fact that we were in a 1978 Ford Pinto...two adults and four kids. Yes, you read it right. Four of us, aged 12 down to 6, crammed in the backseat of a Pinto through three states. Today I have real trouble in crowds. I have trouble breathing when surrounded by lots of people. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

But I digress.

Anyway, I am really looking forward, kids or not, to spending some time with Charlie and his family in the great state of Montana this year. Two adults and SEVEN kids. I may have to look into an RV rental.

Monday, February 05, 2007

One Last Thing on Football




He's coming back!

Why I'd Make a Lousy Bookie



I picked the Bears by 7. The Colts opened a 55 gallon drum of whoopin' on the Bears, who played more like Cubs. As I watched the rain fall on the two teams, along with Chicago's dropped balls and missed snaps, I reflected on "the old days." Football fields were nothing but grass, and if it rained, the players just got muddy. There was no astro turf. The Bears played like sissies last night. George Halas was no doubt doing somersaults in his grave.

Maybe I am just getting old, but last night's game did nothing for me. None of my teams were in it. I supported the Bears because of my Midwestern heritage and because it was nice to see them back in the Super Bowl. Also, the gah-zillion dollar commercials were somewhat disappointing. They were funny, but not as funny as in past years. The one exception for me was this Bud Light commercial.

Then there was the halftime show. Prince? Whose idea was this? This was a football game! Myself, I'd have rather seen a KISS reunion. Full make up, of course.

At last my bantering has run its course, and I will now employ the most trite, tired, and worn-out cliche in football history:

There's always next year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

NYR: Update

Kiss 3 more pounds goodbye as of this morning! That brings the total lost to 7 pounds since January 1. 33 more to reach my New Years Resolution goal of 40 lbs!

It was most definitely easier putting these pounds on.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


What a marvelous day! There is snow falling, and up until 30 minutes ago (9:30 am EDT) there was accumulation. Now the rain is back and melting the snow into a sludgy muck. But for me, it was nice to look out the window and see the white stuff, if only for a few minutes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Seven Days Without Blogging Makes One Weak!

No excuses here. My week has been incredibly busy, but in a good way. I have actually sat down to blog several times in the last week, but I just wasn't "feeling it," so I decided to wait.

It's early Sunday morning...about 8:00 am EDT. I am preparing to go speak at my sister's church. They graciously invite me to come at least once a year. I am looking forward to it. I confess that I miss preaching every Sunday. For me, it is a way of connecting with people on many levels. I also enjoy seeing the faces of the people who tune in and listen while trying to apply the biblical truths to their lives. I will undoubtedly post later on how it went.

Quick resolution update: since January 1, 2007, I have dropped 4.2 lbs. That's four point two, not 42. At least I am going in the right direction. Only 35.8 more to go!

If you are looking for something a little different today, go to Rick's blog and accept his invitation to online church at 2:00 pm EDT. Maybe I will "e" you there!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weekend Recap

Whew! What a busy weekend. It was a weekend off for me and Tracy, but it was one of those, "I can't wait to get back to work so I can relax" weekends as well.

Saturday night was a WFJ television taping. It was by far one of the best we have done. We had a blast, but it was a late night for everyone getting home.

Sunday was full of out-of-town in-laws and old friends. Recall that I opened the post with, "Whew!"

Lately the Lord has been revealing some very basic yet powerful truths about "covenants." In the days and weeks to come I will be posting some of what I have learned. Right now I am just too tired.

Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter is (Finally) Here!


Tomorrow we are expecting a "Wintry Mix." Where I come from, a wintry mix is a snowball fight where bruises are inflicted and maybe a few teeth are knocked out! Not sure exactly what we'll see on the morrow, but it is chilly outside, and I like it!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

In Small Packages

Today at church we were treated to the ministry of Victoria Huggins. She is a 13 year old gospel singer from St. Pauls, NC and is a multi-talented young lady. But that's not what most impressed me about her.

There are a lot of 13 year olds who can sing. I have a house full of them! Victoria was more than just a cute little break from "church as usual." For a 13 year old, she displayed a wisdom and spiritual maturity way beyond her years. I watched her pray for other people with Christlike compassion, shedding tears as she did so.

I hope that many people were ministered to today as I was. I have three daughters close to her age. I would love to see a heart for ministry in their lives like the one I saw in young Victoria Huggins. I would love to see it in my own life as well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Man Named Clyde

I read a powerfully insightful article posted on Rick's blog. Brace yourself, dear reader, for I am about to confess some things in bold honesty.

Confession # 1: I do not like Oprah Winfrey. I do not like her show. But let's give credit where it is due here. If I were an author who had just written a book, I would not be disappointed to be mentioned by Oprah. Writers who receive a nod from her genuinely fair quite well. Furthermore, whatever her motivation may have been for building a school in a place where such a school is desperately needed, I tip my hat to Oprah for her generosity, compassion, and courage to do what's right. How many so-called "megachurches," or for that matter, even non-megachurches have given their resources and time to build schools for underprivileged children living in a country frought with unspeakable violence? Thank you, Oprah, for reminding us Christians what we ought to be about.

Confession # 2: I cannot stomach Pat Robertson. Isn't there some way we could just cancel his program and keep him off of our TVs? Of course that would make us communists, but it would almost be worth it just to shut guys like him and Falwell up. The disaster he prophecied about may have actually been his show.

Confession # 3: I am embarrassed at my lack of compassion and sick and tired of being represented on mainstream media by idiots like Robertson and Falwell and the like. I am embarrassed that I have been consumed with my own meager financial troubles and have never once considered building a school somewhere. I am embarrassed to be called a "pastor" in a world where we parade only those pastors who have megachurch status and set themsleves up as a goal to be attained. I am ashamed that for many years, that was, in fact, my goal. Today, if I had a 15,000 member church, I would divide them up into 150 smaller churches where such churches are needed. I fear that we are going to have to answer for the "Americanized" Christianity we perpetuate.

All of this reminds me of a man named Clyde who is a member of my former church in Walterboro. Clyde is a quiet, unassuming man. He can also be quite hysterically funny! One Wednesday night I had just locked the doors to the church and was getting into my truck to head home so that I could catch something on TV. Clyde was getting into his vehicle when suddenly a man walked up to him from the gas station across the street. The church is located right off of I-95, and so we had a lot of transients come to the church looking for help. This gentleman, if I am not mistaken, was stranded and had no cash and wanted something to eat. I am in my truck at this point, locking my doors, and looking to see if Clyde is going to be OK. He was retired from the Highway Patrol, so I figured he could handle the guy if things turned violent. I sat there and watched as Clyde reached into his wallet and handed the guy a $20. I thought, "Well, Clyde just got taken! I would have just sent him to a local shelter or something." Then I saw somethng that forever changed my life. Clyde prayed for the man! He put his hands on his shoulders and prayed for him! Then he HUGGED the man. A stranger! A transient! Clyde HUGGED him! Yeah he had been taken, all right--taken by genuine Christlike compassion.

As I watched Clyde wipe a tear of compassion from his eye and look at me to wave goodbye, I was so humiliated. Here I was, the PASTOR, and I had no compassion in me for this stranger in need. I recalled those familiar verses which speak about doing it for the least of these being like doing it for Jesus. I realized that I was a lot better at preaching Jesus than I was at actually BEING Jesus. Then something really hit me:
  • When my transmission blew up, it was Clyde who initiated the Men's Fellowship to "pass the hat" and get it fixed for us.
  • When our heater at the house conked out, it was Clyde who showed up with a load of firewood which he had cut, loaded, and unloaded just for us.
  • On many a Sunday, Clyde took my family and I to lunch.
  • Clyde is one of the most giving people I have ever met. If I were 1/10 the man he is, I'd be doing a lot better.

Since I have left that church, the image of Clyde ministering to that stranger has not left my mind. In 2007, I am endeavoring to give more. I was to preach a message on giving at that church and I never really felt the release to do it. Now I know why. I could not stand there and preach on giving while being such a selfish person myself.

Thank you to Oprah and Clyde for reminding us that it truly IS better to give than to receive. Now, Lord, help us to live it out day by day.