Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Attack of the Karate Kitten

Daddy's doing school...we came up with a tongue twister with the letter K

A kangaroo kisses a karate kitten. The kitten kicks the kangaroo.

Say that 10 times fast.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Discovery Pen Adventure

I am not much of a conspiritor but I believe with my whole heart that the Discovery Church pen is actually alive. The thought crossed my mind when it would show up in random places around the house like the basket in the bathroom (hiding in the Sudoku Puzzle book), or in the car, in all of my Bibles (it seems to jump from one to another), or what about swimming in the washing machine (WITHOUT Floaties, dangerous!)

Well my suspicions were confirmed when this seemingly innocent pen stowed away into one of our backpacks. See, some friends and I decided to go to the Shining Rock Wilderness in western NC. Over 5 hours away from home and over 1 mile above sea level this little bugger showed its purple little head. It decided to trapes across 15 miles of rugged wilderness and snuggle up with us in our tents at night.

We were a little freaked out at first but because of our Christian faith and compassionate hearts we decided to welcome this stranger as part of the crew. Now that the weekend is over we just can't imagine the adventure without our precious little purple pen.
Here are some of our most special moments...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Cowboy

Do you ever think about death? I don't normally, mostly because I'm so ADD that I cant finish anything I start so finishing life seems to be off the table, too. Anyway, death has made its way to my mind. Mostly because I have a grandpa (Grandpa Rice) who has been in and out of the hospital for a year or so and barring any unfortunate accidents will be the next family member to leave us. (hopefully its 10 years from know!)
My ministry is built on capturing moments and speaking into the lives of those who mean the most to you. Typically I would focus on teens and kids here because we have a responsibility to lead them and bless the goodness that we see in them. But there are end moments that deserve a measure of closure and kind of a last word. That end moment/last word has been haunting me when I think about my grandpa and what I'll say at his funeral.
Why is there a sense of urgency to fit-in a life's worth of meaning into the last few interactions with people? Because we missed so many along the way? or we think that we'll have another time, or plenty of time to address it? Sometimes i'm just afraid to speak to others when there are other people around, as if it is too uncomfortable for grandma to hear what I think grandpa's life meant to me.

I didn't intend for this post to be an obituary, or to even suggest that Grandpa is on his death bed cuz he is doing good. But now that the can is open...

Things I hope to tell my Grandpa Rice one day but to scared to say today...
You are one of the most positive influences in my life.
I learned about a hard days work from you.
I learned plenty of dirty jokes...some real humdingers too!
I heard you when you talked about how much of a hard worker I was to other men.
You never let a moment get too serious
You never let another man get the better of you.
You're a cowboy. Always had a gun and a dog by your side.
You have a steel will, to quit alcohol and cigarettes 'cold turkey' is amazing.
You let me work on your crane and the summers we spent together were the most amazing adventures of my young life. I cant thank you enough for bringing me along to share in your story.
I loved sharing "a grease burger" with you at Steak and Shake after a long days work at the yard.
You have the best, most contagious smile.
I love how you tell stories and the great experiences you've had. From small town country living, to working on the Alaskan pipeline to building and walking the steel on the skyscrapers of Michigan's grandest buildings, I love hearing about the pink Cadillac and seeing all of the pictures of you with your cowboy hat tilted a little to the side.

I hope one day my grandchildren will be as proud of me as I am proud of you. I couldn't be the man I am today without some credit going your way. Some guys called you the Marlboro Man, and others called you Ray-mo, I will always call you Grandpaw. And one day my grankids will hear about your great adventures and know the story of "The Cowboy".

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Camping Trip

We are ready for our trip

On the trail

Reached the Summit...900 feet above sea level...we hiked 5 miles and well over 600ft elevation gain. I only had to carry Caleb 2wice
notice: "Created By God" and State Park on the same plaque...

The only thing between us and the Black Bear that night

Conquerers of the Wilderness....Wild Men!

Caleb setting up Camp: Nite 2

Mmmmm....Chili Mac and Hot Cocoa

Good Ole' Sleepin Buddies
Pic just before the huge mess of Mallow.

They weren't bears this time.

Happy Birthday Caleb!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I excuses...I gotta post more and that is that!

6 weeks is just too much time not to post. God is doing things and I just have to hatchet out the time to update this page. You can have full permission to email me a scathing rebuke. I am getting more discipline about these things, just not 'this' thing.

Examples if self discipline recently:

1.I recently lost more than 20 pounds...down to a slim 215. No fad diets just eating right.

2.While as a 'stay at home' dad, I did all the house chores, dinner, laundry, kid taxi service...etc. (knowing me, this is a big deal...typically the longer i stay somewhere the messier things have a clean house on my watch is kind of a breakthrough...just ask my wife after I cook a big meal.)

3.Consistency with the kids...Cessie tells me that I am good at this, so you will have to ask her...I think that I am just a meanie sometimes but Cessie likes my style...hopefully the kids will turn out OK.

Where I need improvement...

1. My regular DAILY devotion time...I want to do better. Maybe I am lazy or maybe I am still dealing with some rebellion issues associated with "a certain denomination" that made daily devotion equal to 'true' salvation.
I am not where I want to be (MY responsibility)and I miss time with God that I can never get those great conversations on the boat with grandpa.

2. My Administration and paperwork skills...I am a very focused person, the trouble is that I never focus long enough on this area. I admittedly live moment to moment and am great at capitalizing on opportunities. Its those daily, consistant, administrative exercises (logging payments, filing paperwork, tracking numbers and trends) I get distracted and just need to focus more on the weekly duties. Like it or not, I am the president of a company, I got to get on the ball and stop working from behind and get ahead of the paperwork and stay there.

3. My wife and date nights...we used to have one every friday (rain or shine)...since moving to Greenville we have not had one for 4 months. Mostly because I wont call others and ask for Babysitting... partly because I dont know people that well around here to inconvenience them with our kids and the other part is it takes planning, 2 weeks to be nice and at least 1 week notice to be fair. I certainly love my wife and she deserves it and as the husband I must take the initiative on this.

4.Updating my blog, facebook, and is a shame that God is doing so many cool things and you don't get the privilege of celebrating them/Him with us.

If you want to help in any of these areas...well, I probably won't call you back anyway ;) Just Kidding! Any tips, techniques?

Wow, this post was kind of therapeutic!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What is the definition of Love?

God calls us to love our enemies. He expects us to forgive those who hurt us. It is certainly difficult to even comprehend love but is it natural? Is love a human tendency? Is it enough to model love? Can love be taught?

The bible talks about love and even gives examples, but what is the definition of Love?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Small Groups vs House Churches

I recently got a letter in the mail from a ministry that I respect and follow regularly. This was a monthly update that answers a longtime question "what kind of church do you go to?" Being that they are not a denominational ministry that was a fair question based on the success they have experienced in the last 5 years.

The ministry leader supports the idea of "big church" but said what works for him and his family is having a 'house church'. A house church is a group of believers who meet in someones house at least once a week for a bible study and other religious exercises as opposed to going to a church building and plugging into religious denomination or organization.

As I understand it, it is very organized and you can join "house church" non-profits for tax exempt purposes and to get ideas of how to function effectively. This sounds very appealing to me and it certainly has biblical roots since houses where the first places people met as Christianity was building it's foundation.

The people that I know who participate in house churches have been hurt by "big church" or that they have seen so much corruption in the 'church' that they would rather see their money used on feeding people than on paying salaries, rent, lights, carpet,...etc. (I am not saying all house groups Christians are like this, these are just the opinions of people who I know participate. And this Christian leader in the above paragraphs certainly advocated for house groups as an option.)

I like the idea of house churches. But maybe you can help me answer some questions about it. Like, why not just join a church and participate in a small group? Or What is wrong with having a church building? Or what happens if the house group gets too big for the house, do you by a bigger house? "Big Church" is messy because people are messy, relationships are complicated and not everyone is pleased all the time, Is that enough justification to disassociate with a large group of believers?

Whatcha think?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Afternoon Worship

I love computers and the Internet. As I write this I am listening AND WATCHING Live Worship at The Crossing Church in Tampa. This is the ultimate lunch break!

Check- it out. It is on 11:30am - 1pm every wednesday afternoon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

IT IS Freezing...

I am wearing long sleeves, gloves and sometimes jackets, INSIDE my house! This is crazy and it is 40 degrees outside...what is the deal?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another God Story

If you have not read "the Magic Pliers" post scroll down a bit and a enjoy. This goes right along with the amazing stories God is telling through our lives.

So Cessie has not felt good since we moved here 12 days ago. She just was not feeling right and had really nagging crumby sick days...12 in a row. It culminated Monday morning with an excruciating tooth the side of her head/jaw was going to throb out of her skull. We both were thinking, "great, here comes the laundry list of dental bills, that we cant afford right now." But, there was no avoiding it, the pain was too great so we had to 'bite the bullet' (excuse the pun) and send Cessie to the dentist.

Cessie does her best to find a reasonably inexpensive dentist that will cut us a break on the initial exam(remember, just moved from another state, no insurance)cuz its all going on credit at this point. Meanwhile I am at home, jobless preparing for the worst.

The Diagnosis was that she had an infected tooth, an infected cavity in one of her wisdom teeth. She needed some antibiotics and to remove the tooth. The catch is that you can't just remove one wisdom tooth, you have to at least remove the top and bottom of that side, better yet remove them all.

We heard this all before cuz a year ago it was going to be over $1100 to get them removed on top of the other work she had done. (curse calcium sucking pregnancies, it is war on the teeth!) Well at this point we could only remove one set and it was going to cost $700, ouch!

There was really no other option at this point, so we scheduled it the next at 11am. ....So here is where it gets good.... We prayed last night and this morning that God would watch over all of this from the finances to the surgery, all the kids prayed and we went forward believing that I would get a job and things would be fine.

Cessie gets in the chair and proceeds to get her 2 wisdom teeth pulled on the left side of her mouth and as they finished one of the dentists came into the room and said that they talked about it and decided to do a SPECIAL TODAY ONLY, GET 2 WISDOM TEETH PULLED GET THE OTHER 2 PULLED FOR FREE! The special only applied to Pregnant women who had an 11am apointment. They totally blessed us and saved us several hundred dollars...We didn't offer a sob story to manipulate the situation, they just decided that we deserved a huge discount. On top of that Cessie said (almost in tear at this point) that they were the nicest, most helpful, most accomidating group of professionals she had ever experienced.

So God keeps amazing us with His favor and Greenville, NC keeps impressing us with the great people here.

Grace = getting what you don't deserve...we are soaked in grace, praise God!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My First official Sunday @ Discovery

Jason is the lead pastor here and a long time friend...almost 10 years...wait I think it has been 10 years this year...yikes. Well he gave me a chance 10 years ago to minister to students in his student ministry at KABC. I was a goofball, 19-20 year old who was very green and unfamiliar with church life and how to "do" ministry. Jason took me under his wing..errr...put up with me because I wouldn't stop showing up Wednesdays at around 2pm and leave for home around 10.

I dont know what got into him lately, but he heard my ideas and read my ministry plan over a year ago and felt like God has something instore for our ministries...TOGETHER. Old friends reunited? or maybe a green 29-30 year old tagging along to learn a thing or two about building ministry from the ground-up. I'd like to think both...I think he agrees too...I definitly know Lora (his wife) loves me around, being a bad influence on her kids and teaching them lots of sneaky annoying tricks (Luv ya Lora!:))

Jason gave us the week off, since we moved in Thurs, and where frazzled and the kids were sick...actually he is awesome and said that he just wanted me to attend for a few weeks and not feel pressure to jump right in and start running things (I tend to do that).

Jason had a tough week and Sunday service was a doozy, he said the word "Homo-sexual" a number of times. That word and others tend to raise the stress level and make Sundays hard...spiritually and emotionally. My first order of business and as the new tag-a-long from Florida (yes there have been others before me...many others...if you are missing a friend they probably moved here to Greenville and go to Discovery) I plan to pray. I want to pray on Sunday mornings and get as many people (especially men) to join me. Simple but not easy, Powerful but extremly mysterious. I would love to raise the level of anticipation people feel as they enter our service, like they expect to meet with God and offer their very best to Him.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It felt like I was sprinting a marathon...

So much goes into an out-of-state move! I didn't realize this because this is the first time we've moved out of state. There is still so much to do and everything that was last minute yesterday is even later today...but our lights are on and the rooms are starting to look a little more normal as we clear the boxes and bags out. I am very beat, yet there is a sense of adrenaline, excitement still keeping me going, but the tank is getting low. It is like the last turn in a track race; you know, when you sprint to the finish, trying to beat your old record...yeah well no one told me it was NOT the last lap, I got a couple more to go!

I am definitely not complaining. God has been leading this whole thing (see The Magic Pliers post) and people from Discovery have already planned on bringing some meals by next week. I still have to find some part-time or full-time work, follow-up with a couple of partners who committed to support us here, write a newsletter for February, and help Cessie get the house just keep us in your prayers. We need more energy and to work efficiently, and of course to keep our eyes on Jesus!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I think it's sinking in...

We had an awesome time this weekend. Saturday we had family pictures with my parents, my sister (her boyfriend Brad and their daughter Leah) and of course our little rascals...we had a photographer come to the house and setup a mini backdrop in the living room and we just had a circus in there. This is the best deal for a family picture, I will never go to a mall studio again, it was great.

Saturday night we had a little party with our boardgame friends. They gave us a great night of laughs and a very touching wall hanging thingy...they prayed for us and encouraged us. Cessie lost crying and stuff lost hit her that we are really doing this.

I was feeling pretty confident, until....Sunday at church. Then it hit me that we are really doing this. I cried, but not too blubbery. I think it's sinking in...we are moving to North Carolina and it is awesome

Friday, January 23, 2009

Notable Quotables

In light of the new series at Discovery "(6? )things people hate about Christians".

One thing I hate about Christians is that they are so cliche', the same canned answers that they stole from someone else...(I am so guilty of this). Like "if you dont stand for something, you will fall for anything" or "Dear Jesus, thank you for this day...and please be with..." (guilty again daily) or "people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care". I need some more examples...

I am not opposed to the truth behind these statements but regurgitating old quips and sermon titles to give someone counsel or help someone hurting, just doesn't cut it. Many times it shows a lack of individual thought and caring. People want to see authenticity and they want to know you are listening.

I know that I use cliche's because I feel like I have to give an answer, I mean God has all the answers, I am a child of God, so I must have something to offer. What I end up doing is frustrating people with hollow advice and reinforcing bad stereotypes, like being quick to judge.

However if you must be Cliche then...come up with your own fun ones. My closest friends hear these all the time and can even finish my sentences like...
"Thursday" if you ask me when something is going to happen expect it to happen on a Thursday.
"Change your life" is something I use when trying new foods, if you have yet to taste a grand recipe from the Rice household it will "change your life".
My newest patented phrase is "Pork and Beans" in an effort not to use potty language around my kids (cuz they are catching on) I choose the phrase "pork and beans" when i am frustrated, frazzled, or freaked out...or if I smash my thumb with a hammer.

Alright you gotta share with me your favorite expressions...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stop the Presses!!! Who ordered Snow??

(thanks for the pic, Jon)

Winter Stormwarning

Local Weather > LOCAL WEATHER ALERT for Winterville, NC (28590)

.Issued by The National Weather ServiceNewport, NC 3:40 am EST, Tue., Jan. 20, 2009

I might be rethinking heading north after one said anything about SNOW! I wont know what to do, I have only seen snow fall from the sky once in my life and now I'll be living in 2 to 5 inches! Please tell me it's dehydrated instant potatoe flakes, right?! Snow bunnies set my heart at ease!

Friday, January 9, 2009

House Hunters. Attack!

We searched high and low...from safaris in the wilderness to expeditions across the prairies, we found the lost treasure of Lake Titicaca (I love that makes me giggle) within the firy depths of the Urban Jungle called Ayden, NC...(dundunduuun).

God once again amazed us by getting us a house in North Carolina. We were blessed beyond our imagination the first Sunday. A newlywed couple had 2 houses, they have been trying to sell one since they got married in the spring. The market has been as bad there as it has been in Tampa and they couldn't sell it. So when we came into town, they were excited to show it to us and we were excited to see it.

It is a 1900 farmhouse in downtown Ayden, it has 22oo+ sqft, with all of the retro carpentry of an old home, but it has been completely updated. They are even leaving us their Foosball Table...and washer and dryer. When we talked about our max rent, which wasn't much, they actually beat it by 50 bucks per month! "

We left there optimistic but we still wanted to look around to see about other opportunities, that turned out to be a waste of time, because they were 200 dollars per month cheaper and 1000 square feet larger than the next best deal. I cant tell you how blessed and releaved we are, this is just more confirmation that we are on the right track. (as if we needed more).

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Magic Pliers

We were blessed with an extra large trailer to carry some of our house stuff to Greenville N.C. We are officially moving there to partner with Discovery Church and figured if we were driving all the way up there (12 hr drive) we might as well bring some stuff with us.

So here we are in north Florida driving down I-10, only 3 hrs into our trip when, POP!, Thud, Thud, Thud...we get a flat tire on the trailer. I see rubber pieces flying from the wheel well, so I decide to pull over right away, in the middle of nowhere.

I thought to myself that this is fairly routine, I have fixed a million tires in my day and we should be back on the road in 15 minutes. That was until I discovered the spare tire was secured to the trailer by a homemade bracket with 2 little nuts and washers. At that point I got a little frustrated because I knew that I forgot my tools at home and it would be 2 hours before AAA could help us (thanks grandpa) and at least that much time for Cessie to go to the local parts store to get me a wrench or pliers and to return safely to the middle of nowhere. I didn't want to get a ticket for abandoning the trailer so I decided to unlatch the hitch and send the wifey on a tool-searching adventure while I waited with the trailer.

Just as I had the SUV unhitched, I noticed some men on the other side of the 6 lane interstate trying to cross and coming right towards us. I was a little concerned because they looked homeless and dirty, so I told Cessie to get behind the wheel and take off if they attacked me or tried to get into the car. I was not scared but very leary and guarded.

The first man greeted me with a smile and asked if I needed some help. I told him of my tool-less dilemma and basically tried to send them on their way. Here is where the story gets interesting...After explaining my situation the guy looked puzzled and he kind of smirked. He said "That is a funny coincidence. I was walking along the side of the interstate and stumble upon these PLIERS, they were just on the side of the road. I didn't need them and really didn't want to carry them but something told me they would be useful. So here you go, these must be yours."

WHAT?! God sent a homeless, hitchhiker with black teeth and stinky clothes to give me a pair of pliers to fix my flat tire! Better yet, they helped change the tire and did most of the work to get me back on the road.

I only boast in Christ because God has done this throughout our life. We are so blessed to follow Jesus. He is interested in the seemingly little aspects of our lives. God is big, but He is oh so close.