Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oh and By the Way....

if you just don't think there's enough to read here, maybe I should enlighten you to a little secret..... we have 2 blogs...

check it out. It's full of good food.
Rough Lumber Blog

Fair Winning Sugar Cookies Analogy

Hey am I getting some mileage out of these sugar cookies or what? :)
Actually, If you watched the video below, you saw grandma, as the shaper, rolling the cookie dough around in her hands, and then passing the job on down the production line to the granddaughter, who was the official cookie-cutter.
Pause right there, come on back and give me your attention; Keep that visual picture on a post-it somewhere up there in your mind and follow me.

During our bible study this morning my wife and I tried something a little different. We both read from the same passage, wrote down our thoughts, and at the end decided after a few sips of Joe that we wanted to hear what eachother wrote.

Kari's journal was very gathered with pieced together tidbits of information from different commentaries and study notes, culling everything she'd learned into a finished cut of the knowledge she'd gleaned.

My journal was completely different. In her words, it's as if I'm writing a devotional to publish. There's the verse, and then what it means to me, how it relates to life experience, where it applies in this day.

I started laughing because it dawned on me that, just like in the video, in the body of Christ there are such different hands and feet, intended for very different purposes. I'm at the kitchen counter, pulling a giant lump of dough from the batch, forming that abstract into something manageable. A well rounded little ball of a story emerges...It may not be pretty, but it's just the right size for you to work with on your own, on your end of the line.
My wife is the cutter. She takes all of that knowledge, rolls it all flat and uniform, places her cookie-cutter just where she thinks it will make the best, most efficient punch through the dough, and then she presses out the information into this nicely patterned image. It's a finished product. It's unique to her, just like mine is original to me, and yet it's the same dough, just packaged differently for each of us. That's the living word of God.

But then came the best part. When we put the two together, we had an amazing study, together.

I highly recommend you try it. Make some philosophical cookies with your better half today and see if you like the taste.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fair Winning Sugar Cookies Video

Fair Winning Sugar Cookies

My mom and my little girl hooked up last night to become an unstoppable duo in the kitchen. Using her great-great-great grandmother's "Fair Winning" sugar cookies (atleast that is what is scratched on the recipe), my little girl showed a new side of herself...
See, a true chef has to get down and dirty, literally, in the food. The flour on the nose and cheeks is a must. You must get down on the level with the food, eyeball to eyeball.
It's also all about taste, taste, taste, you see, so there must be time allotted to lick the frosting. :)
Also note the precision and careful consistency in the stirring of the frosting. It takes great care, not too hot, not too cool, with just the right centrifugal force to mix in the coloring at just the right degree of perfection.

The results: Finely crafted, hand made, handed-down-through-the-generations works of art :)

Disclaimer: Some sugar cookies were harmed in the making of this evening. 1 crazy oven and 1 distracted grandma trying to teach the 6-year-old the finer art equals a few slightly charred gingerbread men, shining stars and Christmas trees... the rest are in my tummy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My Purple Cupcake

She told me to look for the purple cupcake, that'd be her.
"How will i know which one is you?"
"I'll be the purple one, but I'm not the only purple one."
"If you're not the only purple cupcake how will I tell you apart?"
"I'll be the only one giving the Love sign... I'm the only one that knows that."

Hmmm, ok. Well, we weren't supposed to take any pictures or video, and while I respected the rules, I still came to a point at the end, when she was bowing on stage for the last 30 seconds of the 3 minutes total of the 2 hour performance that she got to be on rebellion overruled...well, it's my little girl, and I just want 1 picture to remember what she looked like. How many practices, how many trips to town and back? 1 shot of her on the stage in her costume, I don't think that's asking too much.
She had tons of family to support her first-ever part in the Nutcracker, and loads of flowers to boot.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Changing of the Guard

Goodbye Fall. Hello Old Man...

Logan's 10th B-day Party

a few quick snapshots of the kids at the birthday party. I love how kids just wear their emotions on their faces. Total exhiliration, absolute fear from my little girl when she thought she was going to get flipped upside down on the waterslide, and then the looks on every kids face as my boy is about to blow out his candles on his ice cream cake...they are so excited it's like they are all blowing them out with him in their minds.

Bad Dad

some of you might think I have too much time on my hands to be posting this kind of fotter...i'd have to remind you that Halloween actually happened over a month ago...I'm just that far behind. It also happens to be my boy's birthday, so I guess I'm a bad dad?
Better late than never.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


My little girl lost her front tooth, finally, last night. We're all excited, because it's been a daily topic at every meal you know, with what she can and can't be biting into...for the last month at least.

So this morning, Kari and I are sitting together trying to have some 'us' time, cup of joe, read a little from the bible, hash out life for a few minutes...then tummy's start to rumble. In comes Abby, short-n-to-the-point, because there's only 2 minutes and 2 seconds of commercials before the cartoons are back on (it's Saturday).
She's really wanting pancakes, but just not any old flapjack. She wants the kind that mommy tries to make with fun animal shapes and the cookie cutter thingamajigs.

Kari has a tough time with these. The animals, well, sometimes they don't resemble animals, more like the kind you see on the side of the highway, and believe it or not, it's actually a very stressful thing for moms to not be able to make these. My mom tried it months ago (after she bought them for Kari), and by the end of the fiasco, there were clumps of pancake everywhere and she was crying... they should call them joy dashers, I think. I'm a man, so I just can't understand the why, I just know the facts, these animal-shaped flapjacks are important and crucial to the stability of the family circle. :)

Back to the story. Kari gets this troubled look on her face, instant-anguish, morning 'us' time has suddenly evaporated as if it never existed in the first place...all bliss is now on the back burner...and she says, "I don't know honey, those animal pancakes really stress mommy out, I'm not very good at making those," to which my daughter, who can no longer say her S's after losing her front tooth last night, responds,
"Yeshuarr, Mom! Yesh-u-arr!" It was pure encouragement from a 6 year old, it just took some deciphering. (Yes You Are!)

In the time it took me to type this, it seems we've had some success in the pancake animal kingdom. Tummy's are hard, warm, full and happy. One child says they were great, mommy says she had to cut them all up, and the little encourager of the morning, she has one word, "Disashhter."

The kitchen tells the rest of the story... monkey heads, elephant trunks, lion noses everywhere....oh the humanity!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Gig Down

Rough Lumber had it's first event last night. I have no idea how many people were there, I just know that we spoke the truth and it was received. It's amazing to see God's word sinking in, speaking to hearts in ways they've never felt before. So awesome to be able to witness that. I wish I could describe how it feels to ask Christ to give you the words to speak, and then to stand in front of a crowd, not knowing what you're going to say, no written or prepared speech....and yet it comes.
The word that comes to mind is purpose. That's what I feel.

We learned that cover songs are just cover songs. We played a couple of hit songs that everyone knew. While they were fun to hear, they had nowhere near the impact of the songs that we've written ourselves. Our ministry will be effective as we share Christ through our own personal experience with Him in our lives. We just need to go to Him, and let Him lead, and the rest will be taken care of. Isn't that true of life also? That's how it seems to me.
For more pictures and sounds, check out the ministry at

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Gig

We've got our first gig for Rough Lumber. We'll be with for Project 52 Ministries at Living Springs Church in Brandon on Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 pm.
We'll open with 2 or 3 songs, then break for the speaker and close.
Anyone is welcome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interactive Blogger Update

Some outstanding responses to this image. Here's some of my favorite responses:

*I see a mom-to-be having so many emotions at once, scared to go through the actual labor, love, for the child inside, nervous about the fact she is goingt o be a mother, excitement for the fact she is going to be a mother and peace that her dream of being a mother is about to come true.
Pregnancy is such a great gift and it is unlike anything anyone has ever felt. She looks peaceful in her thoughts and relaxed just hanging out with her baby.

*She looked like a flower, and had a glow that I don't think I've ever seen captured in a picture before - new moms and moms to be just have this amazing glow. It was serene and perfect
- everything motherhood should be. Expecting one of God's little gifts
- one of the most amazing gifts a woman can have.

*I see BEAUTY at it’s finest… I see WONDER….what will he/she look like, will he/she have my nose, my smile, will it be a boy or a girl, what will his/her cry sound like. I see excitement, the experience of all the “Firsts”, the first time she heard the heartbeat, felt the baby kick. I see ANTICPATION but in a good way, anticipation the first cry, the first tooth, the first word, the first step…
I see MIRACLE, He blessed her, He chose her to assist Him in His miracles.
I see her relax in the comfort of the big plush chair, happy that someone like yourself is ready and willing to put your heart and soul into capturing her in this very moment of emotions and physical changes.

All great thoughts.
What I envisioned in making the image: The anticipation of motherhood. I wanted to pick up that beautiful glimmer in her eyes, that hint of a smile sparkling, and it was also important to me to also light her painted nails. Something about this soon-to-be mom, with everything changing so rapidly, physically, emotionally, and yet she still pauses somewhere in the flutter of it all to paint her toes. Painting her toes. I get a sense of preparedness, of making ready. This beautiful young lady, full of dreams and aspirations, making room in her life, in her marriage, and in her heart, for this little one.

Shooting from above, I wanted to capture mom, cradling her yet unknown best friend, herself being cradled in her thoughts. What dreams may come. The possibilities as she brings this life into the world.

What do I see most when I look at this image: I see Eve, Christmas morning, and the thrill of unwrapping a gift form God. I see the cradle, the circle of life, the emotions that are dancing in her eyes, and the care, already there and ready for the dishing out, to a child that she's not yet held, but holds fervently in her love.

This was fun! Should we do it again? You tell me.

6 year old dreams

My little girl woke up and told me she had her favorite dream. She's had this dream once before, so she knew right away it was her favorite dream.
She was outside in the forest, with all the animals and she could talk to them, and they could talk to her. But only the simple ones. She could have a conversation with a horse and a duck, of course, but she tried to talk to a monkey and a tiger with no luck. So when she needed to find a way across the pond, she asked the duck to help her, so the duck went and carried a whole bunch of stepping stones for her to walk right across the pond. Some mean people came to try and cage up the animals, but she told them, "Hey! You Leave them Be!" and she rescued them:)
Who knows, maybe a future wildlife protection park ranger?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Little Something Different. Interactive Blogger?

I had an idea this morning, can you believe it? I know, that's an accomplishment in and of itself. What if I post my favorite images as they unfold? For example, right now I'm working on an idea that I had for a maternity session. A very beautiful soon-to-be mom stopped in and we tried a few things. I think it's a very beautiful image, and for some reason it speaks to me on different levels. What do you see? What do you like? What don't you like? Would anyone care to accept the challenge? Would you prefer that I tell you what I see when I shot the image? I'd tell you but then I think I might influence what you're feeling or seeing. Let's try this. I'll keep quiet for now and maybe post what I was thinking when I shot it later on, so you can be free to think your own thoughts..
It might be a fun way to grow? Cmon, don't ya wanna grow today? Isn't today a good day for that? I mean, the sun just came up a couple of hours ago. You've got a nice warm cup of Joe...let grow. cmon...yeah you....cmon.

Click on the image to see a little more detail :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Introducing the Guys

From Right to Left:
Jeremy-Bass man
Leo-Crazy good lead guitar
David-Drummer boy
Dan-Vocals and rhythm guitar

I read this excerpt recently from Rick Warren:
'God never wastes a hurt. He can use the painful lessons you've learned to touch the lives of others. This is called ministry.'

I don't know where God is taking us, but I can certainly tell you that His hand is on this ministry. We've come from every walk of life to this crossroads. I tried Nashville. I made that journey a long time ago, and I barely made it out of that experience with my marriage. I layed down the music and picked up photography. I thought as far as songwriting was concerned I'd moved on. But that's not what God had planned. The music that we're writing is blessed and flowing. The way these guys are picking up the rhythm is almost surreal. The words are truth and they are genuine, and the message is clear.

We're in the beginning here, but every day is marked progress. Last night we put down our first tracks and today we're mixing down. More to come...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Rough Lumber Update

Just to update, the band is going to open and close for Project 52 at Living Springs on November 18th. It's a youth event that is reaching out to kids in the area.
It's our first gig. :) doesn't that sound so odd coming from me?
For those of you who have donated already, a big Thank You from the guys. David, our drummer, says he wants to just throw his arms around you and give you a great big kiss. :)
We had them keeping the doors open for us at Guitar Center last night so we could get there and buy David's drum amp. We have the basic equipment thanks to donations to play anywhere we can plug in. The next step is to start recording and secure a site where we can post the music and ministry. We'll get some shots of the guys so you can atleast see our ugly mugs, and I figure I should know somebody around here who can take a good picture ;)

It's a start.
You can still donate by clicking the Paypal button below.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I have to say, some days I find it very challenging to just work.
I'm a work-aholic.
But then there are other days, like today, right now, this moment for example,
when Christ lays something on my heart, that I am simply blocked from any amount of concentration whatsoever until I follow through with what He's tasked me to do.

If you've read the post below this, you know that my little girl gave her heart to Jesus on Sunday, and I was given a great gift of being there to baptize her as her daddy. If you've talked to me recently you know that I'm still on that mountaintop, grudgingly not yet ready to come down from that moment. You'd know that if you knew me.

But, what you don't know is the lesson that He brought home to me about obedience.

Sunday morning, I woke up, and I just wasn't in the mood. I didn't feel like church, didn't feel like people, didn't feel really anything. I was still recharging from the wedding on Saturday and I just wasn't back to myself yet.
I knew the church worship leader was expecting me to sing, but....sigh....there'd be plenty of other people up on that stage, they didn't really need me.
I sat down in my semi-cozy chair at my semi-cozy desk with my semi-warm cup of Joe, and opened up some pictures to work on for the rest of the day....yep, feeling like a work day...
Then I felt that little tug. Faint, almost not even there, because my senses just flat weren't firing on all cylinders, but still there it was.
You should go.
Yeah but know this is pretty good Joe.
You know you should. It's what you need to do.
Fine, you know what, whatever. I'll go, see if they even need me up there. They won't, this fine cup of coffee will be cold, but hey...sigh.
Okay. I'll go.

I told my wife I was heading to church, half expecting the puzzled question mark on her face, because she knew I was present but not yet accounted for. But regardless, off I went.

I walked in to church and they had no guys to sing, so I picked up a mic. Then, since I was there early, one of the moms asked if I'd brought my camera, because her daughter was being baptized. I had about 3 minutes before church started and ran home and grabbed it.
Because I was there and had my camera, I got to witness when the pastor gave an open call for anyone to be baptized, and their standing in the line to get in were 2 good friends of mine and MY daughter. I climbed in the pool with my little girl and listened to her give her life to Christ, and I got to help her down under the water, to watch her come back up.
It was a tremendous blessing that I very easily could have simply, flat out missed.

Imagine if we could all be Ebenezer's and get to see the different impacts our choices make on our futures... I'd have begged on my knees to go back if I could have seen the two roads in front of me, and I'd chosen to stay home.

My wife shot with my camera some of the most precious pictures I'll ever have in my life, the images in the blog below this one.

Anyway, passing it on to you folks. It's not in our ability. It's not that you should go to church or that you need to find the 'right' church, not that you should be on some worship team, just a reminder to you and to myself the importance of being obedient to Christ. At work, at play, when we're alone, wherever. His blessings are the only thing we're really giving up if we aren't willing to be available.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm still trying to process the events of this day...
During Sunday school this morning, all on their own, my 6 year old daughter began a talk with another little girl about Jesus. They talked about John 3:16 and what He did, and what they believe. My little girl announced that she believed.
Today happened to be my church's baptism Sunday, and I was singing up front. During the baptism I was taking pictures for the families of the people being baptized. While he was in the water our pastor felt a call from Christ to open it up, to give an open invitation, and down walked 2 close friends of mine... and then there in front of me stood my little peanut. She'd made her decision.

When I saw her I couldn't believe my eyes. You have no idea how long I've been praying for her, to make the decision she did today. I knew it wasn't something I could push no matter how bad I wanted it, and until today, she was just never sure. I couldn't hold the camera straight or see through the tears, and it dawned on me as she was climbing into the baptismal pool that my place wasn't behind the camera, it was alongside my girl. I was there when my boy got wet, and I was there when my wife got wet. It was where I belonged.
Kari stepped in and took the camera for me and shot what you see in the images below.

As of October 25th, 2009, I've been blessed to say that I've personally baptized every member of my family. I've watched their faces go down under the water while I hold their hands and I've seen them raised up, taking that deep gulp of fresh air.

Praise God from whom all blessings come!

There is one word that can convey to you what I feel today. One word that is coursing through my veins.

Really, God.