A Quote to Start Things Off

Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

2024 A to Z Challenge

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Monday, April 30, 2012

That Went Quick

Z as in Zoom.

Not the t.v. show but my first month of blogging A to Z zoomed right by. 26 posts in 30 days and a very eventful month in the books. I had a lot of fun with this alphabet soup stuff. Peace and blessings and I'll be back sometime next month. Oh yeah, that's tomorrow.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Y as in yesterday.

It took 25 letters but I finally missed an A to Z deadline. This one should have been done yesterday. Be back Monday for Z.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lessons From A Train

X as in Xenophobe

One of my favorite stories I like to tell from my time in Russia has to do with waiting for a train.  I used to travel from the city I lived in to a neighboring city twice a month.  I would leave by train at about 5:00 A.M. while it was still dark and get back into my town by about 8 P.M. 

One morning I was waiting in line to board the train.  It was January and about 20 below outside.  I lived in an area that had large populations of Russians of Korean descent as well as Chinese peddlers.  Both types of people were often looked down on by the "white" Russians.

On this particular morning, there was an Asian man in front of me who the train official   was haggling with for not having the proper documentation.  While I couldn't fully hear or understand their conversation it was clear by their manner the Asian man was not being treated with respect.  A second train official started getting into the act and then noticed me waiting and said
something like don't  worry about that foreigner go help that man he is one of ours.  By ours I was pretty sure she meant Russian because I was certainly dressed like one and as long as I didn't talk I sounded like one.  I got on the train.

Dictionary.com defines xenophobe as a person who fears or hates foreigners, strange customs, etc.  It always struck me funny that the Asian man was possibly a Russian citizen and at least no less of a citizen than myself , but it was I who was treated as the citizen because I looked the same.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

West Wing

W as in West wing.

Amy and I are big Aaron Sorkin fans.

My favorite thing he has ever done is by far the West Wing. We recently borrowed my parents copy of the complete set on cd.

I was watching it tonight when I should have been working on my blogging and then it hit me West Wing starts with a W.

Here are a few more W's from the show.

Walking - The show seems to always feature scenes of walking often accompanied by talking. After watching a few episodes, I usually have to change shoes.

Will Bailey - When Rob Lowe left the show in the 4th season he was replaced by Joshua Malina, an Aaron Sorkin go to guy (Sports Night, A Few Good Men, and The American President.) Malina portrayed Bailey through the end of the series.

Walken. The name of the President played by John Goodman at the end of the 4th season and beginning of the 5 th.

Watchable - The show may be intense and sometimes it the fast paced nature of the show made it hard to comprehend in one viewing.  However, it was quality entertainment, with comic timing better than all but a few of the best television comedies ever.  Which is high praise indeed for a political drama. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Re United

V as in Viral, Video and Vault

This is only my second time using an HSD rewind to get through the marathon-like paces of blogging from A to Z.  I say marathon-like, because if this were a marathon, we would need to stick an extra 1/5 of a letter at the end.

Today's post goes back to October 2010, when I was writing posts about labels something, I call meta blogging, something Amy calls wake me when it's over.  I wanted to share this post about the United Break's Guitar videos yesterday for U.  But it turns out V works just as well.

One of my most popular tags is videos (# 6 after initial 300 posts). There are 3 types of videos that I post here:

1) videos I have taken of my family

2) Videos friends and family have asked me or allowed me to post

3) Viral videos I have found on the internet or that have been reccomended by other blogs.

One of the videos from the third category that I found most compelling is actually a series of three videos by a group called the Sons of Maxwell fronted by Canadian Dave Carroll.
The incident that inspired the songs took place in my home town of Chicago as United Airlines mishandled the guitar of Mr. Carroll. The real tragedy took place as Carroll could not get United to fix the guitar. After going round and round with United, Carrol told the airline's representative that he was going to write 3 songs about the incident, record them, make music videos and post them on you tube. Carrol was as good as his word and he posted the following 3 songs:

United Breaks Guitars Song I

United Breaks Guitars Song II

United Breaks Guitars Song III

Now I haven't flown United since the incident. This isn't really much of a boycott as I haven't had flown anywhere to since July of 2001. I will continue to post cool videos like these though.

Meanwhile back in 2012

I still haven't flown in a plane (although the rest of my family has) since July 2001.  I have continued to post cool videos and will continue to do so.  Here is a video of J.J. Heller who we as a family saw in concert last Friday. 

They told us at the concert that the video had just reached  100,000 views on YouTube.  I am going to take credit for anything past that, so go ahead and share it with your pals.  And don't worry United didn't break her guitar, she has a tour bus, and she plays harmonica. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Under the wire

U as in under

I had a post all planned today - A HSD rewind. The problem? Computer problems. So I am typing this in from my iPod. The HSD rewind will work for V as well. So tomorrow's shouldn't be so under the wire

Monday, April 23, 2012

T as in Toledo (Holy implied)

Holy Toledo! One of us gets sick, then like dominoes, the whole family falls, one by one. Back tomorrow with some health and something for U!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Six Word Concert Surprise Update


Six Word Saturday.

Here's our Six Words:

Eureka, We found J.J. Heller Concert.

Puppy loves a Christian music artist by the name of J.J. Heller.  Whatever Puppy loves usually becomes a giant obsession with her.  So when she fell in love with the song "What Love Really Means" she wrote J.J. and asked when she was coming to concert near us.  J.J. wrote her back and told her to have us check the schedule at her website for upcoming concerts in the area.  Months passed and Puppy diligently reminded me to check the schedule.  When I did, nothing was really close.  Then a few months ago, I found it, a concert 2.5 hours from our house.  The concert was in Eureka, Illinois.  Eureka roughly translated means I found it. 

Now knowing Puppy like I do, I knew that 3 months of anticipation might not hurt her, but would probably kill us.    So I planned an elaborate day trip to see some historic Ronald Reagan sites which had us ending up in Eureka, Illinois this afternoon.

Bunny and Spider Droid were in on the secret, and it took every inch of self control they had not to spoil it for Puppy.

The field trips and the concert were amazing.  Here is some footage and pictures from the concert.

JJ Heller when she found out Puppy has same birthday as her daughter

For More Six Word Saturday CLICK HERE

Friday, April 20, 2012

Field Trip

R as in Reagan

As you read this we are on a family field trip. We are going to visit some Illinois towns steeped in Presidential history.

It is a Reagan themed trip with a little Honest Abe thrown in for good measure.

Today we are travelling to Dixon, where Reagan grew up. and to Eureka where Reagan went to college. I was also going to stop by Tampico, where he was born, in betwee Dixon and Eureka. I have decided to scrap Tampico and get a presidential 2fer by stopping in Galesburg. Reagan lived in Galesburg prior to Dixon. It is also one of the locations that Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln debated.

It should be fun and educational.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quarterly Update

Q is for quarter. Today was the day that I was to announce the state quarter winners. well I have decided to give you all a few more weeks to enter. I will announce the winner on May 1 yes I will announce the winner on May 1.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pennies from Heaven

P as in Penny

I  spent most of the day cleaning out my parents' attic.  They, mostly my Dad, want to reduce the clutter that can accumulate with 45 years at the same address.  With the help of Spider Droid I got everything out of the attic and into a spare room. 

There were plenty of memories and reminders in the attic and while there was some junk, it was definitely not like an episode of hoarders.

Halfway through the job, I found a c.d. boom box box.  It was so heavy, I thought it might still contain the c.d. player.  It was actually my brother Keith's coin collection.  It had been brought back to my folks' house shortly after he died 3 years ago this month.    As a rule,I didn't spend a lot of time going through all of the boxes.  Otherwise I'd probably still be over there.  I did spend 20 minutes or so looking through Keith's coins.  He really had a  pretty nice collection, buffalo nickels, Indian pennies, even a 2 cent coin from 1868.  Many coin books filled or partially filled.  Then I came to two bags of loose coins.  The first one was clearly marked foreign coins and the second was written in his unmistakable and almost illegible chicken scratch, Robert David Roller, his 11 year old son, who was 8 when Keith died and 5 when sickness made extened hospital stays a big chunk of his final years.  In those last years coin collecting seemed to have been put on hold.

That meant then when Bobby was very young, Keith purposed to share his passion of coin collecting and his collection itself with his son.

Seeing my nephew's name scrawled on that huge bag of coins,helped me completely form an idea that had been floating in my head.  I could prepare those coins in Keith's collection and give them as a gift to Bobby from Keith.  So, I took the coins home and am planning on doing just that. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


O is for Original.

Dictionary.com says:


belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something, or to a thing at its beginning.
new; fresh; inventive; novel
arising or proceeding independently of anything else
capable of or given to thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner
created, undertaken, or presented for the first time

When I think about the word original, I often think about my children, and how unique they are.  Many things they say and do make me wonder at their cleverness and originality.  I spend a lot of time documenting those things right here, and in conversations with other people. 

I also think about original in terms of the first definition:  a thing at its beginning.  One of the many reasons I love homeschooling is because I love being there when my children learn something.  I love seeing learning in action.  One minute, they don't know something.  The next minute, they know it 
Another way to look at the word original is to talk about original sin.  We are sinners because Adam and Eve started us off running with their disobedience.  But I often wonder, if those two didn't choose the fruit, wouldn't their children have done so, or their children, or, theirs?  Or, say, me?  I often think that if nobody had sinned up until me, I still would have sinned.  I am a sinner.  There's no way around it.  Saved by grace, yes. Transformed daily, yes.  This is a reminder to myself, really.  I am often stuck marveling at my childrens' originality rather than helping them working out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philipians 2:12), because of our original sin. 
Or maybe we can do both?

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Needed N Word


There are many useful words that homeschoolers need to know.  Very few are more useful than no.
Specifically for the myriad of activites in the real world and on line that can pop up.  A good healthy dose of no is very needed.

A short post today, because I said yes to more than I could handle. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Six Word Stattler Day


Muppets Statler y Waldorf by hablandodelasunto3

Unlike them, I love the Muppets

For more Six Word Saturday Click here
Leave a comment  on this post for a chance to win a set of state quarters. Click here for more details. 

Muppets Statler y Waldorf, a photo by hablandodelasunto3 on Flickr.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Is Your Mama a Llama (Original Song)


I love a good catch phrase.  It probably comes from spending my formative years watching 70's t.v. it seems each show had at least one good catch phrase.  But instead of merely being happy with Dyn-o-mite, Heyyyy! or Shaz-bot, I like to make my own catchphrase.  A few years ago I took to inserting the word llama into every conversation I got into, much to the chagrin of my children.  It got so bad that somehow I agreed to paying them 5 cents each time I said llama in a month long period.  The kids played a terriffic joke on me when they asked me to read 2 bedtime stories to them, and pulled out Is Your Mama a Llama and Llama, llama red pajama which their co-conspirator, Amy took out from the library.  After the month we were all richer for the experience, them literally and me figuratuvely. 

So when I was trying to figure out what to post about today, I thought back to my carefree llama days of yore. I also found this cool video on you-tube where they make a song out of Is your mama a llama.  

That must have caught a pretty penny to produce.  Not to mention the nickels.

Speaking of change don't forget that by commenting on this post you enter into the drawing to win a collection of  50 state quarters.  Click here for more details.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Visual Reminders


Sometimes we forget what is important in life.  Sometimes I get so caught up in homeschooling that I forget why I am homeschooling.  Here is why . . . 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Anniversary


Today is my 14th wedding anniversary.  Yes 14 years today I woke up as a single man and went to bed as a married man.  There has been good and bad in my life since that day.  But the truth is that our life really has been a joyful jumble. 

I found out that the traditional 14th anniversary gift is Ivory while the modern 14th gift is gold.  Both these songs are golden oldies and notice that Barney is tickling the ivories in the video below. 

Happy Anniversary Amy, I heart you big time. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

State Quarter Give-A-Way


Yes, to celebrate I day on A to Z Blogging, I am giving away a quarter from my home state of Illinois. 


In order to be fair, I will also be giving away the state quarters of Indiana, Iowa, and Idaho.


I will also give away all the state quarters that have the letter i in their name.  Such as Maine, South Carolina, and California. 


To give the winner an idea of how majestic the letter I is when it appears in the name of states a little perspective is required.  I will also give away quarters from every state not fortunate to carry the letter I in their name such as New York, North Dakota and Delaware.


3 years ago I gave away 50 state quarters here and it turned out to be one of my most popular endeavors.  I have been wanting to give away some more for awhile and was waiting for the right opportunity.  I am actually going to be giving away


sets of state quarters.  That's right two sets.

Set one will be given away in the traditional way.  At the end of the contest, I will draw a name from all the entries and choose the quarter winner.

5 entries will be given for every comment on this post.  One entry will be given for each comment on my A through H posts and my upcoming J through R posts. If you blog, tweet or post on FB about this contest just leave a comment for an extra entry.

 And A week from tomorrow on April 18th (Q day) I will announce a winner from all the entries.

In an effort to bring my followers up to 100 and beyond.  I am having a follower only give away for the second set of state quarters.  If you are already a follower of this site you automatically get 5 entries to the second drawing.  If you sign up now you will get 10 entries and if you are the lucky 100th follower you will get 100 entries and 10  state quarters (If you don't snag the set of 50). When I get 100 followers all previous followers will get an additional 5 entries.  All followers after 100 will get 20 entries.  On April 18th or when I reach 100 followers, whichever comes later, I will do a second drawing for the remaining set,

Excited?  You know I am.

Please pass on the info on this incredible contest.   

Monday, April 9, 2012

No School Today? A Review


I have been meaning to review Christina Ramos-Payne's fine collection of homeschool comic strips for some time now. I have been a big fan of Cristina's blog Home Spun Juggling for some time now. This book, a collection of her early strips is fantastic.

I love comic strips and have most of my life. The Home Spun strips remind me in some ways of the excellent comic strip, For Better or For Worse. But Home Spun is definitely it's own animal.. Cristina really gets to the heart of homeschooling. I relate very easily to her work because my children are much like hers.   But even in the areas I can't can't empathize with she does a masterful job crafting her narrative so that the humor is obvious to all.
I guess the best way to review this book is to share some of the strips from the book ad tell you what I think of them. 
This is a great strip in so many ways. The thing I like most about it is the sentiment.  The Mom is glad that her daughter showed such kindness to her little brother.  At the same time she is bemused that her daughter will not be able to shine as the star of the show.  But you can tell by the wistful glance in the last panel that her daughter’s decision does make her the star of the show. 

I had my daughter write a short review of this  book for her blog.  This is the strip she liked most.  This strip rocks, because proficiency can never replace passion. 

I don’t know the technical terms related to comic strip writing.  So I just make up my own terms.  Each comic strip usually has one main punch line that the strip builds up to.  Sometimes there’s a joke at the end wholly unrelated to the continuity.  I would probably call it the non sequitir if there wasn’t already a strip with that name.  So I’ll call it the late hit.
The strips that I think do the late hit the best are Calvin And Hobbes and Fox Trot.  The above strip is of that caliber.  I also can relate quite well to it as Bunny has finished many a book just checked out from the library before we ever left the building.

I guess I don’t have to say why I like this strip. 

I would strongly recommend this book for both homeschoolers and comic strip aficionados and folks like me who are both.  No School Today can be purchased at AmazonBarnes And Noble and Create Space

Friday, April 6, 2012

Keith Rhymes with Grief.


Wait one minute, you might be thinking.  In yesterday's post you basically promised that G would be for Give-A-Way.  You indicated that you would be giving away some state quarters. 

That's true, I really did.  Then I realized that today (April 7th) is the 3 year anniversary of my brother Keith's death.  I just didn't feel like putting my Crazy Uncle Dave hat on over my mourning brother one.  So, the quarter give-a-way will be soon.  You won't have to wait all the way to Q, I promise.

I have spent better than an hour rehashing Keith stories here and then deleting them.  I do that because this post is not really about remembering Keith.  I do that often.  This post is not really about his life. This post is about the grief I feel from his death.

I thought that it might be good to give a working definition of grief.  Since I decided to check in at Show My Face for Six Word Saturday. Here are my 6 words:

Grief - Deep stress caused by bereavement*.

*Bereavement is generally associated  with the loss of a loved one by death.

Pushing 50 as I am, I am not a total stranger to death.  Most of that death has come as a result of old age.  My grandparents all died between the ages of 79 and 97.  Keith was 7 months from 39 when he passed away.  Sometimes, even now, I can't wrap my head around him being gone. 

I do still have deep stress about his passing.  This stress is not daily, nor weekly, or even monthly.  It will sometimes hit me at random times but generally hits at 3 times during the year: On or near his birthday, the anniversary of his death, and Christmastime.  Teaching school, blogging or just about anything becomes difficult to focus on and I become quite a bit more irritable. 

A few months after Keith died I won a book from the Library Thing Early Reviewers Program about bereavement.  I still haven't read it fully or reviewed it.  I guess it's hard for me to imagine reviewing a book for early reviewers 3 years after it came out.  The book's title "In the Grip of Bereavement"  accurately describes my episodes of grief.  I really do feel like grief has a hold on me during these times.

Keith has now been dead longer than he was sick.  Our sister who is 3.5 years his junior is now the same age he was when he died. Life has gone on without him.  His children were 8 and 5 when he died that means they are 11 and 8 now.  In just 2 years his daughter will have lived longer without a father than with one. 

My faith in God has been a great sustainer over the past 3 years.  Even so,  sometimes the grief is so strong it is all I seem to be able to feel.  Sometimes I am even frightened that someday I may not grieve at all.  These thoughts and feelings are not the entirety of who I am.  but like today's post, which is neither well crafted nor polished, they are incredibly real. 

For more 6 word Saturday Click Here.

To see other G posts in Blogging A to Z click here.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Alphabetical Fragments (and a Puppyism)


Last week,I announced I would probably not be  participating in the next few editions of Friday Fragments at Half Past Kissing Time.  My reasoning was that with 26 posts to write in 30 days time, I would probably not want to waste any of my ideas by consolidating them into fragment form. 

So, why am I here?  Well,quite simply, it is because  Friday and Fragments both begin with today's letter (which by the way is F).  I could not resist.  So, I decided to share with the Friday Fragments community some fragments regarding blogging A to Z.

Blogging A to Z, simply put is a blogging challenge.  You choose 26 words, one from each letter of the alphabet.  The fun started this Sunday and excluding the remaining Sundays of the month of April the alphabetical posts will continue until Z on April 30th. 

1,852 blogs signed up to participate at the A to Z Home Page. Many participants, like myself, are just making random posts using a different letter each time.  However, many blogs are centering their entries on a theme.

For my fragments this week, I have chosen 5 participating blogs that are sporting a theme and will provide a link to one of the entries they have already contributed.


The first blog is right before mine in the list of participants.  Kimberly of Meetings with my Muse has an alliteration theme.  Each day she shares an alliterative sentence or two featuring  the letter of the day, and then opens up her comments for submissions.  At the end of the month she will be giving some amazon gift cards to some of the best submissions.  Here is her A post.


The next blog, is the Star Trek Science Blog. I believe it is the only blog on my blogroll that is participating in the challenge. It is also, I believe, how I found out about Blogging A to Z.  Oddly enough, they have a Star Trek them for their submissions.  I really enjoyed B is for Boothby, I hope you do as well.


One of my mini goals for this month is to visit 740 of the participating blogs.  This is because I am the 371st blog on the list.  So by looking at all 370 ahead of me and the first 370 after me I would get to 740.  I found Words and Pictures  while working my way back from 741.   The pictures, for this month anyway, are moving ones.  Yes, each day she posts about a movie.  This Tuesday, she wrote about Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


The next blog is one of the first 5 blogs listed at the main page.  Stephen Tremp of Breakthrough is basing all his posts on what is called the Goldilocks Zone.  I think this refers to the parts of this vast universe that will sustain human life.  I have found his articles very enlightening and encouraging.  I present D is for Distance


I actually found this next blog through the previous blog.  Stephen, perhaps in his role, as a co host of Blogging A to Z, gave a shout out to the Blog Gospel Driven Disciples.  I checked it out and Greg is blogging about the people, places and words of the Bible.  On Thursday he wrote E is for Eve.


I usually can't get through a Friday Fragment session without a puppyism.  This is because Puppy can't usually go a day without a shareable nugget.  This morning I handed her math book and told her to go into her work department and I'd be right there to help her with it.  She looked at the assignment and started panicking.  "Subtraction!"  I can't do subtraction."  I told her to bring the book to the work department and I'd help her when I got there.  After I got Spider Droid started with his math I walked over to Puppy and saw that she had already started.  I asked her if she needed help with her subtraction and she said "no, this is just minusing."

That's all the fragments I have for today.  For more Friday Fragments click here.  For more  blogging A to Z click here.  Thanks for stopping by and make sure you come back here  tomorrow.  I don't want to give away anything.  I just want to state that I will be putting in my 25 cents worth.  In the radio biz, that's what we call a tease. 



The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity and emotions for me.  Tuesday morning I woke up at 3:45 a.m. drove to Michigan and picked up my friends the Lebedevs  (Vladimir and Tonya) who I worked with in Russia almost 20 years ago. 

It was a wonderful trip culminated by taking them to Chicago and going to the top of the John Hancock Building.  It was also a stressful trip.  The kids were well behaved much of the time, but the long trip and the early hours did seem to be getting to everyone.  After a fantastic dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, on the first floor of the Hancock Complex, I drove the Lebedev's to where they would be staying for the night and Amy (who had met us at Hancock) drove the girls home.  Since the family they were staying  with lived in the polar opposite suburbs than us, I did not get home until 12:30 a.m. 

After such a long day on Tuesday, I was wiped out physically and emotionally on Wednesday.  Wednesday night I was supposed to again travel about 50 miles to see Vladimir speak.  This would be their last night of their trip and my last opportunity to see my dear friends for some time.  Yet, I was still very weary and not looking forward to the meeting as much as I had one day earlier.  Still I went and am very glad I did.

Vladimir shared about his work in Russia as a church leader and Bible College teacher and gave an excellent talk on Colossians.  It was so encouraging.  It was especially amazing that he gave this talk in English which is his 2nd language. 

While I was there, I saw Dwayne King who was a missionary in Khabarovsk, Russia at the same time I was.  Dwayne is a missionary pilot from Alaska and a book was written about his life recently.  Dwayne gave me a copy of his book, which had this inscription:

"David, I have great memories of working with you in Khabarovsk.  They remember you and still appreciate your ministry."

That inscription, Vladimir's message and time spent with all 3 of my fellow co-workers meant an awful lot to me.  Words (written or spoken) and acts of encouragement are so vital and important in thriving in this life time. 

In future posts I hope to share more about my visit with the Lebedev's and also to review Dwayne's book

Come back tomorrow for some fragments about my first week of Blogging from A to Z. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time to (Re) Make the Donuts.


April 4, 2012

One of the ways I plan to blog through 26 letters of the alphabet in a mere 30 days is by recycling posts from time to time.  HSD Reweind is already a staple here, so I don't exactly feel that it is cheating.  Today's post goes back to January 2009, when HSD was in it's infancy.  As you read on you will find that we will actually travel back a little more than a decade for this tidbit. 

A few years ago we had a family website and I would write occasional articles on it. Consider it a pre-blog blog. I named those articles Memo: Random. Occasionally I am going to post them here under Random Postings. This one is back 7 years ago from 1/27/2002.

Recently, I have been waking up in the middle of the night, usually around 3 A.M. Most nights, I go right back to sleep, but sometimes I don't even try. This morning was one of those occasions.

I woke up at 4:30 after 4 hours of sleep. My wife, Amy, was feeding our soon to be 3 month old boy. She put him into bed and went back to sleep; but I was wide awake. So I got up, went into the computer room and looked up some things on the Internet.
At about 6, our daughter walked in the room. In order to let the other half of our family stay sleeping, I quietly got her dressed and we went out to buy donuts. I didn't have any cash on me, so we went to a Dunkin Donuts that I "remembered" accepted credit cards.

When we got out of the car,  the store looked how I expected a donut shop to look at 6 o'clock on a Sunday morning: sparsely populated. There was one car in the drive-thru, one customer ahead of me, and one "regular" nursing his coffee in the corner booth.

When it was our turn, I made our order, making sure to get a good variety. I asked my daughter to tell the man what kind she wanted and in language typical of a 2 year old, she said she wanted a white one while pointing to a powdered donut. (If 2 year olds couldn't point it would be a lot harder to understand them.)

When it came time to pay, I pulled out my check card and much to my surprise and dismay was told I "remembered" wrong about them accepting credit cards. They did not!

I rather sheepishly had to admit, I had no actual money on me. My plan was to run to an ATM, get cash, and pick up the donuts. The counter person told me to just take the donuts and pay him back another time. I was reluctant to accept his offer but he insisted.

We took the donuts, went back to the car, got cash at the ATM and came back. By this time, activity at the store had perked up a little. I got in line to pay the guy back. At the same time the "regular" got in line behind me. I thought he was just refilling his coffee but he had come to talk to me.

The man was probably my Dad's age (late 50's/ early 60's). He was the kind of person my daughter would refer to as a Grandpa. To her, there are four types of males (Baby, Kid, Man and Grandpa). He told me that I did not have to pay for the donuts, that he was picking up the tab.

The most embarrassing part of this incident of not bringing cash was the implication that our family was destitute and needed to panhandle for donuts. Thinking this was his impression, I politely declined indicating "I have money." He responded, "No, I've got it. It's for being honest and coming back."

I was still tempted to refuse his offer, but I think I correctly labeled that temptation as stubborn pride thanked him and went back home.

Many thoughts have penetrated my cranium about what kernel of truth to pull from this man's act of kindness. The first thought I had was that honesty must be a small commodity these days when a total stranger thinks it an oddity that needs to be rewarded. Another along those same lines was that honesty should be a given and needs no reward. The third was always keep $10.00 in the glove box for donut related emergencies. Finally I latched onto this:

Honesty, like any virtue should be pursued, taught and praised when seen in action. As a member of our society, the "regular" was simply affirming the ideal of honesty by giving my family breakfast on the house.

As my children grow up, Amy and I will try to teach them many valuable lessons about character. I can think of none stronger than when you spot virtue in our fallen world: be the guy who buys the donuts.

Meanwhile in 2009: The Dunkin Donuts was torn down recently and a new Dunkin Donuts just opened up at the same location. They now accept credit cards at least I "remember" using one there. :)

Back in 2012 again.  I thought of this incident a few Saturday's ago when I walked about a mile and a half with my current 6 year old to get cash from Walgreen's to buy donuts at the donut store around the corner from our house.  I walked all that way because that donut shop does not accept check cards.  It turns out, that now they do and I walked a mile and a half out of the way.  I have been able to pay forward that regular's investment in honesty in several ways over the past decade and will continue to be on the  lookout to applaud the virtuous.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to say Marshmallow in Russian


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I mentioned yesterday in my Boring post that I would be seeing my dear Russian friend Vladimir today.  He would probably be somewhat hurt if I left it at friend, which he is.  He is my Brother, not only in Christ but I was practically adopted by his family when I lived in Russia and Vladimir and I even lived together in my last months in Khabarovsk, or the Big K, as I grew fond of calling it. 

As you read this, I am probably driving from Illinois to Michigan to pick up Vladimir and Tanya or I am driving them to Illinois where Vladimir has a conference to attend tomorrow.  Do you have a friend that you would drop everything for?  Vladimir is such a friend.  Home schooling the kids makes travelling to Michigan on a moment's notice much easier.

All 3 kids are travelling with me and we will all meet up with Amy once we get back into Illinois. 

Since I am spending the majority of today in a car, I thought I would blog about car trips and some of the things I have done on them.

Marshmallow - 3 years ago a cousin of Amy's graduated from high school in Kentucky.  A large contingent of family members from Illinois travelled to Kentucky for the ceremony. Another of Amy's cousins who is just a few years older than our kids decided it would be fun to shout marshmallow each time we crossed from state to state.  It is now a staple of all interstate travel.
Alphabet Game - Amy and I play this more frequently w/o the kids than with, so it will probably not come up today.  We are getting the kids more interested in playing and sometimes they will "throw a letter" out the window if we get stuck. 

Play-A-Ways - A play a-way is an audio book in it's own mp3 type player.  They are available at our public library.  When we go on a long trip (like this one to Michigan) The kids and sometimes the adults get some Play-a-ways from the library.  Our kids love books and listening to books in the car is one of their favorite ways to pass the time,

Madlibs, Random and other word games.

Random is a game I was taught in 1986.  I have been a devotee for more than a quarter century now.  Here is a previous post about it.  Mad Libs and Random are great games because they are both fun and educational.  I guess mostly fun.

Kid Directed Play.

The kids create games that they play on car rides.  The ones they play most often are the frowning game, which is very similar to Make me Laugh and the Dolphin Game, where they pretend they are workers or animals in a zoo.  Amy and I can entertain ourselves just listening to them.

We do lots of other things on car trips, but that's a pretty good list for now.  I'll be back tomorrow with some Donuts. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Boring, a nice place to visit.


Monday April 2, 2012

I was a Southern Baptist Missionary in Khabarovsk Russia from late 1992 to late 1994.  I have been thinking about that chapter in my life more frequently recently, as a dear Russian friend of mine is in the states with his wife and I will see him for the first time in nearly 2 decades tomorrow.

Being a missionary, I spent time with other American missionaries when I was in a Russia.  Some of them were from an organization that was headquartered near Portland, Oregon.  The actual name of the town was boring.  No, not as I wasn't interested in the name.  The town's name was Boring. 

I had a lot of fun with that nugget.  I would talk about going into the Boring office.  Maybe settling down there some day and  meeting a Boring girl and making her my Boring wife  having some Boring kids and sending them to the boring schools.  Interestingly enough, I never got bored with the joke.

A few weeks ago I was watching the T.V. show, Homicide: Life on the Street.  In the show Alec Baldwin's brother Daniel plays a Detective who is partnered with a female detective played by Academy Award Winning (The Fighter) actress, Melissa Leo. 

In one episode Baldwin's character is telling Leo's that his wife is from Boring, Maryland.  He then goes into the same kind of Boring jokes that I used to engage in.

Check these out . . .

  •   Website with some interesting facts about Boring, MD.
  • Website describing Boring, OR as an exciting place to live.
Well I am done with this Boring Post.  Check out some other B posts in the A to Z Challenge by clicking here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A non-sexy start to blogging A to Z

 as in Abstinence

Sunday April 1, 2012

Hi.  My name is Dave aka Home School Dad or HSD.  You can just call me HS or D.  Whatever floats your boat.
This is my first installment of Blogging A to Z.  For 26 of the next 31 days I will be blogging in alphabetical order.  This is a pretty big to do at the blogosphere;click here to go to the main blogging A to Z page.  Some participating blogs are having a theme intertwined to their A to Z posts.  Not this cat. I am going to stick to what this blog does best, randomness.Some posts may be meaty, even controversial, while others will be whimsical and still others will  be boring.  (Don't believe me?  Stop by tomorrow.) 

Today's word is abstinence.  Abstinence as defined by the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th Edition) means voluntary forbearance  especially from  indulgence of an appetite or craving  or from eating some foods.  This is a fine definition but not the one most people think of when they hear the word.  Most people think of abstaining from sex, specifically from abstaining from sex prior to marriage.  This is the meaning I am referring to.

Abstinence has become a bit of a dirty word in our modern age. In our society, sex is regarded as a rite of passage into adulthood.  Those who want to promote abstinence are often ridiculed, belittled or at least labeled impractical.

But when you think about it, abstinence is immensely practical.  Let's think about abstinence in how it pertains to one of the most divisive topics, I can think of, Following the Cubs or White Sox  Abortion.

Abortion is so divisive, that  the language describing it varies depending on which side of the issue you are on. Those who favor abortion,  speak of a woman's right to choose  and are labeled pro-choice.  Those against abortion use terms like sanctity of life and are labeled pro-life.  These are misnomers if ever there were misnomers.  Most so called "pro choicers" that I know hold life to be very dear.  Many are passionate against war or the death penalty because they hold life so dear.  Nor are prolifers really anti choice.  They want to see women with unwanted pregnancies "choose" to come to term and make "choices" that will benefit themselves, their child, and in many cases married couples unable to have their own children.

So what do you need to have an abortion?  You need to be pregnant.  And what do you need to be pregnant?  You need to have sex. So abstinence is a very practical way to limit the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country and thus the amount of abortions.

Abstinence is practical  in terms of birth control,  preventing disease, even in promoting self esteem.  If you only have sexual relations with one person in your lifetime, there is little chance of suffering by comparison.  It is practical in addressing sexual education for the next generation.This, we did it, they're going to do it, let's have them be safe about it approach is about as effective as the let them figure it own on their own, we did approach.  My kids have been told early on that sex is for marriage only.  Amy and I also have the testimony of our own abstinence during our friendship and courtship to back up our words.

So some of you are probably saying practical schmactical promoting abstinence in this day and age won't work when premarital sex is rampant.   I'd say part of the reason why it's rampant is because of this false idea that abstinence is impractical.  I mean that argument is certainly on the menu at Bob's House of Self Fulfilling Prophecies.

Resistance to abstinence and acceptance of abortion are both built on the faulty assumption that our bodies are ours alone and we can do with them what we want as long as no one (except a fetus) gets hurt.

The truth is that our bodies are a gift from God who created us. God fashioned Adam out of the dust of the world he had made days earlier.  He didn't stop with Adam.   He made Eve from Adam as Adam slept.  After that He instituted marriage and procreation. After that he called it a week.  I think one of the reasons why Biblical creation is regarded as faith or fantasy rather than science or history is to ignore this idea that our bodies our not are own. 

Abstinence prior to marriage is key to building a healthy, happy marriage.  Self-control is possible with the help of God,who according to 2 Peter 1:3  has given us everything we need for life and godliness. I'm not saying abstinence is easy, many good things aren't.  I'm saying that abstinence is worth while.  I'll share more of mine and Amy's experiences with abstinence in later posts.

So that's A.  Come back tomorrow for a boring post. 

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip