Another Christmas in the books

You did it folks. You made it thru another Christmas! Did you remember that is was about Jesus and the Holy Spirit and not so much about presents and food? I had to keep reminding myself throughout the day. Never the less, Christmas 2009 is in the books. And another success it was. Except I was missing one thing...well, one person.

Ashley. She was in Georgia for the holidays, so that was not too much fun for us. However, the only positive (for her) was that she was able to avoid the inevitable: Casebeer Christmas Poems. The longstanding tradition on the Casebeer side is buying a $50 gift for the person who's name you draw out of a hat at Thanksgiving and then writing a poem for that person to be read in front of everyone at Christmas. It never fails - I put off writing mine until Christmas Eve last night and this year was no different. I, along with brother and sister-in-law, were all up last writing our poems only to realize that my brother and I drew each other. The result of a few gin n tonics and some brainpower resulted in an epic dual poem read together, banter style. However, top prize in 2009 went to Scott Casebeer, who did a lively rendition of Santa Claus is coming to town for my Grandpa Dick.

But now that Christmas is over, it's time to look forward. Time to end this decade in style and begin next decade with a bang! When Ashley gets back, we'll be moving her in to our new downtown apartment, awaiting the arrival of the first Casebeer Granddaughter (not ours, stop freaking out), and getting MARRIED. And this is all in the first 3 months of the year!! I can only imagine what the rest of the decade will bring.

Other future highlights include combined family holidays, lots of travleing back and forth to from Oregon to Georgia, and Georgia to Oregon, the Oregon Ducks embrassing the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 1st, hopefully some a few fun trips, and figuring out married life! I am excited. I hope you are too!

What about you? What are you looking forward to? Do you have any goals? Any dreams? What are you going to change, if anything, in 2010?

I have goals and dreams and changes to make...stick around and you'll hear them! Until next time, have a great rest of 2009 and let's make 2010 a great year!


Time for some Top 3's

I just feel like making lists tonight. I am currently at work, with nothing to do really. My mind is wandering...from this to that...and I figured I'd write some of it down for you! So please enjoy my lastest installment of Top 3's!

Top 3 Cars Sold:
- Camry Hybrid
- 2010 Prius
- Avalon

Top 3 SUV's sold:
- Platinum Sequoia
- Limited Tundra
- Used Lexus rX 450h (hybrid)

Top 3 Favorite Beers:
- Mirror Pond Pale Ale
- Hopworks Organic Ale
- McMenamin's Ruby Ale

Top 3 Favorite Christmas movies:
- Christmas Vacation
- Home Alone 1/2 (I cheated, I know)
- Die Hard 2

Top 3 most interesting people met so far in Portland:
- John Stipan (creator of JellyBath. LOOK IT UP!!! www.jellybath.com)
- Tim Crane (now a friend, dinner mate, and Duck fan)
- Chris Rich (former salesperson at Broadway, slash professional glass blower! www.chrisrichstudios.com)

Top 3 restaurants so far in Portland (look them up, go there now):
- 50 Plates (Pearl)
- Clarklewis (East Waterfront)
- Belly (NE Portland)

Top 3 Days since "the move":
- Civil War...duh
- Finding Ashley's and my first marriage housing!! Move in date: Jan 5.
- My first day off, going to the coast with Ash. A great day!

Top 3 Events of the year:
- Keith Urban!!
- Blazers vs Suns thriller
- Thanksgiving with the Casebeer's

Top 3 things I'm looking forward to:
- Wedding
- Honeymoon
- Wedding

Top 3 Favorite Christmas Artists this year:
- James Taylor
- Diana Krall
- Harry Connick Jr

I think I'm topped off. Also, its time to go home. Until next time, top off your beers and have a great night! The next blog will be MUCH more interesting, I promise. But YOU NEED TO GIVE ME IDEAS!!! Thank you. Annnnd good night.


Annnnd I'm back!

Good day friends! Has it really been 2 months since I've written a blog? What the heck am I thinking? My apologies. After an "indefinite break" from blogging (see Tiger Woods), I have decided to begin writing again. I'm not even sure why I stopped. Maybe a major life change got in the way. Maybe I should have written my way thru it! None the less, my writers block has been lifted and the creative juices are flowing again! Well, time will tell on that one. I do ask one thing if YOU, however...I like ideas, I need ideas. I will be asking for topics to write about. More on that later. On to a quick update, and topic #1.

Some last-60-day highlights in the life of Alex and Ashley...
- Found THE PLACE that will be our first dwelling as a married couple. Check it out... www.livepark19.com. It is very cool and in a great location in NW Portland!
- Finalized the HONEYMOON plans! Bring it on, Antigua! (hermitagebay.com)
- Have been going to a cool church in Beaverton, OR called Solid Rock. We haven't decided quite yet if this will be "the one", but we like it so far.
- I have sold 25 cars so far...5 this month...we will see how I end December!
- Ashley is leaving me for 3 weeks starting Tuesday...aka "the longest 3 weeks of my life"
- Been slowly making friends, reconnecting with old friends, and spending quality time with my brother and his wife. Baby Neice countdown: 60 days.

Overall, life is hectic, busy, but slowly getting better here in Oregon. Hopefully my job situation will stabilize a little bit and Ashley and I will actually be able to spend more time together! Looking forward to 2010...

Ok, now for my "back to blogging" topic #1: The Christmas Spirit. Are you in it? Has the spirit come over you? Do you even like the Christmas spirit? Here are things Ashley and I have done that contribute to the spirit of Christmas.

- Pioneer Square Tree Lighting Ceremony. Big tree. Lots of lights. Hot chocolate. I mean come on, if THAT isn't in the spirit what the heck is?
- The Nutcracker Ballet. We are going tonight and we can't wait!!
- Limiting myself to only Christmas music until Christmas is over. People, grin and bear it. It's only about 27 days.
- Peppermint Lattes. I probably need to stop ordering them......
- Soup. Has nothing to do with Christmas, but we seem to eat more soup this time of year.
- Christmas parties. Ashley and I went to my first ever company party. It was interesting...at a Lebanese restaurant, with a really tacky speech by the company owner, and really crappy gifts. Other than that, we really enjoyed the free drinks and food!

Some downfalls to this season...no tree (lack of space and Ashley is leaving), no lights (I mean, can you really put lights on a basement apartment?), spending Christmas apart (I hate my work schedule). BUT! 2010 is going to be the best one ever, because it will be our first one married!

Ok so I'm back. But I need and want your help. What is my next topic? I will write about the best one received, so put in your votes!! Thanks!

Love to you all, and keep Christ in Christmas please!!


Read all about it!

“Are you ready to play Oregon vs. Washington: Who is smarter?” Yes I am! “Do you think you’ll beat Washington today?” I hope so, I’m not very smart! “OK Alex, you are up against Diane today. The topic is: Babies.”

This was the scene yesterday morning while I am driving to work. I called in to 99.5 The Wolf (hoooowwwwllll) radio station and was chosen to play their daily game show “Who is smarter, Oregon or Washington?” Little did I know that the topic was babies and I was going up against a 62 year old woman! I mean, talk about your all time underdogs!! Diane went first and got 2 out of 3 questions right, and I went second and matched her. OVERTIME! I am feeling pretty excited about this already, seeing as how I was pretty sure I would go 0 for 3. Anyway, the OT question was this: For every 100 girls born, how many boys are born? Fat chance. Diane guessed 108, I guessed 91. She was closer, it was 105. A loss, as expected, but a great way to pass the time on a trafficy freeway!

BREAKING GOOD NEWS UPDATE: Ashley got her first 2 sub jobs! This is an answer to frustration, prayer, tears and hope. She needed something positive to happen, and lo and behold, she’s teaching today and Thursday. We could not be happier!

MORE BREAKING NEWS UPDATE! It turns out I can sell cars after all. After selling one on my first day on the sales floor, I have now sold 6 this month, and am 2nd on the Salesman of the Month leaderboard. This matters for 2 reasons: 1) Pride. 2) Free car and gas for a month from the dealership! I’ll keep you posted.

EVEN MORE BREAKING GOOD NEWS UPDATE!!!! Ashley was offered a FREE place to live until we get married! And it is SWEET. It is in the basement of a friend’s parents house, BUT has separate entrance, alarm system, and brand new everything. Carpet, stone tile floors, granite counters, stainless steel appliances…I mean it is awesome. And it is free. And we will finally be able to hang out together somewhere other than a stupid restaurant.

NEWS UPDATE! The Oregon Ducks have won 5 in a row, ranked 13th in the nation. Bring it! Although my favorite down-to-earth quote from their coach: “This only guarantees that we could end the season 5-7”. Buzz kill!

Things are on the up and up folks. God wins, again. It is funny how sometimes He lets you get right to the end of your rope, and then makes His strategic move. He has our attention.

In other totally unrelated news, my brother and wife found out they are having a girl! This is monumental. Casebeer’s don’t have girls. This family is riddled with boys. My mom marries Peter, who has 4 boys. My dad and mom both have 2 bothers. I have 1 brother (except for the Halloween where we dressed up as sisters). This is HUGE. There is going to be pink appropriately worn. Ashley will be able to show off at how good of an aunt she will be. My mom is already freaking out. My dad has uttered the word ‘cute’ numerous times, and Carrie has started knitting booties, hats, and pink scarves. Times are a’ changin! I love it, and can’t wait for February 16th! Name is thus far unknown, but I am going with Scarlett. What’s your bet?

The moral of today’s blog: Keep pressing on. You never know what is going to happen. You never know how “it” is going to turn out. You never know that just because you are headed in one direction you may end up going in an entirely new one. Until next time, turn your headlights on and buckle up!


First week of work. . .very interesting.

Here are some highlights from my first week of work. We'll call this part of my life: Welcome to Reality!

- Monday thru Friday I was busy taking tests learning Toyota's products and processes and engines and all that jazz. I have to become a Certified Toyota Salesman, so this testing is necessary. Arduous and long and seemingly meaningless, but necessary none the less. It actually does help me learn my products!
- Had a random bloody nose on Wednesday. Thankfully no one knew!
- I am actually enjoying wearing a suit to work. Ashley likes it too!
- Working 65+ hr weeks is tougher than I thought. . .makes me really enjoy 2 days off!!
- Decided to make Saturday my first day on the sales floor, and what do you know: Sold my first car! A 2005 tC Scion. Will never forget it!
- After 6 days of work, I got 2 days off. This month my team gets Sunday's and Monday's off. Ashley and I decided to head to the beach for some MUCH needed time together and relaxation. So we are at Neskowin now - Ashley is knitting (her new found interest), I am blogging and loving the sound of the ocean. We are eating good seafood and being bums. And we love it.

Ashley just informed me that my last few blogs have been mostly about me (except for Jamie's email!). So now it is up to you. I need topics. I will discuss. I will get interesting. Let's take this blog global! (Ashley just laughed at me).

Should I be an Auto Industry blogger? A Portland blogger? A Jesus blogger? I'll take suggestions! Until next time, enjoy some crab!

First week of work. . .very interesting.


Back on the blog train. . .plus Day 5 tribute!

To all of you 11 faithful followers, I apologize. I have been absent for way too long and there is no excuse! Actually, there is a pretty good one. We moved across the country, thus making it difficult to keep up. We radically changed our lives, we took a huge leap of faith, and we are stepping way out of our comfort zones. So far, it is tough. But here is a little of what has happened over the last few weeks.

Early September:
- Packed up our crap, rented a trailer, and started driving to Oregon from Georgia. Tears were shed, hearts were broken, something loomed in our future (still to be determined!).
- Our route? LONG. Here is the gist of it: Baton Rouge, LA. Austin, TX. Tucson, AZ. Flagstaff, AZ. Santa Barbara, CA. San Francisco, CA. Black Butte Ranch, OR. Salem, OR. Now Portland, OR.
- We saw great friends, had amazing food, and great wine along the way! I would say the trip was not as bad as we both thought it would be. Some highlights included: Ashley reading out loud to me (way better than book on tape!), podcasts, dipping our toes in the Pacific, wine tasting in Santa Barbara County, San Francisco in general, and 2 days of relaxing in Black Butte.
- Low lights in included: the drive from Austin to Tucson (18 hour day), leaving GA, living out of a car for 2+ weeks, the last day on the road (felt SO long).
- But we made it, no tickets, no flat tires. All in all a "successful" trip.

Mid-September (NOMADS)
- Bounced from house to house, town to town, family to family, trying to get organized and "settled in". I don't think you ever get settled in when you live in someone else's house, but for now, until we find something, we are as settled as we are going to get. And it is not ideal. But we press on!
- Alex started working. Welcome to reality.
- Ashley looking for work and getting on as many substitute lists as possible. Welcome to reality.
- Reality sucks.

- Highlighted by the Wade Wedding! A great weekend long full of activities, punctuated by a great ceremony and reception!
- Alex and Ashley adjusting to life in another city, living apart, working, struggling.
- Looking for a place to live when we get married (which is very exciting). As soon as we find that baby, Ashley will move in immediately! Hopefully that will help things. . .
- Adjusting to the daily routine, life change, and missing GA.
- Looking forward to: THE FAMILY VISIT in ONE MONTH! Less, actually. We can't wait. It needs to happen sooner, and more often!!

So I have to admit I was reluctant to finish my Tribute to the South. Mainly because I knew it would be hard to write. But here goes. What I miss most about the south is the family (included 'extended' family...). I miss Danny's antics, I miss Taff and Spanky, I even miss Buddy (I wonder if he has kicked the can yet?) I miss Nana's insisting on doing my laundry and always cooking chicken salad for me. I miss Patti and how she falls asleep watching TV curled up in a blanket even though it is 101 degrees outside. I miss the Aunts - Kim and Lynn. I need Lynn's food immediately! I miss Jamie - but hey, she's off at college and loving it, so I'm not feeling to sad. I miss everyone there! It was very hard to leave, and even harder (especially for Ashley) being here without them. But it is life, and people do sometimes move away from close ones. It's not like we'll never see them again (28 days), it is just a very hard adjustment. But life will go on and Ashley and I will create our own family. We will thrive on being together and truly relying on each other. We are growing. Not growing away from family, but growing into who we are going to be as a family. So far, that is about the only positive!

But honestly. If you have never met someone Southern, you are missing out. The people are great! They are friendly, they talk funny, they drink lots of beer (have never heard of a micro-brew), they cook way better than yo momma, and they love church. They are laid back (except for Dan-O), love golf, drive trucks, and love Nascar. In one hyphenated word, they are : one-of-a-kind. And I love 'em!

So there you have it. The conclusion of my 5 day Tribute to the South. What a great place to live, a great season of our lives, and someone we will always have to go back to and love and enjoy. Until next time, Roll Tide!


It's been a while...

Ths was an email that Ashley and I received from her sister. Just read it. You will die laughing.

hello family!
just thought i would let you know how my day went since i
didnt really get to talk to you all that much.....
well started of wkaing up with a verrrrryyyyyyy stiff neck
from my bike riding accident yesterday! ( ashley i forgot to
tell you i ran into a role going down a hill and couldnt
stop myself....and flew prolly 15 feet, if someone saw it,
it WOULD be the most embarrasing moment of my life!) and my
arms a little sore from jumping up and down and not letting
my hands be below my shoulders in rush practice, went to get
a coffee cause i felt a little tired and the were out of
espresso, went to class that was fine but had to give an
unexpected speach on barack obhama........ ya yall prolly
know how that turned out. after class and before work i have
30 minutes to get back to the apt shower and get to work.
knowing we have no food at our apt i went to chik fil a and
used one of my free coupons and they took for ever so while
i was back out of my parking space i went a little faster
than usual and was a milimeter away from SLAMMING into a
precious esclade, the man got out and statred yelling while
i just drove off while he took down my liscence plate number
even though i didnt even hit him! soo went to work freaking
out about everything else i had to do, and had to work by
myself which actually i liked cause i didnt have to do
anything.....then went to a younglife team dinner which was
aweosme but ended up missing role call at rush and prolly
getting fined, walked to my car and see a little tickt on my
window because ther is NO parking at the chi o house so
every car had a damn ticket on the window!...came home and
prcratinated studying a little bit then finally decided to
sit down and dow it and my chair fell out from under neath
me so i now have one loooonnng scratch from my shoulder down
to my butt :) and now im still up studying because i took a
aderol and dont feel tired! so i thought i would shoot you a
little hello message and update you on my wonderful

hope your was better than mine! I love you all!
Now I KNOW your day was better than THAT!! So smile and have a great day!


Day 4 Tribute to the South

Topic? There are so many I couldn't choose just one! If you read my blog every now and then you'll find that I often have random blogs. I write about a lot of things at once, and now is one of those times. So maybe on my day 4 tribute I'll write about 4 things that make me smile or laugh about the South. Here we go!

1) The Cooler Theory. This may sound odd at first, but let me lay the situation out for you. You see, on the West side of the US, he who throws party supplies the party. Ok ok, not in EVERY situation. But, most of the time, if you want to have a little schindig, you buy some beer, wine, some snacks or food, you know, the works. Not so in the South. You see, people are smarter here I think. Or maybe more considerate. But if someone is going somewhere (where you can drink), you pack your own parachute baby. Coolers abound! You pack that baby full of Ultras (or in Lynn's case, Miller Lite), some ice, seal 'er up, and hit the road. There is no "oh we'll just have what they have" mindset going on. Nope. BYOB ATT. (the att stands for All The Time). It was strange at first, but now that I think about it, what the heck have we been wasting our money on this whole time?? The next time Ashley and I have people over for a football game or whatever we are abiding by the Southern Cooler Theory. So be prepared!

2) Classic Rock. Before moving here, I was naive and I was uneducated --- in rock n roll. I grew up on Hall n Oats, James Taylor, and ToTo. These are great bands. But Ashley grew up on The Allman Brothers, Steve Miller, The Doobie Brothers, and Van Halen. I mean I thought I knew rock n roll, but not until I moved here. Rock n Roll is Mid Life Crisis on a Friday night at Durty Kelly's. Rock n Roll is 97.1 radio on the way to work. Rock n Roll is not Hall n Oats. I am now educated, thanks to Danny and Ashley. Thanks!

3) Spanky and Buddy. Aka dumb dumb and freak. (just kidding, Patti). But seriously, these animals are weird, but yet they make me laugh or smile. Some times both. Spanky is a Shih Tzu, and lazy as I have ever seen. He will not go to the bathroom without Patti's supervision. He will not go up a stair without a kick in the ass. He sucks on the strangest things (noses of stuffed animals, the occasional rouge pair of underwear, you know, the usual things). He is always perfectly maintained, probably due to his wild life style (hardly). He snorts at weird times. But despite all of that, there is something about him that keeps you coming back. Maybe it's that he's a great cuddler. Or maybe because he only has one eye (he was rescued). I haven't pinpointed it yet, but deep down, I like Spanky. He's not all that bad!

Now Buddy - oh man, we've got a weird one here. Buddy is on his last days, and we are all convinced he is delusional For instance, this morning, he thought he was taking a dump in the litter box. What he didn't realize is that it was actually a pile of Ashley's swimsuits. Doh! Or how about when he walks upstairs he doesn't realize why he isn't moving.......his claws are caught in the carpet. Buddy, it's been a good ride. But you can't sleep in file cabinets anymore. And you can't jump up on to my laptop and rip out 4 keys. Buddy I think it's time. Wait, what's that? You caught a mouse?? You are still alive? You ate your food and both of the dogs food?? How do you do it, Buddy? These are questions we ask ourselves every day. He lives. He is 17 (which in cat years is about 185). It is amazing. He is all fur and bones, no meat. But the legend lives on friends. Buddy continues to yell so loud in the morning that Patti can hear him from 2 stories up. He annoys, he claws, he smells...but Buddy is still a great cat. My guess is that he'll he live until somewhere near the age of 35. Just a guess.

4) And then there's Taffy. You knew I was going there. This little dog makes me laugh, give out undeserved treats, talk in funny voices, smile, and take stupid pictures (see below). She is smart and has the personality of a TV reality star. Taffy is hilarious. Her under-bite is epic and her energy is unsurpassed. Can she speak? Yes. Can she play dead? Yep. Can she shake? Uh uh. How about a high 5? You bet. She does it all! You have to meet this dog. I never thought I would like Shih Tzus, but have come 180 degrees. I love this dog! And so does every single person who comes in contact with her. (Don't let the secret out of the bag, but Ashley and I are going to sneak her in to the car when we leave town.....do you think they'll know??)

Stay tuned for Day 5 Tribute. Also known as Tear Jearker 2009. Until then, Ashley and I are hitting the road tomorrow. It has been a tough week, and although tonight's food was great, it was equally as hard to say "see you later" to friends. I am refraining from "goodbye". . .because guess what? No one is dying. We will be back in 3 months. And we will see the family in Oregon in October. This is just Ashley and Alex starting our lives together. It isn't goodbye. It is we love you and we will see you soon. Because that is exactly what will happen.


Day 3 Tribute to the South: Oh, the places you'll go!

When you live in the South, there are more benefits than amazing food and unbeatable golf. There are endless places to visit!! And one thing that I am proud of Ashley and I for is visiting places. Going places. Seeing people. Taking advantage of being so close to so many great things. We have really carved out a hobby for ourselves: traveling! It is ironic, because that has been the essence of our relationship for years. But now it is something enjoy! Let me give you the highlights of our travels from the past year!

Cool Stop #1: Asheville, NC. This is one place you have to go. We tackled this place head on for a weekend back in early November. THe real reason we even went there in the first place was because Ashley bought me a round of golf at the Grove Park Inn for my birthday, so we wanted to make a weekend out of it, and man did we. We were lucky enough to stay with Ash's friend Betsy, and it was great because she only lived about 15 minutes from downtown. But after golf, the weekend was just starting. We ate at great restaurants, walked around a very cool quaint downtown, and the best part of the trip (which everyone needs to do once in their life) was the Biltmore Estate. I have blogged about this before - but my goodness, it was easily the coolest and most amazing place I have ever seen. Go. Book your tickets. And make sure to do some free wine tasting afterwards!

Cool Stop #2: Charleston, SC. If you want to get a taste of the "real" South, go to Charleston. They have cobblestone roads dating to the 1760's! I mean, talk about history. Charleston has battlefields from the Civil War, historic and important cotton plantations, row houses that are older than half of the country, an epic oyster festival every year (which we attended!), the best southern food anywhere, great golf...I mean this place has it all! We were lucky enough to have stayed with a friend of mine, Kelley (who is getting married next weekend!) and again, were pretty close to downtown. We took a house carriage tour, we strolled the historic streets of Charleston, ate oysters, had amazing food...we had a great weekend. So if you want "the South", go to Charleston and get some!

Cool Stop #3: Hilton Head Island, SC. Just last weekend we invited ourselves on someone else's vacation (come on, you've done it before!) to Hilton Head. I have always wanted to go here, mainly for the golf, but I quickly realized that it had way much more to offer. We rode bikes, walked on a very flat beach (much easier than fluffy sand), ate seafood every night, kayaked in a sea inlet, and yes, I golfed. But talk about relaxing...ride your bike to the beach, walk, tan, come back, have a beer, go get some seafood, do it again the next day. One of the top 2 highlights for me was our dinner on night 2 at "Eat!" (http://eathhi.com/). The owner gets his fame from the Food Network on the show called "Dinner Impossible", so he definitely has some street cred. It was unbelievable. Probably one of the top 3 dinners I have ever had in my life!! But of course, highlight numero uno was Harbout Town Golf Links. But aside from the heavenly golf, Hilton Head Island is worthy of a trip!

Cool Stop #4: Orange Beach, AL. Wake up, get coffee, sunscreen up, go to beach, come in for lunch, back to beach, come in for shower, go to dinner, sit on patio, go to bed. REPEAT. It is THE MOST relaxing place on earth. And it has great seafood as well, because it is located on the Gulf of Mexico, so shrimp, oysters, grouper is all readily available. We have been here a number of times, it is an O'Dea favorite. And it has become one of mine too! If you are a golfer, there are endless options as well...but I rarely play golf while there. Lots of reading, lots of sun-time, lots of eating and beers, lots of laughing. It is such a fun place to go! Of course, you can't to there without visiting the "Florabama" bar. Yep - on the border of Florida and Alabama. And yep, easily the most white trash bar in the world. Bras hanging from the ceiling, dirty floors, dirty people...but if you can get past that, great music and a rowdy crowd! It is a sight to be seen. Seriously.

Cool Stop #5: Atlanta, GA. Talk about a cool city. In tourist terms, you've got it all: CNN headquarters, Coca Cola headquarters, the World's Biggest Aquarium (literally, I'm not just saying that...), site of the 1996 Olympics...I mean, its a tourist heaven. In terms of being a local, you have great sports teams (Hawks, Falcons, BRAVES!!), great music venues (Eddie's Attic, Verizon Amphitheater, Peidmont Park), great local bands (MID LIFE CRISIS!), great food (come on, it's the South!!), and great people. Atlanta, while we didn't take nearly enough advantage of the downtown area, is a cool place to live. And a great place to visit!

Some honorable mentions from our visits: Durham (ok, only for Alex and Jay's wedding...and DUKE), Montreat College, NC (home of Billy Graham), Mt. Airy (home of Andy Griffith!), Winston-Salem, NC, any place surrounding Boone, NC (Valley Crucis, Banner Elk, Blowing Rock, etc etc..it is all cool!), Windy Gap Young Life Camp, Sharp Top Cove, YL camp, Charlotte, NC....I could go on. But those made the list.

As you can see, we took advantage of living in a very cool part of the USA. The best part? We drove everywhere! That's how accessible these historic and awesome places are. My encouragement to you, wherever you are: GO. Go places. Visit people. Try local food. Go to Oktoberfests and Wooly Worm festivals. Go to Oyster Cracking contests. Go go go! You gotta take advantage of where you live, and where you don't. We have come to embrace that, and I love it. So X out my blog, and google some place to go this weekend! It's only a drive away. . .


Day 2 of the Tribute to the South

Drum roll please...............................GOLF. You know I was going there. I probably should have made it Day 1, but for some reason, food caught my fancy yesterday. Did I mention that we are having a Lo Country Boil this weekend as a send off? Doesn't get much more southern than that.

Anyway, back to golf. The people in the south (well, the men in the south) LOVE their golf. And after being on the East Coast for a year now, I can see why. I have played top of the line courses in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Been very lucky, to say the least. But let me tell you why the East closely rivals the West in terms of golf courses and the experience.

First state on the docket: North Carolina. I was able to play 2 awesome courses while I was there - Boone Golf Club and Grove Park Inn (Ashley's birthday present to me!). BGC was a great course, and was my first dose of Donald Ross, one of the most famous golf course designers in history. This course was designed by a protege of his, so it was identical to his style, which is HARD. But it was a great tune up for the real gem of the Asheville area - the Grove Park Inn. This course was unreal. Beautifully green lush course, very hilly, views of the city of Asheville, and set on the property of the historic and top 10 Spas in the World! I played with a great guy (who happened to live in Alpharetta, weird), smoked a great cigar, and had a great round. But aside from the experience, the course was awesome. It was designed by Donald Ross himself in 1919 or something like that. It had his very standard "upside down salad bowl" shaped greens and huge slanting greens. It was quite the test, actually. But I like that. I would go back and play in a heartbeat! Except next time I'd take Ash to the spa afterwards for a post round massage!

Next up: Alabama. I was only able to play a few courses in Gulf Shores (or should I say, Golf Shores?? Ba doom, ching!), but the highlight being Kiva Dunes. And this time, Ashley played with me! Well, actually she just rode around in the cart and had a few beers. . .hit a few shots occasionally. . .but mostly drove the cart, worked on her tan, and put back some Mick Ultras. Annnnnd I had my fair share too. Maybe that's why this course was so fun, I have no idea. But it was very hard, very sand dunes-y, with palm trees and lakes.......needless to say, picturesque. Gulf Shores is a great place to play golf. By the ocean, very warm, lots of sun and beers, and fun courses that for the most part are pretty easy. I played a few others times while there (once with Danny, once with Lee) and both were a great time! But next time you are in Gulf Shores, play Kiva Dunes. It is worth it!

Next up: South Carolina. Or as it says on their license plate, "First in Golf". I thought New York was first in golf, but maybe I am mistaken. SC is first in everything else, given the war history and early settlement history. So that is cool. What is even cooler is Harbour Town Golf Links. Uh-maze-ing. This course is the host of a PGA Tour tournament (the Verizon Heritage Classic), and is worthy of being called an amazing course. I played it last weekend, and it kicked my butt. It was so hard! Designed by Pete Dye (AKA Dye-abolical, for a reason), the fairways are smaller than your local Par 3 course, and the greens were about as big as your kitchen table. I mean, those bad boys were impossible to hit! I actually hit the ball fairly well, but realized how good the PGA tour guys are. It was a humbling experience. But the main reason you go to Harbour Town is for #17 and #18. 17 is a par 3 headed straight for the sound, surrounded by bunkers and hills and water. It is an amazing golf hole (I almost made birdie from the sand trap, but tapped in for par). 18 is all beauty. And all hard. It is 455 yards, with trouble everywhere. You are headed towards a candy cane looking lighthouse, with water all the way down the left side of the hole. The right is out of bounds, which makes it tough as well. But 2 interesting stats on this hole: the fairway is the #1 largest on the PGA tour, and the green is the #3 smallest. Pretty interesting. But, if you are a pro like me, you hit a 295 yard (Tiger what?) right down the middle, followed by a smooth 7 iron right at the flag, followed by 2 easy putts for par. What a great way to end a really great day! This course is worth a trip to South Carolina in itself, it is that good. Every hole you want to take a picture (and then throw your club because it was hard). And the last 2 holes make one of the best courses in the entire country.

Last up: Georgia. Home of Augusta National Golf Club. Or to a guy like me, Heaven. But in North Georgia there are also some gems that I have been lucky enough to play. White Columns, Atlanta National (where our wedding reception will be!), The Georgia Tech Club (aka Echelon), to name a few. White Columns was where I played a national tournament when I was 17 years old, about 3 years before I met Ashley. Extremely ironic - it is about 4 minutes from her house. Fate, anyone? I've written enough about Augusta (if you haven't read it, go to my blog archives and read about Augusta!), so I'll give you some golf history from Georgia. Atlanta was home to Bobby Jones, arguably the most famous golfer of all time. He still holds most amateur records, and designed some of the South's great courses, including Augusta. But if you are rich and have money to blow, you can be a member of his home course in Atlanta, or play some other favorites of his. A few PGA Tour golfers live in Duluth at Sugar Loaf, or at Atlanta Athletic Club, both extremely exclusive and extremely unbelievable. But up in horse country in Alpharetta, the courses are so beautiful. They are set on rolling acreage, with huge Pines deciding the fairways. The greens are all smooth bent grass, and every course I have played here has been so pretty and soothing and again, picturesque. On your next trip to visit the South, you must play some North Georgia courses. They are awesome!

Well that about ends my golf experiences and recaps of the South. The styles and layouts are drastically different from Oregon and California, but in their own right, they are amazing. I can't wait to come back and play some Southern Golf!


Part 1 of a 5 day Tribute to the South

So for the next week or so, I'm going to write some Casebeer Tributes to the South...an Ode to the South...a farewell of sorts. You see, Ashley and I are moving on Sunday. That's not very long. This is the beginning of a very hard week and I figured that I need to do something to bring some smiles to some faces! So off we go, part 1 of 5 Tributes. Tribute #1: SOUTHERN FOOD.

I think the way I'll craft these tributes is by doing a series of goods, greats, and interestings. At least, that's how I'll write the first one. So before I even moved out here (down here, over here, whatever) everyone told me "you're going to love the food", "you have to eat this or that", etc etc. It was all about the FOOD. Well, I love food - this is no secret. This thought excited me about moving here. The first thing everyone asks from the West Coast is "have you tried grits?" After a few weeks of resisting, I caved. I tried some. Ashley had to make me try Cheddar Cheese Grits, so of course, who wouldn't love those?? Alan Yawn gave me grit lesson once too. LOTS of salt and pepper. Strange at first, but I've come to embrace it. Now after many months of grits, I'm just a little-butter-salt-and-pepper Grit guy.

Next on the good list is hush puppies. Jon Frazier loves hush puppies. I'm still not sure how to eat them - last night for instance, I dipped them in my 1000 Island salad dressing. Before that bite, they went into the ketchup. And after, directly into my tartar sauce. Does anyone know the proper way to eat these things?? I don't really care how, but they too are a delight found no where near the West Coast. A crying shame if you have never had a hush puppy!

Next up: The Great List. Food you can't live without. Food that will make Ashley and I come back to Georgia every 6 weeks just to eat this food. You know what I'm talking about: FRIED PICKLES. Just kidding, although I really do love fried pickles. What I am really talking about is the one and only CHIK FIL A. The nearest Chik to Oregon is Southern California. Some franchise guy in Oregon needs to get on this ASAP. But again, if you have never had Chik Fil A, you are missing out on real life. Some say real life is in Jesus. I couldn't agree more. It's also eating Chik Fil A. There was a stretch in Boone where I had it 4 days in a row (Ashley did not know about 2 of these days). There have also been twice-a-dayers. It's just that good. Chicken sandwhich, chicken nuggets, waffle fries, milkshakes...it is all good. You need to find one and eat some, immediately!

Another food category on the great list is the seafood. I have been a long time lover of good seafood, but it is different here. I have never had grouper. Or trigger fish. Or oysters. Or real authentic crab legs where you actually have to break them and get the damn meat out of the leg. I swear I tried for hours and ate about 4 ounces of food one time. But the seafood is amazing. Fried grouper? So good. Oysters Patti O'Dea style? Amazing. Crab Legs Aunt Lynn style? Hard work, but well worth it!! I love southern seafood. Last night (along with my hush puppy dilema) I had blackened Flounder, some of Kim's crab legs, 1 of Ashley's Crab stuffed Shrimp, and Gumbo. I mean, come on. Does it get any better than that??? The answer is no.

On the Interesting list is only one item. Maybe it even deserves a disclaimer, that's how disgusting it is. So here is the disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, stop reading and go to the next paragraph. Last chance. Ok moving on. An O'Dea Family Tradition (ok, only 2 people actually like this) is called Pear Salad. Sounds delish, right? Think again. Imagine with me if you will: a succulent pear chopped in half. . . . .filled with a large scoop of MAYO. . . . .topped with shredded cheddar cheese and a cherry. What in the world? I was tricked into eating this one Easter a few years ago. They said, "Oh come on, everybody loves this thing!!!" So of course, trying to impress the futures, I ate it. Choked it down, really. But I guess people actually like this thing. I'm just not one of them!

And now on to some Honorable Mentions. Food that is definitely noteworthy. Top of the list:
- Nana's Chicken Salad. Also worth coming back every month or so for.
- Anything Danny cooks. In particular, steak with potatoes, seasoned veggies, and garlic bread. Ohhh soo good!
- The dreaded Banana Sandwhich. Yep. Banana Sandwhich. Bread, mayo, sliced naners, mayo, bread. Sick.
- Patti's chicken enchiladads
- La Parilla Mexican Grill
- Southern BBQ (I favor the non-vinegar type...)
- Kim's artichoke dip
- Shrimp and Grits
- Mick Ultra, Blue Moon, Yeungling
- Steak n Shake, Waffle House

Well that about wraps up my food portion. Now that everyone is hungry. . .sorry about that! But needless to say, I love Southern Food. I am going to miss Southern Food. I am going to miss eating by the fire in the winter, and the pool in the summer. I am going to miss eating so much chicken salad that I feel like throwing up. I am not going to miss eating the Pear salad and actually throwing up. I am going to miss Ultras, Pinots, and a Guiness at the Olde Blind Dog. I am going to miss a lot!

Things Ashley needs to look forward to in moving West: Micro Brews, Scott Casebeer's cooking, organic everything, and Kettle Chips. Lots and lots of Kettle Chips.

Special and heartfelt thanks goes out to the O'Deas for showing me what real eating is like! Cheers to Southern Food!


Oh I suppose I'll blog again. . .

It's been a while. I've had a run in with a snake since the last blog. Been to a wedding. Been to Charlotte 2 times in 4 days. You know, the usual. Want the update? Ok then!

Ashley's life long dream (ok, dream of 2 years) has been to appear on the Smitten Photography Blog. For further detail, click on smittenphotographyblog.com . But anyway, she has stalked this website (stalk sounds bad. Obsessed is better. Well, that sounds bad too. She has LOVED this website...) for about 2 years. It is a friend of a friend of a friend type of deal. Anyway, she loves this photographer. And after a year of telling me about it, I have found that I love her too! Such a unique style. Well we decided that Sharon is the person who we wanted to shoot our wedding, and coincidentally our engagement photos. Dreams really do come true for Miss Ashley. We went to Charlotte on Tuesday for our official shoot, and it was a blast. And the photos, well, you'll probably see them in a magazine soon. Movie stars. Rock stars. Whatever you want to call us. We look GOOD. So check back on that website within the next few days, because they will be up soon!

But the whole process was just funny. We met her at Chik fil A at 7AM (meanwhile I'm wondering why I couldn't get food) and she says "Hey guys, just follow me we are going to take some pictures in a gravel parking lot". A strange start, to say the least. I was thinking some serene field, trees, grass, running around hand in hand. . . nope, gravel parking lot. But hey, like Ashley told me, "just trust her, she's good!". So I do. Off we go - to Lowe's Motor Speedway parking lot! What the crap? I had some very sketchy feelings about this. But we start shooting - because "the light is amazing!", Sharon claims. I'm skeptical - until she screams with excitement about the first few shots. Then she shows them to us on her camera - and I am shocked too. This gal can really turn lemons into lemonade! I mean, it was a pretty place - but these pictures looks amazing! We shot there, then went to an abandoned looking church, and same thing - she was great. She used old beat up chairs, picked flowers from a field for Ashley to hold, used our Starbucks cups in some shots, just whatever she felt like, as long as "the sun was good". And the sun was good to us! I can't wait to see all of the pictures. . .so cool and unique! A little bit like Ash and I. . .

Our return trip to Charlotte on Friday was for good friend Lauren's wedding. It was a fun weekend on a lot of levels but for me, it was great getting to hang out with the one and only Jay Whitaker. You see, his wife Alex and my future wife Ashley are besties. BFF's. Life longers. Which means for Jay and I, we are inherently going to be life long friends as well. Which is fun to think about! Might as well get this party started! We did so by hanging out at the world's largest Bass Pro Shop, sharing a hotel room, playing frisbee golf and laughing a LOT at the wedding! I'd say we bonded. And I liked it. On this frisbee golf trip we ran into a snake - see picture below. Not friendly. We are little girls when it comes to snakes, I'll be honest. It looked at me and I sprinted. And might have screamed.

In other news, Ashley and I are looking for places to live in Portland. Preferably free. Know of anyone or anything?? Of course, we realize that is a little ridiculous, but just throwing it out there.

I'll update more once the highly anticipated engagement photos are revealed. But let me promise you this folks. They are going to be amazing.


A Day to Remember

It all started with a pot of coffee at about 7 am. This trip, that is the norm. There has been to much to do, and yesterday was the pinnacle. Yesterday was the highlight, the thing we looked forward to: THE GARAGE SALE. You've inevitably been apart of one - the neon stickers, the bins full of crap that you think no one will buy, you know the drill. You put things in there and said "There is no way ANYONE will buy THIS for $1.50", and yet, they did. Here is how our day went.

7:45am - first customers, 15 minutes early. South Africans from down the street. They purchase a half broken George Forman, a brand new set of plates/mugs/dishes, a portable DVD player. Great start to the day!
7:55am - the first real "garage salers" that we had been warned about. These gals - typically in their late 50's, early 60's, show up early and try to get the best stuff. They roll up in their beat up '89 Camary and go for it. Today was no exception. We had one. She took a look in about 23 seconds, and bought nothing. I felt defeated.
8-10am - steady flow. But here is what Ashley and I's conversation sounded like: "Hey we got one". "Nope, they are neighbors". "Nope, '92 Bronco. They'll stop". "Yep, you're right". And so on. We sadly analyzed cars and figured out which ones would stop, ignore, or drive and stare. It got to be quite entertaining!
8-10am. Also during this time span was our friend Gus. Gus was the big winner of the day. Gus came 3, count 'em, THREE times throughout the day, he was relentless! Gus bought the following items: my old laptop from freshman year of college, my Dell from soph-senior year of college, an old MP3 player (not sure if this works anymore), 2 pairs of shoes, a totally broken TV (free, don't worry), another fully functional TV, a desk, a hat, and who cares what else. Gus spent almost $100 at my sale. I declare Gus the WINNER!
12PM - Ashley and Alex are roasting in the frickin heat, and decide to call it quits.
12:03pm - more people show up, of course. They buy a pair of shoes, a book, and I throw in a coffee travel mug for free.
12:17pm - even more people come. . .they walk away with mostly free items. My negotiating skills have completely deteriorated.
1:01pm - everything unsold is packed and off to Goodwill. All in all, a SOLID day. But here are some Garage Sale lessons:
- people buy the most random crap ever - drivers with a dent in it, old shoes, mirrors, anything. It is unreal.
- people want desks, electronics, shoes, and free stuff.
- people will drive up, take a look, and drive off if they see nothing of value. Very embarrassing.
- people will haggle, but hey, who won't?

All in all, it was fun. We drank way too much coffee, gave away way too many free items, but hey - we made money, people walked away happy. What more can you ask for??

We ended our day by going to the Sugarland concert at the Amphitheater. And let me be the first to say that they were amazing. I was impressed at the variety of music they covered - REM (Night Swimmer), Bon Jovi (Can't Go Home), B-52's (Love Shack), MJ (Rock with You), and Pearl Jam (Better Man). They were just extremely entertaining and well worth the money spent!

As I type this right now, my house is totally empty. Except for me, Ashley and my Mac. The end of an era - a very good one - in Bend. I loved this house and this town, but you know what? Ashley and I are on to amazing things ahead. And we are very excited about it.


Thoughts, hot sauce, and pickles

I'm not even going to intro this blog. Here we go.

Some good thoughts/quotes I've heard recently:
- God is an expert in taking care of His people in the most uncertain times. - Andy Stanley (our pastor)
- Never let your character erode because of the present circumstances. - Andy Stanley
- Waiting can be turned into endurance and perseverance - with the proper perspective. - Jeff Hendrickson.
- The hardest part of waiting is not the waiting itself. It is dealing with the aftermath of acting in our frustration. - Hendrickson
- Despite your circumstances, there should still be something unique about the way you treat people. - Andy Stanley
- Never touch your face (or any body part) after dealing directly with Cayenne Peppers. - Alex Casebeer
- If Christ were to actually reveal Himself today, would you know where you stand? - taken from 1 John
- The man who's life lived IN love in fact lives IN God, and God lives IN him. - 1 John 5:16.

Steps to making Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce - follow closely.
1) Grow peppers in yard
2) Water peppers, pick peppers when completely red.
3) Dry peppers using a wire hanger found in your closet, and hang awkwardly in the laundry room using clothes pins.
4) Look up many recipes online, decide on one.
5) Begin selecting the "chosen few" peppers because you grew 17 times too many. Turns out you only need 5 for this recipe.
6) Cut peppers, get peppers all over your hands and don't realize it.
7) Scratch face.
8) Scratch arm. . . . . and then leg.
9) Wipe sweat off forehead, because, well you are cooking PEPPERS.
10) After bottling pepper sauce, let the anticipation begin of "is this going to be good?" "or is it going to burn my mouth off?"
11) Realize your forehead is ON FIRE and you get can't it to stop.
12) Go hit golf balls and realize your arm and leg are BURNING LIKE NO TOMORROW
13) Come back, get sauce out, get a tortilla chip, and get ready for launch.
14) Dip, eat, think, reflect.
15) Realize you didn't put any salt or garlic in, dang it!
16) Add salt and garlic
17) Try again - and realize you got it right!
18) Brag.

And lastly, my story from the Fickle Pickle.

I went to use my free lunch at the Fickle Pickle (and to visit Ashley, of course) the other day and it was a very packed house. I sat outside for a variety of reasons, mainly because of the weather, and table availability. About halfway thru my meal, 3 older ladies (late 50's, early 60's, sorry if that offended anyone) stroll outside, Chardonnay in hand. The begin looking for places to sit, only to realize that it is totally full. One of them looks at my table (1 person sitting at a 4 top) and announces "Let's sit with this guy!". To which I respond, BRING IT ON CHICKS. At this point, Ashley gives me the stink eye (deserved) but what can I do? I have attracted cougars.

When they sit down, they are all talk. Talking about Florida, houses, 20 years ago, blah blah blah. I ask them what they are doing and Diane's response was "Oh, just out spending our husband's money!". Mary said "In my case, my booyyfriend". These gals were hilarious! We talked about the West Coast, Texas (where one was visiting from), food, Ashley, wine, the car business, the new show on TV about cougars, we covered it all. Once their food arrived, I left them to their party - they were having a great day! I got up to leave and said "See ya later, girls!" to which Diane's response was "Bye Alec". Hate that. Old people never get AleX right. It's always AleC. Why is that? Anyway, a good time had by all!

Well Ashley and I are off to Oregon today. We'll be busy - anniversary party, birthday party, golf tournament, trip to Bend to pack my house, visit Portland. . .we'll be busy, but we can't wait.

Crap! I gotta go. About to miss my fl.. . . .


Watch out, I'm going political!

Ok, maybe political isn't the right word. I'm not sure really, maybe it's 'socially conscious', or 'doing the right thing'. But cut me some slack, I never write about anything serious! What I want to write about briefly is my thought this morning: Buy Local, or Bye, Local! Maybe this thought is something my Mom instilled in me. Maybe it was the way of life in Bend, OR. Or maybe it's "an Oregon thing". But I am behind it, and let me give you my thoughts on the subject.

I like local things. In fact, one of my favorite days with Ashley was going to the Portland Farmer's Market in downtown Portland. It doesn't' get any more local than that! There were flowers, veggies, wine, fruits, trinkets, all sorts of stuff - all made and grown by someone in Oregon. I love that! Local food always tastes better, I'm convinced. Maybe it's because I just made Cayenne Pepper hot sauce with the peppers that we grew in the back yard. But fresh local produce and food tastes better to me. And it is always good to support the local farmers. They are hard workers!

I love local coffee shops. While I realize that the beans are not grown locally, a truly "local" shop the milk will be local, the mugs will be made from someone in town, etc etc. In Bend, if you went to Starbucks, you were an outcast! There were so many great coffee shops in town - why go to 'big bad Starbucks'? (Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of Starbucks, but when I can go local, I do).

I love the local restaurant scene. This is a little easier to get into because in most towns, there are so many options other than franchises or chains. But even here in Alpharetta there are amazing local joints - Pure Tacqueria, Milton's, The Union, La Parilla...I could go on. Why would we go anywhere else? And I feel like it is the same way in most towns, so I'll rant no more on that subject.

But what is the bigger reason for "going local"? Supporting the community, supporting the local business scene, supporting the economy and supporting fledging entrepreneurs. I like that, above all else. I am a big fan of going to Ranch Records vs. Best Buy. I am a huge fan of going to The Back Porch vs. Starbucks. I like Roswell Used Books over Barnes and Noble. Not only is the service mostly better, but there is a bigger sense of "I did something good". A lot of the time, the local restaurants/coffee shops/bike shops etc. are the most who give back the most to the community, so in a way, by shopping or eating there, you are helping give back to the community. It all comes around full circle.

Now I know that this isn't always possible. Sometimes you just have to go to Burger King. Or Taco Bell. Or wherever. But maybe next time before you go, do some homework and find out which ones are owned by a local person. Typically Starbucks never are, but sometimes the fast food chains are. I would venture to say that it is ok in my book to support those too, because they can often give back to the community in great ways too.

But for some reason - the small places, the ones that seem like they aren't making any impact at all in a community, actually are. Upon closer inspection, the little guys oftentimes come up the biggest. They support schools, races, book fairs, Art Fairs, Young Life, and on and on and on. And that is why I like supporting them. And that's why I would encourage you to do that also!

What would our towns be like without the local guy? Without the person who knows your name when you go to Jittery Joe's? What would our towns be like with big chains only, and Olive Garden's and Circuit City's everywhere? I say that if we don't buy local, then we can say "Bye, Local". Let's not let that happen, especially in this economy. I am really tired of that statement - "this economy". I know things are bleak, but if you are going to spend money, think about where it's going. I hope it's going local!


If you knew me, you would know. . .

This is a hilarious game that Ashley likes to play occasionally with her friends. It is called "It you knew me, you would know..." It is a way of revealing some funny things that make you YOU. Maybe they are secrets, maybe they are idiosyncrasies, maybe it is just a random fact. But none-the-less, it is revealing something! So off we go. If you knew ME, you would know. . .

- that I never order the "special" at a restaurant. I view it as losing. I'm not sure why. I feel like I lose if I order the special. Like I feel like gave in to something. Never order the special!

- that I can't brush my teeth in the morning without either eating or drinking something. You know, lots of people wake up and the FIRST thing they do is brush their teeth. Not me. It disgusts me. I have to drink Cranapple juice, or coffee, or eat Honey Nut Cheerios. Anything before I brush those pearly whites.

- that I rarely ever finish a full cup or "grande" of coffee. For some reason, I just can't do it. I LOVE coffee. I order it all the time. But I can never finish a whole cup! Ask Ashley about this. She will disclose full details.

- that I have to hug a pillow every night while sleeping. At least, I have to fall asleep this way. Sometimes I end up upside down, or on the floor, or one time I ended up in the shower (ask for details, please). But if you knew me, you would know that to fall asleep, I have to be clutching a pillow!

- that when I am golfing, I always have 2 quarters in my pocket. For you non-golfers out there, you always need a "ball marker" in your pocket. For me, it has always been quarters. For as long as I can remember, I always have had 2 in my pocket. Ask me why and you will get no response. I have no clue. It just happens.

- that I never use hair "product" in my hair. I use hand lotion. Yes, the secret to this amazing hair (hardly) is hand lotion. I hate the feeling of waking up the following morning with "sticky" hair. Hand lotion prevents this.

- that I secretly hate Tiger Woods. Yes, I may be a golfer. And most golfers like this guy. Not me. I like the underdog. I like the guys who play golf to make ends meet, because they feel like this is the only thing that they can do to be successful. I don't really like Tiger. Do I respect him? You know it. The guy is unreal! Do I like him? Not really.

Ok friends. I have revealed. Now it is YOUR turn! If I really know YOU, I would know. . . . . . .

I will be taking suggestions for my next blog. Please be responsive. It's more fun that way! Have a great Sunday!


A plethora of things!

Good evening. Tonight's topic: Whirled Peas. And cotton candy. And Janell Ediger, along with the Deschutes Cup, Hedo Turkoglu, and of course, Michael Jackson, King of Pop. Ok, I know that's a lot. But I asked people on Facebook what to blog about, and those are the things that they came up with. You'll get your chance too, just be patient! So off we go, into world of thoughts, reactions, and weirdness. First up: WHIRLED PEAS, courtesy of Mel Wade.

I must admit, I have never heard of whirled peas. In fact, as I type this I still haven't. I am going to google them hold on...........Top results: Whirled Peas Catering, Denver CO. Pretty sure Mel wasn't talking about this. Whirledpeas.com - Handmade Jewelry. Uhhmm, no. Next up - Whirled Peas Productions. Seriously? Nice name. Then I realized I've been duped - Whirled Peas, AKA WORLD PEACE. My initial reaction to this epiphany: Mad at Mel. Second thought? Agree with World Peace. When we will see more unifying? When will people realize God is in control not them? In fact, when will people stop blaming God for things going on? Maybe we need to look at the Man in the Mirror. (I'll get to that later...) Next topic: COTTON CANDY, courtesy of Kris Willis.

Have you ever watched someone actually make cotton candy? I got to 4 times this summer - Carnival Night at Young Life Camp. It is a strange process really. You stick this plastic thing in to a big mixing bowl, some air is blowing, color is in there somehow, and voila! Cotton Candy! It's bizarre. It's also something sticks to your teeth in a strange way, and that I don't like. But I did cave and have one this summer, and did not regret it. Thanks for reminding me of the Oregon State Fair, Kris! Next topic: JANELL EDIGER, courtesy of Janell Ediger.

Or as I mostly refer to her, Miss Ediger. She was an assistant principal at South Salem HS, home of the MIGHTY Saxons! I was lucky to have someone as cool as Ediger - because when you are a sweet talking, mischievous, sly little sophomore like I was back then, you needed someone on your side. She was definitely on my side! Always let my group of friends get away with things we shouldn't have. So thanks Janelle, for being a great, cool, amazing principal! Next up: THE DESCHUTES CUP, courtesty of Dan Odiorne.

Dan brought up a rough memory for me. Well, actually a funny one. But I was a loser in this contest. You see, there was a season long golf tournament between country clubs in Central Oregon called the Deschutes Cup. My club and his were in the finals, playing at the infamous Crosswater Golf Course in Sunriver. It is an amazing place! Dan and I squared off in a singles match, and I got whooped. Not only did I get whooped, but he capped it off by making about a 157 foot putt on #17 to rub salt in the open wound. However, I got the last laugh - Bend Golf and Country Club won the whole shebang! Next topic: HEDO TURKOGLU, courtesty of Matt Sheelar.

Hedo is an idiot. Well, sort of. He played for the Orlando Magic for the past 3 years, and wanted a change. Portland wanted a good Forward. Are you thinking what Portland was thinking? That's right - let's get Hedo out here, Nike him up a little bit, show him what Portland is all about! Turns out Hedo thought Portland wasn't that great, and wanted to go to TORONTO. Yeesh! He said that he liked the city better (idiot), and that there were more people like him there. Well duh, Hedo, you are TURKISH! There are no Turkish people in Oregon, or at least not enough. Adios, Hedo! Enjoy another underperforming team! Next and final topic: MICHAEL JACKSON, King of Pop, courtesy of many people, but including my cousin Elle and T.Roy.Hess.

Let's face it - an era-defining human has come and gone, right in front of our eyes. Don't care about the molestation charges, don't care about the skin pigment deal, the guy was flat out amazing. I can remember, when I was young, watching concerts where people would literally pass out and have to be carried out by security, limp-bodied and all. I can remember dancing around my house to Beat It, Bad, and Thriller. In fact, I still do that. Annnyyway. I once made a music video with my cousin James to the song "Bad". If it wasn't on VHS, it would a YouTube sensation right now! We had it all - the outfits, the dance moves, the cool video effects - it was awesome. Mom, can you dig that up, please? Thanks. But seriously - Michael Jackson defined music in my era and life, and even before me. And he will continue to do so after we pass on. He was amazing, and I loved his music. I loved his crazy dancing, and his crazing awesome music videos, and the fact that the guy had Disneyland as his freaking home! Who cares that he was a little odd? Not me. You shouldn't either. You should immediately go to your iTunes and turn on "Man in the Mirror" and marvel at the words and the message. He gets it. I wish there were more people that thought the way he did in this song, and many others (ie Heal the World and more!). Anyway, it's too bad he left us before this latest tour - that would have been unreal to see! His time here on earth definitely ended a little too early, in my opinion.

Well I'll leave you with one funny story from this morning. I'm sitting in Starbucks, and Mr. Cool walks in. You know - 50 years old, designer jeans, ripped white T shirt, glasses still on (even though it's raining and 8 AM), you get the picture. I listen to him order the following, or something like this: Uh, yea, gimmeuh Soy Vanilla Chai Iced Latte. Whole soy milk (huh?), 9 pumps vanilla, 1 pump white chocolate, 1 pump Chai, and 2 pumps I'm an idiot. Ok, I added that last part. But honestly, just get a Mocha and get the heck out of the line!

You are going to love the next blog as well. Topic: "If You Knew Me, You Would Know. . ."

Thanks for these words, MJ!

Man in the Mirror
I'm Gonna Make A Change, For Once In My Life
It's Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My
Favourite Winter Coat
This Wind Is Blowin' My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street,
With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See Their Needs
A Summer's Disregard,
A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man's Soul
They Follow Each Other On The Wind Ya' Know
'Cause They Got Nowhere To Go
That's Why I Want You To Know

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change!

I've Been A Victim Of A Selfish
Kind Of Love
It's Time That I Realize
That There Are Some With No
Home, Not A Nickel To Loan
Could It Be Really Me,
Pretending That They're Not Alone?

A Willow Deeply Scarred,
Somebody's Broken Heart
And A Washed-Out Dream
They Follow The Pattern Of
The Wind, Ya' See
Cause They Got No Place To Be
That's Why I'm Starting With Me


What's happening?

For starters, a great trip to the beach! Actually, that has already happened. Talk about the ultimate camp wind-down. Ashley, Jamie and I took off on Tuesday after realizing that I didn't have to work until this week for Orange Beach, AL to meet their mom and friends for a few days. Here are some highlights and snapshots:
- Great seafood! Aunt Lynn cooked crab for us one night - and it was amazing. But all seafood is great there, because it's fresh!
- Sunsets. There really is nothing like a beachy sunset.
- Dolphins, crabs, stingrays, and sharks. We had encounters with all 3!
- Lots of tanning and relaxing. It's not like the Oregon coast, where jeans and a hoodie are required at most times. No - here, you sit in a chair with a cup holder (presumably with a beer in it), and your feet are in the ocean. If a big wave comes along, it comes up and hits in you in the butt. Probably the most relaxing place I can think of. . .needless to say, it was a great trip!

What else is happening? Well back to work for me. . .and back to wedding planning for Ash! On the docket: save the dates, invitations, engagement pictures, flowers? Things are going to start rocking now!

Still a busy summer ahead - Ashley is in a wedding that has some fun commitments coming up, we'll be taking a trip to Oregon for my grandparents 60th anniversary (VERY cool), and then potentially planning a move across the country. . .not sure of when or how, but we're looking into it!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to convince Young Life that they need a Camp Blogger. I mean, how cool would that be? Travel around to various camps, write about what is going on. This could reap huge benefits for them! So if you happen to run into the President or VP's, put some pressure on them for me, ok?? Thanks!

Until next time, enjoy life as it comes at you!


Camp Decompression

Camp decompression sometimes equals camp depression. You know - you miss the place you love. In this case, I miss the feeling I love. The feeling of constant service, the feeling of surrounding love, the feeling of God everywhere. You miss the things that once seemed monotonous but ended up great. You miss the simplicity, the way of life, and the way of the people. I'll admit it - I miss camp! Coming home is such a shock - lots of cars, lots of stresses, lots of things. At camp, you worry only about a few things: working hard, loving people as best you can, serving as hard as you can, and being a great model. Maybe that's how life really should be lived?

Some things I love / miss about camp:
- 3 normal meals a day (why does it seem harder to do this at home?)
- Walking everywhere, and sometimes riding a bike
- Hanging at the smoker's pit with the tough kids (easily the most action at camp)
- Stone House Coffee in the morning
- Fruit shakes with Sco nearly every day
- Pretending that we'd run every day, and making it 2 weeks
- Smiles
- Walkie Talkies (won't miss these too much actually)

I'll miss the war room in the morning, where we'd go over some scripture, and more importantly go over our hearts. That daily check in was healthy and worth it.

I'll miss the excitement of 350 or kids per week - the littlest things make them happy, ie hospital corners on beds, pizza delivered to their cabin at 12am, blobbing, program characters, etc. It is so refreshing.

I'll miss the freshness of Day 1's. And the elation of Day 7's.

Most of all, I'll miss seeing kids stand up on the last day to profess their faith in Christ. How amazing to be a part of this experience. How amazing to be a worker for God's kingdom. How amazing to feel the Holy Spirit move into kids' lives. Kids like Loren (the self-professing atheist turned Believer), and like Sean (who had so much hurt in his life that he cried 5 out of 7 days at camp, but found Jesus' love and let people know about it).

Needless to say, Day 1 at home is not as cool as Day 1 at camp. Day 1 is groggy, and not as exciting. Day 1 will get better for us all who have the same feeling, but for now, let's just feel so happy about what we were apart of. Let's feel loved. Let's feel honored that God paved the way for us to have been at Lost Canyon, because not many people get to do that.

Here's to bringing some camp spirit back home!


Final Update!

Good afternoon friends!

As I type this email, busses are leaving camp for the 4th week. 260 or so campers have come to camp, taken it over, and are now headed back. Of those 260, we counted about 60 that stood up and accepted Jesus into their lives! Again - the Kingdom has been impacted, and heaven is having a "major rager" party celebrating this! As for us, here is what is going on:

- Tonight consists of a banquet dinner - assigned team will be serving the Summer Staff and Work Crew, and we can't wait!
- Busses/cars leave camp tomorrow for good at 9 AM.
- We will party hard tonight and celebrate what God has done over the past 4 weeks. We, as an entire team (work crew, summer staff, program, etc) have been impacted in a great way, and tonight we get to reminisce and have fun for the last time this month!

Some highlights from week 4:
- Sean (tough kid, been in jail for assault), was having a difficult time with a leader of his. He was feeling antagonized and made fun of by his peers and pretty much everyone. I had talked to him multiple times throughout the week (he became my "1" - sometimes you leave the 99 for the 1), and was so happy to see him stand up and profess his faith today!
- Many of the work crew servers said today that they had been praying for a specific table this week, and EVERY one of them stood up today at say so!
- Loren, from last week, walked the 3 miles to camp from Williams to say hey. He is also contemplating doing work crew 3rd session!!
- Martin led the New Believer Walk today - he did amazing!
- Neal spoke at Say So - also did amazing!
- The sickness slowly went away in this house. . .there are still a few coughs and sneezes, but overall, we feel better and feel good leaving!

Some final prayer//praiase requests:
** Please pray for safe travel! We have people flying to the east coast, to the south, driving. . .we need some safety prayers!
** Pray for the morale of the goodbye - that it would be a happy send off, and not a negative, sad thing.
** Please pray for the new assigned team that comes in tomorrow! This camp will look very different tomorrow, so please pray for the transition for the Lost Canyon Property Staff.
** By our tally, we think somewhere around 450 kids met Jesus Christ this month. God is so powerful, and we are all in awe of what He did and will continue to do!

The pictures that I attached are from this morning's believer walk. Great images to go along with our mission! It is SO fun welcoming in our new believer friends into the Kingdom! It's why we do this. . .

Well thank you so much for coming along on this journey with us. We are all honored that you would be praying for us everyday, and lifting up our needs and thoughts and our everything. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Thanks for reading the camp updates. . .I'll be back with more entertaining stories soon! Until then, enjoy life!


Good evening blogees!! Week 3 has officially ended - which means we just got finished deep cleaning every single cabin/bathroom, picking up trash, etc all in about 90 minutes. It is quite a sight to see! And I'm sure you can imagine the "Young Life competitive spirit" kicking in. . .here are some highlights and prayer requests for your reading and praying pleasure!

- 410 campers this week - incredibly diverse and energetic group. Over 120 campers came to know the Lord this week!! Say So was an awesome experience this week. More on that later!
- 170 bibles were given out this morning at the "New believer walk" - it is so refreshing to hand a kid a bible who has never read one. What a great journey they are about to embark on!
- One guy from local Williams named Loren came to camp an atheist. He walked away a believer. The Spirit moved in him like nothing we have ever seen this week, and it had a profound impact on everyone here.
- The weekly basketball game was interesting this week - lots of urban kids who kicked our butts, playing on the court with kids wearing jeans and not caring, expecting to go 0-5 and ending up 2-3. Not bad for a bunch of old hacks!
- Watching kids at club starting the week in the back of the room, distant from the group, and ending up in the middle of the room with arms around each other at the end of the week.
- We had 2 911 calls this week - both ended up at the Flagstaff hospital, but due to our EMT and great guest services staff, 2 lives were spared and were back at camp by week's end.
- Malcom Hess falling asleep basically on his dinner plate. Never gets old. PS It is his birthday tomorrow!
- Watching 2 property staff guys at Lost Canyon lead some of their cabin guys to Christ this week. So cool!
- AJ Pitkin leading the new believer walk on his own. . .and speaking at Club #7 today. Looks like our little boy is growing up!!
- No John Byard incidents to report this week - stay tuned though. You never know what might happen. . .
- Magaly is currently cooking dinner "Costa Rica Style" as I am typing this. As you can imagine, we are ALL so excited to experience this meal!!
- Late night nug and guac sessions continue. . .the kitchen hates us for ordering so many bags of chicken nuggets!!
- Day 5 consists of the entire assignment team making breakfast in bed for the campers - 6:30 is early, but you know what? We have fun every time!

Some prayers requests:
** Would you pray that we would all be "present" this last week? It is easy to check out a few days early, and we want to be here the entire 7 days.
** Please keep praying for health. The Scofield boys have now been struck - Hudson spent the night in the hospital, and Charlie has been to the clinic now twice. Pray for fast healing for their whole family.
** Some of our AT are still sick - please pray for the sickness to leave this camp immediately.
** Areas coming this week: El Paso, Las Vegas, Yuma, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona, Grand Valley, CO, Jackson Hole, Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and Fallbrook CA, and Aspen. Pray for open hearts, and for the Holy Spirit to start moving, even now.
** Pray that we would finish strong. That we would come close as a team this last week and solidify friendships.

Thanks for reading, and here's a great Week 4!


Week 3. . .Come ON!

Good morning once again Blogees!!! A lot has gone on since I've last updated you, so here we go! I'll start off with some random highlights. . .

- We had a "drama free week" at camp - no drugs, no kids sneaking off property, not too much "policing" going on! It was very nice. . .
- Dakota, one of our Capernaum friends, was the big winner of the coveted Mattress Race at club. We load a kid on to a mattress and send them all the way up the club room, "crowd surfing" style. It was an amazing sight - the entire camp gave him a standing ovation for winning!
- Our late night chicken nugget/Scofield guacamole sessions continue - a great night cap!
- Watching the Capernaum kids go through the Ropes Course and the Playground was heart warming. Their excitement and enthusiasm and timidness is so refreshing. Brings people to tears of joy!
- Last week - 260 campers/leaders. This week? 415. The energy so far is INCREDIBLE. These kids are fired up about being here! They just about tore down the club room on Night One. It is so fun watching 415 people sing great songs (No One, 500 Miles, Brown Eyed Girl, etc.)
- We have 2 property staff friends as leaders this week - John Offner and Jeff Walker. It is so fun to see them out of their "work place" (Lost Canyon) and entering in to their kids lives as leaders and friends! (John's wife Miriam is also leading this week too!)
- The Kingdom was impacted again - over 70 kids met the Lord this week!! There were over 100 kids on the "Believer Walk" on Day 7. So powerful and encouraging!!

And now for the coveted prayer requests!
** Sickness is taking over this house - it is no fun. Eric is now sick with a 101 temp, Marni is down, Karen is in bed all day, Jordan and Martin have been feeling awful for days...I could go on and on. But please please please pray for the sickness to leave this house NOW. We have kids who are sick also - please pray for Harrison and Ben Byard, as they are battling something too.
** A few work crew kids have left camp this week - some to sickness, some to 'family issues'. Please pray for the work crew, that they are function with a few people missing, and that no one else gets sick or has to take any time off.
** Please pray for energy as a whole. This week is large, and we need to have 100% energy the entire week just to keep up with them!
** Please pray for the following areas of kids here : Chandler, AZ, Lakewood, TX, Williams, AZ, and the Colorado crew: Bello Valley, Metro Urban Denver, Central Denver, Parker, West Douglas County, and Montrose. Pray that the Lord would meet each and every camper exactly where they are at and that He would move in a HUGE way.

OK that is all for now! The kids are currently in "Cabin Unity Games" - always a sight to see. There is on cabin who painted their entire bodies GREEN. I bet you can guess what their name is!

Until next time, may the Lord bless all of you too! We love you and are so thankful for your prayers.


Week 2 update! Bring it!

Good afternoon friends! I hope this blog finds you well. A little insight to the beginning of Week 2 and the end of Week 1....enjoy!

- This week is significantly smaller - 260 compared to 390. There are kids here from Boulder and Delta CO, New Mexico, and more AZ people. But the most exciting group of all (not that we really compare) is the Capernaum group from Phoenix. There are 12 kids and 8 leaders, and so far, they have been so amazing to be around.
- The weather has been holding up "OK", but we are desiring a little warmer sun and less thunderstorms!! We have had some rides cancelled, and some rain storms, which is not typical for this time of year. But overall, it has been good - today is sunny and around 70!
- As for last week, it finished up great! Not that numbers matter, but eternity was impacted - about 140 kids gave their lives to Christ!!! The "New Believer" walk was awesome - we handed out 141 Bibles to kids who gave over their lives to God, and Say So on Day 7 was tearful, joyful, and celebratory all at the same time! It is at that exact instant of celebration that we all look around at each other as if to say - THIS IS WHY I DO THIS. Needless to say, we are looking forward to EVERY Day 7. Clearly the best day of the week!
- On a personal note, my mom and step dad came to visit for 2 days. It was great seeing them!
- We gained 2 new families (5 more kids) this last weekend, and it has been great getting to know the Byard kids and the Scofield kids! Not mention Jen and Marni as well!

Random highlights from the last few days
- John Byard almost impaling himself during a "safety skit". Luckily only his pants suffered any damage.
- Charlie Scofield riding every tractor at camp - even got to drive one!
- Mark Wade forgetting to bring his guitar for the "Say So" song - and doing it a Capella with AJ. It actually was an amazing moment. Sometimes the Lord works in funny ways!
- Ronnie from Capernaum PHX hugging every person he comes in contact with. He squeezes hard!
- Neal got the Coke bottle open on the first try this week!
- An entire cabin of boys this week shaving Mohawks in their head. Hilarious!
- Troy and Alex chasing down 2 cabins on Night 6 last week trying to break into the kitchen.
- Day 1 welcome is always a hit - especially when you have a mountain biker riding off of a jump and into the lake!
- Everett Hess has now passed out asleep at the lunch table twice - face down, arms out, drooling, Cheerios stuck to his face....an unbelievable sight!
- Assignment team vs camper basketball game - we are 2-1 so far, next games coming up tomorrow....Team MVP last week was John Caldwell. Who will step it up this week???

Now for some praise reports and prayer requests...
** HEALTH HEALTH HEALTH. Neal is getting sick, Debbie is currently sick, Ben Byard has been a little under the weather, Ashley has felt some sore throat, Sco has been tired for 2 days...we need your prayers big time in this area! Please pray for FAST healing, and for disease to stay away from this team.
** Week 2 can tend to be an energy struggle. Pray for sustained energy and power from the Lord. We need it!
** Praise God for no major injuries. There was one ambulance visit last week - but turned out to be nothing major at all. Please praise God for this, and pray that He keep safety at the helm here at camp!
** There is a leader here with her 2 month old baby, and her mother taking care of the baby. They are in their own cabin! Pray that the mom - Ashley - can get good time with both her baby and her YL kids at camp. Tough balancing act!
** We gained 5 work crew kids this week - they were campers last week. Pray that they transition into their work roles, and that they know why they are here! "Not to be served, but to serve..."
** Continued prayer for Eric as he shares Christ with hundreds of campers. Pray for clarity, wisdom, and communication.

That's all from Lost Canyon! I'll try to send another by week's end. Until then, let me know if you have any nudges from the Holy Spirit or anything you need to communicate to our assigned team! Oh, and packages are ALWAYS welcome. :-)


Camp update from Lost Canyon, AZ

Fellow blogees! Not sure if that is a word...anyway...here is the prayer email I sent out to about 100 people. You may find it interesting - you may find it boring. You may not even care! But most of it pertains to what is going on at camp, our familes, etc. But as I'm gone (until June 21), I'll probably post what's happening at camp on the blog. So enjoy!

Wow, what a week it has been so far! I will do my best to not only update you on some highlights from the week, but also ask for specific prayer requests. So off we go!

- There are 383 campers and leaders here this week - all from New Mexico or Arizona. It is an interesting mix of kids. There are some tough kids who put on a huge front, and some kids who are just going through some brutal stuff at home. I feel like we have communicated well as an assigned team with a lot of campers, so that is great.
- Eric has been giving great club talks, and been laying a very clear picture of who Christ is. Last night was the "15 minutes of quiet", and I feel like it was extremely powerful. It feels like the Holy Spirit is really moving here at Lost Canyon!
- No major injuries - praise the Lord and cross keep crossing your fingers!
- Our assigned team has really been coming together this week. Week 1's are always tough - fine tuning the schedule, adjusting to living together, the program walk-ons, the Opera, every little detail! But our meetings have been VERY productive and we can't wait to keep improving ourselves so we can better relay Christ to these campers. Please pray for the little details of running a camp!

Random highlights from this week:
- Blob contest was amazing - the winning blob consisted of a 1 1/2 back flips, landing perfectly!
- Listening to Malcolm Hess say "Horton Hears a Who"- he is a 2 year old kid from one of our families
- Catching 2 boys cabins streaking through the night to the girls cabins...always fun!
- Chasing a skunk off the property
- Chasing down a cabin who broke into the kitchen on night 6...trying to steal liters of Pepsi, bananas, etc. A very fun chase!
- John Byard wearing a caveman outfit multiple times throughout the week. Absolutely hilarious.
- Mattress races at club - always a great game
- Neal Eckerlin attempting to open a coke bottle for 4 minutes during a skit on entertainment night...the end result being a girl opening it for him. Sorry Neal!
- Chicken nuggets almost every night at the AT house. SO good!
- A work crew girl walked in on me going to the bathroom...yes, she saw everything. Ouch.

Here are some prayers requests around the property, and specifically with our AT:
** 2 families are arriving today and tomorrow - the Byards and the Scofields. Pray for safe travel and a smooth transition into "camp life".
** Continue to pray for Eric - that he portrays a very clear picture of who God is, who Jesus is, how He can change campers lives!
** Please pray for sustained energy. Week 1 is always tough - we all want to GO GO GO! But there are some really tired bodies here - and we need some spiritual food and energy!
** One camper (Kyle) has been sober for 5 days - since Day 1 of this week. This is the longest he has been sober in 2 years. He accepted Christ last night during cabin time. Please pray for Kyle as he goes back to a horrible situation in his hometown, and that he can start fighting the good fight!
If you have any thoughts or questions or anything fellow blogs, let me know! Enjoy you week! We get new kids today...around 270 or so. Should be another great week at YL camp!


Let me introduce to you...

Good morning friends. I would like for you to meet someone at my work. For privacy's sake, I will not give you her real name. But it starts with a D, and rhymes with Fonna. She was born in Alabama and went to school in Mississippi (where she "was the only white kid in that school". She has a big country accent and is hilarious. Laugh out loud hilarious. So let me lay out the scenario for you. I work in a cubicle - 3 sides of boredom, and one side open to get in and out. Next door to me is my friend "Cloe". Wink wink. Same set up for her. So clearly we cannot see each other...just hear each other talking on the phone and typing and whatnot. Here is our correspondence from yesterday. (you have to read this in a Southern/Country accent)

- sssiiiiigggghhhhhh.........."I need me some JeeesUs" I hear from next door.
- Did you just say you need you some Jesus Cloe?
- Yeah. I've been out of church for like 2 months now and I can feel it.
- What do you mean you can feel it? What does that mean? (type type type type)
- Well, its like i'm a deer out in the wilderness runnin around. like lyin in a ditch or sumthin. Plus my kids are gettin sick. (pause) I just need me some JeeesUS man.
- Why haven't you been going to church? What caused the stop?
- Well the church made a dress code, and my girls refuse to wear dresses. They say they ain't goin to church dressed like that.
- What kind of church is this? Who set the dress code??
- It's a baptist church...the elders set it. or should i say the "menfolk".
- Hmm. Well have you looked for another church?
- Yeah, a little bit. i just need me some jesus, tho. even my kids say so. they bin sayin, 'Momma, whats wrong? You need to gitchasome JeeesUs?' and i say yeah.
- (type type type)What are you going to do about it?
- I guess I'm gonna find me a good church and get back into. I just need some JeesUS.
- Me too, Cloe. Me too.

Don't we all just to gitchasome Jesus?

Here are some more Cloe comments from cube-land.
- My husband got kicked out of his county's schools for life when he was a keeeiid.....want to know why? (sure). he hit the principal in the head. (ooooo, that'll do it). with a chair.

- I ain't givin up food. I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, nuthin like that. At least let me keep my food. I don't care if I have a heart attack I ain't goin on no diet.
Amen Sister!

- I embarassed my daughter today at the bus stop. (really, how?) She was runnin her mouth and I told her in front of the bus that she'd look awful funny with a busted lip from her momma.

You get the point. She talks, I laugh. All day. It is awesome. Sometimes the office ladies just ask her to tells stories and we all sit around and howl. Everyone needs someone like this to brighten up their day!

What about you? Got any funny stories as of late?

Other news of interest:
- Ashley and I leave for YL camp on Friday for a month - can't wait!
- New Mat Kearney CD is out today...go buy it, it is amazing.
- Wedding details are materializing...........but you'll have to find those out later! It will be awesome!
- Because I know you are all dying for more Taffy pictures, I'll put some up tonight or tomorrow. Keep checking back!

Have a great Tuesday. And go gitchyasome Jesus!