Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Role Reversal

What if the US reversed roles with a developing country in Africa. What would that look like?
  • First, there would be no healthcare system. Forget about making an appointment with your doctor every time you get a sniffle or aches and pains.
  • Instead of driving to your job where you sit in an air conditioned office all day, you walk a couple of miles to work...and once you get there, you spend the next 10-12 hours doing vigorous manual labor.
  • At the end of the day, you get your pay. Two bucks.
  • Your children are in danger of dying of a disease that Africa managed to eradicate decades ago.
  • For as little as $10 each, you could protect your children from the disease. But you just don't have it. That's a whole week's pay!
  • When you get home, tired from a day of work, you've got to find a way to feed the entire family on the two dollars you made today.
  • There's no trip to the vending machine during the day for a snack. There is no vending machine. And you couldn't afford it anyway. In fact, you may have to choose not to eat tonight, so your children get enough.
  • There's no sink to turn on for clean water. One of your sick children has to walk a mile down the road to get water from a well.
  • You can't afford to send your children to school. The supplies alone are out of your budget. (In one country, I met a mother who sifted through old notebooks in a landfill, hoping to find enough blank pages to sew a notebook together so her daughter could go to school.)
  • Forget about the house you have today. Your entire home is smaller than your current master bedroom.
  • Your "closet" consists of two pair of shoes.
  • No TV, DVDs, video games.
  • If you have electricity, you likely stole it by illegally tapping into a line that runs through your neighborhood. But most likely, the only light you have at night is provided by candles or the trash fire you set in your yard.
  • You don't get to take a hot shower every morning. But once every few days, you can make your way to the watering hole to bathe in the filthy, cold stream.

So what's the difference? Longitude and latitude. But for the grace of God you were born here...and not there. And why should that determine whether a person has their basic needs taken care of? Where a person is born should not decide whether they get a fair chance at life. Do something. You Can.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Construction Curse

I hate road construction. Not just because of the delays it causes, but mostly because I believe it's a total crock.

Today, crews are working on "resurfacing" a street near my house. The same street they "resurfaced two and half years ago."

Please. It's 2007. I find it absolutely impossible to believe that we don't have anything better to make our roads out of than something that has to be replaced every 2-3 years. Before 2010, crews will be back, on that same road, putting a new surface down.

Is there no better, longer-term solution?

Do you know how many industries would love to have that kind of return? To know that you've got to buy their product over and over again every 2-3 the tune of millions of dollars per buy?
It's crazy. Talk about job security. As long as they're making roads out of asphalt, construction companies will never run out of work.

That's a crock.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


You ever wonder why stereotypes exist? I mean, there's a reason. Last night, I was watching the Rockies get clobbered by the Red Sox. (Ugh.) But I couldn't help but notice how many of the players "looked" like baseball players. Seriously, if you played a drinking game for every camera shot of a guy spitting, you'd be wasted by the end of the first inning. Or try counting the goatees in a baseball game. Or the number of times you see a guy "adjusting" himself. Ha! I found myself thinking: "If I were a baseball player, I wouldn't chew anything during the game, I wouldn't spit, I certainly wouldn't grab myself on national television...just to be different." But then again...if I didn't do all those things, would I still be a baseball player?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Acclimation Affirmation

I grew up in south Texas. Heat. Humidity. I got the heck out of there as soon as I could and moved to Colorado. Cool. Dry. I love it. I don't know why I was born in Texas because I was obviously meant to be here. This morning, it was 37 degrees as I drove to work. I cracked open the window for some fresh air. No heater on. It was exhilirating. I've been known to put the top down in the upper 40's. I just love the cold. Not bitter cold...just cool. My wife on the other hand, is from Kansas. Not nearly as hot and humid as Texas. Not nearly as cool and dry as Colorado. We've lived in Colorado Springs for 13 years now. You'd think she would have adjusted to this climate. Au contraire mon ami! This morning, as it was 37 degrees outside, she had the fireplace blasting AND the thermostat set at 74. Ugh. I was melting! How is it that a south Texas boy can't stand the heat and a Kansas girl can't stand the cold? After 13 years in Colorado you'd think we'd both be well adjusted to our climate.

Monday, October 22, 2007

But It's True

Check out this video my team at Compassion International produced.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Waiting For The Roller Coaster

Ever feel like the rest of the world is on one happy roller coaster ride and you're the one standing in line waiting your turn? I'm really struggling with that right now. It seems like I'm surrounded by people whose lives just seem to be going their way. Just this past week, I've had friends who got engaged, reached some life-long goals, had huge prayers answered, got a massive raise or promotion at name it. Meanwhile, my finances are is music career is on life support. I feel like there's a piece of me missing and I can't put my finger on it. I can't seem to find joy. I miss joy. And it's not sour grapes. I'm actually very excited that my friends are enjoying this ride. I just wish I was there with arms raised in the air, screaming as we plunge down the tracks at 60mph. I know this is just a phase. I go through this from time to time. But usually there's someone to commiserate with. This time it's different. I'm alone in this one. And anyone who's going through the high life (i.e. riding the roller coaster) certainly doesn't want to be dragged down by someone on a collision course with depression. So, I'm standing in line. Waiting for my turn on the roller coaster. Listening to the shouts of joy...watching the wide-eyed smiles of friends as they zoom by. Man, I can't wait to get on that ride.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Don't Fly With Me

I don't know why it is, but I'm apparently cursed when it comes to flying. If you find yourself on a plane with me, your best bet is to find another flight. Trust me. Something will go wrong. One of my worst experiences came this past week...on Continental Airlines. I was supposed to leave from San Antonio at 3pm...for a quick 36-minute flight over to Houston...then onto Colorado Springs. At 3pm, we got on the'd away from the gate. That's when the pilot told us: "Houston's airport is shut down due to weather. We're going to sit here for a bit." So, we sat for an hour and a half before they taxi'd back to the gate....and we all got off the plane. And waited...for two hours. Then we got back onto another plane. We taxi'd out...and stopped again. We sat on the plane for another hour and a half. When the pilot made this announcement: "We're going to have to switch you over to another plane. This one can't make it to Houston at this point." Not sure what that means but that's what he said. So, we got off that plane and switched over to another one. We taxi'd out away from the gate...and then, another announcement: "The weather has gotten bad in Houston again, so we're going to have to sit here for awhile. We'll give you an update in 30 minutes or so." After 30 minutes, the pilot came back on. "Well, we got an update and it's not good. Looks like we're going to have to sit here for another hour and a half before we can take off. So just sit back, relax...feel free to use your cell phones." At this point I had been on three different planes for a total of three and half hours and had not gone anywhere. Adding to the frustration is the fact that planes were taking off FROM Houston almost the entire time. If they can takeoff, can't they land? I tell you, I'm cursed. Consider my flight history:
  • 13 flights on United Airlines: 10 delays of at least one hour each, 3 cancellations, 2 lost bags.
  • 4 flights on Continental Airlines: 3 delays, 1 cancellation, 1 lost bag.
  • 2 flights on Delta Airlines: 2 multi-hour delays.
  • 2 flights on Soutwest Airlines: 1 hour-long delay.
  • 1 flight on Cathay Pacific: 1 stolen videocamera from my luggage
Almost every flight on these airlines has had some problem. United is by far the worst in my books. My best luck seems to come on American Airlines. I've flown them 14 times and only had two delays. But ya gotta wonder. So...take my advice: don't fly with me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Mirror Mirror

Mirror mirror on the wall...why are you showing me what I'll look like 20 years from now? Oh. Dang.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Lesson in Grace

This past weekend, I was taught a lesson in my dog...and I failed. Lucy is a mutt. She was part of an abandoned litter. I got her for Jen eight years ago, for Christmas. We've been through a lot with this dog: First year: She ate our laundry room. Yes, I mean she actually ate the room. She ate holes in the drywall and door trim. Then, we repaired those things and repainted. She loved the smell of the paint, so she licked it all off. Year two: She cut her toe on the edging in the lawn. Saturday night. Doggie Emergency room. Stitches. $250. Year three: She ate a pair of Jen's eyeglasses. Frames...lenses...everything. Gone. Sunday evening. Emergency room. X-rays. $200. Also, two remote controls. (We have all "universal" remotes now, because no original remotes have survived.) Year four: She snuck downstairs and got into the Halloween candy. She ate the entire bowl...wrappers...boxes, popsicle sticks...everything. Visit to the doctor's office. $120. Year five: A pair of rubber gloves, a couple of kitchen sponges. Year six: An entire loaf of bread...more sponges...a kitchen spatula...a dishcloth...a frisbee... Year seven: We start noticing that we're going through toilet paper like crazy. Yep, she slurps it up off the spaghetti. Present day: We're getting ready to sell the we're trying to clean everything, paint what needs to be painted, etc. One of the things we're trying to avoid is having to replace the carpet. We're hoping we can just get by with a good cleaning. So, we left Lucy in the backyard most of the day. While we were working, Lucy snuck into Jen's garden and ate all of her cornstalks. Not just the corn...the leaves...the stalks...everything. Of course, we don't notice at first...until she comes back into the house and hurls in three different rooms...six spots in all. Dark, disgusting, smelly stains. That was it for me. My patience had run out. If not for my sweet wife, I would have loaded the dog into the car and taken her to the Humane Society right away. I love this dog...she has brought me tremendous joy over the years...but I've just reached my limit on forgiveness. I'm tired of fixing or replacing everything she destroys. I'm tired of her doing the same thing over and over and over without learning to be better. I'm tired. And then I'm reminded: what if God felt the same about me? What if He said, "That's it Tim. I've had it. You're obviously never going to get it right. Time to get rid of you." Ouch. Grace. It IS amazing...and incomprehensible. And it's a lesson I have to learn...from my dog.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Last night, a friend of mine passed away. She wasn't a close friend, but someone I've known for years. Actually, we used to sing on the same worship team at church several years ago. My, what a voice! Evie kinda kept to herself, which initially led me to believe that she was a bit of a snob. I didn't care for her much when I first met her...though I certainly respected and appreciated her talents. Sad how we can so easily judge a person based on so little information. Then, a little over three years ago, I started working for Compassion International. To my surprise, I saw Evie working here too. We shared the same passion for ministering to children in poverty...and I never even knew it! It wasn't too long ago that I heard Evie was diagnosed with cancer. Co-workers pitched in money to help with meals, medical bills, etc. We even sent the family to a Disney on Ice show. She has four kids. At our recent divisional picnic, Evie was there. I sat just about five feet from her. We looked at each other and smiled...but I couldn't bring myself to say anything. I don't think we needed any words that day. Though, in retrospect, I wish I would have said something. I wish I would have completely ignored the obvious and just said "hello." I've never been good at dealing with death or dying. Which is odd, because I've seen a lot of it in my life. Last night, Evie said goodbye to this world...and hello to her Maker. I pray that God will ease the pain her family must be going through today. I pray for her husband and children. In many ways, I envy her. At this very moment, she knows what it's like to bow in the presence of her Heavenly Father. She can hear the angels singing...worshipping God. And I'm sure she's singing along. My...what a voice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Little Family Pride...

You know, usually when someone tells you they have a family member that's "really talented", you might think, "Yeah, yeah...whatever." Well, at the risk of falling into that category, I do want to tell you about my 15-year old neice, Shayne. I didn't even know was interested in music, but last week, she recorded her first song with a friend...and in my opinion, it's pretty good. She shows really good vocal technique and the hook is pretty strong. Good writing. I love good writing. I know it may sound silly, but I'd love it if you would at least listen to her song on myspace and leave her a comment. Trust me, it would go a long way for her. Check it out! Thank you so much!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Money Pit

My wife and I have decided to sell the house. So, as any potential home-sellers do, we brought in a realtor to look at our house and give us an assessment of what needs to be done. New carpet, paint the exterior, stain the deck, repair a section of the driveway and clean...clean...clean. Mostly stuff that we already knew. So we started. Over the past month, we've managed to paint the exterior of the house, move out a LOT of stuff. We've cleaned til our hands are raw...packed up boxes upon boxes of accessories and items that we can afford to do without for awhile...and even painted some interior walls. We're making a lot of progress. But wouldn't you know it, all of the sudden, things have started happening. The microwave just blew on us. $160 repair. The oven broiler went out too. $200. We were moving stuff out of the attic and I slipped off the rafter and onto the drywall below. Of course, that cracked the ceiling in the main now that needs to be replaced. And once it's repaired the entire ceiling will have to be repainted. Well, the ceiling pours into the great room, so it's not like I can just paint that section, I have to paint it get it to match. Ugh. Oh, and we just got an estimate on the driveway repair...$1600. I'm reminded of the movie, Money Pit. And I'm starting to get scared!