Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent (from Latin, meaning "coming") the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus.

I learned about Advent during the Christmas season I spent in Nashville. (For those of you who do not know, I moved to Nashville in 2001 and worked at a small Catholic college run by a convent of Dominican sisters.) I was suprised to find that they were very reserved during this season and spent most of their devotions focused on their need for a savior. It wasn't filled so much with the hindsight view of Christmas that I grew up with of "joy to the world, the Lord has come", but rather it was "we are perishing, Lord, come save us." And then when Christmas day came, they celebrated. Rejoiced in the Lord. Because Jesus did come. Because he did and does save us.
Several events and circumstances in my life lately have brought to mind verses of scripture like "all have sinned and fallen short", "what shall we do then?' "who will deliver us from this bondage", and responses to them...."unto us a child is born", "cast your burden on the Lord", "deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow me."
As all of this has been on my mind, a song that Andrew Peterson wrote for his Christmas musical has been accompanying my thoughts. It's better if you hear it, so here is the youtoooob link as it was performed by Derek Webb......
Our enemy, our captor, is no pharaoh on the Nile
Our toil is neither mud nor brick nor sand
Our ankles bear no calluses from chains, yet Lord, we're bound
Imprisoned here, we dwell in our own land
Deliver us, deliver us
Oh Yahweh, hear our cry
And gather us beneath your wings tonight

Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay
These shackles they were made with our own hands
Our toil is our atonement and our freedom yours to give
So Yahweh, break your silence if you can
Deliver us, deliver us
Oh Yahweh, hear our cry
And gather us beneath your wings tonight

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part II-- Christmas things my kids say funny

What do you want for Christmas, Georgia? A doughnut.

Jonesy's favorite Christmas song: Feleet Snotty Dot

Georgia wishes "you a merry Christmas from my bottom."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

of the girls

Jones with her new outfit and hairstyle of the day.

She also wanted me to take a picture of her "back hair".
Georgia eating her yogurt.
Annie after her breakfast.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Things My Kids Say Funny

Yesterday- anytime, up to a week ago, before right now
Yesterday a long long time ago- more than a week ago
Sweetatatoes- Sweet Potatoes

Bambade- Band-Aide
Pampake- Pancake
My grandkid- Her six-year-old boyfriend, Kyle

Cubers- covers
Chip-pa-play- Chic-fil-a
Mockomole- guacamole
Maggots- magnets

I don’t know what they mean, but this is what she says:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Tis the Season

Thanks have been given so last night I ventured up to the attic and we began preparations for Jesus' birthday celebration.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Infirmary on Oak Chase Trail

We've all had the crud this week. I don't know if that's a real illness, but that's what my mama always called it. I thought it had climaxed a couple of days ago and we were on the mend, but last night was no so bueno.
I've had a bad bout with sinus pressure so that my eyeballs and my teeth hurt, but I feel better than I have the last couple of days.
Georgia threw up in her bed three or four times last night. Annie threw up a couple of times just before Leslie and I went to bed. Leslie started tossing her stomache contents in the wee hours of the morning. Jones slept through it all and seems to be unaffected today, though she had some trouble a couple of days ago.
Pray for us that we might be restored to our much wanted and needed health and for some ready recollection too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Older I Get the Smarter I Was

Last year our Christmas gift to ourselves was a new video camera. I never did take the time to figure out how to do much with it, but I've decided to overcome my technical difficulties. On the right side of the page you will now see a video bar where you will be able to click and see our family in action.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Round Trip

Most people don't know much about the railroad except what they see when they have to wait on a train at a crossing so I thought I'd document a round trip and make a post out of it. I didn't feel very well and didn't get very good pictures, but here it is anyway........

The phone rang at 4:45 am for me to be on duty at 6:15.
The train arrived in Temple and we changed crews, then had to wait for the engines to be fueled. Each of them holds about 4500 gallons of diesel fuel. We had three engines for a total of 13,200 horsepower pulling 78 loaded tank cars (weighing in at 10200 tons) of diesel. Total train length was 4897 feet. A relatively short heavy train.
Once we were fueled up and got a track warrant to move west toward Sweetwater we departed Temple at 7:05
We stayed on the move until we got to Castor, a siding about 85 miles from Temple, where we had to stop to meet an east bound train. We were there for about 45 minutes and that's where most of these pictures were taken.

This was our lead unit.

A not so good picture of our train.

This is the train we met at Castor, BNSF 7708

We continued on to Brownwood and then on to Sweetwater without stopping. We arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon. A pretty good trip. 246 miles, 8 1/2 hours on duty. I had been feeling the signs of a cold coming on for a couple of days and it had really hit me by the time we got to Sweetwater. I took some medicine and went to bed, but couldn't sleep very well. Fortunately we were ordered on a deadhead home at 10:00 pm. (Just get in a van and ride back to Temple.) Back home and in bed in the wee hours of the morning.
It's now Saturday morning and I'll probably go to work around 1:00 this afternoon. I was awarded a bid to a Ft Worth job while I was gone on my last trip so that's where I'll be headed today. Still snotty and have a sore head and throat, but I feel better than I did yesterday.
A view through the windshield and the engineer's seat and controlstand.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Morning Life

Daddy taking pictures of the morning.

Mommy in the shower.

Annie investigating everything.

Georgia looking for mischief.

Jones and her look of the day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Jonesy got into some Mary Kay samples.......


As per request I'll begin a series of posts about RVS.....

Ours could be seen as a strange friendship......He doesn't like outside, he doesn't like Texas, doesn't hunt or fish. He wears a tie to work everyday. He loves video games.

In spite of all of this we have been close friends almost fifteen years. He is a man of God. He is loyal. He appreciates good music, and even attended a Willie concert with me once upon a time. I love his family. His dad officiated the wedding of me to my wife. His mom is one of the most brilliant minds I've ever known... His sister drips with niceness. His wife has been a friend to my wife. He was there when my first child was born. He makes me laugh, and if you ever need someone for your volleyball team he's pretty good. He'll tell you so himself.

I'll Try

Some of you have heard me comment on this before, but I heard this song again yesterday morning on the way to work and it was brought to my mind again.....
In 1995 Alan Jackson released a song called "I'll Try". I was in college and was pretty smart at the time and thought it was one of the dumbest songs I'd ever heard. My thinking was, "instead of saying you'll try, why don't you promise that you will."
Thirteen years later....."I'm married with three daughters of my own" and now I realize that he knew what he was talking about when he wrote that song. I know a lot of guys who promised to love, honor, and cherish, but quit trying and their marriages fell apart. I never read Rick Warren's "Purpose Drive Life", but I've browsed it and I think the general idea was that you have to live life on purpose, with intent, not just float around and expect things to work out. I think Mr. Jackson understood this concept. Marriage is not easy, it's not always romantic, it takes work, patience, and forgiveness......lots of trying.
If you are unfamiliar with the song and would like to hear it click here

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pictures of the girls I love

Leslie took the kids to the pumpkin patch......

For those of you that don't know, Jonesy likes to dress herself and we let her. She's just a bit eccentric.......

Another one with the pumpkins........

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

City on a hill....

Last month I got a new Whetstone Boys Ranch cap. Since I got it I may have worn it three times. It's brand new and so clean that I didn't want to mess it up by wearing it. But yesterday I was thinking and realizing that the reason I was given this piece of headgear was to make people aware of Whetstone, to do a little marketing if you will. So I've resolved to wear it everyday. I pray that people will ask me about it, and when they do that I will have the right words to say and represent Whetsone in the best way I can. After all, you don't light a lamp and put it under a bowl*, and a cap on a head cannot be hidden....

*Jesus the Christ, Matthew 5:15

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Last night we visited a local church and I attended the men's class. I don't know what they had been studying, but they are considering beginning a new series on manhood.
Last night we watched a 42 minute video that introduced a study of authentic manhood, and then the class sat around for twenty minutes and discussed whether or not they wanted to do this series, how they would split up small group and discussion time, how watching the video in the evening might cause them to fall asleep, etc......
On the one hand, I was glad that they recognize that the topic needs addressing, on the other I was frustrated that some of them seemed to have missed the point.
All during their discussion I wanted to shake and yell at them, "YOU are the ones the guy on the video was talking about!!!"
If you know me, you probably already know my feelings and passion on this issue. If you've stumbled upon this blog and don't know me, but would like to know how I feel about it, email me, or come go fishing with me for a day or two and we can talk then.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Commandment #5

There are things that I knew about parenthood before I was a parent, but my understanding of those things has deepened and been colored by emotion now that I am one.

Jones loves to swing, but has always needed someone to push her. Then a few weeks ago she finally figured out how to keep herself going by pumping her legs, but she still needed someone to get her started with a push. One day last week we went to the backyard and I tried to show her how to get herself started. That experiement ended with her crying and running into the house saying, "I don't want to learn! I just want you to push me!" I guess she reconsidered and, without any further instruction from me, she can now get started and keep going all by herself.

In much the same way that marriage has opened my eyes and understanding to the covenant relationship Jesus desires with His bride, the church, having children has done the same for my understanding of the Father's relationship with us as His children.

It makes me sad that Jonesy will never again need me to push her in the swing, that that part of her life is over. It makes me realize that this life is fleeting. That our years are but a breath.

I don't want to dwell on it too long though because soon she's going to need me to push her on her bicycle.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Making of Memories

We're now four days into vacation '08. We've had some good times with some good friends.

Spent the last few days in Lubbock, my home from 1994-2001. Went to church on Sunday and saw a bunch of people I hadn't seen in many, many moons. Most of my time there was spent with Nathan, my good friend and founding father of Whetstone Boys Ranch.

For the last three years I've had the opportunity to spend opening day of dove season with Nathan. I've not done an official survey, but I believe that in Texas, more people observe this holiday in the fasion that it was intended to be observed than any other. Lots of people give and get on Christmas, but how many actually take time during that day to ponder that the Creator of the world "made Himself of no reputation,....and was made in the likeness of men..."? How many honor our fallen soldier on Memorial Day? How easy is it to find a good watermelon in February? But walk outside just after sunrise on September 1st and you'll hear it. The sound of freedom in the air, the sound of Winchester and Remington turning a profit. May God continue to bless us so richly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

I'm a noticer. I was looking through some of our recent photos and noticed a lot of things about this one in particular.

What's wrong with this picture......

1. Daddy's tired and needs a vacation.
2. My girls are thumbsuckers when they are tired.
3. We look like zombies staring at a television set.
4. I'm getting balder. Or is it more bald?
5. In 14 years, I may go insane living with that many teenage females.
What's right with this picture.....
1. Daddy has a job to take a vacation from, a couch to sit on, and a home to put it in. And it so happens, that vacation will begin in 4 days.
2. I have three girls who love to sit with their daddy when he gets home from work.
3. I think we were watching the Olympics on TV, a great seed planter. Maybe they'll be inspired to become professional ping-pong players.
4. I don't care about hair loss. I haven't used a comb in years anyway.
5. In 14 years I'll just go fishing a lot.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Things I have in common with Willie

This picture is from the set of The Dukes of Hazzard movie that Willie did. I put it on here because I have a similar Dodge truck and sometimes I cross my arms and lean on it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Family Vacation

Just returned from a 2 day vacation with my wife, kids, parents, and sister. Amusement park included. Going in I knew there was potential for conflict, hurt feelings, multiple cases of hormonal females crying for no reason, etc...but there was none of that and had a great time. Wish my brother in-law could have been there too. My family never did that sort of thing growing up so it was fun to finally get around to it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Good Weekend

My job doesn't come with weekends or holidays off, but I've just finished one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.

Went fishing and camping with Aaron. Good times with a good friend. We caught enough fish for a fried fish taco party with the wives and childrens. Got to go to church this morning and sing at the nursing home tonight. Ate at Applebee's twice.

I'm going to bed and the railroad will probably wake me up soon and call me back to the grind, but that's okay. I'm recharged, refreshed, and restored.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Potential for the foreseeable future

1. Tonight I get to go camp out and fish with Aaron.
2. I have a week of vacation in 43 days.
3. I'll get to retire from the railroad in 28 years.
4. If Leslie hits it big in Vegas, #3 will be months rather than years, #2 will be permanent, and #1 will happen more often, with more of my friends.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Limited Success

Caught a few catfish Tuesday night, but not many. I think it's just going to be slow until around September when some of this heat wears off.
Caught more bass on my jugs than catfish this morning.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I believe that challenges keep men interested in life. They create vigor and increased testosterone levels, two things severely lacking in our fat and metrosexualized society. My latest challenge is the catfish.....

Last month bass fishing was so good that it was almost too easy. I didn't set any lake records or anything, but I was catching lots of fish and quality fish everytime I went. For a change of pace I've been catfishing lately, but without much success. I've tried several different places, different times of day, but the finny fiends are besting me. I have one more place to try, and I think that today is going to be the day that mister whiskers will be subdued. Chris and I are going to try in shallower water armed with jugs and rod/reels. Shad, perch, hotdogs, red meat, soured feed, and maybe dynomite. We will face this challenge and overcome. I'll report the outcome tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Life's Ups Downs and Lateral Movements

Still getting bumped around a lot at work, but working where and when I can. Vacation will be here in less than two months now. I'm ready for it. A day or two of dove hunting and then on to fabulous Las Vegas.

Fabulous isn't a word I use often, but it is a perfect word to describe Las Vegas. I've been there twice now and the reason I'm going back is because it makes me feel fabulous. I know it only does it because it wants you to give it more money, but for two or three days the charade is a pleasure.

Fishing success has slowed as the temperatures have risen.

My girls are growing. Annie is rolling over and blabbers all day. Georgia is half-crazy, and Jones is just like her mother. Seems like I've been at home a lot lately. That's good, and that's bad. When I'm working a lot, Leslie has to get out of bed with the girls, and since she's up, usually goes to the gym or ladies' Bible class, or story time at the library. Then it's home for naptime, and since they've been busy the kids are tired enough to take one. Then play time around the house, then supper time, then bath, books, and bed. Pretty good routine.

Lately though, there has been no routine. There is no story time or ladies' class because it is summer, and it is too hot for the kids to play outside much in the middle of the day. In addition, I've been home quite a bit which has reinforced another opinion of mine.....Men aren't wired for this. I've got to get out of the house and do something. In large doses, my kids drive me crazy. I really believe that women are wired with the capability to handle all of this better than men, especially with younger childeren and especially with girls.

If anyone comes across this post and is offended, thinks that I'm living in the dark ages, or that I mistreat or am unfair to my wife, feel free to comment, and I will explain in better detail.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Disgruntled Employee

I try not to be bitter about my job. Even with it's crazy lack of scheduling, working weekends and holidays, and unpredictability, I would rather do what I'm doing than wear a shirt and tie. But I'm bitter today.
Over the last several months the company has brought in a bunch of guys in from California paying them a $30,000 bonus to come work in Temple. Trouble is, most of them have better seniority than I do. Not by much, but it doesn't take much, so my choice of jobs has been greatly reduced. My conductor seniority is worse now than it was 3 years ago. Business has slowed down, so there isn't as much work to go around, and I can't hold an engineer's job right now.
Don't misunderstand, I'm not in danger of unemployment, it is just harder for me to stay on the same job for very long. I've been bumped more times in the last 2 weeks than I was all of last year. The result of all of this is this.....(and this is the part that makes me the most maddest ) I had made plans to go fishing with some guys from chuch tomorrow morning, but I got bumped, had to go to a different job, and now, instead of fishing, I'll be on a train.
Usually, even though I don't know very far in advance whether or not I'll be off, I can take a good guess provided there is no danger of me getting bumped. So, even though I may have to work Christmas day, we could probably plan something for Christmas eve. However, as things are now, I'm in constant danger of being bumped and, since I need to work, having to bump to a different job, things are more unpredictable than ever.
In conclusion, I'm just mad about interupted fishing plans. I'll get over it. Eventually.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I started this blogging thing several months ago and haven't done much with it. I think a total of 2 people have even looked at it. Oh well.

Annie came on out to see us February 28th. I've just been working and being a daddy. It's been a good spring. Fishing has been good when I've been able to go. Jones has been fishing with me some and helping me with a little garden in the backyard. Reminds me of the Bellamy Bros. song, "Old Hippie", ...he grows a little garden in the backyard by the fence, he's consuming what he's growing, now a days in self defense, he gets out there in the twighlight zone sometimes, when it just don't make no sense..... Georgia is still half crazy, but reminds me a lot of myself. Leslie gets by a day at a time changing diapers and driving a mini-van. We'll have been married five years next month. Some how she gets prettier and more fun as time goes by. I guess it's like Gus said, "The older the violin the sweeter the music."
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