A Difference

I was asked (by my wife), "Whose life do you want to make a difference in?"

Easy Answer: Yours, Honey
Selfish Answer: My own

But what's the right answer? I'm afraid to think about how many opportunities I miss to impact someone's life in a positive way.

There's no particular challenge to this... nothing I'm going to start immediately doing differently. I'm just going to think about it for a day or so.

Whose life do you want to make a difference in?

I Win, I Win, I Win!



Thanks Jill for choosing me to win your contest!

I wear the shirt with pride.


dsiclaimer: there was no alcohol consumed before or during the taking of this picture or creation of this post.

Surprise Daddy, I love you!

Wife has the flu, so I'm taking care of the kids solo. Since I have four, I've got a little bit of experience and it's not that big of a deal. But I wasn't ready for the gift my nearly 2 year old daughter gave me tonight.

I checked on Janey, then started cooking dinner. Had it going, went to get Elsie up from her nap. I decided not to change her wet diaper at that moment because the Red Beans and Rice needed attention. When dinner was finished cooking, I told the boys it was time to turn off the video games and put the books down... Dinner time!

I then thought, "I'll go ahead andd change her diaper real quick before dinner."

I said, "Elsie, get a diaper and lay down." Amazingly, she did.

The next thing anyone heard me say, besides "ewwwwwwwww" was, "Jonnie- get me something!" Jonathan said, "What?"

"I don't know... anything. kleenex... paper towel, anything!"

He grabbed the nearest box of kleenex and dropped it about 3 feet out of my reach then slid it over to me.

You see, what he saw was Elsie's Surprise Dirty Diaper she left for me. It was stealthily without smell. Or at least it was until I opened it up and noticed what was a saturated diaper with a ... I'll stop describing it. It was gross.


So that's how I ended up in the middle of the living room floor holding a two year-old's feet in the air while gagging and asking my 8 year old for help.

Which War?

This is a classic, "oops, I didn't mean to call you old" story. And its short, so you don't have to worry about your short attention span or the fact that you're old and bladder can't handle more than 5 minutes without running to the bathroom, because, well, we're older than we think.

During a meeting tonight someone asked me what I did prior to working for my current employer. I said I spent ten years and one day in the Army serving as an officer.

Guy Who Can't Do Math or Estimate Ages (Guy)- "Oh really, my brother's in right now. He's a Captain."

Me- "That's great. Does he love it?"

Guy- "were you.. uhh, did you go play in the sandbox?" (trying to use military slang he picked up from his brother)

Me- "Yes, I spent a year in Iraq."

Guy- "The first or the second?"

Me (thinking he is talking about some unofficial numbering system for the early rotations through Iraq OIF 1, OIF 2, OIF 3, etc but still going to ask a clarifying question- "first?"

Guy (kidding because he's actually a really nice guy)- "Well, if you woulda done your job right in 91 my brother wouldn't have to be there now!"

Me (Laughing)- "I spent ten years in, but just got out 2 years ago. I was in high school during the Gulf War."

Guy- "..."

Me- "..."

Guy- "... I guess I'm a few years older than you, huh?"


Ugggh- I'm old.

on an unrelated note, its been almost another full year since I left the Army- time for my Army Anniversary Run. This may turn into a tradition.

Alright- go to the bathroom- I know you need to.

Decisions

I make poor decisions all the time. Selfishness and laziness are two reasons I decide to do what I do. I decide to stay up and watch another TV show instead of going to bed; I surf Facebook instead of working in the garage; I drink a beer and watch the sunset instead of doing the dishes. Nothing huge, just not the smartest things to do.

---break---

A single event is a data point. Repeat that event? You get a line. Do it a third time and what do you get? You've established a trend. The 473rd time? A trend over a long period of time. I have a trend of following God. I always seem to turn back to him. That turning back is the part I want to stop. I want to make it so that I don't HAVE to turn back to God and live my life in such a way that I don't turn away in the first place.

---unbreak---

So, I was doing that most dangerous activity the other day- thinking. And I thought- "Hey, Seth. That Fireproof movie got a lot of good reviews. It doesn't apply to me though." It really doesn't. I have a great marriage. And then I thought, "Hey Seth. What about your God? How're things going with Him?" Uhhhh. Yeah. So I thought about the concept put forth in the movie (although I have not seen it) and thought about my on again/ off again relationship with God and thought 9yes, once again, "Hey Seth. Why don't you give God a 'Trust Dare'?"

What a strange thought. What if I, Below-Average-Christian, trusted God completely with every decision I made for 40 days? What a horrifyingly scary thought. I touched my toe in the water today and realized I make a LOT of decisions each day.

Go to lunch? Chek out the news online? Have that tough conversation at work or put it off for another day? Do the dishes now? Get up early and read my bible? play a little longer with the kids? Grab a coffee on the way to work?

I will start fully tomorrow. I will begin my day with prayer, asking God to help me to remember to consider Him in my decsions throughout the day; thanking him for taking his time to pay attention to one such as me; and asking him to guide my choices. I will finish up my night with a prayer as well. And the time between those two prayers? Also filled with prayers.

I'll keep a little log of how I do here. It'll be interesting to see if I can be as honest with you as I should be with myself.

You're not from around here, are you?

Oh, where am I going with THIS? I haven't been from "around here" in a little over 12 years. The funny thing about living in so many different states is that I have only rarely been asked that question.

Normally, the question is worded this way: "Where are you from originally?" That means something different. The asker is interested in the subjects roots. Its a question directed at a person with the point of finding out about them.

But when someone states "You're not from around here, are you?" They aren't interested in the least about your roots. They are stating that your roots are different from theirs. Not just your roots, but your values are based on different experiences than those "from around here".

Someone I work with (with whom I haven't always had the smoothest relationship) asked me this question once. We were in the midst of a philosophical discussion about maintenance. When he asked this question, his point was that I wouldn't and couldn't understand because I do not possess the shared experiences of those who are from here. That's too harsh. He wasn't saying that I couldn't understand. He was saying that I don't and it took some explaining and a historical discussion of why certain sawmills failed ("I thought EVERYONE knew that it closed in 1983 because of ...") and closed for me to understand his point.

What's the point? A lot goes into good communication. Besides words, voice inflection, and body language, you need to consider assumptions based on past events. Misunderstanding happen that easily.

Wordless Wednesday: Stuck

Creative Kid Food

It's fun to dress up regular food sometimes. Here is today's report on Chicken Nuggets.

Anyone with kids knows you end up eating some things you don't really love sometimes... just because it's easier than making something else. This particular day, I decided that, although I like chicken nuggets as much as the next red-blooded American male with questionable eating and exercise habits, I couldn't eat them dipped in ketchup again. Looking around I found the left over bacon bits and some cheddar cheese from this morning's breakfast burritos (yum yum! I used salsa, bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh cilantro, and cheddar cheese).

Here is the result:



Not too shabby.

The Chosen

My oldest son has begun to form the habit of going to momma and telling on me when he believes, in his logic, that I am being unfair. Last night he ran to her to tell on me for tickling him in bed when he was trying to fall asleep. She laughed a little and asked, “Jonnie? Are you really telling on Daddy?” To which he replied, “Yes.” I took him aside and said the following: “Jonnie, I want to tell you something that is really important and it will help you in the future. Momma loves you a lot. I mean.. a WHOLE lot. She’ll always love you no matter what happens. Part of the reason why she loves you so much is that she knows you are a gift to her (and me) from God. God gave you to her. She didn’t get to pick you out. You are a gift from God. But me, on the other hand… Momma had her choice of any guy she wanted to marry. And guess what? She CHOSE me. With you, she had no choice. With me? She chose me to be her partner in raising you and then to be together long after you are gone and raising a family of your own. So, when you think you’re going to tell on me and that Momma is going to do something about it, remember that… Momma chose me.”

He gave me a mean 8 year old look and went to bed.

The Next Great Thing



I received my next shipment of coffee from the best coffee company in the world. And they make some pretty great coffee as well. I'll save the story of why I got involved in a relationship with this particular company for a later date. Set aside some time to peruse their website and you will See what a fun time the employees have there. You can also join their Facebook site as well. One of the things you may not see is that they adopt a child from the "Christian Children's Fund" for each of their employees.

But today's Next Great Thing is about their relationship with their coffee growers.

I got a 2 lb. bag of Rio Azul Guatemala Coffee in this shipment.

Organic and Responsible. As supporters of the co-op, all medical and dental expenses are provided for the 187 members and their families.

And Dillano's has a really cool label for it too.




Risk taking

Every day that we eat something that wasn't made and grown here in my house we take a risk. Today Janey made a terrific birthday cake for me. It was in the shape of a Power T (for Tennessee). She let the boys scrape the bowl afterwards. David ate a little and decided that he didn't want anymore. That in itself should have been a HUGE red flag! What kid doesn't want to lick the bowl?!?!?

David, as some know, is allergic to peanuts. But there was no allergy warning on this box of cake mix, so there is NO way that there are peanuts in it.

Then his throat felt itchy. And it hurt. And his lips swelled up. And he got hives around his mouth. And his throat felt like something was stuck in it. And he got real tired pretty quickly. Welcome to the world of anaphylaxis.

David's body experienced what I hope is his first and last anaphylaxis reaction.

Wikipedia:
Symptoms of anaphylaxis are related to the action of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other anaphylatoxins, which act to release histamine and other mediator substances from mast cells (degranulation). In addition to other effects, histamine induces vasodilation of arterioles and constriction of bronchioles in the lungs, also known as bronchospasm (constriction of the airways).

Tissues in different parts of the body release histamine and other substances. This causes constriction of the airways, resulting in wheezing, difficulty breathing, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Histamine causes the blood vessels to dilate (which lowers blood pressure) and fluid to leak from the bloodstream into the tissues (which lowers the blood volume). These effects result in shock. Fluid can leak into the alveoli (air sacs) of the lungs, causing pulmonary edema.


He's fine now. We did not give him his epipen. We should have. Although he was not in danger because we were watching him so closely and would have administered the epipen if things had worsened, I wish we had given him the epipen. I won't hesitate next time.

As the doctor pointed out, you can't leave you child inside your house and eat only what you grow. Each time you feed him something made outside your house, you are taking a risk. What a wonderful challenge for parents- to decide how much a risk you are willing to take with your children's lives. I despise this.

My 35th Birthday and my Bucket List

To mark my very insignificant 35th birthday this year, I am making a bucket list. Here's the difference- It's things I've done in the last 35 years that I'm glad I did. There are a few things on here that I wish never happened, but I'm a better person because of them. You'll understand when you get to them.

1. Married my high school sweetheart
2. Been a 'daddy' to my kids
3. Fished with my son
4. Served in the Army
5. Fought in a war
6. Rappelled off very high places
7. Owned a pickup truck
8. Loved my dog
9. Moved to several states and towns I knew no one in
10. Lived in another country
11. Gave a eulogy at a funeral
12. Preached a sermon
13. Gave my coat to a homeless man
14. Comforted my child when he broke his arm
15. Lead someone in prayer to accept Christ
16. Been satisfied with my job
17. Quit a job to take a risk
18. Picked up a hitch hiker
19. Drove all night to see my wife
20. Sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
21. Cried at an Army friend's memorial service
22. Watched Tennessee beat Alabama in football
23. Watched Tennessee win a National Championship in football (#22 and #23 may not happen for the next 35 years!)
24. Flown in a single engine plane
25. Drove the road to Hana
26. Missed a plane and (nearly) ran out of money on my honeymoon
27. Been broke and needed help
28. Watched the sunrise from a mountain top
29. Watched eagles soar
30. Been lost in the mountains and walked out
31. Lived in a small town
32. Said "I love you" to someone before they died
33. Hit the shot to win the game
34. Won the tournament
35. Wiped the tears away from my children's eyes

I would have written about 35 things I really want to do before I die, but I can't think of a single one. I'm a happy guy.

The truth hurts

Our dinner conversation tonight was more than I could handle. Here are some of the things said about or to me tonight:

"Daddy has big boobs"
"No, they're wide boobs"
"You have a flat butt. Butt butt butt. hehehehehe"

There was more, but my feedback window was closed. I stopped hearing.

Happy Birthday.. what are you, like 40?

It's my birthday week and I am celebrating by letting people make me feel old. As I made my way through the self check out lane at the local grocery store, I realized I had a couple bottles of wine and the lady that worked there would have to walk over and check my ID (yeah right). I guess I should say, I assumed she would come over and check my ID. I figured she was about my age, maybe a few years older. She came over and said, "You've probably got a few years on me." Then she scanned her card, clicked the button that indicated I looked over 40, and said, "Have a nice day, sir."

I was pretty much speechless.

Maurice has left the building.

Oh no... What did I just do?

When I was in high school and college I would eat six or seven Krystal cheeseburgers and a handful of Krispy Kreme doughnuts at random times of the night/ morning. The timing of this completely depended upon when Eric and I abandoned our studying for the night and decided to find something more important to do. Never once did I think, "Hey, its pretty late. Maybe I shouldn't be eating all of this grease and sugar."

It is 10:40 PM and I just ate two fried eggs, two pieces of toast with mayo on them, a few handfuls of Lay's Wisconsin Cheddar Potato Chips, a glass of Orange Juice, a couple Chips A-Hoy chocolate chip cookies, and about 2 inches of raw cookie dough from the roll.

I regret every bite.

My stomach just said, "Welcome to the OTHER side of 30 old man."

Some people call me Maurice...

Seriously. They do. And it's not "cause I speak of the pompitous of love." It's because of my lack of correcting it. So here's what happened- When we lived in Tacoma, my phone number was owned by someone named Maurice. I went to Safeway to grocery shop and used my phone number for my safeway card. Well, Maurice apparently frequented Safeway as well. So after I paid, the cashier said, "Have a great day Maurice."
Pause.
Think.
Walk.
I looked at my receipt and apparently, I am Maurice Jessup. That was about 7 years ago. But now, I am "Mr. Jessup" and no longer Maurice. I like being Maurice better. Except that I'm not too sure I look like a Maurice. I can certainly be a Mr. Jessup. But I feel so old.

Selfishness- a quick conversation

I was frustrated tonight because there is a lot to do and my boys don't seem to want to stay in bed. They are demanding more attention than I am willing to give them.

I prayed, "Please help me love my children the way you love yours."

Immediate conviction.

"Stop being selfish", he said
.

I complained, "I need to relax for a few minutes to feel refreshed. I need some time for me."

He said, "I am your strength. Spend time with me instead of spending it alone. Stop being selfish."

Got it.

Wanna have some fun tonight?

Try to explain how the Holy Spirit works to a very curious and inquisitive five year old.

My Fave Five

I'm not too proud to enter a contest to win a $250 gift card to my favorite buying destination- Target.

10 Things I am Thankful For

It Can Always Get Worse

Watch out for the sleeping guy on the plane

Toom uch text will make you go blind

and one from my pervious blog at Popping Smoke.

Thoughts about the Army (old post)

Relieved

The bankrecovered the money and it was credited to my account around 11:00 AM today.

I've been touched by the outpouring of offers for support from our neighbors- both near and far. Thank you.

And for the Fraud Department at USAA who continues to search and is registering many hits on this blog- THANK YOU!

I am...

a statistic
a victim
temporarily insolvent
broke for 3 to 5 business days

So I ran by the ATM on Wednesday and took out some cash. I was a little (very) concerned when I looked at the balance and it was much, much lower than it should have been. "Hmmm... odd", I thought. So I called the automated line and heard the last five withdrawals. One of them, from three hours before, was for nearly the total of what should have been my combined savings and checking balance. I was eating a blue cheese greaseburger with plenty of onions on it at the time. The onions did backflips in my stomach as I heard that. I, of course, finished eating the burger and potato salad, drank my coffee (you can't fight identity theft on an empty stomach and with a caffeine deficiency) and drove back to work so I could check online.

At Work...
I pulled up my online account and saw what I already knew. Someone had transferred all but $8 from my savings account into my checking account. Then they transferred all but $200 from my checking account to their account. I called the phone number that you're supposed to call (1-877-aww-crap) and talked to a very kind person. He verified that, yes, there was a very large (for me) transfer from my bank and I should speak to my wife about it. I explained that I had spoken to my wife and she certainly did not do this. He said that I need to be sure I didn't transfer my money to the Southern Commerce Bank of Pompeii. So, I texted Jane Anne and asked her... "Hey, you didn't happen to send all of our money to Pompeii today did you? I think someone robbed us. I'm talking to the bank now." Well, Pompeii turned out to be Palm Bay.

So, here's what actually happened. On Saturday around noon someone accessed my online banking account and set up my account to authorize transfers to his account at his bank. Who is he?

Christopher D. Hunte
His account number is xxxxxxxxxxx
His Bank is the Southern Commerce Bank in Palm Bay, Florida
His IP address for the computer is: xxx.xx.xxx.xxx

How do I know? Because he (assuming he wasn't using a stolen identity, which he probably was) had to enter his name and account number in order to set up the transfer account. When I spoke to my bank's fraud department, they told me the three IP addresses that accessed my bank account that day, two of which are mine.

Flash forward to Wednesday. The person who wanted my money more than I did logged into my account online, transferred the balance of my savings to my checking and my checking to Florida. Kudos to him though. I believe he turned off all account notifications and he left $200 in the account. On the off chance that I needed to get gas or used my debit card that day, it would have been fine. The absolute only way I knew was because I decided to go to eat at a place so out in the middle of nowhere that they didn't take debit/ credit cards- cash or local checks only. I went across the street to the gas station to use their ATM machine (which I believe had a rotary dial phone hooked up to it in order to withdraw money from my bank) and get some cash. That's when I saw the balance. And that's when the fun began.

Today, my bank was able to stop the money from going to Mr. Hunte's bank account and the Southern Commerce Bank is wiring the money bank. It will take 3-5 business days. Until then, we have about $170 to buy groceries. We have had many many friends offer help. Thank you. We should be fine.

I am, however, keeping a file of everything I have done over the last 36 hours. I have changed passwords, placed fraud alerts on mine and my wife's SSNs with the credit reporting agencies, prepared to do it for the children since their SSNs are online with the bank, filed a police report, filed an Identity Theft claim with the Federal Trade Commission, and called many creditors to tell them that the checks that they are receiving are not going to be good for a few days.

Strangely, we have been at peace. Mostly. We have a great bank (USAA) and trust them a lot. I got a little down today when doing everything that I listed in the above paragraph though. It was amazing that I happen to catch it just three hours after he had taken it. If it had been today instead of yesterday, It would have been a very different story. The money would have been deposited in his account and he would have presumably withdrawn the money and been gone.

So, that's the whole story. I'll edit this with an update when the money gets back.

Best Long Songs

Since yesterday was the day the music died, I listened to "American Pie" by Don Mclean several (5) times. It made me think... What is MY favorite long song?

The two that came to mind quickly were American Pie and Hey Jude. And its a toss-up between them for me. What's yours?

I May be Back

Maybe.

I've not been inspired to write about anything for a while? Is it a guys thing? What is it about guys that we don't feel he need to journal a bunch of stuff every day? Is light hearted blogging turning into a predominately female thing?

We'll see.

But I've got a couple things I want to write about, so I may just start again. Facebook alone seems too shallow for some of it, so it will live here in the blogosphere.

Check back- it'll be here.