Embarking on our first annual mountain adventure

Yesterday we hit the road and headed for Grand Lake. A common destination when I was a child and for that matter all through high school and even after. I have been fortunate enough to have the chance to come up here for my entire 31 years of life and it has been an amazing blessing and a great time to share time with the family and friends. Emily and I are fortunate and blessed to have jobs that only require the internet so we packed up the boys, the dog, an angry cat and three weeks of stuff and headed out the door. We hope to enjoy all that the area offers including hiking, swimming (kind of, the water is super cold), hot sulfur springs, horses, Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road, a variety of lakes and more.

 

We kicked things off yesterday with a great drive up followed by a quick trip into town to the candy shop and playground. Some really good friends just happen to be in the area and we were able to extend a place to sleep and had the chance to grab some quick fellowship which has been awesome. They will take off today and then we are on our own till the next visitors arrive.

 

Looking forward to making some awesome memories with the boys and Emily! Here are a few shots that I took yesterday!

 

How much did your Starbucks really cost you? Gas mileage and the cost of driving

Starbucks Nap Run is a SuccessMany times over the years I have looked at driving to different locations as a pennies on the dollar type of situation. However, recently my wife and I made a special errand and somehow started talking about the cost of driving places. This might be because we own an SUV that weighs as much as the Titanic and our wallet certainly has paid a similar fate as the Titanic due to craptastic gas mileage our vehicle gets (and yes, it’s our own fault!). My wife and I are both avid coffee drinkers and although we don’t consider Starbucks the best coffee out there by any means we do consider it a consistent alternative since we cannot make the trip to Crema or Happy coffee in Denver very often. This past year we moved out to what most city folks would consider to be the middle of nowhere. The closest shopping center is five miles from our house but once you are there you have access to pretty much anything you would want. It was decided the other day that we would take a quick Starbucks run for my wife’s birthday. So we mounted up and headed to the closest drive through Starbucks. There is actually a walk-in Starbucks at the five mile mark but we were interested in getting a little bit of a drive in as well as try and get our two and half year old son to take a nap. The car is apparently a magical place for him.

As we pulled up to the window at Starbucks to pay for our snooty caramel macchiato’s we wondered, how much did these coffees cost us with travel and all? Well you are about to find out and to be honest, it is crazy!

So here is the math for you. Starbucks is 8.2 miles from our house (shame on us for requiring a drive through. First world problem and snobbery anf coffee snobbery at it’s best).

I did some quick calculations and figured out that it basically cost us a whopping $0.28 cents a mile to drive our beast around town. We average about 14mpg. That is terrible, but dang this thing is sweet in the snow!

So at 8.2 miles that puts us at a 16.4 mile round trip and therefore put the cost of just driving to Starbucks $4.59 plus the cost of our coffees. That my friends is pure insanity. We have sense been having conversations about how we can drive less. Use the other car more and maybe even get a different car with better mileage. The next time you are standing at the store wondering if you should drive to the next place and you think, it may cost me more to drive there than if I bought it here, that statement could be entirely true. Especially if you drive a tank.

I did the math on a few other cars to see how much is would cost to drive them to Starbucks. Here are the results…

Saab 2004 9-3 Linear – $2.46 ($0.15 per mile – This is our other car and probably a better choice for those one off quick trips)
Toyota Prius – $1.47 ($0.09 per mile to drive)
Ford Fusion Hybrid – $1.31 ($0.08 per mile to drive)

So why don’t we get another car you ask? As mentioned we have thought about this and it is still on the table although we have other ideas as well. One of the reasons we bought this particular vehicle was third row seats for that day when Emily finds out she is pregnant and we need that extra room. Also as discussed that thing is a tank and I feel pretty bad for anything that hits us or we hit. The safety of it both on an average day and in the snow is something that at least helps me justify the cost. Maybe not the best excuse but certainly a factor. If you are wondering how you can determine the cost of driving per mile just follow this simple formula…

Cost of a tank of gas ÷ Total miles per tank = Cost per mile

Now pick a place or three that you drive to on a regular basis and get ready to be depressed. Have a great day!

Reading the Bible w/ a Fresh Perspective: A few new approaches

I have been blessed and fortunate to always have amazing men of God in my life both as peer to peer friends and as mentors, leaders or teachers. This trend continues and the last two years have brought the chance to become friends, brothers and business partners with a few of these men in particular. This past half year especially since starting my own business I have also had the pleasure of being challenged by my two business partners daily from spiritual perspective or angle. In light of where I am at right now with the my walk it has been one of the most amazing, overwhelming, exciting and frustrating times in my life. I feel more excited about pursuing the Lord and pressing deep into his Word as well as time with him than I have in  recent years. I consider this a huge blessing as so many days and times in my life I have found myself quite distracted with my drive and attention focused on other things. I am still not nearly perfect nor where I want to be in terms of time management and focus but I feel that shift taking place again which is an awesome and exciting. It is also comes as a huge challenge.

If you have read the blog… (I know your out there.. Mom, is that you? Ok, maybe this is just more of an outlet for me )… then you know that I have been on this whole kick of reading the Bible with a fresh perspective idea. I have been enjoying it immensely but it is also slow going. Well, I found a few more ways to make it even slower. This is ok and actually reminded me of something I learned once while providing worship for a summer camp in Nebraska with the Foolish Things (the band I used to play drums for). We had the opportunity to hear from a speaker named Jeremy Kingsley and one of the things he always told the kids was that you read the Bible to change, not to finish. That has stuck with me for a lot of years. Although I think a complete understanding and picture of the Bible is very important if you are only reading to gain that overview or knowledge but not to change your life or obey what it says then is there really any point in reading it? That being said, although things are slow going I think the importance behind reading the Word and truly trying to gain and understanding and grasp on what it is I believe is a huge deal and huge adventure. Knowing Christ and doing what he says is the end game and goal in it all.

Ok, so back to the things that are making this adventure a little bit slower but better for me. I have been introduced to a few new resources over the past few months and I would like to toss them out there and share them for you as they have brought some major challenge to my thinking as well as complicated and/or made my study of the word more exciting. Some quick background on how I came across some of the resources. One of my now best friends and business partners is what I am calling, and I may butcher this, a Torah believing Christian. My other partner is actually pretty much the same or really close behind in the same line of thinking and living. Although labels suck and I am not probably representing their journey perfectly it is the best and quickest way to touch on where they are coming from without me or them giving you a few hour tour of where God has taken them on that journey. One of the things that comes along with this is a that they celebrate and honor all the festivals, honor sabbath, etc. Very cool to see in action and very cool to start to take part in on many levels. I am learning a ton and being challenged daily as mentioned. Obviously I had and have a ton of questions and have been asking them. They have been very gracious to share in a very raw format where they are at and how they came to it. They have also sent some awesome resources along the way that I swear at some point in this post I will stop talking about and actually post. We have had email after email of great dialog and passing of information. in fact I think I have enough email to keep me busy for a few years in terms of studying things out. There is absolutely no pressure from them for me to agree with or be on the same page as them although the challenge to read and pray through the Bible is constant and something they and I get quite excited about.

So finally, for some of the resources mentioned.

One of the first things that I watched and found myself quite connected to and interested in was a video called A History of Hebrew: Its Langauge and Philosophy. You can watch the full video in short clips that have been put into a playlist on Youtube here… http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0E346CF634AD0E30 The whole playlist is about an hour and thirty minutes and quite interesting. I think I landed on that from a link that my partner Andrew had sent after we were talking about the original text and language. He had sent me to the the Ancient Hebrew Research Center which is one of the sites that Jeff Benner(the creatore of the video) runs and created. He has a bunch of great resources and items on there including a course that you can take on ancient Hebrew. I think the videos were part of assignment one. I am waiting on access to assignment two still.

I also ended up purchasing one of Jeff Benner’s books on Kindle for $5 titled The LIving Words – Volume 1. It has been quite good and interesting. I am still working out going back through and really confirming all that is being said and taught. Some pretty crazy stuff to be honest. I will probably post about it in the future at some point.

One of the other resources that I have been enjoying is the Skip Moen’s blog. He post daily on a Hebrew or Greek word and where it came from and what it means. Does quick and consumable thoughts and teaching on these words. I also signed up for his 30 day newsletter series called… Thirty Days of The Hebrew Worldview. It has been captivating thus far and I have enjoyed it a ton.

I am still at the beginning of my journey with a lot of this stuff and a bit weary of some of it but I think that is healthy. I think an area where I have struggled in the past is that it is easy to take someone else’s word for something without really studying it out for yourself. Really understand what is being said and then acting accordingly. That is one of my huge goals as I move forward in my studies. Bottom line is that I want to know the Lord better and then do what he says not matter how hard or easy. I don’t want to throw something out because it does not fit my life or because a certain person did or didn’t say it or endorse it. Time to really understand what I believe. Time to dig deep. It is not an easy thing to do. It is time consuming, exciting, overwhelming and frustrating all wrapped into one.

As so many people have said in the past. If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it. Don’t get me wrong… I still wish it was easier most of the time. :)

 

If you are interested in seeing where this set of blog posts all started then read the other posts that I have written on the idea of Approaching the Bible w/ a Fresh Perspective…

 

When God Brings Back Your Past

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Just read a a pretty good devotional from Oswald Chambers. I will probably be posting more of these over time and making a special section for them as I get the blog to a place where it is designed around y actual uses for it. Enjoy and hope it impacts you as well.

“Never be afraid when God brings back your past. Let your memory have its way with you. It is a minister of God bringing its rebuke and sorrow to you. God will turn what might have been into a wonderful lesson of growth for the future.”

Rad the full reading here.

Raising Awareness For Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

My first experience learning about human trafficking came a few years back when I was still traveling with the band. It was a brief exposure and it had to do more with the global problem and not so much the local one. Although embarrassed somewhat to say it my second experience with learning about human trafficking came when I watch the movie “Taken” starring Liam Neeson back in 2008. Was a pretty powerful display of what could go on with that trafficking. Again, I did not dig much deeper. However I was exposed to it yet again via the church I was attending and then again through a co worker. We actually took on a non-profit client that specializes in raising awareness. iEmpathize travels around the USA and world raising awareness. I knew it was happening close by but after talking with Brad from iEmpathize I learned that does and is happening right here in Denver. In fact we are a hub for human trafficking. I feel like people should learn more and I should push myself in this area as well both through prayer and action. Please take the time to read and check out both the following article as well as iEmpathize’s website and other material…

CBN.com – Groups Unite to Raise Human Trafficking Awareness

iEmpathize.org – iEmpathize – eradicating child exploitation… empowering solutions

Side note: I was lucky enough to be involved in their web build and some of the design on the site. Enjoy!

Some Thoughts About Being a Dad and Watching Sports

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So this is probably a bit of a random tangent but was dealing with it a bit today and thought I would just pass along some thoughts. Had the opportunity to bless my lady with some extra sleep this morning and so I was up with the boys at about our normal weekend time. These guys actually sleep pretty well so we are talking about 8:45am or so. Not bad for a 4 1/2 and 1 1/2 year old. We pretty much shot the breeze, made some pancakes and then just kicked it. However, mid morning came a long and we had yet to turn on the TV although I knew that one of my faves was about to start. Lame or not the Nascar race was about to kick off. I decided to turn it on and flipped between that and what I think was a replay of the highlights of the 12 hours of Sebring. My oldest was cool with watching some Netflix and I played with the youngest while we watched the cars go round and round. You have to understand these races are somewhere in the 3-4 hour range and can be a commitment. Most of the time I try and catch the last 50 laps and try not to get involved as they are a huge time suck and the same can be achieved by watching a recap or the last few laps. I was struggling with it this morning though a bit cause after my wife had woken up I my son repeatedly asked me to come play with him in the backyard while the youngest took a nap. I was kind of in and out throughout the race and ended up getting to watch quite a bit of it and the last 50 laps or so. The point of why I write was because I was surprised yet again how hard it can be sometimes to peel myself away from the things that I want to do to take the opportunity to pour into and change my sons life. Him knowing I love him is way more important than any race or game that I can watch but it still seems to be a battle. Today was a good reminder that I need to always pick my sons, my wife and my family over burning hours over something I 1) have no control over and 2) I can catch highlights of later on and get the same effect. Of course I would like to see how it all unfolded but the bottom line is I can follow it and probably do something far more important with my time at the same time. Not trying to impress my convictions on any one else, but just thought it was good food for thought and something that I need to keep working at and improving on. My family is so worth it.

The GM Diet! The What?

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OK, so my wife was cruising the internet the other day and stumbled across something called the GM Diet. This diet or detox plan was created by GM to help keep their employees stay in shape. I jokingly told her that I would totally give it a shot for at least a full seven day cycle if not for the rest of the month. The joke turned into a challenge and I just finished the first day. You will supposedly lose anywhere from 10-17 pounds by the end of the seven day cycle. Most of this is probably going to be water weight and probably muscle but at the same time there is some science behind the detox of it as well. Truth be told I am still reading about the whole thing. I will post about it a few different times if not every day to give you an idea of the progress and how I am feeling. Tonight and the later half of today was not too bad although I have found myself a little light headed. The first and second day are pretty straight forward. Today was an all fruit day excluding bananas while tomorrow is an all veggie day. I imagine tomorrow will be a little easier than today as I am not a huge fruit eater to start. Weighed myself this evening and I was 208 pounds with jeans, shoes, etc. I will try and check a boxer only version later tonight and try and keep track of the progress a bit. Should be interesting. Here is a quick and dirty explanation…

During the first seven days you must abstain from all alcohol
You must drink 10 glasses of water each day

Day One All fruits except bananas. Your first day will consist of all the fruits you want. It is strongly suggested that you consume lots of melons the first day. Especially watermelon and a loupe. If you limit your fruit consumption to melons, your chances of losing three lbs. on first day are very good.

Day Two All vegetables. You are encouraged to eat until you are stuffed with all the raw or cooked vegetables of your choice. There is no limit on the amount or type. For your complex carbohydrate, you will start day two with a large baked potato for breakfast. You may top the potato with one pat of butter.

Day Three A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice. Any amount, any quantity. No bananas yet. No potatoes today.

Day Four Bananas and milk. Today you will eat as many as eight bananas and drink three glasses of milk. This will be combined with the special soup which may be eaten in limited quantities.

Day Five Today is feast day. You will eat beef and tomatoes. Eat two 10 oz. portions of lean beef. Hamburger is OK. Combine this with six whole tomatoes. On day five you must increase your water intake by one quart. This is to cleanse your system of the uric acid you will be producing.

Day Six Beef and vegetables. Today you may eat an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables. Eat to your hearts content.

Day Seven Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume.

 

Hopefully I don’t kill myself. You can also learn more at www.gmdietworks.com

 

What Can I Get, Turned Into What Could I Give

Snowy Day in Lakewood, CO

Had an interesting little life lesson this morning. We were eating breakfast and just kind of hanging out when we heard a knock at the door. My son of course jumped up immediately to run to answer it. We opened it to a 13 year kid looking to make some money shoveling our drive and front walk.  It has been snowing since Thursday night. The heavy wet stuff. This morning is the first time we had seen a break and the sun was shining a little but making the snow a little bit heavier than usual. We typically pay around $10 for someone to shovel for us on a light snow. I asked the kid, who now I know as Vincent what his price was. He was asking for $10-$15. I nailed him down for

the lower of the two prices and told him to hit me up when he was through. After 40 minutes he was only a 1/5 of the way done with the job. I then had a shift in my thinking with a little push from my wonderful wife and instead thought why not go help him out and at the same time pay him more. I threw my boots and jacket on and headed out the front door.

 

We talked about football, the Super Bowl and who our picks are. Both of us are leaning toward the Giants. We have simply had enough of the Patriots, although I am not sure a 7th grader has the recollection of why. Vincent proceeded to help me with the side walks, brushing off my car and my wife’s friends car. He was very nice and gracious to my son that joined us about half way through. It was actually nice to have help. We completed the job and I gave him a little business advice on future clients. We shook hands and I wished him good luck with his football dreams of which we discussed extensively and I handed him $20 and told him to come back again sometime. He was clearly thankful and very polite. Hoping someone else gets the blessing of getting to give this morning as well. I think it is easy to always figure out how I can get a deal or make something cheap. I think this morning I received far more by giving away a little bit of money and time. Hopefully it made an impact on Vincent, maybe it didn’t, however I know it made an impact on me and my kids and my family. Pretty good morning so far.