Monday, June 30, 2008

Nervous + Excited

While I am very nervous about putting myself through the rigors of training for a half marathon, I'm also very excited to get started because I know it's going to be great for my health. I know I'll feel much better and will have much more energy.

A few people have asked where we got our training plan. My wife found it online here.

Below you'll see my training plan, which is based on the one above, just modified a bit to fit our dates and to keep from doing our long runs on Sundays. That's just a personal preference, plus it makes most Saturdays rest days - which works out well to do things with the family.

(You probably won't be able to read the plan very well on this page, so click here and you can get the full-size image)

Tonight is the first step in my training. According to the plan, it's a Stretch & Strengthen day, so Katie and I are going to try yoga. It will be my first time doing yoga and I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

* After talking with Katie, we made some changes to the training plan. The new version is above and at the flickr link above.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Training Starts Monday

I'm not sure how she did it, but my wife got me to commit to training with her to run a half marathon at the end of September. We're going to run in the Fort-4-Fitness half marathon on September 27 in Fort Wayne.

Before you call 911 to report a man who's lost his mind, please understand that I really thought this through before committing. I've been talking for months about wanting to run regularly and get in better shape. I've just lacked the right motivation.

So now that I've made a commitment to my wife and we've picked out a race to run together, I'm actually getting quite excited to start the process.

My goal in all of this is simply to get in better shape. I'm not interested in competing for a place in the race - I just want to be able to finish it. I want to get myself to the point where it's not a big deal for me to run 3-7 miles on any given day. Obviously, a half marathon is longer than that, but running 13.1 miles will be the exception, not the rule, for me.

Katie and I found a 12-week training plan that we are going to start Monday. The finale of the plan is running the half marathon on Sept. 27. I plan to keep a journal on this blog, so any time you want to leave a comment to offer encouragement - please do! I'm going to need it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Makes You Feel Welcome?

This is one where I need your feedback. Some people at the Church Marketing Lab have been discussing the materials they use to introduce their churches to visitors. It got me thinking about the visitor brochure we use at NMC - which I've been wanting to improve for a while - and how welcome that makes people feel.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think any materials you can put in the hands of visitor are the sole determinant of whether they will feel welcome or not. But I do think those in-hand materials can add to or detract from a visitor's experience.

So, if you were a visitor at a church what types of materials (brochures, stickers, CDs, DVDs, maps, etc.) would make you feel welcome?

I need you on this one - since most of you aren't in church marketing your points of view are incredibly valuable to me. And, if you are in church marketing, your point of view is still valuable.

Please leave a comment with your suggestions on how to make visitors feel welcome. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Buzz Cuts - Part 6

My neighbor Neal Yoder told me once about fishing contests he sometimes has with his son Reid. They go out to the end of their pier and see who can catch more fish in a given amount of time - sometimes they each have a pole, sometimes they have to take turns using the same pole.

One of the first things I heard about Reid when I first moved to the lake was that he was probably the best fisherman on the lake. Then I heard it again, and again. So, I don't know this for sure, but I'm guessing Neal has been handed several defeats by his son.

Last night David and I finished up our mowing and had some time to kill before the girls got home from an excursion of their own so we decided to do some fishing. I don't usually let the kids have real hooks when we're all out fishing together because of the obvious safety risks. Since it was just David and me last night, I rigged his little pole up with a real hook, a sinker and a bobber. I baited the hook and did the casting of his line, but then he took over.

We were fishing off the pier where I knew plenty of small bluegill would be swimming and he would likely catch one. What I didn't know was that David's first catch was going to be this:

Yep, this 12-14 inch largemouth bass is the first fish David has ever caught by himself. He did ask for help reeling it in when the fish swam to the other side of the pier, but it was David's catch, fair and square.

In all, David caught seven fish in the time we were out there. I didn't really count mine, but I know I didn't catch that many.

We didn't set out to have a competition, but it reminded me of Neal and Reid. I know the day is coming when David will routinely beat me in competition, but I'd like to think I can hold him off for a while longer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Love To Wear Jeans!

Hey, there's a new website from the Joh Acuff, the creator of Stuff Christians Like called, "Can I Wear Jeans?" It's basically a new kind of church directory where church attenders post descriptions of their churches - honest descriptions. They also answer the most important question: Can I wear jeans?
Check it out!

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Vacation Moments

The more I look back on our time in California, the more I realize the significance of the moments we had out there.

So, here are 3 things that I thought I'd share with you and, hopefully, you'll find some of them interesting.

SHE Made It Great

I've bragged about my wife on this blog before, so don't act like you didn't know this was coming. Ever since we've been married (8 years) we have thoroughly enjoyed our vacations together. We've been fortunate enough to be able to visit some pretty spectacular places (Key West, FL; Winter Park, CO; New Smyrna, FL; San Diego, CA) and each one has been a thrill, but not because of the location. The memories we cherish from those trips are of our time together. We've been in all those places together - some were just Katie and me and some were all four of us - and that's what makes vacation special to me.

The reason I say she made it great is because my wife is the queen of having fun. No matter where we go, she will look for ways to get the most fun out of it. She has a number of techniques to accomplish her mission, but they all get the job done.

Beyond the fun she brings, there's just something about being with Katie that makes special moments even more special - more memorable. So, it was a great privilege to get to be with her during her first trip to California. Watching her discover new things is so much fun for me.

I'm thankful to have had my best friend with me in California.

A Seat With a View
This is sarcasm. As you can see, my view at Petco Park consisted of the corner of right field. Fortunately, there were empty seats around us and we could move over - but not far enough to be able to see left field. The bright side was that the kids had a huge sandpit to play in during the game. They just weren't all that excited about what was going on on the field.

The game was fun, despite the seats. We got to see Jake Peavey pitch. Katie and I missed the most exciting part of the game, however, as we volunteered to get everyone snacks and the Padres hit a pair of home runs while we were at the concession stand.

Oh well, at least the hot dogs were tasty - and they were 2-for-1 that day!

He's a Big Boy Now!
We reached a milestone in my son's life during vacation. When we got ready for bed on our first night in California, we realized we forgot to pack diapers for David. He is potty trained but had still been wearing a diaper at night because he doesn't always wake up when he has to go.

So, we made sure he hit the bathroom before bed and took our chances. After only 1 wet bed in 15 days, we don't need to buy diapers anymore! Now, if gas prices would come down!

In the picture above, David is wearing his new hat he got in California. The day he got it he actually wore it to bed and somehow it stayed on him the whole night.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back to Blogging

It has obviously been a while since my last post, and most of you know why. For those that don't know, it's because I went on vacation June 5-17 to Southern California.

Man, what a great vacation! We were gone for 12 days but it went by incredibly quickly and much of it is still a blur in my mind.

This was the third vacation we've taken as a family and the second time we've all flown together. It was my 6th or 7th time in California but the first for Katie, Hanah and David.

Some of the highlights from our time in San Diego, Ramona and Los Angeles:

* Obviously, seeing friends and family, including my paternal grandparents, my dad's half-brother and sister and their families, and my good friend Chuck Fry and his girlfriend, Crystal.
* Going to the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and a Padres game.
* Going to the U.S. Open with my dad and seeing Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play live.
* Spending Father's Day with my dad and his dad - I don't think that's ever happened before.
* Eating swordfish and calamari for the first time - and enjoying both!
* Taking my wife and kids to the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
* Seeing the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign.
* Eating dinner in clear view of the San Diego Harbor.

I'd love to give you a Top 10 or Top 5 list of vacation happenings, but so many of them were so enjoyable that it would be almost impossible to pick my favorites.

It would also be almost impossible for you to look through the 800+ pictures I took during our trip, so I've narrowed it down to 137 and I hope you enjoy them!

I'm glad to be back home and blogging again. Get ready for my second annual summer resolutions, coming soon!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

California Dreamin'

I'm having a little trouble focusing on the tasks at hand here at work because I keep thinking about Friday morning when I'll wake up in Southern California.

For anyone interested, here's the 10-day forecast for Ramona, California, where we'll be staying:

See why I'm struggling?

Two Birthday Parties - Two Slideshows

My daughter Hanah's 6th Birthday Party was this past Saturday. It was probably the biggest party we've ever had for one of our kids - lots of people and lots of fun.

Last night was Janelle's Surprise 30th Birthday Party. Again, lots of fun and lots of people.

It is so good to have great friends and family!

Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Stand Corrected

Well, it seems somebody hasn't been completely forthcoming about his status in the Mountain Dew Challenge. If you'll notice on the right side of his blog, his Mountain Dew counter stopped at 29.

That means I'm not the second one out of the competition, but the third. It also means there are only three players left: Jeff, Jon and Todd.

Good luck guys!

It's Over! ... and ... I'm Out!

I'm cleaning house on the old blog this morning, because two significant challenges are behind me. That's right, I said two.

As you know, Mustache May ended this past weekend and I couldn't be more pleased.

As you may not know, I also bowed out of the Mountain Dew Challenge this weekend and I am only moderately pleased.

My daughter's birthday party was too much for me. I actually held off most of the day and drank only water, but once we started the campfire I couldn't resist the Aldi brand Root Beer floating in the cooler any longer! Then, Sunday night I had the real thing - Mountain Dew - with some amazing pizza from Danny's Sports Bar at the Barbee Hotel in North Webster.

So, the Mountain Dew Challenge is down to four competitors: Jeff Simpson, Todd Owens, Jon Andrews and Dan Erickson. You'll have to check out their blogs if you want to find out who wins!

The good part about not being in the challenge anymore is that now I get to find out if I've developed any self control - which was my ultimate goal in the first place. We'll see how well I can resist temptation now that I don't have the motivation of beating Jeff (and the other guys).