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Showing posts from 2007

Christmas Afterglow/2007 In Review

Work has kept me pretty busy lately. It has been great, though.

We had a nice Christmas. Tracy got an iPod Nano. I got the Die Hard collection. I enjoyed the time with family and ate too much as always.

For the most part, 2007 was great. I blew my goal of losing 30 pounds sometime in April. Perhaps I'll give it another whirl in 2008. The new goal will have to be 50 pounds, though. One too many trips to the table this year, I'm afraid.

In 2007:
- My vehicle was paid off.
- I was laid off from a job.
- I got a better job.
- I turned 40.
- I went to Seattle.
- I wrestled my first match in 2.5 years. Lost. Chairshot to the head.
- I learned to speak Unix (I have a nice cheat sheet).
- I lost 17 pounds, and then gained 35.
- I took a generational photo with my Dad's brother and my son.
- My wife inherited some family property.
- I rediscovered The X-Files.
- I saw some fine jazz and blues.
- Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth.
- George and Steve (and Mot) joined the blogosphere.
- Packers …

Happy Holidays From Me To You

Random Ruminations

1) Peter Frampton recorded some really good songs back when.

2) "Peace on earth and goodwill to all men" does not apply at Wal-Mart or the mall.

3) I wonder what has become of Paul Whitehead.

4) For the last two nights, Chris Catoe has been in my dreams. In the first dream, he was gay.

5) I don't believe I have ever seen a "Chestnut."

6) I was always taught to walk on the right side of the hallway. Lately, I seem to be bumping into all sorts of people who choose to walk on the left side. They do not move, and it really annoys me.

7) I think my cat is the only person who gets me anymore.

Top Five (actually Six) Christmas CDs

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The more December-ish weather here gives rise to a Christmas-ish post (ish?):

1) A Christmas Song Russ Taff. One of the greatest male vocalists I've ever heard.
2) Christmastime Michael W. Smith. Smitty has such a way with yuletide tunes.
3) When My Heart Finds Christmas Harry Connick, Jr. He can't sing or act, but I enjoy this offering.
4) Christmas Songs Diana Krall. Yowsa!
5) A Christmas Gift of Love Barry Manilow. Does this guy ever fail?
6) Home For Christmas Daryl Hall & John Oates. Christmas with soul. The boys have still got it!

All Right, Who Stole December?

Welcome to my annual gripe about the weather. Go ahead, visit my December archives from previous years. My annual SC winter gripe has become an institution in the blogosphere.

Last week I saw snow in Seattle. I was cold, and I liked it. Today's high in Leesville, SC was 81 degrees. I have had to turn the AC back on. Last night we put up our tree, and I was in shorts and a T-shirt....sweating.

It was 19 degrees today at Lambeau Field. It was 81 degrees here. I hate this. I have lived in SC almost my entire life, and it seldom turns cold before Christmas. Then once Christmas is over, the weather typically cools to a more seasonal fare, but it's too late for me.

December? Phooey! This is July.

Badgers Going Down Under...Sort Of

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Badgers are taking on the Vols New Year's Day. Both teams are in for a tough game. I can't think of a better start to 2008 than a Wisconsin victory in the Outback Bowl.

My Christmas List (Revised)

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I was sitting in church with James and Caryn this past Sunday, and during a reading of Psalm 27, I heard a phrase that I had never stopped to ponder. Oh, I have read it many times, to be sure, but it was never so clear. Look at verse 4:

"One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I shall seek. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple." (NASB)

Notice how it begins: "ONE thing I ask." Only one thing. My list always contains several things. Practical things. Financial things. Family things. Job things. Menial things.

Here is someone who is asking for something with eternal value. His focus is above the stuff of earth, and fixed upon what lies above. I was challenged by this thought: When is the last time my prayer was simply to be in the presence of God? What kind of spiritual life does it take to pray for this ONE THING and nothing else, although I have many needs?

It really hit home …

Life Begins at 40

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...or so I am told. My Grandma Redders used to say that "You're as old as you feel." That being the case, I need to begin searching for a decent retirement village.
Truthfully, I don't feel any older. Maybe I feel a little wiser. Definitely heavier.
At least I still have most of my hair.

Sleepless in Seattle

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There was little time for sleeping over the last weekend. I was blessed to be able to hang out with James and his wonderful family. We experienced some live jazz with Chick Corea on Friday, live blues on Saturday, SNOW, Starbucks & pub hopping, church and a Christmas bazaar on Sunday, dinner at Famous Dave's Ribs (I never want to see ribs again!) Sunday night, and we did much catching up, which included the exchange of some talking Star Trek cards and a birthday toast. The trip concluded with a delayed flight due to bad weather, and one of the bumpiest plane rides I have ever been on ("Fists with your toes," eh Rick?).
More pictures of better quality will follow.

A Birthday Milestone

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Today marks a milestone in my best pal's life. James turns 40 today. As of this date, James and I have been friends for 32 years and change. One of the things which binds us is the fact that our birthdays are exactly 7 days apart. Over the last 3 decades, we have hosted some darn fine birthday bashes. I am grateful that I am able to share this particular milestone with him in Seattle this weekend. Bash 4-0, he we come! Here are some photos:



This is us at age 20. Notice the cool 80s hairstyles and shades. To document the fun we have had through the years would take volumes, but it would be well worth the read.







Here we are last year at our 20th high school reunion. More weight, less hair, and slightly aged like a fine wine. Happy birthday, my friend. I will see you when I step off the plane at SeaTac! Yippie Kai Yay!

Spreading Some Cinematic Yuletide Cheer

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For those rare quiet holiday moments, allow me to offer my top five favorite Christmas flicks in no particular order:



A Charlie Brown Christmas. No holiday is complete without viewing this classic with your family. I remember that when I was young, there was only one chance per year to watch CB. Now I own the DVD and can watch as many times as I wish!



Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is one of my all time favorite holiday flicks. One of the most stellar performances ever by James Stewart tops this must see Christmas DVD.






Okay, so I dig Die Hard as a pertinent Christmas Classic. Sue me.








The Family Stone is one of the best holiday films I have seen in years. A well-rounded cast headed by Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker along with Luke Wilson, Craig T. Nelson, and Dermot Mulroney bring Christmas in the 21st century alive. No special effects, no guns, and no explosions (see above). Just well portrayed drama that will tug your heart strings and make you hug your Mom.
I first sa…

Couldn't Resist

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What would an appropriate caption be for this comical photo?Mad props to Rick for the photo; thanks to Verizon for the effect.

Reconnected and It Feels So Good

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One of the thorns in my flesh lately has been my cell phone. It had a bad battery and could only hold a charge for one phone call. One of the benefits of my recent employer was the use of a company cell phone in place of my crappy personal phone. Sadly I had to turn the work phone in this morning as I was being laid off. On the way home I stopped in the local Verizon store and used my free upgrade. I was able to pick up this LG-VX9900 for nothing. I must confess that getting a better phone did help alleviate the pain of the layoff. Now I can use my cell phone again, and I won't need to take a camera to Seattle!

Alive and Rickwell

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Been offline for a few days due to technical issues. In my impending old age, I totally forgot to meet the guys for breakfast last Saturday. My apologies to Rickwell, George, and Chuck. I'm sure you guys had a blast, even without little ol' me.
Thanks also to Rickwell for his friendship and concern for yours truly. These last few days have been rough. As of this morning, several of my co-workers and I are on the unemployed list. We suspected that it was coming, but it made the blow no less painful. I have many "hooks" in the job pond, and I am hoping for a nibble in the short term.
Meanwhile, my wife, children, and pal James have given me a trip to Seattle for my birthday. I am looking forward to spending time with the K's and catching up on some live jazz. I fly out of CLT on Thursday, and I will be home in time to face the realities of turning 40 and having no job. On the upside, I have a very big interview on my birthday. I intend to use the birthday to my adva…

Movie Review

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Realize that I am always a bit behind on my movie viewing. I usually have to wait until a film is released on HBO before I can actually see it. I finally caught The Departed. It is a story of two men, on opposite sides of the law, who are working undercover with the Massachusetts State Police trying to nail the Irish Mafia. Because the film was direct by Martin Scorsese, I had high hopes. Sadly, by the end of the film, many of my hopes were dashed.

Yes, I realize that the film won 4 Oscars. I have come to expect more from Matt Damon, however, and I feel he was the weakest link of this film. Thankfully he did not employ the overkilled Boston accent he used in Good Will Hunting. I was also disappointed in Leonardo DiCaprio's performance. I have a great deal of respect for his work as well, but felt let down this time.

Also in the cast were Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin. There were some high spots with each of these, but ultimately, for me, the only redeeming quality o…

Helping A Good Friend

A buddy of mine asked me for help in promoting some sites. David is a veteran of the Investments industry and a Christian brother. He advises his clients according to biblical principles and is not out to make a quick buck. If you have some IRA rollovers or money to invest, let me know and I will hook you up with David. Meanwhile, visit these sites:

www.smartmoney777.blogspot.com
www.behindthefed.blogspot.com
www.smartmoneyquotes.blogspot.com

Matrixx Reloaded

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Todd Matrixx returned to the ring after a 2.5 year absence. What better place to make a comeback than the Chapel of Redemption? T-Money gave me a shot at the Cross Division Championship, and cheated to retain the title by bashing me in the head with a chair. Tonight was a boyhood dream come true. It was good of Rick to come and take some photos. It was good to finally get back in the ring and have zero broken bones. I may be able to hang up the wrestling thing now and feel good about it. Or I could always invoke my rematch clause...

The Only Constant In The Universe

I have been rather bored with my blog, and felt it needed some freshening up. I hope you like the new look, the new name, and the new feel.

Take her for a spin.

It's About Time!

Steve R., another of my high school chums, has finally planted a seed in the Garden of Blogging. Welcome, my friend.

You will find Steve to be a man of deep thinking, as well as one funny sonofagun. He is a USAF pilot and a budding chef. Not to mention a proud husband and father. But don't let me steal his thunder...go check him out!

My fondest memory of Steve (there are many) was a trip to Carowinds with the USC Baptist Student Union. What's funny is that neither of us were USC students or BSU members. We were invited by Rick and his main squeeze Vicki.

Steve and I, along with some BSU college babes, were standing on the bridge overlooking the log ride. Picture two guys, trying to be cool, putting the moves on two babes, on the bridge, overlooking the log ride. What we didn't realize was that each time the log ride concluded just below us, it produced a huge splash which saturated the bridge.

Without warning, Steve and I realized that 52 tons of water were suddenly being hurl…

Land Ho!

View Larger Map

My beautiful wife, whom I believe many of you know, has inherited about 7 acres of land not very far from our current dwelling. We spent Saturday looking for homes to put on this land. Her dad has cleared our spot, and with some TLC and a few yardwork miracles, it should be a wonderful place to grow old.

We spent Saturday with the kids. Tracy and I were exhausted from work, but we had a great day. They all loved this one home we looked at, and we did the paperwork and are waiting to hear if we have been approved. It was a gorgeous home.

Next we hit the local Taco Bell for some pseudo-Mexican cuisine, got Dad and Cody a haircut, and headed to the land to do some prep work. Our three girls were covered from head to toe in dirt. They actually rubbed dirt on their faces as they took turns burying one another in the earth! Quite hilarious! The boys climbed trees and swung on vines. They are so excited about living out there. It is really breathtaking.

I stood in one place and d…

Friday Fraught with Fun and Frivolity

After an 8 month absence, it warms my heart to welcome my honey back to blogging. She has issued a challenge, and since I am all out of political, social, economic, spiritual, and movie industry opinions, I will accept her challenge and encourage all who read to follow suit.

What is your favorite color?
Green and Gold!

Baseball or Football?
Yes!

What team?
Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Seattle Mariners

Favorite candy including chocolates?
Tootsie Rolls/Pops

Favorite restaurant?
TGIFridays, Wings and Ale, Dukes in Seattle

Favorite food?
Steak, Fish, and Pasta

Favorite car?
Dodge Viper---though I doubt I would fit in one

Most favorite place you've been?
Carolina Beach, NC for my cousins wedding

What do you do for enjoyment when you're not working?
I like to watch movies and sporting events; if I ever had a few extra bucks I would like to bowl or shoot pool

Any hobbies?
Paying down debt

Do you have a favorite author and book?
Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, …

Disclaimer

Yesterday's blog post was fraught with controversy. I generated 7 comments, which is more than I have ever had in one day. Even my cousin Ben from Milwaukee chimed in (Go Packers!).

I confess that some of what I posted was placed there strategically. I just wanted to see how many folks actually read this thing. I would like to thank everyone who commented, and I hope that you do not feel duped.

I would now like to clear the air on a couple of points:

I am not supporting Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. I would not support her for President of the Glee Club. I am as of yet uncertain about who I like for President. I kind of like Fred Thompson, but only because he was so cool in Die Hard 2. Hardly a reason to support a man as leader of the free world. Although President Reagan was very cool in Knute Rockne: All Americanand he restored hope and patriotism to our generation as President. Food for thought...?
I do like Sean Penn's work very much, but I was exaggerat…

Oh, Why Not?

This morning I did my usual perusing of my blogger buds to see what is going on with all of my pals. Remember the old days when we would just pick up the phone and call, pass notes at school, or meet at the Kettle? Now we blog.

I digress.

As I was checking out my pals in the blogosphere, I found some interesting posts about Christianity, Politics, Finances, Famous Dave's Ribs, Home makeovers, and spiritual growth issues. I returned to my blog to find Tommy Bowden picking his nose (old news, but still very funny to me).

It may cause my blogger buds to wonder, "Is Todd an idiot?" Not entirely, dear friends.

My blog is, well, mine. It is my world where I am free to blog what I want when I want. There are no agendas here. The Word of Todd is my way of allowing family and friends to check in on me risk free. I also am leaving it for my children (and one day grandchildren) as a way of knowing me after I am gone.

However, I actually do have political, social, religious, and financia…

Pick of the Week

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"Gee, the whole country is watching, and we're losing; why don't I just shove my finger up my nose?"

(ht: Rickwell)

It's Good to be a Packer!

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Chuck...Put the Milk Down

Return of the Jazzy Jedi

Weekend in Wisconsin

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Oh, what I would have given to have been in my homestate this past weekend. My Badgers prevailed, and so did my Packers. Brett Favre is the only QB whose career I have followed from the very beginning. To see him tie Marino's record caused a lump in my throat (or was that popcorn?).
My only disappointment came from the Brewers. Although I was happy to see the Braves doing so well. I could almost smell the bratwurst coming from Lambeau Field yesterday. Oh, to have been there, clad in my Favre jersey and a cheesehead hat, with my face painted green and gold. On Wisconsin!

I Can Dream, Can't I?

I am obviously obsessing with turning 40 this year. Some of my comrades are probably a bit unnerved by my continual pining over reaching one score years. In total fairness, this is MY blog, so I can pretty much pine all I want! :o)

Actually, I do not intend to lament the first 39 years here tonight. Instead, I am posting my 40th Birthday Wish List, with emphasis being on the word, "Wish."The complete set of Ally McBeal on DVD. No, I am not joking.
A Packer game at Lambeau Field complete with Beer and Bratwurst.
A weekend getaway with just me and Tracy.
An alternative wish to #3: a weekend with no kids, pets, or in-laws.
A sky jump. I can already feel the adrenaline!
The financial ability to afford instruction in the art of Jeet Kune Do.
A new tattoo. Either that, or an upgrade to the old tattoo. It looks like it was drawn with a marker.
An evening with James, Jazz, and/or an evening in which I am allowed to be totally sophomoric with James and Jazz.
Tickets to Manilow in Vegas. Maybe…

Plagiarism Is Alive and (Not Very) Well

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It seems I have a "blog stalker." Not only has he copied my name, but the name of my blog and he is using it to propagate meaningless Howard Stern-esque banter. I have been forced to moderate any comments from him on my blog, since my blog is rated "G" and his comment profanity is almost an art form.
However, I have resolved to pray for "Evil Todd" and his followers, that all three of them may find grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It's kind of like the Star Trek episode where the transporter creates two Kirks, the evil one and the good one. In the end, both needed each other to survive. I suspect that this will not be the case here.

And So It Begins...

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This has been a big year for me personally. Soon I will be saying "fare-thee-well" to my first 39 years. I have two children who started high school this year, which rebooted my prayer life somewhat. Yesterday was a big day for my son; he now has his first "girlfriend," a nice young girl from our youth group. I am happy for him, but at the same time, I don't want him to allow girls to do to him what they did to me. I am praying for him to be sure enough of who and Whose he is so as not to allow some girl to destroy his self-esteem or to put his heart in a blender and press "frappe."
I was proud to see him holding the door for his new friend and conducting himself like a gentleman. That he got from his Dad!

Random Ruminations

During WWII, it seems that there were a lot of "war pictures" made starring the likes of John Wayne. Perhaps the images of war heroes on the big screen fostered the sense of unity and support for our soldiers that those of "The Greatest Generation" displayed. Maybe we need some films about our current conflict to remind our nation that there are Dads, Moms, Sons, and Daughters sacrificing the basic luxuries we take for granted not to mention the presence of their loved ones and in some cases, children whom they cannot watch grow up.
I recently viewed JFK, the Oliver Stone film starring Kevin Costner and an all-star cast. I had never noticed that the only things written on President Kennedy's grave marker are his name and the dates of his birth and death, separated by a hyphen. It occurred to me that I am in the process of living in the hyphen, as it were. Someday (not anytime soon I hope) there will be a marker with the dates of my birth and death, separat…

Remembering

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It was a day like any other day. I called my step dad to wish him a happy birthday, then I was off to a meeting at Shoneys. While there, I noticed all eyes were glued to the TV screens. Apparently a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. Moments later, I witnessed a second plane crash into the other tower.

In a restaurant full of strangers, we all shared a bond. We were all Americans, citizens of the greatest nation on earth, and we all felt violated. How could this happen? We were afraid. My only thought was that I needed to go and get my children out of school. Nothing else mattered. I spent the rest of the day glued to CNN, waiting for questions to be answered.

That was six years ago today. Not a day goes by that I don't cringe when I hear an airplane fly overhead. Not a day goes by when I don't wonder if it will happen again. In the 80s, we feared nuclear holocaust. Today we fear terrorism.

I will never forget the one thing that really stood out for me during the 9/1…

Movies I Have Finally Seen and What I Think of Them

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Superman Returns was more than I ever hoped for. We have an entirely new cast, except for Brando, which was extremely cool. And the producers maintained the original soundtrack which also rocked. It is hard for me to admit this, but I have to give Kudos to Kevin Spacey over Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Brilliant! The story showed more than just the Man of Steel's outer strength, but his inner strength as well. I love stories where the hero fights back after much adversity and then triumphs. I can relate.



The Prestige stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman. I was intrigued with this film from beginning to end. Aside from the fact that I am a huge Caine fan, I love a film that reels me in (no pun intended---well maybe it was) and keeps me hanging until the very end. Bravo, two thumbs up, and I look forward to more from Bale.






X-Men: The Last Stand did nothing for me. I read this film as Patrick Stewart, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, and Famke Janssen saying, "That'…

Reading is Fun, and The Mind is a Terrible Thing

Upon the advice of my best friend's charming wife, I recently purchased a pair of drug store reading glasses. The difference that they have made in my life is extraordinary. Because I can now read again, I am spending a lot more time in the lavatory, much to the dismay of the wife, kids, and cats.

Now if I could only remember where I set the darn things.

No, We Are Not Related

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Couldn't resist posting this "Jury Selection for Michael Vick" photo. Oddly enough, I DO have a cousin named Michael Vick who lives up north. He is a plumber's apprentice and loves animals, however.Scooby Doo looks P.O.'d. And Snoopy, well..., if looks could maim...

The Great Tim Hill Does It Again

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Say hello to some good friends

Please join me in welcoming George and Caryn to our little corner of the blogosphere. Both of these people hold a special place in my heart.

Caryn is a wife, mother, educator and soon-to-be famous author. She is married to my best friend and mother to my favorite little mouseketeer in the Pacific NW.

George is a husband, father, musician, and beer connisseur who made history playing the Adjutent's Call for the AHS ROTC in 1986. That story never gets old!

Send them some love!

Before Cable and MTV We Had...

Ministry and the Monday Thing

When I was a student in Bible College, I remember students who were pastors talking about "The Monday Thing." The Monday thing is, simply put, the blues. You have a great Sunday where God moves and lives are changed. Then on Monday you wake up and feel like crying. I don't get it, but I know the Monday thing all too well.

Saturday night was awesome. WFJ was at the B-L Leisure Center and not only did we have a great show but the ministry time was awesome. Grown men were crying and lives were being touched by the Master. Amazing!

Then Sunday at church we had a wonderful time in the morning AND evening services. Attendance is picking up and many are coming to Christ!

Then Monday came. I could hardly force myself out of bed today. A good friend called, and I couldn't even force myself to answer the phone (don't you hate when people don't leave a message?).

But I am making it. Got a sale first thing this morning. My wife is in a good mood, and we might actually get so…

Better Still...

How It Should Have Ended

Tagged!

Alas, I have been tagged by Rick!

Here are the rules:
The rules are simple…Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.


And we're off:
I can shove 8 Tootsie Rolls in my mouth at once. No one but me is impressed by this.Whenever I watch "The Brady Bunch," I get really, really cranky.My sons and I are convinced that their sisters are from another planet. They speak a language foreign to us and they smell funny.My daughters, on the other hand, are convinced that the boys have silly putty for brains.Coffee and doughnuts are the only vices I have left...but in moderation, of course.I often wonder what Junior Samples did BEFORE Hee Haw.On July 4th, I enjoyed the annual "Twili…

Shhhhhhh...can you hear that?

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Of course you can't. That is because it is SO quiet at the Vick hacienda right now. All the kids are with their other parents for a few days, and it is blissfully quiet. Tracy is off today and she is actually taking a nap rather than running kids to doctors appointments or grocery shopping as she does on any other days off. As for me, I am working from home today and I don't have to remind anyone to be quiet while I am on a business call.
As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be a Dad. I also have always wanted a big family. We are very blessed in that department, to be sure, but every now and then, we just need time to be Todd & Tracy. It is nice to have these moments when we can. I have to go now...a program that I want to watch is on TV.

Why?

Today I am just asking the question. I am certain that I will never have all the answers, but I just have a lot on my mind today in light of the unfolding Chris Benoit tragedy. I have been rather quiet in the blogosphere this month, and I guess I just need to download a bit.

I understand that we live in a fallen world and that evil happens. We live in a world where an icon of professional wrestling for 22 years can murder his wife and son, and then hang himself. I didn't know Chris Benoit personally, but he was what I would consider to be one of the very few pure wrestlers left. I would always feel tired after watching Benoit wrestle. He was great. What happened to him to drive him over the edge? I may never know. But it hurts and I feel like I have lost a friend and in the process, realized he was not who I thought he was.

I understand that we live in a world where the atrocities of places like Darfur can happen. I don't have an answer for those people or their poli…

Chris Benoit 1967-2007

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There are no words.

Post Doctor Visit

Today I had a thorough physical (minus the rectal---thank you, Jesus). All the tests came back normal, and I have the lungs of a 35 year old. I still need to exercise more, lose weight, and find peace in the midst of stress.

It seems that my three biggest challenges are vertigo, anxiety, and sleeplessness. I am trying a fairly safe regimen of medication and I will be scheduling a sleep study very soon.

All in all, I am thankful for good health and the chance to make it even better.

Memorial Day Blues

While taking time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, I also took time to visit the doctor.

I do not like to take medicine. I prefer vitamins or a more holistic type of therapy. Today, however, I have been forced to face certain realities, namely the need for medication. Hopefully my new regimen will be temporary. I am also going back to the doctor on Friday for a complete physical. It has been 4 years since my last one. In addition to the co-pay, I will be rendering my pride for the inevitable prostate exam.

Whoever said life begins at (almost) 40 must have said this BEFORE undergoing this dreadful exam.

I am thinking of Chevy Chase in "Fletch."

"Mooooon River!"

I am going to have lunch now. Charging it to the Underhills.

Vertigo Away

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It all began a couple of Saturdays ago. I was sitting on the couch, somewhat reclined, when the ceiling began to turn black. I then began to sweat, shake, and was overcome with nausea. I got up, walked around, splashed cold water on my face, all to no avail. I also noticed a constant hum in my ears, which seemed to resonate from within my head.
Like Fred Sanford, I thought maybe this was "the big one."
After a trip to the ER which ruled out anything major, I would later realize that what I have is a nasty case of vertigo. For years I have had trouble walking down steps. I usually have to hold the railing pretty tight. I also have had trouble sleeping for the last several months, which compounded the vertigo.
I will be following up with my family physician, and possibly a neurologist. For now, if you spin around in circles 50 times, you will get a good feel for how I spend my days. I can still drive and work. I guess I just need to quit putting off that exercise program.

Sister, Sister

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I grew up in a house with three women. Two of them are my sisters, Terri and Tiffani. Two sisters. One older, one younger. It was rough at times growing up. We always stuck together, though. We still do.We all have families of our own now. We have sporting events, school activities, church stuff, etc. We don't get together as often as I would like, but when we do we laugh and laugh and laugh. What else can we do?

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

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I hope you had a great time with all of us today. We are all so thankful to still have you to celebrate with. May you live to be at least 100, and in the process learn to mellow out a bit. Furthermore, I have not had your potato salad in around 17 years. In fact, I hear that it has been that long since you last cooked. Mom's potato salad, as well as her cole slaw, are one in a million. My favorite breakfast as a child was Mom's real oatmeal, cooked on the stove like it was meant to be. Served with milk and tablespoons of sugar. I have Mom to thank for my addiction to coffee as well. Most of all, thanks to Mom for raising us alone on less than a third of what I make, and yet always having what we needed when we needed it. Thank you for never missing the ball games and band concerts, which had to be hard to sit through. You can be difficult at times, especially in crowds, but deep down you have a heart of gold. We all know it, and that's why we tolerate your crap. I love you,…

Brought A Tear To Me Eye...

My Aflac One Month Report Card

Top Producers for Week 17:
Jackie Allen - $15,208
Todd Vick - $3,096 Number TWO in the Region!
Wayne Pierce - $2,802
Louie Jones - $2,350
Mary Jones - $1,454
Not bad after less than a month in the field. I hope the momentum continues to build.

Happy Birthday...Miss You

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April 26, 1938 - February 14, 1992

Pastor In, Christian Behavior Out

Long story short is that the meeting at church last night favored my pastor by an average of 5 to 1 or better. All the allegations and the questions revealed themselves in one bitter person. Once she spoke, everyone could see what was really going on. The fact that she was the associate pastor's wife made her conduct even more despicable. The vote is over, but a period of change, healing, and restoration is before us, as well as the ever-present question, "How did it ever come to this in the first place?"

We are glad to have this lunacy behind us, and perhaps now we will strengthen our resolve to put our hands to the plow and not look back.

From the dust of this act of spiritual terrorism came an invitation for me to speak in Illinois sometime in October. The possibility of me serving my pastor as a part time Associate has also been brought up. In this regard, I would have the best of both worlds, so to speak. I could continue to build my Aflac career and minister alongsid…

Processing...

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I have what one might refer to as "brain overload" lately. Or in simple terms, I have a lot on my mind. Some of it is potentially fruitless thought, while the rest is basically a waste of decent Alpha waves. Nevertheless, here are but a few of my ponderings...
This whole Virginia Tech shooting has messed me up. It is the umpteenth time in recent history where someone has committed a heinous crime against humanity and then taken their own lives in order to avoid the consequences. What message is this sending to our children? I once counseled a young man who was incarcerated for gang crimes. His parents were members of my church, and so I built a relationship with their son. On many occasions, he told me of his plans to escape the facility he was in, and should he be caught, he would simply commit suicide. The blanket of deceit that rests over our world staggers the mind. As the body of Christ, how should we respond to this playing of the suicide card? On the flip s…

Generations

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I have always regretted the fact that my Dad died before my son was born. I am a sentimental sort, as you may know, and one of the things I have always wanted to have is a generational picture. I am pleased to report that I have the next best thing.

The man in the left of the picture is my Uncle Bob, my Dad's younger brother. Uncle Bob is my godfather as well. My family is primarily Lutheran and this is something that is done when a child is born: a "godfather/godmother" is assigned. Their duty is to care for the spiritual well-being of their godchild in the event of the death of the parents. My Uncle Bob has really stepped in and filled the void left by Dad's untimely death.

He has taught me about our family history, given me photos of my ancestors, and taken me to some of the important places regarding our family history. I am pleased to be able to pass this on to my son, and during a recent visit to SC, Uncle Bob posed in this photo with Cody and me. Dad…

Kids On Spring Break; Dad's In School

I am off to Mt Pleasant for three days of Aflac training. The preparation for this sales school was the most intense thing I have ever encountered. There were many things which needed to be completed before I could even attend this training. I finished the last of it at 11:30 last night!

In addition, the kids have been passing around the stomach thing that Tracy and I had a couple weeks ago. I hope they keep it to themselves and away from me. Tracy caught a wee bit of it over the weekend. So far so good for me.

For all you USC Sports enthusiasts, my roommate for sales school and new co-worker is none other than Jamel Bradley, former USC basketball star. What a humble man he is. I look forward to getting to know him. Google his name to see the number of articles written about him. I regret I am not much of a b-ball fan. I'd have enjoyed seeing Jamel play.

I am that guy who doesn't own a laptop, so I am not sure if I will be able to post from Mt. Pleasant or not. Pray, if you will,…

Fun Festivus Flashback Friday

To Blog Or Not To Blog

Much has happened since my last post. I have wanted to blog about it, but have just been either too busy or too tired. However, I am not one to disappoint my blog fans (hope you both are well). I will now attempt to encapsulate the last couple of weeks.
I have finally been "delivered" from the pizza business. I left Papa John's a week earlier than I had originally planned. I am now 100% Aflac. In retrospect, I am certain that many of the management habits I picked up in the pizza industry will serve me quite well in my new endeavor. The coolest thing about all of this is the support I receive from Tracy. She is actually considering working for Aflac as well.Yesterday, after much prayer and studying, I passed the state insurance exam. I had planned to take it Friday, but my test time was pushed up to yesterday. I needed to get it done this week in order to accommodate the Aflac training which starts next week. I stayed up late, crammed, and passed. A score of 70 is require…

Any plans for tonight?

To all my local friends, if you are in the Batesburg-Leesville area tonight, come on over to the B-L Leisure Center and see the live WFJ Event with our headliner, Marcus Alexander "Buff" Bagwell. I have it on good information that Todd Matrixx is going to make a special appearance as his manager...

Mayhem with a message, and Todd Matrixx, too. Sounds like a fun-filled evening, and a visit to the chiropractor next week for Todd Matrixx.

NYR: Update

Since the first week of January, per my New Years Resolution, I have lost 16.2 lbs. My goal for the year is 30 lbs. The recent stomach virus helped with the most recent 5, to be sure. Nevertheless, I am pleased. One of my children recently pointed out the loss of my double chin. Will post new photos soon!

Halfway there!

Yuck

Two days off this week, and I spent both days down with the stomach flu. Tracy had it, too. Nice how we share EVERYTHING isn't it?

A Picture Is Worth 20 Years

Yesterday I went to the DMV to change the address on my drivers license, Naturally, I had to take a new photo. I do not photograph well, anyway, so I wasn't expecting to look like Fabio. But I didn't expect to look like Ernest Borgnine, either!

The photo made me look at least 20 years older.

Making Plans

Not sure who said, "Man makes plans; God laughs," but there may be a ring of truth to that statement. The last couple of years have proven that sentiment time and again.

Let me be frank: I hate pizza. I am using the word "hate" here. Since I was 16 years old, off and on, I have had to work at a pizza place in order to make ends meet. I have done two stints at Pizza Hut, and I am presently in my third stint at Papa John's. The problem is that I am very good at it. Recently, I was made Assistant Manager, with a view to moving up to General Manager at some future date. I started as a delivery driver, and I was cool with that. The problem was, I was too good at it. My philosophy in my work, and I guess in everyday life (most of the time) is not to just be good at something, but to be the best. Maybe it is insecurity; who knows? Nevertheless, I have tried to settle into the career of management, thinking it must be God's will, since the 100 resumes or so that I h…

Spring Fever

Today I officially sached from "Snow Fever" to "Spring Fever." I took my daughter to softball practice today and the weather was absolutely grand.

Fresh air, nice temperatures, the sounds of bats hitting balls, the smell of hot dogs, and the advent of the new baseball season is upon us. And let us not forget the falling of pollen!

I enjoyed the brief cold snap we received this year...way after Christmas. Today I realized that I am ready for Spring to come.

Batter up! Kleenex out!

My Valentine

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I have an amazing wife. It is so refreshing to be married to a woman that everybody loves. All my friends adore Tracy. Even my family is coming around. You just cannot help but to love her. I never run out of underwear or socks. My work clothes are always clean. She even makes the bed! Tracy doesn't drink coffee, but she makes mine every day. She is beautiful, too. What makes her more beautiful is that she is so full of love for everyone. She is a giver, a helper, and a pleaser. I scored. Big time. Happy Valentines Day baby. Many more to come.

Possible Summer Vacation

My cousin Charlie is a pastor in Thompson Falls, MT. I have always wanted to travel to the northern portion of our great nation. I have been to Seattle, but never Montana. He has invited me to do a revival in June of this year. I am very excited. We may make it a summer vacation.

I can hear the kids now, as adults, saying to their kids, "I remember the summer they made us drive to Montana...37 hours in the vehicle, with Dad stopping in every state and making us get out and walk around. I still have nightmares about that trip!"

I am reminded of a summer vacation from the pages of my own childhood. In the summer of 1979, we drove to Orlando to visit a pre-Epcot Disney World. I seem to recall the trip taking about 14 hours. Not bad, except for the fact that we were in a 1978 Ford Pinto...two adults and four kids. Yes, you read it right. Four of us, aged 12 down to 6, crammed in the backseat of a Pinto through three states. Today I have real trouble in crowds. I have…

One Last Thing on Football

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He's coming back!

Why I'd Make a Lousy Bookie

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I picked the Bears by 7. The Colts opened a 55 gallon drum of whoopin' on the Bears, who played more like Cubs. As I watched the rain fall on the two teams, along with Chicago's dropped balls and missed snaps, I reflected on "the old days." Football fields were nothing but grass, and if it rained, the players just got muddy. There was no astro turf. The Bears played like sissies last night. George Halas was no doubt doing somersaults in his grave.Maybe I am just getting old, but last night's game did nothing for me. None of my teams were in it. I supported the Bears because of my Midwestern heritage and because it was nice to see them back in the Super Bowl. Also, the gah-zillion dollar commercials were somewhat disappointing. They were funny, but not as funny as in past years. The one exception for me was this Bud Light commercial.Then there was the halftime show. Prince? Whose idea was this? This was a football game! Myself, I'd have rather seen a KISS reun…

NYR: Update

Kiss 3 more pounds goodbye as of this morning! That brings the total lost to 7 pounds since January 1. 33 more to reach my New Years Resolution goal of 40 lbs!

It was most definitely easier putting these pounds on.

SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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What a marvelous day! There is snow falling, and up until 30 minutes ago (9:30 am EDT) there was accumulation. Now the rain is back and melting the snow into a sludgy muck. But for me, it was nice to look out the window and see the white stuff, if only for a few minutes.

Seven Days Without Blogging Makes One Weak!

No excuses here. My week has been incredibly busy, but in a good way. I have actually sat down to blog several times in the last week, but I just wasn't "feeling it," so I decided to wait.

It's early Sunday morning...about 8:00 am EDT. I am preparing to go speak at my sister's church. They graciously invite me to come at least once a year. I am looking forward to it. I confess that I miss preaching every Sunday. For me, it is a way of connecting with people on many levels. I also enjoy seeing the faces of the people who tune in and listen while trying to apply the biblical truths to their lives. I will undoubtedly post later on how it went.

Quick resolution update: since January 1, 2007, I have dropped 4.2 lbs. That's four point two, not 42. At least I am going in the right direction. Only 35.8 more to go!

If you are looking for something a little different today, go to Rick's blog and accept his invitation to online church at 2:00 pm EDT. …

Weekend Recap

Whew! What a busy weekend. It was a weekend off for me and Tracy, but it was one of those, "I can't wait to get back to work so I can relax" weekends as well.

Saturday night was a WFJ television taping. It was by far one of the best we have done. We had a blast, but it was a late night for everyone getting home.

Sunday was full of out-of-town in-laws and old friends. Recall that I opened the post with, "Whew!"

Lately the Lord has been revealing some very basic yet powerful truths about "covenants." In the days and weeks to come I will be posting some of what I have learned. Right now I am just too tired.

Goodnight.

Winter is (Finally) Here!

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Tomorrow we are expecting a "Wintry Mix." Where I come from, a wintry mix is a snowball fight where bruises are inflicted and maybe a few teeth are knocked out! Not sure exactly what we'll see on the morrow, but it is chilly outside, and I like it!

In Small Packages

Today at church we were treated to the ministry of Victoria Huggins. She is a 13 year old gospel singer from St. Pauls, NC and is a multi-talented young lady. But that's not what most impressed me about her.

There are a lot of 13 year olds who can sing. I have a house full of them! Victoria was more than just a cute little break from "church as usual." For a 13 year old, she displayed a wisdom and spiritual maturity way beyond her years. I watched her pray for other people with Christlike compassion, shedding tears as she did so.

I hope that many people were ministered to today as I was. I have three daughters close to her age. I would love to see a heart for ministry in their lives like the one I saw in young Victoria Huggins. I would love to see it in my own life as well.

Government Snow Plow

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A Man Named Clyde

I read a powerfully insightful article posted on Rick's blog. Brace yourself, dear reader, for I am about to confess some things in bold honesty.

Confession # 1: I do not like Oprah Winfrey. I do not like her show. But let's give credit where it is due here. If I were an author who had just written a book, I would not be disappointed to be mentioned by Oprah. Writers who receive a nod from her genuinely fair quite well. Furthermore, whatever her motivation may have been for building a school in a place where such a school is desperately needed, I tip my hat to Oprah for her generosity, compassion, and courage to do what's right. How many so-called "megachurches," or for that matter, even non-megachurches have given their resources and time to build schools for underprivileged children living in a country frought with unspeakable violence? Thank you, Oprah, for reminding us Christians what we ought to be about.

Confession # 2: I cannot stomach Pat Robertson. Isn'…