Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Saga Continues...

So, our Christmas vacation continues. And just like Clark Griswold's, my family has its own colorful and interesting characters in it. Caleb and Abby have been playing with cousins our whole vacation. It has been good.

We have been staying in my parents' new log cabin in the basement bedroom. The basement is decorated in 1950's decor with lots of neon lights and a jukebox. I have the urge each morning to slick my hair back and throw on my leather jacket.

Perhaps I will be sporting a new style when we return to Cali...or perhaps not.

Monday, December 29, 2008


We are in the mountains of north Georgia and are having a blast. My parents have a great log cabin house here and we've been spending our days relaxing and exploring the little towns nearby.

Their house is in a location with no cell service. Since I blog from my phone when away from a computer, this little detail has kept me from doing that.

Today, we took the kids bowling. Caleb has only been twice in his life, and bowled a 100 on his first game. Pretty amazing! He beat his Papa...and so did I!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day After Blues

So, a lot of people deal with a "let down" in the days following a big event. This is especially true when it comes to Christmas. There is so much build up to the day of Christmas, that when it's gone many don't seem to have anything to look forward to. What's the deal with that?

I love Christmas more than anyone I know, but we can't allow our lives to hinge on ONE big event. This is why we need to strive to create big events throughout the year. I'm not talking about an Easter musical, a 4th of July musical, and then back to Christmas. I'm talking about making an investment in the lives of others on a regular basis. This is the drive that keeps the spirit of giving, love, and Christ on the forefront throughout the year.

If you don't dream God-sized dreams you won't see God-sized results. This is another thing that should drive us throughout the rest of the year. Yes, dreaming means risk. With every new endeavor we risk failure. BUT, with every risk of failure comes the opportunity for great reward. In order to see those God-sized results become a reality in our lives, we must dream the impossible. If you deem things impossible in your life, what you are saying is that you will never see them become a reality. As a result, you don't dream for those things because of the risk. You end up settling for less when you could have had the best. If only you had chosen to chase that dream with everything you had. Quite possibly you could have had God's best.

My kids hear the same thing from me everyday when I kiss them goodbye on their way to school. "Do your best and always do the right thing." If we approach our lives this way, we will glorify God with every action and every thought. 2009 could be the year you approach life in that same way.

Make 2009 a year of dreams for you and your family. If you are truly dreaming God-sized dreams, you won't see everything become a reality in 2009. Instead, the next year will become the year you began to look at life differently.


1) Make an investment in the lives of others. Believe that even you, as just one person, can make an eternal difference in the life of another.
2) Dream God-sized dreams and chase them with everything you have. God-sized dreams are not caught all at once. Instead, they are an investment.
3) Live your life for the Glory of God. If you are truly living for His glory, then everything you approach will be given your best!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve

It is amazing to me that Christmas Eve is here. We have been in Georgia for 5 days now, and it seems like we just landed yesterday. Vacation always goes by so fast. But, tonight is Christmas eve and we are making to most of it. We are going to have a great Christmas eve dinner, and then we're off to see Christmas lights as a family. This is a tradition for us. We load up the entire family and head to Yonkers. There, families join together to decorate all of their homes, their land, and anything else they can get lights on. We walk through their property and enjoy the sights and sounds. Lots of fun!

There are also Christmas eve services tonight at Immanuel. If you are in Southern California, make your way to Immanuel at 4:30 or 6pm. It is going to be great. Though my family won't be there, you should. Merry Christmas Eve. Get to bed early and make sure you're asleep. He sees you when you're sleeping and he knows when you're awake. You know, that's kinda spooky sounding, isn't it? Our poor children....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Happenings

Last night, Jody and I had the opportunity to hang out with old friends. One couple we knew from college. The other couple had both gone to high school with Jody.

We laughed and talked about old times. It was a lot of fun. I love seeing Jody laugh until she cries like that. That is probably why I act so stupid most of the time...just to see her laugh. At least, that's my story.

Today, we're going to our favorite local restaurant to meet Jody's dad for lunch. We do it once every year and the kids are really looking forward to it.

Only 2 1/2 days left here and then we will drive to Augusta to visit my family. Wow. Time is flying by.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday in the Country

The kids are loving our time here in Georgia. They've been hanging out with cousins, wrestling with their uncle, and eating like they've been stranded on a deserted island for a month.

Caleb, Abby and I walked down in the woods to the pond @ the back of my in-laws' land. We pretended we were on an adventure and paddled the boat across the "large body of water". We then hiked down the "forbidden trail" and found the fortress of ants (a huge ant mound).

Next, we climbed into the Magical Tower (uncle Eric's deer stand), hiked to the field of snow (a cotton field), and then returned to the boat to get back home. It was so much fun, and I got to teach them how to row a boat @ the same time.

Now, onto our next adventure.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Walk Through Bethlehem

Tonight, 14 of our family members went to a local church's Christmas presentation called A Walk Through Bethlehem. It was really neat. It is a little village that they set up outside and you are toured through by a jewish person who has "returned to the city for the census".

You literally walk through the village with Roman Centurions approaching you asking why you are there. They are very mean and offensive. Much like 2000 years ago. One of them approached Jody and said "move it HAG". It took me half the tour to stop laughing. Fun stuff.

We had to wait 2 1/2 hours to go through. There were over 6000 people who registered. All this from a church that runs less than 1000 on Sunday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Creating Friday

Here is the latest installment of The Church Office. This one is geared to promote our Christmas Eve Services on December 24, at 4:30 and 6pm. This one is just cheesy enough that you might enjoy it....I hope.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Abby's Audition

Well, we finally saw first-hand everything we had been warned about "the business". After Abby's initial interview, we received a callback for a "tv show". At the callback, we were led into a large room with loud music and video clips on a large flat panel television. The names Jessica Alba and Miley Cyrus were constantly being dropped as if this company had discovered them from sheer obscurity. In fact, the talent director, Andy, told us that he personally discovered Jessica Alba in a Ms. Fields Cookie store in 1996. He said that Abby had everything going for her that he had seen in Jessica in the beginning. "And we all know where that took her," he told us. However, in a day of great technology and this little thing we call the internet, we quickly discovered that Jessica Alba was already doing television in the early 90s. Therefore, his discovery of this "shy little girl" could not have taken place in 1996. She was already on her way to stardom by then with made for television movies and numerous other roles on her resume.

So, after their used car salesman pitch, they took us into a room to meet one on one with Andy. I was onto them by this point, and KNEW we were not going to fall for this one. But, I played along so that I could see the whole presentation. First of all, I felt it would be fun to their song and dance. Secondly, I wanted to know what to look for in the future.

They asked for $4500 to make Abby's dreams come true. When we resisted, they knocked it down to $2600. I continued to say "no". Furthermore, I compared them to such scam artists as John Robert Powers, and others. Andy seemed insulted and said that it hurt him for Abby that we would not pursue this for her. As if he was the end all for her potential success.

Two hours after we left, I received another call from Andy saying he would lower the fee to $1500. I told Andy "you're a crook and a manipulator, and I'm not falling for your scheme." For some reason, he hung up the phone after that comment.

For anyone out there with children who are interested in "the business", BEware of BE PRODUCTIONS . It is a scam.

On a brighter note, Abby has interviews with 2 "reputable" modeling agencies in January. So, we'll see where that takes us. For the record, we are only pursuing this because it is something Abby wants to do. So, instead of ballet dancing and gymnastics, we let her model.

Check back tomorrow. I'll have the newest installment of "the Church Office". That's right. It's back!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Immanuel Choir

The Immanuel Choir has been asked to lead in worship at MusiCalifornia '09. We will be leading worship with Geron Davis, Bradley Knight, and Derrick Johnson. I am excited anytime we have the opportunity to lead worship. But, it's always a little extra special when we get to work with our friends at MusiCalifornia. A big "thank you" goes out my buddy Scott Revo at Pinelake. Thanks for the recommendation to Brentwood-Benson.

So, mark that calendar and join us for MusiCalifornia in Pasadena, April 13-16, 2009. We will be there on Wednesday, April 15 in the evening. See you there!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bikes or Bust

My good friends @ Freedom Church in Acworth, GA are partnering with area businesses to help under privileged kids have a great Christmas this year. An event called Bikes or Bust has staff from the church living on a lift high in the air until their goal of 200 bikes is reached.

Those wishing to donate should visit www.jrlive.net. You can watch them live on the lift @ Bikes or Bust dot net .

Good job Freedom Church! I can't wait to hear the final results.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Early Christmas

This past Saturday, we had a full-blown Christmas @ the Bumgardner house. Why? Well, the reason is simple: we are going to Georgia for Christmas and can't take all of our gifts on the plane. So, we have to do Christmas early.

Our kids love it, because it means 2 Christmases for them. They got a WII, several games, and Rock Band. We absolutely love it. I will ty to post some video soon of our family rocking it out on Rock Band. Jody even has a mean head-bang going on when she jams on the guitar.

So, we're leaving our house to another family who will sit for us while we're gone, and we're going to the peach state to see our family. We're so excited. I will blog a little more often now that our schedule @ church is slowing down. I will also give some great updates from the road.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Dessert Theater

I am blogging right now on my phone in the middle of a dress rehearsal for our Dessert Theater. Opening night is tomorrow and it runs through Sunday. Last year we saw dozens come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are praying for even greater results this year.

If you haven't gotten tickets yet, plan on being here Sunday night for the performance only show @ 5:30.

Monday, December 08, 2008

LA Auditions

Abby auditioned this weekend for a television show in LA. She did a great job. She was able to meet with the casting director, and was told she would get a call back. So, we're pretty excited. There were about 100 others who auditioned, so I'm not sure how many will receive call backs. With no experience, her chances are pretty slim to land the part, but the audition process is a great experience. She is loving it.

I'll give you some updates when we hear something new.

Go Abby!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Good Wife

Okay...now before you read this, you need to know that I am just the messenger. Don't shoot me! But, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this with you. The following article was published on May 13, 1955 in Housekeeping Monthly. CLICK ON THE PICTURE OF THE ARTICLE below and it will open a page for you to read it in. Oh, to have lived in the glorious 1950s. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Immanuel Lights Hits the News

Some of the facts in the article below are not quite accurate, but for the most part, it is a nice article. The reporter's crowd estimation was a personal one not based on any count. But, to his credit, it is hard to estimate a crowd size in an open outdoor area. I'll post some other photos as I have an opportunity. Check out the link below for the Highland Community News Paper Article on Immanuel Lights.

Christmas Fun Facts

1) In Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer (1964), Santa's first stop is the Island of Misfit Toys.
2) Bethlehem, PA was established by German settlers on Dec. 24, 1741.
3) Joy to the World was also the title of a song by Three Dog Night.
4) in 1955, the most popular gift for boys was a coon skin hat. Wow. Somehow, that just doesn't compare to the WII.
5) O Holy Night was first sung at a midnight mass in Paris in 1847.
6) Eskimos consider whale blubber a Christmas delicacy.
7) The first Christmas card was printed in the US in 1875.
8) Western Missionaries introduced Christmas trees to China and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries.
9) Holly is used at Christmas to represent the crown of Christ.
10) In the movie Frosty the Snowman, Santa tells Professor Hinkle to write "I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty" 100 zillion times. That sounds like a teacher I had in school.

Enjoy this entire Christmas season. Don't wait until it has passed you by. Make this Christmas a Christmas to Remember. And impress your friends and family with your incredible knowledge of Christmas Fun Facts.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christmas Fun Facts

In honor of the 1st day of December I thought that I'd share some Christmas Fun Facts with you. I love to discover new things and thought you would as well.

1) The red-suited Santa with the white beard that we've come to know and love was first created by a marketing team member with Coca-Cola in the 1930s.
2) Children in Holland receive gifts in big wooden shoes at Christmas.(That doesn't sound too exciting to me.)
3) Jesus wasn't born on December 25. I know. I know.
4) The name "Santa Claus" is never mentioned in the story "The Night Before Christmas".
5) Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was based on a poem he wrote in the 1980s.

More fun facts to come throughout the month of December. I couldn't give you all my fun facts in one post.

Immanuel Lights Results

Last night was amazing. Immanuel Lights was a big hit. Mayor Penny Lilburn was wonderful in her welcome speech to the community. She said "I can't believe no one has ever thought of having a community Christmas tree lighting before. Leave it to Immanuel to provide such a thing for this community."

A very preliminary estimation of attendance is somewhere in the 2000 people range. From the stage I noticed a crowd of people on the balcony of the building trying to get a better view. Families had huddled together all over the area to see and hear. It was a very festive and electric atmosphere. I was so excited to see how many people came out for this event.

Even better results are that 4 people prayed to receive Christ. That's right. 4 people, that we know of, were saved at a Christmas tree lighting. How amazing is that!!!

I'll try to post some pictures later as I get them. Now, onto preparation for our 2nd Annual Immanuel Lights Christmas tree lighting in 2009!