Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's New

1) My dad is filming an indie film called "Longshots". In this western, he plays a banker. One notable actor in the movie is David Carradine. You'd know him from the series "Kung Fu" and as host of Discover's "Wild West Tech".
2) The Immanuel Choir is leading worship next Wednesday with Travis Cottrell. Worship starts @ 6:30 on April 8. Its gonna be awesome.
3) On April 15, the Immanuel Choir is premiering a new musical in Pasadena with Bradley Knight. I'm so proud of our choir. They are amazing.
4) "Building Bridges", a modern day look @ God and Man, is April 4 and 5. This Easter drama will help us better understand how the cross and resurrection impact us today.
5) We are having 3 worship services on Easter Sunday morning. 8, 9, and 10:45.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Westcoast Peaches

Let's be honest. While it is true our family has made California home, Jody and I will always have a special place in our hearts for Georgia. I will always be a Georgia Bulldog. We will always pull for the Braves. We will forevermore LOVE sweet tea. And I don't think we'll ever shake our accents...or want to.

With that in mind, it is with much pain and regret that I tell you that Jody is in Georgia right now. She went back to see family and to help throw a retirement party for her dad. The kids and I wish we could be there. We all love Grandpa sooo much. We are so proud of and happy for him.

So, our poor children are having to deal with my cooking this week. But, I'm kind of excited about this week. While I'm missing Jody terribly, it is going to be a great week to spend that extra time with my kids. I've already dominated Caleb on Mario Cart on the Wii, I've won a wrestling match, 3 against 1, and I've gotten dinner cooked. Orange chicken with rice.

I hope its a hit. Check back this week for updates on this crazy adventure.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We ARE BUMgardners

We just hired a gardener b/c we felt bad for him. He couldn't find work. He is amazing. He cuts our grass, trims our trees, fertilizes our yard, weeds our flower beds, leaf blows, edges, and cleans up afterward for $50 a month. What?

The crazy thing is that we have a really hard time communicating with him. He speaks absolutely no English. But, he's a really hard worker. And, we're doing our part to stimulate the economy.
Now, I kbow what you're thinking. "If he speaks no English, are you sure you understood the price right?" Yes, I did. I had an interpreter with me the first time we spoke.

Oh yeah...and his name is Gustavvo. Don't you just love that?!

Recap: 1) we are stimulating economy (I'm not sure who's) by hiring a gardener. 2) he does it all for cheap. 3) his name is Gustavvo.

Jody says our next hire is a house cleaning service. But, I'm holding out for a butler named Jeeves.


Have you ever heard the saying "build a bridge and get over it"? Well, that's exactly what we're going to do next weekend @ Immanuel. Saturday and Sunday night, April 4 and 5, be @ Immanuel for Bridges: a modern look at what Easter means for us today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It has only been 3 months since Christmas. In fact, Easter hasn't even arrived yet and the Immanuel Choir is already working on Christmas music. You heard me right. I didn't studder.

The reason is because we are premiering a Christmas worship collection @ MusiCalifornia April 15. While many are rushing off to the post office to get their taxes in the mail, we will be getting our fa-la-la-las on in Pasadena with Bradley Knight.

It's never too early to get ready for Christmas...is it?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Today, Jody and I took the kids to DLand. Its nice being this close because we don't have to worry about getting it all done in a day. That was a good thing today because of the crowds.

We were there for about 3 hours and only rode 2 rides. Such is life during spring break, so no big surprises there. We had a great time.

Tomorrow we may try to hit a beach or something. It's the last day of spring break for the kids, and Jody leaves for GA on Monday. So, we're gonna try to get in a little more family time. Jody's dad is retiring after 36 years on the job and Jody is helping put on the retirement party.

So, I'll be a single father of 3 for the week. And, I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Power of the Cross

What does the power of the cross look like in someone's life? How do we see evidence of God @ work in the lives of His children? Well, there are many ways. But, I want to share an example with you.

There is a man in our church, Dave, who lost his job several months ago. He has done everything he can to provide for his family and keep his head above water. The whole time he has been struggling, he has remained faithful to the church and to choir.

Another man in our church, Bob, lost his job two months ago. He was in need of $150 in order to make ends meet. He too has continued to be faithful @ church and in choir. Needing that money on Monday, he came to church on Sunday, not knowing how God was going to provide.

That day, Dave approached Bob and handed him a check for $156. Dave still has no job. He's still struggling. But, he saw a family in need and knew God could use him.

That's the power of the cross shown evident in the life of a sold out believer. Bob, in this story, had also been blessing others even in the midst of his own struggle. God chose to bless Bob through another man who was in the same situation, just because He could.

What an awesome Father we have! There's just nothing else to say after that.


In my life time, I have probably changed my hair style a total of 3 times. It's funny to me how a lot of women are constantly changing. I don't really even know what else to say about that. But, I have news:

I am now married to a brunette. What?

The jury is still out as far as she is concerned. We'll see if maybe "it grows" on her over the next few days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Conference Time

I am serving on a committee with the state convention that is responsible for putting together a conference in November. I talked with Rick Muchow (worship Pastor @ Saddleback) today about speaking @ the conference. I think that's going to happen. I've also contacted Tommy Walker about coming in to lead worship for us. I am praying that's going to happen.

I'll keep you updated. Rick Muchow is the man, and I'm so blessed to call him my friend. He has definitely made an impact on me and my ministry. Thanks, Rick for helping me and the rest of the guys put this awesome conference together!

The Measure of a Man

True integrity is seen when nothing is on the line and the fewest amount of people are impacted. What decisions are we making and how consistent is our character when there is no spotlight on the decision we are making? Do you take the most beneficial road, or do you choose the honorable path?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friends for Dessert

Each month we celebrate the Immanuel Choir members' birthdays @ our house. Tonight, we have all of the March birthday boys and girls coming over. Jody has made a gingerbread cake with orange cream glaze, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate CHUNK cookies, and a chocolate mousse pie. Its all good.

I love birthdays. Even when they're not mine.

Weekend Review

1) I had a guy mow my yard for me on Saturday. The first time I've ever done this before. I sat on my couch watching basketball cheering the fact that I didn't have to work in the yard. Will this continue? Hmmmmm......
2) Went to Buca di Beppo for dinner Saturday night. We ate at a table in the kitchen. They showed us every dish that went out and we watched them make it. It was pretty amazing.
3) I caught up on American Idol, since I had been out of town last week. My favorites are still Danny, Michael, and Matt.
4) Worship @ Immanuel was amazing Sunday. Our people seemed to be connecting on all levels. They were singing out, both outwardly and inwardly worshiping, they were responding to the preaching. It was awesome!
5) I ate lunch at "Dickey's Barbeque" Sunday afternoon. One word; YES!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trouble Sleeping?

Have you ever had one of those nights when you were so exhausted that you couldn't wait to get to sleep? One of those nights that when your head hit the pillow you were gone? One of those nights that only 3 hours after you crashed one of your children woke you up? One of those nights when that child took everything You had to give before you could get them back to bed? One of those nights thay even though you were exhausted you were now wide awake and couldn't go back to sleep again, and as a result would spend your wonderful Saturday drained and tired?

Have you ever had one of those nights? Yeah, me either.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Queen's Royal Review

As Rob and I stepped into the Queen Kapiolani Hotel in beautiful Waikiki, Hawaii, we were transported back to the time of faded floral print carpet and stained curtains. Things were much simpler then. In those days, vacuuming was not a problem because they didn't. Today, that tradition continues. The staff goes to great lengths to make sure you carry sand on your feet from around the world back to your room with you.

Old paitings hang around the hotel of kings of old. The Queen herself is immortalized on various walls, as well, as she seems to watch your every move. Even the staff seem to carry on the lore of the queen as they stare at you as if to say "off with their heads". So thrilling! I believe this is done to make you, as a guest, to feel as though you are next on the list for a trip to the volcano as an offering to the gods. Whaat an honor!

The room itself continues the mystique. The bathroom floor is chipped up and stained as if great Hawaiian warriors have trod there, chipping the floor with their powerful and rugged toenails. Infact, the shower curtain itself holds the evidence of those who have gone before you.

I was amazed at their ability to give you a spa treatment in the convenience of your own room. As you sleep, you receive a full skin exfoliation as the sheets and blankets rub against you. They are rough enough to remove those undesirable skin cells, yet soft enough not to make you bleed.

It is very close to the beach. With that in mind, I give The Queen a Royal review indeed! This reviewer gives the Queen 3 horn toots, each of them self produced.

(This review may or may not be the opinion of other occupants of room 501 at the Queen and were intended with absolutely NO sarcasm...kinda.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Queen Kapiolani Review

While in Hawaii Rob and I stayed @ a hotel to try it out for the group. Check back tomorrow for my review. It was insanely crazy!

On to Maui

The section of airport we sat in awaiting our "puddle jumper" to Maui appeared to be where they send the bad passengers who try to bring bottles of water and change in their pockets. "We say no change through detector. You sit now in 'dis section and t'ink 'bout watchu did. Maholo."

It was almost as bad as Long Beach, just minus the chain linked fence and the chickens. So, now I'm on the plane waiting to leave. Rob and I are both blogging while we wait for more passengers to fill the plane and take away the empty seat beside me, and along with it, what little leg room I have.

It was crazily funny when the flight attendant (who looks like a short-white reject from the Harlem Globetrotters) announced that he would be serving drinks once we reach cruising altitude. The catch sooned followed as he mumbled that there would be a charge for everything...including water. What? I just paid you plenty of money to warrant at least the opportunity to lick the salt off a peanut or two. This is because of the change in my pocket while passing through the detector isn't it?

Making the Last Few Moments Count

Our attempt on our way out the door in Hawaii was to cram as much as we could in during the early morning hours before our flight. We got up this morning @ 5:30 and headed to Hanauma Bay. This, our third attempt to snorkel and see why everyone says this is a must see experience.

We tried to go to Hanauma Bay on Tuesday, only to learn that they are closed all day on Tuesdays. We tried again Wednesday, but too late in the day and the crowds were too big, so they shut down the park to anymore coming in. Our third attempt was ruined this morning by an onslaught of vampire jellyfish. Their lifeless gel filled bodies littered the shore. We waited for the official call which came moments later. Once again, we were turned away.

So, we headed back to the room and got things together for our departure. We decided to swing by Dog the Bounty Hunter's office on the way to the airport to get a few pics and see "the Dog" and his beautiful bride. We got shots of the place, but no long blonde haired 80 year olds in leather were to be seen. So, on to the airport.

We will be flying over to Maui for a brief layover before heading across the Pacific for home. Pray for safe travels for me and Rob. Actually, pray for everyone on the plane, since their lack of a safe flight would greatly impact us!

I'll try to blog again in Maui to share some news with you if I get a chance, so check back throughout the day.

Last Full Day in Honolulu

Today was our last full day here. Our flight leaves in the morning for SOCAL. So, we had a lot to do. We didn't get to meet with the associational leaders, but I did get a phone interview with them.

My idea is to bring all of the baptist churches in Honolulu together for a one night revival and outreach. My hope is that we can meet in Kapiolani park, our choir can provide all of the music and a pastor can preach. It would be great for the churches to promote unity and help cast a vision for reaching the people of Honolulu.

Please pray that the association does what we need them to in order to make this work. Everyone has to do their job.

We're planning on visiting Hanauma Bay tomorrow...EARLY. If we're able to drag ourselves out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Climbed Diamond Head (and barely survived)

Diamond Head is no joke. It was so beautiful. The view from the top is amazing. You can see all of Waikiki, look down on the coral reef at the oceans edge, and view the entire park area we will be doing some ministry in. However, there is a dark side to Diamond Head.

It is a constant incline. Once you get to a certain point, you look up and see a steep staircase empty into a dark tunnel. We braved the climb and entered the darkness. The tunnel is really cool. I thought it would empty out @ the top, but no.

We came out of the tunnel only to find a 100 step set of stairs...straight up. Rob and I climbed them, and then darkness......

After I sat for a while (actually I was laying down pouring water on my head), I went up the short little spiral staircase to the top.

The view is definitely worth the climb. I will never forget how breath taking it was.

Check back later for Associational meeting results and Hanauma Bay news.

It's Just Another Day For You and Me in Paradise

Yes, the title of this blog is a Phil Collins song. I guess the secret is out. Phil is by far my favorite singer. Now, onto Hawaii...

Rob and I are about to hike Diamond Head. We "need" to see if it's something worth taking the students on when we're back in June (said with smirk and slight sarcasm). Later, we're meeting with the local Baptist Associational leaders to cast our vision for helping to unite the churches of the island in a common effort. Pray for this meeting. Pray that they catch the vision and work to see it happen. More on this later today.

I've already had breakfast in bed (Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and am putting my hiking shoes on. Check back later today for more news and "interesting happenings". Here we go....

Partying with the Leprechauns

My grandmother was Irish. The crazy thing is that she was born on St. Patrick's Day and her favorite color was green. Perhaps that's why I really love Lucky Charms. But, I digress.

Tonight, Rob and I couldn't find a good party that didn't have drunk people dancing around like fish flopping on a pier. We ended up @ a restaurant called The Tree House. We were the only people in the place, but were right across from another joint that was hopping with a drunken party. I was pretty entertained from a safe distance.

Tomorrow is another crazy busy day. Please pray for us as we try to work out the details in preparation for the choir tour in June. More updates will post tomorrow. Maholo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What a Day

Wow! We have been going strong ALL DAY LONG. Let me give you the run down:

1) Rode out to Hanauma Bay. Found out it's closed on Tuesdays. Note to self: don't take the group on Tuesday!
2) Met with University of Hawaii lodging director
3) Toured campus
4) Ate @ Yama's Fish Market
5) Met with Pastor John @ Kalihi Baptist Church.
6) Visited 3 different underprivileged apartment complexes. We are going to be doing backyard Bible clubs @ one of them. We will also do some clean up at the complex.
7) Pastor drove us to Chinatown and bought us some mannapua to try. It's basically a sweet roll outside with different stuffings. We tried sweet pork, coconut, and black sugar. Me likes.
8) We drove to the USS Arizona Memorial and walked through a small section of the tour to gather info and make sure it's worth bringing the group to. It's definitely a "must see".
9) We drove to Diamond Head to find out where we can hike.
10) We went to Kaliamoni Park in search of ministry opps. We found some. We are definitely following up on that in the morning. More to come later.

Now, we are looking for a great St. Patrick's party in downtown Waikiki. I'll give you the scoop on that when you check back later.

What kind of Pig?

We met this morning with the Director of Housing @ the University of Hawaii. It was kinda cool to be in the housing building that we MAY be staying in and look out over the football field.
Home of the Rainbow Warriors. (I know. It's just not that intimidating once you add in the word Rainbow.)

Talking to the director, we asked where we should go for authentic, off the tourist's radar, Hawaiian food. She told us that we had to go to Yama's Fish Market and get the Kalua Pig. "What kind of pig?"

It was amazing. Served in a cup of its own juice, rice, mac salad and a drink...$6.50. Yama's definitely makes my list of favorite local cuisine on this trip!

Hawaii in Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day from beautiful Waikiki, Hawaii! There is a St. Patrick's Day parade going on here today. I'm kind of curious to see what that will look like in Hawaii. Will they go with lots of drums, fire, and hairy, shirtless, facepainted grunting warriors? Or will leprechauns be dancing gleefully with pots of gold?

Today, we're going to check out a camp facility, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and meeting with Pastor John from Kalihi Baptist Church. Hopefully, we'll have some tentative itinerary plans for the June trip drawn up as a result of these meetings today.

Check back often. I plan to blog several times each day with updates. Some will be very interesting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Day That Will Live....

So, you know how Spanish is the "2nd language" in the continental US? Well, in Hawaii, its Japanese. There are so many Japanese people here.

Now, I'm not saying that it bothers me at all. I'm just surprised. That's all. I just didn't expect this given the whole Pearl Harbor fiasco.

Toe Flossing and The Tower of Terror

So, yeah. Ministry does have perks at times. This happens to be one of them. I am in Waikiki, Hawaii on a pre-trip in preparation for our Student Worship Choir tour here in June. Rob Signs and I are meeting with the Pastor of the church we are partnering with, touring the area, doing sight inspections @ various hotels, and developing a general plan for the trip.

We landed today and it has been amazing. The island is beautiful, but we have also seen some unexpected crazy stuff.

Picture this: you're driving down the road looking for a hotel. You see beach, palm trees, people in swim suits, and various stores. All of a sudden something insane catches your eye. It is a 70+ year old man on a bench with his corn chip toenails up in his lady's face. She doesn't seem to mind, and proceeds to rub his feet with lotion. As we continued to sit @ the red light, she then pulled out a towel and began flossing between the old guy's toes.

Call me crazy, but I was intensely disturbed.

The Tower of Terror is the nickname we have bestowed upon the elevator at the Queen Kapiolani hotel. It just drops!

More later. Keep checking back for the misadventures of Jeff and Rob.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Breakfast Song

Have you seen this yet? Pretty interesting......

The Twilight Zone

When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows to watch was The Twilight Zone. I loved the old black and white ones. But in the 80s, they came out with a new series of The Twilight Zone, and I loved it, too. Even the movie was awesome to me. For those of you familiar with the show, you'll remember how strange phenomenons would occur and freaky things that we would never expect to see or experience in "this world" would happen. Recently, I think I may have entered into my own "twilight zone" or sorts. Let me explain:

This past November, I met a man for the first time at our Christmas tree lighting. During our initial introductions he asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from Augusta, GA. His eyes lit up and he said "I was born in Augusta, GA".

I responded by saying, "Really? I was born there, too, at St. Joseph's Hospital."
"Oh, my gosh!", he said. "Me too." The same hospital? Come on. And here we are in Southern California having this conversation.

Today, I had lunch with him and he mentioned to me that he grew up on Telfair Street in Augusta, GA. I was blown away, because my mother grew up on Telfair Street. Strange world, huh?

After lunch, I called a lady who was the mother of my childhood best friend. For whatever reason, I just had him on my mind last night and today, and thought I would call his "old" phone number just to see if I could get in touch with him somehow. Come to find out, they had just been talking about me earlier this morning. And then I called. The weird part of this is that we haven't talked, written, or corresponded in any way in over 20 years. How ironic that she would have that conversation about me on the day that I would call. (cue Twilight Zone music.) (Perhaps I'm the topic of conversation every day in their family. But, I think that would be even freakier.)

Maybe I'm making more of this than is really there. But, it has been freakishly cool. So, what's your "twilight zone" story?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cool New Songs

Tonight we are going to be working really hard in choir rehearsal. We are preparing for Travis Cottrell to be with us on April 8, so we have some new songs to learn. Also, we are singing at MusiCalifornia April 15. So, we're looking at some new charts for that, as well. Busy, busy, busy. But, it's during those times when you find yourself in the trenches, working shoulder to shoulder with other believers to accomplish a huge goal, that you experience the most growth.

Be there tonight as we move one step closer in preparation toward leading others in worship of our Mighty God. See you tonight!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Student Worship Choir

It has been a great year with the Student Worship Choir this year, at Immanuel. I have loved working with them. We are doing some rockin' music that is going to help us reach the people of Hawaii in June. That's right! We're going to be suffering for the Lord in Hawaii.

We are partnering with Kalihi Baptist Church in Waikiki, HI. We'll be doing Backyard Bible Clubs with kids in an underprivileged apartment complex each day we're there. At the end of the week we will host a block party for the kids, their parents, and all of the people in that area. SWC will be doing concerts throughout the week, as well.

I am flying over next week to meet with Pastor Jon Vaughn. He is planning on showing me around the island and allowing me to get my feet on the ground in the places we will be serving. It will definitely help to alleviate some potential problems that we could face in June. So, pray for the people of Hawaii. Pray for our students. And pray that God will do a great work in us, and through us, for His glory and our good.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The World in Which We Live

This morning, a gunman entered First Baptist Church of Maryville, IL and opened fire. He shot the Pastor 3 times, and early reports say that 3-5 others were shot, as well. FoxNews reports that the Pastor, Fred Winters, later died at the hospital. Please pray for this church, the Winters family, and all others who will be affected by this tragedy. Romans 28 is still true. The Lord will work all things for good.

It's out of tragedies like this that God saves souls, increases faith, and does a mighty work that only He can do. Jody and I were in Fort Worth, TX at Southwestern Seminary when a gunman entered Wedgewood Baptist Church and opened fire on a congregation full of young worshipers at a "See You at the Pole" rally. God did an amazing work in the aftermath of that horrible day.

Remain faithful and lift up those who need us during this day of tragedy in their lives.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Post 500

It is official. I have posted 500 blogs. For such a time as this, I thought I should prepare a speech of some kind:

(cue cheesy underscore music)
First, I'd like to thank the academy for their recognition of my work. I have poured my soul and education in the english language into every word I have spoken...or, typed. The truths and heart-felt passion that can be found within the confinds of this online journal all pour from my pen as an overflow of my walk through each and every experience. Daily, my mind is riddled with dreams and fantasies of impacting as many people as possible, and leaving no life untouched.

Today, I feel as though the world stands with me as I (cue needle drag across record)>>>>>>>>>>

Okay. It's just my 500th post. I'm glad you were here to read it. Onto 500 more!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'm Sick of It

That's right. I said it. I'm so sick of being sick. I've not been sick in a long time. But, this virus has hit me with a vengeance. I've been sick since last Monday night.

Caleb and Jody have it now. But, it seems to be affecting us all slightly differently. I was hoping to have my voice back this morning. But, it was not to be. So, I'll be hanging @ the house today wishing I was @ Immanuel.