Life as I know it

This is going to sound like a complaint but I promise that it is the furthest thing from a complaint...my life has become very busy lately.

I always thought that when I got a big boy job that things would open up and I would have so much time to just relax and enjoy life. Come to find out, I just like to fill my time with stuff. Very little of it is of great importance, but it is stuff at that. For instance:

I got a dog. His name is Bandit. Yes, I named him after the intramural franchise I played for. He was quite the handful for a few weeks but we are learning how to live with each other and he is slowly less of a pain in my butt. He is still a puppy so he does still get into trouble, but he can't help that. No matter how hard I try. He's getting there though.

Back to this job thing. I work at the coolest place in the world and do probably the least cool thing in the world. It's a give and take. I work at Heifer International's international headquarters here in little ole Little Rock. Why it's here: I have no idea. That's the cool part. The not so cool part is that I work in the call center. And really, the only bad thing about that is that people always have a negative impression towards that idea. Like I wasted 4 years of my life or something. I don't let myself see it that way. That would make getting up in the morning impossible. It truly is an unbelievably rewarding job. I get to talk to people who are excited about helping people all day, everyday. The people who are not so happy when they call in: I get to make them happy in the short amount of time I get to speak with them. I get to improve people's day. Even if that just means letting them vent their frustrations to me for a few minutes. I've been getting griped at for 22 years. Now I get paid to do it. It's not always happy go lucky there, but I can't imagine it being that way anywhere. Not even if you worked for Ellen or Oprah.

So, between Bandit and Heifer plus softball and trying to avoid getting fat, I am usually pretty worn out by the time bedtime arrives. That is definitely the case tonight. Maybe I'll start doing this more regularly than I've been doing it. Only time will tell...


Kids grow up so fast

I would like to apologize to my favorite sister and nephew before I go any further with this post. There will be pictures and videos of Jude and Cale shortly. And I will refer to them as "cute" or "precious" or any other similar adjective. This, in no way, implies that Ben is not cute, precious, or any other similar adjective. I just do not get to take pictures or videos of him doing all of these fun things. So please do not hate me. However, if you would like to see pictures and videos of Ben, check out how cute and precious he is here.

Now that we've got that out of the way...this post is dedicated to the nephews. Apparently I am going to have to keep the cyber world up to date on Jude and Cale's growth because his parents barely know how to turn on a computer and if his Nana is at the computer for too long, her "tennis" elbow starts to flare up on her. Good thing they've got their uncle Bob here to save the day. The poor kids are just so neglected.

We'll start off with the less impressive of the two impressive videos...keep in mind that he has yet to turn one. He's still zero.

I don't think those were his first steps, but they were the first ones that I've seen him take with no assistance. However, I don't think anyone would be surprised if he waited to see me to take his first steps. We all know that I am Cale's favorite. In fact, it is not very much of a contest. I have no idea why that kid loves me so much, but you will never catch me complaining about it.

Now for some random pictures...

Jude was my wake up call the other morning and was nice enough to pose for a picture.

This is the boys' (all three, Micah) new pool. You can't tell in this picture, but it is a helicopter with a built in water gun, among other features.

This is Grandad's swing set. Jude approves.

Grandad also built a new sand box under the swing set in the back yard. Jude approves.

I could keep going going, but I think that is enough cuteness, preciousness, and a bunch of other "ness-es" for now.


Too soon?

So, the timing of this video is, admittedly, poor but I'm hoping that the humor behind it shines brighter than the sadness.

This is my little way of sending Josh off with a bang. He has hopefully landed safely in Sydney by now and is maybe even into his apartment. I think it is the middle of the afternoon tomorrow where he is but I'm not totally sure on that one. Anywho, Josh is famous for making really goofy/funny videos for any reason at all, so I am taking this opportunity to make one for him. It is my first excursion with iMovie so I will surely get better with time. Because I am by no means an editing expert yet. Sorry bout that...

I really just wanted to make a stupid and funny video but I found myself getting sad as I played with the video. If you're unaware, our friend Josh (the one from the video...) has moved to Australia for a year. That's kind of a long way away. He's going to the Hillsong college so he should stay busy enough to not think about home a whole lot. But he definitely appreciates any extra prayers you send his way. Oh yeah...you should check his blog out too.

That's really all I've got for now. I (sorta) started the video blogging, so now maybe this little fad will grow from here.

This could be interesting...


Well, look what the cat drug in...

So...my posts have been few and far between here lately. I'm trying to be more consistent, though, I promise. And this should help me with that...

Yes, that is my new toy that I have become quite fond of in the 4 days I have had her so far. She does not have a name yet but that is being worked on. My laptop has moved on to laptop heaven (at least I think it went that route...) a while back and I have been mowing yards again the past several weeks, so it has been increasingly difficult to actually get on here and blog. And, as you see here, Gentry has moved to town.

There, that's three legitimate excuses to explain my lack of posts lately. But I'm back now and hopefully for the long haul.

I really just wanted to post a picture of my new computer but I felt like I needed some additional words to go with it.

See ya soon.


"No one's perfect"

Those are words that have been said millions of times. Each of us have said them a thousand times following various screw ups, even. But hearing those words out of Armando Galarraga's mouth this morning impacted me in a new way.

Galarraga pitches for the Detroit Tigers. He's not a great pitcher. Probably not even a good pitcher (compared to other major leaguers, of course). But he pitched the game of his life last night. He was on the verge of history. Attempting to throw the 21st perfect game in major league history, he entered the bottom of the 9th having retired all 24 Cleveland hitters who had stepped to the plate. The 25th man to the plate was Mark Grudzielanek (stop trying to pronounce it. it's not that important) and he hit a blast into the left-center field gap. Centerfielder Austin Jackson ran faster than I'm sure he has ever run before and made an unbelievable over-the-shoulder catch to keep the perfect game alive. The next batter grounded out harmlessly to short. Then this happened...

Umpires, referees, and officials in general catch blame for losses daily. Rarely are those accusations accurate, though. But in this case, the umpire, Jim Joyce, cost a pitcher his perfect game. That out would have ended the game and secured Galarraga's place in history. Joyce is an excellent excellent umpire, too. He has twice been voted the second best umpire in the game....by the players. I'm gonna assume that this is not the first incorrect call that he has made but I am positive that no one will remember any of them better than that one.

You could see the disappointment in all of the Tigers' faces. You would have expected Galarraga to explode in rage after the call was made. He had to know that Jason Donald was out. He had to feel his foot hit the bag before Donald's. But he didn't erupt. The camera caught him smiling in an almost awkward stare down with Joyce. And in the locker room, before showering off, he uttered those words-"no one's perfect"- to a reporter who, undoubtedly, was looking for an expletive filled quote from the pitcher. He was still sweaty from the action of the game but did have a few extra minutes to let the realization sink in that his perfect game had been taken away by a bad call. A time that most people would use to become enraged about the whole situation. Not him. And how fitting it is that he said "no one's "perfect."

He never showed one bit of frustration toward Joyce. Possibly because Joyce found him in the locker room after the game- immediately after the umpire watched the replay of the call- and embraced the pitcher and wrapped him in a hug and began sobbing. He apologized repeatedly. He admitted his mistake and showed how awful he felt about the situation. And today, in a much more public form, Galarraga showed that he had no hard feelings by delivering the lineup card to Joyce at home plate. The delivery of the lineups is generally done by the coaches, all umpires are present, and the event signifies it's time to start the game so all eyes were on home plate at that time. It was a simple gesture but one that brought Joyce to tears again.

Galarraga showed more forgiveness than was required. No one would have been shocked if he had showed anger or frustration towards Joyce. But he took the high road. He showed the courage and integrity that I hope I would be able to show. That I should be able to show. That I fail to show again and again. He set an example for players to follow. He set an example for fans to follow. He set an example for Christians to follow. He set an example for me to follow.

Galarraga managed to turn something devastating into the most positive, encouraging thing of the year. A quality that I strive to obtain.


This week the trend

I have recently re-discovered my deep love of writing. And I know what you're thinking already. I realize that I didn't blog for about 3 weeks straight BUT that's because I have had to do "real" writing lately. Writing that is actually useful. Not that this blog is useless. It's just that I often find myself writing in circles on here (see above for proof)...

Because I am fairly certain that only about 3 people read this thing (including me), I have decided it would be pointless to give a daily recap of my not-so-interesting life (also because all 3 of those people pretty much know exactly where I am at all times). So, to give a resolution to the first post I ever made, I have decided to make this kind of my journal of thoughts-but in a more manly, macho kind of way, of course.

Anywho, my love of writing has resurfaced, as I said before. I have found myself really wanting to write a book. But the only kind of book I can think of writing would be fiction. But I don't even like to read fiction books myself. This is quite the conundrum. I am afraid that if I don't get started on this book soon, I will just keep posting really pointless blogs like this one. If that happens, my reader list will probably deteriorate further. So here's hoping to discovering a book idea so neither of you leave me...


People All Stars

So, this is an idea that I thought was pretty cool at first. But then, on second thought, I realized that it is one of my favorite ideas...ever.

Starting last year (in St. Louis, no less), Major League Baseball teamed up with People Magazine in a very cool way. The idea is called Everyday All Stars. The concept behind the whole thing is to start recognizing-in a very public way-the efforts of everyday people. People who we have all thought at one time or another, "man, he/she would go out of his/her way for anyone! They should get an award or something." Well, here's their chance. The selected people (who can be nominated by anyone, including themselves) don't just get their names scrolled across the screen in the middle of the 5th inning. These 30 people (one to represent each MLB team) get the whole All Star experience. They are in the host city for the entire break. They get to mingle with the players during Home Run Derby. They get to be introduced on the field during player introductions before the game. And a short documentary is made for each of them to be shown sometime during the festivities.

I'm guessing this is just the emergency manager coming out in me, but I think this is just awesome. At a time when volunteer numbers are at their lowest in several generations (and for obvious reasons), what better way to encourage people to get out and help? Now, I do believe that the REAL everyday all stars do not need any encouragement to get out and act, but this has the potential to increase volunteer numbers exponentially; even if the work is done with selfish ambitions in mind.

Some people need a little extra push to get out and help, we all know that. I see this as the nudge those people on the fence may need. I mean, who doesn't want to meet Albert Pujols or see if the TV is responsible for the extra 200 pounds that Prince Fielder appears to be lugging around? That is motivation enough for me to do just about anything-good or bad. Major League Baseball and People Magazine are providing the incentive that millions of people have been lacking to this point.

I have no idea how many nominations were received last year. I have no idea how many have been submitted this year. But I can't see how this thing won't just keep growing and growing. I can't see how the bar won't be raised higher and higher each year by the All Stars. And you can bet that I will be doing my part to make sure that there are enough applicants to choose from. The process is extremely simple. A short 100 word explanation of what the person has done. Nothing to it. That person is now entered to win the experience of a lifetime.

There is no criteria of what they must have done, so I will be nominating anyone and everyone I can think of for this...

And you should too....


The adventures of an incurable optimist...

I am still not sure where I really want to go with this whole blog thing, so I plan on just wingin it for a while til I find my niche...here it goes...

Ok, so maybe I did borrow that title from a Michael J. Fox book, but it can be applied to my life, too. If ever I was going to shift gears and turn into a pessimist or a realist (a pessimist in denial, as I see them...), it would have long since been done. I just can't find it in myself to conform to the rest of the world on this one.

Much like the wonderful John Conlee, I choose to see the world through my rose colored glasses...because they show only the beauty. Mr. Conlee was mainly referring to a broken relationship but I am taking his song to the next level and applying it to life in general. This thought occurred to me while reading the most recent issue of ESPN the Magazine. In it was an article about "Neon" Deion Sanders (the infamously arrogant football/baseball player) and the charity work that he does now that he is done playing. Many (maybe even "most") people question the intentions behind Sanders' giving and helping because of the way he carried himself when he was still in the game. This includes the author who kept finding himself perplexed about the whole situation and couldn't decide on which side of the fence he was.

I can't/won't allow myself to get to that point. I will give any and everyone a second, third, and fourth chances...heck, all the way to 70x7 chances if need be. It may be true that I am just trying my best to hold on to the innocence of my childhood, but I'll take that over cynicism anyday. Yes, I am skeptical of many things at first glance but, as soon as I get close to being cynical about stuff, I look at these 3 PRECIOUS nephews of mine and re-realize that all is right in the world...no matter what you say....

Benjamin-7 months old-the youngest of the 3

Cale-cousin to and 15 days Ben's senior

Jude- brother to and 2 years Cale's senior


Does this blog make me look fat?

I'm gonna have to figure this thing out before these will be worth reading. Unfortunately, I have nothing at the moment . . . My profile hasn't turned out the way I had envisioned so far so I have to fix that before I become interested again.