Yesterday evening we made a significant purchase. We settled on 'Sierra' who came from a Boxer mother and Yellow Lab father. She is 9-weeks-old and very cute and cuddly. She has her share of playmates around here, as Alex and Allison have greatly entertained her. In fact, in one of the photos below, you can almost see how sweaty Alex is from running her around the yard dozens of times. We have a pretty full few days ahead of us, but we promise to update you more on her very soon!

More Sierra!

One Giant Train Table

Our living room, with hardwood floors, still is without furniture. For the past few weeks it has been serving as the world's largest train table.


Orange Belt

Last week Alex tested for his orange belt at his new Taekwondo school, Asian Sun. He loves his new program, and we have to admit, this school is a little more serious than the martial arts school he was enrolled in in Vancouver. He had to present some forms to a Master in order to pass from the yellow belt to the orange belt, as well as break a board with a front kick. That's what he's doing in the first picture. He claimed he was a little nervous about the board, but he broke it with his first kick.


A pleasant conversation

Last week after classes were over, Anne and the kids picked me up at Case and we went out to dinner. As we entered the restaurant, we were guided past a table where a lone old man was sitting eating his dinner. The hostess seated us in the booth next to him.

As we passed, I noticed his hat sitting on the table, which declared that he was a World War II veteran. I have talked with the kids before about war and soldiers and the nobility of those that protect us by putting themselves in danger. So, when the man was done eating and stood up to leave, I asked him about his service.

You should have seen his face come alive. He must have been well into his eighties, but as he recounted his time in the South Pacific, his eyes were vibrant and young again. He told the kids about a mission to rescue captive missionaries and school teachers on an island near the Phillipines, where intelligence gave his unit the exact time when the prison camp guards met for calisthenics every morning. Figuring the guards would have put their rifles down to exercise, his unit parachuted in and took the whole camp in a matter of minutes without a single casualty on either side.

He told us too about how he still gets together regularly with the eight other men from his unit still living. We talked about the absolutely unique camradarie of those who have seen combat together. He said that their wives were always amazed how the men could pick right up with each other even after years and years of separation. I said that maybe that was God's gift to those that put themselves at risk and made it through.

I made sure to point out to the kids that we could sit there eating pancakes and eggs because men like him put themselves in danger. I also told the kids that while I would be scared if they ever went to war, I would be so proud of their choice to do so. It saddens Anne and I that our kids will grow up in a generation that does not revere soldiers, so we do what we can to teach them that that type of sacrifice deserves our respect.

As he left, the soldier turned back around and thanked me deeply for asking him about his experiences. It is not something that I usually do, but I am glad that I did.


How we know we're no longer in Portland.....(part 2)

...twice today, in two different locations, I heard the Ohio State fight song as a ringtone. And, its only 11:30 am.


How we know we're no longer in Portland.....

...we have yet to see a car that looks like this.

A ten minute drive in the northwest would yield at least half a dozen cars that made their statements with a variety of bumper stickers. Here, in Ohio, the only bumper stickers we've seen have been for colleges/universities and various sororities and fraternities. And its been very few. Even in an election year, we've seen less than five total campaign stickers.


Walt Disney World

For some reason I thought I took less pictures this year. But, when I went to upload them onto the computer, I discovered I still had 199. That seems like a lot to me. We had a great trip! Enjoy!


It's a new day

First thing in the morning, I (Adam) will be hopping on the bus for the 20 minute ride to Case Western Reserve University. My first day of MBA orientation begins at 8 am.

This journey has been a long one for me, and the family as well. Anne and I started tossing around the idea of me pursuing an MBA back in 2004. At the time, I was Director of Operations for a CCC summer project in Lake Tahoe (the best job I've ever had, BTW). In the midst of doing the accounting, payroll, rules and regulations, and property management, much to my surprise I realized that I was good at those things, and they were fun!

It was a shock in many ways. I had never been involved in the business side of things before. But the next question quicklybecame, "How can I best steward these talents?" It became obvious that ministry is a generally poor environment for professional growth, and the opportunities within CCC to use my skills were pretty limited. So, Anne and I started thinking, "Why not learn from professionals?"

This led to a two-year waiting period where the idea was never far from the back of my mind. Then, in Decemeber 2006, I was in Washington DC for a CCC conference. While there, a friend of mine set us up with an after-hours tour of the Pentagon, through one of his former CCC students that had been working for the DoD. As we walked the halls of the Pentagon, and listened to the former student talk about her influence in high places of government, a familiar but friendly jealousy was aroused within me.

Over a late dinner, as our group talked after the tour, I was thinking that I would like to do something similar to what our tour guide was doing; that is, to be an insider in influential places, to have a voice with powerful people, and to be developed to the fullest capacity of my God-given abilities.

At once, very audibly in my head, I heard what I still think was the voice of God, say to me, "If you want that, then make it happen. You're a man, right? I've given you the skills, right? Stop talking and start doing!" The tone was by no means scolding; rather, it was the tone of release, a loving tone that said to me that I was free to choose between several good choices for the future of our family and to take an active role in playing out God's calling on my life.

Anne was immediately on board; she had been having similar stirrings. From there, it grew into choosing schools, locales, programs; mapping out timelines; scraping together money for study books and application fees and test fees; studying for entrance exams; writing essays; hectoring those filling out references; and a host of other challenges.

Tomorrow, it becomes reality.

There is much to tell from the journey. I am happy to answer specific questions, if anyone poses them in the comments. I will write more in the coming weeks to attempt to share some of those stories, for Anne and I have learned much through it all.


From Baseball to Football

We spent Friday evening at the Cleveland Browns Stadium for their training camp Family Night. It was families, fireworks and football...a great Midwestern Friday night.