Friday, December 18, 2009

A Day Of Victories

On December 6th, my team of Spirit FM listeners and friends gathered for our inaugural race, the Sunshine Challenge to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and it was definitely a day of victories.

For most 5 Ks that I've signed up for, you sign up as an individual. On the Sunshine Challenge site, there was an option to form a team. I thought, "Why not?!" I figured I'd mention it on the air a couple of times and maybe a couple of listeners would join me. I was pleasantly surprised when, by race day, my team was thirteen strong!

We had small victories: Ashley ran farther than she ever had before and I had a personal-best time. Then there were some larger victories: My teammate, Sean was the first-place finishing male. I was so impressed and proud of my team! The biggest victory of all though was for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. As we ran, there were posters along the route of children whose lives had been taken by cancer. Talk about motivation to keep running. It was a great day for a great cause.

The plan is to sign up for another race next month and keep "Abby's Spirit FM Team" up and running (no pun intended). Hopefully the team number will grow. So feel free to join in. All are welcome!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It About More than Rice Crispy Treats

Over the past few months, you've probably heard me mention donating platelets. Many people are familiar with donating blood and even if you've never done it, you know how it works. The world of platelets is something different and foreign to many.

First, let me say that if you're not a blood donor, I encourage you to pray and think about why you're not doing it. If it's because you're scared, I understand, but let the fear go. If you don't have time, I understand, but make time. If you just don't find an interest in donating, I understand, but get interested, please. One of my closest friends gave birth a couple of weeks ago and had a very near death experience. She said after she had the baby and they wheeled her into surgery, she saw the bag of blood there, ready for a transfusion. She's just one of about 5 people in my life who have needed (or come very close to needing) a transfusion. If I can name 5, you probably can too. Right there... that's enough for me to let go of any excuse - pain, fear, schedules, indifference - and roll up my sleeve.

That's blood. Now, let's talk platelets. When I go to the Florida Blood Services Donor Center I always see people watching movies. I've always known that they were donating platelets, but I never considered it. I had my platelet count tested and it turns out I have a freakishly high count, which is good! So I made the appointment.

Platelets are tiny clotting agents found in blood that are vital to people recovering from leukemia, cancer, open heart surgery and transplant surgery. Also, because chemo and radiation therapy often destroy healthy cells, these people need platelet transfusions as well.

Donating platelets is sort of like donating blood. I do it through two arms. One needle takes blood out. The blood then goes through a computerized cell separator machine, which collects the platelets. The remaining plasma and red blood cells are then returned through the other arm. It can be done through one needle if you don't have good veins on both arms. It takes quite a bit longer than a regular blood donation. It's a nice time to sit back and enjoy a movie though, or talk with God. Here are more details about donating platelets.

To be truthful with you, while it's not painful, it is a little uncomfortable. But, sometimes, God calls us to do things that make us uncomfortable, right? There are perks though. They shower me with Rice Crispy Treats and soda and I always walk out with a sweet new t-shirt (the platelet t-shirts are way cooler than the blood donor shirts). I joke with the folks there (Luis, Karen, Rachel, Laura, Becky, and Arelis- all my FBS peeps!) about how I'm just there for the Rice Crispy Treats, but that's my cool-girl front. The truth is, I love that I'm making myself a little uncomfortable, a little pained, and a little inconvenienced for a stranger who needs my help. Science is amazing and the human body is remarkable. The fact that I can give something from my own body that can help save someone else's life is a miracle to me.

I walk out of the donor center on Kennedy Blvd. feeling like a million bucks and that I was just part of a miracle. Yes, the purse full of Rice Crispy treats is nice too, but I know that God will honor my time and my gift. It's part of being a steward and I hope you'll consider doing it too. If you have any questions, please email me: I'd be honored to speak on behalf of FBS and answer any of your questions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness

I heard this morning about the drummer from KISS being diagnosed with breast cancer. No, you're not crazy. I'm talking about KISS, the all-male band, well, males that put on make-up. Less than 1% of all new cases of invasive breast cancer occur in men. That equates to about 1,990 cases per year. So it CAN happen.

All forms of cancer are tragic, but breast cancer sends an extra blow. Women say it touches them emotionally because it's a direct hit to their feminine identity. Most of us have been personally touched by breast cancer. My grandmother and her sister, my wonderful Aunt Dolly, both had it. I remember playing with my grandmother's wigs as a little girl. Recently, my friend's aunt lost her battle with what started as breast cancer and then spread. She wasn't even 50 yet.

There are so many ways for you to get involved with this fight. There are activities all around town, purchases you can make that benefit breast cancer research and support groups about which you can help get the word out. Most importantly, pray for the women who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, the men who have been diagnosed and feel embarassed, for those who are wearing wigs or scarves on their heads and those who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Pray for the husbands who will provide the emotional support for their wives. And don't just do these things in the month of October. There are eleven other months of the year that we can take advantage of and help put an end to this disease.

- Abby

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meet "Carlos" & "Abby"

Every once in a while I have a moment where I'm reminded of how much of a responsibility I've been given from 6 to 10 am every Monday through Friday. Last Friday night I had the pleasure of emceeing the Todd Agnew/Building 429 concert at St. Andrew's UMC in Brandon. I went into the artist "holding" room and introduced myself to one of the musicians. When I said my name, I heard a woman say, "Ava! Do you know who that is? It's Abby from Spirit FM!" Ava is three and possibly one of the most preciously-cute little girls I've ever laid eyes on. See for yourself in the pic. Her mother, Rachel told me that Ava is a huge fan of "The Big, Big House Morning Show." In fact, she has dolls she's named "Carlos" and "Abby." I'm the Hello Kitty doll and Carlos is the red Dr. Seuss fox.

When I looked at this picture Rachel emailed me this morning, I thought two things. One, the Lord has given me a huge responsibility with this show. The little ears and hearts that tune in every day, many still strapped into a car seat, are so easily impressionable. I know how important it is that they hear positive, encouraging words and music. And that leads me to the second thought: What a blessing it is to be a part of a ministry that can form young hearts like this.

I'm sure there are other three year old little girls out there that have dolls they've named "Brittany" (no, I'm not trying to harp on Brittany Spears, but that's a recognizable name in pop culture) or "Mylie." I'm not saying I'm perfect or these girls are horrible roll models. I'm am saying that there are so many other things out there that want our kids' attention. It so great that Ava has been surrounded by the message and music on Spirit FM so much that she's found a friend in me and Carlos. I can only imagine the conversations she has with "Carlos" and "Abby." I wonder if the plush Abby corrects the plush Carlos' grammar too! Or if the plush Carlos has a funny laugh and the plush Abby has moments of air-headedness. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

My prayer is that more parents in the Tampa Bay area can use Spirit FM to feed their children the message of Christ. I'd love it if every three year old in the tri-county area named their Hello Kitty, "Abby" and their funny red fox, "Carlos." Not because my name would be out there, but because then I'd know that these kids know the love and the friendship they have in Jesus. That would be pretty cool.

- Abby

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I've heard runners say that while running, they have very deep thoughts about life and how life is just like a run or a race. Even Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 says "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." It's true. Life is like a long run. Sometimes you get tired. Sometimes you want to quit. Other times you feel like you could conquer any hill.

As I've mentioned before, I've set a goal for myself of a 5K per month. So far I've done three. June, July and September (Couldn't find one in August that would work with my schedule). To train for these monthly races, I've been trying a 3:1 system. I'll run for three minutes and walk for one. I do that for about 32 minutes and cover about 2.7 miles. Yeah, I know. A 5K is 3.1 miles. For that leftover .4 of a mile, I'm just relying on God to move me towards the finish line. So I was run/walking last night and I was thinking about how much I love the one minute of walking and how much I hurt during the three minutes of running. That one minute flies by, while the three minutes of running seem to never end. This led me to think of several metaphors.

The one that made the most sense in my head though, is that life is often dealt out in threes and ones. Sometimes I feel like I only have one minute of good to breathe in before that watch timer beeps and I have to start back into the three minutes of discomfort. For you, maybe the one minute is the time you have in the evening with your family, sitting around the dinner table. Or maybe it's church on Sunday.

Here's what I'm thinking though: Amidst the pain and discomfort of the three minutes of running I can still find the good. Even though I was tired while I was running, I was thinking of how blessed I am to be able to go out and use my legs. I thought of how the walking might be easier, but the running is making my muscles and lungs stronger.

So next time the timer beeps and you have to start running again, try to focus on the good. I know it can be tough. You're never running alone though. Jesus is with you. The communion of saints is with you. We'll run the race together and reach our ultimate and beautiful goal.


Friday, September 18, 2009

I Am Broken

Yet Made Whole

It's so amazing to me...this LOVE we get from an awesome God. How it never ends. Never fails. So pure and so true. Incomprehensible, unimaginable, No matter what.

I will fail : He will make a way
I will disappoint : He will forget it
I will letdown : He will love me anyway
I will stumble : He will right me
I will fall : He will catch me
I will run : He will chase after me
I will hide : He will wait for me
I will doubt : He will never waiver
I will sin : He will forgive me
I will hate : He will show me love
I will lose : He will win
I will need: He will supply
I will _______ : He will always be WHATEVER I NEED HIM TO BE.

I will always need Him. He is Jesus. The savior of the world. The Hero. My Hero. I admit this blog was birthed from the music from a group called Abandon. A really great indie Christian rock group. They penned the lyrics: I’m captured by the love and I have become Your own. Surrounded by my God I’m rising above the shadows. You want me to know. I’m not alone. You want me to come to Your throne. I know. It’s in Your atmosphere. Your spirit is here. I can’t explain this moment. In Your atmosphere.

We are all broken and its only in Jesus we are made completely and entirely whole. My hope is that you spend a few moments basking in the flow, in the atmosphere of Jesus. Savior. Hero of us all. He loves you.

Be Blessed.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Pedestal


Its funny how often when people find out what I do, they think I am this deep theologian who never sins and is constantly on his hands and knees worshipping at the feet of God. The funny thing is that I do it too! To others who are Pastors, Priests or even my favorite Christian artists. We pedestal them. We expect more from them because they are "up there" on the stage, in the lime light, working for the kingdom of God. In truth, if you've heard my radio show then you already know, I am just like you. I never went to bible college, I don't hold degrees in theology and while I do my daily devotionals and really enjoy my quiet time with God, I don't spent 20 hours a day at His feet. Although if I did, image how radically different I would be! Hmmm...

The truth is, I ride motorcycles, I have tattoos, I listen to really heavy hard rock and rap music that aren't always from "Christian" artists, I struggle with things in my life, I sin, I am a human being! I am just like you, just like Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, TobyMac and the rest. In God's eyes we are all the same. His children. We all struggle, we all fall, we all need a savior. We all need JESUS.

From time to time I get down on myself and I say, "Why cant I be more like so and so" and in truth I don't know why. God wants me to be, me. He created a Carlos, not a Carlos in a Billy Graham body. We all have a specific purpose in life. Mine right now is Spirit FM. Billy Graham's was his crusades. Toby has his music. All for the glory of God.

It is nice to have role models, people we can look up to. But we shouldn't pedestal them. Hold them to this untouchable standard because then we lose sight of how great we can be too. Maybe you won't grace the stage in concert for thousands or maybe you won't have a radio show heard all over the bay. But maybe, just maybe, you reach the one God called you to reach. Today, during my thought for the day I mentioned how one youth pastor took me out to a Christian dance club called Tidal Wave and that is where God birthed in me the desire to start DJing. Well a listener who heard me was from that club. She called up and told me how she had been struggling lately with that time in her life, asking God what good came from that place and if anybody was touched. Well, if not for that building, that Christian Club, that youth pastor all doing what God had called them to do, if they all chose to do their thing and not Gods things, maybe I am not where I am today. More in love with God than ever before, in the air at Spirit FM, doing Gods work.

No matter how big or how small the calling, in Gods eyes we are all crucial, all special, all loved and all needed. There is a big picture that only God can see. We are all role players. Some of us mouth pieces, some hands, some feet, some eyes, some ears, ALL apart of the same body of Christ. Remember we are all human, we all fall short and thankfully God loves us and is a savior to us all. We all have a calling and God is ready to get you in the game.

Be Blessed.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Embracing Uncertainty

I don't remember when or where I first came across the popular excerpt from Thomas Merton's "Thoughts in Solitude," but it was one of those things that spoke right to me and I immediately became attached to it. In high school I posted it on my bulletin board in my bedroom and it traveled with me to my college dorm room. A few years ago it came up in conversation around my family and my dad told me he carries it around in his wallet. When that happened, I smiled and thanked God for being so awesome.

Lately it's been popping up all over the place. I saw it on a blog a few days ago. It was brought up at a staff retreat last week... (I get it Holy Spirit! Loud & clear!), so I think it's worth sharing. I've admitted that as a person who likes to make plans for everything and be in control, I struggle with worry and trust. But it can be liberating to embrace uncertainty through the practice of trust. I think it's called having faith!This is a great reminder of how important it is to trust in God's plan for you.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An Open Prayer to God

Heavenly Father...

Won't you take this life from me. For fear from this has stolen so much time from it.
If my life's clock stops tonight, save a few souls with the legacy I leave.
In my hours of weakness give me strength to persevere.
In my doubts and unbelief give me light to see you with me.
When I fall away down a crooked path, send me a life line and rescue me.
Let my life song sing praise to you.
Let the words I say bring you joy.
Let actions speak of what I have inside.
Let my heart always be after you.
Let my heart always be after you.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Rude Awakening

The scene is set. It's 2:20 am on Tuesday. An unsuspecting, sound asleep Abby is woken up by a slap to the left arm. Who? What? Huh? The slap came from none other than Abby herself. Why? She knew there was something crawling on her. This wasn't a ghost creepy crawly. You know, the feeling that something is on you, but it's really not. This was the real deal. In fact, it was big enough to bring Abby out of her sleep.

Can I stop talking in 3rd person now? Thanks. So I wake up to my right arm slapping my left arm. I felt the bug. I hit it (note the good aim even during REM sleep mode), but it didn't die. I wanted to die, but my bug friend crawled down my arm. I sprang out of bed and because my light switch is across the room and I didn't want to let the little bugger get far away, I grabbed my cell phone and relied on the light of the screen to track him down. It felt like an investigative scene from CSI.

I assumed I was looking for a spider. Why? I don't know. I think it's because I could feel him crawling, so I figured there must have been a lot of legs involved. I looked under the bed, behind the bed, under the covers, on top of the covers, inside and on top of my pillow. Nothing. I find it necessary to mention that my husband, my protector was sound asleep this whole time AND my two cats, my hunters, were nowhere to be found. After a few minutes of searching, I was ready to give up the hunt and lie in fear for the rest of the night. What a horrible feeling. Getting back into bed knowing there is a creepy-crawly nearby, just waiting to crawl back under the covers with me. Why did I buy a bed so comfy and inviting?!?!

Just as I shut my phone, turning off the make-shift light, I felt something on my foot. I looked down and saw him. It was a beetle-like cockroachy thing. About an inch long. Ugh. Ew. Eeek... insert your own sound.

Instead of grabbing a book from the shelf behind me, I went into full survival mode and got down and started slapping the bug with my hand. The plushness of the carpet combined with the give of my palm made his death long and drawn-out. My husband finally woke up and I cried to him, "There was a bug on me!" and then I just said, "Finish the job." So he got up, grabbed some tissue and ushered the bug to its final resting place. As we got back into bed I just said to him, "This is why you need to sleep with your mouth shut."

- Abby

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Scenic Route

Where Are We Going?

Its funny how often I think I know everything about everything. I hate to admit it, but at times I am that guy. "Mr. Yeah I Already Heard That One and I Know an Even Better Story Guy" I don't mean to be that guy, my life really is just that random. Abby once asked my wife about a story I told her just to make sure it was true because it was so crazy and because I've got so many. Of course it was a true story as my wife did attest, but I still get that funny look from Abby when I tell her the latest crazy thing that happened in my life. Oh well...

I've been on this whole "surrender" thing lately, in my prayer time, in my reading, in my research, just really delving into the depths of what God is putting on my heart. As I was cruising the net looking for show prep I had my iTunes player on random (the best way to listen to music by the way) and a song popped on and my full attention skipped from the Internet to my iTunes. I couldn't turn away from that song when I heard the words, "Why do we take the scenic route? Spend our days taking forever to get to you."

My mind spun on its axis for a moment and it's like God took me back to High School. I was just sitting there remembering how I would drive, nowhere really, just drive around Tampa. Talking to God. Asking Him to rid me of whatever it was I was dealing with at the time, yet always falling back to it because I didn't really want to let it go. I spent as much time crying wolf to God as I did in the sin I wanted away from. As I sat there in my memories I remember a verse that my dad gave me. But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

OUCH! Thanks Dad! No, really. Thank you.

What that verse means is, once you have become a child of the living God and you have been redeemed from the grip of sin, YOU ARE FREE! Free from whatever burdens life had attached to your boot heels. Free from the sins that clung to your backs, weighing you down. FREE! At that time in my life, as bad as I wanted away from my past, I kept looking back there just enough to dabble in that sin again and again. My life wasn't stuck in a rut, I was just on the wrong route. I got shifted over to the scenic route with God. Slowly meandering down the twisty trails taking my own sweet time to figure things out. To figure out that God has a higher purpose for me and my life if I would just surrender the wheel and slide over to the passenger seat.

Philippians 3:12 "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

That verse rocked me to the core. Why had I waited so long? So long to let go of the wheel, slide over and let God drive. I don't really remember exactly when or what day but it's like God slowly changed my road map. I was moved from the slow meandering scenic route to the fast lane. Speeding towards my goals, chasing after the prize, the upward calling that God has on my life.

Do we still make detours, yes. We are not perfect. Do our cars break down from time to time, yes. We need a saviour. Thankfully God has a towing service for when things really go wrong. Let go. Let go of the need to drive your way, your route, your directions and go with God. Let Him take the wheel and drive. I promise, you'll enjoy the ride. I have.

Be Blessed.


Friday, August 21, 2009

So I Like Girl Music

Britt Nicole
Apparently, I am not allowed to like the new Britt Nicole CD "The Lost Get Found". Or at least that is what the fellas are telling me. Earlier this week I was loading some new tunes on my iTouch when my friend called me. For the sake of this blog and my life after it I have changed their names to protect...well myself.
Brother X calls me to say whats up, chit-chat a bit about life and see how I was doing. I tell him life is good and that I was just hanging at the casa loading some new music on the iTouch. Brother X being as big a music buff as I am says, "What are you loading in right now?" Not thinking I say, "Well the new album from Britt Nicole, its hot!"
The sound of silence can be deafening. "What?" He says after a few seconds of digesting the news that I not only have the new Britt Nicole album on my iTouch, BUT that I actually like it, a lot.
Life has a funny way about itself with me. He couldn't have called 3 minutes earlier when I was loading in the new album from RED or 5 minutes later when I loaded in the last album from P.O.D. He called at the exact moment that I was loading in a more "feminine friendly" CD. Let me say this about the new album from Britt Nicole. YES, I LIKE IT!
Yes, its kind of a girl record. Yes, its Pop music. BUT, it is full of His truth and a message that we ALL need to hear. She breaks down some very intimate life issues we all face in a relevant and positive manner. Her final track "Have Your Way" really moved me to the core. I played that song over and over and over when I first heard it.
Sometimes in life I can feel so alone and so broken like I am never ever good enough, I search and cry out to God like He can't hear me and at times I think He doesn't. But He does, He is always there. In the dark where we hide, He sits and waits, in the cold where we try to wonder off on our own, He walks right behind us. From the wilderness to the desert we run astray and yet He is always there right behind us, waiting for us to turn around and run home. That song just shook me to the core. I found myself praying again a very basic prayer I have always prayed.
"Lord, Have YOUR way in me. I give in, I SURRENDER to your will. I trust you God with where I am right now, where you have placed me and what you are doing. I will NOT let life dictate who I am. I will NOT let circumstance tell me what is. I give my life fully to you and know that you will HAVE YOUR WAY IN ME. Lord, take me, all of me. I am yours."
So yeah, it may be a girly CD, but I don't care, if you look for God in everything you do. He'll show up. Even in a song.
Be Blessed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Give Up


Okay, so a few days back I posted a blog on my horrible "Wrong Turn" and in it I said, "Being a guy I fall back things that leaders of men have said, one that pops into mind is from Winston Churchill, "Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty" and now, I'm going to write a blog on surrender. Go figure...

If you look up the word SURRENDER in the dictionary you get this definition:

Surrender, verb (used with object) 1. to give (oneself) up. 2. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship. 3. to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.). 4. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.

But if you look closely there is another definition to the word surrender, to yield to the power of another.

I felt like God has been hitting me with that word for a few days now. During my prayer time its been "Surrender, Surrender, Surrender" over and over again. I began asking God what? to whom? why? where? I didn't understand it, until I dug deeper...

Matthew 16:24-26

Jesus calls upon His followers to reject the natural human inclination toward self. The first step is to submit and surrender to God our will, our affections, our bodies, and our lives. Our own pleasures and happiness can no longer be primary goals. Instead, we must be willing to renounce all and lay down our lives, if required. Peter admonishes us to "no longer live . . . in the flesh for the lusts of men," meaning we should no longer pursue wrong desires. Are we willing to forsake all, to give up everything including our lives? Our Christian duty is to deny our lust of the flesh.

Me personally, I worry a lot about what people think about me and my morning show. I worry about my next career move or my next step in life. I over analyze, over think and generally over step God in my life. When things come my way I want to "be the man" and fix it or deal with it. My way. Instead of just tapping into the awesome power and might that we have access to as children of God.

Surrender: (v) to yield to the power of another. To yield to the power of God in our lives.

Why do we fight tooth and nail alone when we have an army behind us? Surrender is never an easy thing. Especially for me. I want to "be the man," I want to handle it and God is showing me the truth in the verse that says, His ways are higher than mine, His thoughts higher are than mine. It's like the song from Francesca Battistelli that says:

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
I’m losing control
Of my destiny
It feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

Let's stop trying to run every aspect of our lives and learn to surrender, surrender to the awesome power of God, who knows what is best for each and everyone of us.

Be Blessed.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

New World


So I am blogging right now on the front porch of a little farm house located on over 200 acres of corn and soy bean fields. As I look out from my chair all I see are fields upon fields of corn and beans. THATS IT! The nearest house is about 2 miles away and down a dirt road. This is my weekend adventure on The Farm Life and so far, its been amazing.

First, everything is so much slower here. The people actually drive the speed limit and use their turn signals. Time seems to run at its actual pace. I never have once said to myself, "where has the day gone", its been more of, "What? It's only 3 o'clock?" This for me has been the definition of relaxation. Time just spent in the hammock, sipping sweet tea and watching the wind dance on the corn fields.

The food is amazing here. Fresh tomatoes and corn every meal, everything made from scratch, no quick mix powder concoctions full of salt and sodium. Just fresh from the farm, slow cooked goodness. Its amazing.

I don't think I could live here. I need the hustle and bustle of the big city, but for just a weekend to get away and truly RELAX. This is as close to heaven on earth as you could get. Either way, this is just a quick blog from the front porch. Why ruin this lack on connectivity by connecting to my Internet life again. Let me spend the rest of my weekend in the joy of nothingness. No phone, No Internet, No facebook, No anything. Just life, family, God and time. The time to do whatever I want or nothing at all.

I think we all need this from time to time. Just to get away and let time run. Get unhooked from our digital selves and reconnect to our real life families and friends. Next for me, another glass of sweet tea and a slice of home made angel food cake. And why not Angel food cake, as far as I'm concerned this is heaven.

Be Blessed.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wrong Turn

My Run
This all took place about a week ago and I have been meaning to write this blog since then. I guess the "trauma" of it all made me block out the writing of this blog until now.
So last week, Thursday I think it was, I decided to go for a quick run. I didn't plan on going to far since it was like 96 degrees outside and 100% humidity and I never run outside. I will run on a treadmill in 72 degrees of joyous air conditioning where the only humidity comes from the sweat on my shirt. One thing I learned very quickly in life is that gym running and outside running are two very different things. Either way, I embark on my run feeling great. Muscles rocking, feet pounding, music blasting, I was feeling pretty good as I passed my mental mile marker. Then it hit's really hot!
I was starting to sweat now and I could see that I was coming up to a crucial decision on just how far I wanted to run. There are two street in my neighborhood that can double back towards my house. One, THE SECOND STREET leads me back up very near my home, maybe a two and a half mile total run. The other, THE FIRST STREET runs farther south adding another two plus miles for a round trip total of near five miles. Both those totals are easy to knock out on a treadmill in a perfect 72 degree setting, but that day, in that heat and with that humidity, my body was saying, "No way." So I made the decision to take the short way home, or so I thought, the problem came when I took the wrong street. I forgot that the first street, took me farther south, not closer to my home. I took the first street.
I didn't realize my mental mistake until I reached US19 and noticed just how far south I was. By that time, my ankle was starting to hurt a bit and the heat was really kicking in. I could feel the sun on my skin and cool of my sweat as it dripped past and I was a little worried if I going to be able to make it back home. Just then as I was weighing my options I felt this little voice inside say, "Go, you'll be fine." Now, to be honest I'm not sure if that was God saying I got you or my Puerto Rican machismo kicking my butt to just man up and finish this, but I pressed on and kept going.
All the way, I kept checking back to see if my wife would drive past. My run took me down her route home so I knew she may be coming by at any moment to save me from my mental lapse. No luck. But as I kept going I kept hearing, "Go" without much choice, I just kept on going. My ankle was really hurting now, my shirt was soaked, my skin was hot, my body was tired and just as I turn down the second to last street from my house, maybe 2/3 of a mile away from my house what do I see...HOPE.
My wife in her car was driving up behind me about to pass by, I give her what I thought to be the international symbol for pull over and help me. Two arms waving over my head. Mind you, I came to a complete stop and started waving. She in turn, waves her hand back and me, smiles and drives past! "YOU"VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME", I said to aloud. She drove right past me and never stopped. Even turned down my street and out of my sight. "Go" I heard it again. So I went.
Finally, I made it to my street and there parked on the side of the road is my wife, she tells me that she wasn't sure if I wanted her to stop so she waited to see if I was ok. I gave her a quick lesson on the international sign for HELP and she laughed at me. I laughed to, because I had made it and I was ok. It was hard, it wasn't very fun, but it was fulfilling to know that I had done it.
Looking back, whether or not you think that really was God letting me know that I would be ok or just my PR Machismo kicking in (I give this one to God). I can see how at times in our life we need to rely on that still small voice deep inside our hearts. Life is hard and isn't always fun so we need to rely on God and keep pressing on. When you fall, get back up, when you stop, get moving again. Being a guy I fall back things that leaders of men have said, one that pops into mind is from Winston Churchill, "Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty". To many times we let the enemy win. First in small little things, we give in some ground, then in more and more and more. Today, don't stop fighting, don't give in, get up, get moving and get with God. He is the rock and you can always rely on Him.
Be Blessed

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Great Brows!

I love eyebrows. They can do so much in the way of expression and oh, how I love to pluck! Here's a cute video to brighten your day. I suspect that there is computer assistance involved, but even so, it's pretty clever. I love the little boy's chin/lower lip and how it puckers when the girl starts playing with the baloon. Too funny!

- Abby

Monday, August 3, 2009

Batman and Jesus

Here is a great blog from the guys of Addison Road...

When I was in elementary school one of my favorite things in the world was getting to go to summer camp. I loved being out in the woods, going swimming in the lake, and inevitably falling in love with a girl by the end of the week.

I remember one incident at camp particularly well. My best friend Bryan came to camp with me – it was the year the movie Batman came out and we were both obsessed with it. I got a package in the mail from my Mom (always the highlight of camp), which included sunscreen, cookies, and a couple of Batman toy figures inside. I was really confused when I saw my Mom had sent me two of the same Batman figures. Why wouldn’t she have gotten me Batman and the Joker? Batman and anyone else would have worked, how did she miss the fact that she sent me two of the same toys? At that point I remember thinking, “Surely this extra Batman isn’t for Bryan? It was an accident and I’ll exchange it for something else when I get home.” So for the whole week I enjoyed having my Batman figures on the windowsill by my bed, one that was opened and one that stayed untouched in the package.

When Mom came to pick me up from camp at the end of the week the first thing I asked her was why she had sent me two of the same Batman figures. And then the answer I already knew inside came, “I sent one for you and one for Bryan. Didn’t you share it with him?” Gulp. No Mom, actually I kept it to myself and only let him hold the package for a minute before grabbing it out of his grubby little hands.


Sometimes it’s so easy for me to live life this way. I hold on so tight to things I think are mine that I miss the point completely. For a long time I didn’t understand it. I knew God wanted me to give money back to Him but I had my hands clenched so tight around it that I couldn’t let it go. How selfish. Now every month when I send in our tithe I feel like I’m loosening my grip on what I say is mine. Isn’t it all God’s anyway? Who am I to say something is mine? James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” So doesn’t that mean every good thing in my life is a gift from God? My wife, my stuff, even my life, it’s all God’s anyway. It’s strange but there’s a freedom that comes when I let go of what I thought was mine all along.

We spent this whole last week in Nashville writing the final songs for our new album. It was an amazing week and we really wrote some incredible songs. Our last thing to do in town was for the band to sit down with our record label and talk about which songs would and wouldn’t make the final cut of the album. This sounded harmless enough, until some songs I had written started getting knocked off the list. All I kept thinking was, “I worked so hard on that one!” Or, “Oh not that one, don’t you see how good that one could be?” After the meeting I started feeling really selfish. My songs. Aren’t those songs God’s whether they ever end up on an album or not?A friend told me once that we’re supposed to live life with an open hand. It’s when we start gripping things too tightly that we miss the point and miss out on what God really has for us. I think that’s true. So I’m trying to loosen the grip on my Batman figures one finger at a time.

-Ryan Gregg

Fore more on Addison Road check out:

Be Blessed.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The War Within Me

The Saint and The Sinner

Nathan Hale, was a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Widely considered America's first spy, he volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission, but was captured by the British. He is best remembered for his speech before being hanged following the Battle of Long Island, in which he said, "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country." This morning I was driving in to work and I was listening to the new Downhere album when a song came on with the lyrics, "I'll give you back the life you've given me, All you've given me." Those lines sent my mind spinning with thoughts on just how powerful our lives can be.

God gives us one life to live. Then He gives us a choice. We can live for Him or we can live for ourselves. It's an internal war we wage every moment of everyday. Take my typical day for instance...

On the road by 4:30am you see some really, really bad drivers. Do I curse them for being so sleepy behind the wheel and nearly causing an accident or do I pray for their safety and well being so they can continue to live the life they have? Remember that person is someone's father or mother or sister or brother.

The homeless man I see by the roadside near the station. Do I live out Matthew 25 or do I say to myself, "That bum should get a job. or Why give him anything, all he'll do is buy drugs or alcohol."

During the morning show when things go wrong or I miss an action or miss fire a sound effect do I blame others or Abby or the interns and let one small thing ruin my day or do I try to get better by seeing how things went wrong and learn from the situation. Do I stare at my problems or do I rise above it to see my blessings?

All these things happen from time to time and I'm not even done with the first part of my day! Every moment is a choice, every day a decision I make to live for Him. I'm on this Downhere kick right now because I just thought about the song "All At War" and the lines:

I'm learning to stand the more that I fall down,
It's the law of inversion, and it's all turned around,
And I'm staggered by the clash inside my soul,
So purposed for good but inclined for evil

It's justice and mercy the old dichotomies,
All along the frontlines of my heart in both doubt and belief
The sinner and saint, the old arch enemies,
All at war, in me

I was born depraved, but created for the divine,
With death in my bones, in my heart eternal life,
I'd love for Eden, but I'd kill for Rome,
I'm native in a land that is not my home

We have free will to choose every moment of everyday to live for Him. The Sinner and The Saint in the same person. So proposed for good but inclined for evil. Everyday wake up and choose to die to self and live in Christ. Find his grace again and again, a love so complete you could never explain it. His wonder and beauty and mystery and meaning. Every morning His mercy is new and His love knows no end. Find Christ in the meaning of your existance and you find the meaning of life. Let our life's cry to be, "I regret that I only have one life to give my God." Live for Him today.

Be Blessed.


Monday, July 27, 2009

A Mood-and-a-Half

That's what it's called in my house when I have "a moment." Sometimes the moment lasts for more than just a moment though. This past Saturday, it lasted from about 9am until 3pm. My poor, patient husband... I've been bitter with him lately. The reason? To sum it up, we bought a new car and I got his old car. Instead of counting my blessings that we can even afford to buy a car, I have been consumed with jealousy and a woe-is-me mentality. I am so dissappointed in myself for feeling this way and I'm trying hard to just let it go. I think I'm almost there. Almost.

On Saturday, he proposed that we go to the store to purchase car wash needs and then wash our cars. I mentioned that after we stopped at the store, we could go to McDonald's for a coffee. He said, "Then we'll take your car. No coffee in my car." My jaw dropped. No closed-lid coffee? I won't open it. I'll put a napkin around it. I'll hold it. Nope. No coffee in the car. I know this sounds silly, but in my female mind that I don't even understand sometimes, I associated the care that he has for his car with the care that he has for me and I saw one as being greater than the other. I'll let you guess which was on the losing end.

In sets the mood. The whole time we were washing our cars, I was foul. The poor guy couldn't make a correct move, say a correct sentence, nothing. God love him, he kept on truckin'. He was trying hard to be sweet, and I was turning everything sour. The afternoon proceeded the same way. I figured I'd try to keep myself busy, so I moved to ironing. Mid-chore, we got a call from friends inviting us to hang out. He wanted to go. I said I wasn't interested, but that he should go without me. Up to this point, we could ignore the mood, but now it was out in the open.

An hour later, I was done crying. God is so good to me. If he'd sent any other guy my way, I probably would've been left standing alone in my kitchen in tears. I don't take back the arguments I was making or the feelings I feel, but I do know that Josh is a special guy. He is patient just like my dad and I am (a little) neurotic, just like my mom. They just celebrated their 35th anniversary. My mom and dad always say that they are each other's best friend. I love that. In my hysteria, Josh told me that I'm his best friend. He doesn't know how much that meant to me. He loves me (and likes me) even when I'm in more than a mood: a mood-and-a-half. God help us all if it's ever a double-mood!

How did it end? Peacefully. I insisted that Josh go to our friend's house. I just wanted to calm down. I ended up going to chuch and the sacrament of reconciliation. It felt good. I wasn't done crying though. That poor priest! I hope you know that when you feel overwhelmed and down, God is waiting for you to reach out to him. He's patient, just like my husband (probably a little bit more) even when you're in a mood.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Tal and Acacia

Here is a great blog from their website...


Let me start off by saying that I love sleep. Many people struggle with insomnia while I battle the need to get out of somnia. (Sad joke, ignore it.) I am not one of those super humans (a.k.a. every parent) that can survive with only four hours of z's. No way- I am a solid "7 hours or bust!" kind of girl. (It's a rare breed, but we do still exist, be of good cheer.) However, my passion for sleep can conflict greatly with what I'm required to, breakdowns are much more predictable/common if you are me, and I am sleep deprived (or hungry, or if my hands feel dirty, or if I have to go in a bathroom with bare feet, or if I go to the bathroom and there's no soap! Oh gross-that's a recipe for breakdown.) Well two days ago, it happened...I had a meltdown.
This was the exact recipe for it:

2 cups of insomnia
1 cup of heavy luggage
½ cup of delayed flights
½ cup of Budget closing at 1 am (Even though we had a reservation for a car there that night after our flight arrived)
¼ cup of people on the phone telling me I can use Avis instead of Budget, and after walking to and fro, they discovered that they were wrong and sorry but that we were stuck until 6 am without a vehicle
¼ cup of impatience and frustration
¼ cup of begging the Avis man to help us- that was sad to watch3 tablespoons of two sisters together for too long- pure disaster
1 ½ teaspoons of feeling completely helpless
1 teaspoon of screaming in public- yeah let's forget that part
Put that in the oven at 350 degrees and you've got Acacia breakdown!
All of that happened (with much more drama than I mentioned) and I was not happy with God. I've been feeling so weak as it is, but now this!? Cut me a break! I was losing it fast, and wanting to quit the "obedience" thing right then and there. But then (it still makes me cry thinking of it,) God intervened. It was like I saw God touch the little Avis man, because all of a sudden he started helping us! He made the call to a manager, and told us we could have a car and didn't have to come back at 5:30 to exchange it for our reserved car. (It was already 3 am at that point.) It was so odd and so quick! We tried over an hour to work it out ourselves...we still had nothin.' YHWH took over and within 10 minutes, we were out and driving to the hotel! It was a miracle. I sat in that car, dumb-founded, and completely moved by His love.
His spirit spoke the truth to me. He still cares about me. He hasn't left me to sleep in an airport. (Even if their bathrooms do have soap.) He is still leading me, and He is still with me! I want to encourage you today, especially if you feel like you've got a recipe brewing for a breakdown. YHWH deeply loves and will always cherish you. (Even with all of our missing screws.) He wants to pave the way and let us drive to freedom...but do we want it!? Can we give up our need to be right, our need to be in control? I'll admit it, I didn't pray when everything was going wrong, I just tried to get smarter and solve it by myself. I called the supervisors, I chased down managers...but my strength had no fruit.
I just read in 1 Thessalonians 1 that works are only produced by faith, labor must be prompted by love, and endurance can only be inspired by hope in Jesus Christ. "For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction."That is Christianity, not just silly nilly words... but POWER!
Christianity is living life with the HOLY SPIRIT! I am convicted by my pride and ignorance. How do I forget that Jesus is Lord!? He is in control of everything! He offers me so many spiritual fruits and yet I try to grow them too often by myself. I am tired of feeling empty; I want fullness! It's not about my life being perfect; but about the perfect life being with me. This world would not affect me if I let myself be more affected by Jesus. It's my choice, and my responsibility to make that happen. It's time for me to pull over and ask for help. (That's not just hard for guys, believe you me.) We need real direction from a real Father and these days I'm thinking, what do I even have to lose? The Avis man already saw me scream. ;-0
So let the world know, let my heart put up the sign: HELP WANTED. I cannot solve this life by myself Lord...(so please- inquire within already!)
Ha. Much love to you.
Be Blessed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Would You Mind if...
OH PLEASE! Gimme a break! Why do some people feel the need to correct every little misstep and mistake we make in life? It's a little annoying!
God knows I love Abby, she's great. She truly is a joy to work with and I wouldn't want to have any other person on air with me for four hours a day just to then go share an office for the rest of the day. But she is one of "those" people. People who feel the need to correct every grammatical mistake, every brain fart and every Freudian slip. For some of them they don't even realize they are doing it. It's like it is just a part of their make up. As if God himself embedded into their genetic code this inert desire to correct others their missteps. Did I mention it was annoying to the rest of us?
Now, I know, I know. I'm not exactly a shining star of perfection either, Lord knows I've got my problems too. This blog really isn't a jab at Abby either! She has recently told me that she is well aware of this minor imperfection in her personality as is actually working on it. I have suggested electro shock therapy or at least a visit to Tampa Bay Christian Counseling Center, but as far as I know she has not done either. But that's ok. We love her anyway.
So what sparked this tirade of a blog on those who feel the need to correct the rest of society?
Good question. Thanks for asking.
Earlier today I was feeling a little pale so I decided to go down to the pool and work on my tan at my neighborhoods clubhouse and rec center. The place was actually very packed and there wasn't much room to lay out, but I did see a spot to set up shop so I headed in that direction. There was a pool chair available, but it was right next to this lady. So I do the polite thing and asked, "Would you mind if I used this chair"? It really wasn't a question more or less a statement that I would be using this chair but her response was a little off. She says to me, "Would I? Well I don't know yet. Why don't you sit down and see if I do".
Huh?!?! (I know, my thoughts exactly.)
So I then just figure she is kidding and I quickly laugh off the comment and sit down. I lay out my towel, pull out my iPod, set my phone down and just as I am about to get comfortable she says to me, "Actually, I do mind. Be so kind as to move over a few feet, you are blocking my view of the pool and my grandchildren".
WHAT!?!? (I know, I know)
Her whole point to this line of conversation was geared around my apparent miss use of the phrase, Would you mind vs. Do you mind. She knew exactly what I meant when I said whatever it was that I said. Why even bother with anything else? Just say from the beginning, "You handsome stud of a man, I don't mind you using that chair as long as you move it over a few feet so I can see my grandchildren". Even if she drops the handsome stud part, that would have been enough!
There are days when I pray for peace and God decides to teach me patience. Today was a test of my patience. I was already in a stressed out mood and just wanted some quite time by the pool to relax. Instead I got a grandmothers mini trial of my patience and 3 little ones in the pool screaming bloody murder at each other for changing the rules to marco polo. Thankfully, God has a sense of humor about himself. First song on the iPod, Joy Williams, "One of those days". I said amen to that, spotted myself a quick time out, said a prayer and cranked that song up till I drowned out the shouting.
Life is good. Even when its just one of those days. Be Blessed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The End of Days

Would You Want to Know When?

I just watched the movie "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage. It was actually pretty good. Granted we are talking about Nic Cage movies here so the bar is set pretty low, but I will say it was as good if not better than "The Rock" although Sean Connery really carried that one. The movie is based around this sheet of numbers that are correctly predicting catastrophic world events from their dates and total number dead, down to their exact location. Problem number one, there are only three dates left and then the letters EE. Which are later revealed to mean (SPOILER ALERT) everyone else. It is the end of days, Man's final hour.

This movie really got me thinking. One, there were a ton of Christian parallels I took from this film. The idea that only those who hear the call are chosen and saved, the rest perish. God is knocking on the hearts of those who are not His, if they never hear His call, a fiery oven awaits. There were a few more but in all truth, I have no idea if the man behind the film was a Christian or not and I may be seeing things that aren't really there, but I was psyched that the movie got my Christian mojo moving.

My first thought was, would I want to know when the final hour would arrive? Would I live my life differently if I knew the exact date and time that our Lord was set to return? Let's say I knew that 7 years from today God was to make His glorious reappearance and take us all home to be with Him. Would I party like it was 1999 and live like a wild man only to "come home" and repent of my wicked ways 3 days before He came? Maybe that is why God says in Matthew 24, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father". He wants a people who are ready to go at all times and live a life of service in love of Him.

I would love to think that even if I knew the exact time of the Lords return, I would still live a life according to what God's will was for me. But in truth, I doubt it. Think back to when you were kids. If you knew that you were not supposed to watch TV, but Mom and Dad weren't going to be home for 2 solid hours, you'd be watching "In Living Color" till you dozed off and got caught when you didn't hear the car pull up. (That was a true life experience for me) The temptation would be too great for many of us to bear.

There were a few more things that I would love to write on but this blog would get really, really long. Maybe another time. But, would I want to know the end date? Nah. Why spoil the surprise. 1 Thessalonians 5 says, "for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night". Meaning, be ready at all times. Don't sleep on the will and love of our Savior. He is ready and waiting like the Father in the story of the prodigal son to take you back in and make you His son or daughter again. He loves you and wants you home.

Live Ready. Be Blessed.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Open the Book!

A lot of non-Catholics view people of the faith as not being Bible-readers. Catholics always respond with, "We read the Bible! Every Sunday we read the Old and New Testament, the Psalms and a gospel passage." And don't forget the prayers and acclamations that are full of Scripture like the Holy, Holy (a combo of Is 6 and Ps 118:26), the Our Father (Mt 6:9), and the Gloria (Lk 2:14).

Do you dive into your Bible at home though? Daily? I hope your answer is an enthusiastic "Yes!" and for many people, I'm sure it is. But I bet most of us would answer with, "Yes, but not as often as I should."

I have to admit that while I've been reading a lot more of the Bible than I ever have, I sometimes go into my reading time with the same attitude that I do with exercise. I know I need to do it. I know it's good for me. Sometimes the actual discipline of sitting still and being quiet can be tough though. BUT, just like a workout, once I start, I'm in it 100% and loving every minute of it. And, just like exercise, I see results!

A member of the USCCB wrote an article entitled, "The Bible is for Catholics." It's a great reminder of why and how we should read the scriptures. I encourage you to read the article here. Here are a couple of points that hit home with me:

- Prayer is the beginning and the end. At the start of your reading time, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and your mind. At the end, pray that His Word will bear fruit.

- The Bible isn't a book, it's a library. It's really fascinating to me that the Bible contains history, prophecy, poetry, advice and of course real life accounts. To know the genre of the book you're reading will help you understand the content.

- Reading isn't enough. If what's in the book stays in the book, then you're wasting your time. It must be put into action.

St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." I can't speak for you, but I want nothing more in life than to know Jesus better. We've got the way right in front of us. We just have to crack it open.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Love Finding New Music!

I'm in L-U-V. I have a gift card for a free music download from a compilation album of up-and-coming Christian artists. I finally went online today to see what songs I have to choose from. I browsed the list of songs and stopped on "Future of Forestry." I thought to myself, "Never heard of 'em! They're probably going to be mediocre at best." See back to sentence #1 in this paragraph.

I find few things in life more rewarding than discovering a new artist, or an artist who is new to me at least. That especially pertains to bands that I think are different from the norm and present something that is like a breath of fresh air. I get giddy at the idea of sharing my new treasure with friends and fellow music-lovers. So, I decided, "I must blog about Future of Forestry!" If you've known about FoF and you're saying, "Uh, hello Abby! I've been a fan of them for a long time. Where have you been?" then shame on you for holding out on me!

I searched for Future of Forestry on iTunes and after listening to a few songs, I downloaded their entire album, Twilight. No, it has nothing to do with the movie about vampires. It came out in 2007 and they just released their EP Travel this past May (I had to come edit this blog to add that I ended up downloading Travel as well). The band is from San Diego and was formerly called, "Something Like Silas." In case you're like me and wondering where the name, "Future of Forestry" comes from, it’s the title of an obscure C.S. Lewis poem about an England overtaken by industrialization. Pretty heavy, huh? The band sees the words of the poem as more than just an environmental warning though. Lead singer, Eric Owyound said, "It's not about saving trees but about saving our lives from being taken over by technology. It's about asking if we are still able to see beauty."

I would describe FoF's sound as a mix of Mutemath, Jimmy Eat World, U2, Jars of Clay (who they are opening for next week) and something else I can't quite put my finger on. Some songs are definitely rock while others are more melodic and deep. It's a little dark, but I like that. No matter how you slice it, it's good music. Check out their songs on iTunes or click here for their MySpace music page and enjoy! Make sure that when you tell your friends about FoF you say, "I found out about these guys from Abby!" And quit holding out on me!

- Abby

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When Good Food Goes Bad

It's All About The Date

Call me crazy, but when it comes to the food I eat I check the date on everything. Milk, eggs, meats, can goods, it doesn't matter I check it all! And I don't really know why I do that or why I am such a freak about the dates on my food because I know the science behind it all.

Take Milk for instance...according to a CBS News report MILK CAN BE SAFELY USED UP TO A WEEK PAST THE SELL-BY DATE! I know, I know, that's crazy talk right there. But the truth is that yes, it can, if you keep in mind that your fridge has to remain at 40-degrees Fahrenheit, or below, at all times. Make the milk the last thing you pick up before you hit the store's checkout, to minimize the time it's left un-refrigerated, which can exacerbate the spoilage; then, store it at the very back of the shelf, where the air tends to be colder. If you follow that order things should be good for up to a week after the date on the jug.

Take Raw Meat...Raw poultry and pork, and beef in the form of steaks and roasts, will last up to 12 months. Ground beef will only be good for about three to four months. Cooked meat will last about three to four months, as well.

So I know all of this and I still can't get myself to eat anything that is past my standard of shelf life.

Carlos' Guide to Fresh Food

Milk = Gone on the next day after the date on the jug.
Meat = If it smells or looks funky, I two step it to the trash bin.
Left Overs = Two Days. Period.
Ice Cream = If its not frosted over in ice, its good.
Eggs = If they float, out they go.
Canned Goods = See Milk.
Rice, Pasta, Sugar = Looks good, its ok. Looks funny, garbage.

I know I may be a little extreme but that's just how I roll. I'd rather eat fresh, than eat something and wish later that I hadn't as I pray to God for healing over the toilet bowl calling for Ralph! Be blessed today and check out the complete guide to the sell by dates here if you want more info.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Co-Op is Back!

I sent my friend Nicole a text last week that felt eerily like a note a 15-year-old would pass to her ex during geometry class. It pleaded, "Will you take me back? Yes/No/Maybe So." Nicole knew exactly what I meant. About a month ago, I told her I wanted out of our Dinner Co-Op. I needed space, time to reflect, to figure out what I wanted. Nicole was sad and spread the word to the third member of our co-op, Cheryl. Cheryl is the newest member and she quickly asked, "Is it my fault? Did she not like my cooking?" When Nicole told me about Cheryl's concerns, I quickly replied, "It's not you. It's me."

I spent some time away, experiencing what could be called a "regular" cooking routine and I quickly saw the error of my ways. I wanted back in. Thank goodness Nicole and Cheryl are forgiving people because they welcomed me back with open arms. I only hope I haven't broken their trust. They might live each Dinner Co-Op week wondering if I've got one foot out the door. I guarantee it girls; I'm in it for the long haul.

If you're new to the Dinner Co-Op world, let me tell you how it works. Find a friend or two or three. It works best when everyone lives nearby. Designate a night of the week for each person to cook. We change it every week because our schedules change. When it's your night to cook, make a main course and deliver it to the homes of the other members of your group. Then the other nights, sit back, relax and wait for a home-cooked meal to arrive at your doorstep. It works out well for me, Nicole and Cheryl because the only child in the mix is under two years, so we don't have to worry about feeding multiple family members. Each of us cooks six servings: two per home. With that said, Dinner Co-Op is completely possible for families as well, it just takes a little bit more prep - just as it would if you were cooking for your own family instead of just you and your spouse.

The important part is to make sure everything is equal. That's what will keep the co-op alive. If you are just one of two people in your household, then don't join a co-op with someone who is going to want you to cook for her and her husband and their three kids. It's got to be fair. Nicole, Cheryl and I are all about the same caliber when it comes to cooking as well. None of us is Emeril, but we're not going to poison each other either. As long as you can work those details out, it's so simple. And talk about money saving! Buying ingredients for one meal with six servings is so much cheaper than three meals each with two servings. And did I mention you only cook once and eat three times???

We've been co-op'ing for almost a year now. I don't stick with much. I get bored easily and I kind of like change, so the fact that this co-op has been going on for so long (with the exception of the recent brief hiatus, shame on me), is a testament to it's convenience and effectiveness. I encourage you to try it out. Email me if you have any questions. It can be kind of confusing at first. Once you get the hang of it though, it's smooth, yummy sailing. Bon appetit!

- Abby

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Moving Day

The Art of Moving

So the big day finally came. My friends have bought and closed on their first home and I was on the moving team to help them get settled in. (By moving team, I mean I was one of three guys) No offense to any of the ladies present (2) but they did not even attempt to lift anything more than 15 pounds so I left them off the team. They were more like team managers or coordinators. Still important to the teams success, just not on the actual team.

You learn a lot about yourself on a moving day...

1. How much you really do or do not like the friend you are helping to move. You learn that pretty quickly when you judge whether or not you'll ever help them move again.

2. For guys you learn how much you can lift or hold up off the ground for any given time before snapping your hernia. For me, it was a lot more than I actually thought I could. My doctor would be proud.

3. And finally, how nice it is to give of yourself and just be a blessing to someone.

I know the bible talks about do unto others as you would have them do unto you and that truly applies on moving day. When I move houses, if I ever move again, I will call upon everyone I have ever helped move and guilt them into helping me. I will use that verse as a reference too. I'll be like, "HEY! Hey you! Remember when I lifted your 200 pound armoire across your living room 7 times? Time to do unto me and help me with mine!"

Honestly, I was just nice to be a blessing to my friends today, whether or not they ever have the chance to return the favor. Spending time with people in love and relationship is what God has called us to do. To love people, with nothing needed in return. To help people, without compensation needed. Was it fun to move a 200 pound armiore around a house, up a truck, then off a truck and around a house like 7 times. NO! But it was great spending time in fellowship with some friends I know needed my help.

So, in closing, I know I learned this today...I must really like these friends of mine. Because I would move them again in a heartbeat. And, just as God has called us to love people, I hope I had a chance to show that love to my friends today. Even if it cost me a pulled groin and strained back.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Better Vision

A Little Optimism Please...

So this morning Abby and I covered a news story on how being optimistic can actually improve your vision. Volunteers in the study were told to just focus on the faces they were to be shown. Those who were of the optimistic nature were able to make out more than just the faces, they saw location detail and expressions using their peripheral vision. Those who were of the pessimistic nature were only able to recall the face they were told to focus on.

When I read that, it was like God opened up my eyes in a sense to how spiritually relevant that was. How often in life, when something bad happens do we just focus down on only the problem? I do it all the time. Something bad, (we'll call it XYZ) happens in our life. We will spend countless hours in worry and stress and be so consumed by the XYZ situation, that we can't see anything else in our lives. All of the other blessings that God has done, how he provides and is a shield in the midst of trouble. We can become so consumed by the problem that we never see the solution.

I was talking to a man after the New Faces, New Music tour the other day and he told me he had lost his job 6 weeks earlier. But during all of it, he saw how God took care of his family, how God made a way and has been providing for them. He's taking an optimistic outlook on his very negative situation. Instead of being consumed by the situation of being unemployed he has turned it over to God and said, "I can't handle this alone, I need your help and provision over my life and my families life". Now he is able to see God's grace and goodness in the midst of a trial in his life and feels a whole lot better not being bogged down in stress and worry all the time.

If you're facing something large in your life, a situation XYZ, turn it over to God. No matter what it is and you'll SEE His grace and provision over your life.

1 Peter 5:7 says "Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you"

Matthew 6:25 says "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Psalm 91:1 says "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Stop staring at whatever situation XYZ you've got going on in your life and look around you to see that God is there, He loves you and will forever take care of you.

Be Blessed.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Boy Barnabas

Son of Encouragement

Encouragement, from time to time I sure could use a dose or two of it. Well let me introduce you to the man in scripture known as the son of it! My boy, Barnabas.
Barnabas doesn’t get very much press in the New Testament. He shows up in only 33 verses, but in those few verses, you get a pretty good picture about who he was in the body of Christ, one who is selfless when faced with the Gospel.
So, what can we learn from this cousin of John Mark? He’s of the tribe of Levi, from the island of Cyprus, and at one point he sold one of his fields and gave the proceeds to the apostles.
He’s no poor schlub, but a pretty well off guy with a solid Jewish heritage. Yet, he heard the proclamation of the Gospel of the Crucified and Risen Christ, and understood the importance of proclaiming that Gospel to the ends of the earth.
He was sent by the Jerusalem church to Antioch to keep the fledgling church there humming along. Eventually, he set off with Paul on his first missionary journey as his right hand man.

His name, “Barnabas”, means “son of encouragement.” It’s a rather appropriate name for one who would serve not as a proclaimer, but as one who accompanied and encouraged one of the greatest proclaimers of all on his Gospel missions.
Thank God that not everyone He calls is a preacher! Every Barnabas that pops up in the church is indeed a treasure. As Paul said, the Body of Christ needs more than mouths. It needs the hands and arms and hearts of the Barnabases of the world, too.
If not for someone in my life like Barnabas, I know I would have given up on my dream long ago. Why? Because life is hard. It's easy to give up especially when it's God that has called you to do something. It's like even more things come to get in the way. We all could use a Barnabas or two and I'm sure we know someone we could be like Barnabas for. Think about that. God Bless.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pillars of the Church

Today we celebrate the feast of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. I find it interesting that these two men share a feast day. Meanwhile, and this is no knock on him, St. Argymirus gets his own day, June 28th. Are you familiar with St. Argymirus? Me neither. But if you ask any Christian, chances are they can tell you quite a bit about Peter and Paul. These two men, pillars of our Church, share a day. I suppose that's because they both gave so much, yet so differently to the formation of Christianity. This goes to show that we're all in this together and we need to appreciate the different strengths and failings of one another.

I read this about P&P: Peter and Paul represent two strikingly different approaches to discipleship. Peter, our first pope had to learn slowly, make many mistakes along the way, but always experienced the compassionate forgiveness and encouragement of Jesus. Paul, on the other hand, came to the Faith immediately and never backed away from his zeal for Christ after that. Many of us can see both these great Apostles in ourselves. Like Peter, we sometimes fail yet persevere. Like Paul, we must always be on fire for the Lord, and proclaim Him to everyone and in every situation, no matter how difficult it can sometimes be to do so.

If you identify with Peter or Paul, or both, I encourage you to take sometime today to reflect on their journeys of faith and ask them to pray for you. Ask Peter to pray that your faith will increase or that you'll show more perseverance when tested. Ask Paul for help in witnessing to a friend or ask him to pray for a conversion in someone. They are so real in their sufferings, failings and trials, but more than anything, Peter and Paul loved Jesus. They would do anything in their power to get just one more person to know Him. If we can live each day like Peter and Paul then I think we'll be doing ok.

- Abby

OH! - and have you read about the testing on the bones of St. Paul? Off the AP Wire yesterday: "The first-ever scientific test on what are believed to be the remains of the Apostle Paul 'seems to confirm' that they do indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday." Read the whole article here. This was released just after an article about scientists finding what they believe to be the oldest image of Paul. Pretty neat stuff!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

He Knows Your Name

Your Name Is...?

I am not very good with remembering someones name. I can remember a face, that I won't forget, but a name, no way. It's not for lack of trying, I do, I really try and want to be that person who seems to know everyone and everyone's name. I feel horrible when I meet listeners for the second or third or tenth time and I still can not recall their names. I know that if I were on the other end, I would want to be remembered. Did I mention that I'm trying to get better at that. You have my sincere apologies if I have ever not remembered your name, please know that I am trying...

This morning, Abby and I did a story on what Dave Meurer wrote for He told his story of not remembering his own wife's parents names! Ouch. But he ended it with a great thought on God and how He knows us by name.

I therefore take enormous comfort in a moving passage from the Bible where God declares to his people, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1).

"I have called you by name."

He knows who I am. We are sometimes tempted to think of God as so lofty that he sees us as a mass of humanity, not as individuals. But here he is, calling us by name. Others may forget you, but the God of the universe knows your name. And he will never forgot.

After reading that thought, my entire outlook on my day changed. How great is it to know that the giant God of the universe who created all of mankind and all the heavens loves each and everyone of us as individuals, not as just a giant blob of His followers. The bible says, Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. That is how well our God knows us and loves us. Each.

Be blessed today,


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One Liners

If Only Rodney Dangerfield Had Done Christian One Liners...

While I was doing my prep for the show tonight I came across a website loaded with "one liners" those classic quick jokes that Rodney Dangerfield was famous for. After the first few jokes I caught my self ending each one with "no respect...I gets no respect". The funny thing is that a few weeks ago a bunch of us at the radio station had the discussion, who was/is "The Greatest Comedian of All Time". Rodney's name came up. So in honor of who once was a great comedian, here is the list of Christian "one liners" that I found. Some are funny, made me laugh, some are not meant to be funny just make you think, but few can touch the level of Dangerfield. Enjoy!

Christian One Liners

Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.

Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.

It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.

The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.

People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.

God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?

Some minds are like concrete thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?!

A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.

We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.

Be ye fishers of men. You catch them - He'll clean them.

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

Don't put a question mark where God put a period.

Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

Forbidden fruits create many jams.

God grades on the cross, not the curve.

God loves everyone, but probably prefers"fruits of the spirit" over "religious nuts!"

If God is your Co-pilot - swap seats!

The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.

We don't change the message, the message changes us.

The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: 1 cross + 3 nails= 4 given.