Monday, December 28, 2009

Blessed to Receive

There have been many years where we have been blessed by gifts given to us either anonomously, or by name. We have tried to do the same when we were able, and have enjoyed giving to others secretly. We have often chosen a family (sometimes after consulting the Bishop) to do the Twelve Day's of Christmas for. This year, we didn't feel able to do that, though we did still give presents to friends and family.

This year we are feeling very blessed again by the great friends, and family, we have who love us as we love them. To all who gave us gifts, We say a united "THANK YOU!" To all of our friends throughout the World, we Love You, and miss you, and hope that the Lord will bless and keep you for the coming year. I hope you each recognize the source of all we receive, as we do, and thank him from whom all blessings come as we begin this new year. Keep him close within your homes and your hearts, as we keep you in our hearts and prayers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just a little Donkey

I wrote this recently. I hope you like it.

I was just a lowly donkey,
The lowest of the herd.
I had no loft, or station,
Such a thought was quite absurd.
My lot in life was simple--
Do what work was given me.
I had no thought of saying nay,
No thought of being free.

Then came the day I was chosen
To carry my master's wife.
She was heavy with their child,
The weight of coming life.
But as she settled gently
Onto my sturdy, saddled back,
I felt as though unburdened
As I stepped along the track.

I recognized the child
Unborn in my ladies womb.
Certainty swept away all doubt
Like chaff before a broom.
What creature of the World
Could not recognize their Lord,
Whose creation, their own existence,
Came from His very word.

I made my gait as gentle
A a little donkey could
To ease the ladies journey
Through the sand, and through the wood.
Then on reaching Bethlehem,
Upon that very morn',
Our Savior came into the World,
The Christ child had been born!

What a blessing it was to me,
A lowly, simple beast,
To be present on that occasion
Even though among the least.
Of our creator's vast assembly,
To think that I was there,
A simple little donkey,
With our Lord in my care.

Yes, I was just a little donkey,
The lowest of the herd.
I had no loft, or station,
Such a thought was quite absurd.
But I was blessed above all others
Of my kith and of my kin,
For I was present at His birth,
The one who paid for all our sin.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Substitute Thoughts

Contrary to the title of this post, I was not thinking about one thing, and then start thinking about something completely different. In fact, I was thinking about several similar things all at once. I am currently working during the day as a substitute teacher. Because of this, I see more different students in the course of the week than most other teachers. I also have, because of the nature of being a sub, more time with nothing to do than even the students have. As a result, I spend much of my day observing and listening to the students. It is very interesting what the students will tell each other when they think no one else is listening.

"I can't believe how drunk I got. I totally passed out, and didn't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital."

"Yeah, I got a ticket for underage drinking, but I'm gonna fight it, 'cause my Dad gave me the beer, and he was driving."

"No, I'm not pregnant. So I dodged another one."

"I beat the ____ out of her! She totally deserved it. She was talking ___ about me."

I could go on, but it gets very redundant. Underage drinking, casual sex, violence, lawbreaking, cheating, fighting, drug use. Name it. The scariest part of all of it is the attitude. Nothing matters, so do whatever you want. One person even suggested that the perfect retirement plan is to rob a bank with a gun. You'll go to jail where they will provide food, shelter, health care, etc. all for free. Besides, I don't need school, I can make more money in a day on the corner selling than most teacher's make in a year.

Where did we go wrong? Not too long ago in America people were ashamed when they did something wrong, or something that would embarrass their family. Not any more. In fact, many of the kids think their parents deserve it for trying to stop them from doing what they want to do. We live in the "me" generation of disposable things. Disposable razors, disposable cars, disposable marriages. If it doesn't work, throw it away.

This school, along with others, is trying to change those attitudes. They have a new program trying to build respect, responsibility, and honesty. They say it is working. I hope it is. I worry that it's not.

Take Care. Keep Hoping. Stick.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Profane

I was recently working with one of the classes I teach. We had been studying murals and monuments. As part of a class exercise, and to have a little fun, the book suggested creating a mural as a class. We came up with a theme, and the images that we wanted to draw to represent that theme. Everyone was really having fun trying to draw and represent the images we had decided on.

Then one guy had to spoil it. I looked over and he was writing swear words on the mural. I lost it. I immediately grabbed an eraser, and while erasing the swear words, I threw him out of class. (He wasn’t even in that class, but had come to the room with a pass to “work” on make-up assignments from another class.) I told him how ridiculous it was that he had done this, and that he was not welcome in the classroom for a while.

I apologized to my regular students, but told them that this had ruined our project, and we would not continue. I then told them something that inspired this post. I said what I have always heard, and believe to be true,

“Profanity is the refuge of the Ignorant”.

When people use swear words and profanity, they are simply showing that they are not intelligent enough to put someone down with the vocabulary that they have available in their own intellect. Swearing elevates no one. It does not express what we really mean to say. My mother used to say, “I’m so mad, I cold just spit.” That is all that profanity is. It is getting so upset, that we verbally spit, because we don’t know what else to do. How much better if we were to think carefully of what we wanted to say, and express our anger, or hurt feelings, or whatever in a reasoned and intelligent way. Swearing is just a way to abuse someone without hitting them. In my opinion, you would be just as well off to throw that punch as to swear—the end result is just as effective at getting across your point. (No, I am not condoning, nor encouraging violence, I’m trying to show that both are equally wrong.)

Perhaps there is an occasion where a profane word expresses the exact sentiment we wish to get across, but I have never found it to be true. Unfortunately, I see that the trend in our society today to be towards accepting more and more of this type of language as common and acceptable. I hope we never fully get there. I long for the day that %@#%&*%$ was as profane as anyone ever got.

Keep it clean. Use your Intellect. Stick

Hot! Hot! Hot! Or Almost

We had an interesting situation occur Wednesday at school. We were part of the way through our sixth hour classes when the principal came on the intercom and announced that we needed to evacuate the building due to a potential natural gas leak.

We marched over 1200 students and faculty out of the building and down the street about a mile to the local Junior High. I have done similar type activities in other areas, so I know what should have happened. The reality was CHAOS!
There was no organization, no chain of command or information, and no knowledge of what was expected. No one knew where they were to ultimately go. No one knew who to go to, or where, for information on what was going to happen.

I hope that the school learned from this, and that they plan better for any future possible needs in this area.

Take care. Stick.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Computer Woes Continued

I got the new hard drive. I put it in. It works perfectly, but...I still have the original problem. It turns out the crashed hard drive was an additional problem the computer had. Now they think my video card, or display has gone bad. They are sending me a shipping box to return the computer for repair. Should be good as new (minus all my saved memory, pictures etc.) in about two weeks. This too shall pass.

On a better note, we are really feeling blessed right now. A friend, who is an avid hunter, gifted us with about a hundred pounds of meat. Don't feel too bad for him to give this up. He has gotten three elk, a moose, and two bears already this year. He had buffalo, deer, elk, and moose all from previous years hunting already in his freezer. He needed to make room for this seasons take. We are still grateful, and really feel blessed.

Take care. Good Hunting. Stick.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Day of Resurrection is Near

I called my computer's manufacturer help line today. They had me run some tests, and confirmed that my hard drive was dead. They will send me a new one, along with instructions for its installation within a week, so what was once dead will live again.

We can't wait. Keep on hoping. Stick.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Virus Kills

Since my last post, we have had a death in the family. Sadly, my computer has died. My laptop has been diagnosed with a terminal motherboard illness. There is hope of a manufacturer resurrection, but we do not know if this will happen yet. Until then, if I post at all it will be from whatever computer I can borrow. Currently, I am on a long term sub with the High School, and they have issued me a MacBook for use while I am doing this. Hopefully we will get our regular computer either repaired or replaced soon. Meanwhile, my posting here will be sporadic.

Take care. Have a great day. Stick.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The last few days we have not had a computer working at my place. My two boys have decided they needed e-mail/facebook addressesand all that goes with that. The problem has been, that they now are on the computer more "checking their e-mail". In reality, they are on playing games off the internet more, and for some reason, turning off my anti-virus program to do it. My computer has been "ill", but we finally inoculated it again, so for now it's mu--u--uc-chh better.

In contrast, now my wife and I are both sick. There has been a bug going through the schools lately, are girls got it, and gave it to us. It is just a cold, but it's bad enough to be miserable.

I hope that you are all well and happy.

Watch out for both viruses. Stick.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Can Retire Now

For years as I have worked, people have asked me, "What are your career goals? What are you going to do when you get older?" Invariably, I have answered with, " I want to be a Wal-Mart door greeter.

Well, I have reached my career goal. Last night I got to be a door greeter at Wal-Mart for 15 minutes. That was long enough. For those of you who know, we have seen some VERY unusual door greeter's in our time. In St. George, we had one gentleman who always wore his Emmett Kelly clown costume, with make-up, to greet people. His counterpart was a lady who wore different costumes every season. Fairy costumes, with wings and Tutu, rabbit costumes, leprechaun costumes, you name it. Personally, it was a little scary, and no, I didn't wear a costume when I greeted people.

I hope that something comes along soon so I can leave this job, but if not, at least I've fulfilled a lifelong ambition. I am grateful to have the job, I really am, but I don't like having to work so many hours and be away from the family.

Take care, and keep dreaming. Stick.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sticks How To Is Going Away

Due to time constraints, I have had to delete my How To blog. I just don't have time to keep it up right now. Maybe I'll start it up again at a later date. I don't have time to blog here regularly as it is. Some day maybe.

In the meantime, take care. Stick.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"The Windows of Heaven will be Opened..."

My last paycheck from teaching came the end of August. I have only had a meager paycheck since then. Our outgoing bills have been pushing our budget to the limit lately because of doctor bills.

In spite of that, we have money enough to pay our bills this month. and due to the work I now have, we will continue to have enough money to pay bills.

Most people in the World would look at this and say that it is not possible. The Lord does not look on things the way the World does. "For with the Lord, all things are possible."

Those who are in the World have eyes, but they do not see. We do. The Lord has blessed us beyond measure. I felt I needed to ackowledge that.

"Trust in the Lord with all thy heart..." Stick.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some new Doors are Opening

No, I don't have a job yet. I do, however, have a new door from my kitchen into my garage. We spent two years walking outside and around to get to our freezer in the garage. All kinds of weather. Rain and shine.

I hated it.

Not too long ago, we visited my sister-in-law in Denver. She is a renovating type Handy-Gal. She happened to have a door, fully cased, that she sold to us. With a little work, that door is now in our wall. I don't know how the people who lived here for 30 years before us lived without it. I'm just glad I don't have to any more.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For Sale-SOLD!

I recently discovered a portion of my home that I thought was gone forever--My garage. Over the last several months we have been gradually moving items that we no longer want from the house and to various piles in my garage. It had gotten to the point that I could no longer park a car in my garage, and with winter coming (quickly) towards us, I wanted to make sure this was corrected.

With that in mind, I made posters, organized the junk, and held a garage sale. By noon, it was cold, rainy, and my patience was at an end. I closed up shop, packed everything left into my truck, and hauled it all to a church free swap meet location.

Now I have an empty garage, a little more money, and the hope that I never get to this point again. (good luck)

Take care, and have a great day. Stick.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Over the Hill and Coastin'

Tomorrow is my birthday. I usually try to slip it by without notice. I quit counting them myself, but my family doesn't let me forget that I'm getting older.

Groucho Marx had some interesting things to say about being old, but I don't think I'll quote him here.

Old age is mind over matter, if you don't mind, it don't matter.

You are only as old as you feel.

Well, here's hoping you all feel young. Take care. Stick.

Scoutin' Around

I was at Boy Scout Camp with my two boys all last week. We were at Camp New Fork in North central Wyoming. We were part of over 80 boys and leaders there that week, less than any other week this summer. Due to the light enrollment, our boys could do just about anything they wanted without too much wait.

We had a very good week. It was not too hot most days, and even though we had a couple of storms, they only lasted a little while. We did have one major thunder bumper, with lightning and hail, but over all, not too bad.

I guess I'm getting older though. I woke up more often than normal, and did not sleep all that well. I think if I were to do it all summer, I could get back in the swing of things, but five days was either too short, or too long. :o) I know I hated getting out of my warm bag in the middle of the night to go to the Kaibo (bathroom).

I think the hardest part was watching people do things the hard way. Boy Scouts have a tendency to do things like that. Stop--Think--There must be a harder way. If you find it, it is the Scout Camp way, and it is the most nit-picky way there is.

In spite of that, I'd probably go again, but overall, I think I'd rather go to girl's camp.

Take care. Stick.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Honey Do List is Getting Shorter

Since my wife and I are teachers, we have the luxury of having summers off. (This may change for me after this year). We get so busy during the rest of the year, that there is little time for major projects around the house, so we start a list of things we want to do once school lets out. This year that list has included: completing the construction of our storage shed; fixing our dryer; doing the backlog of laundry; organizing a storage room downstairs; cleaning out the garage; moving my workbench in the garage to a different wall; putting in a sprinkler system; painting our bathroom ceiling; painting our kitchen; and putting a door from our kitchen into the garage.

It makes me tired just looking at that list. However, little by little, working together, we have slowly completed many of those items. Granted, the sprinkler system trench is not finished yet, and the garage still needs some cleaning, but we painted the bathroom ceiling, and are painting the kitchen today. I hope we get the door in before winter, but I won't hold my breath. Once Fall arrives, and the plants are bare root, I need to add to that list, and move some lilac bushes, but one list at a time.

Here's hoping your list is getting smaller too. Take care. Stick.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Feeling Rejected

Well, like my brother Twist, my novel has also been turned down for publication by my latest submission. They'll be sorry when it goes on the New York Times Bestseller List. (Gotta think positively)

I already have 11 chapters of the sequel written, and as many more chapters of the third book outlined and ready to write. Maybe if I have all three written, someone will look at them. I'll keep plugging away.

Here's hoping. Take care. Stick.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

We took a group of youth from our church to the temple yesterday to do service there. As we were waiting to begin, the individual who was our supervisor mentioned that this was a good place to receive answers to those things you had been praying about. I decided to pray concerning my job situation. The grant that I have been teaching under is not being renewed, so I am once more looking for a position.

After praying, we went about our assigned duties, and completed the service we went to do. While waiting for everyone to finish, we were talking with the Matron there. The topic of our jobs came up, and she mentioned that she was also a teacher. She asked what I taught, and I told her what I had been doing the last two years, but also mentioned that I was now looking for a job, and why. She basically said, “This is what you ought to do,“ and proceeded to tell me which job I should apply for and what I should do to get the job. It seems she had been thinking about taking a job in our state, and had been following the job openings. She gave me exactly the information I had been praying for.

Afterwards, I was talking with my wife about this, and she mentioned that one of the positions available was in a school only a mile or so from our home. I had already applied for a job in the district working at a school 42 miles north of town, and have not heard anything on that job yet. I will apply for this new job tomorrow, and trust in the Lord to help find the right position.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Talent on Tap

Delirious has blogged about giving piano lessons to the members of the Spanish Branch in her area. This must be a universal problem, because they are always looking for someone to play for the Branch here.

My daughter J has often played for them, and was supposed to do so again today. Unfortunately, she came down with this same spring cold that everyone around her seems to either be getting, or getting over. In her place, my third daughter A went and played for them. All of my daughters have done the same, although S has yet to pursue it the way the others have. R plays and sight reads very well, and has accompanied the others when they sing together for church.

All of this is amazing to me. I have trouble reading music, let alone transferring that to keys on the piano. They have both done this with very limited lessons on the piano. We bought a computer program years ago to help learn to play the piano, and R and A took 5 months of beginning piano at school, but we never gave them lessons. They did it on their own. I guess this is my way of telling them how amazing I think they are. I only hope this skill gets passed down to future generations.

Have a great day. Stick.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I think I'm Taller

A couple of years ago, I went to a hot spring recreation area with my family. This place is really fun, with water slides, hot tubs, pools etc. I decided to sit in the hot tub (Very Hot), and relax for a few minutes. Then my boys came running over and wanted me to go down one of the steep,fast slides with them. The result of all of this was to loosen my back muscles enough that when I went down the slide (an almost straight 40' drop before leveling out into a pool) I had my L5 vertabrae slip and pinch a nerve. I have suffered with that since then.

Lately, I have been going to a chiropractor to try and correct this. He has been trying to use traction to move that L5 off the nerve. I blogged a little about this already. Now I have set two new records for his office for the most weight ever used for traction for a patient, and I still haven't been really bothered by it at all (nor has it fixed the problem, although it has eased a little). I have hope that this will work, if we can find the magic number that actually stretches my back. Until then, I've always wanted to be 6' 2".

Take care. Stick

The To-Do List Is Getting Longer

Towards the end of the school year, things start to get a little hectic, especially around our place. With six active children, we have many activities that call for our time and attention. It is also the time of year when winter has finally let go, and we have nice enough weather to get outside and do a little yard work.

Did I say a LITTLE yard work? We have several projects either planned, or underway. We started these as soon as the snow had been melted long enough to have dry ground, rather than a mudhole. Unfortuantely, Mother Nature decided that winter wasn't over yet, and we had a series of spring storms that brought more snow, or cold rain.

I now have a storage shed halfway assembled, a sprinkler system with only half the trenches dug, a lawn half mowed, a garden plot just waiting for a day to till it up, and another day to plant, and other assorted outside and inside jobs that we just can't seem to find time to get done. Our last day of work before summer break is June 8th. I guess the list will have to wait a little longer. (Last year, we planted our garden, and then it snowed June 4th.)

Take care. Make your list. Stick.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Swine Who?

There has been such an uproar about this outbreak of swine flu. Kids at school were even afraid to eat pork products because they didn't want to get it. Our school district has a Pandemic illness protocol that will shut the district down if there is a confirmed case of the flu in the area.

To me, this is ridiculous. Yes, it is the flu. Yes, it is contagious. Yes, people can die from this. The same can be said of the regular flu, and half-a-dozen other diseases. This flu is indistinguishable from the regular flu as to its symptoms. In fact, if you don't specifically test for it, you might never know if you had it, or not.

As a historian, I know that the influenza killed more people during WWI than the war did. However, that said, with our modern medical techniques and drugs, you have to be in very bad shape already before you have a chance of kicking the bucket from the flu. Either that, or not receive medical help.

Our press does this same thing with every thing. Blow it out of proportion, sensationalize it, exaggerate the risk, or ignore it completely, and bury their head in the sand. It doesn't matter what it is. From politics to football, they can't help building that mountain from the molehill.
A theory on global warming goes so far that even though there is no proof, we have laws and restrictions to prevent it. The liberal press who laud the fame of every liberal who comes down the pike, and criticizes and makes fun of any republiican, no matter how logical his statment cannot see the forest for the trees.

Conservatism doesn't sell papers. Logic isn't headline news. Its not dramatic.

I could use a little less drama in my life. Stick.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A “Cracking” Good Time (sorry it’s so long)

My wife and I recently went to a Home and health fair. Among the other exhibits that were there, we ran into a booth where a friend of ours had set up his Chiropractic table. He was doing scan of the spinal cord. He was using some sort of hand held ultra-sound scanner that showed if the spine was out of alignment or not. My wife wanted to have it done, since she has had back pain for many years. When he scanned her back, she had several places where her spine was mis-aligned. Another friend, who was with us, also had her back scanned, then, I had mine done. I knew I was having a little problem with my back, because I pinched a nerve in my lower back almost two years ago. He told me that my back scan would be the best he would do all day, but that he still wanted to see me to help get rid of the pinched nerve.

When we went in to his office, he began slowly, only making mild adjustments the first couple of days. After a week, he decided he wanted to x-ray my wife’s back to see what was going on. When my wife was in college, she had a roommate who offered to walk on everyone’s back. My wife let her, and that is when her back pain started. That was over twenty years ago. His x-rays showed that when that girl walked on my wife’s back, she had caused a twisting, greenstick type fracture of my wife’s back. Three of her vertebrae were twisted out of alignment, and fused together by arthritis. Several of her ribs had been separated from the backbone, and this was why she had been having pain. He told her he wanted to take her treatment slowly, because he was afraid if he broke those vertebrae loose from each other and the arthritis holding them together, she would really be in pain. He said he wanted to loosen things up a little and see if he could get the vertebrae above and below the fused mass to move. He took a spring-loaded device and thumped around the area, then did an adjustment centering on the area just below her fused vertebrae. A shocked look came on his face. “I just broke all of them loose.” Since then, he has been working to get her back to except the new alignment. She has had a little pain, but nothing like before, and now her back is beginning to feel normal for the first time in years.

As for me, every time he tries to adjust my back, he complains about the fact that my back is too strong. He says he cannot get anything to move the way he wants it to. He finally decided to resort to what I will call “THE RACK”. This is similar in concept to the medieval torture device of the same name, with only minor differences. They put a harness around your hips, and another around your rib cage. One harness is hooked to one end of the table; the other is hooked to a motorized pulley system that will automatically pull at a preset weight. He normally starts people out at around 50-60 lbs. of weight. He started me at 100. He said he didn’t want to hurt me. When the weight started pulling, I spoke up from the table. I told him, “You’ll have to do better than this. The next visit, he went to 120 with the same results. On Monday, he told me, “They say I can go to 150 without pulling your spine apart. Today we’ll do 135.” For the first time, I actually felt like something was happening, and I can now tell that something moved. He has me stretching, and doing some other exercises, and on Monday, he is going to go to 145 or 150. It will be the most weight he has ever had to put on anyone.

All I can say is, I hope it works.

Get Crackin’. Stick.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rabbit Hills and Other Mudholes

When we lived in Lubbock, a great event occurred in my life. I learned to ride a bicycle. Because the streets in Omaha had been so steep, I was always afraid to try learning how to ride. I was afraid I would end up in a bloody heap at the bottom of one of those hills.
In Lubbock , however, the streets were very flat and level. With a little encouragement, I learned to ride a bike, and soon was riding all over the area. One of our very favorite places to ride was a large field area located around a swampy pond. We called this area “Rabbit Hills”. We spent hours riding, building forts, hunting frogs and snakes, or just chasing each other around in that area. When it rained, this area became one huge mud hole. It didn’t stop us from riding there, but it did slow us down a little.

Our biggest haul came when we ventured into the swamp. We caught turtles and frogs by the dozens, and brought them home to turn loose in our backyard. We tried to pen them up in our sandbox, but it didn’t work. For years afterward, we would find one of those frogs, or the occasional turtle, when we mowed the lawn. (Yes, we found them THAT way). I felt like I was forced into another phase of my life when they cleared away that place, and began building homes there. It will always hold a place in my memory.

Take care, and remember the good times. Stick.

Steep tale

I remember growing up in Omaha, and the streets around our neighborhood were quite steep. We used to take advantage of those steep streets in many ways. In the winter, we would ride our sleds down the ice and snow covered streets. But in the summer, we would build go-carts, and race them down those steep inclines.

Those go-carts were masterpieces of jury-rig engineering. A 2 x 4 laid flat became the chassis, and two others became the axles. The rear axle was nailed in place so it didn’t move, while the front axle had a bolt pushed through an oversized hole to allow you to steer. Another board was nailed in place over the back axle as a seat, and a rope was knotted through two more oversized holes on the front axle as a steering wheel. Our brake was a board nailed on with one nail to the chassis. When you pulled on this board, it would drag on the ground and slow you down. Our emergency brake was the Fred Flintstone brake. You put both feet on the ground on either side, and hoped for the best.

I’m sure our Dad wondered what happened to all of his scrap lumber, because we were always looking for another board to build some project. We built forts, boats, and other sundry constructions. They didn’t always last long, but we always had fun.

Take care, and go have some fun. Stick.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wyoming Spring

Welcome to springtime in Wyoming. Yesterday, it was 60 degrees. Today, it snowed 4 inches, with forecast of more to come. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute, it will change. The worst part is that I have been trying to finish assembling our new storage shed, and now it will have to wait a while.

Looking for real spring. Stick

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today, my wife and I have been married 22 years. We were married on thursday, April 16, 1987. Since then we have lived in three states, six cities, had six children, 10 vehicles, three houses, and more jobs than I can think of. We have served in bishoprics, presidencies, teaching positions, and more in the church. We have each completed at least one degree in college, and additional certifications.

I love her more every day, and look forward to the next 22 years.

Have a great day! Stick.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Fun?

My four girl's decided that they wanted new dresses for Easter. They wanted the same pattern with different material. The only problem, they didn't wnat to make them. They wanted mom to make them. So...(or sew) Mom has been sewing dresses for her spring break. They are almost all done now, but it has been a major production. All the dresses are flower prints, and they will wear similar colored shoes ($3 at Wal-Mart!) with matching tees and ribbons. We'll post a picture (maybe) when they are done.

Mom also decided the boys shouldn't be left out. She went and bought a red flowered print, and a pattern and is making ties for the three of us. We'll see if they get them all finished.

Happy Easter! Stick.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bubba's Hospital and Real Estate Agency

We took my oldest son to a nearby town for some minor surgery. He needed to have a tube put in his ear. Things went well, and we hope that this will end the problems he was having.

However, that said, I have to comment on our experience. This Doctor works out of the hospital in the town we went to. He gave us directions on how to get to the Hospital. Take a certain exit. Turn left. Follow the road out past the KFC, and turn when you get to the storage units. This hospital was out in the middle of nowhere.

I told my wife and kids, I can see the planning meeting for this hospital now. Some old farmer there, sits up and speaks. "Shoot, I haven't run any cows on the south 40 for a coon's age.' He pauses to roll the toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other. 'Might as well let Y'all use it fer yer hospital."

Whatever it was, we're glad things went well.

Take care. Stick.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bjorn who?

When I was in High School, I took up tennis. My friend and I spent at least two hours every day except Sunday playing the game. Within just a few months, we were the team to beat on any court we played on. We would challenge anyone, and usually won. High schoolers, college players--it didn't matter. I played tennis even when I had no one to play with. I would spend hours serving, beating the ball against the wall, or whatever I could do to try to improve my game.

Today, I went to play tennis with my two younger daughters and their friend. I had a good time. In my brain, I knew every move I needed to make, every shot that would win the point. Unfortunately, my tennis playing days were 30 years ago. I still did okay, but was frustrated at all of the shots that I missed. Balls I was just too slow to get to, shots that I turned my wrist just a little too far, or a little too short. I realize that if I played every day, like I did when I was 17, I could probably get some of that back, but I know deep down that it will never be the same as I remember. Maybe it never was. That's the advantage of memory. I still love the game though.

Stay young. Live in the present, not in your memory. Stick.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Couldn't resist

I saw this photo of an awesome paint job!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just for Fun-click on the picture to see it bigger!

April Fools

My boys have had a ball today with April Fool's, but not more than when they came home after school. They were downstairs, and found some fake blood from Halloween. They pretended to be fighting with each other (so hard to tell the fake from the real, since they do fight so often), then they spread some of the fake blood around on their faces and came running upstairs yelling and chasing each other. The girls thought that one had bloodied the others nose, and that the one with the bloody nose was trying to wipe it on the other. The girls were totally grossed out. The boys yelled, "April Fool's", and laughed their heads off.

We love this day. Sticks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still Lookin'

I just got an e-mail back from the agent that I had contacted. It was a form letter--not really a rejection , but more like, "FAT CHANCE!" They just said they get over 20,000 submissions each year, but only a few ever make it to print. I chose another agent, and started all over again.

Still tryin'. Stick.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Job Huntin'?

My principal was talking to me the other day. He told me that there might be a histroy position opening at the High School. He said, "Now don't get me wrong. I think you are a great teacher, but I'm worried that we might not get the grant funding next year for this position. we don't want to leave you high and dry if that happens. They have already eliminated this job at the High School. I'm just afraid they are going to come tell me that they are doing the same thing with us, and then I'd have to tell you that you don't have a job."

I appreciate his honesty, and being up front with me. Now I just need to find a job for next year. I hope the history position is really there, or that something else comes open. Maybe my book will get published, and I'll make millions...maybe not.

Keep your fingers crossed. Stick

Who Dunnit?

I created a murder mystery for my four math classes to solve. They need to do temperature conversions, Kilogram to pounds conversions, shoe size conversions, solve math and logic problems, and even use the internet and a dictionary in order to solve the case. The winning class gets a pizza party.

It has been interesting to see the different attitudes and approaches the different classes use.

One group thought they could just make up an answer that fit all the clues and they would be done and win. Others are just siiting around while one, or two, of their team members try to solve the crime. Other groups are really into it, and are trying to figure it out. I guess you can't make everyone happy. We keep trying.

Have a great day. Stick.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Time and time again

Here it is. Parent/Teacher conference time again, and I’m all alone. We are required as teachers to be here for about 8 hours total, to be available to talk to parents about their darling children. I’ve armed myself with grade reports, progress reports, time on task reports, lexile reading reports, and a number of other reports of different criteria to help the parents help their child.

I have 65 students. I have seen 7 parents. I’ve written two chapters on my next book. I’ve beaten 22 levels of Blox-orz. I’ve finished one book I was reading, and started a second, and I’ve written this blog, along with reading all the other blogs that I follow. I guess the time has been productive. I think I’ll go try to solve the last 11 levels of Blox-orz.

Have a great day! Stick.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A star is ..

Tonight, daughter three participated in a talent show/fundraiser at the High School. She has been singing for years, sometimes with choirs, sometimes with her sisters. Tonight, however, was the first time in a while that we have heard her Really sing on her own. All I can say is... WOW! Her voice has improved dramatically since her last performance. It is no wonder that she was chosen for all state jazz choir. Putting aside all bias, she outshone everyone there tonight. At first I thought she was nervous, but she sang beautifully.

All I can say is, daughter number one, watch out, or team up!

Being proud and loud. Stick.

Damsel in Distress

My oldest daughter called me at work the other day to tell me that she had “somehow” locked both sets of her keys in the trunk of her car. She had set in her backpack, and then decided she needed to do something else in the trunk, and had laid her coat down—with her keys on top. The spares were in her backpack. Then she closed the trunk.

When I got home from work, I began the process of trying to break into her car. I took one look at the locking mechanism, and realized that I could not use the “slim jim” method, since her locks are electronic. We decided to slip a wire between the door and the frame, and try to loop the handle, thinking that pulling the handle from the inside would unlock the door. Number three daughter was standing there watching us—for an hour—then finally told us that only the front doors will open like that when the doors are all locked.

“Great! You couldn’t tell us that an hour ago.”
“I just thought you were trying to open the door from the inside, I didn’t know it was locked.”
“If it was unlocked we could open it from outside!”

So now we start on the front door. Fifteen minutes later I had the car unlocked. Problem solved, right? Nope. We thought we if we could get in the car, we could push the trunk release, and open it right up. Not in this car. If the security has been set (and it had), you cannot unlock the doors, start the car, or open the trunk without the keys. The keys are still in the trunk.

My next move was to try and take out the seats to access the trunk from inside. The kids told me that the seats fold down to make the trunk bigger. I began to look for the release mechanism to fold down the seat. Her car manual finally tells me that the release bolts are inside the trunk! However, the seats are divided, to allow two separate parts of the seat to fold down depending on the cargo to be hauled. Between the seat there is a thin gap. Very thin. Luckily, number two and number three daughters have very skinny arms. We were able to run a wire through the gap, hook the backpack, pull it up next to the seat, and with many contortions, get the keys out of the backpack and unlock the trunk-- four hours later.

Now for the topper. Two hours after that, number one daughter calls again. She had closed the keys in the trunk again. Luckily, this time, she had not armed the security, or locked the car, so she was able to pop the trunk from inside the car. I told he that if this was going to become a habit, she needed to invest in a Hide-a-key.

Take care, and keep smilin’, that’s all you can do sometimes. Stick

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Higher Standard

My children are very involved in sports, so recently (this being the season) we have attended many basketball games. One thing I have noticed, among the many, is the different standards that boys and girls baketball are held to. What might be considered a pushing foul in girl's basketball , seems to be accepted as normal play in boy's basketball.

I watched the boys pushing, shoving, and throwing elbows without a foul called. The only time a foul was called was if any of those occurred during a shot, or shot attempt.

On the girl's side, if they started pushing and jockeying for position like the boys do, they got called for a foul.

Maybe it is because the girl's aren't supposed to be as aggressive, Although play one game with them and you'll know that's not true. Maybe we just want them to be more ladylike. Whatever it is, the disparity still exists, at least at the high school level. If anyone can explain it, let me know.

Confused, but not confounded. Stick.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good Friends

Recently, my wife turned 26 (again). Our friends invited us out to dinner to celebrate on them. They brought her a nice little present--twice. They came by two days before her birthday, and brought her some chocolate cake with a candle, and a small gift. Then at the restaurant, they pulled out another bag full of assorted small things they had been picking up.

I guess I'm just in a very thankful mood over the last two posts, because it is so nice to have friends like this around. We have helped them, and they have helped us on numerous occasions. Generally, we don't make too many close friends. We know many people, but only have a few that we really get close to, and those we try to hang onto. I have a friend that we have stayed in contact with for almost 30 years, while others that I thought I would stay close to have drifted away.

These new friends are keepers.

Here's hoping you have a few of them in your lives as well. Stick

Valentine's Day

I wanted to post here How much I love my family and extended family. I think that many of the World's problems, and most of the problems that the U.S. faces, could be solved if more people had the support and love of family that I feel from mine. I am including in this not only my wife and kids, but also my brothers and sisters.

How many people turn to gangs because they did not feel accepted at home? How many are homeless because they had no where else to turn?

I just want all who read this blog (since most of you are family, and any who are not--welcome to the family!) to know of my love to you. If you don't know it already, I am willing to help in any way I can if you need it.

Now everbody circle up for a big group hug!

Luv yer Guts. Stick.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Over, and over again

I recently finished the first draft of my book. The other day, my wife and I wennt and had a hard copy printed for editing purposes. I am now in the porcess of going through the book for the third time correcting tense, grammar, and any spelling errors that Word missed. I also recently attended a writer's workshop presented by a published author who visited our school. He had a list of twelve things to do when writing a successful story. I think mine has all of them. I hope it does. Now if I could just convince the publishers....

Have a great day! Stick.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Self Exam

My last post contained three poems that I recently wrote. The comments made by others got me thinking about these, and why I chose the topics I did, and why I wrote them. I think my self-revelation about the story behind the poems might interest some of the readers. Maybe not, but here goes anyway. :o)

The first poem came to me when I heard one of my students tell another how much they liked a picture they had drawn. They simply said, "That picture is great!", then they walked out of the room before the artist had a chance to say anything, but I saw the response. This simple compliment made the first student's day. I started thinking about the many times that something like this might happen, and how the little things we say can have big results.

The second poem came just after Thanksgiving. We were sitting around with all of our family and friends (stuffed to the gills of course), and I started to think how grateful I was for the things we had been blessed with. I have never gone hungry in my life due to lack of food (and looking at me you can tell). I wanted to express somehow that feeling of gratitude. I hope I was successful.

The last poem came to me as an analogy of a man's life. I wanted to show how we need support from those around us to succeed, and how we have to work hard to stay aimed at our real goal.

I have written several other poems since these. If I decide to post them, maybe I will do so with explanations like these of where the idea came from.

Keep on thinking. Stick.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Poet's Corner

Here are a few more of my efforts at poetry:

The Hero
by Stick

I was saved the other day by a hero,
But not one as the world views.
They faced no fearsome danger,
No task to try their thews.

My hero had no mighty sword-
No gem of power and might.
There was no beast of legend fame
No blinding flash of light.

Yet ir-regardless that there was no threat
A hero he still remains.
For he saved me from deep despair,
And recalled my sense and name.

For I was lost upon the pathway
Of self-pity and of gloom,
Which surely would have destroyed me,
Would certainly have meant my doom.

But my hero came upon me
While I dwelt in my prison of woe,
And lifted my downtrodden spirit
Though I’m sure he did not even know.

A kind word and a pat on the back,
Or praise as he walked out the door
Were enough to insure my salvation.
It was this, and nothing more.

Hunger’s Watchin’
by Stick

I heard a knock upon my door
Before the twilight’s passing,
And went to let them in,
This person who was asking

When the portal there was opened,
And my guest came into view,
I found Hunger there a’callin’,
But why—I hadn’t a clue.

I asked why he had come
To my home, where we had plenty.
We had never known his face,
In fact we shared with many.

He said, “I’ve been a’watchin’
As you’ve ‘et and shared with others.
I’ve watched as you’ve cooked your vittles,
For your sisters and your brothers.”

“You’ve cooked roasts and whole turkeys,
With both sauce and cream gravy.
I’ve seen pies, cakes, and potatoes,
And beans both green and navy.”

“You’ve baked breads with oats and honey.
You’ve made soups and chili too.
You’ve had beets, and rice, and apples,
Carrots, corn, and cheese that’s new.”

“I’ve seen you cookin’ eggs,
And toast with jam and jelly.
In fact, I’ve seen you cookin’
All good things to fill one’s belly.”

“Now after centuries of watchin’
Folk who have little meat for carvin’
I think I’d like to eat my fill
So please start cookin’ now—I’m starvin’!”

Bows and Arrows
by Stick

The arrow from the Fletcher’s hands
Is straight, and clean, and true.
Likewise the bow, with string and limb,
Was crafted perfect when it was new.
But neither the bowyer in his workshop,
Nor the Fletcher in his den,
Can make the arrow strike the mark
That’s aimed poorly in the fen.

The wood of the bow is helpless,
Though it gives strength and spring,
But it cannot shoot straight to it’s mark,
Without the tautness of the string.
The arrow in all it’s strength,
With feathered vanes and tip,
Cannot fly, and strike to home,
Lest the bow aid in the trip.

Each archer who is given
Shaft, and string, and bow,
Controls the fate of the arrow’s path,
And whither it shall go.
‘Tis said, “We hit right where we aim,
Whether ‘tis the spot we chose, or nay.”
So send your bolts with proper care
To have success by end of day.

Have a great day! Stick.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm posting from a math and science conference in Casper. I've learned some interesting things.

I now know how to determine time of death using body temperature. I can lift fingerprints, put out fires, determine height of an individual based on the length of the humerus bone, or estimate someones height based on their shoe size. I can't wait to see what I learn today. :o) (I did learn some other things, but I'm sure they weren't as important as those mentioned)

As a side note, I have wanted to buy a GPS for several years, and in fact, I am taking one of the courses today on using a GPS in the classroom situation. This conference is giving out some very nice door prizes, and I won a Garmin Legend GPS. I am very excited about this, and it made the whole trip worthwhile for that if for no other reason. I am still in the running for an IPOD or an IPOD touch. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Have a great day. Stick.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Delirious posted her top 6 quirks, so I thought I would do that as well. This turned out harder than I had at first thought. I’m sure that I don’t have any quirks, but I’ll post a few things anyway.

1. I will drink from a cup someone else has drunk from already, and eat their leftover food, and share licks on my ice cream cone, and have even shared a toothbrush. Not sure if this is a quirk, or just gross, but it’s the first thing that came to mind. :o)

2. I like to always have a cup of water nearby. It doesn’t need to be cold, or fresh, just there for me to take a sip from now and then. (I’ve even drunk from mud puddles and rivers)

3. I hate cooking in a dirty kitchen. If the counters are dirty, or there are things in the way, I have to straighten it up before I cook.

4. I’m not sure if this is a quirk, or just a major annoyance, but I snore very loudly.

5. My kids will testify that whenever someone speaks a phrase that reminds me of a song, I sing the line from the song at them.

6. My last comes from being a school teacher. I tend to repeat instructions or information to people, and give even basic instructions about things that others already know how to do. (My wife hates it when I do this). :o)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


My two boys are now old enough to go into the program our church sponsors for young men and young women. For the young men, this mainly deals with them participating in the Boy Scout program. The scout leader came over and welcomed the boys into the troop.

My wife asked the older of the two boys where they got to go on Tuesday nights from now on. He was confused for a little bit, then said, “Well we either get to go to scouts or Young Men’s. Do we have to choose each week which one we go to?”
My wife told him, “Scout’s is Young Men’s. You don’t have to choose.”

He was very relieved.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Twins Birthday

My twin boys turn twelve years old this Tuesday, so I thought I would blog a few things about them.

When they were first born, the only way we could tell them apart was that the older of the two had an extra toe. We soon learned to distinguish them by other characteristics. We gave them nicknames to match some of the things we saw.

The younger always seemed to do things first and faster, so we nicknamed him 'Lightning', while the older one was a little louder and always seemed to follow the younger one around, so he became 'Thunder'. Lightning crawled first, talked first, and walked first. Thunder, living up to his name, crawled like he was trying to pound his hands through the floor, and when he learned to walk, he stomped his feet with every step.

You could never give just one of them a treat. If you presented either of them with a cookie, for instance, he would run and get his brother, and drag him back by the hand to get his treat as well. They have always been either the best of friends or the worst of enemies, and I have said many times that if they survive each other, they will be tough enough to survive anything. As kids, they were constantly dreaming up ways to get into trouble, and what one couldn't think of the other could. One would hold the chair, while the first climbed onto the counter to get the cookies and hand them down. They used to get up in the middle of the night and go out to the refrigerator. They would open the door and then proceed to unwrap all of the butter cubes and throw them on the floor. Eggs came next, and we lost several pounds of butter and several dozen eggs before we found a way to stop them (a lock on the fridge door). :o)

While they were still in the crawling stage, Lightning jumped onto the bed where Thunder and he were playing, and landed on his arm breaking it. Later, Lightning would part company with the Hatch town merry-go-round, landing and breaking his collarbone. His bad luck with play equipment continued a while later when was pushed off a zip line like toy in a fun room to land on his arm and break it as well.

Thunder had an infection in his left ear that caused swelling, blood clots, infection (including spinal meningitis), and several other complications. He spent six weeks in the critical care unit of Primary Children's Hospital, and still suffers from some of the effects of that trauma to his system (including a prosthetic bone in his left ear).

They are enthusiastic about sports, and both of them have played soccer and basketball for several years. I think that if their bodies ever catch up with their will to play, they will be excellent players. They already show talent, and get better each year. They also both enjoy being in the small school band. Lightning is learning to play the trumpet, and after some choice making, Thunder is learning the saxophone. I hope they continue.

They both love the scouting program, and are excited to be going into boy scouts this next week. We love them, and hope the best for their futures.

Take care. Stick.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy B-Day Nene

I don't know why, but Nene's birthday always seems to sneak up on me. It's not like it's not on the same day every year. I think it is because we are focusing so much on the New Year's day stuff. Most of my memories of Nene come from when she was older, or at least into her teens. I can vaguely remember her with her braces, which she had for four years or so, but I mainly remember her during her high school years. She was always on the go, or so it seemed to me. I can remember her sitting in the living room playing the guitar with her friends. I think that is why I wanted to learn the guitar later on. I'm sure I remember a stop sign and a yield sign in her room (although I don't think she showed them to me, I think I snuck in there to snoop) :o).

I do rememeber when she dated Dave(?) with the green chevy, and I remember when she first announced that she and Leon were getting married. The boys were in love with his mustang. I put rice and newspaper in their car, and filled two hollowed out eggs with rice to throw at them at their wedding. (I believe I had to vacuum out the car too).

I have always been amazed at Nene's musical talent, and wish I had a share of it. I would love to be able to play the piano like she can, but when it comes to that I am all thumbs.

Nen has had her share of trials, and has faced them better than I would have. She is a great person, whose sense of humor fits right there with the rest of us. We love you Nene.

Happy Birthday! Stick.