Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mexico or Bust

Jessi and I are in the final stages of preparing for our Mexico Mission Trip. We'll be heading down in a big yellow school bus with our church's high school group (just like the picture above). The trip takes about 2.5 days when you need to go 55mph. This year I planned ahead and bought a bunch of really good books to read. I will definitely make sure to share the good ones I find.

Also like last year, we'll be headed down to San Felipe which is on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja peninsula. I'm looking forward to re-visiting last year's projects and working on new ones.

If you could, please pray for safe travel. And safety on the work sites. Plus, for open hearts when we share the Gospel with the people in the community.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's Up With Jacob?

I read this passage and thought I'd share it. It's Genesis 29:16-30 (NIV):
"Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel." Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her." So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant. When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?" Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work." And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years."

OK. What's up with Jacob? Here's a guy who spent 7 YEARS getting to know Rachel. Then in one evening is able to be tricked into sleeping with her sister. How does that happen?

Furthermore, why all the secrecy? I am really be believe that after 7 YEARS of hanging out with Laban, Jacob didn't get to know their customs? Why didn't Rachel say anything? Didn't she love Jacob back?

Finally, Laban was a master deceitful negotiator in this instance. He managed to have both his daughters married and get an extra 7 years worth of work out of Jacob. I am shocked that Jacob let himself be taken advantage like that.

It's when I read passages like this I need to remember that God indeed had a bigger plan, and that this was all necessary. It's just that sometimes He goes about it in such a round-about away, that doesn't seem to make a bunch of sense.

That's all I've got. It's just weird to an untrained eye like myself. I wish I knew more about the circumstance so I could fully understand what happened here.

[image source:]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Check Your Dryer Vent

When Jessi and I first hooked up our dryer vents we went the cheap route: duct tape. We already had some and it saved us a trip to Home Depot. Unfortunately, over time moisture weakened the tape. You see, our vent goes up through the roof and so the duct tape was literally holding our vent hose in the air.

Eventually it weakened it enough that the tape gave way and our vent hose fell down. So... off to Home Depot we went to get the correct connection.

While there, it was suggested we also take a look at, and clean out, the part of our vent that went through the attic. We learned that over time the vent can get clogged with lint. So, that's what we did and WOW! There was so much lint built up it looked like it had never been cleaned out! We also discovered that at one point a huge dent had been made to the vent, further blocking air flow. We were making our dryer work harder than it needed to.

We started to clean out the vent, but quickly decided it would be best just to replace the whole thing. Now our drying is humming along and drying everything very quickly.

So, make sure you check your dryer vents every once in a while. We plan to check and clean ours out once a year along with our other annual maintenance items.

Monday, March 07, 2011

New Treadmill

Jessi's moving so fast it can't be captured on film!

Last weekend Jessi and I purchased a treadmill. I had been haunting Craig's List for a couple of months doing research and figuring out what was available. You see, I inherited my dad's style of research: spend a lot of time just looking. Figure out what it is you're looking for. Wait for a killer deal. Then pounce on it. We did it with our property and now with our treadmill.

After talking with sales reps at exercise stores I determined I wanted (at a minimum) the following:

  • 2 horsepower continuous duty motor
  • A belt length of 55 inches
  • An automatic incline
  • Hand rails that came out horizontally so I could place a board across it to make a table
  • Fold up for easy storage and transportation
  • In "like new" condition
  • Oh yeah, and under $400

These features are typical at the $1,000 price range, but I knew if I waited it out we'd find something. Sure enough, a treadmill popped up on Craig's List that met all my criteria. Since I had already done my research, all I needed to do was look at it to make sure everything worked. It turned out that the people selling it had a family member move away and just wanted to get rid of the machine (Craig's List really should have a "selling because of moving" tag - those are all the best deals). We talked about the fishing in Oregon for a while and eventually were able to make a deal.

So, why get a treadmill? Well, two reasons.

First, it rains in Oregon and try as hard as I do, I just don't like running in the rain. It wasn't that big of a deal for a while because I just wouldn't run. However, now Jessi and I are actually training for a marathon/2 that's coming up. So my plan of avoiding running isn't working. Actually, it IS working and let's just say that 13 miles still sounds like a long distance to me.
Second, I work from home pretty much every single day. I sit on a ball, but I'm still sitting. What we're going to do is attach a removable self that I can put my computer on. Then I'll be able to walk while working (I'm writing this while walking right now. 1.8mph; 0.8 miles!) or while in a conference call. I'm not looking to burn any major calories, but instead do a better job of getting up and moving throughout the day.

My short-term desk solution

So, that's our new treadmill. I think it'll get a lot of use from us. We'll see. I'll let you know in a few months if we have a slightly used treadmill for sale in a couple of months.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Mustache March!

Furry February has come to a close and now it's time for the main event: Mustache March. This year I'm going straight to the Fu Manchu. It should be fully OUT OF CONTROL by the end of the month. Good thing I have these sweet handle bars to hold on to.