Month: September 2006

Trip Prep

Each night this week I have been on the phone in the process of planning another trip to find more ministry partners. This is a normal part of our work with Campus Crusade, but it usually requires shifting our focus from communicating with CCCI staff members in other parts of the world to communicating with the team of people who pray for us and support us financially.

Setting things up is never something I enjoy because it reminds me of all the people I want to see but can’t. Once I make all those decisions and set up appointments, meeting with everyone then becomes one of the most enjoyable aspects of our work.

Our New Daughter


Jillian, our new daughter

Since we were unable to bring our former third child, Mallory, with us from Hungary we thought we should get a new daughter to replace her, so we adopted Jillian, someone we did bring from Hungary. She even speaks Hungarian fluently! Actually she came over with her mom to enroll at UCF, but we have had the privilege of her company almost every weekend since school started. She has become part of the family.

One Sunday night as I was driving her back to her apartment (which she shares with three other girls intent on getting the most fun possible from college) we were waved in by the security guard at the apartment complex entrance. Jillian commented that getting in had just been particularly easy compared to other times she’s entered. “He must have thought you were my dad,” was her explanation.

It was then it occurred to me that I look like the father of a university student. I tried escaping this conclusion, but I had to admit that I was friends with her dad and considered him my age (even though he has a couple years on me). It will remain one of those moments in my life when I realized things had changed forever.

First High School Football Game

Timber Creek High School Football Game, Orlando Florida

Timber Creek High School Football Game

Tonight was Timber Creek High School’s homecoming game, so we decided to go. 6,000 fans packed into bleachers that held 5,000, and the energy level was high. The TCHS Wolves beat the Boone Braves 41-28, so it was an exciting game. We sat with friends and had fun finding the kids of our friends from the football team, cheerleading team and marching band. This was nothing like my high school experience when my graduating class was 34 people, and our school didn’t have a football team! This was the first high school football game I’ve attended, and I think it might also be the first football game of any level that I have watched live.

I Found My Alter-Ego

Writing a blog from Hungary was easy for the first year. There was so much interesting material and so much that was different from my norm. Since I’ve been back I tried observing things as an ex-American, but I couldn’t. I am an American, and life here is completely normal.

Tonight Cathy found my alter-ego; someone from our village in Hungary who just began living here in the U.S. and is blogging about it. This was fascinating to us, and his observations are intriguing. It’s worth a stop by his site. This is a link to his post about his home (our former home); Budaörs.

You Should Try Windows Desktop Search

Windows Desktop Search image

Windows Desktop Search

First there was Google Desktop Search. It wasn’t a new idea, Windows has had such a feature already built in for years, but Google’s tool responded quickly enough to make it worth the searching effort. The original Windows search tool was virtually useless. It never found anything, and it took forever doing it.

Then there was Lookout for Outlook for those not inclined to use Google’s tool. I liked it better than Google, but it had some issues.

Now there is Windows Desktop Search. Microsoft observed how others did it, and they made something that beats them all. (Actually they bought Lookout for Outlook and improved it.)

I like using this so much I thought it was worth posting about. Having a comprehensive search tool means that there is small need to file your information. Just search for it instead. Even if I know where something is located, it is often faster to search for it and click the results window – rather than drill down through several directories to get it.

You can limit your search to subcategories: just photos or just files or just email, etc. It can “see” inside just about any file type you have, and it keeps its index updated on the fly without slowing down your computer. If you have never used a desktop search tool like this, I would highly recommend trying this one. And like anything good from the Internet these days, it’s free.

Budapest Reunion

Budapest Reunion Friends

Hertzlers, Rodds, Parkers, Burroughs

Jack and Diane Parker are in town, so we got them up to the house along with two other couples who moved from Budapest to Orlando this summer. There is a unique experience we all share, living in Budapest, which makes our friendship in this context extra meaningful. Only this group would appreciate one of our prized possessions from Budapest; a menu from the Adler. We’re all making adjustments to our new lives, and it was good to dump those things out around friends who were in the same process. We miss Budapest, but it’s nice to have some of Budapest here with us, too.

LSD Before Work

Morning Runners

Morning Runners

…that would be a Long, Slow Distance training run. Ted, Dave, Ben, and me (and a couple others who didn’t make it in time for the picture) put in ten miles before work. Each of us are training for a longer race. Ben’s getting ready for the Space Coast Marathon, I’m shooting for a half marathon in December, and Ted and Dave are just staying in shape. Ben’s the coach. He gets everyone motivated and feeling good about running. He also leads us praying for the first mile or so. I’m not sure whether to call him Coach Ben or Pastor Ben; either way he’s a pleasure to run with. After runs like these, who needs coffee?

This is cool!

USB drive application menu.gif

USB Drive Application Menu

My friend, Russ, made this cool USB drive that has a bunch of applications that run from it. All you do is plug it into a computer, and off you go. It has enough room for storing files and things you’d need to travel with. The whole thing is encrypted, too. I’m writing this post using a version of Firefox running from this USB drive.

These are tough little devices, too; SanDisk Cruzer Titanium (1.0 Gb). Russ tells me he’s heard of people leaving them in their pocket and jumping into the ocean, running them over with cars, and sending them through the laundry – all to find the device keeps working.

The devices cost about $50 each, but the software (all free) is loaded by Russ to distribute to our staff members who don’t have computers of their own. I got to test one of them as a creative outlet for my repressed geek side.

I’m going to start calling Russ “Q”.

Bloggers’ Party

Bloggers' Party

The Bloggers’ Party

Grant (and Amy) called the party at High Tide Harry’s tonight, and we all had a great time. It didn’t take long for us to agree that we missed Rob and Patricia but didn’t feel sorry for them one bit. (Vancouver beats Hwy 50 and Semoran Blvd.)

Andrew and Virginia we met for the first time. We hadn’t even read their blogs, but we found out that Virginia will soon be our working neighbor over at Wycliffe, and Andrew is doing something both Cathy and I envy; going to a school of design. They moved to Orlando this summer and are in the discovery mode and seem to be doing quite well at it, too.

Paul and Cathy kept us entertained with stories from Warrior, Alabama where Paul was a band director. They said it probably wouldn’t rank high in the list of most desirable cities in the U.S., but it is apparantly so far off that list it sounds compelling. And yes, we discussed the post. [And I made sure the apostrophe in this post title is in the right place.]

It didn’t surprise me to find out that Grant never edits himself. Write then post. Let someone else read it. That’s one of the reasons I like him so much; OCD types like myself admire the things so lacking in ourselves when we see it in others. And we found out what got fixed on the car and why. D’oh.

Cathy and Amy were the only ones who could relate to the group as normal people who don’t blog, but by the end of dinner even Cathy was starting to think about writing one.

And all the guys said that I had inspired them to start swimming in Speedo’s, too. Don’t believe them if they deny it.

Labor Day Ice Cream

Making Ice Cream in Ziplock Bags.jpg

Making Ice Cream In Ziplock Bags

On Memorial Day three years ago we celebrated with the Kelloggs and tried making ice cream in ziplock bags. You put ice in a ziplock bag, add some rock salt, and then add another smaller ziplock bag with the ice cream mixture. After shaking it up you should end up with ice cream.

It didn’t work, the cream spilled all over the driveway, and everyone ended up a sticky mess. So for Labor Day this year, everyone insisted on trying again. We got the same results like before, only this time James and Rachel ended up with a little ice cream in their bag.

I scooped myself a nice bowl of the store bought kind and had just as much fun.

Faster Swimming

Last night after our anniversary dinner, Cathy and I dropped into a bookstore, and I found a book on swimming technique. This summer I have been doing about 1000 meters in the neighborhood pool after my morning runs, and I wanted to see if it had anything that could help me increase my speed. This isn’t really such a big deal, but I always like getting faster if I can. This morning I applied some of the things I learned, and I was amazed at the results. Normally it takes me about 4 minutes to swim 360 meters, but this morning I did it in 3:50. That is a 4% improvement, and I spent less energy doing it! I was pretty excited.

Then I applied another technique I learned in Europe. I lost my American boxer style swim trunks and did the next few 360 meter segments in a Speedo. Yes, a Speedo. I realize that is almost as bad as mowing the yard in black executive socks here in America, but I did it anyway. Cathy fears if I keep this up I will soon become known as “that weird man at the pool who wears the Speedo”.

This dropped another 10 seconds off my 360 meter time; 3:40! Pretty cool.

Now I really have a dilemna. Do I keep swimming in a Speedo or go back to dragging my old suit through the water? Maybe if I stick with the Speedo I’ll have the pool to myself in the mornings.

Our good friends, Scott and Laura Puckett, started a church while we were gone, Christ Kingdom Church. It is one of several new churches in east Orange County Florida in the metro Orlando area of Central Florida. Right now we meet in a school, Avalon Middle School, as do most of the other churches in the area. One of the ways I help out in our new church community is by webmastering the site, or at least helping a bit. Scott set the site up himself and did a good job. But like the former Danube International Church site, which I also helped out on, it has a limited range of options.

It’s my goal to have Christ Kingdom Church rank high in search engine results for “churches in Orlando” and other related search phrases, but acheiving this goal requires making changes to the site which are not currently possible with the system in place now.

In the mean time, posts like this which link to the site, will give it added weight in the great minds of Google and Yahoo.