Saturday, January 21, 2006

Cookies and Candids, What More Can You Ask For?

Trey meticulously placed toothpicks in Lori's world-famous chocolate-covered buckeyes. Oh yeah!

Lynne dished up some pretty good cookies. Ray tried to appear disinterested, while slyly scheming up a plan to inhale the goodness. Shortly after this picture was taken, massive cookie carnage took place. That orange shirt became stained with the chocolate insides of innocent cookies. There was a small amount of splash-over on Lynne.

After a quick change of clothes for the next scene, Lynne partook of the yuletide cheer while Ray awkwardly maneuvered the fingers of his left hand.

Interestingly enough, every picture I take of Lenea features her stuffing her mouth. I can't figure that one out. God help her.

This was shortly before Lori threw flour in the general direction of the photographer. She doesn't encourage my skills.

Cookie pics

I forgot to post the above pictures of our cookie baking party at the McCrary house prior to Christmas. In this picture, Marissa, Trey, and Kassady do their part. Actually, Kassady was more of an obstacle in the whole baking process. Her destructive force dealt an extreme blow to the creative touches that Marissa and Trey were trying to bring to the table. The cookies ended up resembling small pieces of shrapnel with icing on them. They tasted good, though.

Great stuff...

We just welcomed our interim pastor and his wife, Dr. James and Sue Keaton, to Nampa. Last night we dined at the greatest culinary establishment our town has to offer, Red Robin. Well that's not totally true. The Mona Lisa, owned by good friends Dustin and Angie Mori, would be the finest place to catch a meal in town. I just couldn't afford it last evening.

Anyway, we went to the Red Robin where I feasted on the Whiskey River Barbeque Chicken Burger, truly the finest sandwich you will find on the menu. The Keatons each opted for the Royal Red Robin which is a burger with an egg on top. It also has bacon and all the fixings. A great time was had by all.

Many of my friends back east haven't discovered the delights of Red Robin. To find out if there's a restaurant near you, visit Cincinnati residents can enjoy the restaurants located in Milford or West Chester.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Open up the's Tuesday

This picture was taken in the summer of 1998 in Ochelata, OK. Check out how skinny we were! I actually had some hair. Nick Pop, Aaron Herring, and I were traveling with Assurance Quartet from God's Bible School and College and were spending the week at Ochelata Youth Camp. OYC is operated by the Bible Holiness denomination (formerly Fire Baptized). We had just finished an afternoon of sports and were headed for some ice cream. The main thing I remember from Ochelata is playing softball in 108 degree weather. I remember hitting the ball out to the fence and stopping at second base, simply because my legs shut down on me. There was no air conditioning in the dorm rooms. We took a temperature reading in the dorm and at one point it was 110 degrees. Our representative, Mark Stetler, was put in a room with a dinky little air conditioner, so we all crowded in there with him trying to enjoy a little bit of coolness.

I directed the choir at Ochelata that year. The tabernacle was open, so it was just as hot inside as it was outside. After finishing the choir songs, I began to hyperventilate. I made it to the kitchen, went over to the ice chest, and grabbed a bunch of crushed ice to pour over myself. It took me nearly 10 minutes to get my breathing under control. Great memories! Ochelata was, in spite of the heat, one of our favorite destinations. There's a lot of good people out there.

As promised, snowmobiling pics

You will notice that these shots are posed. There are no action shots of me on the sled, thank God. If my knees are a little blurry it's because of the rapid knocking they were doing. OK, it really wasn't that bad. These pics were taken near the summit of Packer John mountain near Cascade/Banks. You could see for miles from up there.

John, who is standing next to me in the top picture (Marc is in the botom pic), knows the area pretty well and he identified several of the mountain ranges that surrounded us. It was an incredible sight.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Check out this group

I just stumbled across the website of a brand-new group, Second Mile. I've been familiar with most of the group members and followed their careers the last few years. Donnie Henderson traveled for a little while with Poet Voices, while Buddy Mullins was the lead vocalist for the Mullins, Mullins & Co., and the Gaither Vocal Band. Buddy's wife, Kerrie, joins the group on vocals. The newest member of the group is keyboardist extrodinaire, Channing Eleton, most recently with Gold City. I'm looking forward to what they have to offer. They are currently putting the finishing touches on their first full-length studio album. Second Mile has a fresh, progressive sound. If Southern Gospel ever intersected with the Praise and Worship genre the result would resemble Second Mile's sound. Check out the group and see what you think:


On Thursday of last week I went snowmobiling up in the mountains near Cascade, ID. I had a great time in spite of nearly killing myself. The last time I clambered up on a snowmobile was about 14 years ago in Lafayette, IN. I rode with great distinction and adroitness, priding myself on my skillful handling of the 240 cc machine (yes, for you snowmobiling addicts out there, 240 cc) a cornfield. I quickly learned Thursday morning that my perceived competence was severely overrated in the mountains of Idaho. I had upgraded to a 600 cc snow machine, capable of climbing great heights and achieving glory, depending upon its rider. Now, you have to understand that we weren't trekking across a particularly dangerous section of terrain. In fact, John Mullins, who so kindly and patiently guided me through the day, commented gaily about how easy of a ride this was. Yeah right! Not for a rookie.

We started across some groomed trails and about a mile or two up the road found a meadow to play around in. The other member of our party was Marc Taylor and as we got to the meadow he tore off across the field. I had been trying to feel out the machine, and having already succeeded in burying it in a snowbank while attempting to climb a rather steep incline, knew that I had everything under control. I didn't.

As I raced after Marc, my depth perception failed to kick in, so I totally missed the fact that there was a large dip ahead of me. I didn't slow down a bit and I hit that dip full force. The snowmobile went up into the air and came down forcefully before I ever had an idea that something was wrong. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet because my face made impact with the windshield, causing my ears to ring. I don't quite remember how it happened, but I found myself in the snow, short of breath, looking woozily at the snowmobile.

After that, I took it easy. Nothing major going on here. We climbed Packer John, a mountain of about 7,000 feet, taking an ungroomed trail up to the summit. I'll have a few pictures in a day or so. When we got up to the top, the sight was worth the trip. It was awesome!

We spent the rest of the day, traversing the mountain. There was one more scary moment for me. I've always heard the expression "I tasted fear" used, but always pegged it as an exaggerated statement. I am hear to tell you that it is not exaggerated, that I tasted fear Thursday.

As we had made our way up the mountain, we had gone over a tree that had fallen across the path. The tree was mostly covered with snow, but there were a few branches sticking up, so I took my time crossing it. Well, on the way down, I'm trying to take it easy, to not push anything. I'm doing 25 or 30 mph as we followed the curvy trail down the mountainside. I came around a corner and saw a short straightaway, so I opened it up and took off. I was thinking that the downed tree was across another section of the trail. It wasn't. It was on this straightaway that I was racing down. On my left was a drop-off of about 600 feet and the only way to make it across the tree was to go to the left. I didn't have time to slow down and hit that tree going way too fast. The snowmobile leaped up into the air, sparks flying, and all I could do was jerk my weight to the right of the machine. It was one of those moments when time stands still, when everything goes into slow motion. The snowmobile landed sideways on the trail, none the worse for wear, and I continued on my way. However, I tasted fear. It was a bitter taste in my mouth that stayed for a couple of miles down the trail. My heart rate increased dramatically.

It was definitely an exciting day for me. It was a learning experience. I got stuck probably 5 or 6 times before lunch. By the afternoon, though, I learned how to shift my weight around and managed to stay out of trouble. It was great!

It scared me to death, but I'll do it again. You gotta keep pushing those comfort zones.