Saturday, February 04, 2006

Kassady had her hair put up into a ponytail for the first time this evening. It lasted for approximately 22 seconds before she tore the rubber band out. She kinda reminds me of the little girl from the Flintstones. I thought it was cute.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Weight and See

I am fat. Yes, I am. Let's not mince words here. When I went to GBS as a lowly college freshman, I weighed a whopping 155 pounds. I had a size 31 or 32 waist (depending on whether the pants were from Sears or JC Penneys) and was thin as a rail. That weight included my hair which stood nearly 17" high and weighed (along with the various gels, hairsprays, and conditioners) approximately 8 pounds, thanks to my poof which at the point was the height of style according to the conservative holiness fashionistas. Even though I hate like a horse, my weight rarely fluctuated.

After 4 years of college I still was only encumbered with 165 pounds on my lanky frame. That was soon to change, however. I married a fantastic cook! Lori began cooking substantive suppers and my waist began expanding. It started out as an innocuous transition from a 32 to a 34 waist size. Nothing too bad. Then, I began to notice the appearance of a double chin. I noticed that I could actually grab hold of skin on my side. This wasn't good.

Now, after nearly 7 years of marriage I find myself tipping the scales at 190/195. I've got to do better on this. Now, I'm not the kind of guy that spends a lot of time stressing about my looks. I realized a long time ago that I'm no Brad Pitt. I'm not even a Willard Scott. However, I do care about being out of shape.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to have a weigh-in posted each week. Hopefully, this sense of accountability will contribute to my efforts to slim down. We'll see.

Planning Ahead

I have been teaching the kids to be self-sufficient these days. I told them that we might not always live in a house and to prepare for the worst. Here, Trey and Kassady practice their urban grocery-cart drills, preparing for life on the streets. Hey, it could be worse. They could be living in a van, DOWN BY THE RIVER! (Thank you, Chris Farley.)

Trey the photojournalist

Trey took a picture of his best friend who doesn't qualify as a human: Jack (I have a few friends like that). Jack was born in Cincinnati on October 31 at the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Thanks to Trey's cousins David, Anthony, Alicia, and Christy as well as his uncle and aunt, Dave and Char, Jack has moved into the Waggoner household. Trey loves this bear! Jack has his own house in which he resides during the day. We actually bought Jack a Christmas present. He received Spider-man pajamas which he is wearing in this picture. Trey will not go to sleep at night until Jack has his pajamas on. Normally, Jack's clothing consists of a Cincinnati Reds baseball uniform. According to Trey, Jack plays baseball on Wednesdays, so each week Trey makes sure that Jack's ready to go all the way down to the stirrups and cleats.

Trey has been begging to use my camera, so I allowed him to take just a few pictures. Not surprisingly, Jack was his first target. Not bad for his first pic with no supervision.

Trey's getting better with the camera. He actually took a nice picture Kassady and me hanging out in the living room. I'm a blessed man! I have the 2 most wonderful children in the world! The only negative is that they are getting way too intelligent. I have to stay on my toes.

LaRena Anne Ezell

I want to pass along congratulations to my good friends, Allen and LaRona Ezell, on the arrival of their beautiful little girl, LaRena Anne. She came in at 8 lbs. and 9 oz. and was 19" long. I can't wait until she is taller than her mom, which probably won't happen for at least 2 years. Allen and LaRona, you have every right to be proud. LaRena is adorable!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Doug Riley

Your prayers are requested for the family members of Doug Riley, drummer with Gold City Quartet. Doug was killed in an auto accident while enroute to the Gold City recording studio. Doug is survived by his wife and two children.

For more information, please visit the Gold City website at

As a young drummer, I was a big fan of Doug and was impressed with his class and live performances. The Southern Gospel industry has lost one of its finest musicians.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Congratulations, Kayla!

I was privileged to witness the final game of Kayla Aman's basketball season. She played on the 9th grade team from Melba High School and they finished the season undefeated, 16-0. They beat the #2 seed, New Plymouth, 67-31. Kayla had a great game, ending up with several steals, assists, and points. I'm proud to have her as part of Grace Teens!

Idaho Youth Retreat 2006

Below you will find several pictures from our inaugural youth retreat, held in McCall, ID last weekend. Grace Bible Church from Nampa, Faith Evangelical Church from Boise, Community Bible Church from Emmett, and Faith Bible Church from McCall joined together for a fantastic time of worship, fun, and little sleep.

Several feet of snow failed to dampen the spirits of our teens and we came expecting to meet God in a new and fresh way. He didn't disappoint.

Hopefully, you can catch a glimpse of the essence of the weekend in the pictures below.

Philip Gumbs was the retreat speaker and Brent Vernon served as the worship leader. They both did an outstanding job.

I highly recommend Philip Gumbs to anyone looking for a dynamic, inspired youth evangelist. The guy flat-out knows how to speak to teens. They were plugged in every service as he challenged them to full surrender and joyful victorious living. Philip pastors a Church of God (Holiness) on the Carribean island of Anguilla. God has blessed his ministry and gifted him for pastoring. I enjoyed getting to know Philip. Hopefully, this isn't the last time we work together.

And then, of course, Brent is one of the best. Our young people responded to his worship leading. He challenged the teens to open up their hearts to God and really worship Him. His prodigious musical talents are completely surrendered and it shines through his ministry.

Melvin Adams served as retreat President and emceed most of the services.

While Marc and Melvin got things set up, I asked Brent about some input concerning one of my original compositions. The song is "Let's Go Out West". Here are the lyrics, complete and unabridged:

Let's go out west
Where the people rest
Where the cattle's in the field
With the fence all around
Let's go out west
Where the people rest
Where the cattle's in the field
All eating on grass

Brent recommended changing the substituting the word "hay" for "grass". He's pure genius.

(I actually wrote this song at a young age; I had my mom push a pencil and a piece of paper under the bathroom door so I could write down the lyrics)

This is what it's all about. We had two services were teens came forward to accept Christ. It was a beautiful moment. God truly did a remarkable work in the lives of our young people.

Marc barks out instructions during the Friday evening afterglow. Marc, Scott, Loren Alley (from Boise), and Dan Wood (from Emmett) were in charge of the activities. They kept the kids running!

Tim Makcen (far right) came out to the retreat as a representative from GBS. He did a fantastic job relating to the teens. I wish colleges would realize that the best way to recruit students is to get involved with their lives. A little prepared speech does not qualify. When I was a recruiter my most effective tool was spending time laughing, praying, and connecting with the kids. I don't know of one person who came to GBS because of my little spiel that I put together. Tim impacted the lives of several of our teens this weekend. Superb job! And a big thanks to GBS for sending him out.

Probably the most popular game at the retreat was called Clump. Marc would yell out a number and people would try to group in that number. If you weren't able to be part of the group you were out. This went on until it was down to 2 people. We had some extremely aggresive players. They were killing each other, trying to stay in the game. We were in a room with a concrete floor and these guys are tackling each other, doing everything they can to win. Sandy Adams was running around screaming, "You have to stop them! Somebody's going to get killed! O please stop them!"

The human chain was a fun game. Each team had to link arms while reaching into the middle of a circle and then try to get untangled. This guy in the red jacket was trying to step into the middle of the pile of bodies, thinking that somehow that was going to help. Brent Crane (underneath in purple coat, getting ready to get creamed) was screaming, "Stay down! Stay down! You're going to kill somebody!"

Justin was pretty excited during this game. That expression stayed on his face for about an hour. The guys never did figure out how to get untangled.

Sam was a huge hit at the retreat! I asked Brent if it's disappointing to realize that your dummy is more popular than you are. He handled it well. Literally.

Here, I am displaying for the impressionable teens my version of "the Robot".

This is what I looked like after only a couple hours of sleep on Friday night. You'll notice that my hair is a little out of place. Actually...hold on...I don't even see my hair. Dude, that was one wild night!

Now, Brent Vernon, being a Florida native and all, was in awe at all the snow. Actually, I was pretty awed myself. He said he wanted to try some sledding before he went in to warm up. He ended up staying outside for over an hour, laughing his head off. I was proud of him.

Rochenda sought to set Brent's mind at ease by volunteering her sledding strategies, which consist mainly of screaming loudly all the way down. Brent tentatively prepared to launch, trying to remember her advice.

Brent tried his best to emulate the pro. He hollered loudly all the way down!

Tiff begin her descent down the slope. She later tried going headfirst and smashed her face into the ground: hard. Her lip was swollen and numb. I was impressed at her daring. I didn't think Tiff had it in her.

Ashley was trying her best to throw snow all over my face. I was running backwards when I took this picture.

Jaron was trying to impress us with his snowboarding dexterity, but failed mightily when he hit a bump and faceplanted in a snowdrift. Here he his trying to feel his lips.

Sarah is much braver than I am. A couple of the guys built a pretty impressive ramp off of a massive pile of snow. Sarah wasn't content just to go down the normal, safe, regular way. Oh no, she had to kill herself. She went down backwards laying on her stomach. When she hit the ramp she flew up in the air about 2 feet and then slammed back into the intertube. She smashed up her knee and mentioned that she had a little chest pain. She said it felt like she cracked her ribs. Sarah said it was worth it, though.

Saturday night several of us played Mafia, a fun, whodunnit game. I was the narrator, the one who got to describe with gory imagination the details of each citizen's death. The game took about an hour or more to play. The teens were begging to play again.

As I looked at the mirror across the room, I paused a moment to admire my impressive physique.

What's a teen retreat without a visit to the hospital? Josh, one of our teens from Grace, and another guy slammed into each other while running at full speed. They banged their knees, with Josh getting the worst of it. After X-rays and much waiting, the prognosis came back as a bad bone bruise and possible strained MCL. We didn't get back to camp until 2:30 AM and I didn't get to bed until 3:30. Josh seemed to be doing OK by the end of the retreat. I told him he needed to milk it a little more. Get all the women to feel sorry for him. He wasn't impressed.

As part of the schedule, team leaders led their teams in devotions prior to the morning service. Scott shares with his team on Saturday morning. I love youth ministry. Seeing teens respond to God's Word and His Spirit more than makes up for my sleep deprivation. Bianca (Scott's wife and a team leader) said it best in a testimony on Sunday morning when she stated that God had renewed her heart while she was ministering to others. It was a great time.
David, being a Mona Lisa-trained expert in the art of dishwashing, displayed his skills in the kitchen.

Trey and Emme were enthralled with Pastor Phillip's ministry; or perhaps it was his rap song.

I admire my prey before consumption.

Rochenda (far left) could hardly contain her excitement at being a team leader, leaning in expressively toward the photographer. While enthusiastic thumbs-up were given by most of the team members, David (4th from R, green jacket) communicates to the audience that his team, was in fact, named (creatively, I might add) Team 2. The girl to the far right (in the green coat) seems a little perplexed by Brent's reaction to the photographer's request to "Say cheese." The photographer will remark, for Brent's benefit, that he has withheld a certain photo which doesn't need a caption due to it's comedic quality.

To say that Brent enjoyed his time with us would be an understatement (as evidenced by the grin that was perpetually stretched across his face).

Shortly after this picture was taken Alex (on right) slammed Chris's hand to the table so hard that he skinned his knuckles. Respect girl power.

When I can't think of what to say I use extremely descriptive and helpful hand motions while my mouth freezes into an open position. Often this is accompanied by a thin stream of drool to the side of my chin. I am a communicator.

Shawn and A.J. stayed in our room up in the guy's dorm. A.J. is quite a guy. He's a rapper, a relative of several mafia members, an underground swimmer (I quizzed him on that one, but he assured me that he is really quite proficient), one of the strongest guys that he knows of, as well as a part-time comedian. We had one of the most entertaining conversations that I've ever had. God really helped A.J. at the retreat. Great stuff! He helped make it a fun weekend.

Pastor Larry Roberts can serve with the best of them, bad shoulder and all. Rochenda, the self-proclaimed queen of the foodline isn't so sure about his methods, however, as she suspiciously watches his work with pursed lips.

A retreat is often only as good as the cooks. Wehad some of the best! Man, Delene's chicken enchiladas were awesome!

Some of the girls from Grace hang out before Friday night's afterglow. Ashley (2nd from L), Mindy (3rd from R), Tiffany (2nd from R), and Chylzee (far right) pose with a couple of friends.

Here's the entire group, campers and staff. We had a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Home Again

We just returned from a fantastic youth retreat up in the mountains of
McCall, ID. It was an incredible time of spiritual renewal and victory for our youth group! I'll write more about it shortly. Right now, I'm sitting on the couch watching "Veggietales: Lord of the Beans" with Brent Vernon (who was the worship leader for the retreat) and the ultimate veggies' fan, Trey. It's going to be an early morning as I take Brent and the GBS rep Tim Makcen to the airport. I'll update this later. I need sleep.