Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Adventure at 12,000 feet

At the end of March, while the boys were on their spring break from school, we took a trip to Colorado. Aunt Marilyn had to attend some classes at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Christie’s cousin, Mark Pieper lives in Frisco in the heart of ski country.

Since flying all of us out west would have blown the vacation budget, we made the long trip via car…..well SUV. We spent the first part of the trip in Colorado Springs. We were really looking forward to attending church service on Sunday morning at the beautiful Chapel on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy. However when we arrived there on Sunday morning, we were very disappointed to find the chapel closed because the cadets were on their spring break. We went to the visitors center on campus instead and had a good time there. Later we visited the Garden of the Gods, and Manitou Springs.
Later in the week, we made the trip to Frisco, where Mark lives. We spent time walking around downtown Frisco and another day we drove to Breckenridge and did some shopping there as well. Talk about a small world… we were walking around Breckenridge, Christie ran into our neighbor Tom Sloan. Tom also works at IWU. We had no idea that he would be there. It’s funny that we had to travel 1200 miles to see someone who just lives down the street. On Thursday Mark wanted to take the boys tubing. We purchased some sleds and tubs and headed to a local sledding hill. We had a blast there.

On Friday, we went to Arapahoe Basin to go skiing. This was the anticipated highlight of the trip. The boys had never been skiing before and it had been 15 years since I last skied. Christie’s leg and knee were still bothering her so she stayed in the lodge.

The boys did a great job and they picked up on it very well. Marilyn spent most of the time with Gibson and Grant on the beginner hill, although they did make one trip up to the mid-mountain to go down the bigger slopes. However this is where Gibson really started to struggle. He was getting exhausted and just couldn’t ski anymore so he wanted to walk the rest of the way down the mountain.

Gannon got the hang of skiing pretty well and I was pleasantly surprised that I picked up right where I left off 15 years ago. I told Gannon that “the old man still has the skill, but I just don’t have the stamina. The lack of oxygen at 12,000 feet certainly didn’t help my out-of-shape physical condition!

Towards the end of the day Gannon and I had the brilliant idea that for our last run we would take the chairlift from mid-mountain all the way to the summit of the mountain. We had been skiing the intermediate runs from mid-mountain to the base without too much difficulty.

To make a long story short, we had a heck of a time navigating our way down the mountain from the top. The runs were much steeper and the snow was much deeper, which made it harder to control. I had a major wipeout and Gannon had a few as well. We were so exhausted when we finally made our way back to the lodge. We had quite a father-son bonding experience with that adventure!

Although we had a great time out west, we were glad to finally get back home to Indiana. Like they say, there’s no place like home!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blizzard of 2007

Every winter since we moved to Indiana from Michigan, Christie and I have been anxiously waiting for “the big one”……a huge snowstorm that shuts everything down for a few days. Yeah, I know that this sounds weird, but we think it would be really cool to be snowed in our house for a few days of family fun.

Well this February our wish finally came true. On Monday February 12, there were reports that central Indiana was going to get hit with a major snowstorm. We’ve heard these warnings before only to have them never materialize. However this time they were right. By time the storm was over, Marion was hit with 16 inches of snow.
The worst of the storm hit on February 13. The boys schools were closed for 3 days and I even got two days off of work as the Indiana Wesleyan University campus was closed for two days. The city of Marion and Grant County was under a weather emergency, which meant that nobody should be out driving around. We had a great time playing in the snow and digging ourselves out.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Burgett Family Christmas Letter 2006

The year 2006 brought several milestones to the Burgett Family. Not only do we now have a child in high school, but our family elder, Bryan; turned 40 this year. It seems that as each year passes by our lives get increasingly busy. Mornings are especially crazy as we are getting the three boys off to school at different times. Our afternoons and evenings generally revolve around sports. This fall was especially hectic, with all three boys playing on different teams. It was quite exhausting shuttling the boys to all of their practices and games; but we loved it.
The year started off on a bad note in January when Bryan’s father, Doug suffered a heart attack. He was in the cardiac critical care unit for over a month, but since then he has recovered unbelievably well. The power of prayer is awesome! In August we were saddened by the death of Christie’s grandfather, Rev. Ralph H. Pieper. He was the last of the living grandparents of Bryan and Christie.

Gannon is a freshman at Lakeview Christian High School where is plays on the varsity soccer team and junior varsity basketball team. He’s never been a big basketball fan, but he seems to enjoy playing on the team and he says it will help keep him in shape for soccer season. Like most teenagers he likes to spend his spare time communicating with his friends using the vast array of electronic gadgets he has.

Grant is a 7th grader at R.J. Baskett Middle School. He has made the adjustment from homeshool to public school life very well. He played on the 7th grade football team as an offensive lineman (just like dad). They had a great season finishing 8-1. He is on the honor roll and he plays drums in the school band.
Gibson is in the 3rd grade attending Westview Elementary School. Like Grant, he was homeschooled the past 2 years. He really enjoys school and his teacher tells us that he is an absolute joy to have in the classroom. This fall he played on a soccer team that was coached by Bryan’s friend Jeff.

Bryan still works at Indiana Wesleyan University recruiting students for the online graduate nursing programs. He also teaches online courses for the university. Speaking of Bryan, he recently hit the big 4-0. In September, Christie pulled off one of the best surprises in Burgett family history when she planned a 40th surprise birthday party. Bryan had no clue about the party (partly because his birthday is in December) The means by which Christie kept this a secret, while still managing to bring in friends and family from out of state was quite a task.

Now that Christie is no longer a homeschool mom, she has much more free time…..yeah right J She still provides care for several children in our home during the day. In August Christie had a thyroidectomy. She was in surgery for about 4 ½ hours, but she has recovered well is doing fine now.

At the end of May we made our way back to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to spend a week at one of our favorite vacation destinations. We rented a beach house along with Aunt Marilyn and friends of ours who have two younger children. We had a great time relaxing by the pool and hot tub. On the return trip back to Indiana we made our required stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania to visit HersheyPark. Overall it was an interesting year and we look forward to many more.

We hope you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bryan, Christie, Gannon, Grant and Gibson

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Best Day Ever

September 9, 2006 was a special day for me….let me explain. Waking up on that beautiful sunny Saturday morning, little did I know everything that would be in store for me the rest of the day.

Saturday morning started when my father, my friend Jeff Whetzel, and I went to my friend Jeremy Diller’s house to shoot our guns. Jeremy lives out in the country and we brought our guns with us and had a great time shooting clay pigeons and other targets. After we were finished with our testosterone boosting morning, I was looking forward to going home and relaxing for several hours before the big Ball State – Indiana University football game that Jeff and I would be attending later that evening.

Jeff said that he wanted to come over to my house and go fishing after we were done playing with our guns and my father and I followed him in the car back to my house. I saw that there were a bunch of cars there as well as balloons tied to her mailbox. I then quickly remembered that Christie told me earlier that she invited some of Gibson’s friends to go swimming for his birthday. When I saw that there were about 20-25 people standing in the driveway and garage, I remember thinking, “dang, how many people did she invite?”
I parked the car on the lawn and my father and I walked up the driveway. I couldn’t figure out why everyone was standing there looking at me, many of them with camera’s in hand. Christie then came up to me with tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug and a kiss, and said “This is for you, because I love you so much.” I was a bit confused, and then she said, “This is for you; It’s a surprise 40th birthday party!”

Well I was certainly surprised, because I wasn’t turning 40 until December 1. I then looked at the crowd and saw many of my friends and family members. I then saw my sister Viki and my cousin Lisa from Ohio. I then realized that wow, this was a surprise!

Christie had been planning this party for months. There were several times when she thought I was figuring out what was going on, but I didn’t have a clue. The “gunfest” over at Jeremy’s house was just a ploy to get me out of town for a few hours so they could get everything prepared for the party.

She even had entertainment for the party! First we had a clown who made balloon animals and hats. Then we had a magician. While swimming in the pool with my friends and family members I felt like a little kid because I was truly excited when I was told that the magician was here and that I had to get out of the pool so I could go watch the magic show!

It was so awesome to see everyone at the party. I can’t believe how much work Christie went into planning this, without me knowing about it. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

As fun as the day was, the festivities were still not over yet. Jeff and I have season tickets to Ball State football games and they had a big game that evening at home against IU. I hated to leave the party as there were still many people there, but hey I love football and this was a big game for BSU.

Ball State ended up losing the game, but we had a great time anyway. When we returned from Muncie, there were still a few people there cleaning up from the party. I remember telling Christie that this was probably one of best days I ever had. She was pleased to hear that I had a great day.

This is a day that I will never forget. Christie, I love you too!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yearning to Return

It has been less than 2 weeks since we returned from our vacation in Corolla, North Carolina and I’m already to go back. I love that place.

We spent most of our time there lying around the pool and going down to the beach to play in the Atlantic. The ocean water was very cold, but the surf was really high on a couple of days and we had a great time playing in the waves.
Christie was in charge of cooking meals for all of us and she did a great job. We’re talking serous feasting here. Steaks, shrimp, kabobs, homemade pizza to name a few of the delicious treats we enjoyed.

On most evenings us guys would walk down to the beach to watch the ocean at night. Since we were quite a way from the big city lights, the number of stars we saw was amazing. We even managed to see a large bluish-green object streak across the sky one night. At first we thought it was someone shooting off fireworks, but we later realized it was either a meteor or a piece of space junk entering the atmosphere.

The weather was absolutely great. It didn’t rain the whole week except for a brief thunderstorm on Friday afternoon.

On the way home from Corolla, we stopped in Hershey, Pennsylvania to visit Hersheypark. We had a great time there as well.

Overall, it was a wonderful relaxing vacation. Can’t wait for the next one………

Monday, May 15, 2006

Corolla is Calling

In less than 6 days, my family and I will be enjoying a well-needed vacation on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. This is our favorite place to visit as we have been there 4 times previously.

For those of you who didn’t pay attention in geography class, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a 100-mile) string of beaches and barrier islands on the northern half of North Carolina’s Atlantic coastline. We prefer to stay in the far northern area of the Outer Banks near a small town called Corolla. Many outsiders pronounce "Corolla" in the same way they pronounce the name of the car Toyota makes. If you want to sound like a local or a hip tourist, you must pronounce the second syllable as if it rhymed with "ball". (Cuh-rah-la)

The thing to do on the Outer Banks is to rent a beach house for a week. We usually go in late May as the rental costs are much lower. During peak season (June-August), the rentals go for about 3 times as much as they do during May.
This year we are traveling with our friends, Jeff and Christie Crawford and their two children. They have never been to the Outer Banks before and they are looking forward to it.

The house we are renting has a private pool and hot tub and is located about 900 feet from the ocean. We’ve rented homes right on the ocean before, but they cost quite a bit more to rent. We expect to spend a lot of time in the pool and hot tub.

A trip to the Outer Banks is more of a time for relaxation. There are plenty of things to do around there, but we usually just spend most of the time hanging out at the pool.

I hope to be able to update my blog while we are in Corolla……until then…..

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Good Morning Wake Up

This morning I had something really cool happen to me. Usually Saturday mornings are our sleep in day. Unless we have a reason to be up early, Christie and I like to sleep in until we feel like getting up. Unfortunately, Christie had to help out with a youth activity at our church this morning, but I didn’t have to. :)

I don’t even remember hearing her get up and leaving. I remember waking up and looking at the clock and I saw that it said 9:36AM. I took joy in knowing that I could sleep for as long as I wanted or until someone or something woke me up.

I apparently fell back to sleep lying on my back. I usually sleep on my side or on my stomach. The next thing I remember was that I was dreaming, and all of a sudden I felt something on my lips. I was startled and as I opened my eyes I saw the beautiful face of my wife Christie! What a great way to be woken up.

She said that she could hear me snoring from living room when she came home and she wanted to wake me up with a kiss. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed waking up this way. It sure beats the annoying buzzing sound of my alarm clock. I wish I could wake up this way everyday!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Radius and Ulna

As the father of three young boys, it is inevitable that one of our kids will eventually break a bone. Well two weeks ago, Grant assured us that this would indeed happen. We’ve had our share of sprains, ruptures, cuts, fractures and bruises, but this was the first time one of the Burgett boys has broken something.

Grant broke his radius bone and he has a torus fracture bend in his ulna. He hurt his arm while playing soccer in the gym at the JC Bodyshop youth center at our church, and the following day he slipped on the wood floor in our living room and that is when he broke his arm. As you can see by the photos, his cast goes almost up to his shoulder.

His doctor said that he will have the cast on for at least 6 weeks. Grant chose the fluorescent yellow color for his cast. He was eager to have his friends and acquaintances sign his cast. As you can see he knows quite a few people. I’m pretty sure that this won’t be our last experience with broken bones…….

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl Sunday Project

I decided to do something really silly today, Super Bowl Sunday. I decided to tackle a home improvement project. As my wife Christie will tell you, I’m certainly not Bob Vila. I’m handy in a few things; home improvement is not one of them.

The faucet in our main bathroom had a slow leak on the top. It leaked more if you happened to put too much pressure on it as you turned the knob. We have wanted to replace it for a while, but any of the faucets we seemed to like were too expensive. Can you believe that some bathroom faucets can cost up to $250?

Well last week, Christie found a very nice gold faucet that was on clearance at Lowe’s. With Christmas, the youth convention and my father’s heart attack, we haven’t been home for a weekend since before Christmas.

Since we were having our friends Jeff and Christie Crawford over to watch the Super Bowl, I figured I would get the faucet installed before they arrived. I started the project around 2:00PM, which was about 4 ½ hours before kick-off…..plenty of time right? WRONG!

Every time I start a home improvement project it takes me about 3 to 4 times longer than I expected and the bathroom faucet project was no different. After I removed the old faucet I discovered that the existing connecting hose was too short, so I had to make a trip back to Lowe’s to purchase new connecting hoses and some Teflon tape and plumbers putty. There were several other obstacles that I ran into during the installation that I won’t bore everyone with here.

Jeff, Christie and their children arrived at our house at 6PM and I was on my back with my head under the sink. I finally managed to complete the project just as the 1st quarter of the game was ending.

Although it was a real pain to install the faucet, I did feel a sense of accomplishment. My testosterone level kicked up a few notches as I admired my handiwork. I had proved my worth as the man of the house! Every time I wash my hands I am reminded of that.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Update on Dad

It has been almost 4 weeks since my dad had his heart attack. We’ve been up to Michigan every weekend since he had the attack. I’m pleased to say that he is doing better. He is off the respirator and is breathing on his own.
The doctors say his progress will be slow, but we are thankful for any progress we can get. My mother is holding up fairly well, but I know at times she is overwhelmed by everything. She just wants him to come home from the hospital quickly.

Dad has a hard time talking because his vocal cords are swollen from the respirator. They put dad in a cardio chair for about 3 hours each day so he isn’t on his back all the time. He says it hurts when he is in the chair and he doesn’t like it. I’m afraid that he is getting depressed about his current state, but that is expected.

It is hard to see someone who prior to the heart attack was fairly healthy and strong to be in such a weak state. He is fortunate to even be alive at this point, so God has given him a second chance.

Genesys Hospital has an email service where you can email patients. Last week I sent him an email to cheer him up and to give him words of encouragement. He did receive the email and my mom read it to him. Here is the text of my email:

Hi Dad,

I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you are able to sit up and open your eyes. You really had us scared the last few weeks. You have been through quite an ordeal and it will take some time to get you back on your feet.

I pray that you do not become discouraged. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for you to have to be in the hospital, but remember that every day you will continue to improve. I was so good to hear your voice on Saturday. I could barely hear you, but it made me feel good nonetheless.

It is hard to be away from you while you recover. Even though we are 250 miles away, Christie, Gannon, Grant, Gibson and I think of you all the time and are praying for your quick recovery.

I am proud to call you my father and I’m thankful for everything you have done for me. The boys can’t wait for you to take them fishing again and to tell them deer hunting stories.

Never forget that we all love you very much and God loves you even more than we do.

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
James 5:15-16

Continue to be strong and you will be well on your way to recovery. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Sending much love your way,


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Day I Wish Had Never Happened

This past week was not a good one. On Thursday, January 5, I received a call from my brother Vince on my cell phone while I was at lunch with some co-workers. I knew right away that this would not be a pleasant call. Vince advised me that my father had a heart attack and they were performing emergency surgery on him. (Above is a photo taken in 2002 of my dad and I).

I had to get back to Michigan right away. Unfortunately, my car had a problem with the radiator and was in the process of being taken to the shop to be repaired. We only had Christie’s van and she needed it to be home with the kids as they are in school.

Fortunately, my friend Jeff Whetzel from work drove me up to Michigan in his car along with his brother-in-law Lucas. When I finally made it to Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, my father had just come out of surgery and the doctors had spoken with my mother and sister. The doctors informed them that dad had a 90% blockage in one of his arteries and as they were preparing to perform an emergency angioplasty, he had a heart attack right there on the operating room table. Fortunately they were able to hook him right away to the heart-lung machine they use to perform the angioplasty. They also performed a triple bypass surgery and mitral valve repair.

The doctors said that after the surgery he only had about 30% function in his heart. He went into surgery around 12:30PM and he didn’t come out until about 6:00PM a few minutes before I arrived at the hospital. Those next several hours waiting to be able to see him were quite trying. We were finally allowed to see him for a few minutes. He was hooked up to all kinds of machines and IV’s. To be honest, he looked terrible. I said a short prayer and left the room to wait for the next step.

Around 10:30PM the doctor came out to the lobby waiting room. He told us that dad’s blood pressure was very low and that there were two things causing it, one of which was fixable. He said that there either is a blood clot in the fluid sac that protects the heart, which can be fixed, or that there was just too much damage done to his heart and there really wasn’t anything he could do. The severity of what he said hit me like a brick.

The doctor said they would have to open him up again. My mom, sister Viki and I immediately wanted to see him before he went back to the operating room. I felt numb as we walked down the hallway to his room. As I entered the room there were about 4 or 5 medical personnel getting him ready for the surgery. Dad’s body was shaking and his arms and legs were twitching as if he were trying to get up off the table. It is a sight I will never forget. I stood as tears flowed down my face and I placed my right hand on dad’s left thigh and lifted my left hand up facing God and began to pray. I’m not sure what I even said or if I even said the prayer aloud or to myself. I was oblivious to anything else that was going on around me. When I was finished, I said “I love you dad”, and walked out of the room.

As I was walking down the hallway towards the 3rd floor lobby, the realization that I may have just seen my father alive for the last time began to overwhelm me. I could hear my sister and mother walking behind me, but I just couldn’t look at them. I initially wanted to immediately go to the hospital chapel to pray, but I didn’t know where it was located and I was just to upset to try to find it. I found a quiet corner in the lobby area, sat down and prayed quietly. Dr. Silver initially said that dad would be in surgery for about 1-2 hours.

I called Christie on my cell phone to give her the news and to have her pray as well. She was back in Indiana. I wanted her here with me at this dark hour, but I knew that she had to stay back with our boys. I don’t remember what I even told her, but I remember her crying on the other end saying, “oh my God, I’m so sorry”.

The next 90 minutes seemed to last forever. Finally around midnight as my sister and I were walking down the hallway towards the surgery area, we saw Dr. Silver emerge from the surgery wing. He gave us a reassuring nod, so we knew that he had good news for us. We tried to contain our excitement as we continued walking with him down the hallway towards the anxious lobby area. He proceeded to tell us that there was indeed a blood clot in dad’s heart sac and they were able to remove it and that his blood pressure began to improve. This was fantastic news! He then proceeded to tell us that because of the swelling in his chest cavity, they were unable to close his chest fully and they had to keep it open to relieve the pressure on his heart. We weren’t sure what this meant, so Dr. Silver explained that his chest cavity would remain open and it would be covered with a special sterile cover. Once the swelling went down they would close him back up.

Later that night we were allowed back into his room to see him. The sight of him lying there with about 15 IV’s, respirator, and many other machines hooked up to him gave me a sick feeling him my stomach. I thanked God that dad was still alive and I knew that the next several days would be harrowing.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Logos 5

This past December, Christie and I traveled to Grand Rapids, MI with our boys to attend the LOGOS 5 Wesleyan Youth Convention. We were sponsors for the Junior High students. A total of around 50 youth from our church attended. Gannon and Grant are part of the JC Bodyshop youth group at College Wesleyan.

We arrived a day early so we took the boys to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. The museum was very impressive. The best part was the replica of the Oval Office as it appeared during Ford’s presidency. There was also a large section of the Berlin wall in the main lobby.

Overall, I thought the conference was very good. I enjoyed the music and the speakers were inspiring, especially that of Marilyn Laszlo, who shared her story about time spent in Papua New Guinea as a missionary and Bible translator for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Some of the high school students felt that the speakers were not “deep” enough in the Word for them. Our youth pastor Mike Hofer had to remind them that this convention was designed for students who are at various levels in their walk with Christ. Some of these kids’ parents are Bible professors at IWU and I think they are a little spoiled by the preaching they hear every Sunday at our church.

Several of the high school and junior high kids became ill during the trip. Fortunately for them, Christie was there acting as both nurse and pharmacist. She had her bag of medicine with her and she was busy dispensing aspirin, cold and flu medicine and other remedies to the kids. I jokingly told her that we needed to put a Walgreen’s sign our hotel room door as they were always knocking on our door saying “Christie do you have any……?”

Although Gibson is too young to be part of the JC Bodyshop youth group, he participated in all of the activities with the “big” kids. In the evenings after the general sessions were over students could participate in the Street Party in one of the convention halls.

The Street Party consisted of video games, and other activities such as a mechanical bull, dodge ball, jousting, and basketball to keep the kids busy. Christie and I were both exhausted from the trip, but we both agreed that we had a great time. Our boys had a wonderful time as well. We are so glad that they are able to attend conferences like this where they can learn more about God with their friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Merry Christmas ACLU

The other day when driving through my neighborhood, I noticed the sign to the left in the front yard of one of my neighbors. After I saw this I had to get a photo of it as I really like the message and got a good laugh.

For those of you who don’t know, the ACLU stands for the American Civil Liberties Union. According to their website, the ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values: the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

On the surface it sounds like a good idea, but unfortunately that organization has morphed into something out of control. The ACLU is better known as an organization that has an anti-Christian agenda and has helped bring lawsuits that have done the following:

• The removing nativity scenes from public property
• Banning songs such as Silent Night from schools
• Refusing to allow students to write about the Christian aspect of Christmas in school projects
• Forcing schools to rename Christmas break Winter break
• Refusing to allow a city sponsored Christmas parade to be called a Christmas parade
• Not allowing a Christmas tree in a public school
• Forcing the renaming of a Christmas tree displayed on public property a Holiday tree

In addition to their war on Christmas, the ACLU has also tried to:

• Censor student led prayer at graduation
• Remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance
• Remove "In God We Trust" on our currency

I do not think that this is what our founding fathers had in mind when they talked about separation of church and state. This is one of the reasons we don’t send our children to public schools. God has been removed from our public school systems.

Last week a co-worker sent me an email that contained the above comic that I thought was very funny. However, it really isn’t funny in the sense that it is sad to think that this is what our society has come to.

So to you ACLU I send you very big Merry CHRISTmas message!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Buck #2

As I previously noted, last year I was not successful in getting a deer during hunting season. Well this year I got my 2nd buck in 3 years of hunting. Again, I was hunting on Aunt Marilyn’s property with my friend Jeff.

When I saw the deer, I couldn’t tell if it was a doe or a small buck, but that didn’t matter. I took 1 shot and it took off running. I took a 2nd shot while it was on the run, and I could see that it fell down.

When I walked up to the deer, I was surprised at how small it was. I jokingly thought that I had shot a large German Shepherd. It was much smaller than the one I got 2 years ago. It didn’t have any visible antlers, just two small button nubs on its head. It was a very small antlerless buck. I didn’t even bother to take photo of it as I didn’t think it would be very manly to take a photo with a puny buck like this.

Yesterday I got my processed deer back from the butcher shop. There were only 3 grocery bags of meat. My previous deer filled up about 7 or 8 bags. Since I didn’t get a photo of the actual un-butchered buck, I decided to spread the packaged venison meat on the garage floor and take a photo of my bounty. The photo above left, shows the amount of meat generated by a 1st year buck.

Today for lunch, I grilled some venison steaks for myself, Gannon, Grant and Gibson. Christie isn't quite ready to eat deer meat yet, but she will come around. Although the thermometer said it was 19 degrees, I cooked the venison on the grill outside. (see photo above) Who says it has to be summer to grill outside? All of us agreed that the venison steaks were awesome. Hungry?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I’m 14,245 days old!

Today I hit one of those milestone points in life. I turned 39 years old. 39 years old seems to be a pretty popular age as I know that many older and middle-aged men and women like to lightheartedly say “39” when asked how old they are. I don’t feel 39 years old and I really don’t think I look 39….do I?

I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of birthdays. I mean once you turn 21, there really isn’t a reason to make a big deal out of it except for the fact that you’ve made it another year. I know some people make a big deal about birthdays and get upset if someone doesn’t send them a card or doesn’t call them. I’m not one of them.

Not that I don’t enjoy getting a card or phone call, it’s just that I don’t get upset if people don’t acknowledge it. I’m sure I’ll get a telephone call from my mother and sister Viki to sing Happy Birthday to me. I do look forward to those calls.

After work Christie and the boys took me to Applebee’s for my birthday dinner. I had the teriyaki steak and coconut shrimp combo….yum. After that we went shopping for a few minutes at the mall. I’m not much of a cake fan, so instead of a birthday cake, on the way home from the mall we stopped at Fazoli’s to get a few slices of cheesecake instead of a birthday cake.

According to the website
, 341,880 hours, 20,512,800 minutes and 1,230,768,000 seconds have passed between today, December 1, 2005 and the day I was born on December 1, 1966.

According to Scientific American, the average life expectancy of male living in the United States is 74.7 years. I’m more than half way there. So assuming that I’m normal (I’m not!), I have about 13,200 days left to live. I plan to make the most of them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Soccer.....I mean football......

I used to be one of those individuals who thought soccer or football as the rest of the world knows it was a boring sport. I just couldn’t understand why it was the world’s most popular sport. However over the past year, my attitude about soccer has changed…..drastically!!

Now I enjoy watching soccer games, especially at the highest levels. My attitude began to change when my boys started playing soccer. Grant has been playing soccer for about 3 years and Gibson played for the first time last year. I was the assistant coach for their soccer team this year. To be honest soccer at this level isn’t that exciting to watch. It is basically a mass of youngsters chasing the ball around the field. The skill level just isn’t there. (Although in the playoffs, Grant almost made a header goal!)

This year Gannon played soccer for the first time for the Lakeview Christian School Junior High team. After watching a few of his games, I realized that as the skill levels of the players increased, so did my enjoyment of the games. I was finally hooked when I saw the Lakeview varsity soccer team play Blackford in a high school sectional game. The action was fast-paced and quite exciting. I also attended an Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer game and was really impressed with the skills of the players.

Grant is the one that really likes soccer. We get the Fox Soccer Channel, and he is always watching soccer games from around the world including the English Premier League. His favorite team is Chelsea. Next year Grant will attend Lakeview and he will be on the Junior High team and Gannon will move up to varsity since he will be a freshman. I’m already looking forward to soccer season.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's Official.....Colts are my NFL team.....

It’s now official. My NFL team is now the Indianapolis Colts. Having spent most of my life growing up in Michigan, I’ve had the misfortune of having the Detroit Lions as my NFL team. Over the years I’ve probably attended about 15-20 Lions games; all at the Silverdome. As any long-suffering Lions fan knows, there have been very few great Lion moments over the past 30-some years. There were some bright spots like a few playoff appearances, the occasional Thanksgiving Day victory and of course the Barry Sanders era, but that was about it.

In my lifetime, I have watched 3 of the Detroit professional teams claim a league championship: Red Wings (1997, 1998, and 2002), Tigers (1984) and Pistons (1989, 1990 and 2004). The Lions have never won a Super Bowl nor have they ever played in a Super Bowl. Over the years one of their biggest problems is that they have never had a quality quarterback that was a leader. The list of Lion QB hopefuls that never panned out is endless…..Chuck Long, Andre Ware, Scott Mitchell, Rodney Peete, Charlie Batch, Mike McMahon, Charlie Batch, Joey Harrington…are some that come to mind.

Since moving to Indiana in 2000, I have followed the Indianapolis Colts and I have been to about 4 or 5 of their games. While doing this, I always kept a close tab on what the Lions were doing and I rooted for them. But now, I have jumped on the Colts bandwagon!

How can you not love a team that has Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James? Manning is the QB that the Lions wished they would have had all those years. He is an amazing QB and leader on the field. The Colts are already 10-0 and appear ready to claim a Super Bowl XL title, which ironically will be played at Ford Field, home of the Lions.

I haven’t completely given up on the Lions, and I’m sure that I’ll jump back on their bandwagon once they ever get a decent team again, but for now it’s the Colts baby!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My First Buck

It’s that time of the year again….deer hunting season. Deer hunting has become one of my favorite hobbies. As a child growing up in Michigan, I occasionally went hunting with my father. I’ve hunted duck, geese, pheasant, and rabbits but I never went deer hunting with him. His deer hunting trips consisted of a week with his buddies in northern Michigan or the UP (Upper Peninsula for non-Michiganders). Deer season took place during the school year and I couldn’t take a week off of school to go hunting. Plus, I never thought deer hunting would be that much fun anyway. I was content with plinking squirrels and black birds from my 2nd floor bedroom window with a .22 rifle.

Fast forward 20 some years…….I first went deer hunting with my buddy Jeff Whetzel in 2003 and now I’m hooked. Christie’s Aunt Marilyn has about 10 acres of wooded property behind her home here in Marion. Appropriately, Deer Creek flows through the property.

On the first day of the season I took a shot at a doe and missed. I saw a few more deer during the next several days and finally on the last day of the season my luck changed. As daylight was fading that Sunday afternoon, I big 8 point buck came walking up the trail below my deer blind. The adrenaline rush that hits you when you see a big buck is something that you have to experience to properly describe. My heart immediately began to beat hard and fast. (I now know why some deer hunters have heart attacks while hunting).

I drew my gun on the big buck waiting for the perfect shot. The deer looked up towards me and I pulled the trigger. Blam! He dropped like a brick. I could not contain my excitement. I remember yelling, “jackpot!” Why I said “jackpot” is beyond me as it is a pretty silly thing to yell out. Anyway, I ran down the hill to view my kill. Jeff came running over from his blind to see the fruits of my labor.

I shot the deer, just below its right eye. I was aiming for his chest. Lucky shot perhaps, but a kill is a kill. Ever since that day in 2003, I’ve been hooked on deer hunting. Last year I didn’t have any luck and so far this year, I haven’t got one, but Jeff got a nice 6 point buck on opening day. Sitting out in the woods on cold fall days can get boring at times, but it is peaceful being out in nature waiting for the trophy buck to appear.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Starbucks Has Invaded Marion

Well the big news here in Marion Indiana this week is the arrival of Starbucks. Now in most communities, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but here in Marion, it certainly is. While I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks, I do appreciate a good cup of coffee. I must admit that at one time I had an addiction to Starbucks. Back in the early 1990’s, I had a job with American Express that required me to travel all the time. Detroit Metropolitan Airport was like a 2nd home to me. I had a ritual, where before every flight, I had to stop at the Starbucks located between concourse E and F at Metro. At that time, Metro Airport was the only place I knew of in Michigan that served Starbucks. I just couldn’t get enough of that unique dark roast taste that Starbucks is known for. My early affinity for Starbucks helped me to become the amateur gourmet coffee connoisseur that I am today. Once Starbucks started sprouting up like dandelions in spring, the uniqueness wore off and I very rarely visited Starbucks.

I lenjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning while I am at work. Mainly for economic reasons, I usually brew up a single cup of coffee on the Black & Decker “Brew’N’Go” I have at my desk. Sometimes though, for a change of pace, I’ll buy a cup of coffee at the Tree of Life bookstore or the BP gas station. I try to avoid doing this because at $1.80 at Tree of Life and $1.29 at the BP, a cup of coffee a day can quickly drain the discretionary income fund of someone dependent on the meager wages of Indiana Wesleyan University. (that’s a topic of discussion for a later date).However, since the Starbucks opened up last Friday, I’ve been there 4 times already. On two occasions, I dropped $4.20 for a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte. Although it was excellent (tasted like liquid pumpkin pie!), it wasn’t worth the money. On the other two visits, I opted for the more “economical” Venti Verona fresh brewed coffee with cream. They only cost me $1.80 plus tax.

I’m sure that just like my old favorite coffee shop at Metro Airport, the novelty of Starbucks will soon wear off. I’m sure I’ll get my java fix by making a hot cup at my desk, or I’ll splurge and get some at the BP gas station. Just think of the money I’ll save. But then again, I hear that Starbucks Cinnamon Spice Mocha is pretty darn good……..

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Happy 8th Birthday Gibby!!

Today is Gibson’s 8th birthday. When you think of September 11, most people think of something entirely different. In our family we think about Gibson. Today we had a small birthday party for Gibson at our house. It was just our family, plus Aunt Marilyn and my friend Jeff Whetzel. We had Dominos pizza and a Sponge Bob ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. This was actually the third time Gibson celebrated his birthday in the last few weeks. Last weekend, he celebrated it with his grandpa and grandma Pieper, along with great-grandpa Pieper. A few weeks before that he celebrated it with his grandma Burgett. Next month Grant will be celebrating his 11th birthday. Next after that, dad hits the big 39. Yup, I feel old……..