Rick and Monique

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carte Blanche

Trust changes your life. Military training forces you to trust your men and women with your life. Marriage forces you to trust your money, your time, your work, your play time with your spouse. Trust gives friends and family charge over an estate, an account, or a vehicle. Trust gives your family and friends room to care for your children, feed them, discipline them and bathe them. Trust means you'll receive personal information about something great or something terrible. Trust means asking for help or asking for prayer. Trust forces you to trust your company with your salary and benefits. Trust offers the trusted carte blanche for even one tiny part of your life...no small feat. You even trust people with compliments. How you respond to the compliment shows them how much or how little they're truly trusted. Trust even gives your enemies time during a cease fire. So much of our lives exists within trust that even when you want to complain about the trusted, one part of your life becomes theirs anyway. Sometimes we're distrustful and believe that no one understands, no one can do what you can do better than you, or you mistakenly believe that no one cares. I hope we all realize how good it is to give our lives to others.

Dear friends of ours are missionaries in Africa. They often ask for prayer about very personal things. They trust us to pray for them, their work and the people that they work with in Africa. They trust us to pray for them there. Do they ask the people where they are at to pray for their friends in the States, the people they love at home? I think they do. Do you?

Our lives change because we trust people. Carte Blanche. A small term with a huge meaning.

Yesterday Monique gave our friend and her hairdresser Elani carte blanche with her hair. Elani couldn't quite grasp that someone gave her such freedom...it took several assurances before she believed she was fully trusted. She didn't break the trust either. Elani is seriously skilled and she had so much fun on Monique's hair and I had so much fun watching the transformation! Monique's life is different because she trusted Elani!

Monique...what a babe! She's stunning. She was so excited about changing things up and looked forward to yesterday for several weeks. Her hair had gone flat, was too thick, too long and too unruly! It's now a lighter, shorter, layered, graceful, naturally curly, beautiful head.

Her husband is a little bit crazy in the head...she went a little crazy on top of the head! She's got some blond, brown and some Auburn red in it. Actually the change was quite radical and different, but Elani didn't go completely nuts, but instead turned an already beautiful woman into an Elegant Queen. Maybe Monique's trust in Elani might change my life a bit!

Yes, trust is a good thing. How's it changed your life?

The pics are a little blurry...I was snapping without thinking...told you my inner head was a bit off! Either way it was fun and I hope you enjoy the pics.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Panic Mode

I'm not in panic mode. I'm just not. But I am sometimes afraid that we'll lose my America. I don't even really know that means, but I'm sometimes I'm afraid I'll lose it anyway. It seems this election threatens ideology itself. Ideology allows groups to engage eachother and challenge each other. Sometimes that leads to war and I hate that. But you have to stand for something while allowing the fruit of growth which sometimes stems from opposing views. We've gone to a place as a country where truth is replaced by ridicule. Sarah Palen isn't a bad person, but she's been abused with such vitriol as to make you believe she's either a common criminal or else she can't see her bum from her elbow. It seems there's no more acceptance of the debate. We're no longer about something except change. Dangerous. Hitlers are born from such a mantra.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I can feed the hungry, I can clothe the naked, I can heal the sick, I can minister to the lost and I can make safe the afraid as a conservative. I can give time and money to charity. I can work to educate people about one thing or the next. I can do that as a conservative. But that doesn't make an opposing view of any less worth. They can do the same things from their point of view. I simply want that you're not afraid of mine. One can't learn and grow if they don't allow others to pass through their world.

I wrote a comment about a political blog a friend wrote and it went something like this:

I dare say arguments often look like hate, but aren't. I have strong feelings on the topic of say...abortion. I hate abortion. It should be illegal. I also believe that "distribution of wealth" smacks of something I don't want to be part of. The government crosses my American made line in that regard. FDR's "New Deal" wasn't new at all, but was this country's first major turn toward a desire to like everyone else, even though we shed much blood to be different. We weren't perfect, nor are we now. But I'm not afraid to be right as much as I'm not afraid to learn. Either way, I don't hate through my feelings. I think it's possible that a person such as yourself has to see people as hateful in order to justify feelings of victimhood or minority segregation etc. Why must people insert one group of people in one basket?

We were with liberal "friends" the other night and Monique and I hoped we were in a safe enough environment to give an opinion or two. Instead people like me were torn apart. They had to insert one motive or emotion into the other ito give their vitriol merit. But these attitudes are not one-sided (although they seem to me that they are sometimes). Conservatives and Liberals work each other over. And they don't use substance, but slander. We weren't torn apart for a useful reason. And on the flip side of an argument about abortion for instance--Obama's support for abortion rights doesn't make him a murderer, I know that...I would hope my side of the debate doesn't come to such blows.

I'm not in panic mode. I'm really not. The stock market hit the tank again today. Politics sucks. But I'm not running from either because I can take advantage of a down market. And if I say I'm for the debate than I must engage the debate. Truth be told, I enjoy the debate.

I'm safe and I can't be snatched from that safe place. Hope. Furthermore, as a Christian, I'm also called to love my leaders and so I shall. If God reigns then I am thoroughly not in panic mode.

I met with a friend this morning. He needed to hear some things. Christians know what I mean, but I truly felt that God was simply slapping my lips together this morning. Blablabla slap slap slap. I felt amazed and joyful. I'm not wise enough to fully know how to respond in the ways I did this morning. My friend had needs, God supplied them through my lips. He does speak through me, because His Spirit searches the deep things of God and this morning I know God is. I'm glad to have such assurance, such hope. I'm glad He works and I and enjoy watching what God is doing. He's given me a great seat in a stadium full of miracles.

On the way home, I saw a guy in a full rain suit and full-faced helmet, riding his motorcycle to whatever destination. That guy knows what he can do and ways he can be, so that gray clouds and rain and cold air do not hurt him. He wears his armor and rides on. My rain suit, my armor sets lightly upon my body. My armor of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness gentleness and self control, virtually unbreakable. My armor restrains those who victimize me, who cause me to need them to justify their power. Their intention? Smash ideology instead of allowing it to flourish...and I'm talking about those on either side of an opinion.

Rain falls and almost always replenishes a thirsty earth. I, of God's will, by the blood of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit am going for a walk in the rain.

God the lip-slapper. No, I'm not going to panic.

Monday, October 20, 2008

You Are Most Welcome

I went to a city wide men's ministry "conference" this weekend. I was actually one of the presenters on Saturday morning and I enjoyed the experience. A young black man came up to me and shook my hand firmly and said, "Hey man, God bless you." We talked for about ten minutes. The time moved us to one place where this man said, "I wish that men celebrated what they have in common, we'd enjoy life so much more." The statement wasn't trite, but I don't remember feeling that the statement affected me profoundly...a simple statement, but one he admitted only thinking about but never expressing until that day. This morning I have a different view.

My friend Neal was at the conference and he describes a hug he gave and received during one exciting moment and he describes the hug in this way, "When my eyes were closed I could only see and feel and imagine and know that this was the embrace of God." (read his blog--click here)

Imagine understanding that amongst my family and my friends I experience a lighter yoke, a burden lifted, a comfortable place, a graceful and merciful place, and a safe place.

Some of my friends were with me last night...we sat on our deck around a fire burning in the fire pit and we enjoyed hot dogs, smores and "smoreo's (you figure that one out...we're going to market that one someday!). We covered many topics of interest...the Dodgers, College Football, Marriage, Family, bowling etc. We also grazed the edge, mere edges of the political scene, and of our particular church situations and a few ideas about religion itself. One friend, Julie, said that she doesn't express her views easily in some circles for a variety of reasons. One reason centers around safety. In some circles her views would be exploited and vilified. A quick epiphany rolled through my head...the man who said he wished we would celebrate what we had in common. While his statement doesn't give me a full view of relationships and culture, I understand that amongst friends we can celebrate what we have in common and what we don't. You're safe here. I said something to the effect that so many conversations have been wasted in anger and immaturity. I enjoy a conversation where differences are exposed but not exploited. I enjoy a conversation where new things are learned, and where commonalities are reinforced. But I relish the environments in which I'm allowed to safely present myself. I don't do that easily.

We enjoyed a John Ortberg study before last night's "smoreo" fest. One moment gave me opportunity to say that we know that Jesus' yoke is easy and His burden light, but we seem to prefer the heaviness sometimes. I don't understand why. We don't often accept challenges as exciting opportunities. Instead, we give ourselves reasons why situations and challenges should be met with anger and discontent.

You're safe here. You're safe amongst friends and family. Julie is most welcome in my home and is allowed to think as she pleases in my home. That's something I hope we have in common. I hope that she, and others are willing to learn and change and grow, but I'm glad that she and others are brave enough to feel something important, and I'm glad that can happen in my home.

My horizontal relationships reflect my vertical relationship with God. I understand safety, because I have felt profoundly unsafe. My hope is that when you, my family and my friends, and even those whom I don't know well come into my home, that you feel you've been welcomed and hugged by God Himself.

I hope.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The years of the bikes. I believe we've entered an era in our lives. Does that happen to you? It's not quite a mid-life crisis. I don't feel a crisis. It's an era.

Last year Monique and I experienced the quintessential accomplishment either of us have tried. We broke through several glass ceilings that week and many of you know which ceilings were shattered. This year we did something again! I can't say that the experience of last Sunday reached to RAGBRAI heights, but I can say that we broke yet another ceiling.

We and our friends Dan and Stephanie participated in our first bike rally on Sunday! The ABATE toys-for-tots run occurs every year. ABATE dedicates itself to rider education, rider freedom and watching and defending rider rights in the political realm. TO some rider freedom means you don't have to wear helmets. To some rider freedom means you have the freedom to gear up to the max. To some rider freedom means you don't have to do anything about your own hygiene. I mean really.

Actually there were people of every kind there. Our friends Dan and Steph invited us to attend and, while intimidated, we decided we'd take advantage of yet another opportunity to experience something we'd never done! RAGBRAI gave us untold confidence. So, we went to church, came home, changed clothes, made sure we had our toy for the tots and geared up. Dan and Steph showed up and so, we planted our crazy butts onto the seat and headed down the interstate to a parking lot just east of the Capitol. We got there early and so we took off again because Dan had to finish off his biker repertoire with a soda and a cigar. I succumbed to peer pressure (not really much pressure) and found myself a cigar.

We returned to the lot and watched the bikers and their bikes roll on in. There were cruisers, choppers, sport bikes, crotch rockets, and well, there were what could best be described as "beasts." There was a three-wheeler harley which I found out there that they had reverse! He backed right into the spot. How easy is that? I just have to believe that every time I walk my bike in and out of spots that I'm working on my conditioning. Anyway, we saw bikes...one with a barbie doll strapped to the front (say what?), we saw older bikes with side-cars on it. Some were shiny and chromed and others were just wicked sweet. We saw bikes that hadn't been washed in 30 years! Supposedly there's a group of bikers who believe it a badge of honor to have a hardcore bike. Beer Bellies, Black Vests, holey jeans, and dirty freakin bikes makes one more bad-ass. Oh well...I could take 'im. There was an older woman who'd obviously been riding a long time. She was geared up in black leather and jeans and rode a yellow Honda Shadow. It was a cool bike and a cool chick.

One chopper was painted yellow and the tank was overlayed with a spider web, home to a menacing black widow...very cool. The "official" bike was attached to a sleigh, a symbol of the charitable event that would give many young but struggling children something to enjoy. In fact it felt good to be part of something where this many people gathers together in order to make a child's day, and maybe even change their perspective on life. We don't get to meet the tots, but we gave ourselves a chance to pray for them. Monique and I got some molding clay and a stamping package. The kids might make a mess, especially with the clay...but I hope they enjoy themselves.

Everyone walked around and checked out everyone's ride. I was checkin out the rides but you wouldn't believe some of the people either! One of them was dressed up as Santa Claus. Another leathered and jeaned man who looked like he seen more tussles than operas in his life, was wearing reindeer antlers! Huh? I laughed.

Some people were clean cut, others were hardened. Some were in good shape and some had beer advertisements for stomachs. But everyone was there for the tots! It's ironic how quickly we judge those who look a mess, but these people of every kind were ready with their big stuffed animals and play-do and I was inspired. And the people we talked to were cool. And I find it interesting how many American Flags I saw attached to bikes, or helmets or fenders...good stuff.

Before the walk around Dan and I sat on the grass, talked politics and bikers and smoked cigars. Dan's just a bit older than I am. Why is that important? It isn't. I just wanted to feel young again. Either way, I give him the credit for giving me the impetus to finally purchase a motorcycle. He'd been turning me in that direction for a few years now! I've wanted one for over 20 years. Monique never thought about it until I mentioned it one day. What kind of brain-fart coerced her into believing she wanted to take the Motorcycle course, I'll never know. But I'm so glad her brain farted. Monique is so awesome and I'm proud that she's in a place where she can enjoy this. She's stoked that Steph also has her license. Some day they'll hit the roads together on their own bikes. I just know it.

The triumph got a few hard looks and one biker dude used to own a Triumph and wished he'd never gotten rid of it! I think he was kinda checkin Monique out too, but I'm a biker dude now too which I believe gives me the natural ability to use numchucks. I didn't know where I was going to get a pair of "chucks" but it was alright...after googling awhile, He moved on without incident. Either way, Dan, Steph and Monique and I were getting more excited by the minute.

We were in the parking lot a bit over an hour until 1 o'clock, the time that everyone was to fire up the bikes and proceed to the destination where everyone would drop off their toys for the tots and party it up! We did, the noise came all at once! Exhilarating! You could feel the rumble in your feet on the ground. Big time whoa. I let Dan lead me into the line of probably 2000 bikes and we rolled out of the east parking lot into the Capitol City...a place we would rule if only for 1/2 hour.

We headed down the road, a regular city road. Cops were at every interesection holding traffic in toe while we rumbled through, 3-4 or 5 wide! We rode through stoplights, stop signs and every kind of normal traffic obstacles. I laughed at the prospect that the cops who are usually chasin some of these people, were actually helping them avoid traffic laws! Totally sweet. I couldn't dreamed it. It was a triumphant procession made up of 2 miles of bikers. One looked down the road, looked left and right and all you saw were bikes and riders! We were so nervous but it was 10 seconds and Monique was raising her hands, fingers in the victory position and screaming...WOOO HOOOO! YAHOOOOOO! TOTALLY COOOOOOOL! Steph was doing the same thing. I was near euphoria amongst the noise. I've seen miles of bicycles on the roads of Iowa and now this! It's not the same accomplishment as RAGBRAI, but could you see us 4 wide, rolling down the road at 45 miles per hour on a motorcycle? Neither of us could explain to each other how accomplished we felt through the ride and through the event itself.

Put into perspective, we didn't save a life, we didn't build a house, we didn't get a job..., but there are children who will know that there are people out there who have their backs. And we had fun, so much fun. All we did was give a toy to a tot, and do something we'd never imagined doing. Ever. But in my mind there are many ways one contributes to society and doing good things that build confidence allows me and us to inspire someone else to do something they've never done. It's also given us ideas how we can inspire people who've come through years of struggle or had to overcome a recent tragedy. That's important I think.

The ground thundered under thousands of two and three wheeled roaring machines. The lot of us were in our element. We stopped at the south edge of town and added ourselves to the throng of toy-tossing ruffians. Most stayed for a meal and some drinks. Everyone was standing around talking and enjoying themselves. We knew why we were there. It was simply a charitable thing to do. But these freedom loving people find many reasons to get together. They love being around eachother. I find the culture interesting. There's honest respect between bikers. Many will go out of their way to assist you in any way and others can't wait to talk bikes with someone. Car people just don't understand. I don't either really, but I'm learning. I take that back, the classic car culture knows what I mean. Cyclists know what I mean. There's an intangible something about camaraderie. When you meet another biker on the road, most will give you the one or two finger wave. They always know you're there. I love it. And there are quite a few events in and around town that we think we'll find time to attend next year.

One year, RAGBRAI. This year, ABATE Toys for Tots. Next year we're putting them both together! That'll be great eh? A single year full of two-wheels, antlered bikers, whirr and roar. Amazing. You're welcome to join us. Please do. In fact I full hope you would.

For another perspective on the event, read Stephanie's blog by clicking HERE!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Death and Silliness: A Poem

There may be a day when I'm not there. I may die. That's it. I'll be in Heaven and you'll be here.  

The very same day that happens you'll miss the silliness. You'll wonder why no one is brushing your teeth with his tongue. You'll realize that life isn't a series a events not to be trusted and constantly questioned. You'll realize that experience simply is.  

You'll find my shirts in the closet, and my shoes on the floor. I hope you'll know that all of life is a wild stab in the dark, but that I was your ray of light.  

You'll miss the silliness. Not because you knew it would happen--you did. You won't miss it because it's the only time you couldn't question what something, anything, is. Silliness makes no sense. Because life is a series of plans and habits that help you achieve success or cleanliness, you'll miss the silliness.  

You'll see the half-drunk diet mountain dew in the refrigerator. The remote control will be on the table beside the couch. You'll see my pillow, and ruffled sheets. You'll think about my ball and glove and wonder where we stashed it away. My shaver will be on the shower wall and my toothbrush in the holder. The coffee pot doesn't poor well. I poured coffee today. You'll see my stain tomorrow. But I may not be there and you'll miss the silliness.  

You'll wonder if you saw the good in me today. You'll wonder how many thoughts you had today.  

But you'll miss the silliness. Not because of what it was, or who I am. But because of how you felt when it happened.

Monday, October 6, 2008


At the beginning of each year does anyone have an inkling about where they'll go by the beginning of the next year? I don't. I never have. The first day of kindergarten I had no idea about the first day of first grade. My first day of college never clued me into the fact that it would be 8 years before my last one. The first day I met Monique did not bring with it a vision of the day I would marry her which could not predict the days that would follow.

Yesterday I awoke and touched my wife's skin.

I believe I've come across a mantra, more like the mantra found me. Her body has aged, but her skin...I know it. I used to go outside in the morning and touch the dew. I couldn't feel much on my feet, but I could feel the cool of the dew. I knew I was alive in the morning. It is the same now. I'm desperate to acknowledge those who've lost their spouses. It's got to be as if your own skin were ripped from your body.

I worshipped yesterday. The band played their music. I realized I hadn't played my guitar in months. I couldn't. I couldn't seem to find my voice. I missed my guitar yesterday and realized, on a day I couldn't have predicted before the day happened, that I'm ready to play again. Music remains constant. Someone always plays. I want that.

Miracles are not a mystery. Neither is music. Neither is nature. God doesn't make it difficult to see him. It's more difficult to believe there is no God than to believe he exists! Touch skin, listen to music, hear words, touch the leaf of a tree, put fire to logs...those who can't see Him are rendered unexcused. And all of this shall be in communion with others. Sometimes someone else's voice guides you to your own genius...at least the place from where you shall make your own stand, and that with others.

Sometimes the mystery isn't whether you'll stand, but when. But then, just because I wasn't playing guitar doesn't mean I'd missed my life, or wasn't standing within it. What is Jesus doing?

Monique asked me what it was about her skin? I told her that I've tracked all my unpredictable days with one constant--from one touch I can tell whether she is sore, calm, stressed, satisfied, in love. I mean it. I know from her movements, the sound of her sigh...even the day when she existed at the tip of her breath, a strangled gasp. I know her because I touched her. I fiercely love her and, in all her days she will know what that means, simply because I touch her. She knows that each morning she leaves the house, that her bridegroom bears little wealth or worth until her worth has been tended and realized. There's consistency amongst the unpredictable.

I don't know my days. Heck, I didn't know it would take 20 years for the L.A. Dodgers to make it to the Division Championship nor did I understand it would take 30 years to realize my dream as a motorcyclist! I thought I knew that my company would be up and running by now, but instead it will be soon. God does what he does. It's awesome that I could tell and hear my family's stories last week. I was reminded that I've wanted a motorcycle since I was 15 or before that even! I know more about my Dad's experience from Viet Nam. I know more about my sisters' lives and about my mother's health. It's fantastic that I am allowed to enjoy small-talk--even very small talk. The weather IS nice today and I don't mind telling you that you look good today. Your teeth are white and yes, I did sleep pretty well last night, thanks. We should talk, even if the words and the topic are small. Life isn't always made up of a constant barrage of big words.

It's pretty sweet that I and friends and family get to enjoy a little October baseball with our favorite teams. It's a sweet thing to hit the road on two wheels. I played a few chords today. Indescribable. Words and lives mean nothing unless you're willing to share with them...protect them.

I can't predict any of my days, and some things are constant. They intermingle somehow. I don't have an angle on predictions, but if you know me then trust me. Learn how to enjoy God in all things. I haven't...I couldn't predict that either. But I know from experience that it's worth it. Enjoy God.

I never say as much as I want, nor do I often write as effectively as I know how. Either way, I touch my wife's skin, then I step outside and Lord willing, I see the light.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Birthday Parties and Warm Sun...Prodigious Man

So, it's Thursday.   I wrote a few days ago about things and ways passed down through generations and I hoped and still hope for more stories...but I can't wait for ya'll any longer I'm movin on! 

Last weekend Monique and I celebrated my nephew Lucas's 1st birthday in Omaha, NE.  He has his own blog did ya know that? That oughta tell you something of his smarts... click here to see what he's been up to for the last year!  Someone has said one thing about every baby that's ever existed in the world...ever.  They've said "I just can't believe how much he's grown!"  Well, you're standing right there, what's not to believe?  And yet there I was. I had just gotten off our motorcycle and I saw the little boy and said "boy has he grown!"  Duh.  Everyone knows he's grown right?  I'm usually not stuck with something to say and one could hope for something profound.  But somehow I felt the need to teach everyone around me that children do grow.  How about that?  Lesson learned.  I'm not going to repeat it now.  Testing next Wednesday.

But, aw crap, I can't help myself.  He's a big boy.  I said it one more time.  How else do you want me to say it? His blog shows what one year can do for a young man.  It's amazing.  He's one year old.  I loved being at the hospital after he was born.  I loved being there when the court officially decreed he would forever be a Beaumont.  I loved being there for big number 1 and, Lord willing, I'll be there for a lot more of this and that. But number one was a big-time party in the park on a beautiful day in Omaha.

He opened presents...well, I would say that his cousins Leah Hostetler and Bryson Perry opened his presents for him.  Come to think of it, they also pretty much commandeered the proceedings and made sure that all the toys he received were in good condition by playing with all of them as much as possible.  They even argued over Lucas's toys!  But Lucas got in a few turns with his new train set and took a few rides on his new stuffed Alligator.  Ahhh birthdays amongst youngsters is really a family affair.  Watching Lucas enjoy and destroy a birthday cupcake was also sweet.  There's nothing more beautiful than to watch what a  budding young muscle-bound boy can do with birthday cake!  Actually he eats everything--his birthday hat, his toys, his mother's shoulder, his uncle's nose.... The day was great.  We stayed at the Beaumont's house.  Monique and I left for Mike and Gina's for a couple hours simply because a certain young lady wanted a ride on a motorcycle.

We rode in on the motorcycle.  WHAT?  HELLOOOOO!  It's true.  Barely 2 months on two wheels and only one week removed from our fastest and longest ride, we had another epiphany that one could've interpreted as a brain-fart and decided it would be fun to ride to Omaha!  We were right.  Saturday was a blast.  The wind wasn't a factor.  The chill crept in early in the morning and so we stopped so I could add layers.  Monique unfairly tucked in behind me.  She's lucky I have wide shoulders.  I'm beginning to understand why cyclists wear leather this time of year.  Monique and I talked the whole way and y'know what?  I loved that.  The car provides radio/cd listening opportunities.  The car provides the passenger the chance to read.  We talk too of course.  But the Triumph doesn't offer these things and so we put our headsets on and talked.  Way cool.

I gave mom and Leah a ride.  Leah looked like a martian in that big helmet of Monique's.  We got her fitted with all the necessary clothing that righted her with the Elgersma safety regulations and off we went.  Leah talked the whole way and I mean the whole way.  We went around the block twice because I was having so much fun listening to her talk.  "Which way now uncle Rick?"  "Let's go fast uncle Rick."  "There's a lot of wind Uncle Rick!"  I took mom out on the open road and burned the gears out for her a little bit...I've wanted that experience since I was 15 years old, maybe earlier.  It'd be my luck to pop the clutch, but miracle of all miracles, I was awesome! hee hee.  

We watched "Enchanted" that night.  It's a weird movie.  Pastor Mike at Lutheran Church of Hope really liked the movie.  Umm...it was a weird movie.  Singing people, singing cartoons.  That's what I have to say about that. Oh, and the cartoons had more powers on earth than the real people who actually lived there!  It's amazing to me that a non-human cartoon with human like skin can get an average pigeon to clean an entire apartment. That's no fair.  I have to clean my own house.  Toodaloo...come here birdy birdy birdy...nope.  No luck.

Go back to planet Andalusia is what I say.

We rode home after church Sunday.  I must first say that the CRC in Omaha is a vibrant and loving church.  They enjoy God and eachother and that's good to see.  Love that.  Anyway, the ride home started out brilliant.  We stopped in Fontanelle and it wasn't long before a couple of bikers stopped at the Gas Station we were at!  They were headed back from Des Moines and headed back home to Council Bluffs...ironic right?  Well, we talked for awhile and we talked bikes..."bike speak" amongst bikers caters to the linguists of the road.  Phrases like low-side and high-side, laying rubber down, pulled the saddles, loadin the gears, etc. ring solidly in my memory.  Being new bikers we faked it as good as possible and really enjoyed the conversation.  

And what's up with Des Moines!  It's warm the whole way until we get 30 miles out of Des Moines and temperatures head downward like 20 degrees!  I was less worried about the falling stock market and more worried about falling snot rivers...cold.  We rode into Winterset and I again put on more layers and Monique bought a sweater at Pamida.  I stopped at Hardees at 3 in the afternoon to warm up.  I'm investing in leather.  None-the-less Monique and I absolutely loved riding.  I suppose we had a bit of a butt and back ache and well, it seems Monique's foot went to sleep just before Winterset, but really...you can't hardly vacuum your living room without risking a little pain and suffering and riding the motorcycle is not work believe me.  It takes quite a lot of energy to maintain concentration...the best bikers stay friggin focused man and that's alright, because safety makes for a comfortable, sweet ride.

SO, that's that.  Happy birthday Lucas, we love you!  For those of you who don't know that human's grow, He is such a growin boy.  He's funny, his personality is easy, he's smart, he's cuddly, friendly, generous and playful. He gave me a hug...more like a nuzzle on Sunday Morning and ol' Uncle Rick's heart gave in.  

It won't be long and young Leah turns 5.  Smokin Joe Dimaggio.  Aaron, Katherine, Arn and Will...the whole lot keeps changing.  I talked to Aaron on the phone last week and the man can carry a conversation!  There's going to be a lot of life to live around and with them and I'm excited.  After all, I've only celebrated my 8th anniversary of my 29th Birthday.  A lot of life and birthday cake to go, Lord Willing.  

I've got a few pictures here...I'll probably add more later because I'm sure I'm going to receive a few more good ones...we didn't bring our camera so we have to rely on the other picture people in the family!