Sunday, June 29, 2008

Family Trip: Part IV

After the day in Cozumel, we set sail on Thursday for Miami. We spent a good bit of the day at an on board art auction. We didn't buy anything because it was all too expensive for our budget. There were etchings from Picasso, Rembrandt, and Dali, as well as a lot of other art. Jennie did win a painting that's probably worth a couple hundred dollars, so the time wasn't totally wasted. We spent the late afternoon lying in the sun.

We did some final shopping, hung out some more, and then had our last dinner on board. The next morning we left the ship and drove north to America's oldest city, St. Augustine. I had heard that you could drive on the beach at Daytona, so we detoured a bit to see if we could. As it turns out you can drive on the beach!
When we arrived in St. Augustine, we went out to dinner and then just chilled for the rest of the day. On Saturday we went into the city. We went to the Spanish fort and spent the day touring old St. Augustine.
After an exhausting day, we went back to the motel to rest up for the next day. We woke up and went visit the fabled Fountain of Youth. Ponce de Leon really did find something that, he thought at least, was a fountain of eternal youth. We also saw the location of the first Spanish Mission in North America.Ponce de Leon's cross that he put down signifying Spain's claim to Florida.

The Fountain of Youth. Originally it was a spring. The bricks and such were added much later.

Cross at the site of the first Spanish mission in North America.

We left St. Augustine Sunday afternoon and made the long drive back to Rock Hill. Our little adventure came to an end.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Family Trip: Part III

Wednesday morning, we pulled up the dock in Cozumel, Mexico. We were scheduled to go on a trip on a combination glass bottom boat/submarine where you sit four feet below the surface and watch the fish, coral, etc. Unfortunately a thunderstorm came up and most of the shore excursions were cancelled. I found out about a public beach where we could swim, snorkel, kayak, and just have fun in the sun. So after the storm passed, we spent a few hours at Paradise Beach (I thought about having a cheeseburger, but decide to pass).

We then took a taxi into the downtown area, where we had lunch and did some shopping. You can get some really good deals on such items as silver jewelry and Cuban cigars. We did discover though that you can also get ripped off if you're not careful.
We got back on the ship around 9:30, and said Adios to Mexico.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Family Trip: Part II

After our first night aboard, we landed in the Conch Republic, Key West. We caught a shuttle to the other side of the island, where we spent the next couple of hours kayaking in and out of groves of salt water mangrove trees. From time to time the guides would stop and show us such things as sponges, sea cucumbers, jellyfish. We saw a nurse shark and paddled down narrow creeks and through thick tunnels form by mangrove branches.

After kayaking, we ate lunch at Hemingway's old hangout, Sloppy Joe's.

After lunch we walked up and down Duvall Street, going in and out of the different shops and just enjoying the beautiful day.

We went back on board about 1:30 and bade a fond farewell to Key West. That night we dressed up for the Captain's Dinner. The food was fantastic, as it was the entire voyage.

Next stop: Cozumel.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Family Trip Part I

Saturday, we traveled to Charleston, SC and spent the night with my sister and her family. On Sunday, Father's Day, we drove to Miami. That is a long drive! We went through one of the famous Florida thunderstorms. It lasted for about an hour. We got into Miami about 7:30 and checked into our room at the Essex House Hotel in South Beach. After getting settled in we went to dinner at the Hofbrau House. It's on a pedestrian mall that is a great place to people watch. There's a lot of interesting folks walking around South Beach. After a night's sleep, we drove to the port, where we boarded the cruise ship. We left at 4:00 and headed for our first port of call, Key West.EEssex House front porch

Essex HouseShip in MiamiFirst night sunset on board

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back in Town

For all my devoted readers (both of you), I'm sorry there was no TGIF last Friday. I returned yesterday from a great week away with my family and there was limited internet access. Now I have a whole lot of blog reading to catch up on.

I'll share some of our travels as the week goes on. I may even be able to have pictures!

Friday, June 13, 2008


It's the Friday before Father's Day. On Sunday, the family and I are driving down to Miami, where we'll depart on Monday on a cruise in the Caribbean. I get to spend the entire week of Father's Day with my wife and children. It's a rare treat.

Check these posts out:

Ed Stetzer has some questions for McChurch.

Jared Wilson has some concerns about leadership.

Next Reformation blogs about purpose and people.

Jonathan Brink wonders about sovereignty and love.

Jeff McQ thinks about mistaken identity. Part 1 and Part 2.

Brant Hansen wonders how the rapture would affect the election.

John Armstrong wonders if God is Green.

Ever wonder why the chicken crossed the road? Some answers here.

The Gospel Driven Blog has an urgent request.

Molly is stumbling. Don't worry, it's a good thing.

A Hopeful Heretic is being bent.

Have a great Father's Day! I am grateful for the privilege of being a father of two wonderful adults. Josh and Jennie, I am proud of you and I love you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Meme

Annedroid has a set of questions about summer.

1. What first tells you that summer is here?
Here in the sunny South, it's sometimes hard to tell when one season ends and another one begins. For me, summer officially begins during the last week of school. The students are ready to be out, and so are the teachers. Things tend to be a bit more relaxed, although there are those students we have to deal with that think they can go a bit overboard with their behavior. By the time the final day rolls around, we all have no problem saying goodbye to school for a couple of months. By this time, the sun is up early and sets late, the days are longer, and there is more time to do things.

2. Name 5 of your distinctively summer habits or customs.
Sleeping in. During the school year, I get up between 5:30 and 6:00 each morning. During the summer, I get up when I get up. Sometimes it's before 7:00, sometimes it's not till 9:00. Along with sleeping in, I also stay up later at night.
Dressing down. Mostly I wear shorts, T-shirts, and flip flops. There are few reasons for me to wear slacks, and even fewer reasons to wear a tie. It's summer and, at least in my mind, I'm at the beach.
Eating less. Summer is a good time for me to lose weight. Many days I'll skip lunch, and dinner is usually lighter than it is the rest of the year.
Drinking more. I drink a lot more water and iced tea during the summer. Even though sweet tea is the official drink of the South, we usually drink tea unsweetened. It quenches your thirst far better.
Travel. During the school year, we don't have as much time to travel, so any longer trips are reserved for summer. The rise in gas prices this year has changed that a bit though. We have already had to cancel a trip I really wanted to take because of the cost.
There is a sixth thing we do in the summer. We try to tackle one or two home improvement projects. This year it's the kitchen.

3. What is your favorite smell of summer?
I have two favorite smells. The first is a combination of the smells of the beach. Suntan lotion, salt water, cooking food, and the other fragrances that come together to say ocean. The second is a combination of the smells of the mountains. Pine, campfires, the fresh smell of a quick rain storm.

4. What is your favorite taste of summer?
I guess my favorite taste would have to be the taste of anything cooked outside on a charcoal or gas grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, chicken, BBQ. If it's cooked on a grill, I like it.

5. What is your favorite summer memory?
Wow. I have so many great memories, from trips taken when I was growing up, to trips taken with my wife and children. The Smoky Mountains, the Outer Banks, Niagara Falls, the Bahamas, and more. So many places and so many memories.

6. Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why?
I'd have to say extreme cold. I've always had an easier time getting warm when it's cold. I tend to run a bit warm, so hot weather tends to wipe me out.

7. What books do you plan to read for the season?
Surprised by Hope for the second time. Next Man Up (a book about the NFL). A few more, ranging from serious to fiction.

8.How does the summer affect your faith? Is it a hindrance or an ally?
I used to kind of take the summer off with my faith. Now, summer is a good time to spend more time exploring and thinking about how to follow Jesus more closely. When we travel, I like to visit churches that are different than what we are used to at home, and I try to draw from those different traditions.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I've had a lot of stuff rolling around in my brain this week, but nothing crystallized into anything coherent. I have been reading a lot though, and here is some of what I thought was worth passing on:

A Former Leader muses about grace.

At A Time to Laugh, we are reminded of our true identity in Christ.

Jake gets down to the grassroots.

Jonathan Brink has a good question about the glory of God.

Brother Maynard gives us his pick of 20 classic Christian Rock albums.

Tall Skinny Kiwi orders a product. He swears it's not his. (Parental advisory) :)

Tim Hill knew this was going to happen.

Todd Hiestand questions the wisdom of building an ark.

Check this site out. It has some great articles.

Moving On

It's been a while since I've written here. Life has been happening the past few months. I have decided to start fresh, so I'm mo...