Friday, February 29, 2008

Almost ready

Tomorrow evening Amanda, the kids and I will board a southbound plane for Naples, Florida. We are very excited to see everyone. We are also very excited to not work, play on the beach, sit in the hot tub, lay in the sun, read a good book and RELAX! Just to help you know where we're headed, I thought I would include the upcoming weather report. It looks like Mom got our weather request right!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Added a little music

Taking some cues from Traci McKee, I added a little music to my blog. I did it through, if you're interested. The playlist is at the bottom of my page if you want to see it or turn it off. If it gives any of you problems, send me an e-mail or leave a comment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kids and church

I have mentioned previously how much we appreciate our church. One of the reasons is how our church focuses on the training of children. Currently, Ben and Caleb accompany us to "our class" each Sunday. Sometimes that is great and sometimes it is very difficult. If you're a parent or just interested, check out this article about our church's philosophy of having kids in the service and some GREAT tips on how to do this well.

If you don't have your kids in the service, don't read this post or the article as an indictment. There are different ways to skin a cat. This makes a lot of sense to us though.

Now playing: wilco - company in my back
via FoxyTunes

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Last night I finished reading The Chosen by Chaim Potok. This is an amazing story of friendship, father and son relationships, orthodox Jewish life in and after World War II and the importance of parenting for a child's soul. If you are a father of boy(s), a son or love either of these, it is a must read. Potok goes through the development of a deep friendship between Rueven, a modern orthodox Jew, and Danny, the son of a Hasidic rabbi. Danny, a genius student, is raised by a father who only speaks with him when they study Talmud. This silence is difficult for Danny to live with and difficult for Rueven to understand.

I really enjoyed the whole book, but in the last chapter, Reb Saunders, Danny's rabbi father, gives an explanation of why he has kept his son in silence. The climax of the book, this section made my heart hurt for my children, made me afraid for their souls, and made me understand and empathize with the decision of Reb Saunders.

If you have read The Chosen, I would love to read your reaction to my comments. If you have not, stop whatever you are doing now and run to the library and pick up this classic. You will not regret it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Usual Suspects revisited

I posted a picture of the boys and Justin the other day. Gregg saw it, did some retouches and sent me the picture below. Hilarious! I'd say they're all guilty.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More pics

Here are a few more highlights from our weekend with Amanda's extended family. You see all of the pictures here.
Carla (Amanda's cousin) and her new baby Ian, Sarah (Brad's wife) and James, and Amanda and Molly


Brad and James
Now playing: Brandi Carlile - Happy
via FoxyTunes

The Usual Suspects

The Wendt crew (Amanda's Grandma Pearl, aunts and cousins) came to Minnesota last weekend. We had a very nice time hanging out. Benjamin and Caleb were especially glad that Justin, Heidi's son, came. He is just a little older than Benjamin. They played a lot of Lego and had a great time on the rides at Mall of America. The picture below cracks me up. What is going on in the minds of these four little boys? They look like they're lined up for a police line-up.

Now playing:
Brandi Carlile - What Can I Say
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sweet little Molly

Molly is so fun to be with right now. She often has a smile on her face and after her only getting up one time last night, so do Amanda and I. Sorry about the shaky and sometimes out of focus video. I think you'll enjoy it though.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Missions Boot Camp

When I was 13, a group of Missionaries to America came to my church. They told about an amazing opportunity for Christian kids to serve God. It was called Teen Missions International. Each of the kids spent a few weeks at the "Boot Camp" in Merritt Island, Florida and then went on their mission. Older kids, ages 14 to 19 or so, would spend three weeks at boot camp and then go over seas. Kids my age, 10-13, did one week of boot camp and then another two weeks of mission in the U.S. Boot camp consisted of sleeping tents (no big deal), bathing only in a bucket, wearing work boots, running an obstacle course and hanging out under a large tent in the heat and humidity of summer Florida. I kind of liked it, but there were kids in my group who would cry every night. Some of them were 10-years-old and away from home for the first time. Some of the kids in the group even tried to steal bikes and run away to the nearest phone to call home. (NO LIE.) On the last night, before many of the kids boarded the buses to go to other parts of the U.S., we gathered in the big top, lit candles and sang "Freely, freely you have received. Freely, freely give." Even at 13, I felt the manipulation. In some ways, it was an experience that I resented. This was a very influential time in my life though. It was the first of probably 10 mission trips that I went on in the subsequent years. It was the beginning of my education on missions, raising support from my home church and even began a string of missions projects that my home church went on.

This all came to my mind today when I saw the headline in Christianity Today "Missions Boot Camp". As the article states it is a fun time. I remember especially enjoying my time once boot camp was over. The discipline that this kind of experience instills does seem important in short-term missions. On the other trips that I went on we always had to deal with complaints from kids like, "I don't like this food," or "Why do we have to do this?" I don't think you would find sentiments like that on a TMI trip. Read the article in CT and check out the TMI wikipedia entry. Looking back, it was a pretty beneficial thing for me, but I certainly would not recommend it for every teenager.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Lunch

Happy Valentine's Day from the Gammons family! Today when I went home for lunch I was met with a surprise lunch. The kitchen table was set with flowers, candles and most of my favorite people in the world. (Molly was asleep. She got a shot this morning at the doctor's office.) Our family is in such a good place right now. I relish in the many blessings that God has showered upon us. I hope that each of you is experiencing His love today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Andy reads

I have written about Netvibes before. I use it to check all of the blogs that I read, catch up on news and even watch job postings. This was a page that only I could see through a log-in. Now, Netvibes has allowed me to make a public page. So, if you read a lot of the blogs that I read or if you are looking for some good news, you can start at my Netvibes Universe page. I've entitled it "What Andy reads". I've divided it into "Start Here", things about our family; "Everyday Blogs", blogs that I read everyday; "News", obvious; and "Music", some mp3 blogs that I read and get music from. Make it a bookmark and check it when you want to see what Gregg is writing about or what Pastor John's blog says today. Better yet, make it your homepage and start off here every day. If you have any suggestions for feeds that I should add, leave them in the comments. I'd love to see what you are reading.

Now playing: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - How Long Do I Have To Wait? (Live Session Version)
via FoxyTunes

A good cup of coffee

I started drinking coffee in the basement of Waterford Community Church. Joey and I thought it was really cool to get a cup of coffee like Dad in between Sunday School and church. We would put a lot of creamer powder and a lot of sugar and then try to act suave as we gulped it down.

Now our boys think it is equally great to "have a cup of coffee." They get a little sugar, a little rice milk and a little decaf coffee. Someday they'll drink it black, just like I do and just like my dad did.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

I don't know what you've been listening to lately, but whatever it is, SHUT IT OFF! Turn on some Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Sharon Jones is a 51-year-old black woman with some sweet pipes. She has been doing music for a long time, but finally has been noticed by the mainstream (me for instance.) The Dap Kings are a group of smooth criminals funkin' around behind her. They play a great mix of 60's and 70's era funk and Motown. I watched a great podcast last night and couldn't wait to get to work to listen to some more. If you grew up with the Motown sound or just like a great groove, you'll love Sharon! Ooooh, don't stop!

Monday, February 11, 2008

It was a cold weekend.

Check out this article about our weekend weather. Brrrrr!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Molly at 7 months

Molly will be seven months in five days. It seems like she has always been a part of our family. She is learning to crawl and gets around wherever she wants. The boys still love her and think she's super-sweet. We do too! This video is the perfect portrait of who she is right now. She is a very independent little person and very fun to have around. Sorry about the little throw up at the end.

Now playing: Whiskeytown - Wither, I'm A Flower
via FoxyTunes

Friday, February 1, 2008

Brush with greatness

A few months back, Gregg and Allison posted about their many brushes with celebrities. I commented that I had met the first President Bush. I figured out how to use the scanner at work today, so I thought I would post my picture with the Pres. I sure looked a little different nine years ago.