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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas in Massachusetts












They boys have been super excited this year... such fun ages for Christmas! The cuteness levels have reached new heights... especially with our new little girl mixed in. This snapfish album is just the highlights. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thank you for lives changed!

As runners (well, ok, walkers) in the Grace Race in October, we received the following email from one of the Leaders for the Grace Race organization. As many of you supported us in this effort we'd like to share with you the results...

Dear Grace Race participant:


We are so grateful for your running or walking in the 6th Annual Grace Race on October 10th! We hope you enjoyed the experience. You were part of our biggest field to date. It was also a day for new records, as both men's and women's course records were broken. We have received all of the pledge money and have finished tallying up the proceeds from this year's event. Through your support, we raised over $120,000 this year for the project in Kenya! All of this money goes directly to the construction of the orphanage, school, and vocational training facility being built in Naivasha Kenya.

Because of your help, 100 orphans now living in extremely difficult conditions will have room, board, education, and vocational training - all at the same site. Because of your help, these boys and girls will have a safe and secure environment in which to grow and learn. You are doing your part to improve the lives of needy kids, giving them tools to succeed and hope for the future. The plan is to complete construction of the dorms and administrative wing by next fall, so that orphans can move into the facility by this time next year. Please visit www.gracerace.org to see photos of the race and photos/blogs covering the team's trip to Kenya after the Grace Race.

We also have a group on Facebook, which you are welcome to join. Mark your calendar for the 7th Annual Grace Race, Saturday October 9th 2010 10:00 AM. Please tell your friends about it too. You can register online - via coolrunning.com or by following the link on our web site. We'll have child-care available again, for those with children too young to walk or run.

To complete construction of the classrooms and vocational training rooms we will need to raise another $100K. Together, with your continued help, we can do it! If you would like to make a donationto the Grace Race Fund to help us get even closer to the finish line,you can do so anytime - online through our website, or by writing a check to The Grace Race Fund, 275 Billerica Rd. Chelmsford MA 01824. Thanks again for being part of a wonderful and diverse community that is helping the orphans of Kenya, "one step at a time"! Best wishes for a safe, restful, and joyful holiday season.

Sincerely,The Grace Race Team



Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting us and the lives of these children. Know during this holiday season that you have been part of something bigger than yourself and have done great things for "the least of these". It is awesome to be able to complete a 10 year plan for these kids in only 2 years!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This is how we roll...

This is how we roll in New England...
Kindergarten December 9, 2009
Over 6" on the ground and still falling.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Following God

If you know me, you know that my family is extremely important to me. You've probably heard me talk specifically about my brother, Rob. If you and I haven't talked recently, perhaps you don't know that Rob, his wife Becky, and their 3 small kids are getting ready to move to Haiti to be missionaries. This is no small change! Although they've been working for this missions organization (Reciprocal Ministries International) for a number of years, and have been extremely active in their local church, they have felt God leading them to do more: to go work directly with the people of Haiti.

I admire their courage and their willingness to truly follow God where he leads. Many of us say it, and perhaps even feel like we mean it... but would I be really willing to move to someplace like Haiti? with all of what that means for my family? not sure. I'd like to think so, but as I see this become more real in their lives, the more I wonder if I could do it. So, in the meantime, I am doing what I can to help get them there.

They are still in need of roughly $9,000 to make this move. The shipping container to carry all that they own (and it's not a big container) is waiting to be loaded in their driveway. They are sending it in less than 2 weeks. Then they try to raise the last of their funds before they head down to Haiti in February/March.

Can you help them get there, too? It doesn't have to be a large sum. If I learned anything from our Grace Race earlier this fall, it's that every dollar helps. Can you spare a cup of Starbucks this week? How about Dunkin Donuts? How about that gift for someone who already has everything? How about...?

Check out their blog at: http://robandbecky.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 30, 2009

Photo Equipment for Sale!

As some of you may heard, I am upgrading cameras. As a result of a package deal I found, I have my old camera for sale with some new lenses and a new printer that I didn't need. Here's the craigslist post:

http://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/pho/1487779605.html

For friends and family, I'm willing to bring the prices down... I posted them a little high to give me some room for negotiations. Obviously shipping would be extra. For those in NJ, I'll be in there for Cmas if you would like me to bring them when I come.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guess what she's into now

Lindsay is making new strides (literally) every day. Lately she's been adding new "real-people" foods to her diet... yogurt, bananas, etc. can you guess her favorite?


What miracle do they make those things out of, anyway?!



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can't get enough?


In case you haven't had enough fall pictures of our kids, you can check out our latest snapfish album here.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Karen!

I won't mention your age, but thank you for all you do for us! You are a great mom and an amazing wife!


We love you! Happy Birthday!


Nov 12

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obsessed already?!

A couple weeks ago, we pulled out Zach's Tom Brady (#12) jersey from the Winter clothes bins. A couple days later, we received a hand-me-down Ty Law (#24) jersey. Ever since then, he insists on wearing one of the two of them just about every day. He's already a huge Pats fan! And that started BEFORE we went to the game!







Monday, November 9, 2009

On the field with the Pats!








Virtually a dream come true! Karen's brother Keith bought us front row tickets to the Patriots / Dolphins game this past Sunday. It couldn't have been any better! A huge division rivalry, a cloudless 60 degree day in November, free child care, and there we were at the front row looking down the goal line! What an amazing day! Oh, and of course our Pats won 27 - 17!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Church Shoot Out!


This morning, our Men's group from church (Men of Grace), held one of our monthly "Challenges". Although there was no real competition this time... just a manly event... shooting guns! Some of us have been shooting all our lives, others had shot years ago, and some had never shot a gun in their lives! We had 24 men join us and about 40-50 pistols, shot guns and rifles. We took turns shooting each other guns, comparing the kick and talking about such manly things as "calibers", "grain size", and "recoil". Although I have my own 30-06 rifle, shotgun, and muzzle loader, it's probably been a decade since I've shot anything besides my bow. It was great to be outdoors, smelling the gun powder, feeling the power of these weapons, and spending time with other Christian men. When the last of the rounds were gone, we spent some time talking. We talked about how our words can sometimes be like bullets, and the way we shoot can be like how we use our words. Are we careful where we point? Do we take the time to focus, slow our heart rate, control our breathing, before firing off some potentially hurtful words? After all, although we can always apologize, we can't really get our words back... just like that bullet once it's fired.


Those words were right on target for many of us.


It was a great morning!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall Colors!








The leaves have now fallen, but we've enjoyed a beautiful fall this year!


Trick or Treat!



The kids had a great time trick or treating. More candy than ever! The pictures don't quite show it, but that were super excited! And old pros.

The Scariest Garden Gnome you've seen!

This is not my picture, but I wish it was! Isn't this hilarious?! The costume is great, but it's the expression that makes it! I think this could work for Lindsay in a year or two. What do you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grace Race






Thank you! Together, we raised over $100,000 for our friends in Naivasha, Kenya! Never before have we raised nearly this much... not even close. Between fundraisers, volunteers, runners & walkers, etc., there were over 250 people involved.
Chip's parents were in town for the weekend, so they joined us for the 5k walk. Lindsay rode on Karen's back. Chase and Zach took turns walking, riding in the stroller, and on Chip's sholders. At the end of the race, there were people cheering as we came up across the finish line. The boys got very excited and started running up across the finish line. Once we crossed, they handed out "Grace Race Finisher" medals. Chase and Zach were so excited! They were convinced they won the race!
Perhaps the best part, though, was when we had dinner that night at a restaurant a stranger asked Chase what the medal was for... he responded that it was a race at our church where we raised money for orphans in Kenya! He understood! It was great to hear him telling someone else about it!
Thank you for your support!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Phone Down

Our home phone is down for the next few days while we transition from AT&T CallVantage to ViaTalk. The AT&T plan was nice while it lasted (rarely a problem), but they're closing up shop which forces us to make a change. We expect to be back up before Halloween. In the meantime, you can reach us on our cell phones.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Changing the world...

Can I have $10 to change the world?

This Saturday, October 10, our church, Grace Community, is hosting the annual "Grace Race". For the last several years this race has been the primary source of funding for the Grace Orphanage in Naivasha, Kenya. Over the last couple years, we have raised roughly $35k. That money has gone towards the purchase of 5 acres of land, irrigation, and food for these orphans.

This year, we have taken the challenge to a whole new level! After discussions with the pastor in Kenya who runs the orphanage, we realized that his 10 year plan of raising $250k could be realized in perhaps a single year! Through the running of this 5 acre farm, the orphanage trains these young people how to function as a contributing part of society within the context of a church and family... not to mention food to eat and clothes to wear. The $250k will be used to build new housing to take in more kids, a clinic, a school, and the equipment necessary to train them properly. Right now, they live with the pastor's family... in his home.

We're not asking for $1000. We're not even asking for $100. We know things are tight for a lot of people right now. But can you spare just $10? That's just 2 cups of coffee at Starbucks. A lunch at the cafeteria. A couple of sodas. We're certainly not limiting people to $10... but don't wait to give until you figure out how much you can give. The race is this Saturday, so time is short. Just click the button on the right that says "Grace Race" and you'll get instructions to give.

It is a reputable organization, run by friends of ours. But if you're hesitant to give your info... can you just send us a note saying that you'll give and then send us a check?

It's not everyday you can invest $10 to change the world!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

U2 concert videos


Here's a clip of the song Magnificent played the night before we went, taken from almost exactly where we were standing.


Here's a clip of Amazing Grace and Where the Streets Have No Name... it gives some perspective on the stage.


Still getting over this concert... simply awesome!

Photo courtesy of Charlene Carroll (a friend of ours who wasn't far from where we were, but the night before).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

U2 at Gillette Stadium!


Karen and I spent Monday night at the U2 concert at Gillette Stadium. Unbelievable! We had General Admission tickets which meant we didn’t have seats, but we were able to get into the “inner circle” and were about 10 feet from the stage! It was wild!


Over the years, I’ve had several friends tell me that they’ve had “spiritual experiences” at U2 concerts, and to be completely honest, I haven’t fully understood. Sure, the music is great, and there are some references to God, but a “spiritual experience”? Now, I’m still not sure I’m ready to say I had such an experience at the concert, but there was some amazing things going on… and very thought inspiring. Did I mention the music was great?! Not to mention it’s hard to beat a U2 show!


Here’s some clips of songs they sang…
I was bornI was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise
...Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent; Magnificent
__________
I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you.
I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you.
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for.
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for.
I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one.
But yes, I'm still running.
You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.
___________
I can't believe the news today
I can't close my eyes and make it go away.
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?
'Cos tonight We can be as one, tonight.
Broken bottles under children's feet
Bodies strewn across the dead-end street.
But I won't heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall.
Sunday, bloody SundaySunday, bloody Sunday..
And it's true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality.
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die.
The real battle just begun
To claim the victory Jesus won
On...Sunday, bloody SundaySunday, bloody Sunday..

Now don’t get me wrong. This post is not to praise Bono or even to argue for the legitimacy of his faith. That’s not what this is about. However… it was amazing to see a stadium FULL of people with raised fists singing “How long must we sing this song…” calling for the end of violence across the globe. Singing for human rights. Singing “To claim the victory Jesus won” and about “magnify[ing] the Magnificent”, and “You… carried the cross of my shame.” Oh, and did I mention that there was a snippet of “Amazing Grace” in there that was followed by crazy cheering? The interesting thing was that there was perhaps just a small percentage of us who were specifically thinking of God, Jesus, and our Christian faith. As Karen and I discussed it on our way to the car, she referenced Luke 19 where Jesus says, “If they keep quiet, even the rocks will cry out.” Hmmm. That was an interesting reference, considering my thoughts during the concert… When was the last time our church services inspired us to shake our fists and sing out against injustice in this world? The concert felt more like a revolution campaign than a rock concert… and it reminded me of Jesus. He was a revolutionary. He calls us today to revolution. To change our world. Say what you will about Bono’s inappropriate behaviors at times, but he has managed to mobilize huge numbers of people to take action against poverty, human rights injustices, inadequate healthcare in 3rd world countries, etc. To some extent, Bono has become a phenomenon due to his politics, and change he inspires. Are we making a difference? Again, I reference, “if they keep quiet, even the rocks will cry out.” Are we keeping too quiet? Or are we in this for revolution?


I went to the concert expecting a good time with my wife, enjoying some of our favorite music, without the distraction of the kids. What we had, was so much more. So, perhaps I did have a spiritual experience, afterall.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cute disobediance

It was only a matter of time. Although our boys know that markers are for paper, with the amount of time they spend using them, we somehow knew that eventually it would end up on their bodies. Last night after dinner, the boys were coloring with markers at their table. Then it came. That giggling that can only mean trouble. If you have kids or have been anywhere near kids, you know exactly what I mean. Then came the evidence that they didn't really know they were doing something wrong... they came to show off their artwork. "We're being cats!" said Chase. So, as Karen was telling them why this was wrong and not to do it again, of course Chip was off to get the camera! We just couldn't resist taking a few shots before wiping them down. Do you think they believed us that they shouldn't do it again? Time will tell.

Thank God for "washable" markers! It actually came off with just a single wipe... no scrubbing necessary. Of course, I'm sure it helped that we didn't wait for it to dry.





Return to cold water!













As a kid, my family and I took many vacations. One of which, was a trip up through New England up into Canada. Along the way, we travelled along the Kancamagus Highway, in New Hampshire. At one point, we stopped at a trailhead and hiked up along a stream. When we got to about as high as we were going to go, we tried taking a dip in the stream to cool off. Now that was some COLD water! We took turns daring each other to see how far we could go into the water. Now I'm sure I'll get a scathing comment if I don't give a nod to my oldest brother, Tom, who actually sat in the water in the middle of a small waterfall, essentially submerged by this frigid mountain run-off. Nice work, Tom! To this day, our family still all remembers just how COLD that water was!
Well, over Labor Day weekend this year, Karen and I found ourselves in the Conway, NH area and decided to take a trip along the Kancamagus Highway. We happened to come across a place called "Sabbaday Falls"... and I am convinced that this is the same trail and stream we hiked along all those years ago. And the water is just as cold as ever! As if they knew the story, as soon as Chase and Zach felt how cold the water was, you could see them essentially daring each other to go deeper. We spent over an hour at a spot along the stream where we could sit on rocks, dip our toes in the water and scheme ways to get in deeper... and of course, enjoy the amazing beauty of it all. Here are just a few pics...