Life and Whitewater Rafting

So, my friend Randy not so subtly pointed out that Spring has sprung and we are now into summer and there have been no updates to the blog. First of all, YEA! Someone actually does check our blog! 🙂 Second, whew! Here is a quick rundown of the last 6-8 weeks:

  • I started my new job (which has kept me busy)
  • Melinda has quit her job (which, believe it or not, has kept her busy)
  • Melinda has been taking some early education classes
  • The girls finished up school
  • Melinda’s gandmother passed away
  • We went on vacation to Colorado

These are just the highlights of what has been robbing our time lately. We will post details and pictures of our Colorado trip, but one of the activities we were able to enjoy was a whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River.

It’s interesting the parallels between the instructions we were given in case we fall in and our life lately. When we hit the water there were several Class IV rapids at the beginning. We were told that if we fall out the only thing you can do is put your feet out in front of you (like you are sitting in a recliner), hold your head up high, and float to calmer water where the boat would come get you and pull you in. Oh, and try and aviod the rocks! That pretty much sums up our life lately! We have been holding our head high, letting the river take its course, and avoiding the rocks. But, calmer water is ahead and we are waiting for the boat to come pick us up.

Thank you for being patient. Look for a vacation update soon. We are waiting for our pictures to be developed (our digital camera broke, so we took film cameras on our trip) and will post a slide show.

Keep checking back or, better yet, sign up to receive an email whenever we post something. Sign up is on the left!

Spring Fever

The dogwoods are blooming, the grass is green, the oak tree in the front yard is bursting with leaves. Ah! Spring time! I never understood why you made new year resolutions in the month of January. You are entering the darkest, coldest part of the year. There is nothing environmentally that even remotely evokes a spirit of change. Spring, however, is the complete opposite. Birds sing loudest. Bugs buzz with vigor. People clean house. It’s all about freshness and newness.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post: I have a new job. Like the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room, it looks/sounds funny just seeing it there out in the open, but it’s true.

I have been with Thomas Nelson for almost five years now. I started off as a freelancer and four titles later I am currently a Senior Acquisitions Editor. All of this time I have been in the area of digital publishing – turning the books Thomas Nelson creates (specifically Bibles and Bible Reference products) into electronic versions. I have served passionately in this area the entire time. While here I have managed (and created) many top-selling software titles, and brought new strategies and relationships to Thomas Nelson. My heart, however, has always been in the relationship business. I love to be in front of people and talking with them and helping them see how what we have can help them. Hence the change…

Starting Monday the 16th I will be a Regional Sales Manager for Nelson Ministry Services. This division handles all of the sales to our author and large church partners. I will be covering the southeast helping authors such as Charles Stanley, Hank Hanegraaff, and John Maxwell just to name a few. I will be working with churches and ministries of all sizes, to help match Thomas Nelson product with their strategies to grow their ministries.

It’s an exciting new venture, and I am most pleased that I can do it while still working for the largest Christian publisher in the US. Please pray for me as I transition. There is a lot to finish in my current position, and a lot to learn in my new one. Pray that I finish well here, and can start off running over there. More importantly pray I never forget that even though I am in sales, that my primary job is putting tools in the hands of people so that they can better understand God’s Word. That, above all, is my purpose.


Spam Blog

The last entry about my sprain took a few days to actually post. I could write it as a draft, but when I attempted to publish it I got a message that our blog had been blocked by a spam-prevention tool because it appeared to be a “spam blog”. What in the world is a spam blog? They had a handy link that explained it all:

The ease of creating and updating webpages with Blogger has made it particularly prone to a form of behavior known as link spamming. Blogs engaged in this behavior are called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text…

If that last statement doesn’t accurately describe this blog, I have no idea what does! 🙂


Off Balance

O.k. – this settles it. Scott must lean to the left. Literally, not politically.

This past Saturday we watched our pastor’s kids at our house. It was a beautiful spring day. Kids, a beautiful day, and Scott trying to keep up all spells disaster! While playing hide-and-seek, and chasing a much faster eight year-old to base, Scott rolled his foot over and sprained his ankle. Time to go inside!

He sat on the couch for a while and called to Melinda to check on whatever was beeping in the kitchen. She called him a wimp and asked why he couldn’t check it himself. He called her over and showed her why. At this point his ankle was swollen and the pain was increasing. It was off to the emeregency room.

Final prognosis was a sprain (thankfully, it wasn’t broken). When Scott asked what exactly that meant he was given this quote – “If anyone ever tells you they sprained their ankle and are back playing basketball the next day, they didn’t really sprain their ankle. “Real” sprains involve torn ligaments”. Although only an MRI would tell how bad the damage was, the doctor figured this was the case here. He was fitted with a large “boot” to walk around in and has to follow up with our regualr doctor this week.

The irony is that it is his left foot. You may remember he broke his left collar bone almost a year and a half ago (also trying to capture some long lost glory of his youth) so, he must have a tendancy to fall to his left.

The moral of this story? Same as last time – leave the running to the eight year olds. From now on Scott can referee from the sidelines!

15 Seconds

Scott isn’t the only one in the limelight these days! Jessica is enjoying some fame via an article in the newspaper about her class at school. It wasn’t on the web, so below is a scan of the actual article (to read it, just click for a larger image):

Today the class went on their “special field trip surprise”. They went to Chick-fil-A for lunch, then they were off to meet the Mayor of Murfreesboro, go to the top of the AmSouth Bank building (the tallest building in Murfreesboro), and then to the park to play (although with the high expected to only be 41 today (and it’s only 30 now!) I’m not sure how long that will last!).

Almost Famous

Recently I had two opportunities to represent my job, and my company, in two high profile situations. I’m excited to finally begin to establish myself as an expert in the arena of digital publishing.

First, in November I was a guest on a nationally syndicated radio program called Point of View talking about Bible study software, and specifically our brand, eBible. It was a two hour radio program and I was the guest the whole time! Unfortunately, the link is gone on their website, but here is a link to listen for anyone interested. A few technical notes: The first 5 people can click and do nothing. After that, you have to sign up for a free XDrive account. If you do, you get 5GB of online storage for free. If you don’t, I understand. Also, the file is 22MB and the interview is long. I will NOT be offended if you don’t listen! 🙂

Second, The Tennessean, our local newspaper, ran an article today about the future of e-books. This article was prompted by a press release from our company about a new partnership I made with a software company. The newspaper called me and I spent a lot of time on the phone educating the writer about the world of e-books. In the end, we weren’t the feature of the article, but I was quoted in it and the partnership was mentioned. Here it is, for your reading pleasure!

I just thought I would share with you a couple of successes for me lately. It’s great to have a job you love, and have the opportunity to communicate that to others.

"People have no idea…"

Below is a link to a video about living with a child with autism. We really debated on whether or not to even post this message, but after thinking about it we decided to go ahead. Please know that our motivation is purely educational. While the video is very emotional, we aren’t seeking sympathy, just understanding.

When we first saw this video we both agreed that this is the most accurate portrayal of daily life with a child with autism that we had ever seen. Most people still think of Rain Man when they think of autism, and although Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal is somewhat accurate, it just isn’t reality for most people.

There is another caveat, too – we are very blessed with Anna. Although she leans toward severe on the spectrum, she isn’t as bad as some of these kids. We experience probably 80% of what you see in the video. However, every single thing that is said by the parents in this video, we have said, thought, experienced, agonized over, suffered through, and worried about. That is what we wanted you to see. We want you to know that when we say we battle with Anna, this is pretty much what it looks like. When we are stressed about money, or we are tired, or we can’t go somewhere, this is why, and this is a lot of what our life looks like.

Extra credit also has to be given to Melinda. Unlike the women in this video, she works full-time. She sacrifices more than most when it comes to life with Anna. She is truly an amazing person and deserves all the credit, encouragement, and reward for everything she does. All day. Every day.

That being said, the video is called Autism Every Day. When you click the link, just go to the section called Autism Every Day and choose your bandwidth.

Fried Dough Anyone?

We’ve added a link over there on the left. Check it out. And if you are ever in Memphis you have to go and sample some of the best donuts ever. No kidding! Be sure to tell them we sent you, and you might even get a free sample! Yum!

Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size

Three weeks ago today we had our annual Fall church picnic. After lunch the “men” of the church started a flag football game. I say “men” because the vast majority of those playing were definitely attempting to be younger than they were. Scott was one of these.

All he remembers is catching the ball, turning to run upfield, and the next thing he knew he was on the ground. Long story short, Scott broke his collar bone. Here is a picture of the x-ray from the emergency room (click on any of the pictures to see a larger image):

Notice it broke on the very end and not on the middle. That is the most rare type of collar bone break (less than 10% of the time according to the internet) and the most type requiring surgery. They shot Scott with pain medicine and referred him to an orthopedic surgeon.

The funny thing is that, not fifteen minutes after Scott drove off to the ER, another man fell on top of a teenage boy. He ended up in the same ER, in the adjoining room to Scott, and he also broke his collar bone on the same side! The hospital staff wanted to know what church we went to so they could avoid any future social functions we might have! 🙂 Here’s a picture of Caleb and Scott leaving the hospital with matching injuries and matching slings (BTW – Caleb’s break was more “typical”. It broke in the middle and will heal on its own):

Monday, Scott went to see the orthopedic surgeon. He gave him three options, and basically told him option three was the only viable one – surgery to repair it. Because the two pieces of bone were on top of each other, and not facing each other, they would need some help staying in place to heal and grow back together. The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning. Here are some “before” pictures taken before he went in.

Notice the “lump”. That’s where his collar bone is sticking up. Also notice how his shoulder has “caved in” without the collar bone support:

Here is a shoulder to shoulder comparison, to see how much shorter the broken one is:

The doctor’s plan was to align the bones with a “closed” procedure, where he would align the bones, and put screws in from the outside, and when the bones had healed remove the screws. Alas, that was not to be. A lot of the bone had shattered, and so he couldn’t get proper alignment. He ended up having to make a large incision and go in and bridge the two pieces with a metal plate, and secure it all with six screws. Here is a fluoroscope image from the surgery:

All in all, he missed eight days of work, and his left arm was completely immobile for about twelve days. He is out of the “immobilizer” and just wearing a sling, but still has a way to go before he is completely healed. If you look close at the above picture, you can still see the separation between the bones (from the left there is bone, and a whitish space (the gap), and then a small darker piece of bone, another whitish space (the joint) and then the shoulder bone). It actually looks worse here, but that gap will have to grow together before he will be able to be completely mobile. After it heals, there will likely be some therapy to help regain lost muscle from the immobility. He also has a nice 3-4 inch “Frankenstein” scar as a souvenir right on the top of his shoulder.

One of the funniest things about the whole situation has been Anna. She has seen the pictures and heard us talking, and seen Scott’s arm. Now whenever she sees Scott she calls him “Bone”!

Needless to say the last few weeks have been crazy. Melinda says Scott has been a good patient, and not too demanding, but she was very glad when he was able to tie his own shoes again! 😉

Please pray for continued recovery, and for no long-term affects because the church picnic is only a year away, and he needs to be ready for the football game… 🙂

Welcome to our blog!

Dear Family and Friends –

There are so many of you, and so few hours in the day. How will we ever keep you up to date with what is going on here in Tennessee? How can we get the same message to everyone at once without adding to the stress of normal life? Trust me when I say we have had great intentions of sending out Christmas newsletters. Then they turn into New Year newsletters. What about an Easter newsletter?! Better make that a Labor Day newsletter… What?! It’s Christmas-time again? Better start the newsletter! And the cycle continues. I can even remember a few years where cards were actually made and/or addressed and they still never got out!

Enter Technology! “I know!”, says Scott, the nerd. “Let’s start a website! Everyone can come, and see pictures and find out what’s going on, etc.! It’ll be great!”. Well, we’ve had Comcast for three years now, and although we have space with our names on it, alas, it too has gone the way of the newsletter.

What we need is a quick and easy way to create “snapshots” of our life so that people can see what’s going on. Sometimes it’s short. Sometimes its long. It has some pictures. If only there was some way for us to journal, and then give everyone access to that journal. “Wait!”, Scott the nerd says. “That sounds an awful lot like blogging!”. Melinda crinkles her nose. “What in the world is ‘blogging'”?. “Oh! It’s great”, says Scott. “You can journal, and add pictures, and it can be short, or long. And people can come and visit and see what’s going on in our lives!”.

Hence – our blog! A place where it’s “always wintertime”! (Get it?!) We can give some updates, and you can stop by at your leisure and catch up with us. You can also post comments, that way you we can interact with each other, too! A HUGE advantage over a website. What is our goal? Well, it will be short, or long. It will have some pictures. You get the idea. This will be a web log (Get it?!) of our lives and you can jump in at any time and see what’s up. It’s our elusive Christmas newsletter, but on a consistent basis. No tinsel necessary! 😉

What our blog is not… It’s not profound (we aren’t trying to impress anyone). It’s not deep (hey it’s our lives – this is as deep as it gets!). This is the mundane stuff we would talk about if we had the chance to sit around the table over a cup of coffee with nothing better to do than catch up. Better yet, if you lived next door (wouldn’t that be wonderful?!) this is the stuff you would hear about every day.

We would love to hear from you! Post a comment and tell us what you think! We will try and update this as regularly as possible, so come back often.