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Makes me miss Jamaica.

And Red Stripe. Hooray Beer!

And Ting.

And Reggae music.

And omelets w/ a plate of bacon and a plate of fresh pineapple.

Time for a vacation.

PS. If anyone knows where to get Ting locally, please let me know.

Tomorrow it’s back to work for me. I’ve been off this past week spending time with the family before Josh heads off to kindergarten in a week. Nothing fancy, just a lot of hanging out, going to the park, and a trip to the zoo. Here’s a picture from Lowry Park Zoo.

Riley got bitten by a turkey, and Josh got splashed by the stingrays. It was a pretty full day.

Well, I leave today for summer camp. I’ll be taking some teens from the church to Daytona for StudentLife@The Beach. It’s like our fifth year running, and it’s always a great time. This year Chris Tomlin will lead worship and Louie Giglio will be the speaker.

The hardest part about going is leaving my kids. Josh bawled last night when I told him I would be gone this week. He cried again when we said his prayers and he prayed for me at camp. I’ll miss putting them to bed every night, and kissing them good bye every morning. Fortunately we’ll be back on Friday.

So pray for us. Pray for safety and life change. Check us out here if you like.

I’ll also be blogging from camp to keep everyone updated. Talk to you soon.

Hey, everybody! Guess what?

I’m guest-blogging in the Blue Room today while Travis is on vacation.

Click over there and check it out.

Our friends Mike and Emily Monte-Carlo-Okra celebrated their 2-year anniversary this weekend. Good for them. They marked the occasion by eating large amounts of meat. (check out Mike’s blog)

That got me thinking. This August will be 8 years for us. What was life like for the Mathews’ in year number two? I’m glad you asked.

  • No kids. Was there actually a time when it was just two of us?
  • I had just graduated college. We took a cruise to Cozumel for a graduation gift.
  • I was about 20 pounds lighter.(cruise ship food was the downward spiral)
  • I had just started my job as an engineer. (The nerdy kind, not the train kind.)
  • Ginny had a job!
  • We had just joined First Baptist Church of Jan Phyl Village. (Try writing that on a tithe check)

Funny how times change. Now we have 2 kids, I have 2 jobs, Ginny has 0 jobs (not counting Mother, Wife, and Maid), And FBCJPV is now RidgePoint Church. The funny thing is, I wouldn’t change a thing.(except the 20 pounds)

What was life like for you at year number two?

Actually the Animal Kingdom, to be exact.

Ginny and I took the kids there a few weeks ago. We had passes that were about to expire, so I took off one Friday to go. Great plan! We got there early, rode some rides quickly, and made our way around the park.

As the day started getting longer, we all started getting worn out. We decided to walk through one of the “jungle trek” deals that they have. You know the one where you walk along a path, and every now ant then there is an animal behind plexiglass? Well, we were waiting to see the tigers, and Josh didn’t want to wait. He kept pulling on my arm and pulling on my arm and pulling on my arm and pulling on my, well, you get the idea. Finally, I popped him on the butt and set him down for a little break. He was not happy about this.

Apparently, neither was Edna <name changed to protect the guilty, and because I can’t remember her real name>, our friendly elderly tour guide. She took it upon herself to “fix” this situation. So she decides to talk to Josh, my 4 year old, and ask him what Daddy’s problem is. Bad choice of words, Edna. You just became Daddy’s problem. And, by the way, I am the adult. You should have tried talking to me.

I stepped up to check Edna’s credentials. I mean, maybe she was Dr. Phil’s grandma, which would still not qualify her to tell me how to be a parent. As I approached her, I got that look from my wife. You know the one. That look that says, “Be Nice!” I hate that look. There’s some kind of witchcraft behind that look.

So now I have to be nice. Great. There goes Plan A-J. So instead of addressing her with, “Look, Lady” I decided to address Josh instead. I told him he needed to be patient and obey Mommy and Daddy when we speak to them. Then Edna explains that we don’t want anyone upset, because this is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth. I nearly lost it.

The happiest place on Earth? Seriously? Do you think I give two flips about the happiness quotient of Disney? What I care about is raising my kids to be productive, responsible, honest adults. And if that means bringing Disney down a point or two, I’m sorry. I don’t care if we’re in line at the Department of Children and Families. If my kids are misbehaving, I will deal with it. Not because I get off on disciplining my kids or making them cry, but because I love them. And they need boundaries.

Anyway, I let that one go. And now we were ready to go. It was then that Edna asked, “So is everything OK now?” What!? OK? Everything was OK before you showed up. Just because my son was unhappy for 3 minutes didn’t throw the world into a lurch. If anything, I’m worse off from having met Edna and “been nice” to her. So I said “yes” and we moved on.

The next 10 minutes were not happy for me. I made the comment about Edna not raising kids in 75 years or so. That earned me another one of those looks from Ginny.

I’m pretty sure my picture is pasted somewhere at Disney, labeled as a “discipliner.” Good. And Edna probably got a pewter pair of mouse ears for “fixing” a problem and returning the Happiness Quotient to 4,372.81. Know what I got for “being nice”? An ulcer. But at least I didn’t have to go to Mouse Jail.

Ginny’s dad is on holiday in Australia. At least part of him.

One of our friends, Debbie, went to Australia on vacation and she took some of his ashes with her. She e-mailed me this morning to say g’day and to tell us that she left Ron’s ashes at the Great Barrier Reef. That’s cool and creepy all at the same time. I cried when I read the e-mail. I called Ginny later to tell her, and she cried. I cried again. I’m a big wuss.

BTW – You don’t need to comment about it not being him, only his body. I’m fully aware of the “absent from the body, present with the Lord” situation. But still, it’s kinda cool. I wonder where else Ron will end up.

Last Sunday I asked the youth group to name a place they would like to go or what they would like to be. Most of the girls named countries. One of the boys wanted to be a football player/racecar driver in New York. Interesting. Anyway, here’s my list of places I would like to go.

1) Australia. We just missed our chance to go this year, but there’s always next year. I’ve seen enough Crocodile Hunter that we won’t need a guide. Just an antivenin kit.

2) Hawaii. This place just looks cool. I’ve wanted to go there ever since Magnum P.I. was on.

3) Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival. A more realistic destination. This was my response on Sunday. Apparently my wife was listening because she ordered us tickets this week. You can’t go wrong with roasted corn dipped in a vat of butter and loaded with salt.

Where would you like to go?

I almost fought a scout leader on a church youth trip. True story. (to expound on the comment I left for Emily’s post on anger)

I had been youth pastor for about 12 hours. It was one of those “changing of the guard” or “passing the torch” camping trips with me, the former youth pastor, and 5 of the boys. We were in the middle of Oleno State Park and our campsite was next to some boy scouts. As I was setting up camp, I hear, “DON’T CUT THAT LIVE TREE!” screamed from the other camp. I looked around, and one of my boys had the machete and a timid look in his eyes.

Did that just really happen? Did someone just yell at one of my kids? I started to get warmer. After a few minutes to calm down, I bee-bopped next door to have a little talk. I found “the guy who was doing all the yelling” (that’s what I named him, the clean version anyway) and began to explain that we were a church group, not boy scouts, and if they had problems with my boys that they should speak with me instead of yelling across the forest.

Yeller explained that the boy was cutting into a live tree.

I explained that the boy was a live boy who came to the woods in part to get away from his father who yells at him like that. Yeller felt about thiiiiiiis big. Of course I made up the part about the boys father, but it was better than a cage fight to the death.

It all worked out for the good, however, because they invited us over for tacos that evening. I think they saw my survival skills and feared for the welfare of my boys.

It was probably the best trip I have been on as a youth pastor. There are plenty more stories about that trip, but I will save them for a later date.

What is a “Mamma Jamma?” And just what constitutes a bad one? Are there good ones, or only bad? My mind automatically goes to Aunt Jemima, ’cause it kinda rhymes.

While Ginny and I were off last weekend, our radio stayed on scan. Can you tell?