Thursday, November 27, 2008


To my long lost children, Happy Thanksgiving. I wish we could all be together. I miss you and love you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1 Million New Trees

There was an article in the Houston Chronicle this morning about plans to plant one million new trees in and around Houston, see Trees For Houston. When we came back to Houston, one of the things I notice was there were lots of new trees, especially along the freeways and at the interchanges. It was a really nice surprise. I'm so glad we are doing even more. It will make Houston an even better place to live.

Galveston oh Galveston

Brenda and I went to Galveston last Saturday. We wanted to see what has happened to her. Galveston is one of our favorite places to go. She was beat up pretty bad. Here's some pictures. Click on the pictures to get the "big" view.

81st Street Pier

Our favorite fishing pier, 81st Street Pier. Rumor has it a couple of guys were in the second floor during the storm. The pier was destroyed and the first floor washed away. There is also a pickup truck laying on the pier. If you notice, there is no beach along this part of the sea wall.

Galveston State Park

This is Galveston State Park. It was our favorite beach to go to. All of the structures you see in the pictures used to be in a grassy area behind the dunes. Now they are buried on the beach. We will miss Galveston State Park.

One of the picnic shelters. Totally destroyed and buried.

The restroom and shower building.

This was the main administrative building.

But . . . the beach looked really, really nice.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund MATCH

This is one thing where I have no qualms asking you to "be like me". Click on the above logo and donate some funds. The need is huge. Like Jesus said, "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." Luke 16:9

I'll match your gift. Here is what you have to do for me to match your gift.

1. Leave a comment that you are donating and the amount of the donation.
2. I'll follow up with you by email, so you have to use your real email when leaving the comment.
3. After I email you, you need to forward a copy of your donation email receipt.
4. I'll match your gift and then send you a copy of my email donation receipt.

I don't have unlimited funds, so I'll only match up to $1,000 above what I've already given. So, hurry up and give.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

At the office

My office is without power and the electric company says that we will not have power until sometime after Monday the 22nd, but our manufacturing buildings do have power. You know what that means? On Tuesday, it was my pleasure to move the computer network from our Glenmont building to our Evergreen building. It was a lot of work, but it went pretty well. The Glenmont office is now up and running at Evergreen.

It's getting cozy and it looks like we are going to be here together for a week or more. Sometime in the future, I get to tear it all down and move it back. Yippee! Here's a couple of pics of our new customer service area and server room.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We remain

Everyone is safe and well.

Things are still weird. Everyone was so worried about Max and Rachael. Their house was in a mandatory evacuation zone. Yet, when all was over. They came out the best. As of today, we are still without power at our house, yet Max and Rachael already have power. Mom's still without power. The electric company says that her power should be restored by end of day Monday the 22nd.

Here's some pics of after the hurricane at our house and neighbors.

Lake Hornwood at Tam O Shanter

Up rooted tree in our neighbor's back yard.

Split tree in the same neighbor's back yard.

The split tree split the sun room at my neighbor's house.

Our fence blew down and against the mini van. Remarkably there is no actual damage to the van.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The gathering storm and gathering family.

We've spent all day getting ready for Ike, yuck. The family has gathered, except my mother. It is me (Byron), my wife (Brenda), mother in-law (Ani), father in-law (Al), brother of another mother (Max), and sister of another mother (Rachael). We've "hunkered" down. Lots of chips and dips as we await the unwelcome visitor. So far, it looks really bad for the low lying areas.

The most distressing news is the 520' boat, without power, floundering in the storm. Coast Guard can't help. Twenty-two souls on board. Pray for their safety.

We have lots of DVD's, if only the power holds.

The sky is dark and the winds are starting to pickup. So far no rain.

We are grateful to be together.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yikes, Ike

Well, today we're getting ready for Ike. Being in charge of the computer department at work, I get to spend the day securing our computers and data. Our moto: "Backup, Shutdown, Unplug, Elevate and Bag." Later we'll be moving the servers into an interior room. Of course, that means there will be lots of extra stuff to do on Monday to set it all back up.

Palin Jokes

Here's some pretty good Palin jokes. They came from a Chicago Tribune article.


"Back in 1984, Sarah Palin finished second in the Miss Alaska pageant. Now she might be the vice president. You know what that means? For the first time in history, a beauty-pageant contestant might actually bring about world peace."

"Today President Bush called Gov. Palin and congratulated her. Bush told Palin the job of vice president is very important because as vice president, you get to tell the president what to do."


Oprah Winfrey's in the middle of a big scandal, because she is refusing to have Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her show. She won't let her on. Yeah. The friction started because Palin said if she's elected, she'll be the most powerful woman in the country. And Oprah said, "The hell you will."


"Sarah Palin's got a 4-month-old of her own, she's about to become a grandmother and she's partnered with John McCain. How many diapers can one woman possibly change?"


"Some people are saying that McCain picked Sarah Palin to appeal to women who supported Hillary Clinton. This is crazy. You can't just replace Hillary Clinton with another woman. Bill tried that, it didn't work out."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin in 08


What can I say. I'm blown away with McCain's choice for Vice President. Finally, someone with real credentials for "change". Saraha sure shook up Alaska state government. She is a true reformer, a breath of fresh air. She even took a salary cut (as mayor) and sold the private jet (as govenor).

She comes from working class roots.

She's the only one of the four with executive experience. Let's face it, the only thing that Obama, Biden, and McCain have lead is a legislative staff. Palin is leading an entire state government.

Yea, her only foreign affairs experience may be fishing in Canada, but she's applying for the "on the job training" position, not the presidency.

Go McCain/Palin go.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catchin up

When I "rededicated" my life to blogging, I intended to make many small updates. One or two a week, but I'm a "backslider". By my reckoning, I'm at least 5 blog entries behind. So, here's what's been happening.

1. Went to a Sheryl Crow concert at the Woodlands on Thursday, August 14th. I guess Sheryl ain't such a big star. She couldn't sell out the Woodlands, and the local paper didn't even cover the concert. But, Brenda and I still had a good time.

2. Didn't follow through with my Chipotle plans. See below.

3. Started read "The Shack" by William P. Young.

4. Went on two Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) runs. The first one was late Saturday night, August 23rd. Got the call at 10:00pm. Got back home around 3:30am. It was an apartment fire that totally destroyed two units and affected six other units with smoke and water. I help with Marien and Cesar. Young couple of 18 and 22. Marien is pregnant with her first child, Alex, due on August 30th. Theirs was one of the destroyed apartments. They lost everything except each other.

The second call was on Sunday, August 24th, again an apartment fire with two destroyed apartments and six affected apartments. I helped Derrick and Cheyrel. Another young couple, with a newborn. Their son, Derrick the third, was born on August 8th, 2008. Luckily, their apartment only had some smoke. They didn't lose their possesions, but they needed a place to stay, so we helped them with a hotel room.

5. On Monday, Brenda started her second year of teaching third grade, but this time, it's in Spanish.

There, five updates. I'm all caught up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cool Chipotle

A funny thing happened on the way to a "good" deed . . . maybe.

Here in Texas, they have a "tax free" weekend just before school. It's meant to help out with the purchases for back to school supplies, uniforms, etc. Well, Chipotle (my most favorite fast food restaurant EVER, which my wife hates) is having a tie-in promotion for the tax free weekend. If you eat there today or tomorrow and bring the receipt back during tax free weekend, they will give you a free meal. That gave me the idea that I'd eat there for lunch today and tomorrow and use the receipts to take a couple of the areas homeless to lunch this weekend.

Like I said, I love Chipotle and I eat there all the time. Whenever I eat there, I try to order and talk to the workers in Spanish. I always give them a big smile, tell them "Tenga buen dia.", "Muchas gracia.", etc. Today, the workers had on a sticker that said "Building a better world one burrito at a time." It's the first time I've seen them wearing the stickers. When I get to the check out, one of the workers that handled my order, came to the checkout, pulled the sticker off of her shirt, and put it on my order. The cashier then said that my order was free! It blew my socks off. I'd come here to get a receipt for the weekend, and my weekend came early. But, will this receipt work for a free meal this weekend?

I guess I'll have to follow through with this "good" deed and take a couple of the homeless here in Sharpstown to Chipotle this weekend. It's God ordained.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

unChristian . . . the book

I've started reading the book unchristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. Buy the book.

Here's a quote from page 26.

"One outsider put it this way: 'Most people I meet assume that Christian means very conservative, entrenched in their thinking, antigay, antichoice, angry, violent, illogical, empire builders; they want to convert everyone, and they generally cannot live peacefully with anyone who doesn't believe what they believe.'" Emphasis added.

Didn't Paul (Romans 12:18) tell us to live at peace with everyone? Yet, our reputation is that we can't get along with anyone! How did the followers of the "friend of sinners", become the "haters of sinners"? Contrast the above quote with what James had to say in his letter. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:17-18) I guess we aren't very wise.

Back on the 23rd of July I wrote a post about the need for congregations to create and adopt Fundamental Principles of Behavior and Service. Basically, I'm getting fed up with unChrist like behavior from Christians. Our churches take it for granted that once someone becomes a Christian, they will start to behave in a Christ like manner. That just isn't the case, especially from those of us that were raised in the church. It's time we start working on our behavior. Let's stop "empire building" and start serving in love.

"You are what you are, not what you tell people you are."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Warning! Don't read "He's a killer.." if you're squimish or if you've ever had pet mice before, like me.-wife

He's a killer . . .

So far, with mouse traps, I've killed three of the little guys here at the office. War was declared when one of them ate a hole in a cup of water that I'd left on my desk. It made quite a mess. I've been content to set out traps as I leave in the evening and with great satisfaction throwing away the dead mice the next morning. Well today it got much more personal. Mr. Mouse ran across the hall and into a closet. The bottom of the closet was filled with boxes. Jeff started removing the boxes while I stood guard. When the last of the boxes was about to be removed, Mr. Mouse came charging out. His critical mistake was that he ran straight at me, so I stomped the little bugger to death. Four down, more to go. Edouard didn't provide much excitement, but Mr. Mouse did.

The Edouard let down.

Well, I'm feeling let down. At least here in the Sharpstown area of Houston, Edouard has not caused any trouble. That's a good thing, but still I kind of wish there would have been some spectacular events. Like rain coming down in buckets or the wind blowing the rain sideways. Something to ooh and ahh about. For us, it was just a much needed rain.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ahhh . . . Costa Rica, la pura vida.

We're back. Too bad. Manuel Antonio is a beautiful place. We played on the beach, lounged by the pool, walked in the rain forest . . . It was too short a time. La pura vida, it's a nice way to live.

This is the beach we enjoyed.

It was a little rocky here, but it sure made for a wonderful view.

The four hour bus ride from San Jose to Manuel Antonio was an adventure. The road was narrow, the bridges were scary, the shear 1,000 foot drop offs were frightening, but it was cheap, only $5.00 and we lived!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fundamental Principles

It's time we Christians come up with a statement on Fundamental Principles of Behavior and Service. This thought is prompted by reading and contemplating the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. There are seven principles. They are Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality. You can read them in their entirety at the Red Cross website.

The Christian churches that I've been a part of (Baptist, Evangelical, and Bible) have doctrinal statements, which explain what we think, but they don't explain how we should behave. It's time we changed that. Churches need doctrinal statements. They are the anchors that keep us from drifting. We also need statements on how to act and how we go about our service, so that our behavior matches up with our doctrine. How about these for a start? Remember, it's just a start and it is highly plagiarized from the Red Cross statement.

Fundamental Principle of Behavior and Service

Humanity: Christians, born of the desire to emulate Jesus endeavour "to preach good news to the poor", "proclaim freedom for the prisoners", "recovery of sight for the blind", "release the oppressed", and "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" without discrimination to all peoples wherever they may be found. Our service is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. We promote mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among all peoples.

Impartiality: In service to our fellow man, we make no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. We endeavour to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality: In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, we may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence: We are independent. While subject to the laws of our respective countries, we must always maintain our autonomy so that we may be able, at all times, to act in accordance with the principles of the Jesus Christ.

Voluntary: Christianity is a voluntary movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity: There is only one Church. It must be open to all. It must carry on its Christian service throughout its territory.

Universality: Christianity, in which all Christians have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Skipped church - is that a sin?

I got a call Sunday morning from the Greater Houston Red Cross. They were looking for help to follow up with a couple of fires. You see, earlier this year I volunteered to be on the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT). I've been attending the monthly meetings since the beginning of 2008. Last weekend I spent in Red Cross training classes, four hours Thursday, eight hours Friday, and eight hours Saturday for a total of four courses. Well, Sunday I got to practice what I learned.

The first call was a single apartment fire. The ladies name was Latanisha. She was a single mom. The vacant apartment above her caught fire. Her's was pretty much destroyed because of water damage. She still can't get in to get any of her stuff and the longer it stays wet, the less likely it can be salvaged. She's left with nothing. She had the a sweet little nine month old boy. She's lucky in that she's able to stay at her mother's until she can find a place.

The second place was a small wood frame house that was burned. The back half of the house was burned to the ground. An older, single guy, Paul, was living there. It was his parents house, but they are no longer alive. All Paul had left was the clothes on his back. He's staying with his sister. There was insurance on the house, so he may be ok.

We weren't able to do much. We gave Latanisha and Paul some money. It was enough buy some cloths, a little bit of food, and a few other things. They were both very thankful. I felt glad to be able to help, but man, it was so little.

I think it's good to worship God in service to others. Helping Latanisha and Paul was my Sunday Service.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's so nice to be loved.

Here's what my wife emailed me about my upcoming trip.

"I look super forward to you coming and so do my friends. I think one wants to meet this guy who asked me to read the Irresistible Revolution book. It's a big deal with her and she's passed her book onto another friend. My other friends want to meet the guy who cooks because I don't. They want to meet the guy I miss and think is terrific. Ahh, you'll probably disappoint them so don't get so prideful."

Women, always keeps us in our place.

Costa Rica

I'm going to Costa Rica,
Costa Rica here I come
I'm going to Costa Rica,
Costa Rica here I come
They go a crazy way of loving there
And I'm gonna get me some.
. . .
Yep, I'm going to see my baby doll, sweety pie, lovey dovey, . . .

I strongly dislike airlines. Last night they tell me they can't honor a price that was on their website. This morning, magically, they can! Funny thing, last night it was a woman customer service rep that refused to honor the price. This morning it was a man customer service rep that honored the price. Continental women are mean!

I've been cheated,
been mistreated
When will I be loved?
I've been put down.
I've been pushed 'round
When will I be loved?

That's how it felt.

U-Haul shooting victim

Monday, July 7, 2008

Shoot out at the U-Haul

There was a road rage shootout near the house Sunday morning. How close was it? There are only seven houses between my house and the U-Haul place. It's about a three minute walk. It happed around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning. A couple of cars had a minor accident that escalated into gun fire. One of the trucks at the U-Haul place had five bullet holes in it. Crazy no? It doesn't appear as though anyone was hurt.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

She's still gone, gone, gone, gone

Well, Brenda has been gone for a week now, only three more weeks to go. I got to talk to her last night. She's had a bit of a tender tummy. No nausea, but she said it feels like someone puncher her in the stomach. On Saturday, her and a couple of other students went to help out with a local children's ministry. Sorry, I don't know the name. They had a party, complete with pinatas. Afterwards they gave away Christmas shoe boxes. I guess they were having Christmas in July. She said there were about 100 kids.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gone fishing

Turns out that my brother-of-another-mother's, (aka: brother-in-law, aka: uncle Max) wife, Rachel, is also out of town, so . . . Max and I "went a fish'n."

We went out on the Cavalier, which is a 30 foot catamaran. It took us out to the end of Galveston's east jetty. We caught some fish, but nothing worth keeping. It was mostly small hard heads and baby sharks that were caught. I did catch two whitings that were good enough to keep, but I didn't keep them.

The water was a little rough and several people on the boat got sea sick. I've been there and done that, but this time I had the "patch" and it worked great. No sea sickness for me. Yippee. Next time, I want to go out on one of the 12 hour trips. Maybe then I'll catch something worth "keep'n and eat'n".

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My new "charges" BUGS

Just before my lovely wife headed off to Costa Rica, she got some walking sticks (the bugs, not a cane). Now I'm the bug caretaker. In the morning I give the little critters a good spritzing and in the evening I throw in a couple of fresh leaves. Walking sticks are vegetarians. My vegetarian son, Abram, should be happy about that.

These guys are boring. They pretty much just sit there. But, they are pretty cool to look at. One of the internet sites where I read up about these guys, said that when they are agitated they sway like they are being blown by a breeze. My guys are as steady as a rock, no swaying. Maybe tonight I'll see if I can agitate them!

Don't worry honey, the "kids" are fine.

Monday, June 30, 2008

How to reassure your husband (NOT)

Brenda emailed me from Costa Rica today. I'm so glad to hear from her. She really knows how to put a person's mind at ease. I quote, "Muggings are common if your carrying valuables. I like to walk in the mornings. I did that today. Walked for 45 minutes in all directions from the house." Take off the jewelry and watch!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

She's gone, gone, gone, gone

My lovely, wonderful, beautiful, wife has gone to Costa Rica. She has gone there for a one month Spanish intensive course at The Spanish Language Institute ( Brenda will be teaching a bunch of third grade Spanish speakers next year, so she wanted to spend some time brushing up on her Spanish language. It has only been a day and I miss her terribly.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tell the world to stop moving!

Well, I've learned about a new syndrome, "Mal de Debarquement Syndrome" (A persistent rocking or disequilibrium sensation after prolonged exposure to motion.). It seems a few of us are "blessed" with the ability to keep the cruise going. It's a way to get a little more for our money. I keep feeling like I'm on a moving boat. There's the sensation of moving up and down. Luckily, it doesn't make me sick, but it does suppress my apatite, which is a good thing. For most people the sensations stop after a few days to a week. I sure hope mine stop soon. Blessings, Byron.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cruise'n with the “oldies”

Brenda and I went on our first cruise. We took a five day cruise from Galveston, Texas to Cozumel, Mexico. It was an interesting and new adventure. It was also expensive! Brenda said she felt trapped. I enjoyed the slow pace. We ate, read, walked, took dancing lessons (Cha Cha), went to shows, etc.

We both used the “patch”, so we didn’t have any trouble with sea sickness. That was a first. The only problem is that I’m having a little “land” sickness. It’s been two days since we got off the boat and my world just won’t stop moving.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bilingual certification

Brenda passed her bilingual certification test. The state of Texas has now certified that my wife is ready and able to teach Spanish bilingual classes. That's good, because that's what her principle wants her to teach.

Monday, April 14, 2008

MS 150 - Houston to Austin

I went on a long bike ride, from Houston to Austin. I've done this ride, off and on, since 1993. My last ride was in 2004.

There were over 13,000 people on the ride. I tried to do the ride last year, but my back would hurt too much. I'm very excited that I was able to do it this year. The back hurt, but not too much.

It was a hard ride. We had stiff head winds the entire ride.