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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I have heard it said many times, you will learn more from your children then they learn from you.  I think this might be true.  I have been blessed with two kids, Vincent 15 and Ananda 2.  Yes I know that is a big age difference but it took me time to decide if I really wanted a second child.  I joke with Vince that after dealing with him as a toddler it took me that long to recover.  It is very cool to have two kids in such different stages of life, one who can take care of himself and one who needs for everything.  Though I am hoping she won't be needing for diaper changing soon, this would be great to have behind us.  So what have I learned from my kids?

With Vince I learned that anything can be a toy if you have a good imagination.  Vince could pick up about anything and it would be a toy to him.  He has had collections of sticks that were all different things to him. About 2 years ago Vince started asking questions about God and my faith.  After sharing my story with him I encouraged him to start learning about God on his own so he could grow in his faith.  In the last year I have been amazed at how much Vince is learning and growing in his faith.  Vince has taught me the value of knowing what you believe.  My challenge to Vince is be baptized with in the next year.  This is something that is totally up to him, but I look forward to the day when I get to see my son being baptized!

Ananda has also taught me a lot.  Never try to pet a turkey, they are mean and not friendly.  Never try to pick up a bumble bee, they don't seam to want to be picked up.  As I watch my daughter try to get my attention with her hands raised up I have come to the thought that this must be what God wants from us all.  Ananda has reminded me of Luke 18:16-17 God wants us to come to him like children, how appropriate is that as we are His children.

Both my kids have strengthened my faith, I have grown closer to God because of them.  I am learning new things daily because God is using my children to speak to me.  God has taught me through them.  I pray as they both grow up that God continues to use them in my life.     Rick

Monday, May 23, 2011

Memorial Day

We are getting close to one of my favorite holidays, Memorial day.  This is the day we honor those that have gone before us.  For me it's a day to remember the lives that were lived so that I may live.  I hope that makes sense.  For most people Memorial day is just a day off work and not much more,; for me this is a day to pay honor to my family members who are gone.  Much of who I am is comes from the family I was raised by, so to honor them in a small way is appropriate.  So this Memorial day my father and I will make our yearly trip to several cemeteries and place flowers on each grave.  I also like to say a prayer of thanks for each person.  Since most of them are Christians I know I will see them again in heaven.

As my kids are the seventh generation to live on this same property my Memorial day delivery takes a good chunk of time.  It's fun to go to each grave and think about what life was like for them as they lived where I live, and wonder what they were like.  When we get to the grave of my great grandfather, Glen Southwick, I knew the person and have personal memories of him.  We will visit numerous grave sites in several cemeteries in hopes that we bring honor to our family and spend time remembering them.  Each one of these people lived and had an impact on us; they paved the way for us in their love of family and country.  Several of the graves will be decorated with a flag honoring their service to this country.  I will place my flowers on each grave and give thanks for them.  I love my family!

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Memorial day weekend is also the biggest weekend in auto racing with the Indianapolis 500 and Gran Prix of Monaco.  Looking forward to watching all the auto racing I can.  


Saturday, May 14, 2011


I guess I should start this blog by giving notice that the prayer contained in this blog was stolen from my former senior pastor John Stumbo.  John took a prayer from AW Tozer and re wrote it using today's wording.  I love this prayer and thought I would share it.

Almighty God
You are over all things and under all things;
You are outside of all things and
inside of all things;

You are above all things, but not pushed up and
You are beneath all, but not pressed down;
Outside of all, but not excluded;
Inside of all, but not confined;

You are above all things presiding and
Beneath all things sustaining and
Outside of all things embracing and
Inside of all things filling.

You are God.

At the contemplation of your majesty,
All eloquence is dumb.
You are greater than anything said about you;
No language is worthy of you.

You are more sublime than all sublimity
Loftier than all loftiness
Profounder than all profundity
More splendid than all splendor
More powerful than all power
Greater than all majesty
More merciful than all mercy
More just than all justice.

This is the God we adore, our gracious unchangeable friend
Whose love is as great as his power,
And knows neither limit nor end.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's day

As mother's day 2011 rapidly approaches I have been thinking a lot about my mom and mothers in general.  The Wikipedia definition of mother: is a woman who has conceived, given birth to, or raised a child in the role of a parent. It goes on to say that because of the complexity and differences of a mother's social, cultural and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to define a mother.  In my job I see lots of woman who have given birth to children, most of them I would not consider mothers.  My definition of mother has been shaped by the woman whom I call mom.  I will say this, I am biased, I believe my mother is the best!  So then here is my definition of mother as lived for me by my mom.  My mother is a woman who loves her Lord and follows his ways, she has raised me up to know my Lord and when I was twelve we were baptized together.  When times were tough my mother always put my needs before her own, I have always know as her child, I was the most important thing to her.  When I felt hurt and pain my mother was there with me to offer comfort and wisdom.  I learned young that if you had a owie there was nothing better then a mother's kiss to take away the pain.  As I grew and started making my own decisions it was my mom who walked beside me and at times if needed offered Godly wisdom to help correct when she saw I was going the wrong way.  As my children have been born, again my mother has been right there, helping teach me how to be a father.  With the birth of my kids mom added another role to her life - grandmother.  She did this without any effort, like she was created to be it.  I believe just that, my mother was created to be a mother, grandmother.  She is living out the love God has given her, and blessing others with her love.  So I guess this is how I define mother...little longer then Wikipedia.  I guess for me to define mother, would be to define love as the two are just about the same thing. Happy Mothers Day!     Rick

Friday, May 6, 2011

A life well lived (part 2)

I have continued with my inward thinking about who or what I would like to be.  It's kinda fun to look at others and see things in them that you want to take and make your own.  I think that a lot of who we are as people comes from what others have modeled for us.  I have a friend that I so want to be like.  This man makes people feel good, he is such a Barnabas (son of encouragement) Acts 4:36.  I want to be like that!  It's so different from how I am wired.  I wish I could be like this.  To be a person who can make others around them feel good, I wish.  It's funny that this is what I long to be and I would guess most of my friends would never think this is what I want for me.  I hope I don't sound like I want to be a sissy, I think a strong man can be a great encourager to others.  So this is what I am working on in myself, I know I can never be what God wants me to be with out His help.  Anyone need any encouragement?  I need to practice.      Rick

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A life well lived

Today I attended a memorial service for my uncle Larry.  My uncle was a great guy, loving husband and father and most important of all he was devoted to his faith in Christ Jesus.  Larry shared his faith with anyone who would let him talk about it.  As I sat through the service some many people shared cool stories about Larry and what he had meant to them and his impact on their lives.  The service got me really thinking...what do I want people to say about me when I have gone home to be with my creator.  Out of all that I heard today the one thing that keeps coming back to me is hearing both my cousins tell about how there father lived his faith and showed them the love of Jesus.  I think this is now my number one goal in life, to live my life in a way that shows  my kids I love Jesus and am his child.  I need to do a better job at living my faith.

One day at work the boss asked each of us to go around the room and say one nice thing about each other.  People were coming up with good stuff...hard worker,devoted, great PO, cares about others, and on and on it went until it got to me.  My nice thing was  "Rick tries"   huh?!?  I try?  that's it?!?  that's the best you could do?  At the time I laughed it off.  There is a post it note above my door at work that says "I try"   As I thought about it I came to realize that it's very true I do try...I try to be a good husband, a man who is worthy of the blessing he has been given in my wife.  I try to be a good father, one who loves his kids and teaches them the good way.  I try to be a good Christian, to live my faith and love my God.  I try to be a good worker at my job. Though most of the time I feel like I have no clue what I am doing....I try.  As I spend more time expanding this though I really like "I try" there is so much that goes into trying hard.  So at the end of my life what can be said about me .....I Tried  :)      Rick

Sunday, May 1, 2011

John Deere Tractor

It's funny that my favorite time to think and reflect on things comes while riding around on my John Deere lawn tractor. Today I spent several hours mowing and spraying and had some great time to think about life.  My thoughts keep coming back to this small piece of the planet I call home.  I have lived on the same farm now since  I was 5 year old, that's when mom and me moved here.  I now live in another house with my family and am a 1/4 mile away from my parents but still living on the family farm.  I love this farm like I love my family!  I stole that line from Sarah Palin in her show about Alaska.  I remember as a small boy playing in the barn and throwing walnuts at the horses in the pasture.  We use to have about 250 head of sheep up here but after they kept getting out and eating mom's flowers, they had to go away.  It was about this time in my life when I learned that not all animals that live on a farm stay on a farm, some move to the freezer!  That was a tough lesson to learn...it was such a cute lamb.  There are the animals that lived here till they past away from old age.  My favorite was a donkey named Willy Bill!  I miss him all the time, it's been 22 years since he died but that donkey was a good friend, and I loved him!  Over the years we have had several other animals: goats, llamas, chickens,ducks, pigs.  The goats were a bummer something killed them so I had to get ride of them.  The llamas sucked butt, those fricken things can spit and jump a fence with ease.  The pigs are yummy and kinda fun to raise.  My chickens and ducks are cool, by far my favorite animals very easy to care for and produce yummy eggs

I remember as a kid I was so embarrassed that my father was a poor farmer, he was often dirty and smelly.  Dad never drove a "new" truck his was always a old farm truck.  I was jealous of my friends who's dad's worked in offices and drove new cars.  I wanted to be like my friends who got to go on vacations in the summer.  Can't do that as a farmer, summer is the busy time, always too much to do.  At times dad would work from sun up to sun down.  At about 10 I got to start working with him.  My job was to follow him with the little Massey Ferguson 175 and disk up the stuff the big disk missed.  I loved working with Dad and working the ground.  Today as I sprayed and mowed I let my thoughts drift back to being a kid and driving a tractor turning the dirt.  Now At 39 I would give anything to be able to farm with my dad.  I now understand why he loved farming there is something spiritual about growing crops.

The most profound thought of the day was that my children are the 7th generation to live on this piece of property.  Most of the land has been sold over the years but we still owe the small piece of the property.  There is enough land left to hobby farm and that's what do.  My goal is to raise all my own meat and raise a big garden.  I hope my hobby farming makes the family who has gone before me proud of me and that I am still trying to make this land work. I do love this place!   Rick