Friday, December 28, 2007

This week's food our baby is the size of: 37 weeks — the land of perpetual spinach

This week goes back to using food to represent the baby's length rather than mass. So, with that in mind, we can say that Maggie is roughly the length of a stalk of swiss chard.

Never heard of Swiss chard? Well, the good folks at Wikipedia inform me that it's also called silverbeet, mangold or (this one is my favorite) perpetual spinach. And, since I read it on wikipedia, it has to be true, right?

Do you get the feeling that Babycenter is running out of food types?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Grounded for Christmas

(By Erik)

For our final Christmas as a twosome, Jeanie and I are staying put. With Maggie just a few weeks away, we’ve been told not to travel for the holidays. We knew this was coming, so Jeanie opted to work on Christmas Day at the hospital. She’ll get a few days off later in the week.

Don’t feel too bad for us, though. Jeanie’s folks are headed up this way on Wednesday, so we’ll be stretching out Christmas cheer for the whole week.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of a Christmas ornament Amy and Lamar sent us from Tennessee. It pretty much sums up our current situation! We love it (the ornament and the situation, that is). It’s hard to believe there will be three of us at this time next year. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This week's food our baby is the size of: 36 weeks

This week tells us that Maggie is now the size of a crenshaw melon!

Evidently, that's the same thing as a muskmelon.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

This week’s food our baby is the size of: 35 weeks (plus some thoughts on dramatic chipmunks)

This week tells us that Maggie is now the size of a honeydew.

Or, if you want to get a better idea of what she looks like, check out our latest ultrasound pics.

These are photos of a couple of the printouts. The lost a little bit of detail in the process.

This first one is a close-up of her face (on the left). She’s looking at the “camera.” How about those little chipmunk cheeks?

This one’s of her feet (sticking up in the “air.”)

ADDENDUM: After posting, I thought I’d better check on the spelling of the word “chipmunk.” I thought it might be “chipmonk.” (I have some spelling issues. Ask Bobby about my “abrubt-ness” when it comes to spelling.)

So I entered “chipmunk” on Google and, thankfully, learned I was spelling it correctly (unless Wikipedia has it wrong, and what are the chances of that, right?)

My Google-ing also turned up a five-second YouTube video titled “Dramatic Chipmunk.” Obviously, this was something I had to see. Soon I found myself lost in the Dramatic Chipmunk universe.

I’ll start at the beginning. Take a quick look at this video from a kids’ TV program in Japan. You’ll see children learning about a prairie dog (yes, oddly enough, the Dramatic Chipmunk isn’t a chipmunk at all). Watch for the quick camera zoom (something Japanese videographers seem to love, by the way. Watch any monster-smashing-Tokyo epic).

Well, some YouTuber got a hold of that piece of footage, added music, and POW! Dramatic Chipmunk!

And from there it only got worse …

And worse …

And worse ...

This last one's my favorite, for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Photos for Maggie's room — please tell us your favorites

(By Erik)

As I’ve said many times, I’ve been incredibly blessed through my work with The Christian Chronicle to see life in several different countries. I want our little girl to know that she’s part of a much bigger world — a world filled with God’s children.

So, with Jeanie’s permission, I’m getting some prints made of photos I’ve taken over the years. We’re going with a “kids from around the world” theme.

We’re going to do about six 8x10s, with some small prints (5x7s and 4x6s) mixed in. Last night we looked through the candidates and came up with the following.

If you’ve got a minute, please look over these and let me know which ones you like best. (I’ve numbered them for your convenience.) Thanks!

Here are our personal favorites for 8x10s:

1. WAITING FOR CHURCH — I took this in, Paramakatoi, a tiny mountain village in southern Guyana (a nation on the northern tip of South America) back in 2003. Paul Brown, a longtime friend of my in-laws, took me along on his annual mission trip there. He really loves the people of this little village. Maggie, by virtue of being related to my wife, will most likely own a dress like this someday.

2. DECISIONS, DECISIONS — Here’s another shot from that same church building in Paramakatoi. All of us on the mission team filled the extra spaces in our bags with stuffed animals and gave them out to the children on our last day in the village. Each child got to pick one toy. It took this little girl about 30 minutes to make up her mind.

3. JOY IN A RAVAGED LAND — I took this at the construction site for a new building for the Smythe Road Church of Christ in Monrovia, Liberia. These kids followed us everywhere. After 14 years of civil war, the city was devastated. Poverty was everywhere. But someone forgot to tell these kids. The expression on the second boy from the left displays a universal truth. Around the world, children are almost exactly alike. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a photo of a kid named Stephen, who grew up across the street from me, making the same face when we were little.

4. ALL DRESSED UP — I took this photo outside the Obong Church of Christ in Obong Ntak, Nigeria, in January 2005. Everyone dressed up for church — whether it was traditional African clothing or Western-style suits. One little guy had a three-piece suit, complete with waistcoat, and no shoes.

5. ALL TIED UP — A boy in rural Zimbabwe gets his shoes on for church. The boy and his mother was part of a group of Christians from the Nhowe Mission school who go out into the villages each Sunday to worship with small church groups. A great minister named Peter coordinated the service. (Looking closely at this photo, I’m pretty sure he’s got the wrong shoe on the wrong foot.)

6. BIG SMILE — I took this photo earlier this year in rural Guatemala. I did a “ride along” with medical missionary Lisa Dunham. This is the granddaughter of a Guatemalan minister named Enrique Castro. Of all the photos so far, this one’s definitely got a spot Maggie’s wall. Why? Because I’ve already got a print of it.

7. MORE BIG SMILES — This is my hands-down favorite (or my hands-next-to-face favorite), taken just a few months ago in Sefwi-Debiso, Ghana. Still not sure why this little girl put her hands like that. I think she was trying to imitate me taking pictures of her.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brrrrrrr! (and Grrrrrr!)

(By Erik)

What's less fun that snow and 16 times as dangerous?

I've said it before and I'll say it again — Oklahoma gets just enough ice so that you still have to go to work (or at least drive in it) but not enough so that anybody knows how to drive in it.

Of course, I'm not at work right now. I haven't been able to confirm it, but I think that the power is off at OC. Jeanie had to go in to work this morning, and I was a nervous wreck as I waited for her to call after she got there. She's fine for now, but we have an appointment with our OB/GYN at noon, so she has to drive all the way back up to Edmond (assuming our doctor is seeing patients today.)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Aloha national title game. Aloha frustrating game with plucky WAC team that will become media darlings

(By Erik)

That first “aloha” means goodbye, unfortunately. The second one means “hello.”

When told us that our baby is the size of a pineapple this week, I didn’t realize it was a sign of things to come for the Bulldogs.

Yes sports fans, Georgia is not playing in the national title game this year. Instead, it’s LSU facing off against Ohio State. To stay with my SEC loyalty, I suppose I’ll be rooting for LSU. I’m just not a huge Les Miles fan, for reasons I don’t fully understand.

Georgia’s consolation prize — the Sugar Bowl, where we’ve been several times already. Our opponent: The unbeaten Hawaii Warriors of the Western Athletic Conference, or WAC.

Truth be told, this is about as close as it gets to a worst-case scenario for the Dawgs — at least in my opinion. Hawaii is an unknown, and they’ve got their whole state behind them. What’s worse, they’ll have all of the commentators behind them. It’s pretty much the same situation that OU was in last year against Boise State (another WAC team, by the way). It’s David vs. Goliath, and Georgia, unfortunately, will be portrayed as Goliath.

If we win, no one's impressed. If we lose, upset of the century. Great.

It’s not too dissimilar to when Georgia lost to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl a couple of years ago, come to think of it. It might have been nice to have a rematch, but I’m kinda’ glad we don’t have to play them again. Nope, OU gets that honor!

Sugar Bowl: Go Dawgs! Beat Warriors!
Fiesta Bowl: Go Sooners! Beat W Va.!
Rose Bowl: Go USC! Illinois shouldn’t be there! (Should be Missouri)
Orange Bowl: Go Kansas! Beat Va. Tech! (Got some friends who are Kansas fans, so why not?)
National title game: Go … (sigh) Wildcats. I mean Tigers, or whatever they are.

P.S. -- That's the University of Hawaii's old logo at the top of the page, by the way. Yes indeed, their full name is the Rainbow Warriors. A few years ago they changed their team logo.


(By Erik)

Just a few weeks ago all the OU fans were telling me that they were rooting for Georgia to get into the SEC championship game. They figured that the Bulldogs had the best chance of knocking off No. 1 LSU, thereby helping the Sooners get into the BCS title game.

Last night, the Sooners played in the Big 12 title game, knocking off (and embarrassing) the No. 1 team in the nation, Missouri. By virtue of that win, the Georgia Bulldogs now have a chance to play in the national championship.

How about that?

Frankly, I’m not sure that I want the Bulldogs to get into the title game. Actually, scratch that. I want the Bulldogs to get into the national title game with all my heart. But to do it in a year so mired in controversy isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

A few years back OU got into the title game against LSU in spite of losing the Big 12 championship to Kansas State. I heard tons of smack talk against the Sooners that year. “They don’t deserve to be there. It should be USC, etc.” Of course, it only got worse after the Sooners lost to LSU.

If Georgia somehow gets into the title game, I’m not looking forward to hearing all of that junk directed against my Bulldogs. The only redemption would be walloping Ohio State in the title game. (Hey, Florida made it look easy last year.)

No offense to Ohio State. They may be a great team. We really don’t know because they played a really slack schedule this year — and still managed to lose to unranked Illinois. I just don’t think they deserve to play for the national title. It’s purely a strength-of-schedule thing.

Truth be told, I think OU deserves a shot at the national title. They played their hearts out against Missouri last night.

If I could have my fondest wish, I would LOVE to see a national title game someday with OU facing off against Georgia.

We’ll find out who’s going where at 7 p.m. tonight. Until then, GO DAWGS!

Monday, November 26, 2007

You say bambina, I say jicama …

(By Erik)

For those of you who might be wondering, our little girl is about the size of a jicama.

Yeah, I had to look that up, too. Turns out a jicama (HEE-kah-mah), also known as a “Mexican potato,” “Mexican turnip” or “yam bean,” is a large-ish root that looks a bit like a big onion. It’s got a sweet and starchy flavor and usually is eaten raw — sometimes with salt, lemon or lime juice and powdered chili.

That’s my girl! Olé!

Why am I comparing our daughter to a Central American vegetable? Every week we get an e-mail from a Web site called BabyCenter that tells us how our baby is growing. For some reason, the site’s writers feel compelled to compare the baby’s size to the size of fruits, vegetables and other food items.

Reaching the milestone of the jicama proves to us that, after 32 weeks of pregnancy, BabyCenter is running out of foods to compare our child to.

If you’d like to chart our little girl’s progress, then please follow us up the food chain as we explore the various things Maggie has been the size of thus far.

Weeks 1-3: Too small to register as food, but there’s a reference in the Week 2 description to pancakes, for some reason.
Week 4: poppy seed
Week 5: sesame seed
Week 6: lentil bean
Week 7: blueberry (We've left seeds and beans and are into fruit!)
Week 8: kidney bean (Whoops! No we're not!)
Week 9: grape
Week 10: kumquat (I thought these were HUGE.)
Week 11: fig
Week 12: lime
Week 13: medium shrimp (We've crossed over into seafood!)
Week 14: lemon (And we're back to sour citrus!)
Week 15: apple
Week 16: avocado
Week 17: turnip
Week 18: bell pepper
Week 19: large heirloom tomato (I suppose this is a tomato that's passed down from generation to generation.)
Week 20: banana (Seems like the kid got smaller, but this fruit is used only as a measure of length.)
Week 21: carrot (Same as above. I thought bananas were the same size as carrots.)
Week 22: spaghetti squash (That's Amore!)
Week 23: large mango
Week 24: ear of corn (We're back to measuring length only.)
Week 25: average rutabaga (We contemplated naming her Average Rutabaga Tryggestad at this point.)
Week 26: English hothouse cucumber (Spot on!)
Week 27: Head of cauliflower
Week 28: Chinese cabbage (We contemplated naming her Bok Choy Tryggestad at this point.)
Week 29: butternut squash
Week 30: head of cabbage
Week 31: four navel oranges (Actually, the entry here just says, "Try carrying four navel oranges." Not sure if that's supposed to approximate the size and weight of the kid or if they just thinks it's a good idea to have citrus on hand at all times.)
Week 32: large jicama (or “jicama grande,” I’m guessing.)

Lord willing, we will enter week 33 on Thursday, at which point we’ll graduate from jicama to pineapple.

Imagine delivering one of those! Ouch!

I really hope we make it to 34 weeks. From there it's pretty much melons until the baby arrives.

Until then, aloha!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby gifts

We finally got our baby registries done this weekend. If you'd like to take a look at them, follow these links:

Our Target registry

Our Babies "R" Us registry

Thanks a bundle (of joy)!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

This week: Beat those Wildcats! Next week: Go Wildcats!

(By Erik)

I never thought I’d be this disappointed after a Georgia Bulldogs win.

That’s right, the Dawgs finished their SEC season 6-2 with a hard-fought-yet-convincing 24-13 win over 23rd-ranked Kentucky. That puts Georgia temporarily in first place in the SEC East (despite losing to South Carolina and being destroyed by Tennessee earlier in the season).

So why am I disappointed? It’s all because of Vandy.

The Vanderbilt Commodores could have sealed the SEC East in Georgia’s favor with a win over Tennessee today. And, shortly after Georgia’s win, the score was 23-9 with Vandy on top. But, alas, the Commodores managed to rip defeat from the jaws of victory, losing to Tennessee 24-23.

So, the Bulldog nation will be rooting for — guess who — Kentucky next week as they take on the Vols. A win by the Wildcats will send Georgia to the SEC championship game against top-ranked LSU. The game that Georgia actually plays next weekend almost will be a sideshow. It’s our annual rivalry game with Georgia Tech. Since Tech is in the ACC, it’s a non-conference game and it doesn’t factor into who goes to the SEC championship. (So the Bulldogs could lose and still go to the championship if the Wildcats win.)

Here in Sooner land, most of the OU fans have been rooting for Georgia as well. They think that Georgia has a better chance of beating LSU than Tennessee, thus helping OU edge its way into the national title game.

Of course, looking at the score of the OU-Texas Tech game right now … that may not be an issue anymore!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More shameless self-promotion

(By Erik)

If you've got a minute, please click on over to

Tamie just posted the story I wrote about Ghana. We've included additional photos that didn't appear in print and haven't appeared on this blog. (Plus, I think it's a good story, too — but I'm biased.)

Please take a look if you haven't read it yet. Or, if you have read it, go directily to the online gallery.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'd like to know where you got the Knowshon ...

(By Erik)

It's another busy press weekend, but I'd like to take just a second to say GO DAWGS!

The Bulldogs gave a pounding to Auburn today — a 45-20 victory. A big part of that was redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno, who had another 100-yard game.

The Bulldogs also donned black jerseys for the first time in the modern era. Luckily, I had a black Georgia ball cap for the occasion.

Here's a photo of us taken Sunday afternoon (by pointing a camera at a mirror and flipping the image in PhotoShop). Yes, this also is the long-awaited, real-live pregnant picture.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The world comes to our doorstep

(By Erik)

All the reports I'm hearing about this year's World Mission Workshop indicate that it was a big success. It was my first experience serving on the steering committee for an event of this magnitude, so I'm absolutely thrilled. The real stars of the event, in my opinion, were the dedicated, mission-minded students who attended.

I don't have the final count on number of attendees, but we had close to 1,000 (including Oklahoma Christian students and other local guests) at the event. We also had several visitors from overseas.

Allen Thompson, left, gathers with students who have committed to work in Africa. Allen is a native of Ethiopia.

Bob Carpenter, a missions professor at Oklahoma Christian, was the main coordinator for the event. He did an amazing job. To his right is Peter Cariaga, who served as emcee for the keynote sessions.

G'day! How about this for an Australian-themed photo? Frank Cunningham is a minister in a suburb of Sydney. He was in town speaking at the workshop and visiting with Kent and Nancy Hartman, former missionaries to downunder.

Look at this session! Mark Hooper, a longtime missionary to India, talked about Muslim evangelism and had a huge turnout. The most incredible thing about this photo is that it was taken at 2 p.m. on a Saturday — with beautiful weather outside. The students costantly amazed me by showing interest in all of the sessions and classes.

We hosted a special Sudan interest group lunch during the workshop. Here's Ken Grimm and his wife, Gracie, at the lunch. The Grimms have been active in mission work among Darfur refugees living in the Nuba mountains in Sudan. A good number of students attended the lunch and stayed after to talk to the Grimms.

At the workshop, we also hosted a special screening of "God Grew Tired of Us," a National Geographic documentary about refugees from the war in Sudan (often called "Lost Boys") and the adjustments they had to make when they were resettled in the United States. The film was absolutely amazing. We had a packed house, and there were plenty of laughs and tears throughout. What really made the experience great is that we had John Gak (center) with us. He's a native of Sudan who has helped the Lost Boys for many years through an organization he started — Brothers Organization for Relief (BOR). It shares it's name with Bor county in Sudan, wher John Gak grew up. With him are Calvin Bailey, a member of the Swope Parkway Church of Christ in Kansas City, Mo., which supports BOR, and Lloyd Deal, a member at Memorial Road who has worked in Africa and knows John Gak.

Samuel Twumasi, minister for the Nsawam Road Church of Christ in Accra, Ghana, spoke during the workshop. It's hard to tell in this photo, but the conservatory where he spoke was packed. Students were lining the wall in the back.

Here's Sam praying with a student as the final keynote session concludes.

Here's me and Sam at the Memorial Road church. (You'll notice I'm celebrating Georgia's victory over Florida.)

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's Oklahoma Christian's new pavilion and clock tower.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Half-hearted attempt at a post ...

(By Erik)

It was a very good weekend.

I’m not just saying that because the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Florida Gators — although that certainly didn’t hurt.

This past weekend Oklahoma Christian University hosted the World Mission Workshop, an annual missions conference that bounces from campus to campus of the Christian universities. I was on the steering committee, and we’ve been working on the details since last year.

Several of the speakers at this year’s conference were people I’ve met since I started working at The Christian Chronicle.

OK, I had a lot more to say on this, but I’m really tired. I’ll post some photos later.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Suffering for doing good

(By Erik)

I’ve been meaning to post some photos from my trip to Ghana back in August. This Sunday I’m teaching the college class at Memorial Road, and I’m including some photos with the slides. So I thought I would snip out a few excerpts and post them with some photos here. Enjoy.

Do you believe that there is such a thing as “good suffering?” How many of you have been on a mission trip? I believe anyone who’s done any sort of mission work can relate to the concept of “good suffering.” Whether it’s waiting in an airport terminal for a flight that’s had to be rerouted 14 times, or riding 14 hours in a bus to reach the people you’re going to help, mission trips and suffering just seem to go together.

And of course, the suffering you witness almost always is greater than the suffering you endure.

You’re looking at a few pictures from the trip I took to Ghana back in August. I visited a brand new Christian school out in extreme western Ghana. A guy named Augustine, who was working on his master’s degree at Lipscomb when I was there doing my undergraduate degree, is from this village and he returned home last year to set up this school — to give kids in his village the chance for Christian education that he didn’t have.

When I took photos of the kids in the village, called Sefwi-Debiso, I’d turn the camera around and let them see the image in the camera’s preview pane. They went nuts, screaming and laughing. They don’t get many visitors from the United States, so they followed us around, yelling “Bruni! Bruni.” (That means “white person” in the local language, Twi.)

We also went by The Village of Hope on our way back to the capital, Accra. They get a lot more visitors there. I took this kid’s picture, showed him the preview, and he just kind of nodded, almost as if to say, “Yeah, that’s great. What is that, six megapixels? Yeah, you know Canon’s new model has a much faster shutter speed.”

I don’t usually get in the photos myself, but this kid’s name was Eric, so I handed off the camera, handed Eric my Bulldogs hat and smiled. After the photo he started to hand the hat back to me, so I let him keep it.

There’s widespread poverty across the African continent, as I’m sure you know. This was the fourth time I’ve traveled to Africa, and it always strikes me as odd that these children are so woefully unaware of how impoverished they are. There’s a huge level of suffering in Africa — you see it everywhere. But someone forgot to tell that to the kids!

These first verses that we’re going to look at tonight remind me of the kids I met in Ghana and other African nations:

1 Peter 3:8-9

8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

“Do not repay evil with evil.” That’s much easier said than done. Compassion and humility are hard traits to come by, but traveling to Africa is a good start. I always learn a lot more from the African people than they learn from me.

All human life is suffering, and when our goal becomes the removal or avoidance of suffering, we fail. Peter tells us that we must accept that suffering is a reality, and all we can do in this life is to live the best life we can for Christ.

Peter is particularly interested in assuring that when people face inevitable suffering it will be “good suffering.” When you do suffer, make sure it’s for the right reasons. Don’t give anyone the chance to say that you’re suffering for your bad deeds. Show them that you are a model citizen in every other respect — except for doing the sinful things they do. When they ask you why you’re not like them, don’t be afraid to answer.

1 Peter 3:15-18

15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Around the globe we have a number of modern-day servants who are suffering for doing good. A few years ago I found out through a Christian in Australia about a work he was supporting in Somalia in East Africa. You may remember Somalia from the ill-fated military operation we took part in there in the early 1990s. We were trying to help the people, but the warlords set up an ambush and we suffered several losses. I sincerely believe that what happened to us in Somalia kept us from intervening during the genocide that followed a few years later in Rwanda.

Today Somalia still is without a central government. People are living hand to mouth. For a while the capital, Mogadishu was under the rule of a group called the Islamic courts, which tried to implement Shariah law.

And in the middle of this tangled mess there’s a man named Abdul. I got in touch with him through e-mail and we started corresponding. He was converted through a Bible correspondence course and now preaches for a small Church of Christ in Mogadishu. He runs a small Christian school there, too. His life is constantly in jeopardy in a country that is completely without law, but he maintains his faith.

His story seemed too good to be true, so I was real skeptical when I started corresponding with him. He met with some of our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia, and they vouched for him. He even called me once from his cell phone in Mogadishu, and for the whole conversation I’m wondering, “Is this guy for real?” Then I heard a speaker crackle to life behind him, calling Muslims to prayer. His next-door neighbor runs a mosque, he told me.

One of the key reasons I believe that Abdul is sincere is that he hasn’t asked me for any money. I keep waiting for it to happen, but all he really seems to want are prayers from the church — prayers for safety and prayers to help him spread the gospel in Somalia.

A few weeks ago he finally did ask me for something else. Here’s an excerpt from his e-mail:

“We also would like to let you know that we need you to report us any prayers required by the troubled brethren around the world so that we may share the suffering with them.”

A man surrounded by suffering that I can’t even imagine ask only for prayers — and to pray for his fellow believers around the world. I don’t know that I’ll ever have the chance to meet Abdul face to face, but I know I’ll see him someday in heaven.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

'Angry kicks, oh let them never ...'

(By Erik)

As we've said before, Maggie likes to kick — a lot.

She’s particularly fond of kicking about 3 a.m. every morning. We’re guessing it’s a sign of things to come.

She also reacts to voices. When Dr. Alan Martin was teaching a parenting class for a couple of weeks at Memorial Road, she went nuts, moving all over the place excitedly.

When we found some discount baby clothes at Dillard’s a couple of weeks ago, she started rolling for joy (prompting me to believe that she’s actually reacting to her mother’s emotions).

When Jeanie was on call the other day, she went to see a premature baby in the NICU. While she was looking at the baby, she felt several angry kicks from down south. Later, while looking at photos of a coworker’s baby, the kicks started again.

Feels like our little girl has some jealousy issues.

By the way, that last story, when retold, prompted Carol, a member of our Bible study group, to say, “I don’t believe half of the things you’re telling me about that baby.”

Angry kicks, oh let them never
In the womb, unbridled slip
May the foot's best impulse ever
Check them ere' they strike mom's hip

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More posts a'comin', promise!

(By Erik)

Why no posts in so long? Here's a list of stuff I've gotta' do this week:

• Finish up story on Let's Start Talking ministry
• Revise profile of Gayle Crowe, who works for World Christian Broadcasting
• Finish up my "Around the World" page
• Find out whether or not we have any church connections to Burma
• Write two profiles for the Web site
• Learn Spanish
• Get house ready for World Mission Workshop guests
• Go to 7 a.m. meeting, which I'm about to be late for!
• Stop ending sentences with "for"
• Call my mom
• Finally catch road runner
• Get new parking sticker
• Watch "The Office" (9 p.m. UPDATE: Done)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

'Love keeps growing more love'

(By Erik)

Caedmon’s Call, easily my favorite Christian band, put out a new album recently, titled “Overdressed.” The album marks the return of Derek Webb to Caedmon’s. He left the group a few albums back to pursue a solo career. The album also marks the band’s return, more or less, to its coffeehouse roots.

I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed with the album, which sounds like it should have been titled “Overcrowded.” Over the years, the biggest complaint music critics have had with the band is that, because of Caedmon’s insistence on three alternating lead vocalists, its albums have no unified sound.

With Webb’s return, the band now has FOUR lead vocalists. In addition to Cliff and Danielle Young, “Overdressed” features many songs with vocals by Andrew Osenga, who was brought in to replace Webb after his departure. Though a gifted songwriter, Osenga lacks the vocal strength of Webb. It seems like you can hear Osenga’s voice on almost every track — backing or lead vocals. I would have preferred less of Osenga’s voice and more of Webb’s. As it is, Webb’s contributions to “Overdressed” seem more like guest appearances than the work of a guy who has rejoined the band.

Nonetheless, there are some real gems on this album. “Two Weeks in Africa” is easily my favorite song, harkening back to what I consider the band’s greatest work, the world music-influenced “Share the Well.”

But the song that means the most to me right now is “Love Grows Love” (which, like “Two Weeks in Africa,” was written by Osenga).

For the past 10 years Caedmon’s Call has produced songs that speak almost directly to where I am in my life. When I was single and unsure of my future I took great comfort in Webb’s “Table for Two,” a song off Caedmon’s “40 Acres” album. (“Because I’m so scared of being alone, that I forget what house I live in … And you know the plans you have for me, and you can’t plan the ends and not plan the means …”)

Webb got married just a few years before I met Jeanie, and he wrote some great songs about relationships and commitment.

Here are some of the lyrics from “Love Grows Love.” It’s pretty easy to see why these words mean a lot to me right now. (Just substitute “pink” for “blue” in the fourth line!)

When we got the news,
we had to call our families,
and start painting the room,
a nice, bright blue
our vows they started breathing
and they took on flesh and blood
and we held them in our arms
and tasted God was good

I fell in love with you,
and that love became something new
it added a name and it added a smile
it keeps getting bigger every further mile
there on your bended knee
we sowed the seeds of our history
they’re coming up stronger
than we ever could have longed
love keeps growing more love

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Because you demanded it ...

(By Erik)

For several weeks now some of our regular blog readers have been requesting — nay, demanding — that we post a picture of pregnant Jeanie so they can marvel at … the fact that she’s got a baby inside of her, I’m guessing.

Well, we have heard your demands ...

and …

At long last …

Here’s a photo of ...



Yep ...

Keep scrolling down ...

It's there ...

Promise ...

Yes, in case you’re wondering, I finally got the Simpsonizer to work on Jeanie’s photo. Then I made a few modifications to the end result to give her that “lived in” look (i.e. – a baby’s been living inside her).

Here’s a close-up of Jeanie’s Simpsonized alter-ego.

And here’s me again, for those of you who forgot what I looked like.

I even used Maggie’s ultrasound photo in the Simpsonizer. Here’s what it projected she will look like in a year or so …

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Maggie, not Maggy

(By Erik)

I was recently informed by my wife that I have already managed to misspell our daughter’s name, even before she’s born. The spelling in the previous post should have been “Maggie,” not “Maggy.”

Of course, either of those spellings merely is an abbreviation for the child’s actual name, Margaret Jean. So I raised the question with Jeanie, “Can you misspell an abbreviation? Is that really possible?”

Evidently, it is. Apologies to my sweet Maggie. (Hey, at least I know how to spell your last name. How many people can say that?)

She continues to be abundantly active — rolling and kicking while Jeanie’s doctor tried to find a fetal heartbeat a few days ago.

She’s so active, in fact, that we become paranoid when she doesn’t move. This morning she missed her usual 5 a.m. kicking and rolling time, and immediately we envisioned her in distress, tied up in her umbilical cord, a victim of her own antics. In the back of my mind I know she’s fine, but I was hoping for news of a kick or a roll before I dropped Jeanie off at work. Life doesn’t always give you those little guarantees, alas.

Oh well. Just four more months until she’s born. Then I can stop worrying.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Little Maggy: Movin’ to the music

(By Erik)

“She likes this music.”

That’s what Jeanie said a couple of nights ago while we were watching TV. A commercial for the upcoming season of Desperate Housewives came on, featuring a song with a strong bass beat by Jennifer Lopez. Evidently, little Maggy (a.k.a. Josephina) liked the song, and started moving all over the place.

So that put it in my mind to try a little experiment. I gout out the iPod and put a pair of headphones over Maggy’s approximate location (Jeanie helped). Then we tried a variety of musical styles to see if we could get a reaction.

Keep in mind here that we’re treating any sort of movement as a fondness for the music and a lack of movement as dislike or disregard for the music. A member of our Bible study group recently mentioned that the inverse could be true. (Lack of movement is listening to the music and movement is an attempt to get away from it.)

So, with that in mind:

“These are Days,” 10,000 Maniacs — no reaction

“Ring of Fire,” Johnny Cash — no reaction

“Pour Some Sugar on Me,” Def Leppard — slight reaction

“Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard — no reaction

“Ka Huila Wai,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole — no reaction

“Jessica,” Allman Brothers — some reaction

“Akehlulek’ Ubaba (With God Everything is Possible),” Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Charlie Peacock — slight reaction

Theme to “Star Wars” — no reaction

So far, we just can’t top J Lo.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gooooooo Dawgs! Sic 'em! Woof, woof, woof!

(By Erik)

Ah yes, football season is upon us, and tonight at 5:45 my Georgia Bulldogs kick off the action against — guess who — the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Usually Georgia football is an afterthought for most folks here in Soonerland, so it’s been a bit weird this year to see my team mentioned on the local news.

It’s also been encouraging to find that a few folks out here Oklahoma bleed red and black, just like me. News 9 meteorologist Zach Daniel got his bachelor’s from UGA and remains a die-hard bulldog fan. He even pulled out a Dawgs ball cap after doing the weather a couple of days ago, much to OSU grad Kelly Ogle’s chagrin.

Today’s ball game could be a tough one for the Dawgs. The Cowboys are better than most of the chump teams we play for season openers — and we don’t always give our best performance right out of the gate. I’ve got plenty of OSU fans lined up for some trash talk, should we lose. But I’m confident the Dawgs will rise to the challenge.

One piece of advice for Cowboy fans: Don’t get too comfortable, even if you get up on us 21-0 in the first 10 minutes. The Bulldogs play four quarters of football, and they don’t even get interested until they’re down by at least two touchdowns.

Win or lose, the greatest thing about being a Georgia fan is having the best coach in the nation — Mark Richt. The fact that he’s a great football coach isn’t nearly as important as the fact that he’s a great person. He and his wife, Katharyn, are members of the Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., the same church my roommate Erik Benson attended when he was studying at UGA. Though those of us in Churches of Christ don’t always see eye-to-eye with Baptists on everything, you’ve got to admire the way the Richts live out their faith.

In addition to their two biological children, the couple adopted two children from a Russian orphanage. This summer the entire Richt clan made a mission trip to Honduras. (I’m hoping that me, Jeanie and little Josephina will do the same someday!)

John Helsley wrote a great piece on Mark Richt for The Oklahoman. Check it out.

And, once again, GO DAWGS!