Tuesday, June 29, 2010


When Ryan Kennedy and I were working on the raised bed garden, we had a little discussion that I would like to share. We were on our way back from my father-in-law's house. We had just picked up some tools from his shed. He lets me borrow any tool I want.

(paraphrased from memory)
Ryan: That is so great. I love when people share stuff like this. Why do we each need a lawnmower, or miter saw, etc?

Aaron: Yea, Chuck really lets me borrow whatever I need. Honestly, if it hadn't been for Chuck, I wouldn't be the person I am today. The only reason we bought our house is because I knew Chuck was knowledgeable about how to fix it up and would be willing to help us. If we had not bought the house I would not have learned to do all the handy man stuff I now know how to do: tile, lay floor, build bookcases, fix electrical, etc. I mean, I used to be afraid to work on handy-man stuff. Now I love it.

Ryan: If you didn't buy that house I would not be able to live in it next year and we would not be building this raised bed today. Wow, thanks Chuck.

That's right. Thanks Chuck. Thanks for being so willing to help. Thanks for being patient with me. Thanks for helping me lay tile, lay floor, install an attic ladder, build inset bookshelves, build a short bookshelf for our old apartment, ripping up carpet, and so many other things. Thanks for letting me borrow your lawnmower, weed eater, miter saw, saw horses, circular saw, hammers, screwdrivers, drills, saws-all, sander, and who knows what else.

Thanks for being such a great guy, a great role model, and a great father-in-law.


Some people have terrible in-laws. This is a terrible thing. To marry into a crazy, dysfunctional, problem causing family is the nightmare you never want to experience. (It is also the plot for dozens of sitcom episodes because it is so true to life.) A father-in-law who hates you, a mother-in-law that tries to control your life, a brother-in-law that has money, drug, alcohol, or other issues...the possibilities are endless. My dad used to say "You aren't just marrying the girl, you are marrying the family." It really drives home the point: you need to consider the family you are joining when you pop the question.

I have GREAT in-laws. Abby's paternal grandmother is a grand lady. Think old Hollywood. They named the street she lives on after her: St. Emily Drive. She is a giver. I have spent so little time with her, but I can tell how much she loves me. This makes me love her in return.

Abby's maternal grandparents are just the nicest people you will ever meet. Their home is my vacation spot of choice. It feels like the Shire or Rivendell to me. When you show up they just ask you to hang out. Read a book, take a nap, do whatever you want and if you decide you want to hang out with us, we will be here. No pressure. When Abby and I are there, we wake up late, eat breakfast on the porch and just watch the myriad of birds who eat from the various feeders her grandpa puts up. We lounge around all day, eat good food, and play games at night. During the winter they always have a fireplace going.

My mother-in-law is such an inspiring person. She has gone from working at a hotel while supporting her husband while he was in seminary to now being the Associate VP of Marketing at Indiana Wesleyan University. My brother-in-law Alex, well, I just like hanging out with him. We go to the gym together, write and share our stories together, play video games together, and just act like brothers. I love it.

Abby has a step dad named Chuck. He is who I consider my father-in-law because I interact wit him so much more than I do with Abby's biological father. Chuck gets his own post. Click here to read it.

Sure, there are a couple of black sheep somewhere down the line and my in-laws are not always perfect, but on the whole, they are amazing. From Saturday-Monday of last week we were at their annual immediate family reunion at a state park in Indiana. I loved every minute. If you are single, pray for in-laws this great.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Garden Photo

Here is the garden. We still need more soil/compost but since we aren't planting our late summer/fall crop until August, it isn't that important right now. The corner with the plants is ten bags of top soil. We are not going to continue to buy that. I found out that Asbury University's Equine Center gives away horse manure compost so sometime next week I will get a pick-up truck load of it and fill in the rest of the garden. (The soil outside of that corner is the horse manure compost.) I am proud of what we did the past two days.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Today, I took a day off work to begin building a raised bed garden. My friend Ryan Kennedy will rent my house next year while Abby and I live on Asbury's campus and we have talked a lot about planting a garden in the backyard and sharing the produce. Well, Ryan came up for a visit, arriving yesterday, and we hit it hard today. (I know it is late in the year to be doing this but Ryan has done a lot of research and there are veggies we like that we can plant late in the year.)

We hit it hard starting at 9 am. We found a pile of wood on a curb in our neighborhood last night and asked the homeowners if we could have it. It was pieces of an old fence. So we cut it to size and used it as the frame for our box. We measured out the box (8 ft x 15 ft), dug up the grass, and then dug down just another inch or so of the dirt/clay that was under the grass and piled it up to mix in with the top soil we will buy tomorrow. We also laid two rows of wood at the bottom of the box. Apparently the wood will absorb water when there is too much and release it when the ground becomes dry.

Ryan wants to fill in around the wood with gravel. This is supposed to act as a natural water table. I had a large pile of rocks from a landscaping adventure gone wrong, and I broke those bad boys up. It was so fun. I would just toss them in the air and let them fall to the concrete, breaking into smaller pieces. I scattered these throughout the bottom of the box, which means we will have to find less gravel to finish it off. (Sure, we could just build a box and throw dirt in it and stuff would grow, but we are taking the time to do this in the best way possible.)

Tomorrow while I am at work Ryan will research some more, try to find and lay gravel, go buy top soil, and the lay the top soil/clay mix in the box. Done and done. When I get off work Ryan, Abby and I will discuss what we want to grow and when we should plant. I am so excited to be growing my own food for the first time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


For the past three weeks my brother-in-law Alex and I have been getting together to write. We do so once a week for perhaps 2 hours. He is writing almost every day, but my writing is usually limited to this 2 hour period. I LOVE it. I have heard it said that we are most like our creator when we create. I don't know if that is true, but I do know the rush of creating something new, something that did not exist until I created it.

I have felt this rush the strongest when a band I was in (Impossiblistic in high school, Kavichi in college) finished playing through for the first time a new song. And I would think, "This song did not exist until just now. In the last 4-5 minutes we have created a new thing." It felt incredible.

Over the years my desire to create has been manifested in different ways: song writing, painting, craft projects, etc. Some things I create are good and some are not. The point for me is not to make something worthy of note, but simply to create. Of course I would like my creations to be good songs, good art, etc. I did manage to paint one giant piece a few years back that I am proud of. However, that is not the point. The point is to let my creative desires loose.

Yesterday, while mowing the yard, I listened to a rap CD I made in college. (Most of the songs were written in high school but I didn't know how to record in a quality way until college.) I wasn't proud of very much of what I heard yesterday. What I was proud of is that I was attempting to create, that I was engaging the artistic side of my brain back then. I don't ever want it to stop. Which is why I am so happy to have these precious 2 hours each week with Alex where we challenge each other to write. If nothing I write ever gets published, oh well. That wasn't the point anyway. The point is to engage in the act of creation and to let the act itself grow me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Chronicles. Its a great word. It makes me think of long stories of great things. Probably it is most associated for me with Narnia. I have seen in bookstores other book stories that have used the word "chronicles." Want to know a time the word chronicles is NOT awesome? 1 Chronicles 1-9. I think it might be the most boring part of the entire Bible. Just cranked through it recently. Not fun.

What is always fun is the Psalms. My last reading was 81, 88, 92-93, 102-104. The highlights:

81:13-14 "If my people would but listen to me...how quickly i would subdue their enemies." That strikes me hard. If I would but listen to Him.

103:8, 10 "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love...he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities." Praise God. I am slow glad He does not treat me as my sins deserve. What a worm I am. How infrequently I think about God. How often I just do what I want to do without a thought of His will.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Jay-Z. This guy fascinates me. A lot of people have made the transition from drug dealer to rapper. But Jay-Z went from crack dealer to mega star. He has 11 #1 albums, more than Elvis. He is only behind the Beatles. That is nuts. And he is 40 and is still going strong.

And he is so much more than a rapper. He and Damon Dash started Rocawear clothing. In 2006 Jay-Z bought out Dash for 30 million. In 2007 he turned around and sold the company for 204 million while staying CEO. He owns part of the New Jersey Nets, is co-brand director for Budweiser Select (what? ridiculous!) and to top it all off, he is married to Beyonce. He has his hands in business deals all over the world.

I want to watch a "Behind the Music" special on this guy. Or a movie. Just some documentary on him because his rise just blows me away. This is not your average guy. This is a really smart guy who seems to have taken advantage of every opportunity ever given to him.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


1. Super annoyed that there is going to be a huge delay on the iphone4. When will we get ours? Who knows. June 24? Doubtful. Hopefully we wont have to wait until July 14. That is crazy. I will be so mad if that happens.

2. Ichthus is (almost) over. All we have left is one more appearance on main stage to throw out t-shirts. Then we cut these bands off and go home to try and recuperate.

3. My sweet wife is napping next to me as I write this. Blanket over her face. If i had my dang iphone4 right now i'd take a picture.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No DC Talk Reunion

So, there is this large Christian Music festival in the town I live in, Wilmore, every year. It is called Ichthus. Asbury (both of them) are huge sponsors of the event and we end up having booths and working at the event. It also gives us free tickets to the festival.

So last night the headliners were Newsboys and TobyMac. The new lead singer of the Newsboys is Michael Tait, who was in DC Talk with Toby Mac. we all had huge hopes of a mini DC Talk reunion happening. So I went. I don't really like either band's music, but the possibility of witnessing this mini reunion was enticing enough to get me to go.

FAIL. It didn't happen. The Newboys even played Jesus Freak as their last song. It would have been so easy (and so cool) for Toby to run out, do his little rap parts, and the place would have exploded. Nope. I stayed an hour into Toby's set, watched him play "In the Light" (another great old DC song) and waited for Tait to come out and give us what we all wanted. Nope.

Why? Why not take this opportunity to do something cool for an audience. I have been let down like this before at festivals, where a band has feature a member of another band on their album, and then both bands are at the festival together and when that featured part comes you just hope the guest member will run out and fill his part. And then they don't. And I just think, "Fail".

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shampoo Detox Day 4

So far, so good.

The baking soda/water shampoo seems to work fine. My scalp feels clean and my hair is not oily.

I used the apple cider vinegar/water conditioner for the first time this morning and my hair feels clean and soft like it does when I use store bought stuff.

No issues with my scalp detoxing and producing excessive amounts of oil. I think this is due to the fact that for the last 6 months I have been using a natural shampoo bar. Looks just like a bar of soap and is made with natural waxes, oils and herbs. Abby's grandmother gave them to us.

I liked the shampoo bar better because it lathered like regular shampoo does. I am going to continue to use this baking soda/water mix for the six weeks Nicole and Ann suggested, and may continue afterword as it is easy to make at home. But anyone who is skeptical of what I am doing, maybe the shampoo bar would be a good place to start. Here is just one website that sells them:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

iPhone 4

Yep, I totally got sucked in. Today, i pre-ordered an iPhone4 for both me and Abby.

I am not the guy who buys the newest thing. I don't stand in line for the newest video game system release, I didn't buy the original iPhone when it was $600. The newest technology just doesn't make me as happy as it seems to make others.

I bought the iPhone4 for Abby and I for multiple reasons:
1. I was still on my parents phone plan and wanted to get off it.
2. Abby's old phone plan was paid for by Asbury. With her new job, we needed to get a phone plan for her.
3. It made sense for me to leave my parent's plan and start a Family Plan with Abby.
4. I travel a ton for work and the iPhone makes travel so much easier. Directions, finding restaurants, checking e-mail on the road, etc.
5. If this phone cost $600 like the original iPhone, or even $300, i would not have bought it. I just don't care that much. But at $200...I can handle that. Especially since i hope this will be our phone for a long time.
6. Also travel related, the video-call capability on the phone is awesome. To be able to SEE Abby when I call her and am on a 5 day trip is huge.

So yea. I am excited about it. The sucky thing is that me and Abby both have to get new numbers. Be looking for a text/e-mail/facebook message from me telling you my new number.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shampoo Detox

So, here is something sort of weird: I have begun making my own shampoo and conditioner.

My friends Ann Peterson and Nicole Stiles told me that they do this. They told me about how shampoo is really just a bunch of chemicals that strip your scalp of its natural oils and that they had begun making their own shampoo. They also told me that they each went through about 6 weeks of detox where their scalp was producing a large amount of oil (because it was used to having them stripped each day). However, once their scalp adjusted to their newer, less intense version of shampoo, their hair became the best hair you can imagine. Soft, smooth, shiny...all the things commercials promise. I know its weird that I wrote the last 2 sentences. Lets just say that when they had me actually touch their hair (ask Abby, she felt it too), I was a believer. Plus i love the idea of a detox and homemade stuff. So yesterday I started trying this thing out.

shampoo: 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 cup water.
conditioner: 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in 4 cups water.
(Ann and Nicole use different variations of this...Nicole uses more baking soda and less vinegar)

I am using a plastic bottle with a cap that goes to a point.... like an old restaurant ketchup bottle--- or a "hair dye" bottle at a beauty store. Ann told me to use this for the shampoo so I can make sure I get all of my scalp.

She also said you don't have to do the conditioner every day... maybe once a week. It will remove build up that the baking soda leaves. It is important to use APPLE CIDER vinegar... not white vinegar or any other kind. -- they have different PH levels.

So I used it for the first time yesterday afternoon (I don't usually shower in the afternoons, but i had mowed the lawn and needed it) and used it again this morning. I will update once I am farther in to the process.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Daily Bible Reading

So I plan on reading the Bible in a year. I am using the chronological reading sheet Asbury U gave all its students and employees. I did well for a bit, fell of the bandwagon, got back on, and then fell off again...now I am trying to catch up. I could elaborate, but want to get to some reflections from what I read today.

Psalm 19 is amazing to me. Verses 1-4 tell us that the universes itself, the sky, the stars, the sun, and especially Earth, declare the glory of God and that
"There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out to all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
I love that. God revealed in everything. As mewithoutYou sings: "In every blade of grass..."

Verses 7-11 have more great stuff. They show us that the law of the LORD, his statutes, his commands, are not burdens we sometimes believe them to be. They "revive the soul" and "make the simple wise." This is not how I usually think of the laws of God, but I should. I need a mindset correction to happen. Perhaps viewing my efforts of keep the laws of God as a process that makes me wise and will revive my soul would make saying no to sin a bit easier.

But the Psalm doesn't stop there. It keeps rocking my world. Verses 12-13 say:
"Who can discern his (own) errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression."
Who doesn't need this piece of help? We get so caught up in ourselves sometimes, and do so little self reflection, that we do not see our own errors. Holy Spirit, show them to us! Reveal our hidden sins so we can repent. But don't stop there. Help me, strengthen me, empower me to keep from the willful sins I want to commit.

Finally verse 14, a famous verse: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

All that said, just read it yourself. I hope it speaks to you like it speaks to me. Or I hope it speaks to you in a completely different way and you will share it with me.