Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Workin' Out

The storage unit is clean... the house is... not.

Thanks to all our friends who got their hands dirty makin' it happen... just 3 hours start to finish.

The best part?  When Dustyn picked up a chair and sat down on the back deck... it's gonna be a good summer.

Monday, May 23, 2011


It's been a bit of a waiting game while all the pieces fell into place, but "Home" now has a new address.  We signed papers on Thursday and took possession Saturday afternoon.  It'll be a slow move... "oozing" over I like to say.  The bulk of it will appear tomorrow... with bits and pieces filling in the rest of the week.
The place is typical of vintage Moberly homes.  Built in 1925 with only a couple of owners, it's similar to the house Suzi grew up in, two stories with a stone facade.  My joy?  It has a two-bay garage.  We've never had a proper garage before.

A little coolness factor:  Next door and across the street and around the block are all MACC staff.  We're our own little College Community down here.


For awhile it's been where the heart is... now it's a little something more substantial.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cooper's 1st


Five Guys

So... quite awhile ago, I saw a clip of Pres. Obama heading out of the White House to pick up some Five Guys for lunch with Brian Williams.  First, it was a totally cool vignette, but it also triggered the thought, "If he goes out for Five Guys... how good can it be?"  There's not a location near here so I figured next time I was local in a decent urban area I'd track 'em down.

Then Street Talk in the Trib mentioned there'd be, not one, but TWO locations coming to Columbia this year... imagine!  The gumption it takes to drop two brand new stores into an unknown market.  I'm assuming they'd done the research... Columbia pulls a lot of folks into MU, Stephens, etc... but two locations?

So on a recent Monday night I went shopping... and I have to admit, the fashion industry doesn't like to make clothes my body fits into.  Let's just say that thin jeans will never show up on my real estate.  That also means that once I've left the store, it's usually out of frustration... Hence the reason I would definitely be craving some serious comfort food by closing time.

And that's the mood that found me as I ambled up to the Stadium Shoppes Five Guys... a little depressed and starving!  The line was wrapped around to the door at 8PM.  I perused the menu and munched peanuts.  And waited.  I decided to go light.  A Small Bacon Cheeseburger, mayonnaise, ketchup, sauteed onions, Regular Fries & a Coke.  I ordered, went to the bathroom, got my drink.  And waited.  30 minutes after entering the store I sat down to review my quest.

The fries, I assume, are cut on location from the bags of Idaho spuds in the bags stacked around the lobby.  They're greasy, but tasty... And there's mounds of 'em!  I broke open the burger... it seemed larger than I expected... hmmm... but why are jalapenos on it...and where's my bacon?  Sure enough... a half hour wait and a wrong order.
Folks, I wasn't going back through the gauntlet to let 'em get it right.  Although if the manager-guy, who was light-heartedly engaged in conversation with some influential patron several tables over, had stopped by, I'd certainly sent him back for a new one.  I peeled off the gunk, ate what I could and packed up the rest for leftovers.  Which included enough fries for a family pack.

The ticket?  10 bucks.  Yes... for a small bacon/cheese, fries & a drink... fast food in Columbia has gone all big city lights on us.

Was it good?  Sure.  Totally tasty.  Would I make a habit of it?  Probably not.  I will say this... if Obama wants to spot me some tax money for another shot at Five Guys, I'll take him up on it... as long as he's buying.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Encouraging Word

I met Mark back in 2004 when we were in Prague the second time.  He was teaching English and working for a missions group in the city.  We've stayed in touch over the years and I followed his journey from Eastern Europe, back to Illinois and then into Asia with great interest.  Imagine what a change!  He's been through a number of trials, both man-made and spiritual, but has come through them by God's Grace.  He's returning home from Cambodia after several years there. 

Last weekend they hosted a retreat for a group of young people and I asked if I could share his report.  It was so encouraging... in the midst of chaos, God's Word is powerful... and the enemy knows it!  Don't let your heart be troubled...

(Mark is the lone white dude in the back...)

May 16, 2011
Hi Everyone,
I want to update you on how the retreat went last weekend.  I am grateful for all of you who prayed for me and this retreat.  I felt strong in the Lord because of your prayers.  It would be nice to report that everything went smoothly and as planned, but it did not. 

The venue for the retreat was a two level open air structure on stilts in the middle of a pond.  This was located a short distance outside of Phnom Penh.  The building has a bridge that leads out to the top level with stairs leading down to the lower level.  We arrived early Friday morning and planned to stay until the early evening on Saturday.  This was our plan at least.  It was a beautiful and peaceful location to have a retreat.  The morning went well and lunch came together without any problems.  The students worked in teams to prepare the meals. 

It was a cloudy day but I have grown to like the clouds because they block the scorching sun.  As the morning passed, the clouds began to get darker and darker.  In the afternoon at about 2 we resumed our meetings.  During this time I was going to share about Jesus’ command to love one another from John 13:34-35.  We began with a time of worship.  We had sung about 3 songs when the sky exploded with torrential rain.  Everyone began to scurry about trying to get everything out of the rain and put up tarps to protect us from the deluge we were now in.  In the end, we had to concede to the rain.  The decision was made to abandon ship and move the retreat to one of the Young Life centers.  The process of getting everyone and all of our stuff moved took some time.  It was dinner time when we finally finished getting everyone moved back to the Young Life center.  By now, our schedule was out the door.  After some reshuffling, we got the evening schedule put together. 

After dinner, we again had a time of worship which was to be followed by me giving the talk that I was going to give in the afternoon.  I was also asked to cut a little for time’s sake.  That was no problem.  I have had to do that many times before.  Oh, I forgot to mention something.  After arriving in the morning I realized I did not have any notes with me so I trusted that the Lord would bring back to mind what he wanted me to share.  So it came time for me to speak.  All was going well.  I was just beginning to talk about Jesus’ statement that, “All men will know that we are his disciples if we love one another.”  I had barely got the words out of my mouth and the electricity went out.  I stopped for a moment and said, “This is a very important teaching of Christ that we need to be reminded of.  It is apparent that our enemy does not want us to hear it, but we are still going to hear about it tonight.”  I continued the rest of the teaching in the dark.  Maybe this was a lesson in faith because we are “to walk by faith and not by sight.” 

I give God the glory in all of this.  I was given the opportunity by the enemy to compound my discouragement.  I have to confess, I was becoming a bit discouraged after our wash out in the afternoon.  By the time the electricity went out though, I was laughing inside.  My laugher was not because insanity had set in rather I laughed in the face of the enemy’s attempts to thwart God’s purposes.  In the end, I was encouraged to know that I was used in God’s purpose for that moment.  I was encouraged because the message was well received by the young people.  I was also encouraged because I was able to spend time getting to know some of the young people on a deeper level.  Again, I thank you for your prayers.  It is an encouragement to me to have brothers and sisters in Christ who stand together with me in the work that God has called me to.  It is a demonstration of what I was teaching about.  Our love for one another compels us to stand together.  Thank you! 

May you know the closeness of our Lord today.

Encouraged in Him,
Mark Fishel

Monday, May 16, 2011

SUZI: The best big sister a girl could have

I don’t really listen much to country music, but I do know that Reba McEntire has a song called My Sister, My Friend.  I sappily get a little misty-eyed when I listen to it.  I have a wonderful sister who has been my friend  my whole life.  Truly, I couldn’t ask for a better sister.

First off, we innately understand each other and things about our family that most others probably wouldn’t.  We lived in a unique culture in our home – a Czech home in a small, Mid-Missouri town.  I’d venture to guess that there weren’t too many others like that in Moberly.  So, we had a shared culture that others didn’t have.  It tied us together in more ways than I can describe.

Not only that, Lucy is nice.  Just plain nice.  She’s shockingly nice to me…and always has been.  Of course we had a tiff every now and again, but they were really, really rare.  Apparently when I was born she talked about me so much that her preschool teacher thought there might be something wrong with me.  Why else would a little girl talk about her sister so much?

In elementary school when I was sick and missed the day they explained how to alphabetize and I just couldn’t get it, she taught me how.

We played school and flashlight tag and Barbies…for hours.  When it was a rainy Saturday, we sorted our huge box of crayons (a cardboard box filled with end-of-school crayons) into separate piles of each color…pink, red, blue, green, yellow.  Then, we’d color until our pages were full.

We had chats in the bathroom (where there was a heater so we could get warmed up a bit) and have spent countless hours on walks around our neighborhoods.

Even as adults, Lucy never ceases to amaze me by her kindness to me.  When I was young, every year our elementary school would hold a fair and would always have a cake walk.  I would use my tickets to enter the cake walk, and I never won.  Not one time.  I dreamed of hearing my number called and strolling over to the cake table to choose which one I would proudly carry home.  It never happened.  So, when Lucy and I worked at the same office at the University of Missouri, she organized a cake walk for my birthday.  Everyone in the office brought cakes; it was a complete surprise.  I happily walked away with four of them…my dream of winning the cake walk more than fulfilled!

See what I mean when I say she’s nice?  Who does these sort of things?  She makes you want to be a nicer person.

Here’s to the best big sister a girl could have.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I took the iPlunge

Don't hate me. 

Don't give me grief about falling for the hype.

The fact is, I'm further in than you think, anyway.

I'm watching the mail...

'Cause I ordered an iPad.

Now, that's out of the way and we can move on to what's really got me going tonight.  I need a case, no... I need a bag.  And not any bag.  A bag that says, "The contents herein displays magic."  Some of you know I'm bag obsessive.  There's not a bag I won't stop for... so understand when I saw Temple's line, I was more than charmed... I've started collecting my pennies for Christmas.

I mean, really, who wouldn't be sucked in by re-purposed WWII gear? 

Enjoy... I certainly will!

Temple Bags - Bags for Any Journey from McManus Studios on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It took us awhile to get to the *Big Store That Sam Built* after we got back.  Maybe a week or more?  In Moberly, the options for groceries are reasonable, but not substantial.  My first time out foraging with Cooper in his mobile stage was a blast... I love to watch him wander the aisles, exploring, learning, poking and dragging this or that off the shelf.

We were tagging along after Suz at the helm of the Guiding Cart when I heard Cooper squawk behind me.  This usually means a new discovery or sheer glee.  The treasure he'd found?  Yeah... this boy's 100%, grade A pure kid.  Anyone else who doesn't stand at rapt attention in front of a million pack of gum balls?  Yep, happiness is your bowlful.

So, we rounded the corner and my ever-observant miniature inventory clerk called a halt to the consumables convoy.  Maybe he'd noticed in his fridge scouring that we'd run a little low.  Maybe I really do drink too much of the stuff.  Whatever the case, Cooper made sure to point out the 24-packs were being passed up and wasn't too pleased when we trundled off without one for us.  He's watching and taking notes... there's no doubt.

I do love that kid.  I truly do.