Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor

As a lifetime University of Miami Hurricane supporter I am sick to my stomach over the murder of UM great Sean Taylor. I was a big Taylor fan while he was in college and have enjoyed watching him become an NFL great. Pray for the Taylor family as they deal with this unfortunate tragedy.

Oh and 11

I'm a die hard. I love the Miami Dolphins. Always have and always will. I remember the good ole days of Marino and Shula, Greise and Csonka. These days aren't good, but I stand by the 'Fins. I really get sick of people who become fan boys of certain teams just because they win. Last night the Dolphins had an opportunity to win their first game of the season but to no avail. The mighty Pittsburgh Steelers squashed the winless Dolphins hopes of victory with 17 seconds left by kicking a field goal on perhaps the most memorable scoreless game in history. The Dolphins are 0 wins and 11 loses for the season. They are still my team. Who is your favorite loser? Will you admit it?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Going Bourne

The past several weeks have been moving so slow. I have often complained about how fast life seems to move. Not this season of my life. Days seem like weeks and weeks months. Waiting to go and get my 2 son's in Russia has been the greatest faith tester/patience builder in my life. You would be shocked at the thoughts that go through my head. Not naughty thoughts, come on, but thoughts of going Rambo or Jason Bourne on the Russian authorities that have built up all of these hoops in order for us to save our babies and bring them into our home. Today Penny and I went to Gap and bought some really cool clothing items for our boys. It just gets me amped and ready to go. Have you ever had to wait for something (or someone) and you can hardly stand it?


Saturday, November 24, 2007

We're back!!!

After a couple of days in North Carolina we arrived back in warm south Florida last night around 11:30 PM. It's always good to be home! Here is where we were....


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? I really don't know where to begin, but I will start with my relationship with Jesus, my wonderful wife, my family and of course my 2 sons who we are waiting to bring home from Siberia. What are you thankful for?


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yet another road trip!

We took the long way to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. We learned that if we could get our paper work to our adoption agency by Wednesday than we would have a chance of getting a sooner court date. With this in mind we decided to make another trip to Tallahassee to get some documents stamped by the state then we over nighted them to our agency who then sent them to Siberia. Crazy stuff huh? After our endeavor in 'Hassee we headed off the Penny's family in the mountains of North Carolina. Of course we did the Google Maps thing and used that route. Boy were we shafted. Google Maps through Atlanta at RUSH HOUR! After three hours of parking lot traffic we started moving towards our destination. Honestly, you Atlanta people, why? What the deal? Do people just take their time so much that the traffic builds up?a stinkin' nightmare. Penny and I decided we would never even consider a move even close to Atlanta. Curse Atlanta! Anyway, we arrived here at Serenity Farms around 10 PM on Tuesday. It's so beautiful here. More soon.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Peyton Manning

It seems like Peyton Manning is in every commercial, ever. I like the guy. He doesn't take himself too serious and makes some pretty quirky spots. A good friend of mine told me about this cool new deal where Peyton says your name in one of his commercials. Check it out here.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

New John Mayer song

Check it out here. Pretty good stuff.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Some thoughts...

Each day that goes by that we don't have our sons it gets more and more difficult for us. we are so thankful for family and friends (including our blogging friends!) for prayer and support.

This whole writers strike is about to get me ticked off! Think about it, no more new episodes of The Office, 30 Rock, House or Smallville. Come on execs, pay the writers!!

Penny and I are going to visit her family for Thanksgiving. They live in western North Carolina. Should be beautiful weather this time a year. Where are you going for this amazing holiday?

On our way to NC will make another stop in Tallahassee to get some documents for our adoption apostiled. It's only a few hours out of the way. Better than waiting 2 additional weeks!

I have been playing The Bigs on our Nintendo Wii. This game is sick, if you like baseball video games.

I been working on some leadership principles with some football players from one of our local high school. Last night I took them out to Sonny's BBQ and had a chance to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. I hope that some of them will respond.

I told our adoption story to about 40 or students at another high school today. Several of them were really moved by the whole idea that Jesus wants to adopt us into His family. I was able to talk to them afterwards. Pray.

On my iPhone this week: Nicol Sponberg "Resurrection"; The Killers "Sawdust"; Skillet "Comatose"; Natasha Bedingfield "Unwritten"

I think Drew Carey is a better host for The Price is Right than Bob Barker. Kill me now.

Some blogs I have enjoyed lately The Blogstar, Caffinated Faith, Prodigal John, Journey of Faith and [ping]


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Please pray

Today our adoption agency has declared a prayer day for all who are in the process of adopting their children from Russia. Please join us as we lift up our 2 sons in Siberia. It's very difficult right now for Penny and I. We are really having a hard time with the whole Russian process in general. I will have more freedom to rant and share when our boys are home. Until then, please pray.

"...that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just what I suspected

cash advance

Get a Cash Advance

ht: marko

Monday, November 12, 2007

Christian bands

This weekend I took a bunch of students to a local Christian music festival. Off that bat let me says this, the festival was really good. The bands just rocked out for like 10 hours. No frills. No stage sets. Just rock and my students loved it. We got there at the on-set of the fest and we were able to catch pretty much every band (there were like 12 or so). I have seen many Christian bands live and besides the message, there is one common thread among the bands, they all dress the same. Seriously, everyone in a Christian band tries to look like semi-homeless, Euro-trash. The dudes all wear tight girl jeans, pointy shoes (or retro shoes), a vintage t-shirt (or untucked, wrinkled button up) and bed-head. The chicks all dress like they are an 80's valley girl with emo-ish hair. Is there a reason for this? It's not bad but it is very predictable. Is there a costumer for Christian bands or a costume advisor? Anyone know? Please help.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Farewell to the Orange Bowl

As many of you know I am a die-hard South Florida sports fan. I love all of our teams and have in one form or another been to many, many of the games of our teams. There is one venue that sticks out from the rest: Miami's Orange Bowl. I have been to countless games at this football shrine. I have seen all of the University of Miami greats play there; been robbed there; gotten into scuffles there and once met Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson there. I saw Edgerrin James run up 299 yards on a top ranked UCLA team; Warren Sapp single handed stuff Nebraska's option; I have brought friends, family and most importantly, my wife to it's bare-backed seats. Here are some great quotes from some of South Florida's newspapers today:

From the Miami Herald: If the Orange Bowl could talk, what a tale it could tell: Satchel Paige pitched there; Vince Lombardi coached there; ''Broadway'' Joe Namath led the Super Bowl III upset; Doug Flutie completed his ''Hail Mary'' pass; UM cemented its mystique with a 58-game winning streak. Five Super Bowls and 14 national college championship games were played inside. The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Prince performed. And it was the site of the Dolphins' 1972 ``Perfect Season.''

From the Palm Beach Post: "Former (University of Miami) defensive tackle Russell Maryland has heard all the criticism as the stadium has deteriorated through the years. But amenities mean little to him. "I could say that about the house I grew up in back home,'' said Maryland, who's from Chicago. "Yeah, it was a dump, but it's not about the looks of it. It's about what happened in that place. "You can say what you want about the age and how outdated the Orange Bowl is, but there's a lot of great memories, a lot of good things happened here. It may be old and ugly, but it's our kind of ugly.''

From the Sun-Sentinel: "In 71 seasons, the Hurricanes have racked up a 324-145-7 record in the Orange Bowl (including Orange Bowl Classic games). They have won three of their five national titles in bowl games there, have built a 24-0 record with a No. 1 ranking in the stadium and have gone 8-2 against No. 1 teams there."

Do you have any Orange Bowl memories? Please share.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Some thoughts...

The weather here in south Florida has pretty much been perfect. High about 80, low around 58. Beat that!! It's about time, we deserve such nice weather after 6 months of brutal, humid summer.

It's Thursday, Must See TV!! The Office and 30 Rock. Best back to back comedies since......

Tomorrow Apple will update it's iPhone Firmware, again. I will choose NOT to update this time because I am enjoying the AppInstaller too much. Have you pimped your iPhone yet?

I think about my 2 sons all the time. I cant believe they are 7000 miles away, in an ophanage and I cant do anything about it. Please pray for our boys!

Miami sports really stink right now. The Heat are 0 wins and 4 losses; the Dolphins are 0 wins and 8 losses; the Hurricanes are 5 wins and 4 losses; the Panthers (hockey) are 7 wins and 9 losses. Pathetic, sad and grueling.

On my iPhone lately: Matt Candler podcasts, Falling Up "Captiva", The Killers "Hot Fuss", David Crowder, "Remedy" and Coldplay, "A Rush of Blood to the Head"

I the NBC go green campaign is so obnoxious. Am I just an insensitive jerk or is it a little overkill? Please let me know.

Our church building is coming along quite nice. I'm thrilled to think that in just a few short months we will be able to have a functioning center for ministry.

Toe Story update: I had the nail extracted and it has now healed quite nicely. Thanks for asking!


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More adoption news

Penny has posted on our adoption blog our latest news. If you are interested CLICK HERE to check it out. Please continue to pray for us as we learn of new twists and turns every day as we journey to adopt our 2 sons from Siberia.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Where Do You Live ?

By Life & Times guest blogger Tony Taylor

Since last November I have been living in midtown Manhattan predominantly and have really just come to the conclusion I really enjoy it and am happy being here. Here’s a list of some of the little things.
1) The Dry Cleaner comes to our building once a week to get our bags and returns everything back on hangers the next day.
2) Eating Greek, Turkish Food, Mexican, Indian, Morrocan, Italian, Chinese, and the best Texas BBQ within 1 block of my apartment, and they all deliver!
3) The street food, especially the Halal (Islam approved clean) stuff
4) I can Jump on the 4, 5, or 6 train and going anywhere on the East side
5) Running into George Takei ( Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu every time I go to Charles Tyrhitt to buy a shirt)
6) Seeing Marvin Hamlisch at the Curry Kitchen on 83rd, he seems to always be there
7) I am very shy about singing, but we go to these Korean or Filipino bars downtown and I now love doing Karaoke. My favorites to sing are “Gloria” by Them or Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon.” (if I don’t do it, one of the locals will start doing “Fry Me to Moon”
8) Hanging out in Queens in Greektown, Little Manila, or Russian Town and sampling all the indigenous food and alcohol of the region.
9) Walking Central Park on Sundays.
10) Walking to the 48th street music row and reverently playing and looking at all the amazing guitars. Just thinking about the amazing musicians that have been here, is inspiring.
11) The Village, aside from all the amazing live music and amazing shops and restaurants, during daytime, it is amazing to walk down some of the cobblestone streets between Washington Square Park and the IFC Theatre and all the trees and gardens you pass by NYU are so pretty, all the old wooden row houses are stunning.

Have you ever thought about certain things that really make where you live enjoyable? I’m curious to hear.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Who is your candidate?

This little quiz might make it a little easier for you to determine who is the best pre-primary presidential candidate is for you, according to some issues. It's not fail-safe, but it is fun! Anyone guess my candidate. Who was yours?

ht: Mike L

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Family Night

Last night we had the family over for a night to share of our experiences in Siberia with our children. To be honest, I was quite nervous. This would be the first time we would share pictures of our boys with them. I spent the whole day preparing a video of our days there, with the majority of the video showing our interaction with our sons. Mom made some chicken pasta and my sis brought the Sweet tea, all in preparation for this special night. As I edited the video, I would find myself crying, often. It's amazing what kids can do to you! Anyway, we showed the video, and just as we thought, it was a very emotional evening. We all cried, laughed and stared as we watched the video. It was such a relief to share these special boys with family. We sat around for hours talking about the culture, the boys, the language. So much to talk about.


Friday, November 02, 2007

ATTENTION: iPhone owners

A couple of months back I showed you all a way to pimp out your iPhone. Well Apple released a new firmware and messed up the whole App thing. Well it's back and better and easier than ever!! You MUST download the latest AppInstaller for your phone. It provides some amazing apps for your iPhone that Apple chose not to include. Just log into this site and click install, voila!!! Trust me, you want to do this!
Link here


Tuesday: Bonding

My hot wife posted about our trip better than I ever could. Here is an excerpt from our second day with our sons. I was tearing up reading it....

The next morning we left the hotel at 7am for the orphanage. We were able to spend 6hrs there! It was wonderful!! When they brought "S" in , he only cried for 5 minutes and "M" was so excited to see his Papa! I brought snacks that time so we were able to create a sort of bond with Chris and "S" with the food. By the end of the afternoon, "S" was sitting in Chris' lap with "M" and I took some great pictures. I was also able to bond more with "M". We played with the cars we brought him and I gave him lots of hugs and kisses. He hugged me back and it felt amazing! He loved the snacks we brought so I taught him the sign for more and within 2 seconds he was signing and saying "more"! I know I'm biased but he is so smart. He learns so quickly and loves to take things apart and put them back together again. I was able to trace both of the boys hands and feet and find out what sizes they currently wear. I found out that "S" is ticklish on his feet. So of course I tickled him to hear his cute little laugh and see his sweet smile. He's a very shy and quiet little guy so to bring him out of that was kind of a relief.
Soon it was time to leave. The nanny came to get "S" and he was ready to go, it was his nap time and he was very tired. It was very comforting to see that he loved his nanny. Both of the boys, it gave us so much peace when we had to leave. When the nannies came to get "M" it was a very sad sight. He cried and grabbed onto Chris and said "niet, niet Papa!" It was heartbreaking . Our sweet little boy didn't want to leave his Papa. We were crying, the nannies were crying, it was not pretty. I really didn't expect that he would bond with us so quickly. I kissed him and told him in broken Russian that we'd be back soon and that we loved him very much. His nannies were able to talk him into going with them and he looked back at us with a tear-stained face, smiled and said "paca" (bye). I cry when I think about it.
We left the orphanage and went to have lunch. Then we went to a souvenir shop and a chocolate store. The next morning we left the hotel at 4:30am to catch our 7am flight to Moscow. We had a little bit of a layover in Moscow so we ate there. Our flight was filled with families coming home with their adopted children and also with families returning home from their first trip, like us. It was so cool to see the new families and think that in a few months it would be us returning with our sons.
It was so surreal being there after waiting so long. I kept thinking that is wasn't real, that we weren't really in Russia. I couldn't wrap my brain around how far we were from home. Now that we're home, it's almost like we were never really there. If I didn't have pictures and videos to prove it, I probably wouldn't believe we were ever there.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Monday: We meet our sons!!!

Arrival: We arrived in Kras, Siberia at around 5:30 am. As we were landing you couldn't help but notice how white the ground was, snow! We taxied into the airport after THE worst airplane experience in my life (seriously, it was nasty! Thanks AeroFlot). It was one of those unload you out on the tarmac airports, in the snow! Talk about shock. I had my big heavy Russian made jacket on and we walked into the bagged claim area where our driver and Kras contact for our adoption agency were waiting. It was about an hour drive to our hotel in the city of Krasnoyarsk. The roads were very Siberian, meaning snowy and icy. A quick terrain observation.....tundra! We arrived at the hotel around 7:30 am where we settled in, ate a Russian breakfast (weird pastries and lunch meat) then took a well deserved nap!

Ministry of Education/Orphanage visit: We then met our contact (Alena) driver (Serge) and interpreter (Marena) in the hotel lobby around 2 pm. From there we went to the Ministry of Education. I was really dreading this because when you think of a Russian government agency I get Soviet, 80's flashbacks! That's not how it was at all. They MoE really wants us to adopt the children so it was very comfortable. We were in and out in about 15 minutes, then the moment we were all waiting for: a visit to the orphanage where our 2 boys are! It was a 45 minute drive across the Siberian tundra into a very odd town which I cant write down because I don't even know if the is an English word for it. We drive up to the orphanage. Penny and I were so nervous, yet bubbling with excitement to meet our sons for the first time. Some of the staff bring us into a play area. We are able to set up cameras, etc. A few minutes pass by and the next thing you know they are bringing in our children! Words cant describe the feelings that came over me the first time I set eyes on ours children. Surreal. Joy. You name it, it was going on inside of me. Our youngest (S) was freaked out by his Papa. It must be the bald head. Heck, he was even freaked out by Penny at first (NO kids are ever freaked out by her!) It took just a few minutes and he warmed up to her, at that time our oldest (M) came in. We instantly bonded. It was as if we had met before. Within 15 minutes M was calling me Papa and he was looking for Mama! We played. This boy has so much energy! We kept running around the room laughing and jumping into the piles of soft blocks. My first daddy moment. We had about an hour and a half with the boys. S hadn't warmed up to me yet. As I leaned over to kiss him goodbye for the first time, his eyes were huge and he pulled back. I understand. When I said goodbye to M, he looked in my eyes and smiled. I kissed his cheek. He pulled back and just stared at me. Then he smiled and looked at my chin-hawk (facial hair). The care takers to our boys away from us.

End of the day: Our first meeting with our children is over and so we hop back into the van that takes us back into the city. We eat at a restaurant named "California Pizza" a direct rip off of CPK. Too bad the pizza wasn't the same! we then head back to our hotel for an evening of looking at pictures from the day. A memorable day to say the least.


We're back.....

After 3 days of traveling and 2 days in Krasnoyarsk we are home! Siberia was a very tough place to get Internet so we were not able to post anything while there but we will be "back posting" over the next couple of days, so please stay tuned.....