Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Windows Of Heaven

One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Old Testament, and deals with the law of tithing. I struggle for whatever reason with this commandment and I don't really know why. My parents taught me the importance of paying it and throughout my life I have been reminded that I need to keep this commandment.

My faith in it actually working isn't any excuse because I have plenty of that most of the time. But if I hadn't been blessed with such an amazing and strong wife, I think I would still struggle with following through on this one. She pays it, and because she pays it, I naturally pay it also. Because of her I continue to receive the blessings associated with, and mentioned in Malachi. The verse talks about the windows of Heaven being opened and blessings being given and this week was one of those times.

This has been my week up until today:
On Sunday I had to work, my wife called and told me she had paid our tithing as usual. Tuesday morning at 5 am on my way to work my truck died in the middle of the road and I pushed it off State street into the gas station where it was towed to the mechanics. I also get to have a root canal on Saturday. The only thing that went through my mind at the time, was doubt as to what kind of blessings we were receiving for paying our tithing. When I finally got to work I noticed that my heel was a little tender. Throughout the day it continued to get worse and by evening I found myself at the instacare where they told me I had plantar fasciitis and they couldn't tell me how I got it and when or if it would go away.

All of this really had me questioning the tithing thing but my wife and my mother were not convinced that we should have kept the tithing in case we needed it. Both of them let me know what was most important.

Here is what happened almost immediately after the doctors visit. My foot started to feel better, not a ton, but I can walk without limping too much. The mechanic called and said it was a faulty fuel pump that they had installed a couple months ago and he had fixed it under warranty. We also found out a gift card had been mailed to us that will really help us out, and I still get to have a root canal on Saturday. Three out of four isn't too bad right?

One of my many New Years resolutions is to more fully trust my Father in Heaven when he promises me that I will be taken care of if I will only do what he asks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

We Have A Pack Rat In Our House

My wife does a really amazing job at keeping our house pretty well put together. Unfortunately we seem to have raised a small pack rat that lives in the room we've designated for our daughter. She never throws anything away, and always feels the need to "show off" her treasures by keeping them out in plain sight at all times, thus we seem to find scenes like this one tonight.

I don't even know where she got the chips from!

It's amazing that what crawls out of that mess every morning could possibly end up looking this cute. She had a tap recital tonight. She did awesome, we ate ice cream to celebrate, and she disappeared back into her cave for the night. It's easy to overlook the mess when she ends up looking like this.

Circus Fun Day 10

This first picture reminds me a little of a circus or something. Our kids really loved driving down the street and seeing this.

This picture isn't even a picture of the front of the house, that wasn't decorated. This is a picture of the barn behind the house. Thats right, the barn has more style than the house.
Due to the fact that we seem to have scoured all of the area where we live, we've decided to take a few days off. We are going to travel a little and see what we can find further out from where we live. Keep checking back though, because we will post pictures as we find them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Too Cold Outside - Day 9

Due to the fact that our kids have gone to bed way too late the past week or so, we decided to take the night off from scouring the county in search of awesome lights. Below are two pictures we found on the internet to fill in during our absence tonight. Do not fear though, we will be back to work tomorrow night.
First is a shot of Temple Square. If you have never been up there during the Christmas season, you really need to make the trip sometime, it is incredible.
Second belongs to this way over the top house. We actually used to live across from a family that rivaled this one. I can only imagine what the power bill must be for something like this.The only thing missing from this house is.....well nothing, it pretty much has every conceivable light known to man.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day #8 Drunken Santa!

Our best is an awesome display of Christmas lights just down the street. I think it helps their chances that we both envy and lust slightly after the house in general, but this is by far the best for today.

Our worst belongs to the house with the drunken Santa passed out on the front porch. When our kids asked "who is that" as we stopped to take a picture, what could we say? Um....He's just a friend of daddy's...."why's he leaning on their house?".....Um...He fell asleep.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flying Reindeer and Peeping Toms - Day 7

This house is in "Town". Where we live, in the small city, to get things we go to "Town". So, this house is in "Town" and we love to look at it every year. I think they put more lights up every time we go. By the way, this picture does not do it justice.

Judging by where the reindeer landed, Santa's sleigh is kind of in trouble. It's a little blurry because the lady in the second story window kept watching us. I'm sure we looked like pervs taking pictures of someones house in the middle of the night. I'm pretty sure this could be considered a felony in some states.
See what we do for our adoring fans?
You're welcome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Sentimentality - Day 6

My best lights of the day go to the old hospital over by the Temple. This is based totally on sentimental issues. I remember seeing that display when I was much younger and for whatever reason just really liked it as a kid. So there you go, best of the day for me personally.

The not so best of the day is this one below. If you've ever wondered what a certain type of light might look like hanging from your home, here you go, just match the type of light you're thinking of buying with one of the many in this photo and there you have a good idea of how it may look when you get them home. Just make sure to keep your purchases to under three different types of lights per house please.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Contest - Day 5

For our best today, someone mentioned to come by and take a look at her Temple Square worthy roses. We have to agree, they are beautiful!

For the worst, it took us 6 pictures to get the whole house. If you're short a few lights on your house, I'm sure you could head on over here and "borrow" some and they wouldn't even notice. I really am impressed with the amount of lights they have. I'm sure it took many, many hours to hang them all up. So while there is a few too many for my taste, it really is magnificent in person.

Because we are equal opportunists, we'd like to invite you to take a moment to make fun of us. We have no lights. And we probably won't have lights because it's too cold to hang them and then if we did, someone might make fun of them. So, commence with the heckling.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Fantasia - Day 4

Best - Fa, la, la, la, la

Worst - For Marie, because she likes this kind of thing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day #3 So Many Lights, So Little Time

So the first one we found tonight we are still debating about. It has so many lights it took three pictures just to get most of the full effect. They even remembered to decorate the stop sign. It might just be overkill, but I think its pretty awesome.

This next one we have here may seem obscene at first glance, but don't worry It's actually just a travel trailer thats been decorated with a big moving bell. Kind of cool but still......?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Contest - Day 2

Day 2 - Here's our best and our worst.

First we have the classic example of beautiful Christmas lights.
The lights are placed perfectly.
There's no congregating of different styles of lights. For example, no icicle lights with the big bulbs.
The house is so well lit that you can see it well.
All in all, a favorite for tonight.'s our worst.
It's so bad, that even the house is embarrassed to be seen with these lights.

Just a reminder, if you see a house that you think needs to be featured send me an email at derekbbarneyATyahooDOTcom.

The Awesomeness that is Music and Lights Together

Last night when we went out to look at lights we went to the house that has the music and lights together. We took video of it but forgot to post it. So, here is our all time family favorite.
Plus, you get the bonus of a car driving right through the middle.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Contest - Day 1

As the family drove around looking at the lights tonight, we made the decision to change the contest slightly. Instead of just one picture a night we will post the best and worst of the day. Our best and worst may differ from yours so go ahead and comment either way.

The first one here belongs to one of my four loyal readers, unfortunately when we knocked on her door to ask permission she confessed that she hadn't actually read my blog recently and was unaware of the contest. I thought about demoting her from the ranks of my loyal readers, but lets face it, when your readers amount to less than you can count on one hand, you can't afford to be too picky or demanding. So here is her house, the best of the day, along with my idea of decorating (did I mention I loath hanging lights) that qualifies as our worst of the day.

First of all we have our favorite of the day. My wife saw this and called it the mullet, business in the front, party in the back. Just plain awesome! Because, lets face it who doesn't appreciate the awesomeness of a mullet in any form? Congrats Trina, you're our favorite of the day.



Second we have the single or lazy guys style of decorating. Why waste all that time hanging lights? You just take them back down anyway right? Instead lets just put a couple festive colored light bulbs in place of the normal ones above the garage and viola, done with the decorating.

Monday, November 30, 2009

National Lampoon's Christmas Light Contest

My all time favorite Christmas movie is Christmas Vacation. One of the main parts of the movie is the decorating of the house with lights. One of our families favorite activities during the Christmas season is driving around looking at lights. In an ode to these two Christmas traditions, I have decided to enlist my family's help with a Christmas light contest. Here's how its going to work. Each day from tomorrow through the twenty fourth, we will post pictures of random Christmas lights that we see hanging around Southern Utah. These will range from the completely awesome, to the not so awesome, to the down right odd. Anyone will be eligible to be nominated during this time. So if you don't have large amounts of cash handy right now to really spruce up the yard, do not fear, just spread lights out randomly across the yard like an old neighbor of ours used to do and you will find a soft spot in our hearts and a place in the gallery. Now we come to the best part, the actual contest. Your job is to vote, by comment, on your favorite decorations and the day with the most comments will be the winning day. From there, we will take the comments and randomly pick the winner of an extremely sweet Christmas present that will be hand delivered on Christmas. Trust me when I tell you, this will be worth the time you take to enter. So have fun and check back for the best and worst Christmas decorations in Southern Utah. And one more thing, if anyone happens to spot a good or bad set of lights and wants to nominate them, send me a comment and we will have a special prize for you as well.

(If your house happens to appear in our top twenty-four, please don't take offense, we're laughing with you...not at you.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It Was A Good Day

Today was a good day for our family, particularly for our son Brandon. Today he won first place in the harvest of talents show at school. He played a piano piece and ended up getting to play it in front of the whole school! The very best part......he got a cool trophy.

Then to top off such a wonderful day he won the on time drawing at scouts tonight and won his dream toy, a small toy basketball hoop. I feel like most of the credit for that part lies with me though, and I'll tell you why. I somehow manage to make our family never on time for these things. Just last month, even though my phone said 5 minutes to 7, we were late because the clock at the church was fast. My objection to this, based on hard cell phone time evidence fell on deaf ears and we weren't allowed to enter the drawing. This month thanks to me, we were on time and he was able to secure this awesome prize. You're welcome son. All in all it was one good day!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So Much Different Than I was

I had the opportunity to accompany the deacons on their camp out this last Friday night. I spend most of my time with the older boys and don't associate nearly as much as I should with these four youth.

I have to tell you, I am completely in awe of how much different these boys are compared to how my group of friends were at their age. They are so strong and close with each other, regardless of what anyone of them did or said, they stuck together and acted like the kind of young men we always want them to be. There weren't any favorites or any that received any undue teasing from the others, such a far cry from the way our groups behaved when I was that age.

We were a pretty tight group ourselves but there were times and more specifically, boys, that for some reason seemed to received the brunt of our unprovoked teasing more than they should have. There are those that I helped tease that I no longer know where they are and can probably never apologize to, and for that I will always be sorry.

But this Friday I was pleasantly surprised with the strength of the four youth I got to hang out with. They didn't seem to care that others may be what I consider more challenging to deal with, they didn't seem to care that everyone was different in one way or another, and they didn't seem to care when one made weird comments. They didn't care at all, they accepted and encouraged everyone, something I wish I had been able to do at their age. They are so much different than I was, and I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ahead By a Squirrel

For some time now I have been harboring feelings of jealousy towards my wife and her blogging skills. She always seems to have more comments, more visitors, better topics, better pictures, funnier stories and most importantly, more followers.

I lusted from the other side of the couch as I saw her follower total and hoped one day to match her or perhaps overtake and destroy her numbers. It never happened until today! I have pulled ahead and life is fantastic. What makes this day even better is the way in which I took the lead. The follower that put me ahead is a squirrel. Thats right, check out my followers and you will find a genuine squirrel blogger that has decided to join the ever growing, albeit slow, following that keeps me doing this. So thank you Mr. Squirrel, you have made my day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Favorite Part Of Fall

This is what I've been waiting all year for. My favorite part of fall has to do with these tiny little nuts. Pine nuts hold a special place in my heart because of my father. More specifically they remind me of him. Every year, when the pine nut stands come out, I am reminded more deeply about my father.

It really isn't anything special about these nuts, just the fact that he had them. He always seemed to have some in his pockets. I looked forward to sharing these when we were outside doing something. I could almost always count on him having a pocketful at any given time.

My father passed away while I was serving a mission. Years later I borrowed his old hunting coat when I decided to go hunting again. There in the bottom of the pocket were a few lone pine nuts left over from who knows when. Each year this rite of fall gives me a chance to reflect and remember some special everyday events we shared. They also remind me that no matter how many great things we do for those we love, it will be the small and insignificant things we do on a daily basis that will be remembered long after we are gone.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1/2 Inch From Dying

Through out my life I have had a number of near death experiences that in all reality should have taken me from this life. Many of them had to do with my inability to listen to others who knew more than I did, and some were caused by choices I intentionally made. I've had both of my parents and my wife and siblings involved in some way or another with helping me stay here.

I now just escaped death with another close call, I'm not sure how many I have left. My truck stopped working. One day it was running fine and the next morning, nothing, it wouldn't even start. we took it over and had it fixed and here's what happened.

The fuel pump had gone out, but it was more than that, the plastic around the wires had actually disintegrated to the point that the bare wires were exposed inside the gas tank! I was told that had they touched each other it very well could have blown my gas tank up. That didn't sound too appealing to me. I was then informed that someone must be looking out for me because these wires are only about a 1/2 inch apart and probably should have touched at some point in time.

I told my wife she had been a 1/2 inch away from being kind of rich, but she didn't find it as amusing as I did. I guess I still have a few things to learn here before its my turn to go.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why I Run

I want to thank again all those who joined me yesterday for the marathon, it was great to have that support. I'm definitely feeling the effects this morning, but I'm looking forward to next year. I think I'm going to do a conventional race and try the training approach before hand.

I've had a lot of people ask me why I chose to do a race that far and I've been thinking about that since yesterday, and I have my answer. I do it because running has been such a help in my life over the past five or six years. For those of you who know me really well, you know the person I was back then, and the person I am now. I hope you have been able to see the difference between them.

Back then I hated any form of pain, mental or physical, it didn't matter, I hated it all and would do anything to avoid it. I used alternate ways of dealing with pain that only masked it temporarily. It got to the point that to even be around my family required me to mask that pain in order to be able to function and interact with them.

I met a Bishop that invited me to run with him. Every other morning at 5:30 he would pick me up and we would run. I was ashamed to be around people back then and he taught me that because of what the Savior had done for me I didn't need to beat myself up anymore. On these runs, I worked through my own personal repentance process and faced the one thing that had been my downfall, pain. I learned that I didn't need to run from pain but needed to embrace it and accept that it can and does make you stronger.

I learned that pain is only temporary, even if it lasts for the duration of this life, and that it meant I was truly alive. Masking it meant I wasn't living to my full potential. While I still don't like pain, and thought about quitting many times yesterday, I didn't, and that's something that those who know me from before can say wouldn't have happened back then. I would have quit at the first sign of pain, I probably wouldn't have even started in the first place.

So that's why I do what I do, to prove to myself that I am still a better person than I was before.

That's why I run.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Race Damage

Well I escaped with only 2 nails looking like this one. Not too shabby.

I'm done!

Wow that sucked. I'm finally done. And I made my goal, the ice cream guy was still here! Thanks for all the support everyone, you guys are the best.

I'm neck and neck with an 80 year old man but he just pulled ahead

This sucks

I can see St George. But my legs are crap.

I need a burger

Can someone bring me a burger, or pizza either one:)

I know this guy

Milli Vanilli is my pacer!

1/2 way

Only lost 2 toe nails yay

10 miles down

Yeah! I'm going to train better next time.

Veyo hill

7 miles.

I'm here

I'm going to apologize in advance for any spelling or grammar errors today, I'm running so I don't care.

I just got off a bus that smelled oddly like bananas and ben gay. Not a great combination. Its freaking cold and I have to pee every 3 minutes like an old man. The ride seemed a lot farther than last year. Oh well, at least I'm here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Carb Loading

I know the normal pre race meal is usually pasta but I did this last year so why break tradition right?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Come Run The Marathon With Me!

Due to my lack of training for the St. George Marathon this Saturday, I have decided that I need to find some way of taking my mind off the fact that I have to travel 26.2 miles on foot. I found something to carry my phone in and so you will have the chance to follow me on Saturday and see just what it looks like from inside the big race. I hope you'll join me, it starts early. Anytime you feel like commenting or encouraging, I get comments sent to the phone so its almost like you're talking to me. Just no telling me to go faster or stop walking. Anyways I hope to hear from you Saturday, check back throughout the morning for my blog from the road.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bring A Rain Coat If You Watch A Scary Movie With My Wife

You can't really tell from this picture but I was just witness to probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
We were in the middle of watching a show called Fringe when a very scary and intense scene happened. Melissa was holding a giant cup of water and actually jumped so bad that she spilled it all over her face. You read that right, she threw a cup of water in her own face because she was so scared.

If anyone needs a good laugh just invite her to the next scary movie you want to watch.

P.S. Look closely at her pants, she spilled it clear down there. (I hope)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Family Rodeo Fun?

We took the kids to the rodeo tonight. I have always liked the clown shows, apparently smart people don't find them quite as amusing.

In fact both kids weren't as thrilled with the whole rodeo experience as we had hoped. Kendal seemed to be annoyed slightly with the sight of animals getting thrown around and roped for fun.

Our saving grace came in the form of free snow cones given to the kids by the people in front of us.

They said they bought them because they were afraid our kids would have whined if they came back with snow cones and our kids didn't have one. I think they did it because they were sick of hearing ours whining for something from the minute we got there. That or it might have been the fact that the guy was our kids dentist and needed some job security.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Crazy

We just started a cooking club at work, I have to be crazy to want to do this. The club is for about ten of the youth in the treatment program where I work. My job is to teach them how to cook. It should be pretty fun to have a bunch of teenagers in a program running around with knives right?

From time to time I will either post recipes or pictures, or both of some of the things we try making. If anyone decides to try the recipes, let me know how they turn out. The first one up is creamy carrot soup. Here is the recipe courtesy of the book Food Matters. If you really like the taste of carrots, this ones for you.

Creamy Carrot Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 1/2 lbs carrots chopped
1 large potato peeled and chopped
salt and pepper
6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken broth which I used)
1/4 cup parsley

Heat oil and cook carrots and potato until soft
add stock and cook for 15 min. Use a blender to puree the soup mixture. When creamy and no chunks are visible, return to heat to warm. Add parsley just before serving. Serves 4-5

There you go, our first recipe, remember if you try it, let me know what you think. The kids aren't fans of carrots but I liked it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Training Has Begun

As you may have noticed, the name at the top of my blog here has been changed with the addition of a couple letters. So to let you all know, I have been caffeine and soda pop free now for almost a month. I still crave the Diet Coke, but I have a purpose for doing such a crazy stunt.

I am now in the final month of my "no-training marathon training plan", and have started to look for any advantage I can find other than actually running to help me prepare for the 26.2 miles of fun coming up on October 3rd. If its any consolation, I have endured months of grueling mental training that I hope will be of some benefit during the race.

I have come to the realization that I will be going slower than last year which will actually be difficult to pull off in itself, but that's what you get when you don't train until September and then rely on the training plan that only includes the stoppage of soda and caffeine, one of which was the main reason I finished the thing last year.

In all actuality I have just now started to run with the help of a used treadmill my sister donated in an effort to keep me from scaring others on the road, so I will keep you informed on how the training is going. Who knows maybe I will take the Blackberry on the road during the race and post from there, that might be fun. I would just have to edit it well before sending.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lesson From A Baptism

This post is a little late but I figured I hadn't posted in awhile and this would be a good way to start one. My son was baptized last week and I just had to write a few of my observations from the event. As we headed to the baptism room, Brandon was as close to running in the church as he possibly could be. It could best be described as a cross between power walking and Olympic speed walking. (he knew not to full out run) Watching him go down the hall reminded me of what it means to have something important in our lives.

This was his big day, he had waited all year for this and he was so excited. He knew what he was doing was right and true and couldn't wait to accomplish it. He wanted it so badly and it was so important and special to him that he would have ran through anything to get down that hall and to the baptismal font.

It made me wonder why the older we get, the less often we feel like running towards the goals we want to accomplish. We tend to wander and meander our way through life and put off what we can and should do today, always meaning to do it tomorrow. One area I notice this happen more than it should is in my spiritual life. I remember the days where I, like my son, sprinted towards spiritual goals I had. There are many days now where I don't muster the speed of an old person with a walker.

My new goal is to become more like my 8 year old son, a sprinter in the spiritual sense of the word. I want to do better at things I often neglect. Prayer, scripture study, and even church and the callings associated with it often bring out the old man walker in me. I don't mean for these things to, but I have become weaker in them than I should, and when you are weak in something, you don't race off to do those things often. I want to be better so that when I see my son running full steam ahead, I wont have any regrets of my own in the back of my mind.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Good thoughts for the Chef...

Hi all! This is the Chef's wife. The Chef is a little stressed. He's finishing up his last class for his Bachelor's and it is a doozy! He's been so busy all week and right now he's finishing up a three hour test online. And, he's decaffinated, so he can't get himself a big dose of caffeine to give him a little pep. So, I thought it'd be an awesome idea for everyone that reads to give him a few words of encouragment to help him get through the next couple days. I'll start:

My dear Chef, I sure love you! Thanks so much for all you do for the kids and I. You work so hard at work, and then you come home and work so hard doing homework so that you can provide a better life for us. I'm so thankful for all you do and for the wonderful husband and dad you are. You are amazing! I love you! {Just please, please, please don't ask me to help you with your homework anymore, my brain can't take it!}

Friday, August 28, 2009

Part 3

Seriously this has gone on long enough. Its just a washing machine. Someone please call her so she has something else to do.

Family Fun Part 2

Our son asked if he could go play and I told him to read a book or find something to do for a little while until his friends came is what he found. We really aren't this boring.

Family Fun...You're All Invited

We got a new set of toys. For your enjoyment....a sneak peak of the next party we throw!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

I had the opportunity to go back home this last weekend to a wedding reception for a good family friend. Given that my going home only entails driving 13 miles to Washington, it wasn't too big of a deal for me. This family has been like a second family to me my whole entire life. I can't remember a day passing without either being there or having them at our home.

I have to confess I was a little nervous because I hadn't seen some of them including my best friend growing up, in several years. I was worried that we wouldn't have much in common, and even less to talk about. It turns out nothing could have been farther from the truth. From the minute we got out of the car until 3 hours later when we had finished helping them take down and clean the place up, it was as if I had never left. We sat and talked and I was perfectly at ease. We were welcomed in just like family, and in reality that's what we all consider each other anyway. I knew when it took us half an hour just to get into the wedding line, and then the father called out to my wife "hey gorgeous" that things were good.

If any of my three readers out there have ever experienced this type of atmosphere, you know how awesome it is. I felt like I was at a family reunion, and to make everything even better, the family I hadn't seen in years is doing so much better than they were when I left. They have almost all gone through the temple and I couldn't ask for more for them.

As I drove home that night, I couldn't help but think about true friends. We gain many friends as we travel through this life, but rarely do we have many TRUE friends. We have lots of people we can count as friends, but this type of friend, a childhood friend that you could still sit and talk with and rely on if you needed anything is a rare thing in this world. We should strive to cultivate more of these types of relationships.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Perfect Night

Tonight was one of those nights that I consider pretty close to perfection. I took the kids to the Road Runners game and we had a blast. To start we indulged in cupcakes from 25 Main. If you haven't tried them, go get some. They are amazing!

After we got seated the kids went off in search of the two big mascots dancing around so they could get their autographs. They came back with arms autographed in permanent marker. Just so you don't think I'm an unfit parent I did jump in and stop one huge bird from signing my five year olds forehead. Apparently this guy thinks its funny to sign his name on childrens foreheads. Come to think of it, that might be a little fun.(I wonder if they need any help tomorrow in nursery?)

Hmmm.....just a thought. We even got a foul ball during the game, so all in all it was a pretty sweet night.