Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our Schedule.

Hey Guys, Here is our schedule when we get to America.

Jan 1----Arrive in ATL, Christmas party with Ray's fam.
Jan 2----Purchase Jeep, drive to my aunts in NC.
Jan 3----Probably drive to DC sleep at campsite or in Jeep or something.
Jan 4----Pick up dogs in the morning at the Airport, drive to Savannah.
Jan 5----Rest, take dogs to the beach, hang out with Ray's dad.
Jan 6----Drive to Tallahassee, FL.
Jan 7----Rest and visit my family and hopefully some old friends.
Jan 8----Drive to ATL.
Jan 9-12-Visit Atlanta people, rent trailer, pack our stuff we left in Georgia.
Jan 13---Leave for AZ.

We are thinking we will take 3 days to get to AZ, I think we can shoot for 2 and save money on a night in a hotel. But, I am also the guy trying to talk my wife into sleeping in the Jeep in DC to save money on a hotel, we'll see.

We would love to see as many people as possible. Email me if you are in our route and hopefully we can see each other. Cheers.

Chris

Friday, December 28, 2007

Weight Just a Minute.

I have a bit of a weight issue.

Firstly, I complete a triathlon earlier this month and was very proud of myself. It was the longest bit of endurance sport I have ever done. However, since then I have done nothing. So while I was pretty fit, now I am not. I was hoping to arrive back in America nice and lean, now I am not. Oh well. This isn't why I am writing this post.

There is a weight restriction on luggage that you can take on an airplane. I think this is so people can't hide in luggage. But, whatever the reason we are allowed 2 bags at 23kgs each. When we moved here we were allowed 32kgs per person. So that is making packing more difficult.

So today I took our largest piece of luggage to the gym to weigh my bag on the nice electronic scale in the locker room. Our bag that I was hoping was 23kgs weighed in at 31kgs. In travel terms, we are screwed. So I unpacked the back to where it weighed 23kgs and now we have a lot of extra stuff that we don't know what to do with. Plus, the airline charges R650 ($100) for every KG you are over, THATS INSANE!!!!!

Thats our problem at the moment. If you have any handy hints, I would love to hear them. If you would like to sponsor me a new wardrobe, I will leave all my clothes here and we will make the weight. We will take any suggestions. Cheers.

Chris

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Here is our to do list that I copied and pasted from Word. The check marks are complete the bullet points still need to be done (some things we can't do until we get to the US). This is what we have been doing in preparation of returning home. Cheers. It started as a short list of things and then we began adding as needed. On Word it is color coded, but that didn't transfer in the pasting. And as much as I love the readers of my little blog, I am not going to spend the next hour color coding this list for you. Love you. Cheers


MOVING TO DO LIST

✔ Call Chris’ Family
✔ Email newsletter
✔ Email Frank a moving budget
✔ Email Coyne about moving allowance
✔ Decide on Petwings by 17th September
✔ Decide on plane tickets
✔ Ask Suzy to research moving truck costs
✔ Email WOM about “relocation fund”
✔ Speak to mari’s dad
✔ Figure out how to sell our house
✔ Get car cleaned and detailed
✔ Find out if we should sell car to person or dealership
✔ Speak to Liandi about house
✔ Find dog sitter for last tour cycle (Christiaan)
✔ Find out if health insurance carry-over is necessary
✔ Pack & Ship boxes
✔ Sell furniture & clothes
✔ Email Clark’s 20th September for inventory of furniture
✔ Call vet about rabies vaccination and health certificates
✔ Electric Bill!!!!
✔ Compare prices of post to air freight
✔ Get boxes & packing supplies
✔ Figure out where to ship things (az, atl, where in atl?)
✔ Get vacuum from Annette
✔ Taxes
✔ Clean office
✔ Call appraiser
✔ Get a condor for Nov and Dec
✔ Get reimbursement for plane tickets from UCYC
✔ Find a place for the dogs to stay 1st week in Jan
✔ Make a schedule for our arrival in America
✔ Write and email newsletter
✔ Set date for garage sale and invite people
✔ Talk to Pieter’s guy about fixing dents on car
✔ Find out extent of Tertius’ interest on house
✔ Call Johann & ask how soon couple would move in/buy
✔ Email prices to Liandi
✔ Ask Alycia about coffee table
✔ Price blinds and sms to Elsabe along with our banking details
✔ Get Euydia’s email and write her about chair
✔ Make estimated budget for next year including house
✔ Speak to Gideon about south africans taking some of our stuff
✔ Get Gio’s email and write her about keeping our stuff at office
✔ Fix table and chairs
✔ Decide on furniture and email Clark’s
✔ Call vet about health certificates
✔ Call petwings about final details
✔ Call Tertius about couches
✔ Put washing machine and couches in junk mail
✔ Call Elaine about selling house – whatever it takes!
✔ Call JOJO about cell phone
✔ Find an additional signer for our bank account here (Pauli?)
✔ Sms Schalk about getting together to discuss house
✔ Finalize date for dog’s flight and inform petwings
✔ Pay petwings
✔ Pack pictures
✔ Call Hennie about condor
✔ Email Warren about down comforter and pillows
✔ Call Jacques and Vilene
✔ Find out all info about cell phone contract
✔ Figure out what bills will overlap in Jan and maybe Feb
✔ Email Yanee about washing machine and extra stuff (plates, etc)
✔ Find out when mum is in US. Have her check storage 4 us?
✔ Talk to Hennie about car stuff so we can get the money
✔ Call Petwings about arrival time of dogs in DC
• Buy a car
✔ Email Chad and ask what kind of sweets Rachel likes (chocolates)
✔ Send newsletter TODAY
✔ Get new contacts
✔ Register for Triathlon
✔ Email David about furniture and health insurance
✔ Pick up Condor
✔ Email Euydia about Floorie not responding
✔ Find someone to take over cell phone contract (Marisa/Yanee?)
✔ Cancel Heath insurance
✔ Cancel Car insurance
✔ Fill out pet wings forms
✔ Fax copy of Chris’ passport to mccarthy
✔ Call Postnet
✔ Fix Futon Bed Frame Base.
✔ Put TV in Junk Mail
✔ Call SAA about exit row seats on the 26th
✔ Get missionary letter for plane tickets from 13th Floor
✔ Deposit R220 into Alycia’s account
✔ Call Gouws Attorneys and set appt
✔ Call Elaine about time for lawyer appt
✔ Call Sckalk about time for lawyer appt
✔ Cancel Electricity
✔ Talk to people we know about selling house for special price
✔ Speak to the bank about everything
✔ Call Toyota to check on payment clearing
✔ Call Leon about washing machine
✔ Set up online banking for Pauli (levy)
✔ Fax letter of notice to Home loans
✔ Email Laura about buying the bed
✔ Email Suzy about $500 deposit and Brandon’s money.
✔ Get details on how to wire money from US to SA
✔ Have Suzy get swift code from Bank of A
✔ Cancel Multiply
✔ Cancel McCarthy Club
✔ Figure out amount to wire to US
✔ Email Josh Tillman about house money and taxes
✔ Find Martin and Jani
✔ Give notice to WOM?
✔ Call Erna about how to properly socialize Guinness
✔ Call Liandi about furniture payment and house
✔ Call Elsabe about furniture payment and house?
• Email pictures (Chris)
• New Car Insurance
✔ Transfer name of cell phone contract
✔ Make final decision on how to sell house once gone
✔ Sort who gets what keys
✔ File and organize all paper work
• Return Therapy Files and keys
✔ Arrange with Annette a day to return vacuum and dishes
✔ Find someone to take condor from airport
• Wash condor
• Contact Warren about pick up and payment
✔ Set up date for dogs’ health certificates
• Wash dogs
• Call Petwings about herbal supplement and bringing dog food/bed
• Arrange for Schalk and Elaine to meet
✔ Call Iska and arrange date and time to bring Jani’s stuff
✔ Call Piet de wet about monitors
• Make cd of house pictures to give to Elaine
✔ Fill holes in walls and repaint
• Make CDs for trips
• Defrost and clean fridge (Sat morning)
• Final cleaning of house
• Elaine-cd, meet w/ Schalk, who has keys,
• Johan-give set of keys, lawyers/Schalk, email address,
• Schalk-keys (business cards), other agents, his agent
• Weigh luggage at gym
• Clear phone (contacts, pictures, messages, etc.)

I am sure more will be added before Monday.

Vet Visit.

We took the girls to the vet today for their final medical health form thing that they need to immigrate to America. When we first arrived there were a few people in from of us in line so we waited in the little waiting area. Our vet works out of his home so the waiting area is no more than a couple of benches, a small counter and a rack with rubber bones and dog food. There was a mastiff waiting outside in the car port and a few other families waiting outside the wall by the street with their animals.

As we waited we could hear the couple that had taken their fox terrier in the examination room. As we learned later, the woman, with the fox terrier, goes on and on with her friends about how unsafe it is to feed dogs bones because it can damage their insides. Well, yesterday, for the first time ever, she gave her dog a bone and the bone got lodged in the dog's throat and cut its esophagus and the dog was in a real bad shape. So they brought the dog in, hoping there was something that could be done, but there wasn't. The surgery would have been thousands of Rands and probably wouldn't have worked anyway, so they had to put the dog down.

We knew none of this at the time, but we could hear the woman crying and crying and figured they were putting their dog to sleep. It was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced. I felt so sorry for this lady. They took some time with the vet then left the vets carrying the dead fox terrier in a black bag to bury at their home.

Pets become such a part of the family. I am glad I have never had to experience a pet dying before, I know it will be a hard day when our dogs die. I am not the most emotional man, but even thinking of makes my heart ache. I know my mom had a rough time when her cat, that she had since I was a kid, died a few years ago.

On a happier note, the girls passed their final evaluation. Guinness weighed in at a lean 39kgs (86 lbs) and Damar tip the scales at a heftier 44.5kgs (99 lbs). We will take them to the kennel on Monday before we fly out. They will stay there a few days and leave on the Thursday. They are so confused right now with all the packing and what not and I hate that I can't let them know what is happening. This is going to be a really stressful week for the wee pups.

Hope you are all well. Cheers.

Chris

PS
Its so hot at night and there is no breeze coming in our bedroom window that even Rachel is looking for some relief in the form of a nice American winter. For you who don't know Ray very well, she HATES winter and HATES being cold. Just wanted to share.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas.

Merry Christmas all of you readers of Great Danes and Coffee Stains I am pleased/sad/excited/stressed to say this will probably by my last Christmas greeting from South Africa (unless its during a wonderful holiday in future).

All that said there are a few things I would like to write about. I have always wanted this to be a place where I feel I can share my thoughts safely, however I feel I have kept my heart guarded a bit. I don't know why. I hope in the future that won't be the case. So, I would like to share something.

With Christmas approaching I believe that every Christian (and maybe everyone that celebrates Christmas is some form) reflects on the true meaning of the this season, whether its contemplating the basic existence of God or just really desiring the know how deep "Emmanuel", God with us, truly is. I have been doing this and realized something that I am not necessarily proud of. I am so western-capitalist in my heart when it comes to Christmas. Living in the summer for Christmas has really gotten me down. This is the third year in a row that I feel mildly depressed at this time because of climate. Thats sad. I should be rejoicing with all my heart that God came to Earth so that I could have a restored relationship with him. But, I would rather complain that its hot and I am sweating at night because we don't have AC.

I really want a cold, hot chocolate, fire placed, ice skating, winter wonderland Christmas. But is that wrong? Does that make me less of a Christian. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, I don't know.

Here is another example. We are stoked because Prescott (from what we have read on the internet) goes all out decorating for Christmas. Here the decorations are small and crappy, if there are any at all. Just the idea of shopping at the Mall of Georgia with all the sounds, lights and smells of Christmas makes me so homesick right now its pathetic. I don't think I will get an answer to this tonight, just thinking.

I was also thinking about this today because we drove by a kid begging at the traffic light today and while people begging at the light isn't rare there was something about this kid that really broke my heart. I would guess he was about 13, he was tall for his age and really really thin, about half Rachel's thickness. He was wearing a filth, old t-shirt that was huge and hanging, a pair of really short running type shorts and no shoes. He was bent over and limping like an old man. The thing that killed me was I had no idea what I could do to help this kid. Give him some change? Some food? Invite him to spend the night at our house? What could I really do that would honestly help this kid? Plus, in light of my self reflection about Christmas I felt like the biggest loser on the planet.

There is so much pain in this world and the older I get and the more I travel and learn the more pain I find. Its overwhelming and I don't know what I am doing to make this world a better place. I pray that I can impact people that will in turn go and impact people and hopefully through this chain reaction the world will be a better place.

So this Christmas has been nice, even with all the uncertainty of whether or not I am a decent person. I made homemade pancakes for breakfast (blueberry for Ray and plain for myself). Then we went to a movie with a friend that we work with and her sister.
After the movie we drove around to look for a restaurant to eat our Christmas dinner athttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif, but nothing was open so we went home and each at 2 baked potatoes and a pile of broccoli, awesome, not so much. Then we just hung out at home. It was an alright day, and as Don Chaffer says, "alrights not good, but alright's alright".

Oh yeah, next by nexy Tuesday night we will have already left SA, landed in ATL, became the proud owners of a dark green Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4x4, eaten at one of our favorite American restaurants and enjoying a Christmas party with Ray's fam in Atlanta. Sounds nice. Cheers.

Chris

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friends and Furniture.

Friends



When we toured in America with Traveling Mercies we became good friends with a couple of South Africans named Jani and Martin. They were living in Missouri and Jani worked with CIY and Martin was leading worship at a church out there.

They had spent the last 3 years in the States without coming back to SA to visit because they had applied for their green cards. Well, because of a back up with immigration their visas ran out before they could get citizenship so they had to move back to SA. Its really sad for me because I know there are tons of people daily trying to become citizens, but Martin and Jani would have been a blessing to their community in America. I would be proud to have them as Americans, maybe one day.

So we got to hang out with them the other day for a few hours and had a wonderful time, I have really missed them. It will be the only chance to hang out before we leave, but was time well spent.


Furniture

More furniture has left our house today. A guy we work with came and collected our lounge suite that he purchased from us. We love our couches, they are great. But, more than our couches I will forever miss my chair.


here I am enjoying my last moments with my chair
before she was taken from me for eternity.

This Chair has been in our bedroom and has become my place of refuge when not on the road or taking a break from the long days on training at the beginning of the year. I have read books and emails, written blogs and songs, watched movies and photoshopped pictures in this chair. It has been replaced, for our last days, by a folding camping chair. At lease now I have cup holders. I guess all this means is that when we finally arrive in AZ it's time to find a new chair. Cheers.

Chris

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It Begins.

We have been selling our stuff in our house, but people let us keep it to make the house look nicer for selling. However, today the first of our furniture left the house. A woman we work with came to fetch the items she purchased from us. She took the end tables, the wooden bathroom storage cart (which may have been our favorite thing in the house), the floor fan (no AC here, this will be missed) and our washing machine. So the house is starting to look a little empty and we will have to do laundry in the bathtub for the last 10 days in South Africa.

Its weird knowing we are leaving soon, but not feeling that way because our life is still pretty normal. But, now that the house is beginning to empty it makes the whole thing more real. Its a bit sad. Cheers.

Chris

Sick.

I was so sick yesterday for no reason at all. I woke up and didn't feel great and then that took a downward spiral and I spent the rest of the day in bed with a terrible headache and vomiting, trying to sleep.

So today I feel ok. I have a little headache, but everything else seems fine. Makes no sense. Cheers.

Chris

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Baby!!!!


No Rachel's not pregnant, well at least I don't think she is, she hasn't said anything about if she is and that seems like the kind of think she would tell me, you know. Whatever.

My best friend in high school was Bethany Miller and she just had a baby. I am so excited for her and her husband, Jake. Their son's name is Silas Jones Winfield and he was 7 lbs 14 oz and is 21 inches long. I don't know much about babies but that would be a big rainbow trout. Cheers.

Chris

Monday, December 17, 2007

Friends, Food and Farewells.


I love this picture. Wors looks like SUPER TOURIST and Sonja looks like shes singing a song like we are in a musical or something.


We have 2 friends coming over tonight that we toured with this year, Sonja and Wors (English speakers, pronounce the "w" like a "v", it's the Afrikaans word for sausage). Wors was our teams Coordinator this year, meaning that he was my right hand man and handled the logistics on tour, he did a fantastic job. He also played rhythm guitar in our band. And Sonja was a 1st year girl that grew into a wonderful woman during the year. Sonja also never new she could act, but became a wonderful actress on stage, from being silly and funny to serious and emotional she was brilliant.

So I guess this begins our time of farewells to our friends here. We have already said goodbye to many people that we will never see again, but there are others that we will enjoy the opportunity to spend a little more time with. Hopefully over food and wine we will end our chapter in South Africa that has brought so many different emotions and will forever remain in our memories. Its hard to believe its over.

FYI, tonight we will be having baked trout with sides of grilled asparagus and leeks, the Ray-Ray salad (spinach, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, avocado, onion and feta) and rolls. The Ray-Ray salad is fantastic, I recommend trying it out.

Have a great night, I plan on it. Cheers.

Chris

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bummed.

Night before last Ray and I were offered a free vacation to the beach with our friends Flaps and Amanda. However, yesterday and today we contacted everyone we could think of to watch the dogs and our house for a week and nobody could do it. So we can't go.

It really bums us out because we have been here for 2 years and have never had the money to go on a vacation and now that one is being handed to us and we can't go. Crap.

Chris

Monday, December 10, 2007

3 Weeks, House and Random.

We are leaving South Africa 3 weeks from today. I can't believe it, sometimes it doesn't feel real. We are getting stuff packed up, sold, boxed, shipped etc.

The house still hasn't sold. Our agent is checking with a lady that may rent for 6 months, then buy. I don't want to do that, but the market is bad now and I don't want to give the house away. If you have any advice, I would love to hear it, email me.

We saw Transformers the other night and I thought it was going to be childish and lame, but I loved it. I thought the graphics were fantastic and overall it was a really fun movie. I couldn't believe how many things I remembered about Transformers from when I was a kid. It was awesome.

My friend Andy Bales married a girl from South Africa and they were with our ministry in the US and they are here on holiday for Christmas. We went and hung out with them today and it was so much fun. I love that Andy Bales.

Have you watch My Name is Earl? Its so funny, we just watched the 1st season and I didn't expect to like it too much, but its great. I love the character Joy, so dang funny. Check it out.

Thats about all. Cheers.

Chris

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

T-Shirts.




I found a clothing company online today called Ten Bills and they have some cool t-shirt designs and their shirts are only $10. Thats awesome. I don't know anything about the quality of their product, but it may be worth checking out.

I need shirts in a bad way so I may try them out when we get back stateside. Cheers.
http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif
Chris

What The...?

Is that my wife or Gollum? How can she sit like that?

If you ever chat with Rachel on Skype, now you know what it looks like from our side. Cheers.

Chris

Monday, December 03, 2007

Final Results and Pictures.

Here are the final results from the race yesterday:

600m Swim: 18:36
20k Bike (including both transition times): 48:05
5k Run: 32:08

Total time: 1:38:50

Here are some pics from yesterday for your enjoyment.

Here I am setting up my transition area. Notice the towel over my red bike, I stole the idea from the guy to the right of me. I have no idea why we did that, but since I had no idea what I was doing, it seemed like the right thing to do.


Doesn't this look terrifying. I am in the circle, its hard to see, but i have the red swim cap and I am about to punch the man in the orange swim cap in the head.
This was at the start before I freaked out.


Here I am exiting the swim, happy that I didn't drown. However, I don't look very happy.
In T1. Getting ready for the bike leg of the race.


Running off for the bike section.


Coming in after a good bike ride. The camera couldn't truly capture the fact that I was riding 240 miles per hour at this point.


Here I am finishing up the run. I totally blew by this middle aged woman!


And finally here I am after crossing the finish line. I was so happy, I couldn't believe I just did a triathlon. I felt awesome.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I FINISHED!!! Tri Race Report.

I finished the triathlon today and I am exhausted. It was so much fun getting there with all the bikes and banners and people and spandex. (Side Note: If you are a very modest man triathlon may not be the sport for you, and many of these spandex men were not modest).

We arrived at the venue about 20 minutes before registration closed and Ray and I pushed my bike around from timing chip rental to registration to body markings (Where they write the number on your shin, I was 315) to t-shirt pick up and then finally to the transition area.

In the transition area I tried to find a spot where I would be able to find my bike after the swim. I didn't want to be that guy walking around for 7 minutes searching for his stuff, I saw that guy last week, nobody wants to be that guy. So, I found a nice spot on the end of aisle 2. I looked around and tried to imitate what everyone else was doing. I laid out my ground towel, my bike shoes, running shoes, socks, I put my sunglasses in my bike helmet (like the guy next to me), over all of this I laid my shirt. I really looked like I knew what I was doing. However, I had no idea.

Then it was time to walk to the starting line, I called it the March of Spandex. Hundreds of men and women, in spandex, walking to the water. I saw a young child cry, I would have too buddy.

The women started 10 minutes before the men. So Ray and I watched as the ladies got in the water and started swimming. A couple of minutes later I left Ray and went and got in the water, it was freezing, but after a minute I was fine.

Then it was time for the men to star. I couldn't believe it I was at the start for a freaking triathlon, what was I thinking? We were all in the water waiting for the gun and then "crack" we're off. It was a chaotic tangle of arms flailing and legs kicking. I caught an elbow to the head and gave a few as well. It was awesome.

I had 2 goals for the swim portion of the race:

1. Don't Die
2. Swim freestyle for the entire race.

About a minute into the race my goal #2 went out the window. I totally panicked in the water. I have never really swan in open water before and I lost my composure completely. I am normally a calm guy in scary situations, but I was terrified. I think it was a combination of all the people and the choppy water splashing me every time I tried to breath. I have been working so hard on my swimming and my technique and all of that went out the window.

I started doggy paddling and some stroke that I invented that I classify as a kind of "side stroke". I hit the first bouy and turned left. Using my homemade side stroke I made it to the second bouy and checked my time, about 7 minutes. Not bad for not really swimming, but then it hit me, I was in a river and had to go back up stream. On third leg of the swim I started trying to swim like a normal person. I was using this experience to learn how to swim in open water. So I would do 10 or so freestyle strokes and then freak out and do the side stroke, them 12 or 15 then side stroke. At this point all the swimmers were really spread out so I wasn't feeling so claustrophobic anymore. I hit the last bouy and turned toward shore, mostly swimming freestyle and exited the water in around 18:00. It was so slow, but I was just happy to be out of that river.

As I exited the water I saw Rach on the side cheering me on and I jogged the 200 or so meters to the transition area.

In T1, as we triathletes say, I threw on my shirt, but had to sit down to pull my socks on, I was feeling a bit wonky as the British would say. I got dressed, got my helmet and sunglasses on and jogged with the bike out of the transition area to begin the bike leg of the race.

I have never ridden a road bike with other people before. However, I have watched the Tour De France so I know a little about what it looks like. I know I am supposed to ride near other people and always have a look of pain on my face, so I did my best to practice this technique.

The look of pain was easy, I kept it on my face throughout the entire event, but riding near other people was difficult because they kept passing me and riding faster than me. Sometimes I was with people and then sometimes I was alone. I finally got into the groove and had a really good bike leg. My finishing time was about 10 minutes faster than I have ever ridden 20kms before, which helped make up some time from my horrible swim. But, I was scared of what it may have done to legs, there was still a run to do.

As I came around the corner heading back to transition I see Ray sitting on the side of the road, she yelled encouraging things to me like, "Go Chris!" and "Good job Chris!" and "Hey, at least you're not in last place!" It was good for the heart.

I enter T2, as we triathletes say, racked my bike and slipped on my running shoes and was off on the final leg of the race.

The run started on a trail and wound its way up hill for most of the first 3rd of the leg, this of course sucked. my legs felt like they were made of cement, I could barely lift my feet off the ground at first, it took about 2 kms to get any sort of groove on the run. I jogged slowly and walked occasionally and at the 4 Km mark I decided no more walking and wanted to finished the race strong. It was so much fun running down the grass hill to the finish line knowing that I was completing my first triathlon, it was awesome.

I fell short of some of my goals, like not swimming freestyle the whole way and having to walk a little on the run. But, I did beat my 1:45 time goal. I think I finished in 1:38 (the official times will be out tomorrow) and I rocked on the bike portion (well, at least rocked for me) and I also learned a lot and will be way more prepared next time. I trained for 8 weeks and it was really only 5 because I was really slack for 3 of the weeks. So, I think I did well. Cheers.

Chris


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fruit.

Today Ray and I ran by the grocery store to get some milk and stuff and we saw that we have a ton of fruit now. We don't get all the fruit throughout the year, its seasonal. So now there are mangos and passion fruit (we say granadila)and lichis and naartjies (basically tangerines). It was awesome. So we got some fresh fruit and enjoyed it tonight while we watched a few episodes of Arrested Development season 2, equally awesome. Cheers.

Chris

PS
My tri is tomorrow and I am really excited/anxious/nervous. I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving.

Hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving over in America. For everyone else in the world, I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday.

I was thinking about Thanksgiving and how much I really have been missing America. It seems the closer we are to moving back the more homesick I become. I think its this holiday time of year from Halloween to New Years, it's just not the same here. Here are a few reasons why I think I feel this way.

1. I miss Autumn being in the holiday season. Here its spring and that sounds cool and all, but its not. It kind of sucks really. I love that feeling as you are heading into winter where everyday is a little colder than the day before, the nights are a little longer, more leaves are off the tree, its great. Getting a new sweater or that first time you need to wear a hat and gloves because its a little too chilly without it. Man, that time of year is supposed to be now, not in May and June.

2. FOOTBALL!!! And I ain't talking soccer. I miss football so bad it hurts a little. College, pro, high school, arena, whatever. I love the sounds, The TV commentary, Monday Night Football, College games on Saturday. Football is a blessing to the world and I want to take hold of it and cheer and eat Freakin' Bill's chicken wings.

3. Chili. "Hey Chris, its 90 degrees outside, wanna bowl of steamy chilly with melted cheddar on top?" Of course not, idiot, I might melt from the inside out.

4. Real Celebration. South Africa is a nice place. I think so, Ray thinks so, Oprah thinks so, but these people can't celebrate a holiday to save their lives. Halloween..nothin'. Christmas....The Mall of Georgia decorates more than the whole of SA. New Years....Don't get me started, lame. Americans know how to celebrate a holiday. FYI, Prescott, AZ is titled Christmas City in AZ. Thats cool.

So Ray and I will have to wait a while to experience the holiday season in the States, but it will be well worth the wait.

Thankful

Since it is Thanksgiving I will let you guys know of some things I am thankful for. (I will list them as they come to my head, no particular order of importance, I don't want to get hate mail about my thankfulness order, ok CHRISJAKE?)

-Rachel- Man, she is amazing. I can't even truly let you know how much she means to me, I love her to pieces. Literally, she is chopped up in the trunk of my Corolla. I need to go dump her in a river, but I remembered it was Thanksgiving and needed to post a blog or I would get hate mail. Sorry, just kidding, inappropriate, I know, sorry, sorry, she's whole, in the bed with the dogs, sorry, its a holiday, in america, sorry.

-My dogs- They have taught me so much about life and love, it sounds crazy, they are just 2 huge dogs, but seriously I have learned a ton from these beasts. I really am thankful for my dogs, they are so cool.

-Coffee- Not the rapper from Christian Hip Hop group GRITS, but the little roasted beans I grind coarsely and steep in hot water for 4 minutes each day. I think good coffee can change the world. Its one of those luxuries that almost everyone on this planet can enjoy, thats awesome. Who needs bling? I have coffee.

-My family- especially my family in Florida. They have been through a lot the past few years with my aunt dying and they are still moving on, thats good.

-My new job- Ray and I have dreamed of living in AZ ever since we worked there a few years ago and in life those dreams rarely come true. but within the next 2 months we will be there. I am stoked about my new job. I must admit I don't know exactly what I will be doing. However, I do know I will be a part of a team of great people creatively discovering ways to bring the gospel to kids, teenagers and adults throughout the year in a beautiful environment. Thats awesome. And lots of mountain biking, my love handles will hate it, but I don't care.

-13thFLOOR- I have learned so much through this whole process of moving here and working and touring and leading and and and. Its been a wonderful experience that will stay with me my whole life. I am so thankful for the people of 13thFLOOR and I pray the ministry continues to grow on to do great and amazing things for God.

-Our Sponsors- The idea that people believe so much in God and what Ray and I are doing that they would allow us to follow God's calling in our lives by supporting us financially is so wonderful. Because of our sponsors we truly have had the freedom to follow what God called us to do. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

-God- The older a get and the further from Bible college I get the more I am amazed by God. I used to think I had God figured out. I knew lists and facts and outlines about Grace and arguments about the end of the world. However, the older I get the more I realize that I was an arrogant child to think I had God pegged. The fact that God loves me blows me away sometimes. I mean, the creator of the world loves me, its so wonderful and amazing.

-4x4 vehicles- Ray and I want a 4x4 for AZ and I am a research junkie, so I have been researching what 4x4 we should get and its so much fun. I had an F-150 4x4 in college and loved it. I literally loved every second of driving it, I hope our new vehicle brings me that much joy. Isn't driving just great? I love it.

-Playing Guitar- This is such a part of me is like saying I am thankful for my endocrine system.

There are many other things I am thankful for like spell check and .avi video files and Jarad from Subway and exit row seating in air planes and Chick-fil-a and quarters with states on them and peroxide and Haley Joel Osment and thunderstorms and Pass The Pigs and "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi and online banking and the Lincoln Memorial and Oregon and the list goes on and on.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Chris

Monday, November 19, 2007

Homes.

Hey everybody,

We still haven't sold our home yet and we are getting a bit anxious. Once we do get a buyer it can take another 3 months for paperwork to go through to finalize the sale. Please be praying that we get an offer soon because we won't be able to afford it in AZ. We had a couple of people come last week so I will check with our agent today and see how it looks.

On a brighter home note, we are getting so pumped about getting to AZ. Heres a picture of where we will be living at the camp. Its a cute little 2 bedroom with wood floors.



A few things I find cool about this house.

1-There is a fire place, thats nice.
2-It has 3 mail boxes.
3-It comes with a plastic chair in the front yard.

As I said earlier we are stoked about getting to our new home. I hope they have a huge party for us with punch and pony rides and fireworks and clowns and face painting and inflatable sumo wrestler suits and a pinada and back massages and Italian food. It's always fun getting to a new home. Cheers.

Chris

PS
I went so college with a guy named Jake (part of the infamous CHRISJAKE) and he will comment from time to time on my blog about how cool I am or how sexy I look, you know the normal stuff. Well, I asked him weeks ago to email me (not a blog comment a real old fashion email) and he refuses. I would like to correspond with my estranged friend, but without his email address I can't respond to him and 3rd world internet works better over email than blog comments.

So yesterday he leaves a comment whining how I didn't get back to him and how I won't email him, blah blah blah.

JAKE! GIVE ME YOUR EMAIL AND I WILL RESPOND!

No hard feelings buddy, well, maybe a little, but at least not a lot of hard feelings, perhaps a few, but not that many, not many at all, just a few that could be erased easily with $10,000 or an email to rachelandchris@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Thoughts.

This weekend Ray and I were driving around and we were talking about the move back to America, how much there is to do before we get "home" to Arizona. Packing, selling, shipping, kenneling, car buying (mmm FJ Cruiser), dog fetching, family visiting, friend visiting, trailer renting, country crossing.....There's a lot. And while we were talking about all of this I really started missing my aunt Pat (she raised me and died a few years ago) so badly.

Pat and I had a great relationship, especially when I moved out of the house in '97 to go to college. We would talk on the phone all the time. Any time I had a question or a problem I knew I could just call her up and she would listen to me talk out an issue. She wouldn't tell me what to do or be pushy, she'd just listen. Then I got out of college and she talked with me through my engagement to Ray and then with going full time with our drama ministry, Traveling Mercies. She was always there, from renting my first apartment to getting my first truck (how redneck does that sound).

I think the thing that got me down was the fact that I knew she would love us being here in SA. She would miss us, but she would know how important it was to us and she would have thought the "adventure" was wonderful. I also know she would love the fact that we were moving back. She would be there for us, always listening and helping as we make decisions about selling the house, shipping the dogs, buying a new car etc. I guess I just feel kind of like its just me and Ray making huge life decisions without the advice I always trusted the most. We have people that we can bounce stuff off of, but it's just different, you know.

Oh well, its been a few years now and while I miss her I know life must go on and death is just a part of life. But, man I would love to have her around for times like these. Plus, she would think its cool I am doing this triathlon and I think she would be all about us getting an FJ Cruiser, thats how cool she was.

Workout

Had a good workout today. I am trying to do different things that mix up my workouts so I don't get bored and since my running has been horrendous, I figured I should put some extra focus on my legs today.

The gym is a little over 3 miles from my house (notice I wrote a "little over" rather than "around" or "approximately" because those words give the impression that it may be shorter that 3 miles, but my ego wants you to know, without a doubt, that its indeed a little further than 3 miles). So what I did was load up Ray's super cool lightweight adventure race pack with my swim gear, 500ml of water in the Camel Back and ran to the gym. At the gym I had a good workout in the pool then put my sweaty running gear back on (it was as gross as you imagine) and ran home. It was tough. The route between my home and the gym is home to a monster hill that sucks when you are running (I use this term very loosely). So before lunch I had a good swim and about 6.25 miles of running. Good workout.

Lunch

We had lunch with my friend/boss Flaps and his wife Amanda at Tony's today. Tony's is one of those places you walk by a million times and never eat at, but then when you do finally stop there you will never want anything else as long as you live, a little over dramatic, so what.

We all had the Portuguese Chicken, its a whole chicken that is flattened and cooked in a peri-peri sauce. Its spicy, a little greasy and fantastic. Rachel adds a little adventure to hers by dipping every bite in melted butter. I am convinced I am Shallow Hal. I will miss this meal.

Hope you all had a great weekend and a wonderful week. Please pray our house sells, there is one couple that is in talks with the bank so its promising. Cheers.

Chris

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Alone.

I am home alone with the dogs tonight. Rachel is at a video shoot for a new show for next year. She plays a mom of a 5 year old girl, or something like that, I am not too sure.

So here's whats going on in our life right now.

Open House

Our open house on Sunday didn't go well. We only had one couple come look, they are a little interested, but not too promising. We got another agent to help us, she says she knows some people looking in our price range, so hopefully we will hear from them this week.

Damar's Pic

I have gotten several emails and comments regarding Damar's birthday picture. I think that we have a little optical illusion thing going on here. Sure, she is a huge dog, but I think the picture makes her look bigger than she really is. In the picture she looks like a monster, like bigger than Ray. You can judge for yourself, if you get the privilege of meeting her, of how big she is.

Auto Dreams

Ray and I are starting to seriously look for the kind of car we want when we get back to the States. I think we will only get one car because we have lived years with 1 and make it work, plus my office will be super close to our home so I won't need one for work. Plus we would save on insurance. Whatever.

I am still dreaming of a Toyota FJ Cruiser. It has to be the coolest thing out there now. I love it so much it makes me smile to think about driving one. Its out of our price range though. I will be taking donations for the FJ fund if anyone is interested. If I raise about 10,000 bucks then I can get one. Help a nice boy live his driving dream. Did that sound dramatic enough? Its a tax deductible donation. thats nice.

Other cars we are thinking about: Jeep Grand Cherokee. You can get a used one for a decent price. I have liked these ever since high school. The dad of one of my girlfriends had one and would let me drive it when we went out. Memories...Memories. I remember those times every time I hear Wonderwall by Oasis.

We found on the net the other night the Dodge Nitro and it looked ok. We went and test drove one and its nice. The front end looks a bit too hip hop for us, but the inside is comfy and great. I really was surprised how much I liked it. I have read mixed reviews online about it though so I don't know.

If you have any info regarding the vehicles we are looking at let me know. I want as much knowledge as possible going into such a big purchase.

Tri Stuff

Training is going well, however I run like an elephant, only slower.

I am borrowing my friend/boss Flaps' bike. Its old and the shoes are in an awful state. But, its free and I don't have a bike, so I am pleased to ride it.

Yesterday was my first real bike ride in over 2 years. I did 18k's. It felt great to be back on a bike, I love bikes.

Today I did a 21k ride followed immediately by a 3k run. I think my legs were a little tired from the ride yesterday and my run SUCKED. I was planning to do a 6k run, but only managed the 3k's. Tiring, but fun, I guess, if you like pain and exhaustion, which I do.

My swimming has progressed like mad. I did 2000 meters (~1.25 miles) yesterday after my 18k bike ride. I am feeling really comfortable in the pool and my endurance is skyrocketing. I really enjoy the motion and feel of working out in the pool. its soothing. I think I will defiantly have to join the YMCA in Prescott and keep with the swimming, its awesome.

I also met an Ironman Triathlete yesterday at the gym. Ironman is rediculous, mad respect for that guy. 2.4 mile swim + 112 mile bike + 26.2 mile run= one tough dude.

Funny side note; i will wear my spandex swim shorts for the whole race in Dec. They make shorts for triathlons, but with the move we don't have money for race specific shorts. So today I practiced the bike and run in my blue spandex shorts to see what they feel like out of the pool. In life there are moments where you feel sexy, like playing guitar or making a room full of people laugh. However, this was not one of them. If you ever have a desire to feel self conscious and insecure, go for a jog in a snug Under Armor shirt and spandex swim shorts, then dork it up a bit with a visor and sunglasses. Not sexy, not sexy at all.

Well Ray just came home from her video shoot, it ended earlier than I thought. Have a great day. Cheers.

Chris

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Open House.

Today we had an open house with our real estate guy. Its kinda sucked. Only one couple came to check out the house. However, they were really interested he said. He also said the woman kept talking about the space and how she liked it and the guy only talked about price and the garage. I suppose thats how it always goes. We'll see what happens.

Ray and I were not supposed to be here during the showing, neither were the dogs. So we took the ladies to the training facility to run around a bit and swim if they wanted. They had a ball. They ran everywhere and played with the other dog that lives there, Nicky. Then I went swimming and Guinness ended up coming in the water too. It took a lot of coaching and gentle speaking, but we had a blast. She is the only dog I know that can walk in the middle of the pool. It was hilarious, she would be walking on her back legs whiler doggy paddling with the front legs to keep her head above water. Fun.

So we'll see what happens with the house. I hope things get moving quickly. Cheers.

Chris

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Damar.


Today is Damar(day-mar)'s birthday. She is one year old and has out grown Guinness by a little bit, she is really big and still growing.

She recieved a nice new rubber bone because her other one got too gross.

Damar is a great dog; well behaved, very friendly, hates getting in trouble. Shes great, I look forward to introducing her to you guys in America. Happy Birthday Damar. Cheers.

Chris

Friday, November 02, 2007

Best and Worst, Idiot, Dine.

Best and Worst

This week was our last week as a team and the other day we had 2 sessions titled "The Best of Times and the Worst of times". Its where everyone gets a chance to stand up and say what was great from them about the year and then later get up and say what was awful for them.

Its great to reminisce about events that people loved that I forgot about. Its also cool to hear what was upsetting to people. Some felt really lonely, some felt betrayed by friends at times, others were growing personally and that causes a lot hurt when you figure out you don't know everything. I love the focus this ministry has on being open and honest. I come from a family where you don't really talk about serious issues or things that bother us. And I think its cool to have a system where people can be honest even when its hard. It was cool.

Idiot

I my name is Chris Holohan, I am 28 years old, I am 6 foot 1 inches tall, I weigh 225 pounds, I like music, outdoor activities, movies and Thai food, I am fair skin and I am a complete idiot.

We went to Sun City yesterday. Its a holiday resort/casino/water park place. We had an awesome day swimming and riding water slides. It was great.

However, I didn't wear sunscreen, because I am a moron. I know that I will burn if I don't, but for some stupid reason I didn't wear any yesterday and today I am dying. I may be worse that the TanCan incident a little while back.

Stupid me.

Dine

Tonight is our banquet (here they say "dine" for banquet, I though it sounded funny at first, but it sounds normal now. Like saying "petrol station", if felt like a tool 2 years ago saying that, but now its everyday vocabulary). We get all dressed up and have a nice party. Its gonna be fun.

I guess its our prom, minus the corsages and teen drunkenness (we have a 2 units policy here). Gotta go get dressed. Cheers.

Chris

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Nanny.

Today is my grandmothers birthday. For you who haven't met her, I call her Nanny because when I was a little kid I couldn't say granny and I said nanny.

I always thought it would be cool to have your birthday on Halloween. I mean you can have a dress up party every year. Thats fun. I wonder what she will dress up like tonight. I thought of several, but there were my top 2.

1.Pamela Anderson
A blond wig, some skimpy clothes, you got it.

2.Fidel Castro
Fake beard, Cohiba, done.

If you have any suggestions for what my Nanny should dress as for her birthday let me know.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANNY!!!! I hope its great, I love you.

Chris

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reentry. Open House. Splash Report.

Reentry
We are in reentry now after tour. Its a week with teachings and other activities to finish off the year for the team members. Its nice being home, but its strange knowing that I will never see most of this team again. We have traveled a long road together and its sad to think its done.

Our banquet is on Friday and that really marks the end of it all. Its going to be a fun party, I might wear a tie.

Open House

We are having an open house on Sunday. I really hope this house gets interested buyers soon. I am stressing a bit about it because we won't be able to afford to keep it and not live in it. Please pray the selling goes smoothly.

Splash Report

Todays swim workout was the first time I really felt comfortable in the pool. I swam a little over a mile, woohoo!

I did a set of 1000m Freestyle. Then I did 600m Open Water Simulation freestyle (the tri is in a river, so not wall to push off every 25 meters). When I reach the end of the pool I don't touch the wall, I just turn around and start again. Its tough, but good for building the endurance without relying on the wall. Then I finished with a medley of swim strokes to cool down. It was a great workout. Cheers.

Chris

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tri Report.

I have been training for this thing for 4 weeks now. The first 2 weeks I over did it and my body suffered, so the 3rd week I worked pretty well and did a mini tri (half the distance of the one I will do) and that went well. However, this last week I was lame (Este Swartz would say "frozen cheese"), I swam and biked at the gym 1 day, then we went to a town with no gym and I only ran 2 times. Lame.

So now we are back home and I did another mini tri this morning. It was a little longer than the last one and I felt really strong throughout. Here's what I did (It took me 1:06:58 including transitions).


Mini
Swim 400m (1/4 mile)
Bike 13k (8 miles)
Run 3k (1.9 miles)

Real
Swim 600m
Bike 20k
Run 5k

So things are going well even considering my crappy week this last week. Got to get serious for the next month so I can do a good job on the 2nd. I think I'll make it. Cheers.

Chris

Saturday, October 27, 2007

End of the Line.

Well, we are home from our last tour cycle of the year and probably ever. It was nice, we got to tour the Cape and meet a ton of great people. I believe a lot of great ministry was done and I also believe that many lives were changed, thats super cool.

I am having such mixed emotions concerning the end of our touring life. On one hand I know its what we should do and that we can have a great ministry impact not on the road. Plus, we can start setting down and starting our family and that is so exciting for me. But, on the other hand I love touring and performing. I love playing music and playing in a band several nights a week. Plus, it was great to get to speak for so many teenagers all around southern Africa this year.

We already made the decision, earlier this year, to not tour after this year, so this isn't a matter of moving to America, it's just that traveling and being on stage has been such a huge part of my life for the past several years that the idea of that part being gone is a little scary I guess. Its what I know. Its what I do.

I don't know much about office work and sick days and holiday time and all that stuff. I think I will adjust fine, its just different, new, foreign, more normal.

I really am super stoked about working at UCYC, it was a dream to be there a few years ago and now we will live there, thats cool. I just am a little emotional about settling down I think.

These emotions are purely selfish too, and I understand that. Ray is done on the road. It was a stretch to tour this year, but she enjoyed it, however, she is done for good. I know it will be good for her to have a more stable routine of life. To have a home that we actually live in will also be great for her.

So overall I know its great for both of us, just a little scary. Its been a great season in our lives and I look forward to a new season approaching. I'm done rambling. Cheers.

Chris

Friday, October 19, 2007

Give It A Tri.

For years I have wanted to do a triathlon and there are so many short ones now that it doesn't seem crazy to train and complete one.

So I have been holding a little secret from you guys. I am planning on doing a triathlon on Dec 2, its why I started swimming earlier this month. I didn't want to post about it because I wasn't sure if I had enough time to actually train and be able to do it. But, I think I will be fine by then.

Its in the Energade (its like Gatorade, except it tastes better) Trithlon Series. Here's the distances.

Swim: 600 meters (.37 mile)
Bike: 20 Kilometers (12.4 Miles)
Run: 5 Kilometers (3.1 Miles)

Its short, but I am still looking at that 600m open water swim with a little hesitation. However, there is an open water swim near my home the weekend before that I will probably do for practice.

I have been training for 3 weeks now, so today I wanted to see how I am doing. So I did a short practice tri at the gym and I completed it. I did half the race distances and felt fine after I finished. That was a huge relief, I now am for sure going to do the tri on Dec 2nd. WooHoo. Cheers.

Chris

For Real?

I went over to one of our students houses this morning and I was told that their host family has a pet chicken. I thought this was rediculous, however later I was in the kitchen getting some coffee and in the door from the garden comes a little chicken. Chirping like it was greeting me. It was awesome.

So I asked the mom if I could hold the chicken and she informed me that the chicken enjoys being held. She also said it also like laying in bed with people and pooping on her husband.

Then she stooped down, picked up the chicken (which they hadn't named yet so I [I actually think it was Ray] gave it the name Kentucky for KFC) I was a little nervous because the whole time I was expecting this nice, cute, sweet chicken to start pecking my eyes out and leaving me a bloody mess on the floor as it danced around my convulsing body in some sort of ritualistic act of domination over the human race. Whatever. But, it didn't, it stayed sweet. So here are a few pics of Kentucky and me.


This is right after they handed the chicken to me. Notice my look of uncertainty, its not fake. I wasn't trusting this evil chicken at this stage.




After getting used to the chicken I let it climb up to my shoulder and figured it was time for a pirate face with a chicken. During the taking of this picture it dawned on my that pirates always wear an eye patch as either a result of the bird perched near the injured eye or as a form of protection from the object of death perched near their eye.




And here is one last picture of us reenacting the fight scene from Traveling Mercies Revalatte where Ian and Noah get in a fight over Noah's insensitivity to Jill's grandmother dying. I think we pulled the emotion of the scene off beautifully. It you are interested in purchasing a script so you can possibly find several hundred dvd's hidden deep in the storage area at Northview Christian Church in Buford, GA.
Cheers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We are 17.

Ray and I are hooked on One Tree Hill right now. We love watching TV series and a friend gave it to us to watch because he thought we would like it. Its fun high school drama. Embarrassing, but fun. Cheers.

Chris

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sport.

On tour we don't have shows on Mondays, but we have team events like prayer and sport.

Today for sport we had a race up a mountain road. It was a long, steep road and I hate to say, I didn't win. It was so much fun and it was beautiful. If you ever get a chance to come to the Cape in SA, do it. Sell a kidney and come visit this gorgeous place. I am sad that our time in SA wasn't spent here. I will post pics later. Cheers.

Chris

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Wedding, A Coach and A Cape.

A Wedding

Today is my buddy Chad's wedding. I am so sad I can't be there. I don't really enjoy going to weddings, but I would have loved to go to this one. It's fun when you know a bunch of people and it would be great to see so many old friends.

Congrats Chad and Rachel (not my Rachel [aka Ray Ray, Rach or Ray]), but another Rachel that I don't have a nickname for yet. Let me think of a good one and then I will go with that. I think Thomas would be a good nickname for her. Its firm yet gentle, like her husbands heart. Whatever. I just sad that I am in a little tiny town in central South Africa and not partying with the friends. Have fun everybody.

A Coach

I felt like I was needing a little extra push in my dreams of being a great swimmer, so I hired myself a coach. Her name is Sanri, she is a 1st year on our team and she's like a fish.

It's a great set up. She helps me swim better and I don't pay her anything, perfect.

She went to the pool with me the other day and she helped me with my stroke so I look more like a swimmer and not a splasher. She said that I was doing a lot better than she thought I would. I would hate to see what she expected.

With her help today I had my best workout yet. I swam 600 meters nonstop and then swam another 400 meters after that. 1000 meters in my second week swimming. Not bad.

A Cape

We are off to Cape Town in the morning, its a long drive, but it is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have seen, so its totally worth it. I am stoked to perform down there. Its a great perk of traveling ministry, we get to see some great places. Cheers.

Chris

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oh Hi Oh.

My buddy Chad (who through the years has had various nick names including; Brown, CB, BC, Bean Town, Town, Beazy, Beanzoid, Zoid [note that he is neither from nor in my memory ever been to Boston]) is getting married to a wonderful woman named Rachel this coming Friday. They will be wed in Ohio somewhere and I am bummed that I can't make the wedding.

I did get a little fright the other day though when I read on Fox News this headline,

Ohio Couple Marries in Wal-Mart

The reason it scared me a little was I thought that I missed Chad's wedding day and he scrapped the nice church wedding for a wedding in his local Wal-Mart.

Don't worry, it turns out it wasn't him so I am happy to say that I still have friends with a little class. Not to say that people getting married in Wal-Mart don't have class (I would hate to get sued for saying that). Because I think that more people should get married at Wal-Mart. I mean how many times have you gotten dressed up and realized that you only have one dress sock. You could pick up a fresh pair of socks on the way to the ceremony. Plus, I can never think of a proper wedding gift. So you could go see what the others bought and then go shopping on the way to the reception. You could swing through Electronics and get a camcorder or Sporting Goods and get a new tackle box or Home Furnishings and get a nice futon chair printed slip cover.

I am loving this idea, then you could get some beers (PBR) to take to the reception if you don't like the punch. The more I think of it I think there should be a law past that nobody can marry outside a Wal-Mart. Life would be so much easier then.

Congrats Chad and good thing you are getting married before I get this Wal-Mart wedding law past. Cheers.

Chris

Friday, October 05, 2007

Good Week. More Splash. 3 More Left.

Good Week

Our "week" of tour that just ended turned out to be a fantastic week. Its started a little sketchy for several reasons.

1. We were in a township area so the crowd was going to be different and the logistics were going to be a little different than a normal week.

2. We only started on Tuesday. This however kind of rocked because we got a couple of extra days tacked on to our holiday.

3 We didn't have host families. We stayed at a small pre-primary school. The guys stayed in a big room and the girls stayed in a big classroom. This was actually fun. Ray and I only slept there 2 nights because we had a meeting this morning, so it was fun bunking up with the guys.

So these variables made that week different. Plus that fact that there was no stage, we had to use bare minimum lighting and it hailed Wednesday night and ice came through the tin roof where the guys were sleeping. For real.

But at the end the week was great. We performed 3 shows and there was a lot of great ministry done with the students. I was so excited to see how a week that could have been a disaster turned into a great week that the team will remember. Cool.

More Splash

I hit the pool again today, since we are back home. Its such a great workout. I swam just over 1/2 mile in my workout and didn't feel as bad as I did the first day. However, when I got out of the pool and hit the shower and did start to feel light headed and woozy, but I think thats just part of it. The shakes finally went away and hour or so later so it all good.

3 More Left

Ray and I have 3 more weeks of tour left, I can't believe it. The road and performing has been such a big part of my life since college that I am having a hard time grasping that fact that there are only 3 more weeks. Cheers.

Chris

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Splash Splash.


I have always wanted to swim. Its such a great way of getting fit, so today I hit the pool for the first time in years. I think I would have drowned it hadn't been 5 feet deep everywhere. But, for my first time it was good. A couple of observations though.

1. I bought a swim cap this morning because its the rule at the gym that you have to wear one. I got a red one, but in the lights at the gym it looks pink, how lame.

2. I don't know how to swim properly. It felt fine, but I sure to the people on the treadmills it looked like I was splashing around like a trout on a fly line.

3. I definitely don't look like Michael Phelps in my swimming shorts. Where he is toned and hard, I am more...lets say....lumpy and soft.

I just imagined the guys working at the gym saying, "Hey, should we go save that fat drowning man in the pink cap?" Cheers.

Chris

PS
I wont be blogging for a few days because I won't have my laptop with me. I will miss you.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Home. Tour. Mud.

Home

We had a real estate agent come today to start the home selling process. It was exciting and strange at the same time. This if our first home and its strange to get rid of it, oh well. He liked the place and we are meeting Saturday to finalize the selling price and get the listing up and going. Hopefully someone will come and look at the house and love it so much they will give us 10 times the asking price just because they are so impressed with our choice of wall paint and the artist way we decorated our garden with mud rather than the typical flowers and grass.

Tour

We leave tomorrow for our last tour cycle. We are touring in a township this first week which is exciting. We are trying to branch our ministry out to different parts of South Africa and the black community is an area we are trying to reach. Its going to be a different week in regard to schedule, but I am super excited about the direction our ministry is going and that we can be a part of it.

Mud

Its been so nice having rain the past several days. Makes for nice evenings; watching a dvd curled up on the couch eating grilled cheese and tomato soup as the rain falls on the tin roof over our back porch, nice. However, as stated above, it also sucks because our back yard consists of a little grass and a lot of mud. And the dogs love nothing more than running around in the mud and tracking in on the new mopped floor.

One funny mud story.

The other day I was in the back yard after a rain and I heard a strange sloshing noise next door, like a dragon was drinking out of a pool or something. So knowing there are no dragons in this part of the world and that our neighbor doesn't have a pool I peeked over the wall to investigate.

The 2 German Shepherds next door had dug a hole and where going crazy playing in the mud pit. It was awesome. They were filthy. I wanted to hear our neighbor's reaction when they got home and saw the mud covered dogs, but I didn't. I was probably curled on the couch watching a DVD and eating grilled cheese with tomato soup. Cheers.

Chris

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Run Away.

My friend/boss, Flaps, has posted a great post about run aways. We are looking at this subject for a new show that will be taken to America with our team there. You can read it here.

P.S.
A slang term for chickens feet here are runaways. You will see people grilling them on the side of the road and for R2 or R3 you can have a runaway. Warren and I had them in Soweto, Mmmmmm nice. Cheers.

Chris

Spring Cleaning.

Ray and I have been doing some spring cleaning this week and the house is lookin' sweet. We cleaned under furniture, the shower is spotless, the bedroom got rearranged and we even cleaned the security bars on the windows.

I was thinking about spring cleaning and how we are cleaning our home after a long dusty winter and I thought I will start a little spring cleaning in other areas of my life.

Body

I am lazy sometimes. I like working out and feeling pumped, but I just can't stick with it. So for my spring cleaning of my body I am going to start eating nice and healthy. Cut out the crap and clean up my diet a bit.

I have begun eating and enjoying salads and veggies. They are actually good. (I apologize to anyone I made fun of for ordering a salad at a restaurant, that wasn't nice of me.) I went so far as to yesterday make a veggie pasta for lunch. I am trying to add vegetables to my meals whether a salad or a vegetable medley as they call it at most chain restaurants. Its good for me and my sex appeal.

I am also starting to run again. Slowly. I was running, lets call it jogging, a few years ago and I loved it. However I hurt my knee on a frozen lake in Minnesota and just never got back in to it after I healed. So now, I'm back.....slowly and no Flaps I don't want to run Comrades with you, you sick man.

Spirit

I have been so slack in my Bible reading lately. I think about and pray to God fairly often. I ponder our place in this world, my calling, how I can love more, but I have not been studying the Bible like I would want to.

Obviously if I want to know more about God, his character, his will, his design for the world, then I would have to read this source that has been given to us. I realize this all sounds elementary and childish, so why do I struggle with this? I suppose it boils down to laziness or a feeling that I know the bible because of my BA from JBC. I don't know. But, part of my spring cleaning is going to focus on really getting into the Bible and enjoying the history, poetry, wisdom and character of God.

I wish you a wonderful spring (southern hemisphere) and fall (norther hemisphere) and would encourage you to find areas that need 'cleaning' and go for it. Dust off and start fresh. Cheers.

Chris

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rain. Team Placement. Guinness.

Rain

It has been looking like it might rain for a few days, but it just hasn't. Then last night it finally rained. FYI,it hasn't rained in months and months. I am so excited because now my backyard might have grass again.

Team Placement

Rachel is on the Audition Committee this year and has seen a ton of auditions for next years team. We started the other day with placing the teams and they are working on it again today. Its a ton of work trying to get the teams equal with talent and other reasons. I also love seeing people who came last year or this year and have proven themselves and are put in leadership positions. It's great to see these members grow.

Guinness

Guinness, our first born, loves Damar, but I think she misses being the only dog. The other day I took Damar to get fixed and that night Guinness ruled the house. So now she does something funny. In the morning when we go feed the dogs, Guinness, who loves food, lets Damar go eat and then tries to get alone time with us. This morning Ray went out to feed them and then here comes Guinness back in the room for a little personal time with "her people". Its clever. Rachel says she prioritizes. Cheers.

Chris

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eye See, Eye See.


Ray and I are home and kind of off this week. We are taking care of some things that have needed to get taken care of.
1. Killing the ants. I think the problem is worse than we thought.
2. Hanging the nice glass shelf in the bathroom. Which I did yesterday and broke a drill bit off in the tile. Ugh. Looks nice.
3. Take Damar to get fixed.
4. Pick up fixed Damar.
5. Get my new glasses. WooHoo!

So today I went and got my eye exam and in 5 or so business days I will have my new glasses. For you who didn't know, Guinness broke my glasses in a wrestling match at the beginning of the year. So I was wearing my spare pair that I got in 2000, then they broke, they just broke one day in the middle, like Harry Potter's in the first book. However, I don't think repairo was going to work. So I have been wearing contacts everyday since, which I don't like.

A few weeks ago we realized that there is a "savings plan" on our health insurance and we have enough "saved" where I could go get glasses and it costs nothing out of pocket, cool huh? So I get super cool new glasses. I am so stoked because I hate having to wear contacts. It's nice to have, but I miss glasses. I will post a sexy picture when I get my new glasses, in about 5 or so working days. Cheers.

Chris

Monday, September 24, 2007

Damar At The Vet.


Took Damar to the vet today to get fixed. Guinness freaked out when she (Damar) got to go on a car ride and she didn't. However, I do think G will enjoy have us all to herself tonight. She loves attention.

I will fetch Damar sometime tomorrow. Hope all goes well. Cheers.

Chris

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dogs.


Guinness hugging Marisa

We love our dogs. They are a part of our household. We Got Guinness, the black one, when we first got here, she has been with us this whole time in SA. Damar, obviously the other one, we purchased earlier this year as a friend for Guinness.

The issue we are facing now is what to do with them when we move to AZ. We want to ship them over so badly. We don't think that we can find a great home for them here. They are extremely spoiled with love and they aren't the same when we are on tour, they really love us. I always thought dogs were dumb, but I see the emotion these dogs have, its silly sometimes actually.
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The only reason we wouldn't take them with us is money. It's about $4000 to fly them to America. Thats a fortune for us. If we were rich it wouldn't be an issue, however we are not.

On the other hand, we don't want to leave them because they are super attached to us. Plus people hear don't really take care of their dogs well. They don't let them sleep inside and many people only feed them table scraps. I just would feel that leaving them with bad owners would be not living up to my responsibility as a dog owner. Rach thinks they would die from grief, maybe its true.

What to do? What to do?

We need advice. Whats your thoughts on this matter. Its a lot of money, but they are a part of our family. Please let me know what you think. I need help. Cheers.

Chris



Ray on the couch with Damar.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Rich Mullins. 10 Years.



I was 17 years old and I went to visit Florida Christian College on a recruitment weekend. During that weekend Rich Mullins performed a concert as part of the festivities. I remember vividly thinking this was going to be so lame because my youth minister, Allen Gonzalez, like his music. And of course whatever your youth minister likes is lame.

So we gathered at the venue and Rich Mullins came out to play. He was wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and was barefoot. I liked that. Then for the rest of the night I was captivated by music I have never heard, stories told in a way I have never heard a story told before. He was funny, deep, serioushttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif, entertaining and inspiring. From that moment on I was intrigued by Rich Mullins. His story is almost mythic in its Christ-likeness. Of course his fans don't know everything. We don't know how grumpy he was late at night or how bossy perhaps he was in rehearsals and sound checks. However we have a wonderful collection of songs and the testimony of his friends and family so I think in my mind I will keep him on his little pedestal, he looks nice there.

2 years later I was a sophomore at FCC and wasn't feeling well and stayed an extra day on campus before driving to Tallahassee for Christmas break. That night I was bored and my friend Nate Bush (side note- Nate helped me blossom into the coffee drinker I am today) let me borrow his new Rich Mullins CD called The Jesus Record. It's a 2 CD set where one side is a bunch a demos that Rich recorded before he died and the other CD was a nice recording made by his band, the Ragamuffin Band.

I never listened to the Ragamuffin Band disc, but played the Demo disc over and over. That night a couple of things happened.

1.I fell in love with this guys music. I laid on the floor and wept at the lyrics that were being sung on this disc. Its a whole album about Jesus and its beautiful.

2.I fell in love with the acoustic guitar. The way he played was so nice and different than the punk rock or ska I was listening to the time. I loved it. I still say it was that night that inspired me to become a better guitar player.

Well, RIch died September of 1997, my freshman year at FCC. And his music has shaped me in a way that few things ever have. If you have never listened to his music I highly suggest you find some. Some of the 80's stuff is funny for me, but the lyrics will touch your heart. if you can get your hands on the Jesus Record and play through the demo disc a few times I know you will see what I am talking about. I wish I could thank him for inspiring me so much. Cheers.

Chris

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Project Night, Big Event, John Cougar Mellencamp.

Projects

Tonight we finished with the assignment projects that we started on Monday night. Tonights performances were brilliant. I was so proud of everyone that performed, they put so much effort and thought into the night, it was great. I am a happy pappa.

Big Event

Last night we had our Big Event fund raiser and we didn't raise but a fraction of what we were hoping to raise. The event was great, but the outcome was ok. However, you never know what seed may have been planted in the hearts of some peophttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifle. God always provides the need and I know he will continue to provide for this ministry the way he has for over a dozen years.


John Cougar Mellencamp


I don't know why, but I have hit single "Hurts So Good" stuck in my head all night. It's so catchy I can't let it go. Go ahead, take a second and sing the chorus. Feel free to dance around too. I did. While making toast tonight after we got home from work. There I am barefoot, toasting bread, dancing like an idiot singing a classic of American music.
"Sometimes love don't feel like it should." How true......how true? Cheers.

Chris

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big Event.

We have a special show tonight in Pretoria at the Performer Theater. It was our annual Big Event which is a time to raise money for the ministry. More specifically, to raise scholarship money for previously disadvantage students. We as a ministry embrace cultural diversity and really want to raise the number of black, colored and Indian students on our team. One of the way we can do this is looking for people that can sponsor students. To spend a year with 13thFLOOR costs R37,000 (around $5,200), thats a lot of money and for some people in SA thats an almost impossible amount. We had a nice dinner, an opening concert by Christelle Combrink,an ex 13thFLOOR member and a performance of Gijima. The night went really well and we are hoping and praying that from tonights event we get several sponsorships for students next year. Cheers.

Chris

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Last Night.

Last night was the first night for assignments and it was good. Only 1 blue team member went and she did a wonderful job. Her name is Sonja and her assignment was to do a monologue based on one of the martyr stories in Jesus Freaks.

Her monologue stared with an abstract dance depicting her being chained and eventually killed, then she did a beautiful monologue about faith in spite of her circumstance.

I was very proud of her, this year is Sonja's first year working in the arts and she is blossoming as a wonderful actress with tons of potential. She plays one of the lead roles in Gijima, our Thursday night show, and she nails the part week in and week out. I am so excited to see where she is in a couple of years. Cheers.

Chris

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pumped for Tonight.

We have a 2 fold ministry here at 13thFLOOR.

1. We do evangelism though the arts. We perform to audiences around the world showing snapshots of life and then telling them how God fits in this life and that he loves them and and and. Thats short run on sentence version.

2. We develop our team members. We offer curriculum for them in training, we offer counseling and therapy, we develop their leadership skills and teach them responsibility and and and.

Well part of that development is the big assignment they have to do during the year. They are given an assignment consisting of a written portion (like a 10-15 page term paper) and a practical. The practical can be making something arty or making a video or performing a song I made them write or doing or dance or a skit or or or.

I am pumped because tonight we start with the practical part of the assignments. Our teams have work really hard on these and I look forward to seeing all that hard work on stage. The team is setting up the venue with lights and everything now and we will go watch them tonight. Its gonna rock. Cheers.

Chris

Good Times.


I wrote about my friend Piet the other day who played at our Collision music fest thing. Today I was looking at some pics on the computer and found this one of us playing in Brussels. I love this picture. I might be one of my favorite pictures of all time. I like it better than an Ansel Adams picture of the Grand Canyon or one those lame motivational pictures with the crew team rowing on a lake or a river or whatever.

So, this made me think I want to post a couple other of my favorite pictures just for fun. Fun for me, it its fun for you great, if not, I apologize.



I love this pic because it was New Years 2004 in Time Square NYC. I love it because Ray looks super cute and I look somewhere between really, really excited or crazy and out of my mind with uncontrollable rage.




Here is one more pic I like. This is a different trip to NYC we are in Central Park looking rugged and handsome. A couple of facts about this picture.

1. Tim, who turned 31 yesterday, didn't bring a good hat and his ears were freezing all day.

2. Me, the writer of this blog, thought that winter in NYC was a good time to shave my beard. My face was so cold.

3. Chad, is getting married next month. Well, he was last time I talked to him. I hate when you haven't seen somebody for a while and then you mention their girlfriend and then they have to go into the sad story of why she left him or whatever. Beans, I hope your wedding is still on. I am heartbroken I can't be there. Ray Ray is too.


So there are some pics I like. There are more, but if you want to see those you have to come over to my house and bring me something, then I will show them to you. Cheers.

Chris