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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rain. Team Placement. Guinness.


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, 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.


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.


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.


Saturday, September 22, 2007


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.
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.


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, serious, 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.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Project Night, Big Event, John Cougar Mellencamp.


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 peop 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? Cheers.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Tim.

My buddy Tim Bomgardner turned 31 today. Tim is a good friend of mine who is married to Ray's best friend/my arch nemesis Suzanne Renee.

Tim is by far one of the smartest people I know. If you need to know anything get in touch with this guy and he can help you. From church history to home plumbing he's gotcha covered.

One time Traveling Mercies were driving together in my car returning from a trip to Nashville, when all of a sudden this crazy noise came from my engine. We pull into a gas station and first person I can is Tim Bomgardner. He asked for the details of the noise, what pitch, what rpm's makes the sound worse or better. Then he correctly diagnosed the problem from a thousand miles away. Thanks for that Tim, I owe you a beer.

So Happy Birthday Tim. Hope it goes well. For a uber mushy "happy birthday Time" go check out Suzanne Renee's Blog. Cheers.


Collision '07

13thFLOOR had the vision for starting a christian music festival in South Africa earlier this year. The idea is to have a multi-day festival with performances, speakers, worship etc...

Last night was our introduction into the world of putting on a music festival. It was more of a concert event, but it was great. There were 2 stages and the venue was cool, I think it went off well. It was also fun because I got to see some old friends. My buddy Piet De Wet (and Walton [from last years band]), the guy I performed in the streets of Brussels with, played on the small stage between acts, he just got this new guitar, its so cool.

Then a buddy that I tour in the States, Bouwer, performed with his band Straatligkinders. They were awesome. I like a band that performs, not just stands and plays their guitars and these guys were all over the place. Check them out, the are Afrikaans, but the music is good enough to listen to even if you don't know what they are saying. Pies said the lyrics are good, I trust his judgment.

There was a new band called Green Door. They have only been together a month or so. They were rad. They have kind of a Cold Play/U2 sound. I look forward to hearing more from them.

There were some other people and 13thFLOOR did a couple of dances (I used to think dancing was so lame, but now I really enjoy it, from ballet to contemporary to hip hop. So either dancing is actually cool or I am just actually lame).

The night was good, live music, live crowd, can't go wrong. Cheers.


Trash In My Garage.

The trash pickup people (what I call them) are on strike. I think that is fine, they are standing up for themselves and trying to secure a better life for themselves and their families. However, this at the same time is not very convenient for me because now my garage smells like garbage. I have several bags of garbage sitting in my garage festering in hopes that the pickup people and whoever they they work for get to some resolution quickly. I heard from a reliable source last night that we can take our own garbage to the dump, but now I have enough to fill my car because its been weeks. So I think I will wait till Tuesday (pick up day) and see if they are back, if not then I have to get rid of this somehow. I honestly hope I don't have to put all my nasty trash in my Corolla and haul it to the dump, it may ruin my car. Cheers.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Big News.

No. She's not pregnant.

A few months ago our friend/boss, Flaps, was talking to us about how we live year to year and need to start planning more long term, like not touring and kids etc... So Ray and I were thinking about this and started thinking do we want to stay long term in SA? Do we want to have our kids here? Do we want to be middle aged here? So we started thinking and praying and trying to figure out what to do.

We love 13thFLOOR, we love what the ministry stands for and how on the edge they are. We love the care for the team members and the whole system in general, so it would be something big that would have us think of leaving. However, there is one ministry that Rachel and I wanted to be a part of before we moved here called UCYC. Its a camp in Prescott, AZ that hired Traveling Mercies a few years ago for a summer. While we were there Ray and I (she wasn't Ray Ray yet, so I should have said Rachel or Butters, which was her nickname at the time. Thats another story) were saying how we would love to work with this ministry. How its a great environment to raise kids and how the leadership was solid and I could grow a lot working under such leadership. It was just a dream that we had.

So back to flaps. We had a meeting with him when we got back from America and he gave us till Friday to make a choice to stay with 13F or to go somewhere else. (That makes him sound like a jerk, he only did that because if we were to leave they need to start planning on who would take our positions.) I had emailed UCYC to see of there were any openings on staff. And on the Thursday night (our meeting with Flaps was on Friday). UCYC emailed back and said they wanted us to come work there.

After getting the email we spoke more with them in AZ about what I would do and what working there would be like and it all looked good. So Ray and I decided to take the offer and move to Prescott, AZ to work with UCYC .

We are stoked and sad. We didn't expect to leave SA So soon, but Its a great opportunity and we feel we have to take it. I believe that God is doing some big stuff with UCYC and I am excited about being part of the team. I will be working with the programing team planning and executing the summer jr high and sr high camps. Along with that everyone kind of helps in all areas of the ministry so I will get a chance to have my hand in other aspects too.

Its going to be weird not touring and going to work in the morning and not getting home at 11 at night, but it will be good. Rachel is super excited about not being on the road, but is sad about the prospect of not performing. We will miss South Africa dearly, but we believe we will find a wonderful home in the beautiful mountains of Prescott, AZ

So for now we are figuring out what needs to be done to move back to the states. We will be starting over, again, but it has always worked out before so I know it will again. Cheers.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Times are a Changin'.

I made a new header for my blog today. It pictures 3 of my favorite things

1. Damar. My happy 10 month old puppy.
2. My Coffee Pot. I have a hard time respecting people who drink bad coffee.
3. The English language. Wonderful language.

So, while I was uploading my new header I took a wrong turn into the land of HTML. I was thinking I would fool around a little with the HTML code and see what happens. So I was figuring some things out, being careful not so save of course, when something happened. Its save automatically and I lost my blog. So, for a while I had this crappy Chris-Custom-HTML blog. It was horrible, it was all black and no pictures, I don't know what I did. I was shocked, not mad just stunned because that meant I had to start from scratch. So that has been most of my day, fixing my blog. By the way if you were wondering my header 698 pixels wide. I know that because I spent about 30 minutes doing trial and error to get it to fit. Oh, well. I think I will go eat some more cookies. Cheers.


Cookies, Emails and Ants.


Ray made some homemade chocolate chip cookies last night, they were awesome. I have been trying not to eat sweets lately, but these were too go. They were so good we both just had cookies for breakfast. Mmmmmm cookies for breakfast.


I was checking email this morning and I noticed I had over 600 emails in my inbox. Not new messages, just months and months of emails that I never deleted or archived. So now I am just archiving everything. Its taking forever.


Rachel and I are at home for the next few weeks, then we head out on our last 4 week tour cycle. Since we have been home I noticed we have ants in our home. Theres like a billion ants building up an army around my from walk way preparing to for attack. I hope they don't attack, that wouldn't be nice. So tonight I fight back. Ray is getting ant killer on her way home from work and I am going to go Jack Bauer on those little nasties. I may even throw in some cheesy one liners so the neighbors with think I am super tough. Cheers.


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Rachel and I were driving to the doctor's office yesterday, Rachel has a cold, and she asked what date we arrived in South Africa in 2005. Then we realized we had missed our 2 year anniversary of being here. We got here on September 8th with a couple of bags and a couple of guitars. Its crazy to think that we have only been here for 2 years because so much has happened, we have seen and learned so much. We started from scratch, again, and have made a nice little life for us here.

Over the past couple of years I have learned so much about myself. I have learned a ton about leadership and working with people. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to move here was to work with Flaps Van der Merwe, our CEO. He is such an amazing leader and he has taught me so much, he is a great mentor. Flaps can teach you a hundred life lessons in a 5 minute conversation. He is a great man.

So, 2 years down. Cheers.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Want One.

Heres the deal. Men love toys. I started out as a little boy that wanted the new Snake Mountain because it had a walky talky thing that you could talk through, that was cool then. Then I wanted a bike with gears, like a 10 speed. Then I wanted a Oakleys so I would look like Jose Canseco in the outfield. Then I wanted a Sega because the Nintendo is too crappy for my great gaming desire. Then I wanted Reebok Pumps because the guy on the commercial bungee jumped that the shoes kept him on the bungee. Then I wanted a Frank Thomas White Sox jersey. Then I wanted a car. Then I wanted a car that didn't catch fire (I miss the Ford Fairmont, that was a sweet ride). Now I am just a big kid and I have a child like want. I want a freaking Toyota FJ Cruiser. I would look so cool in that, with a mountain bike on the roof rack and my great danes chillin in the back and my wife giving me a back massage while I drive. Oh man.

I know why it appeals to my child side. Because it looks like a Tonka truck. It doesn't look real, its a big toy for big boys.

So I was doing a little research today on this beautiful machine and I noticed something that made me laugh out loud. There is a screen thing in the middle of the dash, I don't know what it does, but its there and its cool. So I also guess there is a dvd player hooked up to this screen and in the advert there is a scene from a movie where one person has a knife to the other persons throat. This is funny to me because why would you take the picture of that scene and post it on I thought is was funny, but I must say that made the truck cooler to me because it's that much tougher, you never see mini van adverts with a murder scene on the dvd player. Cool Truck.

so If you have been thinking of what you get me for my last birthday, I will take a silver, 4x4, 4 door one. Cheers.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We Thought You Was A Toad.

Is that General David Petraeus or Delmar from O Brother Where Art Thou.


I am horrible at remembering birthdays, but growing up I always remembered 2; my Nanny (October 31 because of Halloween) and my aunt Pat (September 11 because of 911). Now September 11 has a whole new meaning because of the terrorist attacks in 2001. I can't believe it was that long ago. I am sure that our generation will forever be able to say, "I remember where I was when I heard about it".

I was in the bank. On my way to work at Campus Crusade in Atlanta. What a day. I can remember everything so clearly. I suppose its the way people felt when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened.

I hope your September 11th goes well. Cheers.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Rugby World Cup.

The Rugby World Cup starts today and I am totally stoked because America qualified. I have to be honest I didn't even know that we had a team, but we do and we are in the same pool as South Africa. I don't think they have a chance of winning, but I am glad the the US is a part of this international tournament. I also hope that this brings more fans in America to the awesome sport that is Rugby. If you get a chance to watch some matches you should, its a lot of fun. Cheers.


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Monday, September 03, 2007


I finished Harry Potter 7 today. I am happy. This ends a saga that started for me in Illinois in 2001. I am still happy.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm Grobin Crazy.

Last night my neighbor was playing Josh Grobin's "You Lift Me Up" over and over and over and what made it worse was he was screaming a lot with it. I mean, I love a little Josh Grobin as much as the next guy, but flat vocals next door don't do him justice.

We are off on our last tour week for this cycle. We are going to Bela-Bela this week, which is supposed to be nice, I look forward to it. The tour is going well and many students have come forward to give their lives the God or to speak with our team members about stuff that is going on in their lives. So I am excited. Cheers.