Lost Year

It's been a LONG time since we have been back here to make updates.

There's a simple reason for that.  We experienced a huge loss in our lives the Summer of 2011.  I'm not talking about the death of a family member.  But, I am talking about the death of something else.

Our marriage! 

You see... for the last 30 years, I have been keeping a secret.  I acted like I was a great man, and I thought I was living a great life.  A life of service.  A family man.  An upstanding, loving man. A follower of Jesus.  

English: The title page of a My Secret Life re...
Title page of a My Secret Life reprint
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It turns out - I was lying.  I was secretly pursuing my own selfish wants and desires, while portraying myself as someone else altogether.  What everyone else was seeing was a lie.  I was just giving a false perception of what I was really living like.  I was fake. 

The true me...

I was trapped in a secret life of pornography and sexual sins.  And, I thought my secret life was only affecting me.

However, that summer, my secret came out into the light.  My sins, which had been infecting me, burst out onto the lives of everyone around me.  It was destroying everything that I had lived for.  And it was ruining my family and my marriage.

When my wife found out about my secret life, our marriage ended.

We never actually signed divorce papers to end it.  But, let me tell you, it was OVER!  It was dead.  And it was not coming back to life.  We were finished.

There was no way I could resurrect what I had secretly been working so long to destroy.  My wife and my kids we going to leave me - and I deserved it.  I had not hope of salvaging my life that I had been building for 15 years with Christy and my girls.

Those were very dark, and ugly, days in our family. 

Instead of trying to save something I had destroyed, I gave up on what I was trying to do, and I gave Jesus control of me.  Instead of further eroding my life, I allowed him to take control.

For real...  finally.  

And today, miracle of all miracles, my marriage is still together.  My wife hasn't left me.  My kids are still at home.  I am actually learning to love my wife like Christ asked me to do all those many years ago.

Ephesians 5:25  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it."

I can tell you I was NOT loving my wife in this way.  I was loving myself.  I was selfish, manipulative, and self-seeking.

Now, I hope you can see where we lost over a year of our lives.

I tell you all this not because I am proud of myself.  Absolutely not!  And certainly not because I am a great person.  Definitely not.  On the contrary...  despite me, our family has continued to survive through one of the toughest years any of us have faced.    There are many things we feel lead to share with you, but haven't had the breath or the voice.

I want to apologize, in advance, for so plainly talking about these hurtful issues I shared.  I understand it is not something that you might want to see, or read, from our family.  However, it is important to say, that this is our real life.  This is a truth we must live in daily.  This is the reality that thousands of families are dealing with every day now.  And we want to share as much of it as we feel lead. It has become a huge part of my life, and current ministry with other men, and I feel compelled to share it with anyone who might be in a similar situation.

We hope to share more in the days ahead.  We ask that you will be willing to pray with us as we do.



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Kait - playing around with the Mac

Here is a sweet picture Kait created - drawn freehand and colored in with the Mac.

Love it!


Stumbled Upon an Old Friend's Creativity

I know a lot of tremendously talented people. And I keep waiting for one of them to actually achieve success.

And, so, it was with great encouragement that I stumbled upon the 7 Layer Studio blog the other day.

I used to go to school with Shelley WAAAAAAY back in our younger days. And I am so excited to see the creative ideas and inspiration showcased at her site. (this photo reveals just one of the MANY projects you'll find from Shelley there)

While it's not a topic I am really that interested in, I thought you might find some great ideas. There's plenty to see and enjoy.

Shelley, it's great to see you doing so well! I hope you keep right on going!
All the best,


Selling a Piece of My History - the Chicken is Leaving the Coop

I honestly can't believe I am writing this right now.

I have put my chicken websites up for sale. You can read more about the sale at that link.

I have been running the Chicken Coop Plan website for over 5 years. It feels like I'm giving up a piece of my heart by selling it. On the same hand, it feels like that piece of my heart has been strangling me and holding me back for the last 2-3 years. It feels like I should be holding onto the past, even though it's a past that is dead and gone to me.

Anyhow, there is a $250 reserve on the sites, so if they don't go above that they won't actually sell. However, the content included, and the free traffic they generate should be worth WAY more than that.

If you've ever wanted to own a piece of one of the first profitable chicken websites on the internet, this could be your chance. Ideally, you probably want to know something about chickens, raising chickens, building chicken coops, and also have a desire to share what you know with other readers.

Let me know if you have any questions?
All the best!

P.S. Just to add a comment to this post - as of Friday 6/3, the reserve price has officially been met on the chicken coop sites.

So... I will be selling these sites, and leaving the chicken market for a while.
It's been good knowing you!

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More savings.

It has been a while since I have shared my grocery savings. Not for there being a lack of them but more from a lack of motivation to post it. So I figured I had better just jump back in to posting with both feet. Here is what I have gotten over the last couple weeks.
Last week Publix had a great coupon in the weekly ad. It was the Gas card. So I tried to make the most of it and I did a couple different transactions so that I could get the most gas gift cards. The total for both transactions before sales and coupons would have been $396.61 And what I paid out of pocket was $157.27. I know that that sounds like a lot but I was able to purchase $200.00 worth of Gas cards! That is a total saving of 61%. Not my "best" saving but it is a great savings on our gas budget for the next month and a half and I was able to get some groceries as well!
Here is the first transaction...

4- Edwards Singles pies $2.99 BOGO used Manufactures coupons for $1.00 off each
making them .49 each

2- Steamfresh frozen veggies sale of .89 each used manufactures coupons for .35 off
each making them .54 each

4- Whole Fruit Sorbet $2.99 BOGO used manufactures coupons for .50 off each making
them $1.00 each.

4- Sundown Vitamins $2.99 each used a store coupons for $3.00 off each and
manufactures coupons for $1.00 off each making them
FREE with a total of $4.04 OVERAGE!!

1- Gallon of Milk $3.75 No coupons used for this

1- Package 1.5lb Ground beef $4.27 I used a Winn Dixie store coupon for $2.00 off
making it $2.27 or $1.51 per lb.

1- Package Boneless skinless chicken breast 1.65lb $4.57 I used a $1.50 off making
it $3.07 or $1.86 per lb.

4- Bags Peperidge Farms dinner rolls $3.00 BOGO used manufactures coupons for $1.00
off each making them $1.00 each.

4- ears corn on the cob .25 each No coupons used for this.

2- Nabisco Single serving packs $5.99 BOGO used manufactures coupons for $1.00 each
making them $1.99 each

4- Classico pasta sauces $2.69 BOGO used a manufactures coupon for buy 2 get one
free making them .67 each

2- 8O'clock coffee bags $6.59 used manufactures coupon for $2.00 off 2 making them
$2.29 each

4- Milano cookies $3.49 I used manufactures for free cookies when you buy the
8O'clock coffee so they were all free!

1- Coffee mate creamer $3.79 I used a manufactures coupon for free coupon making it

1- Uncle Bens Ready rice $1.99 used manufactures coupon for a free rice making it

1- 5 lb bag of red potatoes $ 2.50 No coupons used on this

1- Philadelphia cooking cream $2.00 used a manufactures coupon for free cooking
cream making it FREE!!

6- $25.00 Hess Gass Gift Cards ( they were already out of the $50.00 cards) I used
the Publix store coupon for $10.00 off a $50.00 gift card purchase. Making
them $40.00 each
Also for this purchase I used Winn Dixie store coupons for $5.00 off a $30.00 purchase. I used 4 of them for a total of $20.00 off my purchase. These are used before any other store or manufactures coupons So that is how I was able to use that many. The total before sales and coupons was $282.89. And after $112.57.

And Here is my second transaction of that week.

1- Gallon Milk $3.75 No coupons used

4- Sundown Vitamins $2.99 used a store coupon for $3.00 off each and manufactures
coupons for $1.00 off each making them FREE with a total OVERAGE of $4.04

4- Kikoman Fried rice seasoning packages .89 each Used manufactures coupons for
$1.00 off each making the FREE with a total OVERAGE of .44

4- 6 count eggs .99 each used manufactures coupons for .55 off each making them .44

4- Bags 8 O'clock coffee $6.59 BOGO used manufactuers coupons for $2.00 off 2 making
them $2.29 each

4- Milano cookies $3.49 used manufactures coupons for free cookies when you buy the
coffee making them all FREE!

1- $50.00 Hess Gas Gift Card I used the Publix store coupon for $10.00 off when you buy a $50.00 gas card. Making it $40.00

I also used a Windixie store coupon for $5.00 off a $30.00 purchase. Total before sales and coupons was $114.14 After, what I paid out of pocket was only $44.70!

I was able to extend my grocer saving into out gas budget! How great is that?!?

So now on to this weeks saving.
The total before sales and coupons would have been $118.08. And after was only $10.17! That is a total savings of 92%!!
This is what I got...

2- Hunts Ketchup $2.45 BOGO used manufactures for .25 off each making them .97 each

6- Vlasic Dill Pickles $2.69 BOGO used store coupons for .55 off each and
manufactures coupons for .75 off each making them .04 each!

4- Hidden Valley Dressings $3.69 BOGO used manufactures coupons for $1.00 off each
making them .84 each

4- Sundown Vitamins $2.99 each used store coupons for $3.00 off each and
manufactures coupons for $1.00 off each making them FREE with a total OVERAGE
of $4.04

4- Publix bakery Bagels $1.69 BOGO no coupons used making them .84 each

4- Welches Grape Juice $3.99 BOGO used manufactures coupons for $1.00 off each
making them .99 each

2- Cokes $1.59 Used a manufactures coupons for free soda making the both FREE!

6- Kraft Homestyle Mac and cheese $2.59 BOGO used manufactures coupons for $1.00 off
each making them .29 each

2- McCormick Garlic powders $1.99 each used manufactures coupons for .55 off each
making the $1.44 each

4- Yakisoba Noodles .80 BOGO used manufactures coupons for .50 off each making them
FREE with a total OVERAGE of .40

1- Pack Blueberries $2.99 used a manufactures coupon for $1.00 off making them $1.99

4- ears of corn on the cob $1.00 used manufactures coupon for $1.00 off making the

2- Bags Dorito Chips $3.99 BOGO no coupon used making them $1.99 each

1- 2 liter Pepsi $1.89 Used Publix store coupon for free 2 liter when you buy 2
doritoes making it FREE!

I also used 2 Winn Dixie store coupons 50 $5.00 0ff a $30.00 purchase. Again taken off before all other coupons! Making my total out of pocket only $10.17 and a savings of 92%!!
Thanks for letting me share!


Toby Mac comes to Lakeland, FL

We've been in Florida almost 4 years now. And the girls are getting OLD. It's scary to see how fast time goes by.

However, one of the coolest parts of aging children is that they start actually having their own thoughts and opinions about life and culture. One of Kaitlyn's recent favorites is a singer named Toby Mac. He used to sing with a band called DC Talk. They started as a band when I was in college, and were hugely successful. A few years ago they went their separate ways, and have all gone their separate ways in the music industry.

Toby Mac, who I originally thought would fail as a solo artist, simply because all he could do was rap music back then, has developed tremendously as a singer and artist. Kaitlyn LOVES his music, and it has caused me to really listen to his stuff too. I now have about 3-4 of his songs in my ipod as encouragement for my bike commute.

Anyhow, Chris and I splurged a few months ago, and picked up tickets to his show in Lakeland this month. And the day FINALLY arrived to go up there.

So, here are some of the highlights from our time up there:

First of all, you can see a couple pictures of us in line at the show, and inside the building here:
The Joy FM sponsors Toby Mac in Lakeland
Shots of us include #'s 2605, 2607, 2608, and 2818.

And then here are a few shots of us hanging out before, during, and after the show:

Another great thing about the girls new tastes in music, is that it has lead me to discover some bands that I would have never normally listened to.

Here are a few free tunes you might check out. These are some of the musicians that were with Toby Mac in concert.

This guy has the #1 song in Christian radio right now - called Something in your Eyes.
Shon Lock - is the guy in the 3rd picture from the top (above)
You can hear the song here. Click on the "Enter" button at the bottom. The song auto-plays when you click through.
You can download it on itunes here.

And another band that was pretty cool - was a new group called SuperHeRose, click their name and you'll be able to download a couple of their tunes.
The girls really liked SuperFreak and We Got That. The first and second pictures (above) are a couple of guys from this band.

It was a great show, and we had a good time together. Toby puts on a killer show.


Time to create!!

So for a while now I have been trying to figure out how to get my creative juices going. It seems like my creative side has been napping for a while. so I saw this idea for an art journal and thought that would be a great place to start. But I also wanted to include the girls in this art journey. So we all made art journals. They are some books that I have had for a long time and I thought what better use that this!
We each decorated out covers.
This is mine...

This is Keeley's...

And Kait's...

Here is a better look at each of our charms that we hung off the bottom of the cover with jump rings.

There is all kinds of things there. Keeley's is kinda hard to see in the photo but the black bottle caps have letter stickers on them and say "Me!" also the blur charm thing in the silver book plate on her cover says magic. And on mine I added come beads that a co-worker made by hand. They are just beautiful!
Kait's has room for more things that she will add as she finds them!
And this is the first page ineack of our journals. For this page I told the girls what I wanted them to say and then let them decide how to get that done.


and Mine...

Keeley decided to paint her background and then stamp and write over it. I love how she did the square, rectangle and heart and then stamped over them.
Kait and I put printed tissue paper on the background then dripped paint over it. Then Kait added chipboard letters and stamped a script samp over them and embossed it with white powder.
I used a die cut to make the gears and embossed them with several layers of embossing powder and then finished them all a bit differently. one by rubbing black paint on, and the other 2 by adding just a little sprinkling of a different color embossing powder while it was still hot. I like how that worked!
Al has even gotten in on the creating! Here is Al's pages that he has done.

Do you see a theme??

I also decided that a Spring garland that I had made a couple years ago looked a little lonely. So I decided to make a banner garland to go along with it. And I love how it turned out!! Here it is hanging with the Spring banner on my old door that is hung in the entry way of our house.
It is a little hard to see it so here are photos of each of the banners.

On the first one the bunny was cut out of a scrapbook paper. The same paper was used for the bunnies on the third and fifth one as well. The eggs I just cut out of plain white cardstock and then inked them and stamped and embossed them to make them look like decorated Easter eggs.
Them Flower cross picture and little chicks with the flower filled egg were vintage images that I found on the web and printed them in black and white. (because I don't have color ink for my printer right now!) Then I colored them in with water color paints. I love how they turned out! Then the cross that is in the book plate I cut out of cardstock and embossed with gold powder to make it look like a charm!
The trims that I used around the edges are different vintage trims that I had in my stash. Actually the trim on the 4th one was actually flower appliques that I got from my mom. I cut them apart 2 petals each and then glued them all along the back of the banner. I ended up having just enough to do the entire banner! Looks great and you would have never been able to tell that they were flowers!
Thanks for looking at our creative endeavors!. Hopefully we will have more to share in the near future!