New Park in Lakeland, FL - Common Grounds Park

It's been awhile. I know. And, to be honest ... I don't really have a whole lot to say STILL.

However, we have gathered up a few pictures along the way that I'll be happy to share with you guys.

I hope you enjoy them.

These first shots are from a new park here in Lakeland ... called the Common Grounds Park. They actually did a really good job designing this park.

There's lots of things for the kids to do.

One important point:

I suggest going on the weekdays. During the weekend - the place is PACKED.

Talk soon!



My Bike Ride to Work

Well, you asked for it ... so here are a few scenes from my bike ride to work. This was about 2-3 weeks ago. It's about 8'ish in the morning here.

Most of it is fairly mundane, boring stuff. I mostly just wanted to share a bit of it with you.

Around minute 2, you will get some clips and audio from some sand hill cranes along the way.

At about minute 3 you'll get to see a pretty large lake I pass by every day. This lake has several pretty good sized alligators. While there are NO Gators in this video (sorry - I was hoping), I will try and get some in the future. If I do get some, you'll recognize them from the lake in the end of the video. It's got some pretty cool scenery and wildlife that hang around it.



Video clips from our Tennessee Trip - Part 2

Here's a few more video shots from our trip to the Smoky Mountain National Park.

These shots are taken in the Cade's Cove driving and bicycle loop. It's got some pretty cool scenery throughout. Very worthwhile views after being in the flatlands of Florida for a year and a half. One portion of the video gives a brief glimpse into a sugar press. That is a very cool piece of equipment, and I'm sure a lot of those babies existed down in these parts of Florida, because apparently they still have massive amounts of sugar fields down here.

Also included, are some clips from our summit visit, and a few moments from our hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Unfortunately, I'm no cinematographer, so these are just plain old scenes. Nothing framed beautifully, or perfectly.

I hope you enjoy anyhow.



WOW - I may be a criminal soon

I just got this link from a friend.

Apparently, living in America no longer allows you to have your freedom of opinion, and to speak about it, or display it, openly.

This report talks about some ideas, videos, and concepts that I firmly believe in, and whole-heartedly support.

- Opposing national government
- Opposing abortion
- Opposing the FED
- And several other items listed inside

My friend has one of these bumper stickers, and I've seen one of those movies in the report ... and I agree with a lot of its principles.

And yet, if you'll notice in the top right hand corner of the report, it is being passed out to Missouri State Highway Patrol, and endorsed by the Governor of Missouri.

I can't believe it! Literally, some day soon, I might be a criminal for my beliefs and ideas.

I honestly didn't think we would be getting to this point so soon in America.

I'll have to stew this one over a bit, I'm not sure exactly what this means for me and my family? I actually know police officers. Are my own friends going to come gather me up someday soon - because I oppose someone's political opinion?

In America?

It appears that all those things our fore-fathers lived and died for are now coming back to haunt us. I'm not even talking about the founding of our country ... I'm talking about Hitler, World War II, and ALL of the beliefs America stood for against Nazi-ism. It's all come around again, in the form of 'community', and social acceptance, and politically correct-ness in the United States.

You can read the report at the links above. And you can see more comments about it here.



Grist Mill Model from the Smoky Mountain National Park

I realized I had a few good clips of this grist mill, and I wanted to share just this video with you.

If you've never seen it before, there's a website called Mill, and it's run by a family friend - Jim Miller.

I wanted to post this video in honor of him, for compiling so many amazing pictures in one place.

I thought some of the clips in this video were great examples of the historical heritage he is trying to capture with his website.

Thanks Jim! And I hope you are able to visit LOTS more mills in the future to share with all of us.



Video clips from our Tennessee Trip - Part 1

Hi ya'll!

It's funny to type that. Sometimes it seems as if I'm picking up parts of a new language back here. I say ... 'Yes Sir' WAY more than I ever thought I would. It's strange at times.

Anyhow ...

I am finally having the time to put up a little of the stuff from our trip up north to Tennessee.

This first video is part 1 of our journey into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These are clips from a couple of hikes we took.

I hope you like them.

Amazingly, the Park isn't really that high (in elevation), but we were extremely blessed to be hit with a rare snow storm in the area that left us with lovely powder while we were there.

The cold in Tennessee, and in the National Park, were just sweet reminders of days when you could cuddle up together ... and not be afraid of sweating instantaneously.

Thanks for watching!

Another video of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park coming soon ... Part 2 ... the Scenic Loop.


Dad ... Why didn't I listen earlier?

The older I get ... the smarter my Dad gets.

I don't know why, but for some reason as I was growing up, I never paid attention to the things my Dad did. He could fix anything mechanical. He could build, or re-build, anything. He was a great coach. And I could go on, and on, and on.

In fact, even as I became a teenager, I still didn't learn many things from him that I could have.

The funny thing is ... now that I've been working at this new company for almost a year - he already knows the entire industry better than I ever will. And I NEVER learned any of it from him.


I know.

However, one thing I've tried to do ... especially as I've gotten older, is listen to his advice. One of the things he talked about last summer, when gas was at $4 a gallon, was fuel efficient cars. And the one he suggested was a Scion XB. I took his suggestion to heart, and picked one up.

Here's ours:

And so, I was pleasantly surprised when Christy found this article, by By Dan Shapley at, the other day. An article that talks about the best 'used' cars on the market by ...

ranking the small cars among Consumer Reports' picks by fuel economy. The years were chosen at random, but the fuel economy shouldn't differ within a model. (Do your own comparisons with
Most Fuel-Efficient and Reliable Used Cars

1. 2005 Toyota Echo - 31 mpg
2. 2006 Honda Civic - 30 mpg
3. 2005 Scion xB - 29 mpg
4. 2007 Toyota Corolla - 29 mpg
5. 2006 Toyota Corolla - 29 mpg
6. 2005 Toyota Matrix - 27 mpg
7. 2007 Pontiac Vibe - 27 mpg
8. 2006 Mazda 3 - 26 mpg
9. 2003 Mazda Protege - 24 mpg
10. 2004 Subaru Impreza - 22 mpg

Check out #3 on the list. Yep ... that's the one my Dad suggested.

This is just 1 example of the many times he's offered me advice, and it's turned out to be great. Sometimes I wish I had listened a WHOLE LOT sooner.

Thanks Dad!



AWANA Grand Prix Race Results - for the Speer Girls

Well, thank goodness there wasn't a whole lot of competition. This helped our girls come out with some top honors ... not only for design of their cars, but also for speed.

For Design = we thought we would do okay.
For Speed = we thought we would come in dead last.

But, it turned out better than we thought.

Here's the AWANA Grand Prix video race recap:

And ... here are the results for the Speer girls:

Thanks for stopping in for the race results!

I am super proud of my two chickens for such great designs, and for enjoying the whole process.



More AWANA Grand Prix Beauties - from the Hutchins Fam

So, I revealed the Speer's AWANA Grand Prix cars the other day. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see some really cool speedsters from a friend (and his family) that I work with ... the Hutchins Clan.

And, even better, they told me I could publish their finished product.

Now, I don't usually get the privilege of putting out other people's ideas and pictures, so I totally wanted to take them up on their offer.

Plus ...

These cars are totally cool!

I hope you like.

And thank you to the Hutchin's Clan for letting us share their goods!

I hope you guys take down the competition.



The Speer Girl's AWANA Grand Prix Cars

Every Wednesday night the girls go hang out at AWANA for a couple of hours. AWANA is a place where they get to play around with other kids, and learn about the Bible.

They really enjoy going, and they have a lot of fun.

However, once a year, they have a HUGE race car challenge. The kids, all, build a racing car based on the race rules. And this year the girls decided to try their hand at the races.

Here are some pics of their cars:

This is Keeley's SWEET AWANA race car!

And here is Kaitlyn's Awesome AWANA race car!

And here's a tiny bit of video.

We'll post up some other more detailed info soon.