Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Just loungin' around...

I promise this was not posed. Anna Ruth apparently likes to rest her head on her hand when lying on her side.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A quick announcement, more to follow...

Anna Ruth Hamlin was born Tuesday morning (Dec. 6) at 6:59 a.m. EST 6 lbs 14.8 oz., and 19 inches long! She has fair skin and light brown hair. A few pictures are posted on the Redeemer website on the sidebar for all who are interested. Anna Ruth is named such because we want her to wait on her Redeemer as these women did. Also, she bears the name of Olivia's mother, Anna, and sister, Lisa Ruth. Praise God for a healthy delivery, and pray for healing for Olivia, as she is going to be okay, but has a lot of recovery to do.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Hamlin Thanksgiving

All the Hamlins came up to our wee apartment in Blacksburg, since we couldn't travel down to Charleston this year. (Liv says that the basketball is getting quite heavy.) God blessed us all with good fellowship in His name, clear weather, and lots of good food and wine. Praise God for every good gift, including that wine. If he has not withheld from us his own Son, how will he not graciously give us all things?

Despite the ladies' reluctance to play, the Thanksgiving tradition of croquet did not end this year. The men bravely ventured into the cold for another ultimate croquet challenge. This year's course included an approximately 100 ft. shot, and the added difficulty of hills and very high winds. Though I gained a large lead early on, my father made a furious comeback, and we sat even for the final challenge on the course. In the end, I hung on, and for the first time in many years, the younger Hamlin took the victory.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What is the business of God's church?

Some great quotes from the latest issue of Modern Reformation:
The world will never consider Christ crucified relevant. The unchurched will never tell us that they want to hear the message of the cross. This is why the church doesn't ask people what they want to hear. The church preaches what people need to hear.

The unchurch offers the unchurched lots of things to do. The typical unchurch is a very busy place. Why? This is what the unchurched expect. The unchurched always expect less than God gives. The unchurched expect the church to be like any other volunteer organization. The church has something better.

The church isn't interested in giving sinners something to do. The church is interested in giving sinners the things God has done for them. The church isn't interested in keeping Christians busy. God has given our families, neighbors, and work to do that. The church is where God does his work.

~Todd Wilken "The Promise-Driven Church"

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" 1 Cor 1:18

Another quote(saying the same thing):

"We know what sinners want to hear. We want to hear about ourselves. We want to hear that God loves us just as we are. We want to hear how we can improve our lives and ourselves. We want to hear that we can do it--with a little help from Jesus. This is why the unchurch preaches so much about the Christian and so little about the Christ."~ Wilken

As for a definition of terms, the "unchurch" is the church that is built on what the people want out of a church rather than God's design.

Sorry for the length of the quote. I seriously didn't post the entire article.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

My wife keeps saying she's pregnant...

As of Friday, Sept. 30, 6:00 pm. Liv is hiding a basketball underneath her shirt. And she's blocking the view. Who's that behind her? ...
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Introducing our new baby!

We haven't named her yet, but she sure is beautiful, ain't she?

Of course, I'm more excited about my darling wife and our upcoming child than our new Ford Focus. But I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce the 2005 wagon to our audience. We really like it, and we are very blessed to have it.
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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Write a blog.

Liv says, "Write a blog." I try to tell her, "It's a blog post, not a blog."
Liv: I think it's a blog.
Rich: A blog is what we put our posts on, just like you write journal entries in a journal; you don't write journals in a journal.
Liv: I can write one about the baby. My stomach is 31 cm. The baby weighs about 3 pounds. She's 17 inches long. That's long! (From head-to-toe.) Most babies, when they're born, are about 19 to 21 inches long. She just needs to fatten up. She'll gain about 4 to 5 pounds in the next 2 and a half months, and I'll gain twice that. Lovely... [Liv opens up a box of Nerds.] I think the baby likes candy.
Rich: The baby, huh?
Liv: You forgot to say that she's a big pain in the side, and she makes me go to the bathroom all the time. Hey, you should take a picture of me tomorrow, to show everybody how big I am. Are you writing that down? I wasn't saying that for our blog. I mean, post. Whatever! I'm just going to stop talking so you can't write anything down. Don't write that down! No one's going to like reading this. What's the blog going to be called-- "Olivia talks to herself?" I mean, post.
Rich: That's pretty good.
Liv: I can't believe you're posting that.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

"It's a Girl! ...(we think)"

Here she is, perhaps enjoying the subtle pleasures of in-womb thumb-sucking. Her hand is very distinct, with all the fingers she will need.
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July 4th Weekend With Family

Anna and I were sitting out of this one. Someone has to take the picture, right?
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The sisters, after an impromptu swim in invigoratingly (or is it, downright freezing?) cold water.
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Sisters from the fairer-skinned side of the family...

This wasn't July 4th weekend, but we have been behind in our blogging duties. This was in early or mid-June.
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Friday, July 01, 2005

Visitor's Guide

Well, this post has needing to get out of the gates for a while: In honor of the marriage (and honeymoon) of Ben Cozart and Sarah (soon-to-be) Cozart, we will be talking about activities for tourists visiting beautiful and historic Charleston, South Carolina (for about a week or so). Any additional suggestions are welcome.

First on the agenda has to be restaurants, and since we’re talking about Charleston, we must first talk about seafood. Liv recommends “The Crab House” downtown or on the Wappoo River. Mimi’s CafĂ© on Harborview Road in James Island is known to be good. I actually really like Gilligan’s, but only the John’s Island location. None of these are especially fancy. Neither are “The Wreck” or “The Trawler” in Mount Pleasant on Shem Creek, but these are known to be the best in Charleston. Nicer seafood places, such as Hymnan’s, or Hank’s, are more expensive, but not nearly as good. Don’t bother with A.W. Shucks or Bubba Gumps.

Our unanimous top recommendation goes to Jestine’s, for some Southern style food. Try the “table wine” for some great iced tea.

For a nicer meal, such as newly married husbands want to treat their brides to, try “The Boathouse,” “McCrady’s,” or our unanimous top choice, “Magnolia’s.” Also, “California Dreaming” may sound like a corny pick, but it is better than it sounds, and the view is great (also the prices are pretty good, while having a very nice atmosphere).

Make a whole meal of it at T-Bonz downtown. Good affordable food is to be had, alongside some good brews: try any of the following Market Street Wheat, Cooper River Red, October-Fest, or the Nut Brown Ale. Afterwards, go next door and inspect the desserts at Kaminsky’s. The cakes are very tempting, but I always fall for a milkshake, made even better with Bailey’s, or some other liquor.

As far as bars: I’m told Moe’s Crosstown Tavern is good. My personal favorite is Gene’s Hofbrau in West Ashley (I think it’s on 17, I can’t remember; it might be on 61).

For you history buffs:

Visit The Citadel, The bastion of military antiquity. Don’t be scared off by the guard at the gate.

I really like Fort Sumter, but the ferry ride is kind of uncomfortable. But this is Charleston, where the War of Northern Aggression began.

Middleton Plantation and Magnolia Gardens are great for the history and the beauty.

You can also take guided tours of the homes and/or gardens downtown. Ghost tours, while they may not be true history, are fun, I’m told. When going on these or the carriage tours, take what you hear with a grain of salt; not all of these things have any basis in fact.

Miscellaneous things to do:

Take a rickshaw somewhere.

Don’t buy the sweetgrass baskets. You can get the same things for a lot less in other cities.

An out-of-towner might want to make sure they park at a known parking garage, so they won’t be traipsing through the underbelly of Charleston to find their spot. Bad areas are mixed right in with good ones.

The beach:

Folly is really a surfer beach. There are usually a lot of kids there. Isle of Palms is nice but crowded in the public beaches. If you’re close to it, Kiawah is the best; it’s not crowded, and it’s beautiful, though they might charge for parking.

On Sunday:

Visit Island Community Church in James Island, or Church Creek Presbyterian in West Ashley. Tell them we sent you.

Congratulations and best wishes, Brandon and Sarah!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

15 Weeks

The baby is now 4 inches long and weighs 73 grams. He/she is looking more human as the body is now bigger than the head. Baby has begun to suck and swallow.

As for me, I'm still not really looking pregnant, even though my pants are getting too tight around the waist. I'm still suffering from a bit of morning sickness and tiredness, but my appetite is getting better. I'm on the lookout for any baby movements, but they say it might be hard to distinguish from air bubbles or flutters in the stomach. Sleeping is getting difficult because the stomach position I love is not so comfortable anymore. I'm trying to train myself to sleep on my side, but it's hard. We're looking forward to finding the gender of the baby in just a few weeks!

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Most Wonderful Time, of the Year...

The NBA Finals have arrived, and the San Antonio Spurs will meet the Detroit Pistons tomorrow at 8:00 pm on ABC. Where to begin? While I’m not sure that the series will be a long one, the teams that are playing appear to be well-matched. Both teams have great rebounding, outstanding team defense, are fundamentally sound, and get major contributions from every guy on the team. There are exciting individual match-ups as well, and at every position. Here is my take on each.

At Center:
Just the facts here, no hype: Ben Wallace versus Nazr Mohammed. Everyone talks about Nazr (prounounced “Nawzzie”) being the important cog in this year’s Spurs team. I’ll give very little argument here: a good rebounder, a soft touch, a strong and good defender. We can say that he’s the best the Spurs have had at his position since The Admiral. However, we can’t say that he’s going to play that much of a factor in the series. Assuming Wallace plays Mohammed, Nazr won’t get the ball much, from passes or off the glass. So his superior offensive game won’t make a difference, as he is playing against the best interior defender in basketball. It may keep Big Ben from being able to switch off on him to play help defense, though, and this could prove to be key. Wallace will be a liability on offense; however, the Pistons have been dealing with that since he got there. The Defensive Player of the Year versus a very serviceable big man.
Strong Advantage: Pistons, Ben Wallace

At Point Guard:
Tony Parker versus Chauncey Billups. Both are excellent shooters and passers. Chauncey has better ball-handling, but Parker’s is not really suspect. Parker is quicker, but it won’t matter too much because of Detroit’s team defense. Billups gets a lot of credit for his leadership and decision making. Parker has it easier because his main decision making is done by Tim Duncan.
Slight advantantage?: Spurs, Tony Parker

Small Forward and Shooting guard:
Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton versus Bruce Bowen and Brent Barry/Manu Ginobili. The two best man-to-man defenders in the game today (in Prince and Bowen) and a couple of hustle guys (Hamilton and Ginobili). That’s not controversial because Ron Artest is not in the game today. Both of these two defenders are excellent at shutting down the best individual players in the game. They have proven themselves against the cream of the NBA, but the cream are players who initiate the offense. In this case, Hamilton will be running all over the court, purely wearing out Bowen, getting into good position without the ball. Ginobili is a creator, but he is unpredictable enough that he may cause some problems for Prince. I think Bowen matches up better with a player who has the ball, and who he can play straight-up (, though he did fine keeping the ball away from Shawn Marion in the last series,) because he is more likely to get worn down. The matchup will cause more problems for him (versus Hamilton) than Prince against Ginobili, as Prince’s long arms will be a match for Ginobili’s circus skills.
Somewhat more of an advantage: Prince and Hamilton, Pistons

Greg Popovich against Larry Brown. Both are excellent “game coaches.” In that sense, they’re even. Let’s not waste any more time with small-talk.
Advantage: Popovich, Spurs

Power Forward:
Rasheed Wallace versus Tim Duncan. Both are excellent defenders, both are excellent offensively. Rasheed is a better shooter from outside. He is also more athletic. He is one of the best all-around players in the NBA, and I would want him on my team every time. Even though Duncan has a better game from 10 to 15 feet, if these two guys were to play one-on-one, Rasheed would dominate. However, that’s not the way the truly beautiful game is played. Tim Duncan is the most important player in the NBA in terms of value to his team, and his team is the best in the NBA because of him. He is unstoppable if he gets the ball. Though Rasheed is a fundamentally sound player, Duncan is the most polished player in the game. His momentary basketball instincts are better than most coaches when they have 10 minutes to think about a given play. TD knows exactly what to do with the ball at any given time, and no player in the NBA can keep him from doing it. The Spurs have formed around him to become the most cohesive unit in the NBA on offense and defense. Everyone knows that the Spurs are far better offensively than the Pistons. However, San Antonio also had the number one defense in the league this year. Granted, the matchups will make things different, but despite the fact that the individual parts probably look better in Detroit, this series will go to the most finely-oiled machine, and this time it’s not made in Detroit.
Advantage: Duncan

Though I don’t like the Spurs that much, I think that the two best teams are in the Finals, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Spurs in six.

This is every basketball fan’s chance to sound like an expert, or just enjoy the fun of discussing basketball; this is half the fun of watching it. Comment on the series. I had to sound audacious. You don’t.

Monday, June 06, 2005

In Honor of Orlando Bloom's Newest Movie, "Kingdom of Heaven"

If I can only hold my hands like this, then maybe girls will like me. Oh wait, I need a wrist-belt too.
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Aragorn is attractively swarthy.
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Orlando is sooo intimidating with an implement of war in his hand.
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Orlando Bloom times three. Kingdom of Heaven is right!
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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Respite in the Hoops World

Anyone wondering why I haven’t posted on the NBA Playoffs lately need look no further than the string of disappointments I have endured since my last post. I feared for Dallas in that series against the Suns because I knew what kind of series that would be, and how good of an offense Phoenix has. I really thought that Dallas would have beaten anyone in the playoffs except Phoenix, the Spurs included. However, I figured, if Dallas had to lose to someone, it might as well be Steve Nash, and the most beautiful offense since the Chris Webber Kings and, well, the Steve Nash Dallas Mavericks. Well, that series has been over for some time, and an even more dreaded moment has come.

I didn’t think that Phoenix could beat San Antonio. I had actually thought that San Antonio might lose to Seattle in their series, but unfortunately, that did not happen, and now the Suns are playing the Spurs. Even worse than that: before tonight, they were in a 3-0 deficit for the (best-of-seven) series. Every NBA fan knows that no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in any round of the playoffs and won the series. I don’t expect this one to be an exception. San Antonio’s offense is as good as Phoenix’s, but their defense is vastly better. Even more importantly, though Steve Nash has never matched up well with Tony Parker. This is something I hate to admit. Parker is possibly the quickest point guard in the NBA, and Nash might be the slowest. Nash is a better player, hands down, but he just can’t match up with Parker. Nash has never been relied on for his defense, but Parker can just pick apart defenses without ever worrying about Nash.

Let’s take a break from the gloomy side, though, and talk about the reason I bothered to post this evening. Phoenix won their first game tonight, sending the series back to Phoenix for Game 5. I expect the Suns to win Game 5, and the Spurs to win Game 6 in San Antonio. I am just happy to see some competition, and I like it when a team like Phoenix with some offensive flair makes it tough for a better team like the Spurs.

I shouldn’t be too hard on the Spurs. I actually like Manu Ginobili. I like all their players other than Tony Parker and Robert Horry. The Spurs are a classy, well-coached team. Until recently, two players on their team were Christians who had incredible witnesses to their team and to the whole of San Antonio. Even though David Robinson and Avery Johnson are gone, I could get past the fact that the Spurs are the Mavs’ rivals. It’s just that I’m bitter because they disappointed me year after year when they faced the Evil Empire Lakers. The Spurs had better teams than the Lakers, and, yet, would fold as Robinson and Duncan would completely disappear when the fourth quarter came around. I gave up cheering for them, and started hoping for something better.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Late night memories

The “Hops” denotation of this blog will have to lay in waiting for a while now, as I am not supposed to drink any alcohol during my time on a certain medication. However, today, as my beer substitute, I had a malted milkshake made by my lovely wife.

Quality. From the simple ingredients of vanilla ice cream, a drop of vanilla, a splash of milk, a squirt of Whopper’s syrup, and a couple pours of half-and-half, a stupendous beer substitute was born. The kind where saliva keeps coming to your mouth after it’s done because the sheer memory of the taste is so delectable that your brain doesn’t yet realize that no more food is in your mouth. The kind that makes you reflect on its worthiness for the next half hour. A tastiness that just gives you pause every half hour after that, and makes you turn and say to your wife, “That was a really good milkshake.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Harmonies News

This is borrowed news, I guess, having read it on Robert Uthlaut's blog. However, it is big enough news that I can't keep it under wraps. U2 (the greatest band, ever) is considering re-recording their Pop album, which, incidentally, is one of my favorites (though Liv hates it). Maybe she will like it after this. There is a lot of good stuff on that album. Edge is great on this album, in my opinion. When Pop first came out, the critics loved it; however, U2's audience didn't, and it ended up being their biggest financial flop yet. Anyway, you can take a listen over on U2.com, on the sidebar Harmonies links.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

12 Weeks

This is an image from an ultrasound, so it looks a little different, but you can see the baby pretty well. This is what an average baby looks like at 12 weeks. Little baby is fattening up. He/she doubled in weight over the past week and now weighs in at 14 grams. The liver has begun to function, and the vocal chords are beginning to form. Also, the baby is now about 2 inches long. Lots of other things are happening, too.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Beautiful Blacksburg

The hills are alive... Posted by Hello

Glamour shot Posted by Hello

Ben Vastine gave me a great idea for a post. So, today, when Liv and I went for a walk, we took our digital camera. These are just a couple of views along our walk. Blacksburg really is beautiful right now. And to think, this was all within a short walking distance from our apartment. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

Priscilla Owen

Senate minority leader Harry Reid has called (appeals court nominee) Priscilla Owen's written dissent in a case concerning parental consent for abortion (click here to see the decision; see page 70 to see Judge Owen's opinion in question), a case of judicial activism. Consider for yourself if it is a case of judicial activism, or a reaction against that. You will see that Reid is very comfortable with double-speak. This description (by Reid) is so far from the truth, that no person, not even someone idealogically opposed to the ramifications of her dissent can actually believe this lie, with real knowledge of the facts. Senator Reid hopes that voters will never see the facts, and trust him.

At least the senators are seeing that everything important that they can do has to do with the appointment of justices, since they are the ones who really run the country.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The long-awaited blog from Liv is finally here...

My topic of choice is the main thing that occupies my life and thoughts at this point in my pregnancy—morning sickness. First of all, let me clarify for everyone that this malady is horribly misnamed. I’m sure every mother will agree with me that this condition should be named ALL DAY, EVERY DAY sickness! I really didn’t understand that a person could feel so crummy and so tired until I experienced it. The only thoughts of comfort are that this will likely be ending in a couple of weeks, and I will get a baby out of this whole ordeal. Also, it does help that a lot of women have gone through the same thing (many of them much worse than me) and are able to sympathize.

But for those who can’t understand because they haven’t been through it, it can be hard to explain. I’ve found that with Rich. He just can’t understand how I can still feel tired after getting nine or ten hours of sleep at night. Or how one week I will crave bananas and the next week I can’t stand the sight of them. Or how I can be hungry, sit down to eat, eat two bites, and feel like I’m going to throw up if I eat any more. The recurring theme is, “What’s going on here?” But guess what? I’d like to know the same thing! Unfortunately, it remains a mystery for even the doctors and scientists seeking to find a cause or cure for morning sickness. Even in our age of discovery and technology, no one knows why pregnant women suffer from it.

As I mentioned earlier, though, I should start feeling much better as I head into the second trimester, my fourth through sixth months. Remember, to learn more, log onto Pregnancy.org on the Hoopla links.

What's the big hype about blogging?

Okay, is it just me, or did you feel weird writing your first blog to post on the internet for all to read? I just can't help feeling weird about writing my personal thoughts down and then publishing them on a website. Do people actually care much about what I say?

I know people who are really into all this can spend hours reading other people's blogs and making comments as well as working on their own. Maybe it's a bit addicting.

I guess I can understand how it can be fun to let people know what's going on in your life or what issue you've been thinking or learning about lately. And it's pretty cool when people comment on what you've posted.

Hey, it sounds like I'm beginning to come around; maybe I'll give it a try.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Late night

The Mavs are very frustrating. They've had the lead most of the game, and had it at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Something happens to them when the pressure's on, though. I think it's a conspiracy by the refs. Anyway, there's less than 5 minutes left and they're losing by 9.

I've been reading Given For You, by Keith Mathison (loaned to me by my father-in-law). There's been a discussion of the historical Reformed take(s) on the Lord's Supper, and I'm mostly through a discussion of relevant Scripture passages. It's pretty difficult to read, at least for me. The scripture passages discussed are relevant, but they all seem kind of mysterious to me, no matter how you understand the Supper. Anyway, I hope to make a meaningful post about that sometime in the future.

Liv's feeling pretty bad lately. The first tri-mester will be over soon. I (and she) are looking forward to that. She has been wonderful to me in the midst of her trial, and I haven't noticed a bit of crankiness on her part. Whether or not you might guess otherwise, Liv has been a big help with the re-starting of the blog. She is a little unfamiliar with the set-up, so she's gearing up to start posting soon. She should have some awesome stuff to talk about, b/c she's into science, and knows all kinds of cool facts, including many about pregnancy. We've got some plans in the works for some exciting material soon. We'll keep you updated.

Signing off...(with Dallas still down 9 and 52 seconds to go--I can't believe Amare Stoudemire still only has 3 fouls!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

11 Weeks

It's 11 weeks, and Baby Hamlin's feet look like something close to this. Although, the size of the picture can be misleading, as the child's whole body is about 1.6 inches long. Liv says that the feet are about the same size as those on the pro-life pins, which are actually that of 10-week old fetuses. That would make them between 1 and 2 cm long. That's just me guessing. The amazing and fun thing to see, though, is how well developed they are.

We also know that nearly all his/her structures and organs are formed and beginning to function. Hair and nails are beginning to grow. There's lots more to know. Just go click on the Hoopla link to pregnancy.org, and surf to your heart's content. But do so with the knowledge that as amazing as this miracle is, it is only a taste of the creativity and power of the Author, Sustainer, and Redeemer of life, by whose glory we will be forever fascinated. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005

Getting into the swing of things,

Well, now that I’m married, my wife is pregnant with our first child, and I am more than halfway through grad school at Va. Tech, I am going to begin talking about important things. That’s right, the NBA Playoffs have started. As much as I like the NBA, I love the playoffs. Every game is very important; great players rise above, but even more so, great teams rise above, and teams’ contrasting styles and personnel are tested and compared. Liv and I have watched two playoff games so far, though, because we aren’t able to get ABC, and we don’t have cable. The highlight reels at go.espn.com have served as our sustenance in this staple food group. Dallas is still in the playoffs, fighting off their opponents and all the prognosticators, who have predicted sweeps by the opposing teams in each of their first two rounds. Dirk Nowitzki, however, is the real issue. The German Bird finally had his first “Ri-Dirk-ulous” game of the playoffs in game 4 of the Phoenix series, and even that was only about par for him. Unless he starts playing better, I don’t believe that Dallas can put away the Suns. (I feel obligated to make some sort of prediction when I’m discussing the playoffs.) Right now, however, the series is tied 2-2, with the winner facing the winner of the San Antonio/Seattle series (also tied 2-2).

Continuing on the playoffs thread, Liv has decided, against her God-given authority (me), that she will cheer for the San Antonio Spurs, one of the most-hated teams for a Mavs fan. Obviously, she is in sin; however, I have decided not to fight this battle and to hope that God will convict her in a two-fold manner: first, that the San Antonio Spurs are, by virtue of having the softest players in the NBA, a Frenchie for a point guard, and Robert Horry as a valuable back-up, not going to win the NBA championship (and if they do, are not going to deserve it); and second, that her husband is in the right, and she should have found something about the Mavericks to cheer for all along. Not that she would have to look very hard, though, because a 7-foot tall, fade-away shooting, 3-point nailing, ball-handling German wizard of a basketball player is reason enough in and of himself.

another trial run

Can I post, too?

Upside-down pictures of the newest member of the Hamlin family. Posted by Hello

Sledding in Blacksburg, the day before breaking my ankle. Posted by Hello

Just seeing if it works

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it,...