Saturday, May 31, 2008

Beach Pictures

Many have asked to see beach pictures from last weekend in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Here they are:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Biz Developer or Relationship Builder

Around 5pm I met up with Jamil Evans of Evans & Chambers Technology at Chima in Tysons Corner. I think that sometimes people in the business community get so caught up in the networking and business angles that they forget some basic things like stopping long enough to get to know people and build relationships. It was refreshing to sit and engage with a fellow entrepreneur and 'get history' with one another. Jamil and his partner have a great business (certified 8a small business too) that is growing, doing quality work, and provides top notch IT services.

On a different note...Jamil is just a genuine guy who is honest and sincere. Besides talking about what opportunities are out there to be chasing, we had a chance to talk about our families, travel, and the future. It always nice to hear successful people talk about wanting to do more than just make money. We spent time talking about the idea shared by Linda Ellis in 1996...'The Dash'. It is great to make money, it's exciting to have a growing and thriving business...but at the end of the day, I can't imagine saying to myself or those around me..."I wish I worked 3 more hours or I wish I stayed late more often." I am all about working hard and focus, but every once in a while it is important to sit with friends and other businessmen in the community and remember what things of significance we plan to accomplish.

After we hung out for several hours...I raced off to Car Max to join Sharon in our exciting Friday adventure involving the truck (see Sharon's post on being a single car family).


Monday, May 26, 2008

House of Blues

A question I was recently asked was:

What is the Church?

Matthew 18:19-20

Ephesians 4:1-6

I bring it up because while in Myrtle Beach we don’t have a ‘traditional’ place to plug in, so I decided to take the family to the House of Blues. That’s right…food, family, and worship at the Gospel Sunday brunch. A change in place and change in pace. We had a wonderful time and even Sybella got into the worship songs. Some folks may be there for entertainment value and a Sunday meal but I thought it was more than just a fun experience for the family. If you ever make it to Myrtle Beach and stay through the weekend, I highly recommend the House of Blue’s Gospel Brunch!

Church is not the bricks and mortar but rather the people, fellowship, and focus. It was a great way to start Sunday and spend quality time as a family engaged in something that is not normally the focus of the family vacation.


For those of you who are thinking... these guys are fanatical or even a little over zealous…don’t worry. This was not an attempt to be overly spiritual just a way of taking an hour out of the ‘family vacation’ and making it more about family and a little less about the beach. I think the boys were more into “Jake & Elwood’s Car” parked out front.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Used a big chunk of the 10 hours in the air to digest Andy Stanley’s book, “Visioneering” and what was left I finished up during the start of vacation. Stanley takes the historical story of King Artaxerxes and his servant Nehemiah to draw life lessons on why vision is important, how to set vision, how to respond to challenges, and staying focused.

My biggest take away is the following quote, “The most significant visions are not cast by great orators from stage. They are cast at the beside of our children…My most significant vision casting takes place on my knees with my face twelve inches away from the face of my children.”


Some other quick highlights on this excellent book:

  1. Vision begins as a concern
  2. Don’t Get distracted
  3. Anyone can be a critic, everyone can come up with solutions because it does not take anything special to have a good idea, but it takes a visionary to generate results.
  4. Vision requires constant attention…one individual has to be willing to pick-up the vision and be the person who will deliver.
  5. Leaders who have success in vision casting share at least these three traits: A Peaceful Spirit, Healthy Relationships, and Character
  6. To be an effective leader you have to engage people’s heart and tie it to the vision.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Took off early on Monday morning and flew with Mark Batterson to California. Rick Warren was hosting a special event at Saddleback Church in Orange County. I have forgotten how beautiful California is and how awesome the sunsets are.

The conference was incredible with leaders from all over the country. Mark was asked to speak to this select group of invites who came to learn more about Rick’s vision for the PEACE Coalition. Rick has more than a big dream he has a heart for helping people by taking on the 5 Big Global Goliath’s of today through PEACE:

P - Promote Reconciliation
E - Equip Leaders
A - Assist the Poor
C - Care for the Sick
E - Educate the Next Generation

I will share more later but just wanted to encourage everyone to dream big dreams and trust God to fill in the gaps. I was totally in awe at the wisdom, experience, and teaching provided by these spiritual giants of our time. Mark is sought after by so many and is truly a transparent leader who men in leadership look to. Mark has a new book that will be coming out called "Wild Goose Chase". The more I hear him tell people about the book, the more excited I get...can't wait for the release later this year...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Canned Food Brunch

I am totally excited about the Father's Day Gift we are giving David (and a lot of other dads)!!

Here are the details:

You are invited to the Best Father's Day Brunch ever! What is it you ask?It is a Canned Food Brunch--a what? A Canned Food Brunch!

We are inviting you, to help us, help others. We all know that the economy is tough right now and food prices are UP--- unfortunately that has created many empty shelves at Food Banks & Services. We have decided to HONOR our dad, David, with an AWESOME service project; we are raising money and food for S.H.A.R.E. of Virginia via the Chesterbrook United Methodist Church's drop site.***If you are not familiar with S.H.A.R.E, they partner with approximately 350 churches and community organizations to collect food. The individuals who participate in S.H.A.R.E volunteer 2 hours of their time and then are able to pay $18 for bags of groceries worth $40-$50. The participants get to bless and help others and are then blessed themselves with low-cost groceries.

Over the next 3 weeks, we will be going door-to-door in our neighborhood to collect canned goods and non-perishables for S.H.A.R.E. We have set a goal to collect 20 bags of groceries (approximately $400-$500).

But, How can you help? It's not hard! You would normally get your dad a gift for Father's day but does he really need another tie, money clip, sports jersey, baseball cap, or electronic gadget?

Instead, Before June 13, Bring a bag(s) of food to our house with YOUR dad's name on it or, if you live far away, send a check made out to our mom (Sharon Simon) with YOUR dad's name in the Memo line and our mom will buy the food. (NO amount is too small or large, send $1 and UP ^^- We need EVERYONE's help!)

All of the food will be donated in honor of YOUR dad on June 15th--- Father's Day. On Father's Day, you can give your dad a card with a message inside about how he inspired this gift of giving. [If your dad is not with you anymore, you can still give; instead write a card to your child, spouse, or a friend and tell them what you admired and loved about YOUR dad]

Please take this opportunity to HONOR your DAD's Legacy by helping someone else. Also, please feel free to pass this e-vite along to others.

NOTE: 100% of your donation is Tax deductible and will go to S.H.A.R.E. of Virginia. If you would like a receipt for tax purposes, let us know- we will make sure that you receive one. If you would like verification of the validity of this offer, please feel free to contact Chesterbrook United Methodist Church at or 703-356-7100.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Climbing Ladders

This video is a bit grainy and does not have sound. But, Colin recorded it and he and Connor want desperately for me to share it with you. They are so proud to have taught their 17-month-old sister to climb up to the top bunk! (note- Connor on the top bunk jingling keys as enticement.)

Something tells me that this is only the BEGINNING of her climbing adventures-- Enjoy!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slow Blogging Week

Well, It's been a slow blogging week. What can I say? We have been busy.....
Soccer Practice, Soccer Games, Journal Day at School, Violin, Homework, Grocery Shopping, Friends' Birthday Parties, Church, Fundraising Plans for Summer Camp, etc.

OH!!!!!!!! And last but not least, NANA is in town. :)

More blogging soon, we promise!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad! You're the Best!

Colin, Connor, & Sybella

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Deal!!

Any of you who know me well- know that I can't pass up a good deal. And, I certainly can't pass up a GREAT deal.

On May 2nd, the PTA at Cunningham Park Elementary had their Family Fun Night and Silent Auction. It's their biggest fundraiser of the year. There were numerous (100+) items up for bidding; everything from resturaunt and grocery store gift certificates to autographed books, baseball & football tickets, craft baskets, salon services, ice cream with a teacher, picnic lunch in the principal's office---literally everything you can imagine.

One thing I did not imagine was a $2000 gift certificate for orthodonic services to the boys' orthodontist----I know, you had no idea that the boys had an orthodontist. They have one. In fact, last month after their consultations he gave me their orthodonic plan and an estimate of the Bad News; you know, the cost. Let's just say, I won't be getting a car this year! :) Sometimes dental insurance covers part of your orthodonic services, ours does not.

So, imagine my glee at the prospect of a $2000 gift certificate to OUR orthodontist with a minimum starting bid of $500!!

I won't keep you in suspense- after 30 minutes "glued" to the bidding table and several attempts to out-bid me, when the auctioneer's bell sounded, I had the winning bid of $625.

How Cool- Thank You to the PTA and to Dr. Garai! The gift certificate will be put to good use and is an awesome blessing to our family.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Army Adventures

It is moments like these where I wish I was a kid again. The boys insisted taking me on an 'Army Mission' this past weekend. While they attempted to get me into camo and boots; I was able to convince them that photographers don't have to follow the same rules.

They were fun to watch and appeared to me more guerrilla warfare or special forces rather then a plain old Army mission. Every once in awhile I need to stop and engage on thier level...dream on thier level...and explore on thier level. I read recently that the most significant vision casting is done 12 inches from your childrens face at night right before they head off to bed. Need to be dreaming / vision casting with these 'troops' more often. They are growing up fast.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Soccer Game

The thunder and lightening stayed away and we got to go to the DC United game last night!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


What is a V.W.I.P?

It's a VIP with a VW (Volkswagon ) Twist. Volkswagon is the new sponsor for the DC United Soccer Team.
Last night I got an e-mail from Volkswagon. I almost didn' t read it because I thought it was just our service reminder. But, to my surprise, it was an e-mail making sure that all the VW owners in the area knew about the new partnership with the Team. It also announced that all VW owners could go to ticketmaster on-line and receive 4 complimentary tickets to tonight's DC United game against the Chicago Fire. Not only that, but if you drive your VW to the game, you will get to park for FREE. And, for the rest of the season, the first 50 VW vehicles into the lot get free parking! So, we are definately V.W.I.P.s!! Barring thunder and lightning, we will be at the game tonight.
See you on the Pitch!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

50 books in 52 Weeks

21 weeks have passed since I started the challenge of reading 50 books in 52 weeks. I have set benchmarks along the way to evaluate my progress and make sure that I am keeping on track.

Today was one of my "goal dates;" I wanted to have finished 20 books by May 3rd. I have finished 22 books! [Below is the list of books I have read thus far]

1. Fiction- 1st To Die by: James Patterson (12/17/07)
2. Kids/Finance- Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees by: Neale S. Godfrey (12/30/07)
3. Spiritual/Personal Growth- Wonder by: Arthur Gordon (12/30/07)
4. Leadership/Business- The Starfish and the Spider by: Brafman & Beckstrom (1/4/08)
5. Fiction- 2nd Chance by: James Patterson (1/4/08)
6. Fiction- Life of Pi by: Yann Martel (1/12/08)
7. Biography- Tuesdays with Morrie by: Mitch Albom (1/18/08)
8. Spiritual/Personal Growth- Cure for the Common Life by: Max Lucado (1/26/08)
9. Fiction- 3rd Degree by: James Patterson (2/2/08)
10. Self-Help/Life Lessons- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by: Mitch Albom (2/12/08)
11. Self-Help/Personal Growth- The Secret by: Rhonda Byrne (2/13/08)
12. History/Leadership- A Message to Garcia by: Elbert Hubbard (2/16/08)
13. Fiction- 4th of July by: James Patterson (2-23-08)
14. History- Common Sense by: Thomas Paine (3-5-08)
15. Biography- I’m Proud of You by: Tim Madigan (3-8-08)
16. Spiritual- I Became a Christian & all I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt by: V. Antonucci (3-15-08) 17. Fiction- 5th Horseman by: James Patterson (3-18-08)
18. Fiction- 6th Target by: James Patterson (3-24-08)
19. Marriage- The Love List by: Drs Les & Leslie Parrott (4-10-08)
20. Biography- Eat, Pray, Love by: Elizabeth Gilbert (4-15-08)
21. Fiction- 7th Heaven by: James Patterson (4-22-08)
22. Kids- The Five Love Languages of Children by: Gary Chapman (5-02-08)

My next goal is 30 books by July 13---when we get there, I will let you know how I am doing. Happy Reading!

Friday, May 2, 2008


Heading to New Jersey for the day. I love driving around DC early in the morning before the traffic gets crazy. This was at 6am and is one of my most favorite views in all of DC...

I have seen this view of the Capital on so many movies and there is something about this particular angle and street leading up to the Capital that really gets me. I love so many things about DC and there are great museums, parks, and monuments...but every time I drive down Constitution Ave., I get a little smile on my face.

I was able to stop by the largest coffee shop in the District...Ebenezers...and ran into Mark Batterson. We had a great conversation. Then I walked around the corner and caught the train at Union Station heading north to Jersey. I love riding the is my most favorite form of transportation.

Let's see...I guess the title 'NJ' is all should be 'favorites':

1. Favorite time to drive in DC

2. Favorite view

3. Favorite coffeeshop

4. Favorite form of transportation




Last night when we got home from Colin's soccer practice, Sybella was waiting in the kitchen for us looking excited. Courtesy of her borother, Connor, she held out the remainder of a "Double Stuf Oreo" Cookie to show us what her enthusiasm was about. I asked her, "what do you have?" She replied as if I should already know, "Schmaka!" When I looked at her face, I knew instantly that "Schmaka" was a great name since she had schmaka'd it all over.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Granda!

Happy Birthday Granda!


Colin, Connor, & Sybella