Bomb scare, starving children, etc

Christmas vacation? Our children nearly starved to death and we caused a bomb scare.

The weekend before Christmas we headed up to my old stomping grounds: Green River, WY. Why oh why would we head to southwest WY in mid December? Still trying to figure that one out but a big part of it was one of my brothers from another mother getting married. I’d give Nate a Facebook shoutout but he’s not on there and he’s the goofball who decided to get married in WY in December so no love 🙂 Like I said: brothers.

So our flight from PHX-SLC was scheduled for 95 minutes. It took just shy of 7 hours…and we were never allowed to deplane. Snow in SLC, diverted to GJT, can’t deplane because terminal’s full, etc. We had one ziploc bag of snacks (thanks Grammy!). Forgot our snack supply because we spent two hours the night before unsuccessfully searching for Berto’s birth certificate to confirm he’s young enough to be a lap baby. He’s 18 months but body size he looks 10 months and most people don’t judge age on head circumference so no one ever asked anyway.

After 2 hours on the tarmac: “Ladies and gentleman we had some pizza delivered…..but there’s not enough for everyone….” I wasn’t hungry until they wafted Domino’s up and down the aisles. But I was one of the good guys who left the food for the women and children (mostly since they were my woman and children and could see what a great martyr I was being).

Another 5 hours in SLC and then we made it to Rock Springs. -10 windchill was a bit distracting and we helped an older lady find her rental car because the Avis desk closed as soon as they gave her the keys-no explanation necessary if you’ve ever been to RKS airport. She came back inside as we were leaving and said, “I think they gave me the wrong keys.” Lone TSA agent gave her the “sucks to be you” look, and there was no one else at the airport, so I did the old panic button trick and then scraped her windshield. That’s two in case you’re keeping score.

Wedding was great. Proud to say I wasn’t the groomsman wearing cover up across his entire forehead to mask the bruise given by the groom the night before. It started out as a simple evening at a dive bar (even the locals gave the one eyebrow raise when we told them where we went) and then migrated to an underground motorcyle club garage. Stacy and I did not partake of the homemade moonshine. At least I didn’t–Stacy was however all over me for the rest of the night. Hmm…..

When it came time to pack up and head back to the airport we realized Lilly was missing her backpack. So when we got there, I asked the nice TSA agent, “Y’all didn’t find a navy blue jansport backpack on Thursday night did you?” “And a stroller?” “Uh yeah.”

He was cool. Told me about the sniffer dog, bomb squad, somebody higher up in TSA wanted more info when they got it, the usual. I called the police department to try and find out where to pick up the backpack and stroller. The lady said I needed to call back during business hours and ask to speak to “evidence.” I chuckled and thought y’all can keep the backpack, stuffed animal and pink stroller (yes we’re those parents who aren’t going to spend another $15 so our son uses a pink stroller).

Turns out I just had to be lectured by a younger TSA agent about not forgetting things at airports because it causes quite a problem. Whoodathunk?


2013 In Review

Some people are saying they haven’t yet received our Christmas card in the mail. Stupid USPS.

Here ya go:



Since ya know you haven’t seen us in so long and no one has access to any pictures these days.

The year started out great. Jon went to Sri Lanka in January where he cured cancer.

Stacy lost 48 pounds and will be on the 2014 Presidential ballot.

Lilly is studying calculus II and recently competed in the world series.

In mid-December Berto turned down an invite to perform at the Sydney Opera House because he was receiving an award in Stockholm.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Longing For Heaven

Channeling Billy Ray Cyrus (pre-psychosis era): don’t tell my heart….I just don’t think he’d understand. Or I’m not sure how much more he can take.

Now before I dive in let me make one thing very clear: for those who know me well and know my past don’t worry. I’m not depressed. My heart is simply longing for heaven. Huge difference.

For those who aren’t familiar with this “longing for heaven” phraseology it comes from 2 Corinthians 5:2 “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.” There was a time when seeing the bad in the world was too much for me. Now it spurs me on. Ever seen spurs? They ain’t nice.

My sister in law posted this link on our Facebook page this morning. Heartbreaking. Sad story about some people in Cambodia. I don’t think she realized that Stacy and I will be in Svay Pak working with Agape in a month and a half.

Later I received an email from my brother: please pray for one of our local pastors in Cambodia. He is being intimidated by the ruling party. You and I think of intimidation like Andre the Giant saying he wants your lunch money. Try living in a country where the ruling party has vehicle checkpoints during the elections to see who is leaving their home to go to the poll, where people commit suicide by shooting themselves in both eyes and then bury the gun. In 2013!

I’VE MET THIS PASTOR. He’s not some random weird sounding name. He’s a guy. With a family. Pray for him. You don’t need to know his name-God knows.

On the upside, Stacy and I have our first Khmer language lesson tonight. We will be using Skype and working with a teacher in Phnom Penh. Exciting!

Depressed? No. Bipolar? …ish  🙂

I canNOT believe this has happened

So Stacy and I were laying in bed last night chatting and sharing a cigarette when I had a horrible realization. I’ve changed.

I used to be a high plains Wyoming-raised blood red carnivore. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, get a job, don’t rely on anyone else….but over the years I’ve started to talk to people. Talk to. Real. Actual. People.

Sure there are plenty who abuse “the system” and should be cut off and punched in the face. Unfortunately for my old way of thinking that’s not everyone.

We met a weird dude about 18 months ago. He was dating one of my patients who has a couple of kids. Not sure how to describe him other than when I say they met online your subconscious will do a good job of getting the stereotype just about right. This guy was on a similar same path in life as many of us: in college (some super nerd engineering something or ‘nother way over my head), got life by the horns, cruising along when he gets in a car wreck. Broken back, years of medical crappiness, chronic pain, hard to study when you’re in ICU….

Then the fella who married one of my friends from high school:  normal day on his way to work he made a detour to the ER because he was feeling funny. Ruptured aneursym, life support for way too long, permanent neurological damage…

My patient from a few weeks ago: decided to have eye surgery to reduce dependence on eyeglasses and contacts while in the cockpit. Didn’t go well. Lost job since perfect vision was mandatory. But it wasn’t horrible. Back to school/training for new job. Finishing up training finally and…..eye goes in the crapper….and now worried about losing new job…

This guy  …..

I could go on and on but you get the idea. When I actually talk to someone, get to know them, find out how they got to where they are, I’m often alarmed.

That. Could. Be. ME.

By the grace of God my family and I are healthy. Never been in a car wreck. Never had a chronic debilitating condition (aside from cynicism).

What’s really funny about this realization I’ve come to is that I live in Recovery Town, USA. The streets are full of addicts and I see young patients every week with out of state mailing addresses. However, I don’t hide behind the idea that “those people” should have made better choices.

Often times I found out his Mom died when he was 15 so he started drinking alongside dad. Uncle sexually abused her at 13 so she started searching for love in all the wrong places and eventually found heroin. Car wreck caused chronic pain and two hydrocodone per day led to twenty.

I’m not a blind idiot though (debatable): there are plenty who are just spoiled lazy douchebags who need a swift kick in the balls. Problem is I’m finding fewer of those as I talk to people.

So back to the beginning, I said I’ve changed. How? I like to think I actually have some empathy now. Less quick on the judge jury and executioner bit.

Mostly I’m just pissed at the injustice of it all – but empathy sounds a lot better so we’ll go with that.