Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Fertilization Day!

Birthdays are weird.

Why do we celebrate the day that we come out of our mothers' womb? The only difference between the day before that and the day after is that 1) The baby can breathe on its own and 2) The mother can finally see her toes again. But why celebrate? Is it just because that is when we are legally considered a "new person" in the world?

I think that we should focus more on the day that we were fertilized. That's the actual point in time where God's miraculous design of forming a new baby begins. Let's call it... Fertilization Day!

So, if I calculated the approximate date of my fertilization, accounting for the fact that I was two weeks late, it would be around September 14th. ...woah, pretty close to my parents' anniversary! Scary thought... anyway... I think that I'll take a pause on the next September 14th and think about that day, twentysomething years ago, when I used to just be a sperm and an egg miraculously working together to form my body.

When is your Happy Fertilization Day?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Weekly Pics: Memorial Day

Some other random shots from Memorial Day weekend in Portland...

Scraping the sky

Retro fixture

Hard. Wood.

McMenamins: Edgefield

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Biblical Pre-Marriage Class

Jen and I started our Biblical Pre-Marriage Class at our church this past Sunday. We are so pumped about what we are going over in the curriculum.

We are both required to read Reforming Marriage (by Douglas Wilson) and do required homework assignments along with it. Also, I am supposed to read The Silence of Adam (by Dr. Larry Crabb, Don Hudson, and Al Andrews), she is supposed to read For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men (by Shaunti Feldhahn), and we are both to each write a paper on what we learned about God, ourselves, and the roles we will play. I have heard great things about these books!

Also, we took the PREPARE pre-marital program questionnaire, which is a set of five inventories that examine major relationship issues that we might experience as a couple (or highlight issues we're already dealing with!). We are scheduled to meet with our pastor and his wife to talk about our results. I am very excited about this! I think it will 1) Be fun to talk about our relationship openly to a couple that wants to help us out, and 2) Be a humbling experience of how we can grow closer as a couple.

Overall, we are so thankful that our church can provide help for couples facing the overwhelming future of merging two lives (and help for others, too). So many Christian couples jump into marriage, thinking that it will be a breeze because they think Christ will solve all of their problems. What they are missing is the fact that God gave them a brain to use, to prepare for the pains of adjusting to living with another sinner. The divorce rate for Christians is at least, if not higher than the national divorce rate... likely because of this naive mindset.

We want to best represent Christ and His love for the church. So, we're taking the steps necessary to do so. The more we focus on our relationship with Jesus, the more we can fully grow together as husband and wife.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Movie Review - The Descent

The Descent
Directed by Neil Marshall

Awhile back, on Friday the 13th, we fittingly decided to watch a scary movie. We ended up picking this one, and were very pleased. I'm not one to usually enjoy scary movies, but this one was very different than most I've seen. It was more of a thriller than it was horror.

The cool thing about this movie: it actually has some substance to the plot. It involves a nice family, then adultery, a car accident, mistrust with friends... and creepy freaky underground-dwelling creatures too. And we all know that those ingredients always combine for great movies.

There is a group of female friends who seem to be life-long friends and one of them got into a car accident, killing her husband and child. This group of girls decides to go off on an adventure into underground caves somewhere in the eastern U.S., in order to help the new widow experience excitement in life again. Well, you can imagine what happens when a large group of women get stuck underground with each other, the widow finds out that one of her friends was having an affair with her late husband, and there are creepy alien creatures down there too! Yes, that’s right. This movie is awesome.

One of the reasons it's so entertaining and fascinating to me is seeing the dynamic between women fighting with other women, and at the same time fighting alien creatures. Wouldn't it make sense that the ladies should come together, even with their mistrust issues with each other, just to get out of the caves without being eaten? Well I certainly think so. But that doesn't happen.

Their hostility towards each other ends up being their demise. It seems to me that happens much too often in relationships... our anger and unforgiving hearts get in the way of relationships that would likely benefit us if we came to resolution.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Honeymoons Are Unfair

Looking at this from a Christian perspective... why do newlyweds go on a honeymoon? I know that there is probably some traditional or biblical reason for the honeymoon, but I don't want to get into the history of it right now. Just looking at it plain and simply:
A honeymoon seems unfair to me.

I am often amazed at how many wedding gifts we're expected to receive at all the events that involve the big day. Engagement gifts, personal bridal shower gifts, general bridal shower gifts, wedding gifts, the gift of relaxation on the honeymoon, and of course the gift of sex. I find myself asking Jen, "Why do we need all these gifts? Isn't sex enough of a wedding gift for us?" It seems unfair that we will get married, then get to have sex, and then we get to go off to have a vacation, relax, and have more sex.

After being engaged for about 7 months, and knowing that we have exactly 4 months and 2 days until our wedding day, I often find myself twitching with impatience. When I was single, sex wasn't an issue because I didn't have anyone who was willing to get into bed with me. It wasn't an option. But now that I'm committed to Jen, the sexual desire is very real and much harder to control because my feelings are reciprocated.

So why do we really need a honeymoon? Isn't just the fact that we can have sex enough?

I pondered the importance of a honeymoon for a long time. Is it anything more than just a vacation after I get married? That's like buying a ticket to a baseball game and then finding out later that it'll be a double-header! I thought about when I was single Christian guy and didn't have anyone in my life as a potential sexual partner. Why don't I give that guy my honeymoon? That way, it will be fair. He will get the fun vacation and I'll just stay at home and have sex with my wife. Then we're both happy!

So why do I get to have my cake and eat it too? Well, marriage is hard work. So everyone tells me. But not just that... a good marriage is hard work. A quality, long-lasting relationship that is focused on Christ and being servants toward one another. That's hard work.

It's easy to be single. It's easy for me to come home and not have to listen to someone after my long day at work. It's easy for me to clean my dishes when I want to clean them. It's easy for me to invest in other people's lives when I choose to leave my home and focus on others. It's easy when I have control.

I guess it makes sense now. A honeymoon is a time supposed to be spent relaxing and transitioning into a harder life. A life that will teach me to be more sacrificial. A life that will teach me to listen to my wife when she wants to be heard. A life that will teach me to get up off my ass and help her make dinner instead of waiting in front of the TV. A life that will teach me to appreciate her strengths instead of rolling my eyes at her faults. Even though it's a more difficult life, it's worth it. It's a life where two persons become one in order to work together intimately, bettering the world for Christ. And I'm excited! Not just because of sex, though. That's just a bonus!

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her - Ephesians 5:25 (NASB)

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Weekly Pics: Roses

I took these back on Memorial Day when we went down to Portland. These are from the Portland International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Several months ago I discovered that I had hemorrhoids. Don't ask me how, I just did. But I just had one hemorrhoid. I didn't have multiple hemorrhoids, just one. Or is it one hemorrhoids? Oh dear, I don't know the proper singular/plural for this. Anyway... I had a case of hemorrhoids.

But my point is that I had it, and now it's gone! I thought that I should mention what I've learned about this condition, since approximately 50% of all Americans get them before the age of 50.

What are hemorrhoids? Like most people, at first I didn't really know what they are, even though I've seen tons of tv commercials about them. Simply, they are swollen or enlarged blood vessels in your rectum. Don't worry, they aren't fatal. If you treat them properly, they can either go away (like it did in my case) or they can be easily removed by your doctor.

The main cause for hemorrhoids is too much pressure on the rectal veins. This condition is very common with pregnant women, sedentary lifestyles (office jobs), obese people, those with a fiber-deprived diet (constipation), or even people who excessively consume alcohol or caffeine (can lead to hypertension).

After looking at my own habits, I figured out that my problem was straining myself during bowel movements. This led to an external hemorrhoid. However, once I realized that I was causing my own problem, I just learned to "go with the flow" and not push too hard. After a couple months, the hemorrhoid went away!

There are a couple of good resources I've found (here and here) that describe causes, symptoms, treatments, etc. Check them out and learn a thing or two about your body!

Sometimes difficulties like these are good experiences. You learn to treat your body well and to not misuse it, otherwise problems start popping up. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20 NIV).

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Why We Shouldn't Spoil Our Children

Paris Hilton.
An extreme example of why we shouldn't spoil our children.

Click here. I mean, honestly. She was "screaming and crying" when she found out she had to go back to jail. It seriously makes me sad how spoiled she is. I want my kids to appreciate discipline one day.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Movie Review #5 - The Holiday

The Holiday
Directed by Nancy Meyers

Best part of the movie: Jack Black. Of what little time he was on the screen, he was hilarious. Who would've thought? Jack Black... in a romantic comedy? Holy crap, that was awkward. Thankfully he didn't try to act too differently, he was just a little more sensitive than usual, but still a goofball.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this movie because I didn't get a whole lot out of it, but it was interesting nonetheless.

The first half of the movie is horrible, with Cameron Diaz playing the usual ditsy sex-magnet that she is. Kate Winslet played a pathetic loser who can't stand up for herself... but I guess that's the point. That these two girls switch lives for "The Holiday" and then realize what they need to do to improve their life.

It's the guys in the movie (Jude Law and Jack Black) who are the interesting ones. They are the ones who supposedly "change" the two women and of course they fall in love with them. Oops, I didn't warn about that spoiler, but I don't care, it's not worth it. Jude Law was surprisingly feminine when we first get to know him, but then we realize he's a single dad towards the end. It was really awkward at first, because he's never played a character like that, but it finally made sense when we see him with his two little girls. It was really cute, actually. It was an interesting twist to the story.

And even though we were screaming at the TV because of how weird it was to see Jack Black in a romantic situation, he still pulled through with some hilarious lines. Best one: "Well hellooo big dollop!"

So I guess I don't love all chick flicks. This one was just okay... saved (if you could call it saved) by the two guys in the film.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Shameless Plug

My dad just recently had his second novel published, the sequel to his first. You can find it on or just click on the book covers below.

The Sanctuary
by Gary Riedl
Book Description: Ancient underwater ruins are discovered by an oil survey team. Opposing forces disrupt the recovery of artifacts. Love, deceit, misfortune, and victory overlap the past and the present.

Tuball: The Lost City
by Gary Riedl
Book Description: Nearly eight thousand years ago, a land bridge crossed what is known today as the Caspian Sea. Tribes of this rugged and dangerous land began a march toward civilization. Ancient merchants risked their lives to trade goods and pass knowledge to one another, changing history forever. Shem, a young man of eighteen, wanted to escape from his simple farming life and venture into strange new lands. With rumors of mysterious people and fierce creatures to the north, Shem convinced his uncle Zakho, a merchant by trade, to guide him in the ways of wandering. Explore the roots of civilization with Shem, and share in the struggles of his adventures and as he falls in love with a beautiful girl who worships foreign gods. Experience the incredible technologies of early societies. Discover the secrets of Tuball, The Lost City!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Weekly Pics: Camping

Boat on a lake [taken summer 2005]

Bumble bee wanna-be

The Hatchet