Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Next 72 Hours

In a few minutes, a few individuals will be coming over and we will work on packing the boxes into the moving van. We will then wait for the piano to get here from Illinois and load that in. To close out the evening, we will arrange the house to make tomorrow's loading a little easier.

Friday will be a long day. We will spend most of the day / afternoon packing the moving van and cleaning the house. In the evening, we will go to the closing program of VBS - more on that in a later post. After the closing program, we will have a going away party at one of the youth leaders house and then crash there.

On Saturday morning, we will drive the 7 hours to our new house and then spend the next X unpacking the moving van and getting the items in the correct room.

On Sunday, we have church, work on the house in the afternoon and first youth sunday evening. Thus, that is what the next 72 hours will be bringing for us.

I hope that the painting and carpeting will be in place when we arrive. We will see. Prayers would be greatly appreciative as we pack up, say our last good-byes, move and begin the new ministry with a wonderful church.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Taxes & Medical Bills

An individual asked me what the tax ramifications were if individuals wanted to help pay medical bills of another individual. What would be a way for it to occur so it would not 'hurt' (taxes) the person it is intended to help.

I just got off the phone from the H&R Block tax help line.

They said that the best avenue to go with from the party giving money and the party receiving the benefit would be to do the following:

Individuals give to a church and have the church place it in a designated account
(if the church is willing) and then the church pays the hospital bill themselves.

This way, the individuals can have their contributions counted in the church bracket and the individual receiving the gift would not have to show income because it is not going to them - but to the hospital.

As, I think about it, this is what happened when St. Jacob helped us in 2000 with Jacob's bills. Individuals gave to the church, I gave them the med bills and the church wrote the checks to the doctors and hospitals.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


In the world of sports, we are hearing about two things. Tiger Woods and his child and the possibility that Kevin will be going to the Lakers.

Many photos have been going around on the internet and I decided to copy one of Yahoo's many photo's. The whole family ....

Tiger Woods plays with dogs and holds his newborn daughter Sam Alexis Woods as wife Elin smiles. Sam Alexis, the first child for Woods and his wife, was born Monday, June 18, 2007 in Orlando, Fla.

Looking For A Vehicle

I think that I am on the search for a car. It will not be anything fansay and it will be very cheap but it will be a car or a truck.

If you know of anyone who is departing with a reliable car, let me know. I may be interested. Wether it be in Indiana or Ohio. With taxes and license and us moving, it may be wiser for Ohio.

We have been doing 1 car for the last 3 months but with our move and Stacey doing better health wise and able and willing to drive - a second car will be a blessing and very helpful.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Alive '07 & Chicken Bar-B-Que

This weekend, I was at Alive '07. This was the first time for me to be there. I have always done ICHTHUS. I am still trying to figure out which one I like more. If you want music - go to Ichthus. If you want more relaxing atmosphere - lake, swimming, laying out in the sun ... etc .. go to Alive.

From a music preference for the weekend ... I once again thought that Toby Mac put on a great show. Jon from Switchfoot just made me shake my head. I am not sure what is up with him. More on the concerts later.

Today, we had a fantastic chicken bar-b-que lunch with Zion and then drove home. It took 7 hours this time. We made a few more stops on the way. The lunch (food) was great and I had some wonderful conversations. I look forward to seeing you this weekend - wether it is while we are unpacking or at church or at the first youth group meeting.

I look forward to meeting individuals the first week.

The House .....

It is move week and we are crossing our fingers on the house.

Here is what we know:

1. The carpet is in at Lowe's

2. The painter is ready to tape off the walls on Monday

3. The owner was to be out tonight

4. Member of the church is suppose to pick up the key tomorrow morning

So, if everything goes as planned, the following will happen.

The painter will do the house from Monday - Thursday. The carpet will be installed on friday. Church members will enter the house on Sat morning to spruce it up ( thanks a bunch ). We will move in Sat. afternoon.

On this end, we will attempt to have the house packed up and ready to be moved in the truck on Friday afternoon.

The Hospital Options

Well, we are back from another weekend outing. I will post those in consecutive blog posts tonight / tomorrow. Many individuals through the blog and emails have asked what the hospitals said. They did not say anything that was great news.

Option # 1 - 3 monthly payments of $ 5,200. wwll, consindering that I do not make that much money a month .... that option will not work.

Option # 2 - In-house payment. they are considering us - not to have insurance since they paid so little - thus we could spread the payment out and pay $ 1300 a month for 12 months. Ummmm, that option will not work.

Option # 3 - Work with their credit union and get a loan and pay it off in 60 months with a payment of $ 317.16

So, there you go ( the options ). I think we are going to pick none of the above and see what happens.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cross America Speaks ...

Cross America is the health plan that my wife has until June 30. We will be so thankful when we are done with this insurance and we will be with Aetna and the ELCA insurance plan.

We were only suppose to be with Cross America till December 31 and then we were going to move on to North Indiana Conference insurance ( as our employee handbook states ), However, the church ( of SPRC ) decided not to make the move to the conference insurance.

It is extremely ironic that they believe they met their commitment to us even though they are not doing what is stated and required in the employee handbook. hOWEVER, that is not what the post it is about.

After 2 1/2 months, we finally received word from them what they will be paying for surgery 1 & 2. The cost listed below is through the hospitals. The charges were $ 17,893.49. Our wonderful insurance paid $ 2,000. Thus, the patient responsibility (that is us) is $ 15,893.49

Wow, thanks alot insurance company. That really helps.

My second ironic thing about that is that we would be better off if we did not have insurance because we have paid more than $ 2,000 in insurance premiums to them. I knew the insurance was bad but that is terrible.

So, our debt will be going up, up, up and up. I am not sure what we would be paying if we were with NIC but I do know what we would be paying with our new insurance and let me say, I can not wait to have them in our corner.

If we knew that the church would not have followed through with their group insurance promise, we would not have left Discovery and came to the church here. However, as I have tried to stay positive with everything over this nightmare over the last 5 months, here are two positives:

1. I have met some tremendous individuals in lafayette and my love for them ran deep even though it was / has been a short time.

2. I am beginning a new stage of life with a FANTASTIC church and we would have never connected if I did not come here and had the insurance fall through.

So, tomorrow, I am off to the hospitals and going to financial counseling at the hospitals and see if they can give some discounts and set up payment schedules.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The wreck: One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, my wife and three kids were traveling North on I-65. They were 20 miles south of Indianapolis. I was approx. 10 miles behind them in a 26 ft. U-Haul van.

An individual traveling south bound fell asleep at the whell, hit a car going southbound and then crossed over the median going 70+ MPH and my wife T-Boned him on her side of the interstate ( right hand lane ).

The impact caused my wife to flip the car approxiametly three times while landing in the trees upside down. Below are 3 pictures of the cars after the accident.

This picture is the front of her car.

This picture is a close-up of her car and the driver side, showing the windshield and impact and grass on roof.

Here is the pic of the other guys car who crossed over the median and caused the accident.

I have not done much regarding the accident - as champion a cause. There are numerous ones out there. One that my wife will fight for ( car seats vs. booster seats ).

But there are two more in my opinion. One, we need to look at and punishing driving asleep just like we do DUI. They can harm or kill and there needs to be some accountability. The minimal ... a ticket ???

The next is the barriers in the median. If the barriers were there, the car would have not come across the median and hit my family. The state of Indiana is working on a measure to get this accomplished and Tippecanoe county is going to accomplish all of their interstate miles with them.

More on that later.

Today, on the anniversary, I praise God that they are all alive.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What A Year

I know that it is not December 31 and I know that I am not recapping 2007 but .. wow .. what a year it was: June 18, 2006 - June 17, 2007.

It all started out when we left for Lafayette, Indiana ( it was move day ). On our way to our new home and new ministry ... an individual fell asleep at the wheel crossed the median and hit my wife and kids. Talking about away to start a move.

The family was bruised and we were seperated in various hospitals and homes for about 48 hours. The recovery time for the boys was a little longer. Thankfully, all survived and there are no real effects that have taken place.

The next few months were a great adventure as we being a new ministry and The Journey was launced. The students and adults at the church were great and we begin to weave changes into the ministry that would help us achieve our vision and mission.

Late last year, we came to the realization that we were not going to be having the insurance covereage that we thought we were going to have and it could be a rocky road. We were hoping that everyone would remain healthy and we could work through the process.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Stacey has had a real battle the last 3 months. There were many nights of worry for her health and what was going to occur. While everything was happening, we realized that we were in severe trouble when insurance was not going to cover much (if anything0. We still do not know if anything will be covered because the docs and hospitals are still telliong us that they have not heard from our insurance company and ( the early procedures ) it has been over 75 days.

Thus, I began the process of looking for a position. In reality, we only sent out three resumes. We were offered a great position with health benefits for my wife. Thus, we took the position and are very excited even though we are sad to leave where we are.

So, a year from the move, we are packing boxes and placing them up against the living room wall. We are 13 days from our move right now.

It is our hope, dream and prayers that this is our last move till at least Bethany graduates from high school ( 14 years ). We really want to settle down and hope that we have the opportunity to do so.

So, as I look back at this year, I see a bad wreck, the case tied up with lawyers, a good ministry year, wife health concerns, nightmare on the insurance end and the realization of another move.

What have I taken from this experience during this year .....

It is about relationships. Love those you are around. Allow them to love on you. Be in relationship with each other. Look at the wonderful things God is doing. Don't worry or fret over a few people who do not see eye to eye with you. Love your family. Love God. Be Yourself.

I want to thank all of our friends and family that have been there for us through this roller-coaster of the year. It has been a very interesting ride. I can not say that I want this year to repeat though.

To those at CUMC, thanks for the memories. I am so sorry that it was only 1 year. There are so many great things that can occur. The program and ministry is set for this year. The leaders are phenominal ... you will reach the vision. I look forward to our relationships growing.

To those at Zion, thanks for everything that you have already done for us. I am looking forward to our relationships and our ministry together. We are looking forward to helping the church achieve their mission. The church is an achor to the community.

To my friends elsewhere ( previous church and blog friends ), thanks for the encouraging words, the visits, the money to help for prescriptions and everything else. You are wonderful.

Friday, June 15, 2007

House Numbers

Did you know that house numbers could tell you if you are at the right house or not ??

I am not kidding, you could not make this up :)

Painter A in town was going to go to the house and give us an estimate. Without us being in town, we must call the broker we are working with/through and have them meet everyone at the house. They ( painter A & broker ) had a meeting at 10 am.

At 10:40, I receive a phone call from Painter A. I thought that I was going to be getting a quote. Nope. This is what I received:

Jeff, I missed the broker. I was late and he did not wait ( ummmm, it was 40 mins and you did have his cell number ). Then he explains what happened. I was up the street about 7 houses sitting in the driveway. The house was for sale, so I asuumed this was the house. After 40 mins, I looked at the house and house number and saw that they did not match with what number you said the house was .. so I bopped down the street and he was gone.

* shakes head *

Then painter A asks me not to be mad at the broker for leaving so an estimate could not be made. I assured Painter A that I would not hold it against the broker.

I sure hope painter B & C have better luck.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Installing Carpet ....

Did you know that you must have carpet to install carpet ??

I learned that from Lowe's today.

Around 30 mins ago, a lovely lady from Lowe's called us to confirm that they have received the order and that the order has been paid for. She then proceeds to tell me that the carpet should be in on June 24. I ask her how long it usually takes from arriving to install. She said 2 weeks .. we might be able to do it quicker.

I asked if I could schedule install with the installers for the 28th. She said, sure ... you can schedule you install before the carpet arrives and cut the time between the carpet arriving and install.

However she said, I have to warn you ... if for some reason the carpet is not in by the 28th, the installers will not be able to install the carpet.

So, let me get this straight, if the carpet is not in the store, the installers can not pick it up to install the carpet ...

That is right sir.

* small laugh * Okay, I will schedule the install for the 28th, if the carpet is not in by then, they do not have to install and we will re-schedule the install after the carpet arrives.

Hopefully, the carpet will be there. Carpet installed on the 28th, move in on the 30th .. great timing.

Now, if we can get painters ......

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Beach

I am on my old comp and can not upload pics by seeing them, so it is a "crap shoot". However, this photo will do for the time being. Maybe in a few weeks, I will have a newer comp and I can load the exact pics I want to load. I definitely want to upload a few photos from the hook.

This photo is from one of the guys room balcony. We had perfect rooms this year. Thank you Miss Sheila for pulling this off for us - it was superb. We were on the 4th floor and we had one onceanview room - connected to another room that was direct pool side and then we had 3 more rooms next to that one - all poolside. We had the 4 rooms directly over the pool ... SWEET.

Big Stuf was reall "big" this year. The group had a fantastic time. This was their first year to experience and everyone had a great time and they all definitely want to go back. Hopefully, they will have the opportunity to do so. I think the other 4 adults that went were amazed at the week and will take them back.

The theme this year was Rhythm. The messages were great and they were really pointed. I think Jarred and Louie did a fantastic job in delivering the message. Louie's message on the Rhythm of Hope (pain) was one of the best that I have heard in a long time.

Thank-you Big Stuf for putting on another great week of camp. It spoke to our group in numerous ways. The only thing bad ( not Big Stuf fault ) was that we had a few red flag days - once again .. no photo because of the inability to view photos to the comp.

Zion Lutheran

Above is the picture of the church building where we will be serving at in Wooster, Ohio. The church has been in existence in the community since 1840. We are looking forward to joining their staff and the individuals who attend the church.

They have 4 services. The first service is a traditional service at 8 am. The second service is a contemporary service at 9 am in the fellowship hall. The third service is a traditional service at 10:30. The fourth service is a hot meal for those in the downtown community and worship following ( at 6 pm ).

My official position will be Director of Youth & Family Ministry. I am excited about this and I really sense that this position is NOT a name only title ( reference to the orange conference ). We will be developing ministries that will strengthen families and encouage families to do ministry together. We will also be developing a ministry from craddle to grave that will help them along all of the life stages. Thus, there will be no "silo" ministries.

As we flush all that out, I will be sharing how this looks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

7 and Out

Well, my journey with the United Methodist Church has come to an end. I have served in the UMC for 7 years. During that time, I have served in 3 different conferences. Each conference was vastly different. Of course being "only" a ym, I may not have all the inner-workings of the system but I can see major differences within the conferences.

The 3 conferences that I have worked for (served in) were the following: Kentucky Conference, North Alabama Conference and the Northern Indiana Conference.

Here is a little breakdown of my view (concerning ym)

The Kentucky Conference did several things very well. They had a great winter conference event. The YM coordinator also did a good job in connecting with the ym's. The distrincts were strong as well. The ym's would get together for accountability, fellowship and planning events.

The Northern Alabama Conference knew how to put on retreats and events. They had fall retreats for both middle school and high school ministry. They were done very well. They also had a fantastic winter retreat in Gatlinburg. One of the things that I loved about the conference was their confirmation retreat. It was great for our students to see all the other students from other churches who were being confirmed and it was great to have the bishop speak to them during this time. The YM coordinator was also fantastic.

The Northern Indiana Conference. Unfortunately, I was only involved here for a year, so I can not give a great assesment of it. They seem to place all their efforts into the camping program and all events out at the camp. The camp is old school camping and there are pros with that and there are cons with that as well. There was no contact from the conference, distrincts though and that was a little sad with us being a "connectional" church. I tried early on .. did not get anywhere and I gave up. Their fall event seemed to be great but the timing did not allow me to go ( maybe, I should have made the time ).

I am headed back to the ELCA. I am actually going back to the synod where I began ym after my last schooling opportunity. I am looking forward to getting back in the NEOS. The church that I will be serving at/with is Zion lutheran. I will be making a post on the church and my position there soon .. as I continue to play catch up with my 10 day-non-posting-tenure.

My one suggestion to the UMC as I leave: As a connectional church, connect all UMC in the U.S. in regards to health insurance. Do not place the burdens on the individual conferences to provide the insurance. if all conferences would pull together and all churches were "mandated" to participate in the insurance poll and each employee was part of it ..... the insurance cost could be more manageable. GRANTED, it would not be cheap. But, I think that churches need to look at providing health care coverage for all of their employees and for the church to pay for the insurance - all 100%.

Our New Home

Here is a picture of the front of our house. It is on a "quiet" street downtown. We are excited that we are not in a cookie-cutter subdivision anymore. The house is approx. 3 blocks from their elementary school and 3 blocks from the church. I am looking forward to walking them to school and then to the church.

It is a 3 bedroom and 1 1/2 bath home. The home has a living room, a dining room and a family room that looks out to the back yard. The back yard is small but it is very shaded with trees. We have no neighbors in the back. The yard goes to a ravine that goes into the old high school football stadium .. now used for lacross.

Here is a pic of the back yard and a little of the neighbor house next door .....

We are looking forward to the shade & privacy. We will place a fence back there and a few toys for the kids. We have given the boys the garage for a clubhouse. More on the house later ....

We need to order the carpet tomorrow. For some reason, Stace does not want the 70's shag to remain.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Hiatus

It had been 11 days since my posts. I think that most individuals who "surf" by knew my where-abouts. But here is a little highlight. Hopefully over the next few days, I will share more in-depth stories.

On June 1, I headed out to Panama city Beach, Florida with 16 youth and 4 other adults. We went down to a church camp there called Big Stuf - it was a fantastic week and the messages really spoke to my heart. The worship was great and the fellowship with the students were priceless.

When we got back, Stacey and the kids were waiting in the parking lot and we took a trip over to Ohio for 4 days. We went over there for them to see their new community. We searched for a home, tried to find activities for the kids in the summer and checked out their worship services - first one we have been to with them.

Let's just say, there were some successes. I really enjoyed my time in PCB with the adults and kids. It was a great way to spend the last time with them. i will see everyone a few more times before the move.

Ohio was hectic yet calm. We searched and searched for homes. We finally signed a home late Saturday night. We decided to stay an extra day so we did not have to rush ceck-out on Sunday morning. We had two fantastic meals with different families in the church - the church paid for a few meals out and we as a family had time to just relax in the pool. Today before we left, kids are signed up for Dr. Seuss camp, soccer camp and horseback riding camp.

More Later .. I promise ..

Packing Up The House

Well ... that is what is on the agenda. 19 days till we move.