A New Post? Stop the “Madness"!

Ah.. the blog. I have figured it’s about time for the obligatory, “I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, months, years” post.  I felt at the very least I should post that this past October my son Lincoln William was born. That brings the kid count up to 3. That’s a lot of children. And besides the oldest Jackson (now seven and a half), that’s a lot of poopy diapers. Josette (three next month) and Lincoln (now five months) produce a lot of crap. Josie is what I would like to call potty-trained inclined. She knows what to do and the concept, but sadly enjoys the laziness and attention that changing her diaper brings. Don’t worry. Today is March 20.. the end of tax season is in sight and Lindsey and I will conquer this. Josie will be three on April 18th. I’m putting it out there right now. On that date we stop buying diapers. There I said it. Wait.. can’t do that. There’s Lincoln still. Dangit!

Well, that was a pretty pathetic re-introduction. I just stopped a two year hiatus of my  blog to catch you up on my children’s poop and pee history. Lovely! But oh.. ha ha.. isn’t that just a perfect explanation for the blog’s inactivity? Life has changed. But oh.. how life is good! I am a new man in Christ – and growing every day. As I prepared to blog today I was looking at some of my older posts. Obviously though not consecutive at this point I have kept this blog up for 14 years of my life! That is an insane accomplishment.  My first post was on November 28, 2012 when I was nineteen years old! Throughout the last decade and half of this blog I have shared intimate details on my life, my college years, my ups and downs, my struggles, multiple whiney posts about wanting a girlfriend, several innuendos about my dating escapades, to ultimately finding the perfect relationship in the One who brings me all joy (that’s Jesus), to meeting, dating, and eventually marrying the second love of my life – Lindsey Howell. It’ll be eight years of wedlock in October!

I have no clue what I’m going to write about here or if there will be another post. I invite you to read the archives though. There’s plenty there – my testimony and more if you look far enough. I have mainly stopped blogging because blogs are so last decade, right? It might have been enjoyable to read a college student’s story about life and its tribulations. But who wants to read about an old guy who’s hairline is receding and is married with kids? Ok, maybe there are some of you. :-). I do miss writing though. I miss the audience I once had. But times have changed. I also don’t find it that appropriate to document my drama in a public forum such as this. For some reason I felt I could get away with that in college. Besides, I find drama a waste of time and it brings me no joy. Since I became a new creation I have an everlasting peace that is unexplainable to the hard-hearted. I count my trials as blessings because I know where my Hope is. To quote author Randy Alcorn, I  live not for the dot but for the line. I invest no longer in earthly things that will wither away and pass, but eternal treasures offered to me in Heaven, which is spending eternity with the one who showed me so much grace and love when I turned my back on Him again and again.

Wow.. you’re probably reading this and saying – this guy must be crazy? He’s got to be off his rockers? I wouldn’t argue. I am crazy in love with the One who Saves. Who or what are you in love with? Where do you find joy? In your possessions? In politics? In other’s approval? Do you seek something greater than what this world has to offer? The good news is you can. It’s freely available. Jesus Christ is my Everything. He’s why I wake up in the morning. He’s why I breathe. Not for my myself, not for my wife or my kids, not for my family –  (although those things are important). But Jesus is Everything. Is He your Everything? Do you know Him? Would you like to know Him? He might be knocking at your door now – all you have to do is repent from the ugliness of your sins, believe in Him, call on His name, and you too will be saved. You too can experience the unceasing joy that He so so graciously offers. A free gift none of us are worthy to receive but  are offered anyway. That’s true love, folks!

Ok, I told my self I wouldn’t go on a tangent about Christ, but once again I can’t help myself. If I haven’t lost you yet, here’s a bit more of where things are at age 32. Life is great. I can confidently say that. It’s not easy. It’s been stressful. I’ve been told I take this Jesus thing too seriously these past two years. But that’s ok. If none of this makes sense open up your Bible and read. Try to read every day. You will stumble. I stumble often in that area. Anyway – family is doing great. My career is going well in Customer Service. – I am blessed. I’ve also taken on a new job at my church as their media coordinator. I’ve been handing Cornerstone Bible Church’s social media for the last year and that has expanded into other areas of the church including designing church media, helping grow communications, and running their website.

Alright.. this is it for now. Lindsey just asked me what I was doing. I told her I was blogging. She asked me if it was 1999 again. I think that means I need to sign off. Till next time!

Catching Up.

So a very quick random recap of the last year:

I’m thirty now. I’m officially old. It’s 2014. Is it still hip to blog in 2014? I have two children.. I ‘ve been married for more than 5 years. I still live in Indiana. I have been at a job at Roche for the last year that I enjoy. Lindsey works part time from home doing taxes for a small firm. It’s tax season. I love my wife a lot. She’s pretty awesome. It’s really cold outside. It snows every day. There’s 46 days till Spring. We are getting more and more involved in our church here. I was baptized last October. I love Jesus. The Seahawks just won the Super Bowl a few moments ago. Indianapolis is all upset about their quarterback loosing.. I mean Denver’s quarterback. It was a pretty boring game. Josette is making lots of fun noises these days. She has two teeth. Jackson is her number one fan. Jackson is in his last year of preschool. Jackson never goes to preschool because it snows every day. It snows a lot here. I already said that.

.. and that’s pretty much everything since the last time I posted.

I can’t lie – there’s something about blogging that seems odd to me at this point in my life. I have very little free time these days and the little amount I do have I enjoy spending with my wife, my kids, or my church family. Some people might call that boring, but I call that exciting! I really have no complaints. As for writing I’m going to try to stop making excuses and just write from time to time. I honestly don’t have the time, nor the energy to write or complete a full study anymore on here about why I’m a Christian. I’m disappointed I won’t finish that topic on here, but what I will continue is to just be honest and just post the Truth as I see it and post what’s on my mind throughout the weeks or months ahead. If I keep at it this site will become really what it was intended to be all along since I was younger – a journal for my thoughts. I don’t honestly think after twelve years of blogging nobody really cares to read what an old thirty year old has to say, but I will post about topics I’m compassionate about, and most of that is centered around my faith in Christ, which has matured greatly over the last couple of years. Why? Because honestly He is my everything, and it saddens me that not everyone has Christ in their life.

Thankfully though, while I haven’t been blogging, Lindsey and I have had oodles of interesting opportunities to evangelize in our own town. One of the biggest reasons I stopped blogging for so long was that over the last year and a half God put our family in a unique opportunity to evangelize to teenagers and young adult missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Since we’ve really told no one about that other than close friends and family, that might be somewhat of a shock to you. Though God has just recently closed the door on that ministry, He has brought over probably 20 or more different Mormon church members into our home on a weekly basis over that time period. Their intention was always to convert us, but our intention was always just to speak the Truth in love to these young people who are so lost. It was an incredible experience and we made lots of friends in the Mormon faith. It is my prayer every day that we planted seeds in their hearts. We know we can’t save them and only God can, so we just preached the Word and pray that God will continue to work in them.

While this was going on, we wanted to keep it as private as possible, hence why it was hard to blog about my life this last year, since that was such a big focus. Anyway, that’s it for now.  If reading about my faith isn’t your thing, this might not be the blog for you. But that’s ok. I’m also a computer geek and love gadgets and gizmos, so feel free to hit me up on Facebook. Good Night!

 

Now, where was I?

Josette Howell 027

A lot can happen in a year. And 2012 was no exception. 2012 was undoubtedly one of the hardest years for our family, and came right on the heels of what I was hoping to be a long in depth discussion on my family’s faith. When my brother-in-law Chris passed away last year around that time, it literately took the wind right out of me and took my focus off this blog completely.

However, God being the gracious one He is, has continued to bless our family in this last year. Most notably, the addition of our newest daughter Josette Elizabeth on April 18th!  As we are recovering from what has been another new season of our life, I’m thinking about finally continuing where I left off with this blog.

The question is though, do you care? Would you read? Am I wasting my time? With a new job and a bigger family I’m busier than I’ve ever been. But, I have a lot to say. I’ll leave it up to you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Any specific things you would like discussed? I’ve got plenty of material, but I’ll leave it up to you if I decide to jump back in this thing. One this is for sure, I’ve continued to grow in my relationship with Christ this past year, and He has opened incredible doors and circumstances to give my family to share the good news. My hope is that this blog can continue to be one of these avenues.

So, let’s put it up for a vote. Should I start posting again?

Looking Back, Moving Forward.

As the leaves have mostly changed colors and begun to fall and summer slips away, it’s a reminder of how drastically our lives have changed since last year when Autumn came our way. A year ago today we took our comfortable life style, free evenings to ourselves and typical schedule and threw it out the window as we jumped on a plane from Columbus, OH headed to Ukraine into the world of the unknown. Back then we didn’t know the exact outcome of our trip. Although we now know Jackson was destined to be with us (who is now 3 years old and full of life), at the time we didn’t know if we would end up with a boy or girl as we had just days before been informed that our agency upped our age limit from 3 and under to 5 and under!

But everything worked out and here we are a year later and a lot has changed. A lot of unexpected things have happened and some surprises down the road but it’s safe to say I think we’ve been following God’s word and will the best we know. I’ll speak for myself, but it hasn’t all been easy and has been stressful at times. We are settled into our new life in Indiana, but Lindsey has been very busy at work these last few months which have turned into long evenings with Jackson and I alone holding down the fort until 8 PM or later. So as I’ve been a little exhausted from it all, I’ve took some time away from here and have tried to spend my free time utilizing every minute I have to myself efficiently.

There’s a lot of good to report though – we have indeed found our church home and forever grateful for being around great new friends and influences. The church we attend is very biblical based with no if, ands or buts, and it’s been encouraging to hear our pastor Kirk get so enthusiastic in teaching the Word. Though we started attending in June, they’ve been hitting the Book of Mark since we’ve been here and I think we are on chapter 9. The associate pastor mentioned the other day that they started Mark well over a year ago, so it gives you some context just how detailed the teaching really is!

One of the biggest things we missed when we moved to Indiana was being part of a life group, and within the last month they started up at our church. We are in a great group which meets Friday nights with lots of kids and a manageable amount of families where the discussion is intense and fun at the same time. We are reading a book right now called “Radical” by David Platt and it really encourages you to pick up your cross and stop living a watered down version of American Christianity that is very prevalent in today’s society.

Something different we do that we didn’t at our last church is that the men and women meet separately once a week for coffee to just catch up on each others lives intermixed with Bible reading and prayer. It’s a real intentional way to encourage one another and keep ourselves accountable during the week and I think our new friendships have grown stronger because of it as well. I really like the men in our group and am so happy to have met them! It makes all the difference in the world being surrounding by other men in Faith.

On a personal level I feel God working in my heart and growing in me. In the past few months I’ve really come to appreciate my relationship with Him and with my own son, Jackson. Staying at home has been great, some small hardships aside. As I watch Jackson grow it’s becoming so much fun to raise him and be such an important part of his life. The kid is on the go all the time now and is full of words now and always singing, dancing and laughing. It’s hard to believe just a year ago we were starting our adventure to bring him home. It seems like he’s been with us longer than that. Earlier this month we submitted our first post-adoption report and it was a lot of fun to look back at all of the memories and photos from that time as we prepared it!

As we approach the year anniversary of meeting Jackson a week from today, it’s become a constant reminder of how great our God is. I ask that you pray that in the next week that God can reveal a way for me to explain just how incredible this adoption really was. For those reading that don’t know us personally there were some “details” we left out of our adoption blog journey last year while we were in Ukraine. After a year I think and hope it is the right time to share with everyone how mysterious, yet perfect God’s will is.

Jackson isn’t with us by chance (even with the coincidence we met him our second wedding anniversary!). The story is personal and I just want to be careful when I explain it that it doesn’t come off as prideful. I pray that God would humble my heart as I try to find a simple and short way to explain how God touched the lives of not just our family, but another American family we never had the chance to meet in person, but whose lives we will be intermixed forever in a very special way. Without out a doubt, we serve an Amazing God!

Stop the Cap! Expands Upon My Recent Internet Savings

Earlier this week, you might remember I planned on switching to Earthlink’s High Speed Cable offerings in an effort to trim away my cable bill. (see http://www.scotthowell.ws/?p=931)

As a follow-up, I was able to successfully make the change over to Earthlink and am now currently saving $20 a month on my internet bill for almost identically the same service. This afternoon I wrote the Stop the Cap! website the good news which was the place I originally found Time Warner’s & Bright House’s best kept secret.

To my surprise Stop the Cap! published my email on their website today and further expanded on the Earthlink savings available and show how you too can try to take part in these savings. I’m glad to be able to help spread the news!

Link: http://stopthecap.com/2011/09/02/an-unsolicited-testimonial-stop-the-cap-saved-us-over-20-a-month-on-our-cable-bill/

Unique Way to Save on your Internet Price.

I don’t bundle as I’m a DirecTV customer and we don’t need a land-line for phone service. In February I signed up in Indianapolis with Bright House for cable internet at 7 Mbps downstream for $44.95. However, when I got the bill it was $50. After several phone calls and complaints I got them to issue credits to my account for the difference. But recently the credit stopped again, and the person who promised vocally a year worth of credits, no longer works for the company and his email bounces back. Unfortunately for me, the message on my account when I call is that he put it in their system to only credit me for 3 months of the $45 dollar price. And since I can’t prove he said a year, there’s nothing anybody will do and they continue to charge me $50 again.

I found an ad for Earthlink Cable on my city’s website today. To be honest I only thought Earthlink had dial-up. Well it turns out – their so called “cable internet” service is actually powered by Bright House. Earthlink just mails you their bloat-ware software upon sign-up. (Which I am smart enough not to install)

So today, I signed up for Earthlink Cable for only $29.95 for the first six months, and then only $41.95 thereafter! It’s cheaper than what I was fighting so hard for at Bright House. There’s actually no installation, as Bright House is actually providing the service. I was told it will just switch over later this month, and my billing will remain through Bright House. I keep my existing modem, etc. but get a cheaper price all because I’m going under the “EarthLink” moniker.

This trick also works for Time Warner customers. You just have to be careful to not get any of the gimmicky add-ons Earthlink tries to sell you like “Wireless Networking” or “Virus Protection”. They will try really hard to talk you into these useless add-ons. (For instance, Wireless Networking is just them leasing you a wireless router for an additional fee)

So in conclusion, in your face, Bright House! 🙂

The Gospel of Steve Jobs .

Although I do wish Steve the best and hope he remains healthy, this article from Christianity Today, though from January, is still very relevant to the recent news of his resignation and touches a little bit on the 2005 Stanford speech he gave that has been floating around on the internet. Ever since I heard the news it has been strange as a Christian to read some of the comments, especially when at times it feels as if we are all giving him his own eulogy.

Even a PC fan-boy like myself who has tried to stay away from Apple has ultimately been pulled in – I’ve owned two iPods and the most recent an iPod Touch that I purchased so I could take video in Ukraine last year when we adopted. I love it and use it daily much to the chagrin of my wife who wishes I could find something better to do at times then play Words with Friends.

So yes, Steve Jobs has impacted the technology world; there is no denying it. But this article can really be an eye opener. I mean no disrespect for people who claim Steve Jobs has helped them get where they are today and are thanking him. I believe that to a “point” it is okay to be thankful for the inspiration certain people can be on your lives.

But, ultimately this tech-event is just another reminder that there is someone far greater to be thankful for and that there is only one person that can really transform our lives and give us hope (a hope that has a true reward, requires no work on our part; completely self-less). And I guarantee his name is not Steve Jobs, not Bill Gates, or anyone else.

The Gospel of Steve Jobs | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Jackson Likes to Shake His Booty!

During our trip to South Haven, MI last weekend, while walking back from a lighthouse, Jackson started singing “Shake Your Booty”. We’re not sure who he heard it from, but it’s safe to say it was probably from TV. We managed to snag it on film – so here is Jackson dancing in all his bootylicious fashion!