All excuses aside, I am finally posting our report from our mission trip to Ghana, West Africa! After going to Ghana in January, we attended a class on missions at our church. The class was incredibly challenging for us and we hope to post more about that later. The mission trip to Ghana was timed perfectly in our lives and perfectly for the class we took.
For those that may not have received the printed copy, please feel free to read our Ghana Report.
It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone. Even more amazing is the fact that I can remind myself to write a blog article and it still will take months to accomplish!
Before talking about what is coming in 2010, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the past few months of 2009 and all of the blessings contained therein!
Travel and training was another cornerstone of the year and the past few months were no exception. In October, I went to Philadelphia to help one of our offices move and build a network/video conferencing lab. While I was in Philadelphia, Tiffany, Emily and Sarah took a road trip from Phoenix to San Diego to San Francisco and back. They had a great time. As a small treat during my trip, I was able to go into New York City with a co-worker. We had to test a system in mid-town and then walked around Central Park, grabbed some delicious pizza and made a quick trip through Times Square.
I also made a fair share of trips to California over the past few months. After a while, they all start to run together. In December, I spent another two weeks in Las Vegas for Cisco training. This time, I obtained my Cisco Certified Voice Professional certification (CCVP). It involved 5 tests and it was very intense. I really enjoyed the classes and the material covered. Like last year, I attended classes at CCBOOTCAMP and highly recommend them for any Cisco training. In 2010, I will begin working toward my CCIE-Voice (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert - Voice) along with a number of other small certifications that I still need. The highlight of my trip to Las Vegas was Tiffany coming up to visit for a few days! It was nice to see her half way through the two week trip.
The biggest news of the last quarter is that Tiffany and I closed on a house in November! In July, we had bid on 3 houses. We did not expect the process to take so long, but we are happy that God provided ample patience. We closed on the house and moved the day before Thanksgiving. The next day, we hosted family and friends at the house for a big meal! Tiffany did a fantastic job, especially considering the fact that we had JUST moved into the house. Since Thanksgiving, we have continued to settle into the house. We have painted a couple of rooms and have been busy unpacking boxes. We have also had guests over a few times to help us settle and enjoy this gift from God! We look forward to unpacking the last box! I also look forward to clearing items off the "to-do" list... But, I guess that is part of owning a home!
There were a lot of other adventures over the past few months. Unfortunately, since I did not blog about each one, I will not make this post longer by adding details. Some of the adventures that we had included rock climbing in South Mountain at Teddy Bear Wall, visiting the World Wild Life Zoo and a wonderful trip up to Flagstaff before it turned bitter cold and snowy.
In a few short days, we will begin our next big adventure. As previously posted, Tiffany and I, along with some close friends, will be heading to Ghana on January 13, 2010. We are very excited about this trip and are amazed at how God has provided. He is an awesome God and has shown us His power once again. Check back soon for updates!
Finally, if you would like to read more about the past year, please click to view our 2009 Christmas letter.
Tiffany and I are very excited to announce that we are going on a mission trip to Ghana from January 13-24, 2010!! To read more details about the trip, please click here(This opens a PDF).
We are looking forward to God working through us to accomplish His will in Ghana!
If you are willing and able, we prayerfully ask that you consider supporting us financially on this trip. A large portion of the proceeds goes to building a church. More importantly, we are seeking people to be praying for us as we prepare for this trip and as we minister to the people of Ghana. If you would like to support us in prayer or financially, please print and mail this form(This opens a PDF document that you can print).
In August, Tiffany and I took our first cruise to Mexico. As we reported earlier, we had a fantastic time on the Carnival Elation! A few days after we go home, we realized that our nice Canon camera was missing. It is a terrible feeling when you discover that you have lost something. As I thought back on the trip, I remembered setting the camera down in the shuttle van we took after the cruise, but I did not remember picking it up.
After a couple of phone calls to the San Diego Park & Go, we found out that it had been found and was being stored in the safe! Not only had the driver found our camera, but he thought it best to store the camera in a safe while they waited for us to claim the lost item. Although we had to pay for the shipping (which is completely understandable), Santo graciously packed up the bag/camera and shipped it home!
So, we would like to officially thank the San Diego Park & Go for their honesty and safekeeping of our lost camera - Thank you Santo! You all have demonstrated the kind of customer care that we miss today!
8 years ago, on August 4, 2001, Tiffany and I were married in her Grandparents backyard outside of Richmond, Virginia. We are always amazed at how fast time flies, but even more amazed that it has been 8 years. It is also amazing to see how much two people change over time and how close we continue to grow.
Since I spent last year working on my anniversary, we decided that a proper vacation was in store this time around.
The first part of the adventure took us to Sea World in San Diego (I think this was our 3rd or 4th time being there). Our friends Emily and Sarah came along with us since we all bought season passes. We had a fantastic time watching all of the Summer Nights special shows. I also enjoyed the all-you-can-eat pass that I bought for the day (Probably not the wisest choice for the waist, but there definitely was not much waste...).
The next day was partially spent enjoying the sights, sounds and activities of Balboa Park. Our first stop was to the Museum of Man. I have to admit that we were all severely disappointed with the Museum and expected a lot more (especially for the price). We had a good time, but expected more bang for the buck.
After Museum, we bought hot dogs and nachos from a street vendor. Sometimes, the simple lunches are the best!
From lunch, we took a short stroll over the the Spreckels Organ. On Sunday afternoons, there is a free concert. That was a treat for sure. The organ and pipes are amazing and the atmosphere of an outdoor venue is fantastic!
The International Houses are also open on Sunday, so we enjoyed walking through the various countries represented while eating some good food and enjoying live music.
The weather was the most amazing part of the day!
In the evening, Tiffany and I went to Coronado Island to stay at the Marriott resort. One of the benefits of traveling so much for work is the points I have been able to build up for FREE lodging. We enjoyed our evening at the resort and on the Island.
On Monday, August 3, Tiffany and I made our way to the Carnival Elation cruise ship in San Diego. Balboa Park and Sea World were appetizers for the adventure that we enjoyed on the cruise. Not only was this our first cruise, but it was also our first time to Mexico. The cruise was 5 days and ports of call were Cabo, Mexico and Ensenada, Mexico.
In Cabo, we enjoyed some snorkeling and walking around the city (It was hot and I burned the top of my head!). In Ensenada, we did some shopping and enjoyed some street taco's. The two cities are very different from each other.
On board, we enjoyed most of the amenities offered. We ate plenty of food, visited the spa, read a book on deck, swam, watched shows, window shopped for stuff we could not afford and met some new friends. We had a fantastic time on our cruise and will plan another one for sure.
On our anniversary, we were able to get a table for two. Our waitstaff even brought us a cake and sang "Happy Anniversay" to us. It also happened to be formal night on the ship, so we were dressed up for some professional pictures.
After the cruise, we did not want to drive home. Instead, we drove up to Irvine to spend the night with a friend. We needed a good night of sleep to recover from the trip. I always find it odd that vacations require a recovery day... Go figure.
All in all, the vacation/anniversay trip was excellent. We had a great time and highly recommend San Diego and the Carnival Elation!
So... Umm... It's been really busy over the past 4 months. As a result, I have procrastinated putting together a blog post. I keep a running list of items that I would like to blog about. In order to clean up my list, I am going to give the shot gun list of what has been going on lately. In other words, this will be a fast overview instead of an in depth analysis... Ready?
As I write this blog, I am sitting in San Jose, California. This is my 4th trip to San Jose in the past 4 months! I have also been to Albuquerque, Atlanta and Orlando on business. The Atlanta trip was for training. Tiffany and I went out a week early to see some friends and enjoy some vacation time. The Orlando trip was for InfoComm.
At InfoComm, I met a lot of great people in the industry and had a great time seeing new products. I was also honored to speak on two panels about technology. In particular, I spoke about the convergence of AV and IT. I also spoke about Unified Communications as it relates to video conferencing.
Our LIFE group also has remained very active over the past few months. We have taken a couple camping trips in Sedona and Payson, AZ. We also had a GREAT time rafting and camping on the Grand Canyon for a few days. The trip down the Grand Canyon was amazing. I haven't taken the time to get pictures up on Flickr yet, but they are amazing!
June marked my 10 year anniversary of graduating from high school. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the reunion this year. Tiffany and I are planning to take a much needed anniversary trip at the same time (We are going on a cruise!). Never-the-less, it is amazing to see how fast 10 years goes and how much can change from year to year. The one thing I know for sure is that God is always in control and grows more amazing day by day.
Climbing has also continued to go well. Although, it has been difficult to climb while traveling.... It's fun to see how much progress we have made and how much more needs to be made.
The other big news is that we are in the processes of buying a house! The market is ripe and we are ready. So far, things have gone well. We are bidding on short sales, so that can be a little un-nerving. Stay tuned for updates on the house process! It's hard to be patient, especially when you find a house that you really really like!
Swoosh - The first quarter of 2009 is history! It's hard to believe that the past three months have passed by so fast. On top of that, I have a back log of "Blog Articles To Write." So... I have decided to do the 35,000 foot flyby and lump everything into one article. It's a cheap way to get everything on "paper."
Buckle up, this is going to be fast!
Shortly after our last blog post, we took a trip through Sedona to the Grand Canyon. There was fresh snow in Northern Arizona and I wanted to see it (Notice the lack of WE in the previous sentence). Needless to say, the snow was great and so was the trip. We even played in the snow a little.
Other big trips in the past couple of months include:
San Diego, CA -- Sea World and the beach!!
Austin, TX -- Business trip/training
Chicago, IL -- Saw my step brother, his wife and three nieces while I was on this business trip
Las Vegas, NV -- Really cheap way to get-a-way for a weekend! We crossed the 10,000 mile mark with our Honda Civic during this trip. A friend came in from out of town, so we decided to make the journey!
Locally, Phoenix has a lot to offer. Spring is a great time in this city and we have made the most of it this year (There are only three seasons in my mind: Spring, Summer and Fall - I know that Spring just began, but it feels like it is actually summer now):
Dare2Share -- I went with our youth group to this event. We had a fantastic time. Singing. Witnessing. Learning. This is a great event and I look forward to it each year.
Luke Days Air Show -- Unfortunately, this only comes every other year. Fortunately, this is one of the years. Even more fortunately, we know a lot of people in the Air Force, so we felt like we had the royal treatment this year. We had a great time at the Air Show and are very thankful for the men and women that we know that serve this country. It is a real blessing to have them as friends. How many people get to go on base and fly a simulator?! Too cool!
Golf -- I went golfing early in March. I had a great time and did reasonably well. This is only the third time I have ever golfed.
Baseball -- I helped work on the Goodyear Ballpark earlier this year. As a reward, I was able to see a few spring training games for free. Not only that, but we got the best seats in the house (That would be the room with all of the A/V stuff, naturally)! It was fun getting to be a part of the stadium and seeing the first couple of games.
Zoo -- We went to the Phoenix Zoo a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it was the same day that we went to the Air Show. Yeah. We got a lot of sun that day.
Aloha Festival -- Another great outdoor activity in Phoenix. Lots of sun. Lots of food. Tons of fun! This is a March Must!
One of the biggest blessings and changes in our lives is climbing! In the beginning of February, we joined a climbing gym and have tried to spend 2-3 nights a week climbing. We love climbing! It is a great way to workout and have fun at the same time. It is neat to look at how we have changed during this time.
Work has been up and down a bit recently. Due to the economy, we underwent a little downsizing at work. Thankfully, I am still happily employed right now. The downside is that I lost some leadership that I really respected and trusted. It will take a while to build up again. Other than that, work seems to be picking up quite a bit.
To close things out, I have decided to add a few more pictures from the past couple of months. I am really bad about sharing our pictures, so I am going to try and spruce things up a little by adding pictures more often.