Saturday, December 20, 2014


My friend Steve Geyer is a pretty inspiring guy. He is funny and full of life. And he has a great way with a camera. He caught Lia at the perfect moment. Have you ever seen her more alive?

Who is she admiring? His name is Gabriel. He is 8 months old. He is a child of *Cielo, once a slum now an oasis in one of the poorest parts of the Dominican Republic. Lia met him on her first trip to the area last Spring. He stole her heart. And before leaving, Lia made up her mind to help him. See, he was born with a cleft lip and palate. Lia asked his mother about it. His mother, a beautiful Dominican (they are all beautiful) said that they had talked to a surgeon but the price was too high. Well, Lia made it happen. 

When we arrived in November, Gabriel and his mother surprised us. Look how good he looks. 

He wasn't as grumpy as he appears in this picture (blame Steve Geyer), but grumpy or not the transformation was amazing. I was looking in my archives for a before picture. We have one. When I find it, I'll upload it. 

Once all the attention finally ran its course, Gabriel was sitting on his mother's lap while she and Lia discussed his health and future. His thumb went to his perfectly repaired lip and he started sucking it. No one saw it I think but me. Perhaps that was the reason it was only me that cried. 

The little miracles are sometimes the most profound. The little child who can suck his thumb now. The change that can come over a woman just because she had a part to play in it. Those are the things worth remembering. The things that remind me of the great God we have. 

*Cielo means Sky in Spanish. It can also mean Heaven. It might be Lia's.

If you ever want to come with us, let us know!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

Silence on the blog does not necessarily mean that nothing is going on. In fact, what silence most often means is that TOO MUCH is going on.

I am embarrassed, astonished, and slightly amazed that I have not contributed to this careful-attempt-at-not-taking-myself-too-seriously in two months! Yikes!

No excuses. This trend needs to stop and fast.

So some highlights and reflections...and at the end, a pre-new-year's resolution...

This year we bought season tickets on the Hill for Wake Football. Though Wake did not have the most stellar of seasons, we sure had fun. And at $110 for four for the entire season, we would have enjoyed ourselves even if they lost EVERY game. Go Deacs #alwaysnextyear

Anna Rose and I had a rootin' tootin' time at the Adventure Princess fall outing. Yee-haw!

I headed off the following weekend to Windy Gap with my high school homies. Perfect weekend. Family Camp in April hint hint to all you people out there with families. Come with us!

The Halls had us over for a gourmet dinner and fun times with goats and alpacas at Ginger Top Farms. Anna Rose was in heaven! Plans for her future have taken a drastic turn to the rural. 

We Celebrated Ned's Birthday and We Run For Them with a check presentation and a party. How about the double entendres in that cake!

I was actually out of town for Halloween and missed this: 

Meanwhile, I almost had this tree land on me (I'm not kidding. While on a run, this tree fell about fifteen feet from me!) 

Oh, then Lia and I spent a life-changing weekend in the Dominican Republic. 

I jammed with the locals and was honored to be the first person to escort Nairboi down the recently completed ramp at Cielo. #MissionEmanuel #Mostcementinoneplaceanywhereonearth

We're heading back in the Spring if anyone is interested...another hint.

We had spectacular weekends at the cabin with friends and family. 

including the a muddy corn maze with the Amrich family.

 Thanksgiving was full of family - 18 for dinner on the festive day. So grateful for my parents who drove down and for the breakfast we shared on Tuesday. Wednesday Dave Dave and ARO watched The Princess Bride for the first time. A true passing of the baton. Friday we celebrated the memory of Kent Welch. I can't believe it's been 10 years. #neverforget. And Saturday we chopped down our Christmas Tree and were treated to an afternoon on the Mangum estate. We are only a million dollars away from it being ours!

This weekend we ran the Mistletoe 5k as a family. Dave Dave finished officially second (we thought it was first, but turns out a Chermak beat him (those darn orthodonist kids)). I was tremendously proud of both our kids. On the way home we crashed a private Santa Claus event. Ho Ho Ho!!!!

And last night, Lia and I danced into the evening at the Young Life Yule Ball. 


What a fall! I'm remembering a half-dozen more blog-worthy moments...

I need to write about Lia and Gabriel down in the D.R. This week?

I also need to write about doing Leadership Winston-Salem this year! Man, if there ever was something I was made for, it was this!

Oh! I almost forgot. I need to tell you about two new books that will be hitting the shelves soon! (am I a marketing genius or what?) We were hoping to have them out by Christmas. Production has slowed a bit. Stay tuned!

I'll tell you, this is what happens when you get lazy on a blog. Happy Holidays friends! I will return later this week. Promise.

Happy Holidays, friends.