Welcome to Kidologist.com (formerly PastorKarl.com), where Karl Bastian, nicknamed the "Kidologist" by his family for being a 'big kid' and founder of Kidology.org, posts his thoughts and adventures. GET POSTS BY E-MAIL: Subscribe To Kidologist.com

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Which is better: Powerful Jedi Knight or Rodent?


Well, it was Baby Luke's first Halloween. While we are not huge fans of Halloween, we do enjoy the dressing up and, of course, giving and getting candy. And, as first time parents, we have been looking forward to, and enjoying all of Baby Luke's 'firsts' so why not have some fun dressing him up?

PROBLEM: What do you do when BOTH mom and dad buy the little guy a costume? Well, not only do you trick or treat twice, and have two separate photo-ops, but you take the issue to your blog readers and ask them to vote!

YOUR DECISION: Which costume was better? The POWERFUL JEDI KNIGHT, Luke Skywalker (not forgetting Luke's NAME is "Luke") or dressing him up as a rodent of unusual size?

Please VOTE in the COMMENTS for JEDI KNIGHT or RODENT. Here are the pictures to aid in your valuable vote decision....

CHOICE ONE: The Rodent (aka Mickey Mouse)

Here is Sara with her little adorable mouse boy.

Is he simply adorable, or what?

Em, Eye, See, Kay, Ee, Why?
Em, Oh, You, Es, Ee!

Did you say "Candy?" Oh, wait, I have no teeth yet!

You'll never spank ME will you?

CHOICE TWO: The Powerful Jedi Knight, Guardian of Peace and Justice in the Galaxy!

Jedi Dad with his Padawan Learner!

Off to get candy from the neighbors... too bad Jedi Luke can't eat it!

Back inside to play with an X-wing fighter and eat a pilot!

This is sooooo much fun!

I got to go trick or treating twice!!
(granted, only 2-3 houses each time, it was COLD out!)

What IS this stuff people gave me?

I wonder if it is edible?

"Luke, I am your father!" (had to get that in, of course)

Jedi Luke playing with his light saber.

I offered him Darth Dad's helmet and asked him if he would like to chose the dark side... I was delighted to see his tears... truly a good jedi at heart! Never will he join the dark side!

OK - YOU'VE SEEN THE CHOICES: Noble Jedi Knight, or Rodent. PLEASE VOTE IN THE COMMENTS for your choice!

BY THE WAY: Is this Baby Luke with the mascot from the Chicago Wolves? Yes, it is!!

Hope this wolf doesn't like eating mice!

My nephew, who lives down the street, won a sweepstakes to participate in a costume contest at a Chicago Wolves Game - and then he goes and wins first place! His prize? The official mascot of the Chicago Wolves comes to HIS HOUSE and goes trick or treating with him and his family and friends! Not bad, eh?

Baby Luke in the arms of a WOLF!

Here is my nephew winning with his Ginger Bread Man's Revenge costume. Full Story Here.

Are You Ready?

Thot this video was pretty cool. Wish I knew how to download a video from YouTube, but below is the link. MAKE SURE YOUR VOLUME IS UP!

This is an awesome video. (Very Short) Enjoy!

UPDATE: On downloading YouTube Videos, I tried FireFox extention, and it chokes. But TubeSock is well wortht the $15 registration fee. And here is my MP4 file for you to download of the video above: Are You Ready? Your welcome! (thanks for the comments that helped me find this!)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Big Bro reflects on Another Big Brother

As I've posted before, my brother is a writer for MLB.com , and specifically as the beat writer for the BlueJays. (see me endangering my life to show my support this past season)

But with all the senior writers being busy with the World Series, my little brother Jordan, got to cover a major article, about the death of Joe Neikro.

I wanted to post the link to the article on my blog because I wanted to show off how great a writer my brother is.

I enjoy do enjoy baseball. If you drop by my house in the afternoon, you may find me tossing a ball at the pitchback in my backyard, a recent new habit when I just need time to think. I'd like to claim credit for teaching Jordan everything he knows about baseball since I AM his big brother, but he and I both know better. But I'm not a huge fan or follower of baseball, though I do really enjoy championship games, and especially when they are Chicago teams!

But I am always amazed how my brother can take a subject that usually isn't of great interest to me, especially the death of a player I'd never heard of, and mingle in a bunch of otherwise unrelated facts, and craft it into an article that gets me engaged.

Now I have all these questions about this Niekro family. I learned about a dad who taught his boys a knuckleball pitch that he developed when he injured his pitching arm. A pitch that the older Niekro, Phil, used to build a very successful career, and one that he tossed his little brother during a game in 1976 so that the younger Joe could have his only home run in his twenty-two year career. I liked imagining the big brother, setting aside team rivalry when Joe came to the plate, to toss his little brother the "secret family pitch" so he could get that home run. Not that Joe wasn't a good player, but his records were to be made on the mound, not at the plate. Then I learned that just oever ten years later, Joe's eight year old son, Lance, a bat boy at the time, got to ride in a post-season celebration convertible with his dad.... and must have caught the baseball bug too, as he would later follow his dad and uncle into the major leagues.

All that to say - a good writer pulls you into a story that you otherwise would have no interest in, and leaves you wishing you knew more about the characters within.

Way to go little brother!

I wish I could say I taught him all he knew about writing too.

Go ahead, read the article yourself!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On the Side of the Road of Life

You can travel to far away places to find beauty and to marvel at God's creation, or you keep an eye out the side window of your car... if you open your eyes, you may be surprised how often you can spot God's handiwork in your daily routine, and how often you'll discover glimpses of his creativity just off your usual path. As I did today, on my way home from jury duty. There was barely a place to stop my car and getting across the busy street on foot was a challenge, but it took only five mintues to capture some of this beauty that others were zooming right past. It makes we wonder how much of life we miss because we never stop to look. I know I've been one of the hyper-busy ones for years and the cost of not slowing down sooner was high.

(All these images can be viewed much larger by simply clicking on them)

Sometimes, (and preferably) we pull over in life intentionally to take in some rest and be refreshed by God's creation - but at other times the car of life breaks down and we are forced to stop and take a break. But either way - it is good to "Be still and know that He is God."

In the middle of this lake are dead trees. They are surrounded by life - but they are dead. Perched within them is life, as birds make their nests, but the trees themselves are still dead. We may find ourselves at times feeling like those trees, seeing life all around us, but feeling dead and used up. Others may be perched upon us, even pecking at us thinking we are no longer of any use other than to be a symbol of something past. But the truth is that God can bring life BACK and He can renew!

Gordon MacDonald, in his book "MID-COURSE CORRECTION" calls it 'Vital Optimism.' "A quality of spirit possessed by a person where there is a persuasion that the best is yet to be. Whatever the past, the future will be better. Hope," he writes, "is the confident expectation that history is going somewhere and that God, our Creator and Redeemer, is powerfully directing it. Without such vital optimism or hope, life is, to say the least, quite troublesome."

When and how to we lose this 'Vital Optimism?' From our youngest age we are taught that "we can do anything, go anywhere, and acheive any goal if we are willing to work hard enough. And this wonderful reasonably true myth keeps us going for some time," Gordon explains. "But," he continues, "reality can chip away at this myth and erode our dreams, and by the time we are in our late thirties (gulp! that's me!), the fight to retain any kind of vital optismism is fierce." He warns, "from living life built on great expectations, we gravitate toward a life built on little more than obligation." What do we do when all of our lofty goals are finally attained, and they become instead weekly obligations that wear us out and drain our spirit? What then?

Gordon writes further, "We came to believe that if we pushed ourselves hard enough, we could achieve a certain level of saintliness, a coveted spiritual maturity." I know for myself, my flurry of spiritual activity and frantic service for God was supposed to bring about a deep and abiding faith, but instead, it was the very thing that threatened my spiritual life and robbed my soul of God's best for me. I wish I'd seen this destructive pattern sooner! I wanted to be like D.L. Moody who said, "the world has yet to see what God can do through one person totally committed to Him." My mom used to say to me, "Karl, if you ever get all this energy focused in one direction, watch out world!" Those were great words to me, and I've strived to fulfill them and make my mom proud, even though she has gone on ahead of me. But now I know there is another side of the soul, and instead now, I think I would warn, "If you ever get all your energy focused in one direction, even if it be ministry, watch out soul." You risk losing the very thing you are striving to attain - vitality of soul and a deep walk with Christ.

Like the teenager whose t-shirt says, "Jesus could return any day... look busy!" we run the risk of becoming dead trees in the middle of the beautiful lake. In the end, it is not how busy we are that counts. It is not how much we have accomplished. It won't be the number of programs we ran or the attendance at the events we organized that Jesus will ask about... he'll just want to know, "Did you know I loved you all along?" While I've longed to hear him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant," I fear he may have said to me instead, "Welcome home, I've missed you. Maybe now we can be finally be friends." God give me that Vital Optimism!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Little Pumpkin Goes to the Pumpkin Patch!

me and my little sister

Today we celebrated by little sister's birthday by going with her family and some friends to a Pumpkin Patch!

Can you name these Veggies?

Just wanted to share a few pictures of this fun day as it was Luke's first time at a pumpkin patch!

Enjoying being a Mom and Dad!

As we strollered in with a zillion other parents Sara commented, "I feel like we are now officially parents taking our child to a fall photo-op!"

The Pumpkin Family

One of the advantages of finally having a baby, is that I no longer get called "Punkin." Sara always called me her 'Punkin' (that isn't a typo, that is the official spelling of Punkin) But now, fortunately, the baby names have been transfered to the BABY! :)

Wow! A Pumpkin!

Can I Keep It??

Mommy with her little pumpkin!

Daddy shows Luke the TRACTOR!! Oh yeah!

Which pumpkin would YOU pick?

I have chosen wisely!

Lost in the Corn Maze!

The Birthday Girl with the Little Guy

If friends were pumpkins... I'd pick this family!

Time to head home after a loooong afternoon!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Amazing Laundry Room Discovery!

I came home today and made an amazing discovery in my laundry room....

There is a counter top!

with a nice pattern on it!

and no clothes everywhere!

Even the machines were clear!

wow, grandma must have come over for a visit! :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

When I say "I am a Christian"

Once in awhile an e-mail forward actually contains something encouraging instead of spams or scams or jokes or urban legends. If you forward this to everyone in your address book, Bill Gates will NOT send you a dollar for each one. And no, nothing bad will happen to you if you don't e-mail this to ten friends!

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

by Carol Wimmer

Sunday, October 08, 2006

18 Years Later, and Just as Greasy as Ever!

Man, am I getting old! (You are welcome to talk me out of this conclusion!) Today, Sara and I went downtown to Moody Bible Institute where both dated and graduated for the Gary Chapman conference, Toward a Growing Marriage - first let me just say, it was a GREAT seminar and exceded even my high expectations. I would highly recommend his books and seminars to anyone who is married whether you think you need it or not. :)

But as great as the conference was, the HIGHLIGHT of the day (sorry Sara) was going to MR. G's! That's right! The burger joint on Clark Street just North of Chicago Avenue:

Mr. Cheeseburger in front of his favorie burger joint!

I have not been to Mr. G's for about 18 years! (That's why I'm feeling so old) Has that much time gone by? Were the student here really babies when I was here! Yikes!! SO MUCH has changed in the buildings around MBI but I was soooo happy to discover that my favorite place for a burger run in college is still there! This little burger joint, just a block away from Moody holds many memories!

All ya have to say is "#1" as you enter Mr. G's

The famous #1 is stil about the same price, though you can't get it with a chocolate shake any more - but this place was an old favorite to the 'old' people when I was a student from 1988-1992. I don't know how it survives in this budding River North area, but it is!

A Historic Momment Documented Live!

In case you wanted a close up of mine and Sara's #1's being grilled!

The restaurant is like traveling back in time... the same pictures still hang on the wall, the bathroom hasn't been cleaned since before my days at Moody, and I half wondered if the fake plants were the very same ones. The only improvement I was happy to discover was that you can now get Mountain Dew at Mr. G's - who used to sell Coke products. (blah!) The fries were as yummy and thick and greasy as they were back then!

I got a few looks for all the pictures I was taking!

Isn't it nice to know that in these rapidly changing high tech days of constant moderization and remodeling that you can still go to Mr. G's and get a Number One? There is hope for the world!

My Kind of Date! Greasy and Cheap! (oh, and Sara along too)

One of my favorite memories was when I was eating at Mr. G's with my dad while he was visiting downtown, and I was showing him a new magic trick I was working on. A Chicago Policeman was sitting near us and made some demeaning remark about 'how cute, a magic trick, maybe you can be a magician someday' not knowing that I was a magician and was enjoying a good level of success earning my way through college as a professional magician. In a moment of vain humor, (and to impress my dad), I walked over to the officer and asked him if he wanted to see a magic trick with his cigarette. He hesitated, but agreed and handed me his lit cigarette. I placed a silk over my other hand, poked the cigarette into the silk, which should have burned a hole in it, and then showed that not only was the silk undamaged, but my hands were empty, and the lit cigarette was vanished!* I then said with a smile, 'Sorry, sir, but this is a non-smoking restaurant' and returned to my seat. I was nervous, but the officer seemed dumbfounded enough to not arrest me for grand-theft-cigarette! My dad still talks about the story often! Today I sat where that cop sat years ago!

The historic bite - after 18 years, still just as juicy and artery clogging as ever!

Some Things Never Change. And that's a good thing.

* For all my magician friends, I think you can figure out how I did the vanishing lit cigarette, but don't post it in the comments, but I'm curious if you have any fun magic stories that happened in public like that!