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

Monday, June 18, 2007

NEW Kidologist.com is LIVE!

VISIT www.kidologist.com and see my new site!

Same web address, new enhanced site that will be more than just a blog.

Not sure if I will continue e-mail notification of blog posts. Hasn't worked for months on the old one, and the new one doesn't offer it. It uses RSS feeds instead. If you use RSS feeds the old one no longer works and should be replaced with the new one:


to NEW:

If you have no idea what I am talking about, don't worry about it. :-D

If you'd like to know more, this link will explain more:

My preferred RSS Reader is www.bloglines.com

If you would really like me to continue/resume e-mails of posts, let me know.

Be the first to comment on the new site!

Thanks! See ya on the new site!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Meditate On My Header

Take a close look and meditate on my flash header. Enjoy everything that flashes by... you may never see it again... ;)

It Pays to Be Patient?

I just bought a few books on Amazon and when looking at my 1-Click account settings, I noticed a link to Wish List. I click on it and found that on September 21, 2004 (my brother's birthday!) I had put a really nice digital camera on my wish list.... for $899.95!

I wondered, of course, if the camera is still available to purchase, so I clicked on the link, and discovered that INDEED it still is:

But for only $195.00!

See, by being patient and waiting three years, I can get this amazing 2.1 MEGA pixel digital camera with a 10x optical zoom lens that uses outdated SmartMedia and is ten times bigger than today's cameras with less features and save hundreds of dollars!

Actually, I did buy this camera, just not from Amazon, and got tons of use out of it for several years, and still use it for still photograhy because it takes amazing pictures and with the optical large lens you get more light and faster shutter speeds, which makes it ideal for large indoor pictures (such as Kid U events) and fast moving images.

The Point: Yes, technology is expensive when it is new, and costs more than it will later... but you do get more for paying more. You get the use of the tool while others are waiting for the price to drop.

Which brings me to the final point: Why I would buy an iPhone as soon as they come out when over time the price may drop and features and hard drive space will improve.

If you have not watched the iPhone commercials, the flash promo, or the iPhone keynote address, you really should. This small sleek machine is beyond incredible... it is going to change the cellular world the same way the iPod and iTunes changed the way we buy, listen and use music, and the way the Mac changed computing. (can you even count the ways Windows copies the Mac, but just can't pull it off?)

My treo650, once the most powerful phone on the market is now a toy for my little boy to play with.

And when he gets bored, it will make a nice paper weight. Sure, I could sell it or give it away, but that would be like giving someone an 8-track tape of Dallas Holm. But if you want it, let me know. (either the phone or the 8-track tape, I have both!)

Good things come to those who wait, but when it comes to technology, the best things come to those who buy right away! :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Freedom is not Popular

Having been to fourteen other countries in Europe, Asia and Central America, I have the right to say that not only am I glad to be an American - PROUD TO BE AMERICAN - but I have the perspective to say that we are lucky to be Americans! Unless you are an immigrant - you are an American because you were born here and THANK GOD for that blessing! There truly is no better place on earth and may I say I am sick and tired of people, especially politicians and news reporters who talk like WE are the scourge of the earth and deserve every bad thing that happens to us. If we are hated, it is because we are better, and we ought to be proud of what makes us better, not make excuses for those who seek to destroy us. I'm not saying we are perfect, but we are not only #1 in the world in freedom and opportunity, we are #2 and #3 and #4 as well. Their is hardly a runner up in what America offers its people. It is no mystery why we have enemies - but it is because we are good, but because we have done anything to deserve the hatred of those who seek to end our way of life.

But before I get ranting any more on that, (!), I wanted to post some pictures from a trip our family took to Springfield, IL in the fall of 2006. Because there are some very important similarities between our current President and the beloved Abraham Lincoln.

Baby Luke hanging with the First Family

Me, discussing the current war with some civil war commanders.

Baby Luke playing outside Lincoln's childhood home.

Baby Luke trying to sneak up on and stop Booth!

Nice that the pubic restrooms at the museum were authentic!

Did you know that President Abraham Lincoln was a Christian? Do you know who lead him to Christ? Here is a photo that tells the story:

Sara's Dad, a relative of Lincoln (seriously),
sharing the Peace Track with a young Lincoln.

Baby Luke marked with the Official Presidential Seal!

Baby Luke at Lincoln's Tomb

That's grandma, grandpa and mommy
in the background in front of the Tomb.

If you have never been to Springfield and to the new Lincoln Museum, it is well worth the trip. And DON'T MISS the Ghost of the Civil War show. It is amazing, and leaves you stunned and amazed at some special effects that are truly hard to figure out "how did they do that?" It's better than any show I've seen at a Disney park. Simply incredible.

Back to the Rant...

There is something amazing about visiting the tomb of Lincoln. It brings this amazing historical figure into reality - he really lived, and the events you've read and heard about really happened. And the thing that I admire the most about Abraham Lincoln is that he did what was right - what was best for American - despite whether it was popular or not. We have the America we have today because this man cared more about his country than he did for himself or his future. The fact that he is so universally loved today often blurs how incredibly HATED he was by so many who blamed him personally for the many deaths and broken families caused by the Civil War that he started. He was vastly unpopular and it was only after his death that many came to understand just how critical his role had been to very preservation of our United States of America.

(click for a larger image)

Now there is a national monument in Washington D.C., museums, and an memorial tomb and countless other tributes to this man that he never saw, and most likely, never expected or would have sought. (Unlike a more recent President who pathetically talks about his "legacy" - if you have to talk about it, you don't have one!)

When Ronald Reagan died n 2004 and I listened to the speeches given at his national funeral, it was like living Lincoln all over again. (not that I lived then!) Reagan was also a man ridiculed and severely hated during his presidency. While being mocked and belittled, he also put our great nation above his own reputation or career and nearly single handedly brought down the Soviet Empire and ended the Cold War and brought peace to many other nations while preserving our own. (Doubt many kids are taught this in school!)

(click for a larger image)

The freedom we enjoy every day, even the freedom to mock and belittle and ridicule our President is a costly freedom. It cost blood. Blood of fathers and brothers and sons, and even mothers and sisters and daughters. The cost is still high and precious. And when Americans forget why we are at war and what our enemy's goal is and fail to support our troops - they are insulting the men and woman who are in harms way TODAY that we might live free.

(click for a larger image)

Our current President sees the future with a clarity that few Presidents have in recent years. He understands not only the cost of war, but the cost of not agressively defending freedom; a cost that is much higher. He understands that we must be on the offense, not merely on the defense, and that only by taking the battle to the enemy and fighting our their soil will ours remain safe. Safe even for the critics and the ignorant to whine and complain and wring their hands attributing the painful costs of freedom to our leader instead of to the enemy who takes the lives we mourn and miss.

Is our President perfect? No. Do I agree with everything he says or does? No. Do his idiosyncrasies humor me and his mannerisms sometimes make me smile or even cringe? Yes, but his integrity and courage and steadfastness in the face of a real national threat from outside and power hungry critics on the inside make me proud to be an American and proud to have voted for him and to call myself a Republican.

When I visited Washington, D.C. last year and went around with a George Bush mask on taking pictures of our Capital, it was fascinating to experience people treating me, when the mask was on, with the same attitude and words as they would if they met our President. I had people asking to shake my hand and pose for pictures. I had people literally walk up and thank me and give me short speeches of gratitude, what they'd like to say to our President, were he walking the streets of the city. But, to my sadness and surprise, I also had people hurl insults, make obscene gestures and one man even threatened me suggesting wearing the mask could endanger my life! Most surprising was how many young people hated their president. One group that I got to talk to after they insulted our President, I asked what they were doing and they answered they were touring all the memories. I asked them when they visit to actually take the time to read the memories and to keep in mind that each of the men who now have memorials were not popular in their day but they did what would save our nation over what would save their popularity, and now thousands of people visit annually to see their monuments and memorials, to read their words, and in some cases to stand near where the body of the man was laid to rest. I tried to help them see what what is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right. (Something my political science teacher in high school taught me) Indeed, freedom is not popular, at least not what it takes to be free!

A boy asked me, "What? Do you George Bush will have a memorial someday?" My answer was that I don't know, and that's not the point. The point is that if he does, it will be because he doesn't care whether he gets monument or not - he will do what is best for our nation either way. That is the only way to get a monument - to do what is right in the face of severe opposition. There are no monuments to popular men. Only to brave men who boldly do what is right no matter what the masses around them say.

Monuments are only built for unpopular men who do what is right.

As the presidential election season gets into motion - please, I beg you - as one who enjoys freedom and has seen much of the rest of the world - don't be fooled by empty promises and words that tickle the ears. Listen for the ones who love our country. Get behind the ones who see hope, and a better tomorrow, but those who are willing to be unpopular to do what is right and what is needed. I know it's tricky to win a popular election without seeking popularity, but it has happened many times in history, and can happen again. Americans need to stay the course we are currently on - improve, adjust, adapt, learn, yes - but stay the course of fighting the war on terror and preserving our great nation for the next generation.

I'm a dad now - I will vote first and foremost for the president who will protect us. Social issues are not as important - without freedom - there will be no social issues. National security is the #1 issue in our country and world and please don't hand it over to anyone who thinks we should cut and run or surrender when the reality is we are winning and advancing freedom in the part of the world that needs it most and keeping our homeland safe.

Freedom of the press is wonderful, but I wish the press was for freedom. Americans, don't be fooled by the agenda's of much of today's media - many past generations have stepped up to save our way of life, and it's our turn now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My Stupid Coke Reward

I usually consider myself immune from the power of advertising - enjoy the ad - but don't buy because of an ad. However, I have found the My Coke Rewards commercials fun and entertaining, so when I found a coke cap on the kitchen counter (most likely from Sara or a guest since I'm a Dew Man), I thought I'd give it a shot and see if that cap could indeed bring me a vacation or car or some fancy technological gadget I don't already have...

So I went to the website MyCokeRewards.com and set up an account. I even made a bogus alias email so I can prevent spam and delete if they abuse the email address. (most likely!) I sign up, and guess what - it says I won the SOUNDTRACK TO PIRATES: AT WORLD'S END! I'm thinking WOW, I won with my first soda cap - maybe I will actually buy a Coke sometime. (not sure I ever have, other than at McD's where you have no choice, I even tend to not eat where Coke is the only choice, I know, hard to do!)

On my way to World's End

Now, if you read my review of Pirates on Kidology.org then you know I was not happy with the film and wish they had just quit with one movie, or made the second one have a point - but I DO like the Pirates soundtrack almost more than Star Wars - (I know, amazing!), and probably do listen to it the most of all my playlists on my iPod.

Up is Down, Right is Left, Whatever!

All that to say - I like the Pirates music alot and was happy to be a first time winner of a Coke Reward. So I opted to turn in my lousy three points for the Soundtrack to Pirates, At World's End.

(isn't that how blogs were born? a place to complain?)

1) It was NOT the soundtrack to Pirates that I won, it was a "medley" of music from the movie.
2) The site says it only works with IE which it doesn't tell you until after you arrive at the page to use your "one time use" code.
3) Fortunately, the code still worked and I downloaded the tiny file, but then it says, not compatible on Mac or iPod. That is, AFTER, I chose to give up all my points for the soundtrack to a movie and after I download it, only then does it tell me the file is useless to me and I'll never get to hear it anyway.

So basically, they tell you that you are getting the soundtrack to a movie, you agree to spend all your points on it, and then they tell you, oh, its only a medley and you have to be on a PC to listen to it.

So I have my prize (oooooooooh!) but it is useless to me. So here it is to download for all my Coke Drinking, PC Usin' friends out there.

(since I can't) 3.5mb

UPDATE! Someone, who wishes to remain simply anonymous,
ripped the file and converted to an MP3 to share. I don't mind
sharing it because Coke LIED about what I was getting.
I'll take it off my site when they stop lying on their site about
what they are giving you as your "PRIZE." :-)
Here is the MP3 to Enjoy!

Enjoy, and post a comment and tell me if it worked and how you liked my prize. And you didn't even have to drink a dark syrupy tasteless drink to win!

Pirate Dad and Luke! Arrrrrrrrrg!

Shiver Me Diapers, Ahoy!

UPDATE! Someone, who wishes to remain simply anonymous,
ripped the file and converted to an MP3 to share. I don't mind
sharing it because Coke LIED about what I was getting.
I'll take it off my site when they stop lying on their site about
what they are giving you as your "PRIZE." :-)
Here is the MP3 to Enjoy!

Water Proof Phone?!

TIP: Never tell your brother your phone is water proof!

Because when I was out to lunch with my sisters this week, that's exactly what my older sister did... so of course I answered, "Really? Can I see it?" And dropped it into my water at Red Robin.

Here is my sister's phone half submerged!

Now completely submerged!

View from the top!

Comes out dripping, but working!

Even works open and with an incoming call!

A toast to a water-proof phone!

OK, for those of you who have to know more, check it out:

GzOne Phone

and, no, I am not buying one. The next phone I buy will be an iPhone!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Time Flies When You Are Serving God

Saturday, May 12th, was one of those days that makes you feel old... but so happy too. It was a day of seeing another of my K.C. Krew kids getting married!

The last time you'll see "Cheek" after Krista's name!

Krista and Karl Today....

Karl and Krista in 1998!

Cool Krista!
(wearing a costume for Kids Church)

Krista getting married, and that's Sara's dad doing the ceremony!

This was a very encouraging day for me. You minister and invest in so many kids in your life, and you don't always get to see what God does with their lives. Some you never even get to say good bye to, let alone, get to see them again years later. It was so nice to get caught up on what they are doing and how much they have grown up!

Krista's little sister Erin, Gwen, (me), Laura and Amy Joy.

And YES, I have old pictures of all of them: (hope they still love me after this!)

Erin back then!

And Amy Joy too!

I've got special stories with each of these girls, and it was fun to tell them over again at the wedding. Laura, second from the right, graduated from Moody Bible Institute on the same day as the wedding, (along with anothe former K.C. Krew kid, Noah, not at the wedding), and is also very special because she is the first kid I ever baptized. She may not realize it, but she is quoted in an article on Kidology.org, but since it is the membership section, here is the poem she wrote:

Here are some pictures of Laura:

Laura in 5th or 6th Grade

Who is that skinny runt Laura is sitting with?

Sorry these pictures are grainy, but I was pioneering the era of digital photography back then! But lest you think it is only the girls I fondly remember, there were some grown up guys at the wedding too!

Bruce (Krista's "little" brother), me, and Billy.

Also, David, Amy Joy's Big Brother,
now a piano major at DePaul Univeristy!

David and Karl then!
(when he played a keyboard in Kids Church)

And here was the "shocker" for me... you know those cute little pip-squeeks in Kid's Church? They may end up dating some day! Here is Gwen, one of the first kids I met when I was interviewing at the church, and Bruce, who was my official "Taco Bell Buddy."

Awana Clubber Gwen, back then!

But, last, but not least, here is the girl who almost made a grown man cry: My little sweet Beth, who I used to put in my guitar case to try and steal her home! (and btw, whose mom made nearly all of Gus' costumes)

Sweet Little Beth, as I remember her!

Beth and Karl not so long ago!

Beth and Karl today!

Here is Beth of today, sweet as ever, but a bit taller. (And not blond?!) One of the first things she said to me was, "Pastor Karl, I don't think I'll fit in your guitar case any more!"

But what made me happiest was to see my little Beth, who was never old enough to be on K.C. Krew when I was there, proudly wearing a Kid's Krew shirt nearly ten years later.

Emotional Emoting Coming:

No matter what happens in life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, there is only one thing that will remain - the fruit that GOD grows as we serve Him with all our heart. That God would use me in the lives of so many children over the years is truly amazing and humbling to me. Why me? There is no reason other than His amazing grace and mercy... as I often like to say, the biggest miracle God ever does is to use imperfect people to share His perfect love.

Seeing these nearly grown kids and reliving the happy memories of days as their pastor, was a sobering reminder that the most important thing we can invest our lives in is people.

Perhaps you have seen the little plaque that reads, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last?" Well, that's not what all that the poet wrote.

The poet wrote this:
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I'll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee."

Life is filled with trials. Some are our own fault, others God sovereignly brings our way as part of His purposes, but either way, they are part of His Refining process. When you get stressed, or depressed, or compressed, or repressed, or deressed, or.... (you get the idea!)... focus on the good, on what God has done in spite of you... and be encouraged. Fruit that is of you, will fade away, but Fruit that is of God will continue to grow with or without you, because it God causing the growing all along.

As AT & T used to sing, "reach out, reach out and touch someone," for that's all that matters and all that lasts. I hope God will allow me to see even more kids in the years ahead who He let me have a little part in leading them to Him and teaching them about Him.

Top Row: David, Krista and Noah
Middle: Krista (different one), Melody, & Laura in the pink
(Beth's mom, Kim, on right)
Front Row: Karl and Sara

And save those pictures, you never know who you might be able to embarrass on your blog someday!

Happy Mother's Day MOMMY!

By popular demand (seriously!), here are some pictures from Mother's Day 2007:

Mother's Day began with a photo-op of Luke outside on the way to church....

Luke with Daddy's Car... too cool. (the boy, not the car!)
Trying to Look BIG and Tough (but too cute to pull it off)

"What's with the flowers, Dad, I'm a BOY!"

Waiting for the women to be ready to leave for church.
(get used to it, boy)

And here is MOM with her happy boy on Mother's Day!

Luke gets his hands on daddy's deck of cards...

A magician in the making!

Luke loves water, so the splinkers was the hightlight of his day!

Luke helps daddy drive.... again.

"Turn this way, daddy, according to the satelites!"

We enjoyed a wonderful Mother's Day relaxing at Sara's parents, not far from the latest Chicago fire. It's amazing how much Luke has grown since last Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Luke's First Light Saber

Luke got to hold his first light saber this week. It wasn't his, it belongs to his kissing friend, but she let him hold it. It was a light up one from a circus...

Without any instruction or prompting, he knew exactly what to do with it:

Strong in the Force Luke is

Attacking his father!

Good thing it was only a toy!

Being a dad is so much fun!

Uh oh, gotta change a diaper now. Light sabers are fun, but there is the practical side to fathering too... peew, gotta go!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Luke Takes to Water like a Fish

I always heard dads talking about how being a father gave them new insights into being a child of God, and the same is happening to me; a lot. Be glad I don't blog all of them. :) But I'll save my latest lesson as a new dad for the end of this post.

One of Luke's very favorite things has been bathtime - he would sit in a tub and splash until he became a prune if we let him. He never tires of water. So as we headed off to vacation two weeks ago I was sooooo looking forward to the pool in Palm Springs where we would be for the second week of our trip.

Luke's first time in a swimming pool.

As soon as we checked in, we went for an evening swim. I wasn't sure if the vast size of a giant pool would intimidate him, but far from it... he took to it like a fish!

Splash! Splash! Splash!

Well, a fish being held by his father that is. The pool was giant and included a baby section with water only a foot and a half deep and a water slide where you could slide at speeds of up to 80iph. (inches per hour)

This way to the pool, Dad!

Luke was hooked! We went swimming several times a day from before breakfast to just before bedtime. (with breaks for meals and naps, of course) First thing in the morning, Luke would point toward the pool and grunt. I would stop every ten feet on the way and say, "Where do you want to go?" And he would point again, remembering every turn on the way to the pool, and later in the week, even choosing where he would like to swim.

How to get yourself into the family shot while in a pool.

We started out in the kiddie area of the pool, but much to Dad's delight, he actually preferred the deep end, which was nice since it is easier to hold the baby standing in deep water than it is laying in less than two feet!

Luke demonstrating how to splash.

Luke never tired of splashing. I finally learned to wear shades so I wasn't squinting the entire time. Of course, his smiles were delightful, but when he was in "splash mode" he actually got such an intent look on his face; he takes his splashing very seriously.

Dad demonstrates how to make a giant splash!

Luke getting smothered in love.

Our favorite picture of our little splasher.

One exhausted swimmer!

But all good things, it seems, must come to an end, as did our vacation is sunny warm California. Of course, we had one last trip out to the pool before we left for the airport.

Luke gets through airport security,
even filled with fluid and a stink bomb!

This morning, back in Chicago, when I got him up he immediately pointed to the back yard, and when I took him out there and tried to explain that we don't have a pool, he was not happy. :(

So I went to Wal-Mart to try and make up for it:

Not quite the same, but it'll do!

Here is the daddy lesson I learned on this trip, written on the plane ride home:

As I type this I’m on the plane flying home from vacation in Palm Springs where Sara and Luke and I enjoyed a very relaxing week doing, well, basically nothing, unless going to the pool many times a day counts. :) Luke took to the water like a fish! Already a huge fan of bath time we weren’t sure if the vast expanse of a swimming pool would intimidate him. Far from it. It didn’t matter to him whether we were in the foot and a half deep section, or in the deep end where Dad was up to his neck standing… as long as he was in dad’s arms, nothing else mattered. He just splashed away delighted to be in the pool with his dad.

It struck me how much we are like my little Luke-fish. There are deep and shallow areas of life – but as long as we stay close to the Father, He will hold us and we can splash about and enjoy life regardless of how deep the water beneath us may be. And of course, there were times Luke tried to push away from me, and wanted to be alone in the water, but I had to hold on, at times against his will – for his own good. When we get away from God we can find ourselves feeling like King David did in Psalm 69 – up to our neck and sinking – but fortunately, our Father never lets go, and even if we go under or swallow some water, He will always pull us back close and love on us, even as we sputter to recover from the water that at times can be overwhelming. Our Heavenly Father wants to see us splashing and enjoying life. We can’t always avoid the deep end in life, but if we cling to the Father he will hold our head above the water and his strong arms will never let go. So stay close to the Father, and lets see some splashes for Him! Just as we delight to see our children happy, God delights to see our joy in Him.

But don't take your splashing too seriously! Despite all of our serious efforts, to our Heavenly Father, all we are doing is splashing in His pool. He's more interested in just enjoying time with us, not any splash we think we can make. After all, if we really want to see a giant splash, look at Jesus, THAT GUY knows how to make waves! After all, He is the Living Water!

So cling to your Father, and soak in the Son!