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Monday, December 24, 2007

Up Close & Personal With....Phil!


Phil is Heidi's husband, father of two, and a fellow on the Batiansila Leadership Council. Phil drove into our lives almost 30 years ago with a full head of leading-man hair and a real mean machine, his Cutlass Salon. Phil turned approximately 48 on December 21st.

Greg was 12 at the time and was taken aback by Phil's coolness (Heidi, Greg's frigid and controlling older sister, had turned into fawning Silly Putty at the sound of his voice) his feats of strength (lifting all the weights Grandpa Du had out on the carport and ASKING IF WE HAD MORE) and his goodness. He took Greg to see a movie and BOUGHT A LARGE POPCORN. This is a feat unparalleled in Greg's childhood.

BNS finally had a chance to pin Phil down for an email interview.

2.Tell everyone how you met Bruce Springsteen!
Bruce and I go way back-saw him in concert in 1981 at the brand new Rosemont Horizon in Chicago - 11th row. (to read more, click here)

BATBLOG IS BAAAAACK....MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The BNS apologizes for the hiatus. We were celebrating Ramadan, including the fasting, and it made us woozy.

I will now attempt to do all Batblog catching up today. Get ready for a great unloading of blog updates like you ain't never seen!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Huckabee?

Here's an article from renowned Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. Where are you on the Huckabee candidacy? Discuss.

Forgive Your Brother From Your Heart

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[f]

23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Some Startling Christmas Poll Numbers

Here's an article chronicling a survey indicating a huge number of Americans believe in the virgin birth. This includes what the article calls "only" 15% of agnostics and atheists.

BNS thinks a better adjective is a "whopping" 15% of agnostics and atheists believe in the virgin birth, right?

Worlds Collide! Mipps and Charis

Mipps accidentally came across Charis in Target. While many at BNS thought that this might have caused a shear in the time-space continuum, it seemed like a typical normal "Hi...you're a friend of the family's" moment.

Then Mipps brought up the blog, which brought a blank stare from Charis.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Which Bat Will Lose Their Voice Before The End of 2007?

While voters split between Bat and Deirdre, the correct answer was Greg, who lost his voice and at one point considered bartering a different daily operation with God for his voice. Like maybe his sense of touch. Greg figured he could live without that. Just not his voice.

Robbie Seay On American Idol Commercial!

The entire BNS agrees that Robbie Seay's "Give Yourself Away" is easily the best album of 2007. Its breathaking soul-stirring lyrics, active and amazing instrument work, and Robbie's incredibly unique voice haunt you long after you stop listening.

Apparently the folks at Fox are in agreement. In their most recent "American Idol" commercials, they feature Robbie Seay's "Rise." That includes this line from the song, "Rise, rise, people of love rise!"

Who'd a thunk Fox would be giving the BNS a Christmas present?

Slow down, be still
Let go, we will
Be here, be now
Slow down, be still
Breathe in, refill
Be here, be now

If you choose to love
To know that the call
Is to give all you are
To give love away, away
Rise, rise, people of love rise
People of love rise, give yourself away
Rise, rise, people of love rise
People of love rise, give yourself away
Give yourself away, give yourself away

Slow down, just breathe
Be still, believe
Be here, be now
Slow down and see
It’s all you need
Be loved and free

And to hear the call, is to give your love away
And to hear the call, is to give your love away
And to hear the call, is to give your life away
Is to give your life away

We’re not safe, we’re not safe
But we will rise

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Songs We Would Rather Never Hear Again

What do these songs have in common? These were the top ten answers when a Harris pollster asked, "By the end of the holiday season, which one holiday song do you wish you could never hear again?"

1 Jingle Bells
2 Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
3 Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer
4 White Christmas
5 Jingle Bell Rock
6 The Twelve Days of Christmas
7 Little Drummer Boy
8 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
9 Silent Night
10 We Wish You a Merry Christmas


Did you see what I saw? Only two of those ten are songs about Jesus. Could even the general population be observing the crassness of the world and the beauty and holiness that is separate from it?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Incredible World of Sound Effects

Return to w00t

Based on Batiansila response, many of your kids have heard of w00t. So, the BNS and its staffers apologize for mischaracterizing the Bats as unknowledgeable when it comes to w00t. BNS did ask Kellen, who responded, "Like w00t, we won?"

So there you go. Your kids know what it is. The BNS staff is greying before your eyes. Hair is now growing from their ears and they will start eating dinner at 4:00.

ZOE UPDATE


This, ladies and gents, is Zoe.

Jen went in for her latest ultrasound today and the doctor saw the heart working fine - the defect is still there, but blood flow is good and her pulmonary artery is not thickening, which is great news.

Signs of Down's Syndrome would be a slow regression of growth. But Zoe's arms and legs are beyond where they should be! Her stomach and body weight are below normal, but the doctor was impressed by all that he said. No news is great news.

God is holding her as you all hold her up in prayer. I know of know 26 week old who has been held by so many people already. God bless you all. Merry Christmas. More news with the next scan in 4 weeks. Pray that she continues to grow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Mormon Cult

Bat and Christa's long, long, long-time friend, Bob Barnes, spent a significant amount of time speaking out against Mormonism while he was in Utah. Pastor Barnes could tell you a lot more than this page - but it's a start.

Suffice it to say that there are pundits who have heard Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney speak, and they're hoping to put Christians in the same pen with Mormons and pretend like we're just splitting hairs when we disagree. Like Wisconsin Synod Lutherans and...well, everyone.

But Mormonism is messed up. It's the kind of messed up that if I told you that Mormons believed Jesus would return someday, but it was to return to a temple in Missouri, you'd think that the Batiansila News Service had made that up.

Like made it up like any of Bat's classic killer spoofs.

Nope.

That's just part of the fun you get in to. Standing in a McDonalds doesn't make you a hamburger. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian. And putting Jesus' name in your cult's name doesn't make you a Christian, either.

Also, when asked, Mitt Romney said his favorite book was a novel written by the founder of Scientology. So, while the BNS cannot make an open endorsement without Bat and Christa's blessing, it can go this far - Bat and Christa would never, ever vote for Romney. Ever.

w00t. What? You Heard Me. w00t!

Here's BNS's stone-cold 100% lock guarantee: none of you have heard of Merriam Webster's "Word of the Year."

More And More Burdens

What will selfish people do with all their burdens? Where can they go? Thank God my parents didn't do this. Pray for everyone involved. All of them.

#1 On Google

Batblog is tops when you search "batiansila!"

Just goes to show you that if you work hard and keep blogging, you can get your blog #1 on Google! and #2.

Monday, December 10, 2007

MINTE TURNS 14

Deirdre, Minte's mother, just emailed to report that Minte has turned 14. The BNS didn't realize that people can turn 13 on one day and then 14 just a few days later. Perhaps this was the way they do it in New York, where Minte was born.

The BNS based its fact checking on shaking 15 year old Isabel Batiansila awake and asking her how old Minte was. Isabel looked shocked, then faked like she was still reading a Willa Cather novel, then mumbled "13. Didn't you just ask me that?" Who needs more fact checking than that?

So happy birthday Minte! Does this mean you turn 15 in the next few days?

Next Target: Brandon Batiansila

Brandon is Walter Batiansila's second oldest son. In 2003 he won the Teacher of the Year award and also, in this link, uses - yes - CARTOONS in his curriculum. This is all coming together. BNS will try to find a way to communicate with Brandon

Calvin and Hobbes: Snow Art

BNS is happy to report that a link to a cache of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons have been found, all dealing with snowmen. For C&H fans - or if you haven't seen the wonderful cartoon work of a true cartooning genius - (what's with BNS and cartoon genius?) click here.

The Missed Opportunity

(this is Greg's little editorial comment, also found in the link at the right)

First of all, let me come right out and say that Pastor Dorth's sermon on the Christmas story from Gabriel's view was really good. It opened my eyes to a bunch of thoughts, none more powerful than that if Mary was my daughter and told me she was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit, not only would I not believe her, I'd never believe her and I'd call her a liar.

That's the kind of unrest that very well could have been going on at Mary's home the first Christmas. (click here for more)

Why Carry More Burdens?



BNS reports that as Jen lay getting her ultrasound, Zoe swatted repeatedly at the stupid whateveritwas squishing her. The ultrasound showed her tibia and fibula, her kidneys, her brain. Her spine. Her right hand which is always close to her mouth (sucking her thumb like her daddy?)
So, it was disconcerting to hear the doctor, when talking about potential chromosomal damage, talking about "managing the pregnancy." He wasn't advising, mind you. Good guy, great doc. Just...you know. Making sure Jen and Greg were going to manage the pregnancy.

The above is a sign that our buddies at Planned Parenthood are distributing in Nigeria. I knew you wouldn't believe me, so here's the link. You see, you don't want all those burdens. Maybe you want to manage the pregnancy.

Amen!


This week's Amen. BNS wishes this was a four panel with the third panel being both people just staring at each other. Then the fourth would be the third above. That's the kind of insight you're going to get from the BNS, because every member of the BNS thinks it knows about cartoons.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Happy Birthday Minte!


Minte (left)with cousin Teia


Minte turned 13 today. Deirdre's fourth oldest is an intelligent, responsible young woman and a special person.

Third Day Jars of Clay Christmas Concert Pictures

Jen and Greg attended the Third Day/Jars of Clay Christmas concert, which concluded with Jars and Third Day appearing onstage and performing together. Mac sang "Love Song For A Savior" while Dan sang "Love Song" and they joined in on Blue Christmas. Wonderful show. Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ethan's Christmas Program




Here's some great video of Ethan's Christmas Program. BNS reports that St. John's West Bend is smart and has its program melded with an Advent service.

Christmas Tree Tales PICTURES



BNS has received this link to pictures that would help to illuminate the previous Christmas Tree cutting post....

Number 4

This is a great QB.
Pretty funny guy.
A great man.
The room got kinda dusty for the BNS while the last one was being viewed. Could have been allergies.

Tracey's Twins

Tracey's recent ultrasound. Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go? Indescribable.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Robot Press Update

This from Christa/Omi/Mom...Martina's robot television story has been pushed back to January 3. Although not confirmed, this may be because of the writer's strike. Martina has been forced to write all her own material instead of leaning heavily on her staff of writers.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kellen's Line

Kellen's line from his first freshman game: 17 points, 6 boards, 2 assists. That'll do.

More Press on Martina's Robots

Channel 2 - WBAY TV in Green Bay - where Greg interned back in the day* - is running a story on Martina's robots at 4, 5, and 10 tomorrow. I think. Stay tuned, and BNS will see if there's a link that we can find.

*Two interesting notes: 1. One guy who sat in the newsroom while Greg worked, sometimes working, but sometimes talking on the phone with his wife, was Kevin Rompa. Kevin would sometimes turn to Greg and say, "Greg, don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Kevin also advised Greg to not get into the news business, advice Greg took and went on to fame as a member of 98 Degrees. No, wait. After toiling for years at a bunch of jobs, Greg found people who will pay him to essentially do nothing more than walk into an office and do what he would have done for free. Please do not tell Greg's employers this. 2. Mipps is currently in week 4 of dating this Channel 2 luminary. This puts her in the lead. Much like Pat Robertson at CBN, BNS does not officially endorse candidates for Mipps, but as a private citizen, holds no opinions until we can verify the whole pig thing.

Christmas Tree Tales

BNS reports that Greg and his family had been wandering the aisles at the Christmas tree farm and had gathered around a tree. It was perfect. They call their trees "he." So, he was perfect - not those itchy, toxic needles, a nice straight top. Full on the bottom, well shaped. No bad side. "What do you think?" Jen asked. There was a lot of silence.

They walked back to the other one, the one that they had just walked from. It had, as one of the kids described, a "Dr. Seuss" top, as if when you weren't watching, a town of needle-high Whos might start singing and dancing on it. Parts of it - er, him - looked like he had just woken up and didn't have time to quick run some water through his branches, which were growing kinda sideways. And there is definitely a bad side. Of him. It's the side they spun towards the corner when they put him up.

He made them laugh when they found him, and he makes them laugh when they look at him today. He fits right in with everyone else in the house.

BNS also reports that Christa came home with a beautiful tree that Phil helped put in the stand. It was the right kind of tree, with the needles that don't hurt when you touch them. Unfortunately, the needles also all fell off. All of them. BNS thinks that when you return those trees to the farm, they must be lit on fire and left on the front lawn.

Teia, Izzi and Brennick's Choir

As mentioned earlier, Living Word's A Capella choir have a recording online! I think this was actually recorded last year, but its nice...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Heidi: Dancer, Communicator

The following was sent to the little-used BNS email address on Saturday:

The "Christmas Window" opens tomorrow night, with performances tomorrow, 2 on Saturday, 1 on Sunday and next weekend as well.

This was sent last week to your avicom address but could not be delivered due to content. We are half way thru with many, many positive comments. What a blessing to be part of this. hid


There's lots to talk about here. Heidi mentioned that this performance contains Cirque de Soleil performers and a rendition of Disney's "Be Our Guest." Something tells me Carl Bornemann might have passed on this one.

In addition, what kind of emails is HKBD sending that are getting rejected due to content? What kind of salacious comments or crude words is she writing? We'll never know.

Rosie The Endometriosis Robot

The people have spoken, and they say that the robot that helped Martina and Paul was most like Rosie from the Jetsons. Which is ridiculous. The BNS is demanding a recount.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Who Has Told Every Lighting Bolt Where It Should Go?

Jeffrey Overstreet, media critic for Christianity Today, answered some questions about the Golden Compass and even addressed - gasp - HARRY POTTER. That's right. Really intriguing stuff.

I saw this video over the weekend, and honestly I'm not sure BNS should share it. But honestly, it's just so unthoughtful, so laughable that I put it on the same par with Golden Compass. Do these men really even pretend to understand the Jesus who loved me when no one else did? Who thought of me while He hung on the cross?

Do these men understand who God is? They think of Him as an old man, or a bunch of angry people. They don't know one molecule of God. I saw Louie Giglio speak this past summer and...I was so moved. So floored. I know this is long. Please, please do BNS a solid and take the time to listen to him remind you of our INDESCRIBABLE GOD. A God who loves you.

Indescribable - Louis Giglio



Indescribable

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
INCOMPARABLE, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Beethoven's Ninth

Jen's brother, Josh (Greg's Brother-In-Law), just performed Beethoven's Ninth with the Milwaukee Chorus this weekend - he even had a small solo part and has received accolades for it. That's an 80 minute piece with several movements. All the Batiansila News service can confirm is that the fourth movement is at the end of "Diehard." Here's a newspaper review of the symphony and choir's performance.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Amen


Amen for this week
...Is that too close to St. Paul's inside? Will someone complain? It is missing the Jesus behind the cross. And the mural paintings on the walls.

CUZ CHAT IS BACK: Teia Interviews Alexis!

Teia if you could have any superpower...what would it be?

Alexis to b able to become invisible at will

Teia yeah. thats definitely an awesome one.

Intrigued? Click here for more

The Recipe That Wow'ed 'Em At Thanksgiving: Crawfish Corn Bisque

1 Cup Chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 (16 Ounce) Cans Whole Kernel Corn, gently chopped in food processor
1/2 Cup Diced Green Bell Peppers
1 Quart Heavy Cream
3 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Red Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Parsley Flakes
2 Pounds Crawfish Meat
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 Cup Water

Saute' onion in butter until tender. Add corn and bell pepper, and cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add heavy cream, salt, and next 3 ingredients; cook for 15 minutes. Stir in crawfish and cook for 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water, mixing well. Thicken bisque with cornstarch mixture.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome to the Batiansila Blog! (Who Gets The Bill?)

What kind of ingenious advertising can you buy for 125,000 pounds in England? Let me tell you, those boys over there really have got their wheels turning. I'm dumbfounded by how original this is.

TWO HEARTBEATS!

Tracey - Jen's sister - just returned from an extremely exciting doctor's appointment. He performed an ultrasound and heard...two heartbeats! Two kids! It is looking like some kind of nutty year for this branch of the family.

Happy Birthday, C.S. Lewis (1 Day Late)

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

C.S. Lewis was a writer and thinker who could drop you to the floor with a thought. To wit, in his remarkable piece "The Weight of Glory" it's hard not to be moved to a higher plane of Christian thought and existence.

Here at BNS we used to hit tennis balls with Bat, who at times was not playing tennis at all. Instead of trying to blast a shot for a winner, he was watching the ball and trying to hit it into a little corner or niche of the court with just the right touch and spin. He wasn't looking for the perfect shot - he was looking for the perfect point. Ergo the BNS affinity to Lewis, who similarly always was looking for the perfect point in what he wrote.

"Welcome, child," he said.
"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEATON! (1 day late)



For some reason, Batiansila News Service ignored its own calendar and thought Keaton's birthday was the 27th. Then, when Keaton's mother emailed BNS on the 29th to speak with wonder of having a 21 year old, BNS digitally nodded in agreement. And subsequently never wrote anything. The BNS regrets its error.

Keaton G Christiansen is Deirdre's oldest. He attends school at that bastion of right-wing conspiracy, Hillsdale, where he is actively pursuing a degree of some sort. Deirdre he is more interested in ordering a drink than really drinking one. Then we all laughed at how Keaton lied to his mother like that. That Keaton.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Magnifique

Teia and Izzi (Greg's Oldest Two) and Brennick (Deirdre's 3rd oldest) just performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in an elite chorus comprised of a group of choirs from around the state of Wisconsin. Their A Capella choir was chosen through an audition process and performed selections from Handel's "Messiah."

Wow. Really proud of them, and really impressed by the sound. That's the real deal.

I'm enclosing some of the details from the Milwaukee Symphony website...

2007-2008 Teen Series
Masterworks


Recommended for grades 7 through 12
Programs are approximately 1 hour in length


Handel's Messiah


November 27 at 10:30 a.m.


Featuring guest choruses from Wisconsin high schools
Soloists, tbd
Lee Erickson, conductor

Explore the power of classical music with the most famous oratorio in Western classical music, Handel’s Messiah. Composed in just 24 days, this masterpiece moved its own composer to tears with its beauty and majesty. Rediscover this Baroque showpiece, from its stirring orchestration to the majestic Hallelujah chorus.


Handel - Selections from Messiah

Connections: Music, Visual Art, Language Arts

blog it

Monday, November 26, 2007

Phoenetic Punctuation

This one's for my mom:

Walter Interview Part I: The Kids

My first question for Uncle Walt was not the first one he answered. He answered the last one first:

How are your kids? I've heard questions about your two youngest. (sidebar: I realize through my life how sad it was to not be closer to them. I have basically stomped my foot and told my children there are no 1/2 anything in the bible. They have no 1/2 sisters. They have sisters. And I have no 1/2 cousins, either.) Everyone has heard some about Brandon and heather. Do you have pictures of any of them??

Now, about my kids, I will take them in order
of their appearance from back in 1959 forward. First is Rebecca, who
happens to live in Raleigh and is married to a NC State professor of
Treeology.....I know that is not correct, but it has something to do
with forests. For more, click here

Notice All The Iraq Headlines?

No? Weird. You'd think that if US military deaths were near peacetime levels, there'd be a headline. Must just be an oversight.

Zoe Update

Today we met with a cardiac specialist at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee. The doctor looked at Zoe's heart and confirmed her condition, which is called Tetralogy of Fallot. The doctor says that this is a "very" treatable condition, and indicated that a single surgery performed at some point from age 6 months to 12 months would be needed, with an outside chance of another when Zoe is older.

The visit with the doctor was strengthening, just because we could talk about legitimate problems and solutions. But I still ask for your prayers for Zoe and her health, since the spectre of other chromosomal problems is a real possibility.

Basically, a two vessel umbilical cord in and of itself means little, as does Tetralogy of Fallot. But the two things together are sometimes signs that there are more problems we are unaware of.

I pray for a healthy baby, and even a special healing of anything that is ailing her now. I put this all in God's hands and ask that you pray for Zoe, her health, and that she has a normal and happy and healthy life.

Next up: an appointment with our ultrasound specialist physician on December 13. I pray that we continue to see signs of a healthy kid. (Today she was AGAIN hard to scan because she's so active)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Amen!


DUH. Why am I not showing this on the blog? I think I'll put the link, too. Click it so that it becomes really popular and Dad gets EVEN MORE MONEY for Amen!

Everything's Coming Up Martina

Martina has given me some new pics (that's web lingo for pictures) of her baby and family. Enjoy. Unfortunately, no pictures of the robot are in this album.

Robotic Help for Paul and Martina

The title makes it sound like Paul and Martina live in the future and have a robot maid. But actually, it's an article about how God uses technology to bless people. In this case, someone you're related to.

Sources tell me as the Doc did his Doc magic using the da Vinci robot, Paul approached him and asked him how good he was at video games. I mean, c'mon, he's gotta ROCK at Halo, right?

Apparently, not. Not this da Vinci doc. He mostly does surgery and flies airplanes. How boring is that?

If video game dexterity is a key component to being a surgeon, let me introduce you to my son, Dr. Kellen (MaddenHands) Batiansila.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Watching Video Tip

Heidi told me that some of you all have issues watching video - that it actually stops and starts and is generally irritating. This is because the file is coming into your computer at the same time your computer is playing the file.

See. I said the above without using the word "download" because if I did, then Mom would turn and mutter "Download? I don't know how to download. I barely know how to turn this on! And Greg wants me to download. Meem? Can you download? Did Greg show you how to download? Maybe Martina knows how."

So here's your tip: Press play. then Press pause immediately. The player will continue to downl- I mean the file will continue to come into your computer even though nothing is playing. Wait a few minutes. You'll notice that there's a bar on the slider thingy, and that bar is getting bigger. This is the size of the downl- shoot. The file. It's the size of the movie file.

After you have at least 1/2 a bar full of file, then press play. You should be good by then.

OR, you can actually press play after you've watched it once, herky-jerky style and it SHOULD work better then.

Let me know if that works for you.

Shades of Renee

Renee actually did this, according to legend, while attending high school at Ben Franklin in New Orleans. You see, Renee was quite the foxy lady, capable of ensnaring men with her every - OW!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

He Gives Us All His Love

He gives us all his love
He gives us all his love
He’s smiling down on us
From up above
And He’s giving us all His love


He knows how hard we’re trying
He hears the babies crying
He sees the old folks dying
And He gives us all his love

Now if you need someone to talk to
You can always talk to Him
And if you need someone to lean on
You can lean on Him

He give us all His love
He gives us all His love
He’s smiling down on us
From up above
And He’s giving us all his love
He’s smiling down on us
From up above
He gives us all His love

-Randy Newman


Monday, November 19, 2007

Mass In Baghdad

Some really cool pictures of Mass at St. John's Church - Baghdad. This is dedicated to my Mom, who, to my memory, always digs Mass. Why is that?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Heidi? Dancing?

Heidi wrote me an email indicating she is going to be dancing in a Christmas pageant, and that her kids are extras. I called but she didn't answer. All I know is this guy is the choreographer for their church.

Calla Update

Calla was released from the hospital and is being tended to by Omi and Charis. She's still having trouble with some functions (see video below) but she's doing much better.

Payton was actually stricken with some really sick temperatures and was rushed to urgent care. He's doing better, but this kind of competition is going to have to stop.

Bookworm Kirin Is Now Up To Olive In Her SRA!

Kirin called to clarify just what book about Clara Barton she read. It's this one. I'm not making this up.

Good News For Tracey

Many of you know Jen's sister Tracey was facing some hardships and trials as she tried to get pregnant. If you click the Tracey link below you'll see some of those entries. Tracey's most recent test results came back with some really positive results. I am leaving big news to her, but hold her up in prayer, too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pray For Zoe

In January, Jen and I were walking around KMart and she mentioned as she passed some baby girl clothes that she wished she could have a baby girl. But then she said she knew that I didn't really want to have any more kids.

I told Jen we're already broke. We already don't fit into a minivan. We're still changing diapers, and we owe everyone. When I wake up in the morning, there's always at least a few kids in there with us. Another baby won't change much. So if she was serious, then we should be serious.

We continued to walk through the aisles of KMart.

Jen countered. She said if God would give me a raise, then, we'd have a baby. We told each other we'd pray about it separately, and a few days later we agreed that was our prayer.

In a matter of a few weeks, I was given a raise. Trouble was, it was nominal, not really a ton, but then again, we hadn't specified how much of a raise. Let that be a lesson to all of you out there.

Jen called me at work and asked me what we should do. I told her I didn't think it was a very big raise. Gideon had put out the fleece twice. We should, too. I wish I could tell you that we put it out and asked for Powerball, but we didn't. We just asked for a substantial increase.

Within weeks, I was offered a position at my current employer, Avicom. The entire organization, from top to bottom, man to woman, is a blessing in my life and I am so blessed to be there.

And it was a substantial increase.

Jen and I vexed because God had pushed the chips into the center of the table and said "Call." What was our hand? A lot of fear. We didn't do anything at first. But then we had a scare with Selah, and Jen and I talked again, and we strongly believe that Selah's health issue was a little reminder to us that God was God, and we, to quote my woefully underquoted ancient sister, are middle management.

Then, I read this devotion. I actually forwarded it to Jen. She read it and agreed...that we should follow God recklessly. Like a scene out of a movie, the phone rang. It was Walgreens, with a friendly reminder that Jen's prescription was ready. Her month's worth of pills. We decided she wouldn't take them. Six weeks later, Jen was pregnant.

This is typically where people pop the jokes about me and my indomitable procreative abilities but the truth is, none of them ring right in light of the story I just told you. God told us to have a baby, and we listened.

So, Jen and I are pregnant and we're due around the end of March.

This week we found out that our baby is a girl - what did you think it would be? - and that she has a heart defect. The doctor seemed quick to indicate that the heart defect is treatable and my read on him is he wasn't worried about the surgery it will take to repair the defect. But his voice was different when he talked about other potential problems. Zoe's heart defect and her two-vessel umbilical cord are sometimes signs of further problems.

Right now, she looks like a little kid. Her kidneys, brain, and spine are fine. She can't keep still. She looks fidgety. Please pray that Zoe Elizabeth continues to grow. It's the best sign that she is ok. Pray that her organs and limbs and her body grow and that this is just one little blip, the first way she'll break her daddy's heart.

Right now, there's nothing Jen and I can do, which is fitting and beautiful. I can't hold Zoe, and even when I try, I find I can't hold her. This isn't for me to hold. It's for you and me to hold up so that God, who called us to follow him recklessly, will hold and in His goodness, will do what He knows is best.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Klahn Update

I had the opportunity to visit with the Klahns just this past Saturday. Their oldest child, Ali, turned 18 and they surprised her with a big ole fashioned party at a barn which featured squaredancing.

I may as well have been an alien. Did you know there are 64 square dancing moves? And these kids, some as little as 8 or 10, were doing them. Incredible. A lot of them. Actually, all of them except mine, who just stared blankly at the group. With their dad.

Ted updated me with little news on their potential call to China. He said no news, but that the "company" he would be working for is focusing now on North Korea. I'll keep you posted and you keep him and his family in your prayers.

A Taste Of What Greg Does

Here's a video that we edited, scripted and had my brother-in-law write music for for banking giant Fiserv. It was exceptionally well received and it seems like our relationship with Fiserv will continue for a long while.

This video we went to Seattle and shot and edited with my great friends and co-workers Arthur and Mandi. I handled the interviews and some scripting, but we really worked together on locations and shot selection. We were given a limited number of days to get these interviews and we wanted to get sunrises and sunsets - which meant we were in bed by 12-1 and up at 3:30 for three days. It was hard, giddy work but I think it worked out great.

It's 9:25....

...and the people have spoken. All seven. Renee, will you hum in alto? Kirin, make up a tenor part to hum. Please, tell Jean that we'll just need our notes.

Heidi, did you make enough copies for everyone?

...Because This Blog, Above All Is About Education

I spoke to Kirin this weekend. She told me she read a book about Clara Barton, who organized and founded the American Red Cross.

What kind of crazy world are we living in? Kirin studies, obtains her educator license - and CONTINUES TO READ BOOKS? My whole world is turned upside down.

But, in the spirit of education, I'd like to introduce you to this gem - facts about our country and the opportunities that abound here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Calla Update: Everything Comes Down To...

Doctors have said that Calla's improvement is going great! They are waiting for her to...well, to...

That's what it all comes down to. And then she'll be released.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pray For Calla...UPDATED 4:45 11-11-07

Charis has taken Calla in with fears that she has appendicitis. Please keep Calla and all the Laabs family in your prayers.

***Updated Calla had successful surgery to remove her appendix. She had been suffering a great deal and now is doing well. Doctors said everything went well, and they expect her to be hospitalized for the next 3-5 days.

Christa may be heading south to help out with Payton. We'll keep you posted as we know more.

***Calla is expected to be at Children's Hospital, Milwaukee for 2-3 days. It was Charis who pressed the pediatrician about the possibility of appendicitis. At first, he didn't think it was, but with Charis's continued pressure, they tested Calla and discovered she was right.

Calla is groggy but doing fine and Omi and Grandpa Du even talked to her on the phone. Omi plans on coming down on Tuesday to visit and/or help.

Happy Birthday, Martina!

Martina turns 35 today, which is very old for most people her age. Martina is the classic little sister who got her way, but combined that with some stellar athletic ability to even further get what she wanted.

So, when Martina wanted to play softball in high school, and she had a restrictive knee brace on that kept her from bending her leg, she played anyway. Started pitcher. Batted. Got on base.

So now, she's got the husband she's always wanted and the family she wanted but was told she couldn't have: two precious little girls. Not bad, but not surprising for someone that determined. Happy birthday, little (old) sister.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther!

It's Martin Luther's birthday! I'm not sure what year Martin was born, but he was Christa's classmate through the first few years she attended Gymnasium. Don't get Christa started, because she's got all kinds of witty anecdotes to share about "Marty Lute," as he was known in their little circle.

One anecdotal Marty Lute story is that he went to a restaurant with Christa and the gang, most of them hangers-on,
all of whom were dominated by him, even awed. They arrayed themselves around the table, jockeyed for his attention. A young waiter came and asked if they'd like to hear the specials. Marty said, "I will have beef."

Yes, said the waiter. "And the vegetables?"

"They will have beef too."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Erin!


Erin's my twin sister. That's what people used to think when they saw us. Mom made us the clothes from the same material, and we both had dark hair and skin and blue eyes. She's the one who would write letters on my back until I would fall asleep. I'd sneak across into her room so she could tell me stories, and she'd spell her name or the alphabet.

Happy Birthday, Erin. I hope your day was great. Love, your twin.

Email Interview With Keaton!

I had a chance to talk to Deirdre's oldest, Keaton, who attends Hillsdale College. Please read this one.

"...I've got to be a man before I would even know where to start with a
woman. I'm not that grown up yet, and I'm not interested in dating
casually "for fun."

Click here for more

Open Call For Uncle Walter Stories

I reached out to Uncle Walter, asking for some time to interview him for the blog. He responded, "Sounds interesting, although I have no remote idea why anyone would want o hear me expound on anything..."

So, I'm asking all three of you readers to toss out an Uncle Walter story, so we can give him a warm welcome here. That would mean you'd either a) email it to me or b) comment -an art mastered so far by only Renee. Then again, maybe she's the only person reading this.

My Uncle Walter story...of many. I was going home with him to Slidell to spend the night or so with Brandon. Everyone was asleep but Uncle Walter and Aunt Pat in the front. We started talking, and he began to ask what I wanted for breakfast, admitting he knew nothing about cooking. He spent the entire trip to Slidell asking me about how to make pancakes - from how to crack eggs to what was to go into it - with Aunt Pat intermittently cautioning him and cackling.

It wasn't until the next day that I realized he actually knew how to cook, and that I wasn't going to have to fish eggshells out of the batter.

Another was when Renee or someone was doing a puzzle and he offered to help. He took pieces that didn't fit, and tried jamming them into the existing puzzle. then he took a glass and used it to shove pieces that didn't belong together. After some minutes of getting everyone riled up, he was done helping....

I'm sure you have more and better....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Time To Sing Into The Filter Queen


I'll sing the echoes on the "Girls in town..." and the "follow you..." "all around..."

Since We're On A New Orleans Kick...

Here's the recipe I always use for Red Beans & Rice. But I modify it a little.

Pray for Pete

Mom mentioned to me that Pete Fountain was hospitalized recently. She had a chance to talk to Bev and there's more story than I think I'm allowed to print here. So, we'll stick with the paper's account.

And I'll throw in the MSNBC article about him from a few years ago. 'Cause we love Pete.

The Speras and the Bats...go way, way back

The Speras have woven their lives into ours in a lot of different ways. Keith had a unrequited crush on Erin in grade school, played on basketball and football teams with me, and his dad coached me. Keith's limp is the result of me running my head into the corner of a huge something or the other that fell on Keith's foot. Keith's brother, Craig, was one of Tari's closest friends in New Orleans and passed away tragically some years ago.

But that's just one generation. Keith's dad and Christa and Bat double dated. If I have the story right...Dad dated my aunt, and Keith's dad dated mom on that date.

So, Keith just had a baby. He wrote about it in his column at the New Orleans Times Picayune.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Maybe It's Not Heavily Covered Because There's No Video?

Or maybe because it doesn't tell the story that we've been fed over the years. But, it's safer today, and we're winning.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

N.E.W., Alexis Finish A Spectacular Season With A Loss

Alexis, Erin and Jeff's oldest, helped lead her volleyball team to state tournament competition. Unfortunately, they fell short. But Alexis has a few years of experience left in her tank. It's good to know those Filipino-German genes are still hopping and competing out there.

Alexis, know your family - even Black Sheep Uncle Greg - is proud of you. Never doubt that.

Oops, Adler Did It Again


Word has it, Adler went to the emergency room. Again. Third time for a head wound for the little guy. This time, four stitches. Omi mentioned she's looking into a helmet for him.

Look, we all know that Jill and Andreas are capable and competent parents. But their relationship with Britney has to end.

The Golden Compass

Heidi sent me the enclosed based on a previous post. I've addressed it in this week's sidebar - the "Greg's Thoughts" thing to your right.

>> Alert: Golden Compass "children's" movie Importance: High
>>
>> THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be
>> released December 7, 2007. This movie is based on a the first book of
>> a trilogy by atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book a boy and girl
>> kill God so they can do as they please. Pullman left little doubt
>> about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books
>> are about killing God."
>>
>> The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designed
>> to be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take
>> their children to see the the movie and that the children will want
>> the books for Christmas.
>>
>> The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Kevin
>> Bacon, and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively,
>> so it is crucial that we get the word out to warn parents to avoid
>> this movie.

CATCH UP 3: Happy Birthday Abi and Graham!




Abi and Graham turned a year older this week. I'm not sure of their ages, but I'm sure when their respective parents see this entry, and see how old these pictures are, we'll get this all worked out.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Catch Up 2: TRICK OR TREAT!

Here's how it happens at my house. Trick or treating in West Bend is fantastic. They have a street so busy, it's like a several-block-long party! Lines of kids heading up to houses, and the owners really were excited. Two women got out glasses of wine next to a tub of candy. One house really made use of it's gothic-like architecture to have some fun.

Sometimes you forget that there's days and places like this anymore.

Catch Up 1: Greg (I) Turn 39

I turned 39 last week Saturday. My birthday present consisted of two super dee duper events: 1) I had approximately 125 minutes alone with my wife where we did something that did not involve us talking about a) a bill b) someone's grades c) a payment d) chores not done.

On Friday night, Jen and I went to see the movie "Dan in Real Life." It's a fantastic movie, and I highly recommend it to all of you AE Bats. When you'll see it, you'll understand why - there's a family that gets together and plays and sings and is goofy. They play the piano and have talent shows. They catch up. Something tells me if you would have caught them 20 yrs earlier or 5 years later, it would have looked the same. I miss those days for us. I had a whole post arranged in my head, a plea to return to those days, but I didn't write it.

The next day, we spruced up the house and then Izzi's boyfriend, Michael, Josh - Jen's brother whom I will refer to here and in other posts as "Josh" - and his girl friend (I separated the words in case they are just friends who kiss) and his mom came out. We had some food, after which I discovered Josh and Kristin had never heard "Go Dog Go." So we read "Go Dog Go" and then we lit a fire. It was a perfect night - about 60 degrees and a harvest moon so bright that I could see to the lake's bottom off the pier.

Then the kids - the bigger ones - changed clothes and played night time tag games like "Candyman" and "Ghosts in the Graveyard."

So much to say that I think I'm choosing not to say it. I'll just reprint this verse that keeps coursing through my head:

10-12 When God, your God, ushers you into the land he promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you're going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn't build, well-furnished houses you didn't buy, come upon wells you didn't dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn't plant. When you take it all in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don't forget how you got there—God brought you out of slavery in Egypt.

13-19 Deeply respect God, your God. Serve and worship him exclusively. Back up your promises with his name only. Don't fool around with other gods, the gods of your neighbors, because God, your God, who is alive among you is a jealous God. Don't provoke him, igniting his hot anger that would burn you right off the face of the Earth. Don't push God, your God, to the wall as you did that day at Massah, the Testing-Place. Carefully keep the commands of God, your God, all the requirements and regulations he gave you. Do what is right; do what is good in God's sight so you'll live a good life and be able to march in and take this pleasant land that God so solemnly promised through your ancestors, throwing out your enemies left and right—exactly as God said.

20-24 The next time your child asks you, "What do these requirements and regulations and rules that God, our God, has commanded mean?" tell your child, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God powerfully intervened and got us out of that country. We stood there and watched as God delivered miracle-signs, great wonders, and evil-visitations on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his household. He pulled us out of there so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors. That's why God commanded us to follow all these rules, so that we would live reverently before God, our God, as he gives us this good life, keeping us alive for a long time to come.

25 "It will be a set-right and put-together life for us if we make sure that we do this entire commandment in the Presence of God, our God, just as he commanded us to do."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Today Jeff, Erin's husband, celebrates his birthday. Erin and Jeff live outside of Green Bay. He's a hard-working, busy guy: raising his three kids and working outdoors, along with extensive coaching duties.

Our thoughts and best birthday wishes go out to Jeff!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Batiansila Blog: A Global Presence

Mom forwarded an email from Steffen, son of Elfi. That kind of makes him sound like a character in The Lord of the Rings.

Anyway, Steffen does not live in the United States, wrote her the following:

Eure Seite mit den blogs haben wir uns schon angeguckt. Sehr interessant. Viele Grüße auch an Du.

>Bis bald Steffen


So, HELLO WORLD! For all of you non-Americans, I'd like to show you something. Here's an interesting truth: we're winning the war. You can thank us later. Here's another: we're losing fewer troops than when Clinton was president.

Also, take a gander at this. Not all Americans have fallen for the hucksters.

And if you know Bat and Christa, then you know they'd be happy with this post.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Deanna Favre

Renee emailed me with this exceedingly interesting and compelling link. In it, you'll find the rock-solid woman behind the greatest quarterback who ever played football. And his mom talked to my mom on the plane. I'll try to get mom to talk about that in our next audio visit.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Renee!

Renee turns...are we age phobic? I'm not sure. She's 11 years older than Andreas. How's that? It remains a mystery.

Renee is best remembered for getting written up her FIRST NIGHT at college. For her nutty but always-memorable band of friends in high school (all male). For playing "Scarborough Fair" repeatedly-endlessly- on the piano. For finding love in a Ranger - turned - bouncer and being a mom of four boys. She's the Christian woman and dedicated wife and mother that everyone wishes she would have become.

An Entertainment Moment

You've heard it all before: Hollywood takes a book, waters down its deeper meanings to pander to a wider audience, and upsets the book's true followers. But in this case, the watering down is applied to the anti-church (and as the book series progresses, anti-God) sentiments woven into the story's fabric.

Interesting also to note Nicole Kidman's stand as a professional.

I'll also take this moment to guide you to three shows which feature outspoken Christians: Pushing Daisies (Kristin Chenoweth), Chuck (Zachary Levi), and Back To You (Patricia Heaton). I've seen all 3 and think that Pushing Daisies is incredible, Chuck is having fun - for now, and Back To You is fine. Perhaps if we Christians supported Christians on the air we wouldn't have to whine about a Hollywood devoid of Christians.

Reason 4837 To Thank God For Mom & Dad

I've been a big proponent of liking animals, as long as they stay over there, and don't lick me. People say that makes me an animal hater. No, I respond, I just never grew up with pets. And I thank Mom and Dad for that. Or else this could have happened to me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Charis!

Charis turned 29 today. She's the youngest of the Bat clan and lives in the Milwaukee area, in Germantown, with her husband and two children.

Bat and Christa flew back from Brother Dre's house today and will be with Charis for the last few hours of her birthday.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Andreas!


Andreas turns 32 today. I wish more people read this and could all throw in an Andreas story. I sat for a long while to think of a story and thought of tons, but all of them are about Andreas and me, and it seemed wrong to share that story. But the truth is, that's all I got. For some reason, the 7 years between us has become less and less through time, and his friendship means that most of the stories are about he and I acting stupid. Like trying to get a toy parrot in Walgreens that repeats what you say to say something naughty. Like both of us giving each other "New Kids on the Block" and other boy band paraphernalia. Like the time that he was talking to me while we stood in line in a busy mens room and I told him that first of all, I didn't know who he was and second, could he stop talking to me. Andreas retaliated in kind at a later date, and all I can say is it involved pictures and his own visit to a restroom.

We've been through our share, he and I. So when he turns 32, I guess I do, too, in a way. We've seen each other through times that a lot of people probably never see, never could imagine, and wouldn't wish on anyone. But I think Dre would ask you to see God in all of it - see this hand guiding him. A Love that never left his side. He's a great Christian man. Happy Birthday, brother.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The New Digs: Open Invitation

Teia was out yesterday and snapped some pictures of the new place from the back. Apologies for the boxes. The bench swing is on the boathouse. That's our pier.

Come on out sometime and visit! Just let us shove these boxes somewhere.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

These Are My Friends (Text of a card I sent to my friend, Mark Natzke)


***Mipps knew that my car - the silver bullet - a 1994 Prizm with 255,000 miles on it - was dead. He knew that my family couldn't live with one car. He knew that we were in a bind. And he knew what it means to be a friend. He helped me get a car.


These Are My Friends

That's what my Dad said one summer as we pulled away from a house. We drove close to 1500 miles that summer, from New Orleans, up through New Hampshire and back down through Indiana. At each place, the door opened, the table was laid, beds were made, and laughter and true joy abounded.

So Dad pulled away from the Herrs house in Keene, New Hampshire and he stopped the car. Up to this point, this meant 1) He forgot or lost something (a genetic trait he lovingly passed on to me) 2)One of us was going to get the beat down (a genetic trait he lovingly passed on to me or 3) He was going to announce that he and mom were going to have another baby (Another...you get the picture).

But he went off the menu that time. He turned to us and said, "These are my friends. Now, show me yours."

Wow. That's setting the bar high. The Herrs had taken us to their private lake and we had climbed a mountain and picked berries. All 12 of us.

So, I can say with absolute pride that I have another trait my father passed on to me. A friend who loves like Jesus. Who has given beyond any comprehension. Who has been at my side through all of it.

And, so, last week as I explained some stuff to Kellen, you know what I said? I said: Imagine if you and Andrew (classmate) were still friends in 30 years. Could you be? What would it be like? This is my friend. Show me yours.

No word can say what you mean to me. Kids and wives and divorces and implosions aside. Nothing I, a professional writer can say.

But you're a part of the story now, a genetic trait I hope to pass on. Thank you, friend. Thank you.

Target's Fresh Face Is Familiar: Our Model Cuz

Graham is throwing frisbees on Target's website.

Graham is Heidi's second kid. Heidi and Phil live in the Twin Cities area with their two boys. Heidi is Bat and Christa's second kid. Heidi and Phil have two houses.

This is getting weird.

Secret Unfurled

Mom and Dad have now landed and officially surprised Andreas with a visit! This to celebrate Andreas' 29th' birthday, which is this Saturday. To quote "Deep Thoughts", I hope someday people will look back at my life and say, "Man, that guy sure owed me a lot of money." I'm sure Andreas can relate.

I was delighted to hear that the temperature in Sacramento was 70, just 4 degrees above the temp here. TAKE THAT, CALIFORNIA!

Andreas was delighted to see some flesh and blood out on the coast. He has asked that we all call it "the coast" now, and says that the double ear piercing is just so he can fit in with the other teachers.

Move Complete.

Well, that wasn't painful.
Ok, it was.
It was long, arduous, and if you want to see a family really jonesing, watch mine without internet for a few days. Kellen approached me and pushed me against the wall. "You gotta get me online, man. You gotta!"
He then asked me for a quarter. He said it was for a cup of coffee but I think it was to buy a Blackberry. Filthy addicts.

I'll have pictures up of the new digs soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Move


I'll try to keep updating as often as I can. My family and I are moving to the West Bend, Wisconsin area, closer to our church, Ethan's school, and the big kid's high school.

Life - especially as a dad - does this to you. You work so hard towards a future, but attaining it breaks your heart. It's what happens when your little girl goes to homecoming. It's what's happening now. I've had a tumultuous life, but 10 of the almost 40 of my years were spent in this area. That's longer than anywhere I've lived. I leave it with a true sense that God is guiding me, and a true sense of heartbreak.

So, for the 3 of you who read this, pray for all of us. These are the seasons we live through in life.

CUZ CHAT Part II: Drew


Drew and McKenna at Grandpa Du's Birthday Party Photo Booth

Teia had a chance to instant message (that's "msg" in instant chat talk) (by the way, "idk" means "i don't know") with Drew Whithead, Renee's Oldest. Renee is the fourth Batiansila and is married to Jim. They live in Wausau, Wisconsin.

drew: theyre pretty much two of the coolest people in my life

teia: are you being sarcastic?

drew: no im serious

who's Drew talking about? Click here to find out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Loaves and Fishes

As a dad of many kids, and the chief cook at home, I'm always in amazement at what my mom did with how little she had. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes the mushroom gravy and the egg noodles was a bit much for me. But to think she was making any food at all out of a bunch of cans is an incredible tribute to her ingenuity and God's goodness.

Speaking of canned goods, you know those food pantry events where you bring some canned goods as admission? Please avoid this. I'm not sure it's what the food pantry people had in mind.

Citrus, Anyone? It's For A Good Cause

Izzi and Teia are traveling to Lutheran hotbeds like Seward, Nebraska and maybe even Pike's Peak on their next choir tour. In order to raise money for their trip, they're selling fruit. MMMM, citrus. The kind that sprays you a bit as you peel it. Oh yeah, sweet citrus. (How'm I doing?)

RUBY RED GRAPEFRUIT
Sweet, pink and no sugar needed
HAMLIN ORANGES
Juicy, sweet, thin skinned, good for eating as well as making fresh juice
NAVEL ORANGES
Usually seedless and wonderful for eating

Small Box (2/5 carton)
Approximately 18-20 pounds
----20 dollars----

Large Box (4/5 carton)
Approximately 38-40 pounds
----35 dollars----

Interested? Email Izzi or Teia. Order some citrus. It's not just for breakfast anymore.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

You're Special And God Loves You Very Much

Weird coincidences - this weekend, Aidan and I spent many minutes giggling and repeating the above phrase to each other. And then, I just read this moving link in Phil Vischer's - the creator of VeggieTales - blog. Phil was linking to someone else's blog, someone who spoke from his heart about being special. Read it.

It resonated words from a Nichole Nordeman song I heard this morning, from her album, "Brave."

...from "hold on"

to hang between two thieves in the darkness
love must believe you are worth it
you're worth it

TARI SCOOP!

Tari is 7th of the Bat clan. She's married and lives in Mount Prospect with her husband, Aaron, and their 3 kids, Cooper, McKenna, and Brette. I had a chance to talk to her recently via email...

1. How's the baby?

The baby is getting big. She found her feet and likes to stick her toes in her mouth a lot. She is a pretty happy baby...I think it might be that she is sleeping longer at night these days. She is talking a lot too.

2. Did you wrestle with naming her?

We didn't really have a hard time picking her name out. Once we (Aaron and I) both (to read more, click here)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Jen's Sister On Oprah!

From Tracey her ownself....

Some of you may know that Jaime and I were invited to in the audience on the Oprah show. We were seated in the front row and ended up being part of the show. We tapped last Tuesday and the show will be on tomorrow at 4:00 (CST). You can read about our experience on my blog:
http://30plusmarriedwoman.blogspot.com

You can also see the preview on www.oprah.com
The show is:Lisa Ling Investigates: Wombs for Rent.

Not sure if we will on the segment or how they will edit the show but we were interviewed by Oprah and we had the opportunity to meet her (and Lisa Ling) and get some pictures with her. Even if we are not on the actual show, it's a very informative topic.

It was great experience for us.

Hope you can watch!

Tracey

I Actually Edited Out My Laughing

Here's Bat talking about some antics that only a lifelong pastor could tell. I did only minor editing once I realized how horrendously loud I was laughing.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Brush With Oprah!

Jen's sister Tracey was on Oprah! You can read about her experience here. I'll keep you informed as to the date. We ask for your prayers for them as they seek God's will with trying to have a baby!
Long Day here. Pumpkin Farm, Powder Puff Football, and a Birthday Party. No Powder Puff pictures, but some of the others...Elise Turns 6 Sunday! Wow.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

They Printed It After All

Looks like they printed my book(let) after all. That's about 7 years after I finished my part of it...

Mom's Birthday Is Coming Up....

And I'll be deeply, deeply saddened if she doesn't get some of these.

By the way, they're back from Marquette, and well. But they did get lost on the way up.

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

I've had the great fortune of talking to Bat and Christa more in the past weeks than really ever in my adult life. What an idiot I am. It takes a blog for me to start talking to them. One thing Mom said to me last week resonates in this article.

We're a proud bunch, the Batiansilas. Proud of our name and heritage, proud of our gifts and our faith. But are we too proud to forgive?

I remember when a newcomer would visit a family event and be struck by the incredible love, faith, and bond shared. What incredible joy and energy resounded from the walls of our home! It was impossible to replicate or forget.

What would a newcomer think today? Would they know we are Christians?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

OUR FIRST COMMENT! PROGRESS!

Tari wrote a comment on one of the below entries about Heidi. I'll let you find it and read it. What happened there, folks, is that someone read an entry, then commented on it, and now their comments are available for all to see. That's the cool thing about a BLOG. It's interactive.

How to comment:
1. click "comment."
2. write a comment in the box provided.
3. choose how you want to be identified. you can choose anonymous, or you can write who you are. you can even provide a link back to your site! incredible.

So comment away! let the commenting begin! Ready, GO!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PIERA!



It's Piera Christiansen's (Deirdre's second oldest kid) 19th Birthday! Happy Birthday Piera!

You can read more about Piera in the chat interview conducted with her by Teia (seen at the right in the picture).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Apple Pickin' 2007

In a bold display of parenting, Greg missed Brett Favre's record-setting performance against the Packer's archrivals, the Vikings, so he could pick some apples with his children. I would compare that to something Bat had done, but Bat knows better than to watch a football game when he can get all the highlights on the news.

Cuz Chat: Teia Chats With Piera

Teia took this picture of Piera a while back...

Teia: are you liking school and the area you're in?
Piera: yes! i'm having a great time so far. there's a lot to do and sometimes i think i spread myself a little thin, but overall it's wonderful i'm majoring in secondary education, with a concentration in english, and so far i'm pretty sure that's what i want to do.

...Teia conducted an interview with her cousin, Piera, who just started attending school this fall. Click here to read the whole chat!

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