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 ( 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?)

Sweet, pink and no sugar needed
Juicy, sweet, thin skinned, good for eating as well as making fresh juice
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 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:

You can also see the preview on
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!


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


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!


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!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Bat & Christa in Marquette

The North Wisconsin District of the LCMS decided that they should meet even further north than Green Bay. Further north than Wisconsin. So Bat and Christa are in Marquette, MI for the next few days. My hope is that they don't fall victims to the rampant criminal element in Marquette. Recently, some young toughs spray painted "I'm rubber/You're glue/ Whatever you say bounces off me and st" on their archrival's school before they ran out of spray paint. Sad to hear things like that happening in towns like Marquette.

JOOOY: Mystery Solved

Heidi just sent in this simple email: "

From: "One Silent Night" - JOY by Cindy Morgan, Published by Word, Copyright 2000

If you'd like to listen to see how close Heidi was...I'm enclosing a pirated copy of "JOOOOYY."

I'm also going to include, at no additional cost to you, a link to the CD from


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