Sunday, August 31, 2008

Life is cruel.

Today, I was digging through a large storage bin, looking for an air pump. Samara and Samuel hadn't been on a good bike ride since winter and they were more than eager to fix that.

As I stood there, tossing deflated pool floats and diving sticks to one side or the other, a blood-curdling scream... I mean A BLOOD CURDLING SCREAM... came from the side of the house.

It was our three-year-old daughter, Emma.

As soon as I detected that this was a genuine scream (not born of sibling rivalry), I dropped my scavenger hunt and rushed out of the lanai.

Emma met me half way, stomping her feet like a well-trained soldier and screaming the most awful screams I have ever heard any child produce.

She was overcome with terror. Desperately, I tried to understand her words, but the screaming grew louder and her stomping more fierce. That's when I saw them.

Emma's tiny little feet were completely black... covered in FIRE ANTS!.

She was being eaten alive (if you'll allow me the melodrama)!

Quickly, I grabbed her and ripped the imitation crocs from her piggies. With her tucked tightly underneath my arm, I rushed toward a water spicket and dialed it up to full blast, unscrewing the hose as fast as I was able.

It wasn't fast enough.

Her screams were more than this father could bear. In a moment of desperation, I abandoned the hose and ran straight to the pool, plunging her tiny body into the water.

It was awful.


This is a hard world for so many; those who seem to deserve it least, often get the brunt of life's ugliest manifestations. Monsters really do exist and they lurk in broad daylight. Some are corporations. Some are political systems. Some are religions. Some are ants. But usually, most monsters are nothing more than ordinary people.

I know people, right now, who are preying on others. I don't mean that I know of them... I mean that I know them. Some of them know what they are doing. Some of them have no idea whatsoever, thinking themselves to be virtuous. The latter are more dangerous than the former.

I encourage us all to check ourselves today. Explore your motivations. Dig deep into your own cause and effect. Are you merely searching for your things to possess? Are you a trusted leader, privately bound by your very own perversions, but publicly adored and trusted? Do you slip silently beneath the radar of exposure but know full-well what horrible beast you are, in your core?

If you are in power and abusing it... may God have mercy on your soul.


For the rest of you...

Good people are not here to make the world good. Good people are here to keep the world from becoming absolutely consumed by evil.


I blasted the anthill back to God with the garden hose. I decimated it.

I know, I know... the ant's actions were done in self-defense. My action was done in vengeance.

You see?

We all have a monster inside.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Anyone feeling up to a rummage sale?

Well friends, we are officially here at the end of August and we have come SO FAR with your gracious support of this vision. Now, we are down to the wire financially. With an initial goal of $4,100... I'll have to admit, we knew that it would pretty well have to be God if this was going to come together.

$3,777.00 later... we are BLOWN AWAY! Thank you all SO MUCH for your help. One family even made TWO contributions! Now THERE'S an idea!

What an absolute blessing you have all been.

To give you an update, we are still going to miss the mark... not by much... but it's a miss nonetheless. A few bills remain that we cannot pay... and with a hurricane on the way, it probably goes without saying that some supplies are in order. I'm thankful either way but I won't lie, getting this close, only to fall so short... is kind of a bummer.

While we are getting geared up to be drenched by HANNAH (how appropriate... our teenage daughter is named Hannah... she'll be the death of me after all !!!), I wanted to encourage any of you who might wanna sell some lemonade, have a rummage sale, or drop some junk on craigslist... please consider what you can do to put us back into the black. It genuinely won't take much and it will really make this month one heck of a success story.

So you know, I am already booking dates to work in September and November. In other words, I wasn't lying when I said it was just for this month. You are not getting roped into anything here. Help us swing for the fences just one last time.

You say you want some proof? You wanna know what we have ACTUALLY BEEN DOING this month? Well, okay then. Fair enough.

If you need a little encouragement, click here for a 2 minute peek at some video from this month's labor. Granted, there are nearly 30 MINUTES of really great, highly polished content, so forgive me, but I can only let a little bit of it "out of the bag" at the moment.

In other news... a music video premiere is imminent (in connection with a simultaneous single from a major-label band). Our official website is being designed (as we speak) and is being strategized for an exciting launch. Our ability to process credit and debit cards is underway and we have also begun the process of securing airtime for this 30-minute TV fundraising campaign.

You want more? Okay!

Our school's location in Haiti HAS BEEN OFFICALLY SECURED! I'm telling you what... this has been one SWEET SWEET MONTH.

Help us crack the bottle over this ship and let her sail.



If you wish to send us some support, you may do so one of two ways:

For those who would like a tax-deductible receipt please make your check out to ReNET and designate it for “Haiti”. ReNET is acting as our 501(c)3 umbrella while our own application is in process. You may then mail that check to

2867 N. 200 E.
Anderson IN 46012.

If you don’t need a receipt then you can just make the check out to Luke Renner and send it to us directly. If you wanna do that, let me know and I will email you our home address.

Either way, I would appreciate an email alerting me to the incoming support so that I can keep track of where we’re at.

Some 'Splanin' to do... PART ONE

Strap in, this is gonna get loopy.

This is the post where the "danglers" will drop off, resolving that I am completely off my nut, crazy, delusional.

Yes, it all starts here.

It's okay. I generally expect as much and I am resigned to the branding; however unfair it may be, branding me won't change who I actually am. It's sort of like a reputation. In a room of 500 people, you have 500 reputations. The only one that matters is the one you know to be true.

In order to tell you some of the amazing stories that I have, it is necessary that I start further back, setting the stage.

I'm the son of a vietnam-vet, turned hippie, turned preacher. Like my mother before me, I'm a preacher's kid. I was born in the quiet little burg of Anderson, Indiana, on July 28th, 1975.

*not my church... not even remotely close to Anderson, Indiana, but it's quaint and reminded me of Little House on the Prairie, a show that literally makes me cry every single time I watch it.

For those who care to know, Anderson is home to...

THE Church of God

THE Anderson Indians
Man, I miss those days!

THE Wigwam (looks a lot emptier now... GM town... paging Michael Moore!)

and college heartthrob (and personal friend) Jon McLaughlin (pictured right). You do remember me, don't you, Jon?

The point is, I'm a real person and probably average in many ways.

I'm not sure how preacher's kids fare against missionary kids. I know we're all somewhere on the same totem. The general idea is that PKs and MKs are trouble waiting to happen. It's a generally held idea because it's generally true. Sadly (for my readers), I don't have lots of mouth-watering tales of a misfit past. I was never into crime or sex or booze or pot... heck, I never even loitered!

I never got hooked on cigarettes. At the tender age of 8, my dad said I could smoke if I wanted to, even going so far as to offer me one of Aunt Imogene's lit cigarettes. He pushed that damnable thing on me so hard, I never did see it as a forbidden fruit. It just stank, and I was gonna have to pass. Just brilliant!

Truthfully, the biggest crime I ever committed was wiping my boogers on the under-side of my desk in the 3rd grade, and even then, I was personally overcome with guilt to the point that I voluntarily confessed to Mrs. Meckley. She laughed until she cried. What a queer moment. I was free of my burden and she was happier than I've scarcely seen anyone since. That day still kind of screws with me. Oh well.

As it turns out, I think a lot of the trouble that PKs get into (speaking as a PK) comes from the kind of parents they had growing up. Some of the worst PKs imaginable probably had parents with some serious control issues, and understandably so. Let's face it, with a congregation of 500 people or more, it doesn't make for a good Sunday-morning-offering when junior gets caught huffing gasoline with a group of renegade Eskimos. Of course, I'm posturing a theory here; this whole thing would require a great deal of scrutiny and scientific research to substantiate. In short, my theory (in all of its staggering originality) suggests that, the higher you rise, the harder you fall. Fortunately for me and my brother, our folks were very down to earth (pastored a small church). It's not that they were liberal by any means. I still remember the day my mom spun around to face the back seat of the car in replete horror as I sang along word for word with the song "talk dirty to me" as it came on the radio. The sun didn't set that night until my 45 record had been throughly disposed of under my mom's ever-watchful eye. At least I got to keep Whitney Houston's riveting classic, "I wanna dance with somebody". Who knew she would wind up huffing? Sorry mom, you can't call 'em all right.

But seriously...

My mom taught me the value of laughter and gave me the ability to absorb life in the best possible way, through the eyes of humor. Things were rarely so serious that they warranted solemnity. As I recall, virtually everything had ribs and was deserving of a good elbow to them. That's not to say that my mother was a rube. On the contrary, she has always been deeply spiritual. But mom was never forceful about it, so faith was never a duty for me; it was allowed, familiar and welcomed, but still as personal as I needed it to be. That ultimately made spirituality very attractive to me and not something I felt the need to challenge "just because".

Looking back, I probably saw my mom cry one-too-many times at the hands of people in "the church". It was her propensity for laughter that made her crying so much more unwelcome. It was a gear-strip, a clear and awkward departure from normalcy. Naturally (and even understandably) we were always exposed to the scrutiny of "the body of Christ". Being under a microscope is the constant reality for people in ministry, and make no mistake, when the parents are in the ministry, the kids are in the ministry. When you make your income from people's tithes, even buying ice cream for your kids can come pre-packaged with a guilt trip. That may sound melodramatic, but that was real. I'm sure I don't know the half of it and that's because my parents never really complained (at least not around us). They took it in stride, pain and all, and just kept on truckin' for Jesus.

I still think maybe they were just a little bit crazy!

As I write this, it occurs to me that their faithfulness to "the church", despite the real struggle that it could sometimes be, was probably the single-greatest-example that I ever had of people doing what they felt was right, even if it came at great personal cost or pain. From my point of view as a child, more than not, it seemed pointless. There was no reward in it. There was no way to win a prize from a "getting punched in the face" contest. From my perspective, it seemed rather unattractive and lonely for much of the time.

Of course, these are my words... and this is my point of view. To hear my parents tell the tale, I am confident, it would be more joy than sorrow and there would be few regrets for the life that they've led. Don't make the mistake of hearing my words as theirs. I honestly don't think for one second that I am speaking for them, nor should you. Likewise, I'm not complaining about my past or saying "look what you did to me". I'm actually very grateful for this road that I have walked. Seeing people as they really are has been liberating and rare. I hold tightly to each of these little memories and each one makes me wiser, stronger, and less tolerant of the elixir salesmen that cross my path.

What I couldn't know then was that I would soon start hearing a voice in my head, seldom at first, and then regularly. It would speak to me in the third person and lead me into some of the most amazing adventures of my life. For a corn-fed boy from Indiana, the possibility of hearing God speak was something I had never expected, but would soon be forced to face.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So close... we can TASTE IT!!!

We only need $423.00!!!!
Any takers?

If you wish to send us some support, you may do so one of two ways:

For those who would like a tax-deductible receipt please make your check out to ReNET and designate it for “Haiti”. ReNET is acting as our 501(c)3 umbrella while our own application is in process. You may then mail that check to

2867 N. 200 E.
Anderson IN 46012.

If you don’t need a receipt then you can just make the check out to Luke Renner and send it to us directly. If you wanna do that, let me know and I will email you our home address.

Either way, I would appreciate an email alerting me to the incoming support so that I can keep track of where we’re at.

STOP - Quotin' Time!

M.C. Hammer should be so proud. I hereby offer to you some tasty bits of other people's wisdom. After all of my enormo-long-errific-mega-posts, these little quips should do well to remind us all that less really IS more... that brevity is the soul of wit (W. Shakespeare).

"Admiration: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves."

- Ambrose Bierce

"People who have given us their complete confidence believe that they have a right to ours. The inference is false; a gift confers no rights."

- Nietzsche

"Every man thinks God is on his side. The rich and powerful know he is."

- Jean Anouilh

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."

- Jonathan Swift

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."

- Lily Tomlin

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lots of motion in the ocean!

Well friends, thanks for tolerating the little piece of creative writing below. Save for the poetic license, that little story about my iPhone is absolutely true. What a hoot!

As promised, here is where things stand for us right now.

The original goal was to raise $4,100.
At present, we have been blessed with $3,321.00!!!

That was QUITE the hill to climb. Careless on my part? Perhaps.
But you guys are proving that COMMUNITY WORKS!

We are SO THANKFUL to all of you who have joined us in this vision.
Friends and family alike have accepted this challenge with us and we are making some real progress with this opportunity.

As I have said before, we have taken your contributions very seriously and have been working very hard to make the most of this month. So far, the success has been remarkable. Thanks again.

For those who still wish to get involved, we are in need of a remaining $779.00. This amount will "seal the deal" and keep us from going bottom-up in any department. To be clear, we are NOT asking for ongoing support. This is NOT a long-term commitment. Rather, we are asking you for a one-time contribution toward our expenses for this month, thereby allowing me to work at home on several key pieces of promotional material.

If you wish to help us with the final amount... in any way... please don't delay any longer. Our time is running out. So far the largest contribution has been $1,000. The smallest has been $100. But let's be clear, if 39 people gave $20, we would be out of the woods. You get the picture.

The point is, ANY amount will help.

If you wish to send us some support, you may do so one of two ways:

For those who would like a tax-deductible receipt please make your check out to ReNET and designate it for “Haiti”. ReNET is acting as our 501(c)3 umbrella while our own application is in process. You may then mail that check to

2867 N. 200 E.
Anderson IN 46012.

If you don’t need a receipt then you can just make the check out to Luke Renner and send it to us directly. If you wanna do that, let me know and I will email you our home address.

Either way, I would appreciate an email alerting me to the incoming support so that I can keep track of where we’re at.

If you look to the side-bar, you will see that we are continuing to add more information. Turns out we are getting quite a few eyeballs on our blog now and more and more folks are wondering what in the blue-blazes the CIMT is. Now those questions have been answered.

Also, I am compiling a F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) entry. If any of you have always wanted to ask anything of us, now would be a time to drop me an email and let me see if it can be added to that document.

Okee Dokee. Stay tuned! More news coming!


You are NOT gonna believe THIS!

My iPhone has been replaced by the wonderful people at Apple. Turns out they were none too happy about the small crack that had developed UNDER the surface of the glass. I was quick to learn that "small cracks" are generally not covered by the Apple warranty and that my fate was dangling in the balance between Mac Genius (that's actually what they call themselves)... as I was saying... my fate was dangling between Mac Genius #1 and Mac Genius #2.

Mac Genius #1 was as you might expect... a bit of a snob. I say that with love. You see, as a Mac user myself, I too am a snob. You basically sign a piece of paper when you buy an Apple product that says you agree to be an elitist snoot. That means that all who own Apple products are elitist snoots... myself included. My dad and brother, missionary friends of mine, more people than I can count... all a bunch of bourgeois, holier-than-thous.

Membership has it's privileges.

ANYWAY... something weird happened.

No sooner had I laid down my broken iPhone than I was virtually tagged "infected". This guy (Mac Genius #1) who would otherwise have gladly shared an elitist drink with me under better circumstances, was now barely willing to make eye contact with me.

It was so dehumanizing.


What was happening? I was a card-carrying iSnob of several years now. I had tenure! Now all of a sudden, I'm diseased.

It was bad enough that my iPhone was clearly a first-generation piece of antiquated junk (understand something people... my iPhone was almost a WHOLE YEAR OLD!!!!). Now, to add insult to injury, it is a BROKEN, eight-month-old iPhone!


No doubt, this guy's personal iPhone was probably bleeding-edge-current, fully functional, and spit-shined with a $20 5-pack of pre-moistened, elitist tissues for sale next to the $60 rubber, iPhone covers. You know, the ones next to the Hemp iPhone Shammies.

He did not like me. It was evident. But even Nazis have to do their job, so Mac Genius #1 plugged my iBrick into his laptop and proceeded to restore it to current factory settings (Gee, I hadn't thought of that!). As my iPhone proceeds to restore, Mac Genius #1 accepts another mindless customer and leaves me sitting in a pile of my own shame.

Thanks, Kevin (or whatever your name is). Naturally, I can't read.

About this time, I start to realize that I am headed straight for a "man, I'm so sorry" dismissal from the Apple store with a dead iPhone in my pocket.

I had to act fast.

Mac Genius #2 was a scruffy looking fellow. He was no older than me and literally... LITERALLY FOLKS... had a handlebar mustache!!! I honestly had no idea they still made those!

This was NOT going to be easy.

I was up against a MEGA SNOB. I felt like Luke Skywalker in the Rancor Pit. When I had arrived, this was supposed to be a little Jedi mind trick here, a little wave of the hand there, and then I'm out with my new iPhone. But when Jabba kicked the switch and dropped me in with Mac Genius #2... I was in a whole new world of hurt.

It's kill or be killed in the Rancor pit... so I had to move.

As I got to my feet, Mac Genius #2 was already devouring the poor beast that had fallen into his snare just before me. She was an ultra-tan, 60-something woman with leathery skin and a pair of TOP GUN shades that she was ACTUALLY WEARING INDOORS. I swear, if her husband had called her "Iceman" I would not have been surprised.

What happened next is not something that I am proud of.

As she sat there in the jaws of Mac Genius #2, I had a very real moment where my inner snob kicked in and I mindlessly judged her for being there with her broken iPhone. I am totally serious; it was as if my broken iPhone was not as broken as her broken iPhone. Like I said, I'm not proud of it... but it happened and I have to come clean.

Back to the story...

Cautiously, I decided to joke with Mac Genius #2. As dangerous... NO... as suicidal as that decision would normally be, it was my only hope at swaying his affections into my favor, thereby negating the damage inflicted by Mac Genius #1 and giving me a real shot at leaving with a new iPhone.

Everything was at stake.

As a matter of necessity, the jokes would have to be elitist in nature. Rude (not crude)... but certainly on par with the polished assault that Mac Genius #1 had already achieved when he handed me my own head in a brown bag marked "puppy poo". If I had even a tiny prayer of connecting with Mac Genius #2, I was going to have to deliver some stunning piece of comedic prose.

Before I go too much further, let me explain something to you. You see, all customers are at a distinct disadvantage in an Apple store. Much like in a court of law, in an Apple store, certain things are assumed to be true, whether or not there is any evidence to support that claim. For example, it is assumed that a Mac Genius is absolutely brilliant. I mean, second only to the godhead. So it is written... so shall it be. For that reason, a Mac Genius generally need not say anything in order to legitimize this superiority. It is understood. Deal with it.

Then there are the rest of us. All who walk under the sleek black threshold, past the giant glowing APPLE, and enter into the throne room... the holy of holies... are ravaging idiots. So it is written... so shall it be. You may as well accept this now, for it makes the death that much more bearable.

Do not be fooled into acting cool like the Mac Genius in front of you. He is silent because he has nothing to prove. His superiority is sealed tightly within the super-sweet T-shirt that he is wearing... and NO... you CAN'T GET ONE UNLESS YOU'RE AN EMPLOYEE; only the greatest of fools asks THAT question.

As I was saying, don't even try to act like one of them by watering-down your vocabulary to the one-syllable, yes-what-no-huh-hmms that they most commonly mutter. When a Genius uses that vernacular, it does appear as though she is brilliant beyond all compare. But that goes with the unspoken truth of her superiority. Should you try to volley with her using such simple speech, it will only serve to prove that you are a chimpanzee and that chimps can only be trusted to eventually start slinging their own poo at one another.

No, my friends, silence will not make you seem smart whilst grazing among the Geniuses. It will only support the assumption that you are a mindless goon. Sadly, the burden of proof is upon you, for it is only you who can establish your exceptional mental capacity in order to find safe harbor amongst the elite. As dangerous a proposition as it may be (considering how stupid you probably really are) speaking is a MUST.

As you must have determined by now, my first joke would have to be brutal and precise. A snobbish joke gone wrong is CERTAIN DOOM, far worse than just staying silent in the first place. Landing the PERFECT BLOW would require a deftness that one scarcely conjures at will. Only in moments of the greatest inspiration can one hope for a comedic dagger so shrewd, so stunningly precise that it slices straight through the appearance of desperation and lands squarely in the bulls-eye of mega-genius-overlord.

I was moving cautiously. Crafting. Maybe even praying a little. Thinking.

Think, Luke, think!

That's when it happened; it was as if all of Heaven smiled upon me in the brightest shaft of blinding light. It's a good thing the old lady had on those shades after all, lest she be blinded by the glory of that moment.

In a move more procedural than snide, Mac Genius #2 asked the lady (presently draped like a rag doll across his gaping jaws) if her iPhone was synced with a Mac or a Windows computer.

Time stood still.

Literally, everyone froze.

I swear, even the "Build-A-Bear" stuffing-blower was silenced, two full stories below.

It was so quiet, you could have heard a super-sleek, magnetic power cord detach.

Beads of sweat formed across my upper lip in sheer anticipation as she adjusted her "Iceman" glasses. The permanent smoker's wrinkles around her lips began break from their leathery perch and form a shape.

Power flickered on a dozen dangling, credit-card-processing necklaces.

A gaggle of Final Cut Pros turned... their polished, bald heads reflecting the shaft of burning light from above.

Mac Genius #1, moving against time like Keanu in the Matrix, turned and glared at me, knowing full-well that it was MY FATE that was hanging in the balance. There was no charity in his fiery eyes. He wanted me dead. We both knew it. But it was no longer inside the palm of his clammy hands.

God had arrived and was Himself officiating this celestial event.

No, not even the Mayans could call this one. It was anyone's game.

and then it came...





As if he had just bitten into the wrong end of a donkey, Mac Genius #2 sneered, almost terrified, as he obligatorily asked her, "Vista or XP?"

In that moment, a full mile away, all of the rotisserie chickens at Boston Market would cease their rotations, eagerly awaiting her response.



Mac Genius #2 was completely upended. Oh sure, he remained composed. He didn't say anything rude or belittling to the ultra-hip, Top Gun aficionado... but his handlebar mustache quivered ever-so-slightly and I swear his eyes twitched... just a little bit. I could scarcely believe my good fortune! Somehow, despite his enormous gaping jaws crunching down on her bones, she had managed to inflict pain on this ravenous beast!

There was no need for jokes. I had been saved! She was all the joke one could ever hope for! A WINDOWS USER? SERIOUSLY? NO WONDER HER iPHONE WAS BROKEN! MWAHAHAHAHA!

My mouth stayed shut. Trying to take a poke at Mac Genius #2 would just be unsportsmanlike right now. He was wounded. Bleeding out all over the floor. It was messy.

What happened next would go down in history as the final nail in Mac Genius #1's coffin and would spell certain victory for me.

In a bobbling, bumbling flurry of blind-sided confusion, Mac Genius #2 swung his hand past the service computer, unwittingly snaring his finger with the cable that was attached to my CRACKED iPHONE. Moving too quickly, his mistake would yank my iPhone from the counter-top and send it hurdling to the floor below.


No one could see it, but the sound was beautiful... er... I mean, tragic (but seriously folks... it was BEAUTIFUL).

My phone, covered under warranty or not, had just been hurdled to the hard floor by the very demigod who had been sent to slay me. Mac Genius #1 could not look me in the eye as I handed him back the bag labeled "puppy poo" and gave him a knowing glare.

As Mac Genius #2 placed my phone back onto the counter, I calmly responded "Well now, who's to say what broke it?"

Several moments later, I was leaving with my replacement iPhone.

Victory is mine!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Homesick... or Home Sick?

Well friends, I have returned home from the BEAUTIFUL country of Guatemala. It was a FAST and FURIOUS adventure that included flying through quasi-hurricanes, sleeping in quasi-fancy hotels, enduring quasi-long car rides, and meeting some totally great new friends.

Now I am home again and surprisingly, sick. I won't bore you with the details of my sickness. Let's just say, it goes "squish - squish" about as often as I eat or drink. Get the picture?

Ironically, this sickness was HERE AT HOME, waiting for me.

I obtained it courtesy of my dear family who has been enduring the biometric "slip-n-slide" since my departure.

Not too fun.

Add to that the insult of my iPhone, which suddenly has a cracked screen and doesn't work! Your guess is as good as mine. No idea why this happened. I'll be going to the Apple store to complain about my misfortune with this less-than-one-year-old piece of crap-nology.


The group that I was able to volunteer my services to is really up to some amazing stuff. As this blog is primarily dedicated to garnering support for what WE are doing, I shall spare you any external links for now. If you think what we are doing is stupid beyond all reason and desire a REAL cause to get behind, just email me and I will send you a link to the place where I just was.

On the trip, I was able to show my TV program to someone who's opinion matters to me. He thought that it was "powerful" and had a couple of pieces of constructive feedback for me too. All good thoughts that shall inform the final piece.

In the end, it was a real "Indiana Jones" style adventure and a worthy expenditure of my time and resources.

Now that I am home again, I will be taking stock of where things stand (financially) and give you a full report tomorrow (Sunday, August 24, 2008).

BIG STUFF IS HAPPENING! I am SO EXCITED about what lies ahead.

You guys are helping us give birth to an AWESOME thing!

Stay Tuned!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It makes me so angry...

It makes me SO angry that I have decided to blog about it using my ultra-slow, first-generation iPhone, while sitting in the Miami airport (don't even get me started there), opting out of their ever-so-helpful, PAY WI-FI (it's wi-fi ... an inalienable human right!), and instead going with the tediously slow phone-Internet to type this.

Let's ignore the fact that FOX News anchors are now regularly defecting to CNN, while also ignoring the blatant ultra-pro-mist (soft and fuzzy) filter that is on the left frame of a two-frame split window... yes, the shot of the "beautiful" FOX News ex-patriot (what's-her-face), and painfully lacking from her guests on the right (golly gee wiz, she's so purty!).

Do me a favor and go to
Now type "Miami" as your city.
Now read the NWS official report on Tropical Storm Fay.
No big deal. Weak. Not much more than a fancy thunderstorm.

Now watch CNN.

Their news is OLD, their graphics are WRONG, and their weather goons are LYING.

They should get an "action-verb Emmy" for tossing words like "pounding" and "slamming" around like so many greased rabbits. I am SO GLAD that I haven't watched TV news in so long. It is mental JUNK FOOD. Mind poison. If you find yourself wishing you had more vacation days, just STOP WATCHING TV NEWS... I'm totally serious... Switch on your brain and enjoy a whole new world.


Sunday, August 17, 2008


Well folks, looks like my dear, sweet family may possibly be enduring their very first hurricane without me! I am SO JEALOUS. As of sometime late tonight (morning really), I will be mini-vaned down to MIA (an airport abbreviation that I have never been too fond of) and shortly thereafter, board a plane to Guatemala.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I am donating 4 days of my time to some folks who are doing good work there. I've never met them and don't really know any more details than that, so you'll forgive me if I save my report until after I get home.

Please, if you are a praying person, toss out a few for my family while I am away. I have no worries for my own safety, but who can stop you for praying for me as well? Certainly not I.

For my money, I'm expecting this "Fay" to be no more than a tropical storm by the time it hits here. We shall see.


Progress on our 30-minute TV program continues to be phenomenal. Seriously, I am STOKED. Special thanks to my wife, parents, and brother who have endured countless "rough" versions, replete with missing footage, poor audio, text slates, and incessant "this will be different"s from me. They have offered immeasurable feedback along the way.

So where do things stand?

I am happy to report that I will be taking a version of the program with me to Guatemala in order that I may watch it several thousand times on my iphone and let stuff really start to bug me. This is a critical part of the creative process. When I am fortunate enough to get this opportunity, I can really nit-pick the piece into semi-perfection. I am tre-happy about this and have you, our gracious supporters, to thank for that.

What's that? You say YOU haven't supported us? Well, goodness gracious! I would be remiss if I didn't offer you this unique opportunity to do so! Please CLICK HERE to email us and let us know how much you would like to send. We are still needing $935.00 to make our expenses for the month. THAT'S SO CLOSE!

To send any support, please make a check out to ReNET (our 501(c)3 umbrella), mark it for "Haiti", and mail it to:

2867 N. 200 E.
Anderson IN 46012.

Really, there are SO MANY THINGS TO REPORT and not enough time before I leave. Literally, all my bags are packed and I'm ready to go. So I'm gonna cut this transmission for now and say THANK YOU again to all of you who have been so supportive during this time.

If I can report from Guatemala, I certainly will. If not, then look for my next posting on Friday (assuming the house hasn't been blown over).


Thursday, August 14, 2008


I just added a clickable link to the sidebar. Now you can email us. Also, I updated our profile with the same.

There's that objectivity I was just talking about!

Thanks, Mike!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Movin' Right Along!

Well folks, the gears are still a'turnin'. Progress is good. Very good!

So far, I have been able to complete a music video (exciting details are coming pertaining to that) and am presently fine-tuning the 30-minute TV program that we will be airing as our fundraising video. "Fine tuning" may sound like I'm wrapping that up, but this phase can be fairly time consuming as it requires an enormous amount of attention to detail.

To give you some idea, I spent 4 days editing the music video. That piece, when finished, is about 5 minutes long. Now I'm faced with a piece that is 30 minutes long and much more narrative than just images and music. There is a HUGE story to be told here and I am doing my best to tell it well.

To give you some idea, the work that is presently being accomplished through your support is currently valued at over $40,000. I'm serious. I can give you contacts in the industry who will tell you, what we are accomplishing this month is a TREMENDOUS BLESSING. By simply allowing us to cover our monthly expenses, you are turning $4,100 into over $40,000!

That is no small thing.

I would certainly appreciate all of your prayers during this time. I am trying to stay creative and intuitive, simultaneously. Sometimes, it can be a challenge to deliver the message and to do so in an entertaining or thought-provoking way. I am also profoundly aware that creating television for someone else is infinitely easier than doing it for yourself. A creator's best asset is objectivity. When working on something so close to my heart, objectivity is the challenge. Pray for the objectivity to cover all my bases.

Adrian and I are so very thankful for the support we have received thus-far and are doing our part to use the dollars responsibly. Literally, the $4,100 covers bills and nothing else. There's no "fun money" in there. Samuel's 6th birthday was today. Thanks to grandmas and grandpas for the gifts!

Adrian and the kids made a modest little birthday cake out of Jello and generic Cool Whip. We are generally accustomed to spending a bit of money on our birthday parties, so I was a little sad that Sam's party was not as special as the kids are used to (it is certainly good practice for Haiti). Now of course, this was OUR DECISION and is not anyone's fault. I'm not trying to give you a sob story here. I simply tell you this because I want you to know that we are not taking advantage of your generosity IN THE LEAST. We take your involvement in what we are doing this month VERY seriously. Please keep praying for us that God will continue to work a miracle as we labor diligently on this project.

As the end of the month draws nearer, we are still not quite to the financial goal. Without an additional $1,185.00 we will not be able to pay all of our bills.

If you have been meaning to get on board and send us some support but have a tendency to delay, please take a moment to set down that burrito or your iPhone and take care of that.

Thanks so much for all of your support. The included still images are from my work this month. I'll have moving images for you before too long, but for now, may those serve to whet your appetite.

Thanks again,
Luke & Adrian

Monday, August 11, 2008


It turns out the POST OFFICE has closed my P.O. Box. Anyone who has sent support to the P.O. Box mentioned on the blog is going to receive the mail back (return to sender).

I have wracked my brain to try and figure out how a branch of the US government could possibly make a mistake such as this. It seems to defy all reason and logic. I thought the US government was supposed to be streamlined and efficient, error free, all-knowing, all-powerful, and above reproach.

What a fool I have been!

IF you sent support to the P.O. Box... PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I need to keep tabs on any checks that may have gone there so that we can arrange for shipment to an ALTERNATE ADDRESS.

In the meantime, if anyone wants some sturdy business cards to tape to their bicycle spokes, I got a 1,000 I need to get rid of!

SO SORRY for the hassle. Let me know and we'll get it squared away.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

UPDATE - Closer to the goal!

In the spirit of working my fanny off, I will make this post short and sweet. As of 5:33AM on Sunday morning, I am thrilled to report that we've got STRUCTURE! The 30-minute TV program is timed and formed (albeit in draft). TONS of work still remains to be done on the program, but I'm so happy to see this hurdle behind us.

Several more individuals and families have contributed to the financial goal. The original goal was to raise $4,100.00. In just THREE DAYS we have raised $2,361.00!!! That leaves only $1,739.00 to go!!! Are you KIDDING me? Seriously guys, you are MELTING MY FACE OFF with your awesome partnership in this vision. I would absolutely LOVE to see the financial goal met by TUESDAY, AUGUST 12th. Is that crazy? Probably so. But hey! Why not?

If any of you are holding off because you don't want to give even $1 to a goal that will never be reached, then hold off no more! We are practically there already!

Until the next post, enjoy this photo. I could just live in this moment!
Thanks J!

Friday, August 8, 2008

UPDATE - Look what's happening!

Hey there friends and family.

I just wanna give a great big "THANK YOU" shout-out to those who have contributed to our vision so far! My worst possible fears are slowly becoming quelled while, at the same time, God is moving and some POWERFUL media is emerging from the small studio where I am laboring. "Powerful media?" you ask. "What does that even mean?"

Let me explain what the vision is, in no uncertain terms.

Within the next year, we are planning to expand our work in Haiti by opening the doors to "The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies", a first-of-its-kind media training program to be based in Haiti. This school will give Haitians the much-needed skills with which to raise their voice and tell their stories to the world. In a country with an illiteracy rate between 60%-88%, imagine what storytelling skills could accomplish! Things that cannot be learned through the traditional methods of reading and writing can now be taught to Haitians by Haitians, using a wide rage of media technology. Radio, Television, Photography, Audio recording, Print, and Web are but some of the tools available for educated Haitians to transcend the stifling challenges of illiteracy and further the cause of the 6 million people who are bound in unthinkable poverty. I'm serious when I say that these storytelling skills can unlock a new hope for the people of Haiti, like nothing that has come before.

An educated society is a better society.

To achieve this goal, a LOT of money needs to be raised. Far more than the $4,100 that we are needing from you. At present, anywhere between $100,000 and $250,000 is needed for the upstart of this school. And that's where this month of intensive labor comes in.

All month long, we are creating several, key pieces of media (a music video, a television program, web content, etc.) that will then be played to the masses (via television networks, the internet, iTunes, etc.). With these pieces of media, we will reach a very large audience with the vision that I have just shared with you and will make an appeal for the funds needed to launch this vision into orbit.


So far, through your faithful assistance and God's great provision, we have raised $1,661.00! That means that only $2,439.00 remain in order to fully finance the creation of these CRITICAL MESSAGES. Do you understand what that means? For a remaining $2,439.00, we will have primed the pump and created a number of powerful pieces of audio, video, and print that will CARRY THIS VISION TO THE MASSES. It is through your SEED MONEY that we will plant a message in the heart of MILLIONS of potential viewers. For those of you who are in media already, you know as well as I do what that can turn into.


As I was walking out of WAL-MART the other day (before this triathlon began), I saw this fellow wearing a rather "churchy" looking shirt. I'll spare you the details; let's just say, it lacked the benefit of a graphic designer. Anyway, on the back, Ecclesiastes 4 was printed in Times New Roman (one of the most original font choices). The printed section of that chapter was intriguing and so I returned to it several days later (yesterday) whilst contemplating how fine the line is between my total insanity and my [eh hem] great faithfulness. I have to say, it caught me right between the eyes.

For starters, the verses that had made it to the shirt were 9 & 10:

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

How true! It is no stretch to say that YOU are creating this powerful content WITH US. YOU are a PART OF THIS in every possible way. Quite literally, those of you who are supporting us this month are the "Executive Producers" of this content. It's not that your assistance is HELPFUL... it's that your ASSISTANCE IS NECESSARY.

But I was also particularly moved by the first part of the chapter:

1 Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
I saw the tears of the oppressed—
and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors—
and they have no comforter.

2 And I declared that the dead,
who had already died,
are happier than the living,
who are still alive.

3 But better than both
is he who has not yet been,
who has not seen the evil
that is done under the sun.

My next post will likely be about a profound experience that I had on my recent trip to Haiti. What I will say for now is that I have just returned from places where the dead are happier and where it is better to have never been born at all, than to live in such hell. Can you even imagine such a place?!

Haiti NEEDS this school. I stake my LIFE on it.

Keep praying with us as we labor through this month. THANK YOU for your prayers and THANK YOU to those of you who have been so generous with your money. We are praying that more like you will come forward and help us to make this vision a reality.

At this point, we have hung it all out there. We are working the month away, with or without your assistance. With your assistance, this month will end with a joyous cheer. Without your assistance, good things will be done and bad things will be waiting for us [cue cheesy horror music].

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

We don't want your pity. We want your help!

For more information on how YOU CAN HELP, look at the bottom of this post.

Thanks for everything you guys!
Luke and Adrian

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Just a quick note to say that we have added some new functionality to this blog. For now, all of the new features appear in the right-hand side bar --->

First, I have added the nifty "IMPORTANT POSTS OF YORE" list. This list will contain direct links to postings that we think are particularly insightful to our visitors. Ultimately, it helps to keep critical (or nifty) information in the forefront of your mind while the original post gets bumped down into the nether-reaches of the blog roll by meaningless posts (such as this one).

Secondly, there is now an even easier way to stay on top of posts. If you are a novice at subscribing to blogs, I couldn't have made it simpler.

Seriously, take it EASY.

One big breath.


Now read...

Look to the right side bar. You see the graphic that looks like a piece of mail? Just below the image you may type your email address and click "SUBMIT".

Now breathe again! You're doing great!

The next thing that is gonna happen is you will receive an email asking you to confirm that you are actually trying to subscribe (thereby keeping the guy who gets on after you at the library from signing you up for something you don't want). Once you confirm that you meant to sign up... YOU'RE DONE!


From this point forward, every time we post a new blog, you will be graced with a nice little E-mail alert. Gone are the days of reloading our page for hours on end, waiting desperately for more tantalizing tidbits. You shall be summoned automatically by this handy little butler. And don't worry, your email gets stored in a database that I manage... so you won't be getting any junk from it.

It's all good.

So what are you waiting for? SIGN UP!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown!

My dear family and friends, it is with much trembling (and a little bit of fear) that I am reporting to you today.

I have decided to listen to that little voice inside of my head and will be staying home this month* to work hard on some much needed promotional materials for our school. As one pastor put it, "vision casting" is at the top of my to-do-list, as it falls upon me to make it absolutely clear what we are doing.

*with exception, I will be volunteering 4 days of my services to a mission in Guatemala at no charge.

Understand that, as a freelance creative professional, I do not pull in a "regular" paycheck. My pay comes on a job-by-job basis and that means I pretty much have to keep hopping onto airplanes, moving around, and chasing down what work there is. Just like you, it is absolutely imperative that I work on other people's projects if I am to pay the bills (i.e. rent, electricity, water, food, etc.). What's different than a "regular paycheck" is that there are no guarantees and it is often "up to me" to make sure there is enough to go around.

I say all of that to make it perfectly clear what we are up against here.

Last night, I sent out a "mass" email, asking for the financial support to meet this month's expenses, thereby allowing me to stay home and work. So far, there has been a response, but naturally, we are still very far from the mark.

Originally, I stated that we need to raise $4,100 in order to stay afloat this month. Believe it or not, that is a typical month's expenses with 6 mouths to feed, rent, and all that comes with getting by in this economy. According to the IRS, we are actually operating under the expectancy for our area.

In less than 24-hours of the email, the number we need has dropped to $3,744.00. We are SO GRATEFUL for those who have chosen to assist us thus far!

Naturally, there is a good way to go still.

I wanted to share an email with you that one of our new friends (and a financial supporter in this cause) sent back to all of the people on our mailing list. I think that his challenge is good (and easy for most folks to swallow) and I believe his personal willingness to vouch for our burgeoning work in Haiti should help those of you who may be teetering, wondering, "has Luke finally lost it?"

Here is his letter:

Dear Luke,

Thank you very much for coming to help us in Haiti , you inspired many of us and encouraged several ministries down here in Haiti during your short time here . When you are here your love for the Haitian people is inspiring even to the missionaries you have come to work hand in hand with.
Your gifts and talents are bringing unity among missionary workers,haitian pastors, and church people alike. Our prayers from Haiti include the Lord returning you to Haiti soon, special things happen when your here !

We too here in Haiti are in financial need, but want to be a part of God working through you and are preparing a gift of $100.00 towards the $4100.00 you need. Of all people I know what it is like to want to function in ministry , but have to work to make ends meet. I pray that the lord will touch 40 other people to send $100.00 to help you to focus on the work the lord has given you to do.

Yvonne and I will send our check to the address you mentioned in your email today. We believe in you and what you are doing . Like the loaves and the fishes, may Jesus multiply our gift .

Yours and His to reach Haiti;
Joel Trimble
Haiti for Christ Ministries
Thomassin Haiti

There you have it! Joel and Yvonne Trimble, missionaries serving in Haiti for more than 30 years, have thrown down the gauntlet! In response, one family shot back $256, proving that you can do more than $100 if you feel led. But $100 is a great number to consider, and I thank my missionary friends for raising this challenge.

If missionaries can help us, can you? Some may want to pray about it. Some of you know RIGHT NOW that you can cut back a few movie rentals, premium coffees, or rummage sales. I need 37 people. That's not a lot. That's YOU.

Please help if you can.

From there, check back here during the month of August as I will be keeping you all posted on the progress. Already, some REALLY COOL stuff has happened with one video that I have been preparing. A full story is COMING SOON!

If you wish to send us some support, you may do so one of two ways:

For those who would like a tax-deductible receipt please make your check out to ReNET and designate it for “Haiti”. ReNET is acting as our 501(c)3 umbrella while our own application is in process. You may then mail that check to

2867 N. 200 E.
Anderson IN 46012.

If you don’t need a receipt then you can just make the check out to Luke Renner and send it to us directly. If you wanna do that, let me know and I will email you our home address.

Either way, I would appreciate an email alerting me to the incoming support so that I can keep track of where we’re at.

Thanks SO MUCH!
Luke and Adrian Renner

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Panic is mistrust... at least for people of faith.

Worry is doubt in your initial choice... the choice to follow. When we worry, we toy with the idea of changing our mind. We window-shop for the best exit strategy. Saving face plays into our thinking. Sometimes we can scarcely remember what we were thinking when we signed on. Usually, it ends with us hanging on for another go-round, giving our "old self" the benefit of present doubt.

Fear is natural. Following it can be. But generally, we afford it too much attention. As far as "healthy balance" is concerned, we generally lack enough when it comes to fear.

In a world of gray, there either is a God or there isn't. From there, everything drops sharply into a chasm of hopeful guesswork. Sometimes, we do our best. Usually, we hold just a little bit back. It's our security; our tiny remaining piece of ultimate trust in the only thing we ever truly possessed... self.

Often, the biggest decisions of our lives are made with too little information. This is the norm. We marry too young. We accept the "free gift" of credit cards. We give Jesus our hearts. We promise to love and obey.

From there we become older and wiser. We quickly realize that our most critical choices were poorly informed. Yet, it is the "wisdom" of our age that tells us to honor foolhardy contracts we made in our youth. We rarely allow ourselves the opportunity to try again, from the beginning, with better information.

I'm not quite sure I understand the point of this awkward order. Had we been made to age backward, starting with wisdom and frailty and then pass into the strength of youth, perhaps we could have made a more beautiful mess of this world. But old men run the world through contracts of their youth, contracts made with themselves in lesser places, with lesser minds, and lesser inhibitions.

We all know what is coming. Who can lie about the obvious? God or not, the world is coming to an end. Better men will fail. It's partly why Christians raise their hands. We want something, some God, some daddy, to pick us up and remove us from this burning soil. It's partly the reason atheists plod through the scientific quest to explore outer space. Only the universe can possibly house this much ego. Down here, we're fresh out of elbow room. Stop the world... I wanna get off.

Had hope stood a chance, atomic corners would have never been turned, sticks would not have given way to swords, swords would not have bowed out to modern weaponry, and that weaponry would never have become smart.

Had hope been the trend, "green" would not require advertising agencies. "Green" would happen as a matter of fact.

And so patience is the most important discipline one could even learn. It is the active ingredient in tolerance. So much of it is required to live alongside the monsters that we become.

I suspect any discipline which is painful to our modernized sensibilities can be deemed virtuous and ultimately worth trading immediate pleasures to have. Still we don't.

You are finally born when you realize that the point of good men is not to save the world or fix all that is broken with it. The point of good men is simply to postpone the inevitable... to slow... to delay the absolute horror that would surely rush in were good men to surrender or delay. Nature abhors a vacuum and evil (or entropy) is all too happy to oblige when good men are otherwise engaged.

We don't do what we do because we might somehow reverse the flow of this mighty river. We are as resigned to the river as anyone. It isn't that we know with any certainty, something that we can validate or measure for the skeptical mind, some great secret. Even our skeptical sides have been left ultimately dissatisfied with our final decision. We have embraced the single, greatest mystery of all.

The mystery: that despite all we are powerless to change, no one can stop us from loving, even the unlovable.

As the river rages and carries us with it... even it is powerless.

All folly and illogical contracts aside, I have hope. I choose love.

My arms are no longer pointed toward heaven, seeking someone to lift me away. They are extended toward you, seeking someone to hold.

May this burning soil consume me as I love.

It is a worthy endeavor we are on. May this be a note to an older self; in your unflinching and stubborn ways, remember this covenant was made in spite of folly.

Results be damned.

We choose love.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Good Day.

Sometimes, in the face of what you're up against, it's easy to lose sight of who is running the show. This year, I had someone ask me just how I planned to come up with the money that we require to get this media school off of the ground.

As I contemplated the question, I couldn't help but notice Haiti's majestic mountains, spiring toward the sky, just over the person's shoulder. Calmly, I pointed to the mountain and said, "If God can make that mountain, then the money should be no big deal."

But the questions come hard and fast and a not-so-subtle disapproval is delicately weaved into their precise wording. Most are well meaning, I suppose. But rarely do any assume you are really hearing God. I think most folks believe that they will be the one to save you from your soon-to-be, opus of a mistake.

I could try and explain just how very much this process has been like trying to run through a dark forest with no light of any kind. I could try to make you understand what it feels like to be after something, so completely, so committed, that you are always teetering on the brink of total failure and a hard-to-define success.

I could attempt to express what it feels like to force yourself into a mold that society doesn't approve of, abandoning all constructs of what makes for a "a good man" or a "good woman". I could try hard to express the hollow feeling of reliance upon God, each and every time you look into the eyes of your child and accept that one misstep could cost them their life, coupled with the constant nag of doubt that tells you this is all a HUGE mistake... that you have lost your mind... and you are positioning your family for certain destruction.

Then there is the constant awareness that some people are just mad... out of their mind... clinically insane... and that you are never above being one of them.

There are always real, practical, concrete reasons why you should not continue onward. The reasons for moving ahead are invisible, intangible, and private... never enough to satisfy the critics and sometimes, barely enough to satisfy ourselves.

Defeat is met often. To stand up and dust oneself off is a constant ritual. Morale fails to survive for long. You find other reasons for continuing. "Because I want to" is silently replaced with "because it's easier than going back."... and that is ugly and hard to even admit.

But we pick up one foot and drop it hard in front of the other. There's no water in the tank... no vacuum of space to cushion the fall. It's all gravity. Like the surface of the sun, I suspect.



And then a moment comes. It's usually private and quiet. It's private because all that makes it special is connected to deep secrets of your heart, things you don't typically share with the rest of those looking on.

A vision from years past finally comes true. A dream you dreamed actually happens to you. A gut feeling that you banked on, eventually pays off.

In no uncertain terms, a day like today happens. Today was a good day. We are one step closer to Haiti. One big step. Suffice it to say... it's enough to keep all of that "crazy talk" at bay.

All the chips are on the table.

Everything is at stake.

and I'm still banking on the God that made those beautiful mountains.

*thanks to Troy Livesay for the last two photos.

THE SCOOP - Haiti Day... ah screw it... I'M HOME NOW!

How encouraging it is to get griped out by the very people who inspired me to resume blogging in the first place!

Thanks Livesays for the not-so-subtle kick in the pants. I have to blog REGULARLY in order to please my readers and keep them coming back for more yummy morsels.

And while I'm on the "thanking people" trip, I really wanna give an enormous shout-out to all of my friends in Haiti who assisted in this recent adventure. It starts (and ends) with a massive THANK YOU to Joel and Yvonne Trimble (and family). Joel, without your bird's-eye view of the people and places of Haiti, the reason for this trip never would have materialized. Thanks for putting it all together.

Bobby & Sherry Burnette are next on the list. What an amazing duo you both make. I cannot begin to express just how impressed I am with what God has done in you and through you in Haiti. Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to come into your organization and lend a helping hand. It was an honor and my privilege. Like I said before, anytime I can help, just ask.

Back to the Trimbles. Thanks AGAIN. Thanks for hitting my curve balls, thanks for the amazing food, thanks for the bed, thanks for the assistance, and THANKS for the birthday of a lifetime!

Thanks to Berge for risking your life along with Joel and I to travel into hell, at my side. Your MANY trips back to the truck were VERY APPRECIATED. I was glad to hear that even you got to experience a Haiti that you'd never before known about.

Thanks to the people of Haiti who so beautifully received me and my crazy requests. Encore. Encore.

And then there's the Livesays! No doubt about it, you guys rock the face off of a goat. What a glorious time of irreverence and fun! I really appreciate the pre-production you logged on my behalf and the time and energy expended to haul me around, feed me, and endure me. I would be remiss if I didn't give a HUGE shout out to Robenson for teaching some English and working with the kids so hard.

Next in line... my dad, for the help upon my return. It goes without saying what I owe you, both figuratively and literally! I love you. Your patience is ASTOUNDING!

Finally, I thank all of my family and friends who prayed for me during this trip. To say that it was productive would be a GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT. I will have more to show and report in the coming days. For now, just know that you prayed me through some UNBELIEVABLE spots. I am forever indebted to all of you.

Okay. I'm current now. I'll try to stay regular in the coming days.