Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Insert Title Here Top 7 of 2008

After using a mathematics equation similar to the BSC, I am posting the top 7 Insert Title Here posts. Insert Title Here has changed some much throughout the year of 2008; I figured these few were worth sharing again. The first half of the year began very slowly, but the second half of the year saw most months with 20 or more posts. It is a fun exercise and an easy dissemination of information to relatives in distant places. Without further delay, here are the Top 7:

7 – Saturday Night Fun with Snakes! - This post was so much fun to write because it was an exciting night. As the adrenaline flowed and a bit of fear overtook us, we felt as though it was in our best interest to get rid of these snakes. Wow, and to think I was inches from stepping on one!

6 – Camping: Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! – After several days of camping in Kerrville, of course the re-telling of the adventure had to make Insert Title Here. This camping trip was Kari’s first and at this point last, due to Baby.

5 – Tuesday Baby News: Press Release 11/25/2008 – I think the computer rankings moved this post to 5 because recently there has been a lot of Baby coverage. Oh, the baby coverage will continue, but this was a very exciting post, so it made the top seven.

4 – Reminiscing Christmas: Part I – After receiving a few e mails concerning this post, I am glad to see it in the top seven. It was delightful it to go down memory lane remembering all the wonderful times I spent with my family growing up and realizing that I valued the family more than the gifts.

3 – Taylor Swift a Theologian? – Not only is it a good song, but this post has gotten a lot of response. Although not to many comments showed up, many ladies young and old had something to say about the "Taylor Swift" post. This was definitely one of my favorites; an easy pick for 3rd.

2 – Soul Ink: Represent – This is the first video in a series of four that would accompany a sermon series at the Well. Soul Ink: Represent is one of my favorite Crown Films. Go back to the origianl post or Crown Films to see Soul Ink: Represent and other films.

1 – Eternal Ripples – I felt God reminded me of how important it is for us to make a positive impact on those around us by creating an eternal ripple. This post led to a “part two” post by my buddy Keith entitled “The Church” in “Church”. I think we should all be encouraged and look forward to the way God works and moves in 2009.

I enjoy writing, sharing and hope that you will continue to join Insert Title Here in 2009. God Bless and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Last Days of 2008

We have entered the last week of 2008. I really don’t remember reading or being told time flies as you get older, but someone should have told me. I had an elderly caller tell me the other day, “life is like a roll of toilet paper; once you get near end of the roll, it goes really fast.” 2008 has flown by and I am giving credit to having fun. It has been a wonderful year.

I am excited about 2009. Kari and I are quickly approaching our two year anniversary, my niece is due in early spring and Baby is due in July. It looks to be an exciting year; full of bumps, bruises and many many smiles and probably a few tears.

I am not much on “new year’s resolutions” because I don’t want to lie to myself or anyone else (that is usually what it turns into). I do eat black eyed peas, but only because they taste great.

Kari and I will be ringing in the New Year with several friends at Highland Lakes Encampment. The annual Summer Mission’s Team (SMT) reunion is over New Years. It will be a quick getaway because I have to be back at work first thing Friday morning.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. God Bless.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bedtime Stories: Sandler Does Not Put You to Sleep

The last movie I saw sitting on the front row was Forrest Gump, until last night. Kari, Shebi and I went to see Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler at the Alamo Drafthouse. The previews had already been running and the house was packed, so we made our way to the front row.

Sandler plays Skeeter Bronson who works as a handyman in Nottingham Hotel. Skeeter is a second generation Bedtime Storyteller; he just didn’t know it till he gets a chance to hangout with his niece and nephew. Skeeter learns that the day after his bedtime stories are told, parts of them come true.

I caught myself laughing out loud throughout the entire movie. Not only funny, this creative film puts Sandler in another role that allows him to be a funny hero of sorts. I am not really sure how to describe his recent movies, but they all seem to have a good moral tone or spiritual undertone (Spirituality in Art; that is another blog, see Taylor Swift a Theologian? for an example). It is also fun to watch a Sandler film because you get a chance to spot his usually suspects, such as: Allen Covert, Jackie Sandler (his wife), Rob Schneider and several others. If you watch closely, you can spot Sandler's daughter Sadie Sandler.

I highly recommend Bedtime Stories to anyone who enjoys a good family comedy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Future Christmas’: Part III

Our Christmas’ are about to change for good. Baby is planning to arrive in mid-July, so Christmas 2009 we will have a 5 month old with us. We are very excited to beginning our family and look forwarding to the many challenges of raising a child.

We have been talking/dreaming about what it will look like next year. On my side of the family, baby will be the first great-grandchild and first grandchild/nephew or niece to most of my family members. I know Uncle Aaron and Uncle Matt are very excited about becoming uncles. On Kari’s immediate side of the family, baby will make grandchild number three and great-grandchild number 23 (I think, I lost count).

Kari and I have talked about gift giving to our child differently than how we grew up. Both Kari and I experienced overwhelming amounts of gifts, which we are both thankful for, but are considering gifting differently. We haven’t completely worked out the details, but hope it will not encourage materialism and rather a celebration of life, family, friends and Christ. We’ll see how that works out or if it works at all.

I hope that you have enjoyed this Christmas Journey. For the first part check out: Reminiscing Christmas and Present Christmas.

We pray that each of you have had a blessed and joyous Christmas celebration. Merry Christmas from Jeremy, Kari and Baby. God Bless.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Present Christmas: Part II

Since I have been married, spring of 2007, Kari and I make several arrangements with our family members. Many of our cousins are now starting there own families, as we are, so this compounds the scheduling. We travel to several cities in Texas including: Bastrop, Cedar Creek, College Station, Katy, La Grange, Milano, and Rockdale.

Our focus, during the holidays is spreading the joy of Christ to our families and enjoying conversations with our loved ones. It is a joy to catch up, play games and enjoy great food with our combined families.

Several of our Christmas’ have resorted to White Elephant gift giving games. These games range from the serious “good gift” to outrageous “re-gift” and “unwanted gift” exchanges. These forms of gift giving help curb some of the cost and usually cause much laughter among the family. We have enjoyed three of these already this season and have had a blast.

As we prepare for our last Christmas “alone,” Kari and I are exchanging one gift with a low limit and truly find joy in just one another’s company. That is what our Christmas looks like this year.

Stay tuned to the last post in this Christmas journey Future Christmas’. To catch up see Reminiscing Christmas: Part I

Merry Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reminiscing Christmas: Part I

Growing up in Cedar Creek, TX we never celebrated a white Christmas, but who needed snow when you had great family. As a boy, my brothers and I grew up with three neighbors, Ms. Boyd, Granny and Granddad (my dad’s parents). We were about three hundred yards from my grandparents house and for as long as I can remember we either walked or drove a 4-wheeler to their house and ducked between barbed wire lines to get there.

I have many memories of climbing around in the attic getting the Christmas tree, decorations and other Christmas paraphernalia for my Grandparents house. Sometime after Thanksgiving we would decorate their tree and house. Often times you would find my grandparents in the sitting room, granddad on the couch and granny in her chair. In the sitting room we would hang a gold bell that played a song when prompted by pulling the string. It was always fun to decorate and spend time with granny and granddad.

Christmas for my immediate family began on Christmas Eve, we either rode together as a family to Granny and Granddad’s or arrived via foot or 4-wheeler. It was usually an evening event, so family members would start arriving at 5pm. We would gather around, pray and eat the holiday meal; usually tamales and beans were part of the meal.

We would gather around the Christmas tree and pass gifts around. The party would break up about 10pm and we would all head home, awaiting Santa’s yearly visit.

On Christmas morning we would wake up and rush to the living room. I remember our 4 foot Christmas tree always being set on our coffee table and around it would be many gifts for our family. We never hung stockings, but on the hearth of the fireplace laid stockings full of goodies. Thinking back, I am not really sure why we always had a small tree on the coffee table, I will have to ask. Mom and Dad always made my siblings and I feel we had received the world.

In the back of our minds, we knew once we finished opening our gifts we were going to get dressed and go to Bastrop to celebrate with my mom’s parents (Mama and Papa). We would arrive and have lunch with them. Most of the Christmas’ in Bastrop were joined by my mother’s family. We would show off our new gifts with our cousins and enjoy the rest of the day spending time with family.

It was always a whirlwind of family and gifts, but I distinctly remember the family times more than I do the gifts. There was an expectancy to see aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. I think no gifts could have been given at all and we still would have had an amazing time.

Thanks for joining me on Reminiscing Christmas journey. Tune in later this week for Present Christmas and Future Christmas’.

Baby Info

Baby is doing good, much bigger than the last time Kari and I went to the doctor. Baby’s heartbeat was blinking away on the screen today and the doctor said things look well. We had a few questions and the doctor sent us on our way. We scheduled our second trimester ultrasound for February 18, 2009 and we’ll be looking forward to learning baby’s sex on this date.

The doctor did tell us that the morning sickness will be subsiding in the next couple weeks, which is very good news. Please continue to keep Kari, baby and I in your prayers.

God Bless.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tis the Season to be Super Excited!

Kari and I have been having a blast this Christmas season (minus the morning sickness). God has blessed us beyond words and we are looking forward to whatever is in store for 2009. We have already celebrated Christmas with our church family, my grandparents and cousins and Kari’s father’s side of the family. We have several more stops to make, but have already had great conversations, wonderful food and entertaining games with gifts.

Yesterday at the Davenport Christmas we played a white elephant with serious gifts. I drew number one, therefore setting up a first pick and last pick of the game. I opened a cordless drill. The game ran its course and the last gift was opened. It was a playing card box with 2-K in the suit of hearts (red) and one ace of spades (black). This gift was a “game gift” by Uncle Wayne. I choose to trade my gift because Uncle Wayne always has something fun to do. He said, “I will give twenty dollars for the box or you can play the game and win five dollars for every red card you turn over, but once you flip the ace of spades the game is over.” I said, “spread the cards out,” and threw the on the coffee table.

I was asked to turn around and Wayne’s son shuffled the cards. I began flipping cards and started a great streak and was up to $20.00 (4 red cards). The “crowd” (family) started in on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Deal or No Deal lines taunting me to keep playing or quit. I continued on till there was on one card on the table. I flipped it over and it was red, I was shocked. The game had been rigged to my favor, but I walked away with $60.00.

A few congrats to Texas State grads: Kari, Katie, Sara and Anna. We had a wonderful time at my sister-in-laws graduation party and I am very proud of these ladies.

A couple of lines to add to my Do Not Say list that I think are worth sharing:
“…but babe, I don’t want you to get depressed.”
“Come on, you only have to suffer nine months!”
We are headed to the doctor today for the Week 10 appointment. Please keep Kari in your prayers; the morning sickness is still hanging around, but should be ending soon. I hope that everyone had great weekend.

Coming Soon: Baby Info and TBD Posts.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baseball Memory: A. Boone Walkoff Homerun

My favorite memory of Aaron Boone came in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium in 2003. The Red Sox and Yankees battled till the 11th inning and Boone stepped to the plate with the score 5-5. With no one on base, Boone smashed a walkoff homer from pitcher Tim Wakefield, closing the game and series with a 6-5 victory over the Red Sox. It was an amazing game!

Since the 2003 season, Boone has bounced around the league and battled a knee injury. Friday, Aaron Boone was signed by the Houston Astros. I have to say, I am a little excited about the acquisition and hope to see some Boone magic in a ‘Stros uniform.

Go Astros!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What an Awesome Day!

Friday Movie Pick: “Seven Names. Seven Strangers. One Secret.”

I am looking forward to the new Will Smith film Seven Pounds. I have been talking about it with several of my friends and most question, “what is it about?” My reply is, “change.” I am not playing on Obama’s campaign slogan here, but from the previews it looks like Smith’s character is going to give 7 people an opportunity to change.

I did some research on and it really only says, “an IRS agent (Smith) with a fateful secret who embarks on a personal journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.” Director Gabriele Muccino reunites with Smith after previously working together on The Pursuit of Happyness. I enjoyed The Pursuit of Happyness and am sure to enjoy Seven Pounds.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. God Bless.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Congratulations to my Wife

Tomorrow my wife, Kari, will be walking across the stage in Strahan Coliseum at Texas State University – San Marcos. I am so proud of the wonderful effort she put into her education. Her many accomplishments at the university include: the Dean’s List, graduating with honors and Cum Laude status. Kari has completed all her courses and will be presented with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies diploma with a focus on Elementary education.

In addition, she planned a wedding, married me, and finished up student teaching pregnant. She has been such a blessing to me in so many ways; from home cooked meals to encouraging words and prayers. God picked out the best woman for me and I am so thankful.

So. if you want to swing by and pass some love, feel free.

Again, congratulations to my amazing wife, Kari Hellums.

God Bless.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taylor Swift a Theologian?

Kari encouraged me to listen to a new song on the radio by Taylor Swift. I think the first time I listened to it I didn’t really listen and just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh wow,” or something similar. A few days later, Kari encouraged me to listen again, but this time I listened to every word. Love Story written and sung by Swift reminds me of the spiritual journey or the Love Story that many of us are involved in.

These selections come from the end of the song and I think they directly coincide with many areas of my life and the journey I am on:
“Romeo, save me, they're trying to tell me how to feel
This love is difficult, but it's real
Don't be afraid, we'll make it out of this mess
It's a love story…”
This stanza reminds me of life and all the material and spiritual things that demand our love or try to tell us how to feel/love. Considering my younger days, the desire to be “cool” by doing the proper things to qualify as cool is a huge misnomer. I love what Donald Miller writes, "I didn't know that cool was just a myth..." There is no such thing as “cool,” but we compelled to feel this way and for me it was a struggle. Our feelings are tugged on by family members, God, peers, girlfriend/boyfriends, you name it, we are stretched when it come to delegating out love. All we can do is cry out to God, “save me” from the “mess.” This begins the ultimate Love Story, asking God to be saved and believing in his Son, Jesus, is our only deliverance from the “mess.”
“I got tired of waiting, wondering if you were ever coming around
My faith in you was fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town”
The next stanza reminds me that sometimes the path gets long and weary. Many times we get on “spiritual highs” when nothing seems like it can go wrong, but we are pulled down by many many things: bills, anger management, trust issues, lack of direction, etc. Many times we allow these earthly things to interfere with our spiritual Love Story. Sometimes we see it fade and let doubt creep into our minds and think “God is not big enough for my problem.” We go searching for God “on the outskirts of town” and even almost lose hope God is even hearing your prayers and we cry out, God “save me” because nothing earthly can feel the void, but God’s love.
“And I said
Romeo save me, I've been feeling so alone
I keep waiting for you but you never come
Is this in my head, I don't know what to think
He knelt to the ground and he pulled out a ring
And said”

Marry me, Juliet, you'll never have to be alone
I love you and that's all I really know
I talked to your dad, you'll pick out a white dress
It's a love story…”
We confess that we are lonely in mind, but truly we are not alone when the Spirit takes residence in our heart and soul. Or maybe we didn’t accept Christ when we cried out to him the first time and this is our first realization that we need Him.

Either way, this last stanza is a picture of salvation. God is watching out for you and is always on bended knee asking us to choose Him. God doesn’t want or need our love, but offers it. He waits and offers a “ring” and wants us to respond. After we “respond,” we are completely forgiven. Then we get to pick out a white dress, because we are washed clean of our sins by Jesus. It says, "...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:25-27). It all ties into the ultimate Love Story.

What an amazing picture of salvation. It is our choice daily to continue to accept the love, bask in His love, share His love and live out our relationship with Christ by loving God and our neighbors.

I think it is an amazing Love Story. I hope that your own Love Story is progressing. God Bless.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Afternoon Chat

jhellums: how was your weekend?

other person: not to bad, you?

jhellums: very relaxing, I watched The Suite Life on Deck marathon.

other person: oh, that doesn’t sound fun…

jhellums: no, it was SUITE!

Kari and I had a very relaxing weekend. We did a little house cleaning and watched The Suite Life on Deck (really). The jury is still out on The Suite Life on Deck because I miss the cast from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, but enough Disney Channel talk. We enjoyed dinner with Keith, Staci and daughter Kamdyn on Saturday evening. Kamdyn, pictured above, is stealing the show at the dinner table. She has a huge smile, is trying to talk and loves straws.

On Sunday, Kari and I enjoyed the bathrobe children’s Christmas production at the Well. It was awesome. I even had a little role in the production. I was filming and as I was working on a close-up, our Pastor looked at me and said, “Hey, you can’t be up here without a costume.” Then he proceeded to come over and put the proper head dressing for the production on me. I will be putting together the video and hopefully posting it soon. Later that evening, we joined Will for an amazing dinner at Hoovers.

Kari is starting to feel better, please keep us in your prayers.

God Bless

Coming Soon: Taylor Swift a Theologian?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Vacation and Such…

Insert Title Here has been neglected for the past few days because we were on a “vacation.” Our camping plans were scraped for an obvious reason and after Wednesday morning’s low temperature, I am thankful we weren’t camping.

We weren’t going to do anything, but on a whim Sunday evening, we decided to drive out to Milano and escape the big city. I don’t remember the last time I slept in, laid on the couch all day watching TV and ate good food throughout the day. I am a little surprised at how little there is to watch during the day and I am super tired of the “drive-by” media, including: Fox News, CNN, CNN Headline, and MSNBC (sitting around and speculating the news all day gets old and they get paid for it).

Seriously, that is about all I did for 3 days. The third night got interesting though. Kari was having a great Wednesday and cooked some amazing spaghetti. All was well till about 10 o’clock. We were getting to bed at a decent hour because we were going to head to Highland Lakes for a Hot Hearts meeting the next morning. I am not sure of the exact order of events, but Kari threw up dinner. I attended to her and tried to do anything to help. Most of my words were encouraging, but I am starting a list of things not to say:
“We should probably change your diet.” Between vomit sessions, while she hung her head over the vomit bowl.
It was probably, no, it was not the best thing to say at the moment. I went on to say something dumb a little later, but neither one of us can remember (that is a good thing). We stayed up till about 2am dealing with night “morning sickness.” I am not sure how much Kari slept, but I know I didn’t sleep well at all, so we decided to recover Thursday morning (slept till eleven!), instead of attending the meeting.

Please keep Kari in your prayers as the morning sickness is projected to last about 3 more weeks. Have a great weekend.

God Bless

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Burnett Masonry: Amazing Work!

I want to brag about a local masonry contractor, Burnett Masonry. I have known these guys for over 15 years and they know rocks. Not only do they know rocks, they know brick, blocks and hard work (check the website for all the materials they work with).

Often times, when you are building a house you see people dragging their feet to get the job done. Not Burnett Masonry. Once the rock or brick hits the job site, they knock out the work with speed and finesse. They are a company who believes in quality work, fair prices and have left many, many customers with smiles on their faces.

I was reminded of Burnett Masonry's amazing work when I checked out their website yesterday after recommending them to co-worker. At the web site you can take a peek at many of the amazing projects Burnett Masonry has completed.

This website was created and designed by Tim Peterson Creative.

This is not a paid advertisement, merely a recommendation by Insert Title Here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Addition to Insert Title Here

After more than 3 years of Insert Title Here, the author, Mr. Hellums, is proud to announce the addition of editor Jayiin Mistaya. Jayiin is the author of a knight in slightly tarnished armor and writes many more words a day than Mr. Hellums ever dreamed of. He is an annual participate in a writing event called NaNoWriMo and is very skilled with the pen (or keyboard, whatever!)

As the Editor of Insert Title Here, Jayiin will bring a more polished, refined and edited version of your favorite writings by Mr. Hellums. Most major posts will be edited, but on occasion, an on the fly post might still hit with errors, so it won’t be perfect.

Don’t forget to subscribe (see right bar) for all the latest from Insert Title Here. Stay tuned for more.

God Bless.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thankfulness Year Round

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Instead of being thankful once a year, our Pastor encouraged us to be thankful all year and for everything good or bad. This might seem obvious, but it is always a good reminder.

I am thankful for God, who is the provider of everything. We were truly blessed this past Turkey Week. Kari and I enjoyed 4 thanksgivings. That is a lot of hours of preparation, money and food for one day; so many times it is overlooked or taken for granted. At each of these, we were blessed to spend time with family and friends. I am thankful for our ability to attend these places and share with these that we love.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday was spent relaxing, enjoying company of loved ones, watching movies, football and eating leftovers. It was a delightful weekend.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12
I have the pleasure of serving with Meals on Wheels through my company. It is heartbreaking to consider our 4 thanksgivings compared to the small meal these recipients receive. I was blessed by these people today because I was reminded of two things:
1. How I can help
2. How to be more thankful.
As I consider my own attitude of thankfulness, gratitude and ways to help; I can hardly not be thankful everyday. We have so many resources at our fingertips; we just have to use them. I want to encourage myself and my readers, to consider all God has provided you or not provided, consider it a blessing and be thankful for it. Don’t forget to figure out ways you can help and bless someone else.

God Bless

Monday, December 01, 2008

Way to Go Astros: Mike Hampton Rant

I liked what Ed Wade did in Philadelphia (he helped build the 2008 World Series team), but is Mike Hampton going to help the bullpen or bring it down? Let’s take a look at a brief summary of his last 9 seasons:

In 1999, Hampton had his last and best season with the Astros winning 22 games with a 2.90 ERA. He has spent 4 years on and off the injured reserve list between 2004-2008. He did not pitch in 2006 and 2007. Last season he was 3-4 with the Braves, and only played 4 months.

At $2 million plus incentives (the possible contract with the Astros), I sure hope Hampton is worth the money. I think the Astros are making a bad move, but I guess we will have to wait and see. I say Hampton will not help the Astros.

Note from the author: Regularly scheduled Insert Title Here content to resume after this Sports Monday. God Bless.

Isn't it Time for Playoffs?

"I'm really disappointed for our kids that two teams we beat this season will be playing for the Big 12 Championship.”

- Mack Brown, Head Coach of the Texas Longhorns Football Team