Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another O'Donnell Christmas!

We had a great time celebrating Christmas together. We did miss David's family and Ann due to they all live in VA and couldn't make it this year. We spent hours opening presents and eating of course. It is always fun to get everyone together to catch up.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My New Fire Pit!

Last year I made a Bon Fire location for all the limbs, sticks and junk I collected in our yard. It worked very nicely until Robin wanted to invite the Sunday school class over for a Bon Fire Party. She didn't like the location and said it was hard to sit around because it was on a slope. So reluctantly, I dug a hole in the middle of my wonderful grassy yard to make a fire pit. As most of you know Robin posted the fire pit on her blog and suddenly several of you were inspired to do the same (build a fire pit that is). Well over the year my pit has kind of fell apart and did not stand up to the weather. After visiting Eric and Melissa as well as Josh and Emily, I have found that their inspired fire pits turned out wonderfully. So now I was inspired to redo mine. The pictures above show Hannah, who worked about 5 minutes, and me digging out the new pit. As I was digging, suddenly I found a friend....a very ugly friend! I have no idea how he was living 1 foot underground but there he was in all his ugliness. Anyway I worked on it for around 2 hours and the picture below is the end result. I hope it can stand all the weather and stays strong for many nights of roasting marshmallows and keeping warm by the fire!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Go Seminoles!

Way to Go Seminoles!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'LL FIX IT....Somehow...Someway...

How many times has something happen to you or a situation arises and your first instinct is to take it on and fix it yourself? I struggle with this all the time. My wife comes to me to tell me she has a problem and what do I want to do... fix it! My kids come to me with a problem and I want to fix it. Why is our first reaction to fix things? I can think back to many situations that I spent countless hours thinking of ways I could fix or take care of a problem. Whether it's a bill that needs to be paid and the money isn't there to pay it or something bad has happened and I don't know what to do. My mind races from idea to idea, plan to plan...How can I solve the problem?

Well this week is no different. Last Thursday morning I went out to start my truck and it's a no go! I get some funky error in my odometer screen reading "No BUS". What's Up With That? I check the internet and find that the computer in my truck is malfunctioning. The internet searches say it's the PCM (main computer). Not only does it run the whole truck but the dealership will have to fix it. How can I fix it? That’s my first thought. What can I do? Why me? What am I going to do? My mind starts to heart starts to sink once I see the estimated cost posted in the internet will we pay for do I get to work...what am I going to do... This goes on and on and on and on. So here it is 5 days later and I am
still thinking of all the ways I can fix this....I can do this and get some money...I can sell that to get some more.. on and on it goes.

I know your saying "Michael what about God!" Well that’s were it gets difficult. In my head, I know He has a plan for me...He is the one who allowed this to happen to me...there is a reason for all this...I need to trust HIM! At the same time my mind races with all the ways I think I can fix this problem. It is a battle between the flesh of the mind and trusting in God. Do you ever have that problem? Do you battle with trusting Him? All the things I have learned and experienced in my Christian walk tell me everything is going to be fine. He will take care of it all. Do not worry. Trust in Me! I can hear God telling me these things. My head knows this and so does my heart. But I still struggle with wanting to solve it on my own and within my own power. All it takes is to just give it to Him and let Him deal with it! I can sit back and not worry, relax in Him and know all will be fine. I am always reminded of this song we use to sing in youth group "cast all your cares upon Him, lay all of your burdens down at His feet, anytime I don't know what to do, I will cast all my cares upon you!" I am pretty good about not worrying. Most of the time I think I am just blocking it out or I pretend it doesn’t exists. I can go through the day and not worry... sometimes I don't even think about it. I think it is because we don’t want to face the fact that we have a hard time trusting God. I mean fully trusting Him in every situation...100%. I know deep down He will take care of me. How and When? I don't have a clue...but I do know He loves me and cares for me...that is all that matters. I think I will always struggle with the ability to fully trust in Him...there is a piece of me that always wants to do the fixing. Do you struggle with trusting God? What keeps you from trusting in Him?

I put all this out here so you can know.... God cares for you...more then you could ever imagine. In 1 Peter 5:7 it says "cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Do you cast your cares upon him? Do you lay all your burdens at His feet? It is so easy to want to do it yourself...fix it on your own. Don't fall in to the evil ones trap...Trust in Him...rely on Him...He is the one who can sustain you in the worst of times. He loves you and does care for you!

One of my favorite verses in the bible is Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. How awesome is that! To know that our future is already planned out. Trust and follow Him and you will have Hope! Thank you Lord for planning my Future and giving me Hope!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's Up With The O'Donnell's!

. What's Up With That?
. I Mean Really!
. Who Does That?
. Why?
What's Up With Mike!
Hello everyone! It has been a while and yet I have nothing really exciting to blog about. I am really tired and got a thousand things running through my head. Can you relate? I have spent most of the past 3 weeks in Microsoft Certification Training classes. Talk about information overload. My head hurts just trying to piece it all together. Basically we have gone through 5 Microsoft books that are 400+ pages each. Have you ever seen the Orlando phone book? That might give you an idea. I never thought I would say this but I am looking forward to going back to work.

At the beginning of the month I hurt my back moving some major office furniture at work. We were rebuilding the Server closet and had to tone out all the network jacks. Basically that means, test about 100 cables running from the server closet to all the offices. Of course, all the network jacks were behind the desks, shelves, or a filing cabinet. So I have spent the past 4 weeks going to and from the doctor for that. I had an MRI done on Tuesday and went to a physical therapist yesterday. So now I will go to therapy 3 times a week for 2 weeks and need to go back to the doctor to get MRI results. No fun!

What's Up With Jacob!
Jacob started fall ball this month too! He has had a couple practices and will have his first game on Saturday. It will be really interesting to see how they do. His team is mostly 8 year old's half his size. There is one other boy his size and age. Because this is not the regular baseball season, there were only enough kids to form 5 teams. Most coming out of the machine pitch level. So basically, they took the older kids and divided them up on all 5 teams. He and Chase will have to lead the team and set the example for the younger ones. Jacob will be the starting pitcher, play first base, and catcher. I think it will be good for him to have this time to practice his pitching and behind the plate catching skills. Coming up next spring he will be moving up to the majors and will be playing with the big boys again!

What's Up With Hannah!
Hannah is busy too with dancing, band, and youth group. She has been dancing for a couple years now and is really good at it. I enjoy watching her and the other girls perform. She plays the clarinet in the band. Her school had a football game last week that she had to attend. So, Jacob and I put on our band shirts and went to the game too! It was like going to a Seminole game. Players on the field, cheerleaders cheering, and the band in the stands playing their hearts out. Sadly the Griffin Tigers lost but I did enjoy hearing the band play. I am very proud of Hannah and all the hard work she puts into practicing. I know most of you read on Robin’s blog about Hannah’s prayer for us to get a van before youth group started up. Well we did and Hannah has been using it to full advantage. On that first youth meeting she invited 3 girls to go with her. I am so glad that we were able to accommodate everyone so she had that opportunity. I remember when I was in youth group I would drive around town in our huge suburban and pick up friend from all over to bring them to youth group. Anyway since that first night, 2 of Hannah’s friend have gone back every Sunday. How cool is that! God has opened up a door to allow my daughter to have an avenue to share Jesus with her friends. It can't get any better then that!
What's Up With Robin!
Robin started working in the office 3 days a week. She has been working hard too. I am not sure what this will change in our day to day routine but we will see. To find out more on her you can check her blog and find out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wow! 13 Years!

Happy Anniversary!

Thank you for the best 13 years of my life.
I love you! I love you! I love you!
Always and Forever,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

God My Provider!

A few days ago Robin called me at work to see if I was interested in meeting her at the local Maytag store to look at dryers. She really wants a new one since our current isn't working very well. We looked and found that they were too expensive. Our current dryer has some major issues. A couple of years ago the timer went out so the dryer runs foreevvvveeerrr until you open the door to stop it. After we moved into out house the cable man was working in the attic and dropped his 100lb roll of cable out of the attic right onto our dryer leaving a huge dent. The worst part about our dryer is that a load of towels takes around 3 hours to dry. Needless to say our 10 year old dryer is on its last leg.
Well today I was leaving work and got a call from a lady I do computer work for. She needed assistance with getting her fax machine to receive faxes. I told her I would swing by and check it out. As I was working on her faxing issue we caught up on things since the last time I was there. In our conversation somehow the talk of Robin and I looking at dryers came up. I told her our current one is pretty much on its last leg and that we really needed a new one. She immediately said that she new someone that was selling a dryer and that it wasn't that old. So in my head am thinking $200, $300, or maybe $350 for a newly used dryer. As I was finishing up she said she would call them real quick and see if they still had it for sale and how much. After she hung up the phone she turned to me and said they would sell it for.........are you ready for this.....$50 bucks!!!! Yes I typed it correctly......$50 Bucks!!! So she gave me the number and directions and off I went to see it. I arrived and found it to be in excellent shape. I loaded it in truck, paid the man, and brought it home to surprise my wife.

Now it’s hooked up in the garage and already drying a load of laundry. The best part is the timer works! No more staying up till who knows when waiting on the clothes to dry before I can go to bed. Also it is a Kenmore that matches our washer and old dryer to the tee! So all this to say that God is good and does know all our needs and even when we don't think there is a way he can make it very easy. Jehovah Jirah My Provider.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

NASCAR Race at the Bristol Motor Raceway

OK for starters, I think you might find it interesting that I am on I-75 heading back to Florida and I am blogging at the same time. Isn't technology wonderful? We are also watching National Treasure and dad has the sound hooked into the car speakers. Pretty Cool!

Here are a few pictures I took at the NASCAR race. Because both races were at night, I couldn't take very many due to it was dark. Every race we go to at Bristol starts off pretty much the same. They introduce the drivers, a parachuter drifts into the raceway with a huge American flag, and they sing the National Anthem. This time they had a cards at each seat and had all the fans hold up their card during the anthem. When they gave us the signal, we held up the signs and made the USA on one end of the raceway and the American flag wrapped around the rest of the seats. Then we flipped them over and did the second one, which showed the Sharpie 500 and Bristol on one end and Sprint giveaway on the other end. It also wrapped around the entire raceway. The Raceway contacted the Guinness Book of World Records to document it as the biggest Card Stunt ever done. It was so cool to see the signs develop. We all thought it was awesome to be part of breaking a world record. After that, Air Force jets soar over the fans at mach speeds. I got a decent picture with one turning on his afterburners. Then someone says “Gentleman Start your Engines” and they start um up. It is REALLY LOUD!!!

As you can see the 2 pictures of the cars are very dark and hard to see so I decided to put my camera away and just watch the race. Again, Dad hooked us up with awesome seats in the handicapper section. So we all got to be together to watch the race. The race was a pretty good one but again none of our favorites won. The race ended around 12am and had to wait for an hour or so before we could even leave the raceway. We didn't get back to the house until 2am.

Now for the funny part. David and Audra really wanted to treat us to dinner so when we got to the house they were cooking us dinner. They had grilled steak, salad with all the fixins, baked potatoes, and freshly made tea. I must admit I have never eaten steak at 2:30 in the morning before but it was awesome! I may have to try it at home some time with Robin and the kids.

Busch Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway

Here are some of the pictures from the Busch race. Dad got us some awesome seats in the handicapper section. Robin told me to take more pictures then just the cars. I hope I did to her satisfaction. The pictures are of my Dad, my brothers Mark and Tad, my sisters Ann and Nina, friends Barry and Farah, and Jacob of course. We had a blast. None of our favorites won but the last few laps made for a very awesome finish. We were glad to get to be together and have a good time.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fun with the Family!

Well we made it to Bristol!
It has been fun spending
time with the family. I
put together some pictures
of us with my nephew
Sebastian. It's always fun
hanging out with my
brothers and sisters.
Mark's friend Barry came
from Jacksonville as well.
We are having a great time!
Wish everyone else was
here with us.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

NASCAR at Bristol Motor Speedway

Just in case you have never been to a NASCAR race, here is a little taste of what it's like up-close and personal!

Make sure you turn up the volume really loud for the full effect!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Off to the Bristol Motor Speedway!

Well it's that time again! Tomorrow, Jacob and I are on our way to meet up with my dad in Lake City, park my truck at the Walmart, and hop in his van for the 13 hour trip to Bristol, VA. Twice a year my dad, some of my brothers, Jacob and I make the same road trip to Bristol for the Races at the Bristol Motor Speedway. We usually go to both the Busch and NASCAR race. The cool pictures of the fans holding up the colored signs were from this past February’s race.

I remember the trip we took in February of 2006. On the way up to Bristol we hit the mountains between Tennessee and Virginia and they were covered in snow. That was the first time Jacob ever saw snow. I had my dad stop and we jumped out and played in the snow for a few minutes in our shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops. On the day of the NASCAR race it was sooooooo cold and the race was delayed due to snow. When we arrived to the raceway the drivers and their pit crews were having a huge snowball fight with the fans. We loved being at the race but just about froze to death. It was a good thing David and Ann had some winter clothes to let us wear.

It's always nice to go up to Bristol because we get to see my sister Ann and my Brother David's family. They live in the house I grew up in when we lived in Bristol, Va. It is really cool to get to stay for free in a house that is 15 minutes from the raceway while all the other fans pay outrageous prices for hotels or have to travel from a hotel 2 hours away. Also it is very nice to get to sit in prime seats because your dad gets in the handicap section. Parking is a perk too; we get to park right by the entrance! Very nice for tailgating too!

It is always a blast to spend time with my dad, brothers, and Jacob on the long van ride there and back as well as spend time with David’s family and Ann. We always go to the best fast food place called Pal’s. They have great burgers and the best Peach Tea. We watch movies together and just hang out. We are very blessed to get to go on these very special trips with our family. Great times!!

Jacob 'CHILLIN' with his Grandpa, Uncle Mark, and Uncle Tad. Really!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My New Ride!

I bought a new ride this week, it’s a Snapper riding
lawn mower. I am so exited to get it up and running. I need to give it a basic tune up and it should be ready to go. It's one of those "Oldie but a Goodie" buys. I got it for a great price and hopefully it will turn our 2 & 1/2 hour mowing job into an hour or less. Also, Jacob seems really eager to hop on it and try it out! So maybe I have mowed my last lawn. We will see! He is a great helper with getting the weed eater out and doing the perimeter of the yard and house. He’s a great helper indeed, after I've push mowed the yard for over 2 hours I'm not to ready to get the weed eater out. I did convince Hannah to come out and help one time. She did a great job up until she got hot and sweaty and removed her glasses. The next thing I knew she hit her head on a tree branch and was finished. She went in to check it and I never saw her again. I told her she should know better than to operate heavy equipment without her eye protection! She didn't think that was funny. Who knows maybe I'll get Robin on it and have her mow too! Yard work should be a family effort.

Webelo Woods

Webelo Woods camp is set up for the Webelos to do everything by themselves and the parents sit back and just watch. 4 days of activities setup for them to attend and earn badges and such. The staff is boy scouts, barely older then the Webelos leading activities. Whoever thought of that, I'd like to know.
Anyway, this was Jacob's and my second year going. Last year we had a blast as well. There is always swimming at the camp. During free swim all the boys that passed the swim test can go in the deep end and, of course, jump off the diving board. The swimming test consists of 4 lengths of a 25 meter pool, non stop.
One of the adult staff members, who is charge of the swimming area, weighs around 350 to 400 pounds and his nickname is Cannonball, always holds a cannonball contest. Of course, he has been the champion for the past 5 years, hence the nickname Cannonball! Well, last year I took it upon myself to brag a lot, out loud, and challenge him for the championship. Unfortunately, last year the contest was cancelled do to a rain storm and all I could do is leave camp yelling out loud "Cannonball is going down!"
This year we met again at the pool and I challenged him for a rematch. The whole weekend he watched all the boys do their best to impress him to make it into the contest. I am proud to say that Jacob made it into the kids cannonball contest! Any dads that wanted to be in the adult contest were automatically entered. Everyday Cannonball would get up on the diving board, shout and growl at everyone and put his hands to his ears and listen to everyone chant his name - Cannonball! Cannonball! So I decided I would get up on the diving board and growl and shout back and show all of my 190 pounds of skinny white boy muscles back at him. But instead of me getting cheers and chants, all I got was a bunch of BOO's from the crowd. After that I was named “Black Bart!”
On Saturday at free swim we had the cannonball contest. All the boys that made it into the contest did great and had a fun time. The last contest was the Dad's vs. the 5 time champion Cannonball. We all had our turn and did our best cannonball - of course the champion did a huge cannonball and made a huge splash. But in the second round I laid the best cannonball of my career and delivered great form and a huge splash. It all came down to Cannonball and his last jump. He got to the edge of the board and um...busted into the water.
That night at the final campfire ceremony they announced the winners of each category and Jacob tied for 2nd in his division and I became the undefeated for life Cannonball Champion of Webelo Woods. Only because Jacob will be going into Boy Scouts next year and we won't be going back to Webelo Woods again.

A definite "What’s Up With That"

This is what 3 weeks of All-Stars does to your yard! I had to mow it twice and it still looked like it needed mowing.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The District All-Star Baseball Tournament began today. Jacob's team has practice very hard to
prepare for this day. There are 4 teams represented in the 10-11 year old all-star tournament - Chaires, Miccosukee, Fort Braden, and North West Leon Panthers. Chaires is hosting the District Tournament at their park. Tonight the first game was at 6pm between Chaires and Ft. Braden. Chaires won 8 to 1. We played the 2nd game at 8:20pm against Miccosukee and beat them 16 to 0 in 4 innings. Jacob's main position is playing left field. He is really good at catching pop flys and has a strong arm to throw the ball in on big hits! Tonight he got to play catcher, which is one of his favorite positions, in the last inning. He got to bat 3 times and went 2 for 3. One of his hits was hard to the short stop and over thrown at 1st after Jacob had already made it to the base, so I sent him on to 2nd base and got him thrown out! Oh well, coaches make mistakes too! All in all the team played very well and hit the ball a lot. We went to the park early to watch the other 2 teams play and found that Chaires is going to be the TEAM TO BEAT! Now that we have one win under our belt, we face Chaires tomorrow at 10am. The other 2 teams will play later in the day to decide who will play Sunday against the loser of our game. So we hope to win tomorrow so we can rest on Sunday and play in the Championship Game Monday night. Good luck to the Panthers!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Who's the Best?

One day while I was shoppin' around in the local auto parts store in Quincy, I found some Matchbox cars on sale. Knowing how much Jacob loves Matchbox cars and already has several hundred in his collection, I figured "what’s a few more". So I bought 24 of the cars that were on the rack for $.31 each. What a bargain! Well seeing that practice was canceled due to rain, we decided to do an all out Drag Race. Jacob set up his track in his room and we tweeked the lanes the best we could to make sure they were safe and even. Then we pulled out the bag of brand new cars and began to sort them. I had Jacob choose pairs of cars that would race against each other in the first elimination bracket. He went through the pile of cars and picked out which cars seemed to be make the best match. We started the races to see Who Was the Best! Every time a pair would race we separated them winner and looser. After the first round we took the losers and ran them again. If they lost this time they were out! Loose twice and yer out! So we raced and raced and raced until we were down to the last 3 undefeated cars and the small group of one time losers. We had to call it quits for the night due to the starting official was too tired to continue. The finish line official was ready for an All Nighter to complete the race. The starting official pulled rank and said it was bed time. So all in all we had a great time running the Matchbox Car Drag Race! Maybe tomorrow we can finish up the racing brackets and find out “Who's the Best”!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saved by a Storm!

Well it’s been 12 days since Jacob's All-star baseball team started practices - everyday, 4 hours, sweat, pain, and sometimes tears! I am very proud of Jacob and the hard work he put in for his baseball team, the Thunder, during the normal season. He worked hard and it paid off, he made the 10-11 year old all-star team. Now we have 10 boys, all from other teams, working together to become the best baseball team they can be to represent our park. The All-star Tournament is the weekend of July 6th through the 9th. Not much time to get ready but they are looking like a great ball team. I am very proud of them! I don't know if I ever worked that hard when I was 10 but I know what it feels like now! I was asked to be the Assistant Coach and help prepare the boys for the tournament. So, as you can guess, AL (Head Coach), 3 other dads, and I are out there everyday, 4 hours, a lot more sweat, old timer pains, and lots of tears! It has been hard work but very rewarding. It makes me feel good to see one of the boys make a mistake, then show them a little instruction, and BOOM they do it right the next time. I love to build them up and encourage them to continue to work harder and be better players, to see them grow and the best part for me is to see them with a huge Smile on their face because they know they did it right too! So back to the reason I'm writing this. Today, 2 1/2 hours into practice, after hitting 150 fly balls to the outfield and pitching over 200 balls for batting practice, it happened, a storm! Not just a little lighting and a little thunder but huge lighting and thunder! We all ran into the dugout and sat for a while and then another huge strike of lighting. Practice is over! Pack it up were heading home. It was soooo hot out there today! I drank so much water I thought I was gunna pass out. Saved by a storm. Only bad thing is no rain.

Man this roller coaster is is wearing me out!

Friday, June 29, 2007

I guess I must jump on the BandWagon!

Well since my wife has started this mess and it is apparent that it is not going to end soon, I have decided to jump on the Bandwagon and make my presence known! You know the saying "If you can't beat um join um". So here it is My first Blog. I have watched Robin and all this blog nonsense for several days now and I must admit it is addicting. So I am here, right now, officially Blogging my heart out to all the will listen. I will not be a faithful Blogger. I will procrastinate. I will probably not post anything you would even care to read. But every so often I will put something out there that just may knock yer socks off. My life is very busy with things and it takes up a lot of my time. Yes, I am very busy. Yes, I do Stuff! So just sit back, relax, grab a soda, maybe some chips, and let’s ride this rollercoaster as long as it will stay on the tracks!