Thursday, December 18, 2008


Allison is a faithful reader of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. I do not read it every day, but today I did. Today’s entry is titled “The Test of Loyalty” and I can’t stop thinking about it.

No matter how little attention I give him, how many times I yell at him, or how many times I tell him “go lay down somewhere,” Buford continues to be loyal. If I call his name or even act as though I am going to pay attention to him he comes joyfully running. I consider myself a loyal person. I am loyal to my family, I am loyal to my job, I am loyal to my friends, and I am certainly loyal to my own interests. How much better would I be if I were TOTALLY loyal to God? Instead of relying on my own abilities, rely totally on Him. Instead of trying to figure things out on my own, rely upon Him. Instead of wasting time doing [fill in the blank], fill that time learning about Him and His Word. However, there are so many times where I simply try to rely on my own abilities to get through things. If I were to be completely loyal to God and rely totally upon Him, I am sure things would be much clearer.

Why does it seem so hard for us to be truly loyal to the One that gave us the ultimate attention, Jesus, who never yells at us, and never tells us to just go away?

Monday, December 8, 2008

They're All Up

The day after Thanksgiving Allison and I put up the majority of our Christmas decorations. Last night my brother met me, Allison, and Cooper to pick up our Christmas tree. We always get a live tree so we wait a little while after Thanksgiving to get it so that it doesn't dry out as bad before Christmas. We got the tree home and me, my brother, and Allison set the tree in the stand. After my brother left we decorated the tree as a family. This was the first time that Cooper was able to participate. For the most part, he was very good and we only broke one ornament. He helped with the lights, he helped me and Alli put on decorations, and he watched as I put the star on top. We had so much fun and I look forward to continuing the new tradition that the Bussell family started last night.

This ornament made it up again. Let's see how long it stays.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Visit to the Fire Station

Many of you know that Cooper is a huge fan of fire trucks. Yesterday we had the chance to take Cooper to the Murfreesboro Fire Department, Station No. 8. I want to especially thank the guys from Rescue No. 26, Chris and Matt, for being so great with Cooper.

Chris is the son of my father-in-law's girlfriend, Terri and he is the driver of Rescue No. 26. He invited us to come visit sometime, and yesterday we met my father-in-law, Terri, and Noah, Chris' son, at the fire station for a tour.

At first Cooper was very hesitant. He was scared of the truck and kept saying, "It's too big." We were there for a while and Chris showed us all of the tools and gadgets that are on the rescue truck. Allison and I even got to work the "jaws of life." After being there little while Chris had his partner, Matt, come out and put on his fire suit for Cooper. Cooper was still a little hesitant, but he eventually gave Matt five and we were able to take our picture with him. After that Chris climbed on top of the rescue truck and Allison followed him up. That was all it took to break the ice for Cooper. After that he wore his fireman's hat and wanted to climb all over the trucks. He got in and "drove" and Chris even let us get in and take the truck out into the parking lot with the lights on. Cooper had a blast, but I think Allison and I had more fun than he did.

Thanks again Chris for letting us come and learn about what you do everyday protecting the people of Murfreesboro.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

Whew! It is Sunday afternoon and I feel like this is the first time I have sat down since Wednesday when we left work. We have had a great weekend with family and friends.

Wednesday we left work early and went to Cooper's daycare for their annual "vegetable soup and cornbread" lunch for Thanksgiving. We enjoyed the soup and had a good time. My aunt, uncle, and cousin were in town from Oklahoma, so we went over to my mom's house to visit for a while. After that, we went home and Allison started worked on some of the food that she was preparing for the various places that we were to attend for Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Thursday morning we got up early and ran in The Boulevard Bolt. It is a five-mile race that benefits the homeless of Nashville. If you are a runner, and have never ran this race before, you should check it out. We had a great time and both of us finished about 2 minutes faster than our goal. I think this may become our new Thanksgiving Day tradition. We left there and came home to get ready for the day. While Allison finished cooking, Cooper and I watched the Thanksgiving Day parade. Because we have not let Cooper watch television, this was the first time we have actually sat Cooper down with the intention of him to watch something. He was so excited about all of the horses that were in the parade. Since Thursday, every time he walks by the t.v. he asks me to turn on the horses. Then we left for various stops along our Thanksgiving route. We went to Allison's grandparent's house at 1 p.m., and ate food. We left there and went to my mom's house at 3 p.m., and ate food. After that, we went to Allison's aunt's house at 6 p.m., and ate food. Although it is a lot of traveling, we always have a very good time.

Do you have any unique Thanksgiving Day traditions?

After The Bolt.

Cooper enjoying the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Cooper and my brother at my mom's on Thanksgiving Day

Cooper and Allison's uncle George on Thanksgiving Day

We got out the Wii and Allison's cousins were racing

Friday, November 21, 2008

Deer Season

Apparently gun season for deer opened today. That could very well be false, I don't know because I am not a hunter. However, deer season opened for the Bussell family last night. We were on our way to some friend's house for dinner when a deer crossed one lane of traffic and almost made it past us. Unfortunately, for the deer and my truck, we hit the deer. There is some damage to the front end and some to the driver's side. The great news is that we are all okay. Cooper was very scared at first but he calmed down.

I think the worst part about the whole thing was the wait. We hit the deer at about 6:00 pm and we didn't actually leave to take the truck away until about 8:00. On top of that, it was very cold. We sat for about an hour as cars drove by and just looked at us. There was one man that stopped twice and offered for us to come to his house until the tow truck arrived. Just as he offered, some of our friends arrived. Thankfully we had friends that helped a lot as well as others that offered. The Joyces came and let Allison and Cooper sit in their car as well as helped me deal with AAA and the tow truck. The Thomases brought their Jeep over and let us borrow it until we get things worked out. Thanks so much guys for your help.

On the way home my friend told me that his wife heard on the radio that this weekend is the biggest weekend for deer movement. I guess that explains it, but unfortunately that doesn't fix my car.

Have you ever hit a deer or has a deer ever hit you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Two Years Ago Today...

Two years ago today, at about 11:45 a.m., Allison called me. I asked her what the doctor said and she responded, “Well, you're going to be a daddy today.” I was at lunch with friends from work and she had the car. With reluctance, the doctor told her she could come and pick me up, but after that we had to get to the hospital. We sort of fudged on what the doctor said as we stopped by my office and turned off my computer and squared things away prior to going to the hospital. We got to the hospital at about 1:00 p.m. and Cooper was born at 9:09 p.m. That started what has been an absolute wonderful 2 years.

My little boy is two years old today. I can’t believe how fast it has gone, and I am amazed almost everyday at the new things he learns and tries to do. I am so thankful that God has given us this little boy to take care of. I am also thankful for Allison. She is a great mommy. She loves that little boy with all of her heart and for that I am so thankful. Happy birthday chief. I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holding Fast - A Book Review

A few weeks ago I received the book Holding Fast by Karen James from Thomas Nelson. In exchange for the copy of the book, I have to write a review of the book on my blog. Below is my review of the book.

This book is an amazing story of faith. Karen James, wife of Kelly James, takes you inside eight long days as many people attempt to rescue her husband and two other men off of the top of Mt. Hood. Karen provides detail into her ordeal, focusing on how she relied on God through it all.

The first half of the book details the account as many rescue workers worked day after day in the worst storm on Mt. Hood in a decade. When I first started the book, I had some recollection of what happened in 2006 as the entire country watched the events unfold. As I read further through the pages, many more of my memories of the story surfaced. Ms. James does a great job of detailing her feelings as well as what was happening day in and day out.

In the second half of the book, she provides detail of how she copes daily without the love of her life and how her faith in God has been strengthened through the entire process. Ms. James did a great job of making me feel like I was in the story. The way she discusses the details and her feelings is truly remarkable. This book is a must-read for anyone, especially those going through the loss of a loved one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a Difference 52 Weeks Makes

Wow! That is really all I know to say. It is amazing how much difference there is in these two pictures.

One year old party
Two years old party

Friday, November 14, 2008

Great Company

Recently I stumbled upon a new blog. He had a post a few days ago that I really connected with. You can read it here. As I read his post it made me think about my own situation at work.

Many of you know that I work at LifeWay Christian Resources. Many of you also know that I really love working there. I get to do work that I enjoy doing for a company that's main objective is spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. I love working for a company that really seems to care about me and my family's needs. Today Cooper is sick, but instead of having to take a vacation day, I have the option of working at home. Now I understand that not even everyone at LifeWay has this option. However, the combination of a company that cares about its employees and a manager that understands the needs of his employees makes for a great place to work. I am very grateful, in a time that many people are unemployed, that I not only have a job, but I have one that I really love.

How would you rate your employer?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great Weekend

We had a really fun weekend. On Friday we went out to eat with the Glenns, Taylors, and Johns at Red Robin. It is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to eat. On Saturday morning I went to play golf with my brother, my best friend growing up, and his dad. I played okay, but I lost to my friend by two. I had a complete come apart on the 6th hole and that did me in. Saturday night we had dinner with a couple from our Sunday school class, the Baxters. We have not spent much time with them and it was really good to get to know them better. He is a song writer and she is an aspiring stylist to the artists. Allison and I really grilled him about his job and what it entails. It was really fascinating and he has had several songs cut, at least one that I was really familiar with. Then Sunday we went to church, we both made long runs, and then we went to my mom's for dinner. Overall, it was a really good weekend.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is This 2008 or 1958

Yesterday the people of The United States voted in the first black President. All things being equal, this is a very good thing for our country. Did I vote for him? No, but almost 64 million people did. No matter who won the election last night there was going to be a major hurdle jumped for this country. If Senator McCain would have won it would have been the first time a woman would have served as Vice President of the United States and because Barack Obama won, we will have the first black president.

However, I am sad tonight because of a text message I received. I received a very derogatory text message having to do with race. I was shocked when I got the text message. Not because of the nature of it, I know racism is still out there, lots of it. I was shocked because of the person that sent it to me. I received it from someone I would never have expected that from. Someone who I can not recall ever hearing a racist comment come out of their mouth. Someone that I have seen treat children of other races as though they were their own child.

I think what I realized today when I received that text message is that people don't like change. When something happens that they are not used to they react in ways that are non-conventional. Do I agree with Barack Obama's politics, no. Do I respect him, absolutely. Unfortunately, there are still a number of people that do not seem to respect people of a different color, and that's really, really sad. If I received a text message from this person, I can't begin to imagine the amount of hatred and bigotry that is out there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The End of an Era

Today Phillip Fulmer announced that this will be his last year as the head football coach of the University of Tennessee. By the things he said in his press conference, he obviously didn't make this decision. This has been a very disappointing football season for UT and its fans, me included. I have been on and off the "fire Fulmer" bandwagon. However, over the last few weeks I had come off indefinitely. He has been with the program as a player, assistant, and head coach for almost 40 years. Fulmer has won 150 games as the head coach of the Vols and has an opportunity to win 3 or 4 more. If you breakdown the numbers, over the past six or seven years Tennessee has won about the same number of games and played for and/or won about the same number of SEC championships as Georgia and Alabama. Oh by the way, Alabama has had 3 head coaches in that same time frame.

Obviously, things have gone south over the past several years, and not just in wins and losses. The team is undisciplined and just doesn't appear to be well coached. However, over the 16+ seasons at Tennessee Fulmer has only had one losing season and they followed that one up with a 10-win season and an appearance in the SEC championship game in Atlanta. The Vols played for 5 SEC championships in those seasons as well as won the national championship in 1998.

Do I think Fulmer should have been fired? Maybe. My question is, who are they going to end up with as his replacement? Hopefully in 17 years we will be admiring the 150+ wins that he has as the head football coach of the University of Tennessee. I just wish the university would have given him the opportunity to get the program turned around, even if it meant cleaning house with the staff. They have given him the opportunity to stay with the university in a different role. However, he said in his press conference, and I can't say that I wouldn't feel the same way, at the end of the day "I'm a football coach."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just Go Vote

The "who" is not the point of this post. It is just to encourage anyone who is registered to make sure you exercise your right as an American citizen to get out and vote. It doesn't matter who you vote for, just vote. There have been thousands and thousands of men and women that have died fighting for our freedom and privileges, so my opinion is that we should honor their commitment to us by exercising one of those freedoms, voting. The lines may be long and the weather may not be perfect where you live, but you should still get out and vote. Also, after you vote, be sure to pray for who ever wins. Even if it is not who we voted for, we should still be in prayer for our country and all it's leaders. After all, God is in control, not the President.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book Review Bloggers

I read the blog of Michael Hyatt, president and CEO of Thomas Nelson. Today's post is about a new program they are starting called "Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers" (BRB). It is a program where they will mail you a copy of one their new books, free of charge, in exchange for a 200-word review of the book on your blog as well as at You can go here to get details about the program as well as sign up. I think this is a great idea. According to Mr. Hyatt's post today, as well as comments made on the blog, the cost of doing this could be as little as 10% of a typical marketing campaign for one of their books. I think this is a win/win for Thomas Nelson as well as the reader/reviewers. The reader gets a free book and Thomas Nelson gets advertising as well as great feedback from someone who is, essentially, an unbiased third party. If you are a reader and a blogger I would definitely suggest taking advantage of this program.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloweed Party a The Fitzgeralds'

This weekend was the annual Halloween party at Allison's aunt and uncle's house. We always enjoy spending time at their house and we generally get to see people we don't often see. They typically have a hay ride and roast hot dogs and marsh mellows. I am not really a fan of dressing up, but this year I agreed and Allison and I went as Thing 1 and Thing 2. Cooper was a scarecrow and he absolutely loved it. Tonight some friends are coming over and Allison is going to cook gumbo. I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Me and Coop

Allison had to go out of town for work Monday morning and will get back tonight, so me and Cooper were on our own for a few days. These times are always really fun, but at the same time give me a great appreciation for how hard it must be to be a single parent. Here are some pictures from the past two days of what me and Cooper were up to.

Cooper loves the park near our house, especially the slides

The sprinkler is quickly becoming a favorite

This was taken just before he stood up; I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of that.

These last two are actually from Sunday. I just thought they were funny and want to share.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Something to Ponder

On the way to church this morning we heard something, that frankly bothers me. We heard that Barack Obama has raised over $600 million, more than any other candidate in history. The fact of who raised is not what bothers me. The fact that people donated over half-a-billion dollars to a political campaign to either party is what is bothersome. I agree that people can do what ever they choose with their money, and people may think what I donate my money to is not a worthy cause. But I just couldn't help but think about what amount of good could be done with $600,000,000. I thought about all the homeless people that could help, all the research that could be done for cancer, and the list could go on and on. Does this bother anyone else? What do you think?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Fun

Today was a really fun day. This morning we got up and met some friends from Sunday school at Gentry's Farm in Franklin. We had never been there and it was really fun. They have tons of stuff for kids and we all had a great time. Unfortunately I had to go to work, but Alli and Cooper stayed at the farm for a while after I left. Check out Alli's blog soon for more pictures from the fun.

Cooper and Alli at Gentry's Farm

Cooper really liked the balance beam

Cooper loved swinging on top of the swing

The had tons of toys to play with in various areas

Tonight we went to eat at Razz' with Allison's family to celebrate her birthday. We had a lot of fun and the food was really awesome. I had crawfish etoufee that was really good. Cooper had a good time and really enjoyed his dinner. I mean he REALLY enjoyed it.

A rare picture of me and Cooper

Cooper's hair was hilarious after he put apples in it

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Month 23

I can't believe that tomorrow Cooper will be 23 months old. People always say kids grow up fast, but you don't really realize it until you have your own. Here are some pictures of Cooper from month 23.

Tonight before dinner

Eating cake

Cooper loves to climb things

Cooper's Ninny gave him a car to ride in

Cooper's first golf lesson