TDZ Retrospective: On Calendars…

Originally  posted October 3, 2010.

I have one of those big calendars on my desk at work. It is actually a very useful tool. I use it to keep up with events throughout the month. It also makes a great notepad. As I was changing the calendar Friday I was struck by the difference between the new sheet and the old one. The old one had seen better days. It was full of battle scars, smudges, marks and other reminder that things happen to get us off track. It started out fresh just like the new sheet but somehow along the way things happened at it had become cluttered.  The makers of the calendar never intended for it to become an improvised coaster, make shift place mat or notepad yet that is what happened to the calendar. Yes, it was still usable for its intended purpose but maybe not as well.  Life is like that as well. God created me for a purpose: To bring glory and honor to Him. Along the way life happens and I get distracted by all the extra stuff . Just like the old months calendar I bear the smudges and marks of a busy life. The marks and smudges may not be anything bad but rather the stresses, busyness that come from having a job, family and commitments at church. It seems like sometimes I get so busy trying to serve God that I can get sidetracked and forget my purpose.

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.  2 Corinthians 4:7-11 NIV

TDZ Retrospective: Top 10 — Stuff I learned from my Dad (and Granddads too)

Originally posted 19 June 2011.

I was blessed to have a Dad, Granddad, Great-Granddad and several uncles who were positive influences in my life.

#10: It is okay to be a nerd.

#9: To be careful where you park your ride. This was a painful but practical lesson my dad taught me. When I was in 5th or 6th grade I left my bike setting in the middle of the driveway. I had been warned not to do this. After many warnings my dad “impounded” my bike. He chained it to a rail in the garage and charged a small fine. I think the fine was around 25 cents. However, because I couldn’t pay the fine that day I also had to pay interest. By the time I had the money the total was a couple of dollars.

#8: Encouraged my creativity.

#7:  You are never too old to try something new.  This was something my great-granddad modeled.

#6: Actions have consequences, both positive and negative.

#5: Pay attention to the small things. My dad had a  shoe repair shop.  He insisted that all shoes be cleaned/shined. He even insisted on refinishing the soles of every shoe in for repairs. At the time it seemed ridiculous because refinishing the bottoms of the shoe. That had nothing to do with the quality of the repair work.  He said that people judged the quality of the repair job in part based on the way the shoes looked. If they looked as good as new, then customers would be impressed by it. I learned that paying attention to the details is helpful.

#4: The importance of hard work and doing a job right. My dad may have been one of the toughest boss I have ever had.

#3: Family is important. 

#2: To keep trying in spite of obstacles that at times appear insurmountable. My dad always tried to encourage me to keep going when things were tough.

#1: They shared God’s love in both actions and words.

Review : Blaze Pizza

BlazePizza1.jpgBlaze Pizza offers a custom-built fast fired pizza. Blaze is a chain but we visited the location in Gainesville, Florida. All pizza’s are a 10″ thin crust personal pizza. Fired in 180 seconds. They offer several options of crust, sauce, cheese and other tasty toppings. It is kind of a mash-up between bistro style pizza and a certain well-known sandwich chain, only with quality, fresh ingredients.  They are able to accommodate just about any dietary need.


Food: Outstanding. I prefer thin crust pizza cooked in either a wood or brick oven, so this is a dream place for me. 

Selection: Almost unlimited. They offer 9 signature pizzas and an infinite number of custom creations. They have 7 different cheeses and a wide range of other toppings. All of the usual toppings plus some gourmet toppings as well. Oh did I mention they have an awesome selection of cheese. It might not be good to get all of the cheeses on a cheese pizza next time though. It was a rather amazing pile of cheesy goodness.

Service: Fast, super helpful.

Atmosphere: One of those minimalist trendy kind of places. I like it even though it can get loud.

Allergy Rating: Awesome. The staff is well-trained. Do allow a little extra time. If you have an allergy go ahead and ask for a manager each time so someone will walk your pizza down the line. Otherwise it might get tricky.

Overall: Awesome!

Chicken Nuggets — Updated

My chicken nugget recipe is one of my most requested recipes. I’ve updated the recipe since some since it was first posted.chicken nuggets (3)


  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • About 1/2 cup of Italian dressing or other marinade for chicken
  • about  1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Grill blend — whatever I have on hand or I make my own.
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO)


  1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Put in marinade for at least 30 min.
  2. Make basic grill blend if needed. All directions are estimates.  I store mine in a small canning jar with Ball Herb Shaker Lids. Mix the following:
    • 1/2 dried parsley
    • 1-2 TBS of black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon or less of course sea salt
    • 1 TBS of chipotle smoky paprika
    • 1-2 TBS oregano
    • 1-2 TBS brown sugar
    • 1-2 TBS garlic salt
    • 1-2 TBS onion salt
  3. Heat skillet on med.  While skillet is heating, put flour, salt, pepper, paprika and other seasonings in a bowl, paper bag or plastic bag.  Dredge or shake chicken pieces in flour.
  4. Pour enough EVOO  in skillet to lightly coat bottom of pan. Add chicken and saute until golden brown.
  5. While chicken is cooking make a dipping sauce if you like.