Educator, Husband, Dad, Visionary

My Mother-in-law, The Franklin Theater and Soul Surfer – The Trifecta!

Sometimes I’m not sure what to expect when I take my 95-year-old mother-in-law out on the town – will she like what we have planned, will we be able to help  her arrive at the destination without incident (knees don’t work like they used to for her – at 95 its ok), will I say something that will make her regret me being married to her youngest for 36 years, you know – normal stuff.

But I think we hit a home run last night with our families beginning celebration of our daughter Rachel’s birthday by taking the girls to see Soul Surfer at the newly re-modeled Franklin Theater. Wow, did the Heritage Foundation do a great job or what? Check out their website for tickets, showtimes, and concerts coming up.

I must admitted I was a little skeptical about the movie. I had heard good things but sometimes the fact that a movie has a “Christian” theme should not give it a pass on critical analysis. I was pleasantly surprised. You can’t beat the price on the Theaters movies – $5 and the place was packed – sold out for the 7:30 showing. And Mrs. Cornelius had a great time! Winning!

So, if you want a great night out and a way to celebrate your daughter’s birthday (and impress the mother-in-law) take in Soul Surfer and if you can, see it at the Franklin Theater.

The Franklin Theatre logo

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

What do we value?

I had one of our amazing teachers ask me this question yesterday – “What do we value as a school – what do we want our students to value when they graduate?” Great question.

As a school this question trumps many others and it must be asked, evaluated, and wrestled with regularly! So, what do we value, really? Was that question asked when the school was founded? In the case of Franklin Christian Academy it was. More about that in a minute. But are we living it? Do the school’s resources reflect it? Is the leadership of the school focused on it? Do its constituents understand these values and agree to them? Are these values regularly “graded” or evaluated? These are just some of the tough questions organizations must discipline themselves to deal with otherwise “mission drift” can set in.

In the fall of FCA’s first year the Board of Directors met together and Andy Reese, one of our founding board members, led us through a brain storming session on “what do we value” as a school. The people with the vision, board members and their wives, wrestled with this question late into the night and for several days afterward. We edited, debated, and agreed together that the following were the guiding values and beliefs that we saw as critical to the success of Franklin Christian Academy. We understood I Thes. 2:5 where Paul exhorts us to hear Christ as He calls us to stand firm in His teachings, His values, and His beliefs.

FCA Core Values and Beliefs

Passion for Christ and for Life – FCA strives to instill a love of Christ and desire to serve Him in each student by example, by involvement, and by teaching. Moral character and integrity are qualities that are lifted up and rewarded.

Respect for the Individual Learner – We teach students, not subjects. Each student is an individual with unique gifts, talents and abilities. We want students to progress to their highest potential. We want each student to feel valued and accepted for who they are.

College Preparatory Academics– Our desire is to mold our students into life-long learners by providing challenging and college preparatory academics through interactive and experiential learning.

Integrated Christian Curriculum Worldview – Scripture and God himself are relevant to every subject. We cannot look at Science, History, Literature or Math without seeing the hand and nature of our creator. We acknowledge this and guide our students to discover God’s foundational truths for each subject.

Fine Arts– Fine arts are a vital part of the education process and success in life whether in visual Art, Music, Drama, or Graphic Design.

Personal and Community Development – We seek to show our students who God is and who they are by exploring their gifts and strengths and seeing how they fit into God’s purposes for the world.

Athletics and Fitness– For many students athletics is the glue that holds their academic experience together. Life lessons and community building through these experiences are an indispensable part of school life.

Economic, Racial and Social Diversity – FCA actively seeks to be a racially, economically, and socially diverse community meeting a variety of academic needs.

Student Servant Leadership – Students are actively encouraged to pursue a Christ-like servant-leadership role with their peers. FCA rewards this quality with an annual ‘Servant Leader’ award for each grade.

International and Local Missions – FCA offers multiple opportunities for students to participate in missions outreach and social justice experiences. By example, involvement and teaching, a high importance in placed on these areas.

Camp, Retreats and Trips – Through camps, retreats and trips as well as daily and weekly activities, FCA is a loving community that embraces diverse and varied individuals.

Honesty and Integrity – FCA requires honesty and integrity in all areas of school life. We are committed to be responsible stewards of all the resources that Gods provides for us.

FCA parents and students your input is valued. We need to hear from you. Please feel free to post to this blog regarding how you see FCA as a school is doing in regards to these values and feel free to be honest. How are we doing? What needs to change to help us be true to these values?

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

What’s the best meat to smoke? Really now, do we need to even ask?

Ask three people and you will get 30 answers. But there really is only ONE answer…if you’re from Texas anyway… Beef Brisket. Cooked the right way and you will find no finer taste, texture, or tender mouth-watering feast. Add some white potato salad and some baked beans …already some of your glands are exploding in your head if you’ve ever had this fine fair.

Smokin a brisket on a real charcoal and wood burning smoker is not for the faint of heart. Like working with teenagers, brisket takes lots of time, low heat, and lots of smoke.

Some of my fine Tennessee brethren will say that pulled pork on a bun with cold slaw piled on it is the best. And I say (to quote Mr. Lovett) “That’s right you’re not from Texas.” Why in the world would you waste all that time, effort, and hard oak wood on a PIG? Then put cabbage on it? I don’t think so.

So, today as we finish some yard work and go to church the Brisket (and some “JoJo” chicken, I’ll explain later) will be on my cranky, finicky, New Braunfels smoker. Now I am of the opinion that you can’t really smoke meat on these high-powered, one touch, gas grilles. You really need a hard wood like oak or mesquite to get the right amount of smoke and flavor.

See the picture for the beginning stages. Meat went on at 9:00 am. With some coddling and intermittent attention it should be ready around 3:00 when we head to church. Strong Tower Bible Church meets at 3:00 so CZ may have a tough time keeping my attention during the sermon he’ll preach today knowing that this brisket is settling down just waitin for us to get home.

And yes the hammock in the background is part of the recipe.

July 24, 2011 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

Bosses listening to millennial workers (from Allan Chernoff, CNN)

Are we as educators and parents listening? Interesting article. (Re-publish from Allen Chernoff @ CNN)

As millennials play an increasingly important role in the workforce, executives are changing their policies and management styles.(CNN) — As millennials play an increasingly important role in the workforce, their likes and dislikes are reshaping the way Americans work and are forcing executives to change policies and management styles.

The CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR has already seen the benefits of being more flexible.

“What time of day do you think we should open?” veteran public relations executive Marian Salzman asks her staff.

Several 20-something employees — a few with the giggles — respond that 10 or 10:30 a.m. would be a good time.

Gen-Y’ers: Delaying adulthood

Salzman isn’t about to keep the doors closed until 10:30 a.m. But even though executives many years their senior might consider some of their requests audacious, she’s doing plenty of listening to her staff of about 80, the vast majority of whom are members of the millennial generation — those born after 1980.

Her millennial employees have asked for free food — which Google gives its workers — a juice bar, a yoga/Pilates room, even reimbursement for a personal trainer. While Salzman didn’t grant any of those perks, she understands why they may not seem outrageous for someone with a millennial mindset.

“They want the workplace to recognize that they’re not 9-to-5 people. They’re not people that are ever going to wear gray flannel suits,” Salzman said.

Report: Millennials say marriage ideal but parenthood the priority

For many millennials, priorities are “life first, work second.”

“I have a girlfriend, I have family, I have friends, and these are all things that are very important because we work to live, and not the other way around,” said Euro RSCG staffer Greg Housset.

Gen Y’ers try career ‘speed dating’

Millennials have also watched their parents get burned out or laid off by corporate America, so life/work balance is especially important to them, management experts say.

“If you want to get the best people, you have to meet them halfway,” said Robert DelCampo, associate professor at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. “Being inflexible won’t get you anywhere.”

Employers say many grads expect coddling Video

So, Euro RSCG does permit very casual dress — tattoos are on display, as are toes wiggling freely in flip-flops. The company sponsors rooftop happy hours  three days each week, allows half-day Fridays during the summer and offers employees time off to do volunteer work.

Hiring Director Allison Pinter recently returned from a six-month volunteer stint with the nonprofit group Yele Haiti to help after the country’s devastating earthquake.

“I’m really lucky I got to do that, and then come back to the job that I’ve loved for five years,” Pinter said.

Salzman says she feels it’s best not to manage from an authoritarian position. She strives instead to be a leader, peer and student of her young employees. Why? Because she believes young workers are plugged into the social media revolution that’s changing the way the world communicates, including corporate America.

“They’re the new marketplace, they’re the new brains. They come with all the social media tools and tricks embedded in them as natives,” she said.

The public relations executive recognizes she needs to be flexible enough to accommodate as many requests as possible from her young staffers — requests she says she wouldn’t have dared make when she was starting her career in the early ’80s.

Millennial generation the next big thing

Managing millennials requires executives to check their egos and build up a thick skin. Not only are young employees very demanding these days, they’re also quick to voice criticism — even online for the world to see, something Salzman has experienced.

But she’s put aside inclinations to exert her power in favor of recognizing the potential of her young employees, who she argues are anything but slackers.

“You’re not the smartest person in the room anymore. You may be the most experienced, you may be the wisest. You’re not the smartest,” she says.

It’s paid off for Euro RSCG Worldwide PR. The firm has enjoyed strong growth under Salzman with clients that include Kmart and the pharmaceutical firms Sanofi and Bayer.

The millennial style of working can yield success, if the boss is willing to throw out the old rule book.

Survey: Millennials echo parents on abortion, much more supportive of gay marriage

July 23, 2011 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

Welcome to Nashville Michelle Rhee!

Michelle Rhee the former D.C. Superintendent of Schools is moving to Nashville & she continues to pull no punches – even when it concerns her own daughters. Ms. Rhee in a speech to legislators in Memphis said part of the problem in education is that we continue to reward students no matter what their achievement. Take for example her own daughters – “My two girls play soccer. They suck at soccer. But you would never guess that if you went in their room. There are trophies and medals everywhere.”

She said – “We are so concerned with making children feel good about themselves but we haven’t put in the time to make them good at anything.” Amen

To read the complete story go to:

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

Our Last Day, Heading Home.

This morning we did our last hike for our trip. We headed up Sterling Pass just down Oak Creek Canyon from our B & B, The Canyon Wren. It was steep but beautiful. The pass is up a draw that was subjected to the wild-fire in the Sedona area during 2006. Large pines were black & charred but new growth was abundant. The rock formations were beautiful and worth the short but strenuous hike.

Our stay at the Canyon Wren has been exceptional. Mike & Milena have been the perfect hosts. They are great at their job. Great breakfast again of muffins, an egg casserole, fresh fruit, juice, coffee & lively conversations. We hate to leave.

It is very hard to realize that our trip out west has come to an end. We are in Phoenix airport now waiting for our flight & reflecting on the last 2 weeks. Let me just say that my bride Lisa has been incredible. She is a true Canyon Woman. Even though she tweaked her knee in the Narrows of Zion before we headed to the Grand Canyon she still went down the 7 miles, 4,300 ft with a 25lb pack and 120 degrees at the bottom. She is the love of my life and a true companion. This trip would not have been the same or nearly as much fun if we hadn’t been together doing it. This has truly been the trip of a lifetime. We have memories and stories to last a lifetime. If you have never been to AZ & UT – get here.

We are ready to head back to Franklin and the reality of work and home with a new perspective and even more passion for this great life the Father-Creator has given us! Hope you have enjoyed traveling along with us. Stay tuned. More to come!

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

4 Wheelin, Devils Bridge & More!

Sunday 7/10 was a bit of a rest day. We had camped the previous 2 nights at Pine Flats in Oak Creek Canyon just above Sedona. We secured the last camp site on Friday 7/8. Everything in Oak Creek Canyon was full. Busy weekend. Sunday morning we had a great breakfast at Junipine Resort. Eggs, sausage, fruit, & buttermilk waffles hit the spot.

After breakfast we broke camp at Pine Flats & checked in to our last stop of our trip – The Canyon Wren Bed & Breakfast. What a great place. Mike & Milena are the best hosts! Brownies in the afternoon for us. Quiet, beautiful with hummingbirds everywhere. No phones, no internet, & no TV. We showered, napped & read the afternoon away.

If you are ever in Sedona, AZ this is the place to stay.

We headed out in the early evening for a 4 Wheelin excursion in our Jeep up the Schnelby Hill Road. The 5 miles to the vista overlooking Sedona took us 45 minutes of rough riding but the drive was worth it.

After a rough return drive back and a great dinner of chicken fajitas, & refreshing beverages @ Javalina Cantina in Sedona

we headed back for a great nights sleep at the Canyon Wren.

Early this morning, Mon. 7/11 we headed to the A. B. Young trail for a strenuous hike up the canyon wall. Clouds were rolling in on this cool summer morning in Oak Creek Canyon. Slide Rock Park & its orchards were visible in the distance once at the top of the canyon. Back to the Canyon Wren by 9:30 am for a great breakfast prepared by Mike & Milena. Muffins, frittata, & fresh fruit followed by lively conversation. It was a great start to the day!

Next we headed out to west Sedona for more 4 wheelin out to Devils Bridge. The 1.5 mile hike was hot with a bit of climbing but the views and the bridge was well worth it.

With only one more day here its going to be hard to leave the beauty of the West! We are blessed with an incredible trip. More to come!

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Exercise, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Postmasters Wife – Sedona

Yes that’s right, Sedona, AZ is named after the first Postmasters wife – Sedona Schnelby, T.C.’s wife. There was no postoffice in what was known as Indian Garden or Oak Creek at the time so T.C. applied to the U.S. Postal Service to start a Post Office and the place needed a name and his first two submissions were rejected so on his brothers advise he turned to his wife and asked if she wanted a town named after her. It was said she was a beauty and very hospitable which is very fitting. The Red Rock country holds great beauty!

Yesterday, 7/8 we hiked the West Fork trail in Oak Creek Canyon yesterday about 4.5 miles. The trail follows a stream back up into the canyon.

At sunset we hiked up the Summit trail that overlooks most of Sedona for a beautiful view of a brief storm that often blows through Northern AZ this time of year (they call it their Monsoon season). With some refreshing beverages and some Pepperidge Farm Macadamia Nut cookies we marveled at the beauty of God’s creation from high atop Summit butte.

Today 7/9 we hiked Boynton Canyon trail. Boynton is a box canyon with a trail of 2.8 miles making the round trip 5.6. We hiked at 10:30 am and the day was already beginning to heat up. About half way into the canyon the large pine & oak trees begin to cover the trail & with the summer breezes the hike was cool enough to keep us going. Some claim that Boynton Canyon is one of the key locations for the “New Age Vortexes”. Not to sure about that one. I did recall what was said to Job:

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a]shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hiking The Grand Canyon – At Night! (And More)

Yes, that’s right we hiked in the Grand Canyon at night but more about that later. Haven’t been able to post since 7/1 & our hike up the Narrows in Zion Canyon.

On 7/2 we hiked the Upper & Lower Emerald Pools as well as the Groto trail at Zion National Park. It was HOT & very crowded. The park was packed with tourists (including us) but we enjoyed the Zion Lodge & an enormous Cottonwood tree & its shade for a cool afternoon snooze.

On 7/3 we packed up camp and headed to the Grand Canyon to spend the first night at the Yaipavi Lodge and pick up our Backcountry Permit from the Park Ranger to camp at the Bright Angel Campground and Indian Garden.

In order to beat the heat of the trip to the Inner Gorge via the South Kaibab Trail we had to wake-up at 3:00 am on July 4th to catch the backpacker express shuttle to the South Kaibab trail head for a 4:30 am start. Words really do the Canyon no justice. Only pictures tell the real story.

We were able to make the hike down to the Bright Angel Campground & Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon next to the Colorado River by 10:30 am. It’s a 7 mile hike and a drop in elevation of 4,300 ft plus. We were very blessed to have cloud cover for almost the entire trip down. Only the last hour were we in the sun.

Once at the camp ground we set up camp & headed to the cold clear waters of the Bright Angel creek to cool our heals…knees, ankles, everything! The thermometer later in the day read 120 degrees. A storm came through later in the afternoon that continued the cooling trend. We had a great dinner at the Phantom Ranch canteen & hit the sack early for a 3:30 am wake-up call to hike up the Bright Angel Trail to the oasis of Indian Garden Campground.

Along the way on the Bright Angel Trail we came across a rare viewing of a California Condor. Only recently these enormous throwback birds were almost extinct. The one we saw had an imprinted #60 on its wing. We left Bright Angel at 4:50 am and made the 5 miles to Indian Garden by 8:30 on 7/5. Indian Garden is a true oasis in the middle of the Canyon. Large Cottonwood trees, green vegetation, and a beautiful creek bring relief to the inner gorge oppressive heat.

We rested & napped throughout the day on 7/5. A hearty lunch & a soaking in the creek refreshed & renewed some very tired legs & feet.

After the rest, food, & creek soaking we decided to finish off the last 4.5 mile hike up Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim in a late evening ascent. The promise of a nice bed & shower along with the cool evening, rain enhanced weather seemed very appealing however it would mean hiking the steepest section of the trail in total darkness. We packed up in the middle of an oncoming storm and headed up the trail at 6:30 pm. We estimated the hike would take 3,5-4.0 hours. The good news was that there are 2 rest huts with water at the 3 mile point & the 1.5 mile point along the trail.

It was a beautiful trek with a light sprinkle & cool breeze the entire hike up. Once we came out of Indian Garden the trail is all switchbacks up the Canyon to the South Rim. Making this hike in the heat of the day would have been very tough with the gear we were carrying. From 8:00 pm on we hiked by the light of our head lamps. We made the rim by 10:30 & rented the last room on the South Rim. That shower never felt so good.

This morning we had breakfast at the Bright Angel Lodge and with some last pictures in the daylight of some of the trail we had hiked last night we said our goodbyes to this amazing place. We’re headed to Sedona!

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Exercise | 2 Comments

Slight Change of Plans

We had to make a change in our itinerary because the Park camp grounds were filling up and we were not going to get a spot if the backpacked out the West Rim trail and stayed in a backcountry site on Thursday night.

So, we got one of the last spots in the South Campground Thursday morning and then hiked the East Rim trail during the day Thursday. It was a LONG 5 mile hike into the backcountry with numerous switchbacks that climbed up over 1500 ft. After an 1.5 hrs of hiking we saw no one. It took us 6 hours over some of the most breathtaking terrain. (Pics below)

Today we hiked the famous Zion Narrows. It’s a hike that is almost all upstream of the Virgin River into the narrow towering Canyon. The walls rose over 1000 feet above in spots. We rented special water shoes & socks along with a water tight bag to carry our gear & shoulder length poles to support us going through the rapidly moving freezing Virgin waters. At spots we almost had to swim the water was neck-deep in spots. We made it to Orderville Canyon and had to return. Round trip about 4 miles but most of it is wading in waist deep water up-stream for half the hike and it took us 6 hours. We saw several people fall in the rapids and get bounced around pretty good. Had to pull one lady out of the rapids after she fell and could not get back up. Lots of bumps and bruises but she was ok. (Pics below.)

July 2, 2011 Posted by | Exercise, Uncategorized | Leave a comment