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This page contains the latest news in Doug and Marsha's life and
a list of the most recently developed pages on this large web site.

Date: December 31, 2016

 

 

Dear Friends,

In 2016, Doug embarked on a long, intensive, 50-day journey in NYC as part of an Emergency Work Assignment (EWA), while union workers went on strike. Additionally, he continued to excel in  his work as a Web Developer at Verizon and was selected by executives and management to transition into the new technology group of Cloud Computing. Doug has been passionately participating in international computer programming contests (via TopCoder, CodeForces, and CodeChef) and has been doing well. One of his biggest thrills was traveling to Manhattan to compete in the NYC (North America) regional Top Coder competition, hosted by Google, and placing 2nd after giving a key-note speech on his "Top Coder Journey." Google especially noticed Doug's performance and offered to fly him out to the headquarters in MountainView for a final round of technical interviews, but he respectfully declined this time--mostly due to the big transition occurring within the family and at work... A big and demanding transition for Doug and the family was moving from a nice rental home (for the past 2 years) into a newly built spacious home in New Tampa. In spite of the many activities, he ran 2 times a week with our dog Napoleon, as time permitted, and occassionally ran a weekly 5K race at Wiregrass mall on Thursday nights (especially in the early part of the year). Doug completed 2 more computer classes at DeVry University but encountered his first "B" in over a decade (in an Economics course), bringing his GPA down to a 3.9. He continues to be very active in FGBMFI, serving as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) and as the Southeast USA Regional Director for FGBMFI.

Marsha transitioned through some jobs to finally land a career as a Beauty Stylist for Nordstrom. Marsha preached a couple of times on the side in Florida and also in Kansas.

Doug and Marsha enjoyed two main vacation trips together this year:

  • New York City (Where Doug competed in the Top Coder NYC (North America) Regional contest, hosted by Google in Manhattan. Doug and Marsha enjoyed staying at the Hilton and the Waldorf Astoria and visiting Central Park, Macy's, the Empire State Building, Rockafella center, Trump Tower, Top of the Rock, Freedom Tower, and many other famous places).

  • San Jose, Costa Rica (Where Doug and Marsha attended the World Convention for FGBMFI. Doug also attended the International Directors meeting while Marsha translated speakers from english into french at the female events and a main dinner session for leaders)

We celebrated our 16th anniversary by enjoying two celebrations: In Tampa at Bern's Steakhouse, and in NYC at Bull & Bear restaurant inside the grand Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Dimitri turned 16 in February. He finished 9th grade and transitioned to a new high school after starting 10th grade, when we moved to our new home in New Tampa. He has made some new friends as well.

Isaac turned 25 in April. Isaac had a part to play in electing a new president. With the transition to a new home and other things occurring in his life, Issac described the year as "stressfull",

Margaret continues to do well for being 94 years old. 

 

Date: December 31, 2015

 

 

Dear Friends,

In 2015, Doug continued to maintain a healthy lifestyle running 2-3 times a week with our dog Napoleon and running a weekly 5K race at Wiregrass mall on Thursday nights, to excel in  his work as a Web Developer at Verizon, to complete 2 more computer classes at DeVry University (and maintaining a 4.0 GPA), and to be very active in FGBMFI. Doug continues to serve as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) and as the Southeast USA Regional Director for FGBMFI. He has taken his position seriously and has traveled and served people throughout the Southeast USA. Doug has been passionately participating in international computer programming contests (via TopCoder, CodeForces, and CodeChef) and has been doing well. The biggest excitement this year was celebrating our 15th anniversary in Hawaii for 2 weeks and having several opportunities to minister while there.

Marsha transitioned from working at Soma (affiliated with Chico's women's clothing) to working as an Associate Manager for Brighton Collectibles. Marsha preached a couple of times on the side in Florida, Hawaii, and Kansas.

Doug and Marsha enjoyed several main vacation trips this year:

  •  North Carolina & California & Texas (Where Doug and Marsha spent Valentine's Day at a special hotel in Cary, NC, compliments of the FGBMFI Cary & Durham chapters. Doug shared his testimony to the Cary chapter but the weather prevented the meeting from taking place in Durham. While Marsha flew home, Doug flew to California to visit Google again, on their dime. From there he flew to Texas for the FGBMFI International Directors meeting, serving as an Int'l Director for the fellowship)

  •  Vero Beach, FL (Where Marsha ministered at a nice church and then we visited Ian and Nora in Fort Lauderdale)

  •  Ohio (Where Doug took his mom on a first class trip to visit his brother who just moved to Dayton, Ohio, for a promotion to CIO of Wright State University)

  •  Hawaii (Where we celebrated our 15 year anniversary for 2 weeks with ministry opportunities)

  •  Houston, TX (Where Doug attended the World Convention for FGBMFI)

  •  Disney World, FL (Where Doug, Marsha, and Dimitri entertained Pauline Lai and her daughter from Hawaii and a friend from Taiwan)

Dimitri turned 15 in February. In August, he finished a year within a special group home on the weekdays, where he attended school for 8th grade. He is now attending high school in our neighborhood as a 9th grader. He still enjoys electronic devices.

Isaac turned 24 in April.

Margaret continues to do well for being 93 years old. 

 

Date: December 31, 2014

 

 

Dear Friends,

In 2014, Doug continued to maintain a healthy lifestyle and run a weekly 5K race (some close to 31 minutes flat) at Wiregrass mall on Thursday nights, to excel in  his work as a Web Developer at Verizon, to complete 2 more computer classes at DeVry University (and maintaining a 4.0 GPA), and to be very active in FGBMFI. Doug continues to serve as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) and was appointed as the Southeast USA Regional Director for FGBMFI. He has taken his new position seriously and has traveled and served people throughout the Southeast USA more than ever. Doug has been passionately participating in international computer programming contests (via TopCoder, CodeForces, and CodeChef) and has been doing well. The biggest excitement has been his receiving a rare and unexpected significant promotion at Verizon! Another big transition was our move within New Tampa, as we downsized our house.

Marsha, talking about transitions, started and completed a full year as an Associate Manager at Soma (affiliated with Chico's women's clothing). She underwent surgery, which helped her. Marsha preached in a dozen places this year throughout Florida and Georgia.

Doug and Marsha enjoyed several main vacation trips this year:

  •  North Carolina & South Carolina (Where Doug attended the North Carolina Men's Advance for FGBMFI and was introduced as the new Southeast USA Regional Director by his host and good friend DeCarol Williamson)

  •  Colorado (Where Doug had a trip for his work with Verizon to meet his new boss and co-workers)

  •  Georgia (Where Marsha ministered and Doug attended and spoke at various FGBMFI chapters throughout the state)

  •  Georgia 2 (Where Marsha again ministered and Doug again attended and spoke at various FGBMFI chapters throughout the state)

  •  North Carolina and South Carolina (Where Doug attended the South Carolina Men's Advance for FGBMFI with his friend and fellow International Director, DeCarol Williamson. While the guys were together, Marsha stayed with DeCarol's mom and had a great time at her home on the beach)

  • Melbourne, FL & San Francisco, CA (Where Doug attended the SE USA College ACM computer contest and then the Top Coder Open and Developers Conference in San Francisco)

We celebrated our 14th anniversary by enjoying seafood and steak with a beautiful sunset at Oystercatchers in Tampa.

Dimitri turned 14 in February. He went to summer school as a part of a program that the county offered to help students skip a grade. Thus, he learned the 7th grade within two intense months, being taught by the best teachers in the county. As of August, he is part of a special group home on the weekdays, where he attends school. He has struggled a bit in the 8th grade. He still enjoys his smart phone and playing video games, maybe too much.

Isaac turned 23 in April.

Margaret continues to do well for being 92 years old. 

Sad to say, we lost our beloved small poodle Peanut soon after we transitioned to our new home. Yet, we continue to derive enjoyment from our big poodle Napoleon, nicknamed Polee. Napoleon is Marsha's close friend and a source of encouragement.

 

Date: December 31, 2013

 

 

Dear Friends,

In 2013, Doug continued to maintain a healthy lifestyle and run a weekly 5K race (some close to 30 minutes flat) at Wiregrass mall on Thursday nights, to excel in  his work as a Web Developer at Verizon, to complete 3 more computer classes at DeVry University (and maintaining a 4.0 GPA), and to be very active in FGBMFI. Doug continues to serve as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) as well as a USA National Director for FGBMFI. Furthermore, he led a weekly Bible Study (with prayer and fellowship) for interested co-workers during lunch time. Doug has been passionately participating in international computer programming contests (via TopCoder, CodeForces, and CodeChef) and has been doing well. In April, Doug placed 365th out of 22,000+ programmers world-wide in the biggest computer programming competition in the world, sponsored by Google. Also he was very excited to have placed 30th among those in the USA. (See Results of Google Code Jam).

Marsha finished her 6th year serving as the Women's Ministry Director for the the Assemblies of God in the district of Peninsular Florida, overseeing women's ministries for about 340 churches. She hosted (and preached) at a very successful Fall Breakaway conference for the ladies in Florida. She stepped down from this position at the end of the year. Marsha preached in two dozen places this year throughout Florida, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Canada.

Doug and Marsha enjoyed four main vacation trips this year:

  •  Texas  (Where Doug and Marsha went to Houston for the International Director's meeting of FGBMFI. Afterwards, we drove to Dallas to minister at Southlake Church for pastor Ricky Franklin)

  •  New York (Where Doug and Marsha visited Manhattan and traveled by train up the Hudson River to visit Doug's relatives)

  • Washington DC (Where Doug attended the World Championships for computer programming (as a visitor) at the Top Coder Open)

  •  California (Where Doug was flown for a final round of interviews [for a Web Software Development position] at Google's Headquarters in Mountain View. We enjoyed spending time with Doug's friend Hong Wing, and then visiting San Francisco)

We celebrated our 13th anniversary at two fine restaurants in NYC: Oceana and La Grenouille (Frog Legs).

Dimitri was in sixth grade all this year. He turned 13 in February. He enjoys his smart phone and playing video games.

Isaac completed his first full semester at  Florida School of Discipleship, in Fort Meyers, Florida. He turned 22 in April.

Margaret continues to do well for being 91 years old, however, she did have knee surgery and received an artificial knee. 

In addition to having our small poodle Peanut, we continue to have a big poodle Napoleon, nicknamed Polee. Napoleon is Marsha's close friend and a source of encouragement.

 

Date: Christmas, 2012

 

 

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas!

In 2012, Doug continued to maintain a healthy lifestyle and run a weekly 5K race at Wiregrass mall on Thursday nights, to excel in  his work as a Web Developer at Verizon, to complete 4 more computer classes at DeVry University (and maintaining a 4.0 GPA), and to be very active in FGBMFI. Doug continues to serve as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) as well as a USA National Director for FGBMFI. Furthermore, he leads a weekly Bible Study (with prayer and fellowship) for interested co-workers during lunch time. As a new thing, Doug is participating in international computer programming contests (via TopCoder) and has been rising in the ratings over the past 4 consecutive contests. Doug also wrote a computer program to solve the Rubik's Cube (on a web page) in the newer technologies of ASP.NET 3.5 / C#. His long-term goal is to create this same program as an app on Smartphones (iPhone, Android, Windows phone).

Marsha continues to serve as the Women's Ministry Director for the the Assemblies of God in the district of Peninsular Florida, overseeing women's ministries for about 340 churches. She hosted (and preached) at a very successful Fall Breakaway conference for the ladies in Florida. Marsha preached in only 15 places this year throughout Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, and Zambia (Africa).

Our family enjoyed several vacation trips this year including:

  •  California  (Where Doug hooked up with his best friend from High School and attended the California FGBMFI leaders conference)

  •  Disney World, FL (Where Doug and Dimitri had a nice excursion)

  • Minneapolis & California (Where Doug and Marsha went to California for the International Director's meeting of FGBMFI (with wives) and took Dimitri to Minneapolis for a 4-day visit with his best friend from the orphanage in Kazakhstan)

  •  LongBoat Key, FL (Where Doug, Marsha, Dimitri, and Margaret enjoyed short beach trip at the Hilton in LogBoat Key)

  •  Arizona (Marsha ministered at the statewide A/G Women's Conference in Arizona, and then Marsha and Doug vacationed in Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Marvelous trip!)

  •  Zambia (Marsha was invited by an A/G missionary to spend time with her in Zambia. Some local churches hosted Marsha for a Women's conference during the first few days of her month-long trip. Towards the end of her missionary journeys, she had a fascinating vacation trip to see the Falls and to go on a real African Safari!)

We celebrated our 12th anniversary at Texas de Brazil, courtesy of Margaret.

Dimitri completed fifth grade and did well in his classes. He turned 12 in February. He spent several weeks during the summer at golf camp. He enjoys using free time to play with kids outside or to play on his computer. He is now attending Middle School and is in the 6th grade.

Isaac completed the special STAGES program at the University of South Florida, and is desiring to be involved in some kind of ministry. He turned 21 in April.

Margaret continues to do well for being 90 years old, however, she recently fell and broke her right arm. She is out of the sling and her arm is healing quite nicely. 

In addition to having our small poodle Peanut, we now have a new big poodle in the family: Napoleon (named by Dimitri after Napoleon Dynamite). The dog has become Marsha's close friend and a source of encouragement.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

 

Date: Christmas, 2011

 

 

Dear Friends,

For Doug, 2011 has been very rewarding, having successfully overcome Diabetes type 2 (diagnosed a year ago) by eating well and losing 50 pounds, running 5K races in under 28 minutes (after not running for 2 decades), ministering in five different countries, excelling in his work as a Web Developer at Verizon, completing 3 more computer classes at DeVry University (and maintaining a 4.0 GPA), and being very active in FGBMFI. Doug continues to serve as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) as well as a USA National Director for FGBMFI. Furthermore, he leads a weekly Bible Study (with prayer and fellowship) for interested co-workers during lunch time.

Marsha continues to serve as the Women's Ministry Director for the the Assemblies of God in the district of Peninsular Florida, overseeing women's ministries for about 340 churches.   Marsha preached in only 15 places this year throughout Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona.

Our family enjoyed several vacation trips this year including:

  •  Alaska (We took a brief trip to Anchorage and the surrounding area and visited Doug's former ministry student, Kelly, who drove us around to see the beautiful sights)

  •  Key West, FL (First time we took a vacation with our dog, Peanut. This included our son Dimitri and his grandma Margaret.)

  •  Cuba (On this A/G missions trip, Marsha ministered at the National Women's Conference for the Assemblies of God, and Doug ministered in some churches in the area. We had a quiet 11th anniversary sharing Delta Airlines biscuits)

  •  Panama (Attended the World Convention for Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International and toured the Panama Canal)

  •  Mississippi (Marsha ministered at the statewide A/G Women's Conference)

  •  Titusville, FL (Marsha ministered at an A/G church while Doug ministered at an FGBMFI chapter; Dimitri enjoyed visiting Doug's friend, Charlie Crisafulli, at his home)

  •  Togo & Ghana (This was one of our best trips of all time! Doug ministered as the key speaker at the Togo National FGBMFI Convention. Marsha and Doug had further opportunities for wonderful ministry in both Togo and Ghana and got to see the birthplace, home, and church of Marsha when she was growing up as an MK. God guided our steps and blessed our trip, ministry, and relationships! Our hosts from these two countries were so gracious and the people were wonderful!)

We celebrated our 11th anniversary by traveling to Cuba for missionary work and enjoyed a Delta Airlines cookie biscuit together.

Dimitri completed fourth grade and did outstanding on his FCAT tests, achieving the highest possible score in Writing with a 6 and having a 4 in Math and a 4 in reading. Further, he achieved all A's and B's in his classes for the final quarter of 4th grade. This was the first time he accomplished this, which was a goal of ours for the past two years. In February, he turned 11, and he has been in the USA for 5 and 1/2 years (having come from Kazakhstan).

Isaac attends the special STAGES program at the University of South Florida, and he is given the opportunity to serve as a manager for the USF Boy's basketball team. He turned 20 in April.

Margaret continues to do well for being 89 years old. She published a book, To God Be the Glory, which describes her journeys as a missionary in West Africa.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: June 26, 2011

 

 

Dear Reader,

At the end of February, Marsha and I took a brief get-away to Anchorage, Alaska. In April, the family (Doug, Marsha, Dimitri, and grandma Margaret) took the dog (Peanut) on a vacation trip to Key West, Florida. It was the first time we took the dog on a trip with us, and we stayed at a nice pet-friendly DoubleTree hotel. At the beginning of June, Marsha and I ventured to Cuba for missionary work. It was a wonderful missions trip to Cuba, as Marsha ministered twice at the National Women's Conference for the Assemblies of God in Cuba (to 1500+ crowds) and I had the privilege of preaching in three different churches including the host church of the conference on Sunday morning.

While I am busy serving as an International and National Director for FGBMFI, Marsha is serving as the Women's Ministry Director for A/G in Florida and preaching at various churches and events. I am also progressing well in my computer studies at DeVry University, maintaining a 4.0 GPA after taking 2 more classes at the beginning of the year.

We celebrated our 11th anniversary by traveling to Cuba for missionary work and enjoyed a Delta cookie biscuit together.

Dimitri finished the 4th grade and did outstanding on his FCAT tests, achieving the highest possible score in Writing with a 6 and having a 4 in Math and a 4 in reading. Further, he achieved all A's and B's in his classes for the final quarter. This was the first time he accomplished this, which was a goal of our for the past two years.

Isaac completed a year in the special STAGES program at the University of South Florida, and was given the opportunity to serve as a manager for the USF Girl's basketball team. He turned 20 in April, and we celebrated at his favorite restaurant -- Boizao Steakhouse.

 

Date: Christmas, 2010

 

 

Dear Friends,

For Doug, 2010 has been especially rewarding, having graduated from SAGU (a regionally accredited University) with a Master's degree in Theological Studies and achieving a  4.0 GPA, after 3 years of diligent studies. Doug's well researched theological papers can be viewed on his  Theology Corner. Since opportunities to teach theology at a Christian University are very minimal, Doug has focused his energies on his work as a Web Developer at Verizon, which has paid off for him with a long-awaited promotion in December! He has passionately pursued learning some new technologies, such as ASP.NET, AJAX, and SQL Server. Furthermore, he has enrolled in a new Bachelor's program in Web Development at DeVry University, where he maintains a 4.0 GPA. In addition to earning a Master's degree, a promotion at work, and pursing another degree, Doug is now serving as an International Director for FGBMFI (one of 70 in the world) as well as a USA National Director for FGBMFI.

Marsha continues to serve as the Women's Ministry Director for the the Assemblies of God in the district of Peninsular Florida, overseeing women's ministries for about 340 churches.   Marsha preached over 30 times this year throughout Florida, Canada, Cayman Islands, and Bahamas.

Our family enjoyed several vacation trips this year including:

  •  Indiana (Marsha was the key speaker at the Indiana A/G Women's Conference in Indianapolis, and Doug provided some training to Verizon employees in Fort Wayne)

  •  Holyland, FL (First time visiting this wonderful biblical theme park)

  •  Texas (Attending Doug's graduation with a Master's Degree in Theology at Southwestern Assemblies of God University)

  •  Caribbean (Attended a friend's 25th anniversary in the Bahamas followed by ministry on Grand Cayman Island)

  •  New Brunswick, Canada (Marsha ministered at an A/G church in Canada)

We celebrated our 10th anniversary on Grand Cayman Island and had dinner at the Westin hotel's 4-diamond Casa Havana restaurant in June.

Dimitri completed third grade (and passed his FCAT in Math, Reading, and Writing), enjoyed his summer swimming activities at the YMCA, and is progressing in fourth grade. He continues to be full of life and lots of mischief. He loves playing one of his many DS games and playing on his computer that resides next to his father's. He continues to hate bed time, and makes many excuses for staying up a little later. In February, he turned 10, and in July, he celebrated his 4th year in the USA.

Isaac completed the twelfth grade and graduated from High School with a special diploma. While he was glad to have graduated, he missed serving as a "manager" of the varsity football team. However, attending the special STAGES program at the University of South Florida, Isaac was given the opportunity to serve as a manager for the USF Girl's basketball team. Isaac participated in the Fine Arts Festival, where he did very well on his "short sermon" and advanced to nationals. He turned 19 in April.

Margaret continues to do well for being 88 years old. Nobody can believe that she is that old. She still looks young and drives her Jaguar fast. As you can imagine, she has lots of aches and pains, but she perseveres and always smiles and proclaims that God has been good to her. She continues to be an inspiration (and help) to all of us. She and her publisher are almost done with her book, To God Be the Glory.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: June 24, 2010

 

 

Dear Reader,

We (Marsha, Dimitri, and I) recently returned home from a marvelous vacation in the Bahamas and in Grand Cayman Island.  I just finished organizing our multitude of pictures and placing them on this site. You may relive our vacation and view our pictures on our our Vacations page.

We spent 5 days on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas, staying at the luxurious Bahama Beach Club condominiums, compliments of the part-owners Craig and Beverly Roberts who invited us to celebrate their 25th anniversary with them and their friends. Our spacious 3 bedroom condo had a beautiful ocean view. Craig and Beverly also took us out for a ride around Abaco Island in their speed boat. Craig gave Dimitri the opportunity to be the captain of the vessel and to steer the boat at times. The beach water was so clear it looked like a pool. The 25th anniversary celebration was tremendous, with Craig and Beverly walking along the beach to the 150+ guests seated on the beach. After renewing their vows, we had an amazing buffet. The following day, Dimitri had a staff person cut some coconuts for us and we drank coconut milk and ate fresh coconuts. Dimitri was sad to leave, but he then loved our next destination as well.

We spent 6 days on the Grand Cayman Island, after flying across the Caribbean. We stayed at the beautiful Westin Casuarina. We were very blessed to be upgraded by the hotel to a room with an ocean view! While Dimitri and I went on a boat trip to Stingray City (swimming with stingrays) and did some snorkeling around coral reefs, Marsha went to the Westin's Spa and had smooth, hot, black stones placed on her back to relax her. She was elated to see us and share her experience with us and vice versa. We had wonderful fellowship with Autry, Raphael, Esther, and Clarence, all of whom are members of the organization COA (Cayman Outreach Association), which invited me to Grand Cayman Island to speak to them and share my testimony at their dinner meeting. On Saturday morning, Marsha ministered at a ladies conference at First Assembly of God (Grand Cayman) and, in the evening, she sang at the COA dinner meeting and I shared my 45 minute testimony. On Sunday morning, Marsha shared at the church service for First Assembly of God: they had a tremendous Father's Day service with so many people participating to honor the fathers. After a nice lunch at the pastor's home, I delivered the evening message at the church, which consisted of sharing my testimony and then delivering a PowerPoint presentation on "Work Ethics and Attitudes." Marsha prophetically prayed at the end for all who desired prayer. We made so many new friends. For the last night, Carmelita and her son watched Dimitri, thus enabling Marsha and I to be alone and to finally celebrate our 10th anniversary at the Westin's 4-diamond Casa Havana restaurant. This was one of our best vacation trips. We thank the Lord for the vacation and the ministry opportunities.

As we flew back to Tampa, Marsha and I drove to Lakeland to attend the District's Presbytery Dinner. I always enjoy them (every 3 months), and the fellowship was especially good this time with the 6-person tables. Now that we are home, Dimitri is attending YMCA each weekday, while I work at Verizon as a Web Administrator and Developer. Marsha is doing her thing as the Women's Ministry Director for PenFlorida District.

 

Date: June 9, 2010

 

 

Dear Reader,

I (Doug) am done with all my classes, as I passionately pursued a Master's degree in Theological Studies. Each class required a tremendous amount of work and I always put my heart into it and went somewhat beyond the required work, and thus I am very pleased with achieving a  4.0 GPA, after 3 years of studies. For my most recent class in "Leadership in Ministry," you may view my "Philosophy of Leadership" paper (highly acclaimed by the professor who is the Dean of the Graduate School), as well as my other class papers at my Theology Corner. I am thrilled to see my initial vision (in 1992) of a Masterís degree in the Bible come to pass (18 years later). Marsha, Dimitri, my mom, and I all traveled to Waxahachie, Texas for the graduation ceremonies at Southwestern Assemblies of God University on April 30, 2010.  You may view pictures from the trip and graduation at the bottom of our Vacations page. Additionally, I taught a class on Eschatology: A Study of Last Things to five interns of the Generate School of Ministry. Besides these extra-curricula activities, I worked a full-time day job with Verizon doing Web development programming. Attaining a regionally accredited Master's degree now qualifies me to teach at a University in the area of my degree: Theology and the Bible. However, opportunities to have a paid teaching position at a Christian college or university are not easy to come by. For now, the Lord is leading me to focus on my work (see my book The Value of Work in the Eyes of God), so I am passionately pursuing learning some new technologies, such as ASP.NET, AJAX, and SQL Server, so that I can help my department convert our many Web tools to a newer platform. I aim to work unto the Lord and to serve the people in my department and all who are benefited from these Web tools.

Marsha and I just passed our 10th anniversary, though she has been very sick for the past two weeks, so we still have not officially celebrated it. She recently completed her Berean class for Introduction to Pentecostal Doctrine, and she got an "A" in the class.

Dimitri finished the 3rd grade and passed his FCAT in Math and Reading/Writing. He celebrated his 10th birthday with friends at Extreme Adventures, where he bowled, played laser tag, played games, and ate pizza and cake. Our social worker completed her 4-year report on him being in the U.S. and in our home. We sent this good report to the adoption agency to give to Kazakhstan.

Isaac is glad to have graduated High School this past week. He will miss being a "manager" of the varsity football team. Isaac celebrated his 19th birthday.

Margaret continues to do well, for 88.

Peanut the poodle is still doing well, though he moves a little slow.

 

Date: Christmas, 2009

 

 

Dear Friends,

For us, 2009 has been a year full of accomplishments and milestones. In September, we visited the D.R. of Congo in Africa, where we ministered every day, reaching thousands of people. It was heartwarming for Marsha to visit many of the places and people that she knew as a missionary child.  Marsha preached over 70 times this year throughout Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Africa. She remains a vibrant leader as the Women's Ministry Director of Peninsular Florida District of the Assemblies of God (overseeing 340 churches). For Doug, he completed 3 graduate-level Bible/Theology courses (at SAGU) with high "A" averages, taught 2 "Berean" courses for ministry interns, served as a National Director for FGBMFI (and represented the USA fellowship as an International Director at the 2009 World Convention for FGBMFI, held in Florida), and in his spare time works a full-time job at Verizon. As of April of 2009, Doug is now working daytime hours instead of nighttime hours, and he now utilizes his skillset more fully in his new position and responsibilities as a Web development programmer and administrator. As opportunities arise, we mention Doug's recently published book entitled The Value of Work in the Eyes of God, and purchases normally follow.

Our family enjoyed several vacation trips this year including:

  •  Nashville, Tennesse (Marsha was a main speaker at Judy Jacob's Conference)

  •  Sarasota, FL (Stayed at Hyatt where Marsha would host Women's Fall Breakaway)

  •  Charleston, SC (Visiting Doug's mom who broke her hip on vacation in Charleston)

  •  Florida (Disney's Vero Beach Resort, Sebastian, Merritt Island, Altamonte Springs & Orlando--for District Council)

  •  Eastonton, GA (Marsha ministered at a church)

  •  Fort Lauderdale, FL (Attended World Convention of FGBMFI)

  •  Orlando, FL (Attended General Council of the Assemblies of God)

  •  Kinshasa, D.R. Congo (Missions trip to Africa where we spoke every day, reaching thousands of people from all strata of society)

  •  Boynton Beach, FL (Ministered at a church and enjoyed some golf and the beach)

We celebrated our 9th anniversary at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse in Tampa in June.

Dimitri completed second grade, enjoyed his summer activities at the YMCA, and is progressing in third grade, especially in the social aspects. He never seems to meet a stranger, and all of our neighbors say that he should run for mayor. He continues to be full of life and lots of mischief. He is all boy. He loves playing his DS game and has a very large collection of game cartridges. He has recently developed a hatred for bed time, and he will come up with 101 excuses for staying up a little later, and a little later, and a little later.

Isaac completed the eleventh grade, turned 18, and spent some time in Birmingham, Alabama for the summer. He is enjoying being a senior in High School. In the Fall, he served as a "manager" of the varsity football team, which had an excellent record and made it to the playoffs. It was a nice reward for his four years of devotion to the football team. We are in the process of looking for the right program for him to go into after high school ends. Lots of big decisions coming up. Additionally, Isaac participated in the Fine Arts Festival at General Council, where he received "superior" ratings on his solo human video and short sermon. He plans to participate again next year.

Margaret continues to do well for being 87 years old. Nobody can believe that she is that old. She still looks young and drives her Jaguar fast. She gets up every morning and faithfully prays for all those on her prayer list. As you can imagine, she has lots of aches and pains, but she perseveres and always smiles and proclaims that God has been good to her. She continues to be an inspiration to all of us. She is still working on her book, with one more chapter to complete.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: December 24, 2009

 

 

Dear Reader,

I (Doug) have been so busy with my Systematic Theology 1 class for my Master's degree, that I am just now getting a chance to provide an update on our lives over the past four months. I am glad to report that I earned an "A" in the class, after completing a 20-page term paper on "Providence and Its Implications for Prayer," reading over 1,000 pages, viewing 24 lectures by the professor, writing 150 pages describing theological terms, writing 50 pages interacting with discussion questions and fellow students, and taking 3 exams. Additionally, I taught a class on Introduction to Theology: A Pentecostal Perspective for six interns of the Generate School of Ministry. Besides these extra-curricula activities, I worked a full-time day job with Verizon doing Web development programming. I am very thankful to the Lord for my job.

Although we are constantly on the road for Marsha's speaking ministry, we made a significant trip to Africa in September. The day we arrived, we celebrated Marsha's 48th birthday over looking the Congo River at the Kinshasa Hotel. It was so rewarding for Marsha to revisit the places that she knew as a missionary child and see the fruit of her family's labor. We were invited to celebrate Pastor Joseph's 40th anniversary in ministry. He is a great man of God who served as the General Superintendent for the Assemblies of God in D.R. of Congo. He was also a co-laborer with Marsha's father, so I was honored to be asked to give the key-note address at this significant milestone. For me, it was my first time in the D.R. of Congo, but the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) in Congo took full advantage of my presence, organizing a large conference for professionals in which I was the featured speaker. Both Marsha and I spoke every day, either at a one of three women's conferences, a 3-day FGBMFI conference, or at the 40th Anniversary celebration that gathered over 2,000 pastors, leaders, and church members. It was extremely rewarding, ministering to all classes of people, from the poorest groups to the riches and most educated groups. Pictures for our Africa trip and for our trip to Boynton Beach, Florida (where we ministered and had fun golfing and swimming at the beach) can be seen on our "Vacation" page, which has been revised.

Marsha is still going full steam ahead with the women's ministry in Pen Florida. She hosted the annual Women's Fall Breakaway, where she also was the key speaker for the first night, followed by Lisa Bevere for the other sessions. The event was a tremendous success, gathering over 1,100 women and helping to raise their budget for the upcoming year. Women of all ages were touched at the Sarasota Hyatt. However, there is never a moment to rest on any success . . . plans are already underway for 2010 at the Champions Gate Omni Hotel near Orlando. She recently completed her Berean class for Foreign Missions, and is now moving on to her next Berean class: Introduction to Pentecostal Doctrine. She had a little break at Christmas, but in January, she is hosting a Leading Ladies Conference for the wives of senior pastors. Then, in March, she will be off on the Hope tour with about half-dozen women in the Pen Florida district, bringing pockets of hope to three different regions.

Dimitri is now in 3rd grade and loves school, especially the social aspects. He never seems to meet a stranger, and all of our neighbors say that he should run for mayor. He continues to be full of life and lots of mischief. He is all boy. He loves playing his DS game and has a very large collection of game cartridges. He has recently developed a hatred for bed time, and he will come up with 101 excuses for staying up a little later, and a little later, and a little later.

Isaac is enjoying being a senior in High School, where he was a "manager" of the varsity football team, which had an excellent record and made it to the playoffs. It was a nice reward for his four years of devotion to the football team. We are in the process of looking for the right program for him to go into after high school ends. Lots of big decisions coming up.

Margaret continues to do well. At 87, she is as beautiful as ever. She gets up every morning and faithfully prays for all those on her prayer list. As you can imagine, she has lots of aches and pains, but she perseveres and always smiles and proclaims that God has been good to her. She continues to be an inspiration to all of us.

Peanut the poodle is doing well and loves his family and company, but he barks when he hears Dimitri's hamsters playing on their wheel.

 

Date: August  10, 2009

 

 

Dear Reader,

Marsha and I celebrated our 9th anniversary on June 3rd, and we have been traveling a lot over the past four months. After my (Doug's) mom broke her hip on a vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, we made several road trips to visit her at the rehab center. We traveled to Vero Beach, where Marsha and I ministered, and from there we went straight to District Council of the A/G in Orlando. We also flew to Eatonton, Georgia, where Marsha ministered for the seventeenth time at this special church. We traveled to Fort Lauderdale for the World Convention of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI), where I served as an International Director, representing the USA at the business sessions. Most recently, we attended the General Council of the Assemblies of God in Orlando, where I represented our church as a delegate in the business sessions. Needless to say our suitcases are worn out! Although we have "vacation" pictures for these trips, in many ways it is a misnomer to say that they were vacations, since the main purpose was for ministry. We are now preparing for our missionary trip, in a few weeks, to Africa, where we will both be speakers at different events, including FGBMFI seminars.

I (Doug) finished teaching a class on Missions for six interns of the Generate School of Ministry. Additionally, I finished my Master's class in Systematic Theology II with an "A." Furthermore, I completed a summer course in "Pastoral Care" and earned an "A+." I now have only two classes left for a Master's Degree in Theology/Bible at Southwestern A/G University. With a little free time over the past few weeks, I have been enhancing my computer skills in Expression Web 2, JavaScript, and Visual Basic. I really enjoy my new work at Verizon in Web Development Programming, and I am especially thrilled when I sense that it provides a real "service" to the end users.

Marsha continues to be busy preaching and leading the women's ministry in Florida. She is gearing up for Fall Breakaway with Lisa Bevere. This year they are going to be at the Sarasota Hyatt, an exciting new venue but a lot of details to work out. She continues to take Berean classes. She has recently started working out with a trainer for the first time in her life. You can hear groaning as she goes up and down stairs at home, after working out. Her favorite phrase is "how long does it take before your muscles stop hurting?" We don't know the answer to that question, but it's more than two months.

Dimitri finished 2nd grade, and he is enjoying his summer at the YMCA. He especially likes swimming in the aquatics program, but he also liked playing golf for two of those weeks and participating in drama for one week. At the end of the public performance, he wowed the crowd with his dance routine to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." He was glad to join us on each of our vacation trips and to participate at the kids' program of the FGBMFI World Convention and the General Council of the A/G. He is looking forward to 3rd grade, especially since he will have the same teacher and most of the same students in his class. He makes friends easily. His favorite activity is still playing his DS.

Isaac celebrated his 18th birthday. He participated in the Fine Arts Festival at General Council, where he received "superior" ratings on his solo human video and short sermon. It was a thrill for his mom to "finally" see him preach. He refuses to practice in front of the family. She was so proud and said he moved her to tears. He is looking forward to being a senior in high school this year and praying about what his future will hold.

Margaret continues to do well, though she just had cataract surgery on both eyes. Her son David has been with us since the beginning of October, and he has been helping out around the house. She continues to be the best cook in town, especially when it comes to brownies.

Peanut the poodle just completed hip surgery and is running around like a little puppy. He even climbs the stairs from time to time.

 

Date: April 6, 2009

 

 

Dear Reader,

Marsha and I started off the year with a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, where Marsha was a guest speaker at Judy Jacob's conference at the beautiful Gaylord Hotel. The place was absolutely amazing and we have many excellent pictures on our Vacations page to remember it! I even had a chance to visit the Grand Ole Opry! Upon our return from Nashville, our church, Victorious Life in Wesley Chapel, FL, held a book signing for my recently published book entitled The Value of Work in the Eyes of God. It's been an exciting few months as I have had the opportunity to promote the book and the ideas that prompted me to write the book in the first place.

We also took a short trip to Sarasota, where we stayed at the Hyatt Hotel, where Marsha will be hosting Fall Breakaway (the Pen Florida Women's Conference for the A/G in October). Its a beautiful location and a few pictures of our trip can be seen on our Vacations page too.

I (Doug) am currently teaching a class on Missions for six interns of the Generate School of Ministry. Marsha is also taking this Berean class, so she is sitting in on the class as her schedule permits, as well as contributing her extraordinary missionary experiences as a guest speaker. She is also attempting to take a second Berean class on Pentecostal doctrines. After three months of intense study, I am almost finished with my Master's class in Systematic Theology II. In addition to reading and studying 1,000 pages in my two textbooks, the homework has resulted in over 140 pages of written research, and then there are class discussion questions/responses, tests, and a final 15-page research paper. However, I thoroughly enjoy learning the various key doctrines of the Christian faith.

Just recently, I was given an awesome opportunity at Verizon to work during the daytime in a position that would better utilize some of my skill sets. Although I was happy in my prior job responsibilities, my work environment, nightshift work, and my co-workers and boss, I think the transition is a good move (which was the consensus of others in management positions as well). After working graveyard shifts for the past 7 years, it is certainly different working during the day again, but I like it. I am now working as a Web Developer, utilizing Visual Basic, HTML, Javascript, and various tools, in a Windows XP Professional environment.

Marsha remains tremendously busy as the Pen Florida Women's Ministry Director. She hosted three regional conferences since the beginning of February as well as fulfilling many speaking engagements. The fruit from these meetings has been tremendous, but it has not afforded a weekend off for Marsha since January. She is looking forward to a month long rest and time with the family during April. Her schedule can be found at www.MarshaWoolley.com.

Dimitri is doing very well in second grade. He has picked up his running again and is so much faster than last year at this time. For example, the other day he ran one-mile in 7 minutes and 46 seconds then rested for 10 minutes, then ran another 8 minute mile, rested for 10 minutes and ran another 8 minute mile. He is preparing for a 5K race this coming Saturday, and I anticipate that he will do very well for his age group (9 & under) [if he does not stop along the way and pick up shells or rocks, like he did last year for this particular race]. For his 9th birthday in February, he selected and received two Chinese Dwarf hamsters, Inky and Pinky, who love to ride on the wheel to nowhere! Peanut the poodle barks upon hearing their activity and is not as fond of them as the rest of the family.

Isaac will be celebrating his 18th birthday in a few weeks, and he is eagerly looking forward to his senior year. He is has been preparing for the fine arts festival where he plans to perform a solo human video as well as a short sermon.

Margaret continues to do well and is making us all way too fat with her good cooking! She is a prayer warrior for all of us who are on the front lines. No doubt, our successes are partially tied to her fervent prayers. She continues to inspire all those who meet her. You'd never guess she just turned 87.

 

Date: Christmas, 2008

 

 

Dear Friends,

For us, 2008 has been good, busy, and fast. Marsha comments that the year went by so quickly, but this could be because Marsha ministered in over 52 churches/events throughout Florida this year, as a part of (and in addition to) working as the Women's Ministry Director for Peninsular Florida District of the Assemblies of God (overseeing 350 churches). For Doug, he completed 5 graduate-level Bible/Theology courses (at SAGU), taught Sunday school, taught 2 "Berean" courses for ministry interns, prepared and presented a workshop for the yearly Florida Men's Conference of the A/G, and published a book entitled The Value of Work in the Eyes of God, in addition to working 40 hours a week (at night) at Verizon as a systems engineer (which included a business trip to Colorado to train personnel).

Our family enjoyed several vacation trips this year including:

  •  Colorado (Colorado Springs & Manitou Springs, Pike's Peak mountain)

  •  Florida (Naples, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Merritt Island, Champions Gate [FGBMFI World Convention], Lake Buena Vista, Orlando [Sea World])

  •  Suwannee River, Florida (Branford, FL)

  •  Arizona (Phoenix, Grand Canyon, and Sedona)

We celebrated our 8th anniversary at the Ritz Carlton in Naples in June.

Due to the recent turn of events in the economy, Marsha's brother (David) lost his job at the bank and has moved down to Tampa to look for a job. As a result, he has been living with us since the beginning of October.

Dimitri completed first grade, enjoyed his summer activities at the YMCA, and is progressing in second grade. He loves socializing with his many friends in school and in the neighborhood. He loves to play outside in the cul-de-sac with others. At the beginning of the year, he played on a soccer team. He also spent several months running in a few 5K road races (3.1 miles). He achieved his best time on his 8th birthday in February at a race at Lowry Park Zoo (30 minutes and 21 seconds). He won several medals and plaques for his outstanding efforts as a young runner. He has also learned to play golf.

Isaac completed the tenth grade, turned 17, spent some time Birmingham, Alabama for the summer, and is now in the eleventh grade, but has missed a lot of school due to various ailments. He has enjoyed participating in our church's youth group and in "Fine Arts" with our church denomination, and he has enjoyed serving as one of the "managers" of his high school football team, which enabled him to travel with the team and interact with all the players.

Margaret continues to do well for being 86 years old. She is glad to help out the family in order to allow Marsha the opportunity to minister. She cooks most of the dinners and helps out with Dimitri, as needed. Slowly, she is working on a book about her adventures in Africa with her editors.

Marsha did a tremendous job in hosting the Fall Breakaway Ladies Conference for the Florida A/G women, where Judy Jacobs ministered.

Doug continues to serve both as a national director and the webmaster for FGBMFI. As a family we attended the 2008 World Convention in Florida, and Dimitri loved the children's programs. Maintaining an A+ average, Doug has four more graduate classes to take before earning a Masters Degree in Bible/Theology at Southwestern A/G University. He thoroughly enjoys learning biblical materials and sharing this knowledge with others in hopes that it will build others up spiritually, since the information has transformed him as well.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: November 24, 2008

 

 

Dear Reader,

I have been extremely busy the past few months. Maintaining an A+ average, I have completed another graduate-level class at Southwestern A/G University--this one in New Testament Theology. Additionally, I was asked to teach "Berean" Bible classes to ministry interns through the Generate School of Ministry that meets in our church facilities. Thus, I taught Hermeneutics in the first part of the Fall semester, and I am now teaching Systematic Theology, meeting each week for two hours with the students. Additionally, I was asked to be a workshop speaker at the Florida Men's Conference for the A/G on Nov. 14-15 on the topic "Empowered to Turn Your Job into Ministry." Utilizing real life illustrations from my jobs and incorporating principles from my book, I prepared a PowerPoint presentation for my three 50-minute workshops. About two months ago, an opportunity presented itself to me whereby I could have my "Theology of Work" material turned into a book, which would have nicely supplemented my workshop presentation. Much work went into transforming the material into a book entitled The Value of Work in the Eyes of God. I was privileged to have the foreword written by Os Hillman, a prominent author and speaker in the Faith at Work movement. I was pleased to have positive endorsements from Jimmy Rogers (President of an insurance company), Dr. Royce Shelton (Professor Emeritus of Southeastern University), Ed Russo (Senior Pastor of Victorious Life Church), and later Alistair MacKenzie (author and leader of Faith at Work movement in New Zealand). The book is in the process of being printed!! I've created a new page to provide more info on the book and instructions for ordering the book.

Marsha and I took a nice vacation to the Suwannee River in Branford, Florida. Additionally, Marsha, Dimitri, and I went on a great vacation to Arizona, journeying from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and then to Sedona! Dimitri and I even hiked down the Canyon for 1.5 miles and then returned to the top of the South Rim (all within 2 hours). After cleaning up, we went to Grand Canyon Assembly of God church and fellowshipped afterwards with the pastors and their family. To see the pictures of our exciting adventures, please view Our Vacations page.

Marsha did a tremendous job in hosting the Fall Breakaway Ladies Conference for the Florida A/G women. Almost 1,000 ladies packed the ballroom to hear Judy Jacobs and the Women's Ministry Director (Marsha Woolley). She continues to be busy with her position which has opened many doors for her to speak in a different church almost every week. Her schedule can be found at www.MarshaWoolley.com.

Dimitri is doing well in second grade, staying on par with the others and excelling a bit in mathematics.

Isaac is in the eleventh grade, but has missed a lot of school due to various ailments.

Margaret continues to do well and says she is glad to help out the family in order to allow Marsha the opportunity to minister. She cooks most of the dinners and helps out with Dimitri, as needed.

 

Date: July 31, 2008

 

 

Dear Reader,

The summer has been great so far. Marsha and I went on a wonderful vacation throughout Florida, with a special stop at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, where we celebrated our 8th anniversary. Half way through the trip, we picked up Dimitri to have him join us at the Omni Hotel in Champions Gate, FL, where we attended the World Convention for FGBMFI, for which I (Doug) serve as a national director. Dimitri had a great time at the kids camp, provided by the convention, and Marsha provided a special song in the evening session at the request of the International President. Pictures of our vacation can be seen on our Our Vacations page. Now that I accumulated some extra space on our web site, I was able to post the many slideshow pictures from our other vacations in 2007 and 2008, which had not previous appeared on Our Vacations page.

I just finished a graduate-level class in Old Testament Theology and received a high "A" in the course. I have posted one of the essays for the course on my Theology Corner page. I plan to take New Testament Theology in the Fall semester, so I am getting a head start by reading the course textbook, as well as purchasing and reading other related books.

I was delighted to find out that a major paper that I had written last year, Theology of Work and Its Practical Implications, was posted onto a high-profile web site (with my permission) dealing with Work in the Marketplace (under the Theology of Work section). The site is sponsored by Os Hillman, founder and Executive Director of Marketplace Leaders Ministries  and also of the International Coalition of Workplace Ministries (ICWM). I also just found out that there is a team of theologians who are working together on a project to produce a Theology of Work, under the co-chairmanship of Dr. Haddon Robinson, one of the foremost preachers in America. Marsha and I sat under Dr. Robinson's teaching in Indianapolis last year. A friend of mine from New Zealand, Alistair Mackenzie, is also on this committee. I am very interested in their results of the project, which may take several years. Their site can be found at www.TheologyofWork.org.

Marsha continues to be busy with her position as Women's Ministry Director for the Assemblies of God in the Peninsular Florida district. She has been speaking somewhere in Florida every week, as well as reporting to work in Lakeland during most of the week. She is excited about the upcoming Fall Breakaway conference for women that she will be hosting in Orlando in October, with special guest preacher Judy Jacobs.

I have renamed Marsha's Ministry web site to be www.MarshaWoolley.com, thus phasing out the previous site known as GodandMarsha.com. The new site has been redesigned (a little) to have a different background theme, different pictures for publicity, and simpler home page in accordance with Marsha's desires.

Dimitri finished the first grade and is enjoying his summer at YMCA. He loves to swim!

Isaac finished the tenth grade and spent some time in Birmingham, Alabama for the summer.

Margaret continues to do well, and is a blessing to the family as she cooks most of the dinners and helps out with Dimitri, as needed.

 

Date: April 30, 2008

 

 

Dear Reader,

I (Doug) apologize for the delay in posting an update concerning "What's New?" Besides working 40 hours a week, almost every spare moment for the past few months, I was diligently working on my three graduate classes, which included many reading assignments, research papers, and essay exams. I needed to maintain full-time graduate student status for the first two semesters in order to receive my earned Presidential scholarship, for having completed my undergraduate degree with at least a 3.9 GPA. I am glad to say that I have completed both semesters of three graduate classes, achieving an "A" average in all classes. One of my professors, who serves as the dean of the graduate school at Southwestern A/G University, responded to my research paper saying that it should be published, and he also gave me a 100% on my final essay exam, consisting of about 50 pages. Furthermore, he said that he could not remember the last time he gave someone a 100 on an essay exam. Another professor gave me a 100 on my research project saying:

"Thank you for your fantastic and interesting paper. As you already know, this will serve your ministry in years to come as you communicate it to others. I was especially impressed with the clear and simple organization of your paper as well as the perfect formatting and quality of your bibliography. This is a well-deserved grade."

My overall grades for each of the three classes were 99, 99, and 98, resulting in three A+ grades. (You have to understand that I am thrilled and amazed, though I certainly worked extremely hard and often went above and beyond what was required.) All this helps solidify the desire in my heart to teach undergraduate students in my field of study. My research papers for Southwestern can be seen on my Theology Corner page. I plan to lighten my load to one graduate class per semester, and I have 6 more classes to take for my Masters Degree in Theological Studies.

I also had the privilege of traveling to Colorado Springs, Colorado for Verizon business to train the technicians on ESP, a new system that will help them to monitor the status and progress of all batch mainframe system jobs. I especially enjoy the teaching aspect and the opportunity to meet other people. Also, Colorado Springs exceeded my expectations of a place to visit. It was extremely interesting to journey up Pike's Peak (the 2nd most visited mountain in the world) and to visit the Garden of the Gods, which consists of several miles of beautiful huge rocks.

At Easter time, we hosted a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt and hid several hundred plastic eggs containing candy in our yard and our neighbor's yard. A dozen kids between the ages of two and nine quickly gathered as many eggs as they could find into their baskets or bags. Dimitri had a great time with his friends, and we were pleased with the response of the kids and their parents who watched on the sidelines.

Marsha has been extremely busy with her new position as Women's Ministry Director for the Assemblies of God in the Peninsular Florida district. She has always kept an active schedule, but this is truly a very active schedule. She has been speaking somewhere in Florida every week, as well as reporting to work in Lakeland during most of the week. She is regaining her strength and her hair, which is short and very curly, due to chemotherapy that she had in August - October, 2007. She is flourishing, as Women's Ministries is right up her alley.

Dimitri turned 8 years old in February. He continues to do very well in school and loves to socialize. He is very well liked by his teachers and peers (though he often loses his "star" in class for talking . . . He must get that from his mother). He played on a soccer team and received his first trophy for his participation. After the soccer season, Dimitri began running in 5K road races. He normally places very well as an 8-year old, especially since not too many young people can run 3.1 miles (for that matter, not too many PEOPLE can run that far). His best race was on his birthday, when he ran the 5K race at Lowry Park Zoo in 30 minutes and 21 seconds.

Isaac just celebrated his 17th birthday. He recently participated in Fine Arts, a teen talent contest within our church denomination in Florida, where he performed a "human video," where he acts out a song. He achieved a respectable score, and we are proud of his effort and accomplishment. He is a leader in our church's youth group and he is planning to spend two weeks in the summer in Nicaragua. This will be his real first missions. We guess it is in his blood.

Margaret continues to do well, and she has recently celebrated her 86th birthday. She is working on her book about her adventures in Africa with her editors, David and Michelle Moore. They have spent many hours on this project, but we believe it will be a great blessing to many people.

 

Date: Christmas, 2007

 

 

Dear Friends,

For our family, 2007 has been a year of challenges and triumphs. In February, we attended an FGBMFI convention in Washington D.C. and also toured the White House and visited our congressman in the Capitol with Isaac. We were privileged to celebrate Dimitri's first birthday with us with a pirate party with his friends. He turned seven on February 23rd. He was so excited to have a party that he hugged people as they came in the door. Doug worked for months on his Senior Project entitled Theology of Work and Its Practical Implications, to finish his last class for his 2nd B.S. degree. The professor replied that the essay-paper should be published in a journal or a book! In May, Doug graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. degree (this one in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Bible/Theology) from North Central University, a regionally accredited university in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While in Minneapolis we enjoyed staying with some friends who had adopted Dimitri's best friend from his Kazakhstan orphanage. It was wonderful to watch the boys together, to see how their lives had changed, and to compare notes with the Sutterfields on their adoption experience. The day after school was out for the summer, we embarked on a whirlwind Hawaiian vacation. It was Dimitri's first time to be in Hawaii and he loved the swimming especially. Margaret, like the rest of us, enjoyed the many wonderful views. We celebrated our 7th anniversary golfing on the Island of Molokai, followed by a romantic dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel on Maui.

In July, Marsha was diagnosed with breast cancer and had major surgery within 10 days after that. We had lots of support from our church friends and family. We thank the Lord for the remarkable healing that occurred with the help of two skilled surgeons. In the beginning of August, Marsha and Doug attended the General Council of the Assemblies of God in Indianapolis, Indiana for several days. We were delighted to meet new people and get reacquainted with others we have not seen in a while, including Terry & Athena Raburn. Upon our return, Marsha began chemotherapy once every three weeks, and she had her last treatment at the end of October, with one final small surgery in early December. God has been so faithful. She is doing very well.

Dimitri spent the rest of the summer enjoying activities at the YMCA. He is now in the 1st grade and loves school and his teacher. He enjoys playing outside in the cul-de-sac with friends and neighbors. He is now playing on a soccer team and loves it.

Isaac is now a 16-year old sophomore in high school. He once again served as one of the "managers" of his high school football team, which enabled him to travel with the team and interact with all the players--a great thrill and confidence builder for him. He is very active in our church's youth group and still loves his Christian break dancing group.

Margaret is doing remarkably well, especially considering that she had surgery in the beginning of the year. She is a great help to the family in preparing meals and looking after the kids. She also was very helpful and encouraging to Marsha as she recovered from her major surgery. She is in the process of writing a book about her adventures in Africa.

Marsha had been working for Ann Taylor Loft until her surgery. During her time off, God opened a wonderful door for her to be interviewed for the position of Women's Ministry Director for the Peninsular Florida District of the Assemblies of God. After three interviews with the District Superintendent, then the executive staff, then the executive presbytery, she was unanimously voted in for the position. Our pastor Ed Russo was a great encouragement and support to us during the interview process. We couldn't ask to be in a better church. Having recovered, she is now working at the District office in Lakeland. With all the speaking opportunities that will be coming on the weekends, she has had to lay aside her responsibilities as the Singles Leader at Victorious Life Church.

Doug is still working 40 hours a week at Verizon as a Systems Engineer, primarily at night from 7pm to 7am on particular nights. He is also pursuing a Masters degree through Southwestern A/G University, a regionally accredited university in Waxahachie, Texas. As a full-time student during the Fall semester, he received straight A's in his three classes. He is really enjoying his studies. He has also enjoyed teaching the Singles Sunday School class at Victorious Life Church. He continues to serve both as a national director and the webmaster for FGBMFI. Unexpectedly, Doug lost his uncle and cousin this year, but he has good memories of both of them and was glad he got to visit them in their respective states over the past few years.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: November 1, 2007

 

 

Dear Reader,

Marsha had surgery on July 24th, and the two doctors declared it a success. All traces of cancer were removed from her breast and no cancer appeared in the lymph nodes. This past Tuesday, she had her last round of chemo therapy and the prognosis looks very good for her future. Furthermore, God did another amazing thing for her in opening a wonderful door of opportunity to be the Women's Director for the Peninsular Florida District of the Assemblies of God. This is a full time position in Lakeland, FL, and would provide her further opportunities for what she loves to do on weekends--minister to women all across the state.

Marsha and I had attended the General Council of the Assemblies of God in Indianapolis, Indiana for several days. During that time, I took a full-day class on Biblical Preaching which Marsha attended also. It was awesome to sit in the front row and learn from Dr. Jeff Magruder, Dr. Haddon Robinson, and Dr. Richard Dresselhaus. I also served as the voting delegate from our church (Victorious Life Church in Wesley Chapel, FL). It was a privilege to vote for our new General Superintendent, Dr. George Wood, as I have admired his knowledge of the Bible and his friendly personality. It was amazing to have a part in voting for bylaw changes, especially the one that allows divorced and remarried individuals an opportunity for ministerial credentials when the divorce occurred for Biblical reasons. We had a great time at the convention and met some wonderful people. I especially enjoyed attending the nightly college reunions that served delicious appetizers and drinks, as I got to attend a different one for each of the three nights. I attended Southeastern University from 1992-96, North Central University from 1996-2007, and Southwestern AG University from 2007-present.

Margaret has been a great support for our family. She usually gets the groceries, cooks the dinners, drives the kids to school and home from school, and reads a children's Bible story to Dimitri at bed time.

Dimitri just finished the first quarter of the 1st grade. He loves school and is doing very well. His report card came today and he is "On Grade Level" for every subject and making good progress academically in each subject. Marsha and I met with his teacher a few weeks ago and had many good things to say about him. She said we could quote her as saying:

He is always eager to learn, and is fascinated by everything that is being taught. For example: When our tadpoles finally grew back and front legs, and became "frogletts" he was SO excited! Playing the game "Mystery Number" is one of his favorite things to do (The children are given a ziplock bag full of counting cubes. They must make as many groups of ten as they can.....then count how many ones are left over, and tell me how many cubes are in their bag.) For Dimitri, school is just plain fun! (He also already knows how to win a woman's heart.....hardly a day goes by that he does not tell me:" Mrs. Huseman, you look pretty today!" :0) )

Dimitri loves playing soccer in his under 8 league. He had his first practice last Friday and has his first game this Saturday. He was so excited about his soccer uniform and cleats that he just had to try them on and kick the ball outside. He also loves to swim in our pool and in the community pool. He is like a fish, and no longer needs assistance. He has also learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. He speaks English very well, which is amazing since he only spoke Russian when he came to American in July of 2006. Oh yeah, Marsha and I readopted Dimitri in the U.S. on August 22, 2007, and the Judge ruled in our favor after seeing the wonderful personality of our little boy. The judge also let him pick a stuffed bear, which he did, and they Dimitri asked to pick a second bear for his brother Isaac. (Actually, both bears wound up in Dimitri's bed :) )

Isaac enjoys helping to manage the high school football team once again this year, now that he is in 10th grade.

Doug, I, have been diligently working on three graduate level classes towards my Master's degree at SAGU. Thus far, I maintain an "A" average in each class: Biblical Preaching for the 21st Century, Research Literature and Technology, and Hermeneutics.

Unexpectedly, I had lost two relatives over the past few months. My Uncle Cliff passed away while at a nursing home in New Hampshire; and my cousin Rick fell off a horse in Montana and punctured a lung and passed away as he was being flown to a hospital. I have good memories of both of them and I am glad that I got to visit them in their respective states over the past few years.

 

Date: July 23, 2007

 

 

Dear Reader,

Just after school had finished for the year, and Dimitri had completed Kindergarten and Isaac had completed the 9th grade, we went on a wonderful first-class family vacation to Hawaii, with a stop-over in Hollywood, California. [We had earned quite a few Skymiles on Delta especially going to Kazakhstan!] This was Dimitri's first major family vacation and he had an awesome time. We started by flying from Tampa, Florida to Hollywood, California where we spent the night and did some sightseeing of Hollywood and their famous wax museums. The next day we continued on to Honolulu and stayed at the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village where Dimitri got to swim in the ocean on Waikiki beach and the nice pool. Later we ate at the famous Alan Wong's Restaurant (which lived up to its reputation of having the finest food in Hawaii). Dimitri had his first limousine ride into the center of Diamond Head (the inactive volcano next to Waikiki Beach). Next we were off to the Big Island, which never ceases to amaze us with its extensive scenery of lava that makes us think we are landing on another planet. We stayed at the Disney-like Waikoloa Hilton with a picturesque room overlooking the dolphin lagoon. Later Dimitri had a thrill of swimming with the dolphins. He was so excited and brave. He also enjoyed the many pools and awesome water slides. The only thing missing was Isaac (who spent two months with his dad over the summer). Dimitri, admiring his big brother, tried to experience all the places Isaac had visited from the family pictures of previous vacations to Hawaii. We also took the time to drive to the other side of the island and visit Volcanoes National Park, which was absolutely awesome--seeing a volcano crater as well as steam vents from the ground. It was breathtaking to see the glowing lava under the full moon after sunset. Margaret also had a lovely time on the Big Island. She always loves the view of the ocean. Margaret and Marsha indulged in a hour-long massage at the spa, which they still talk about. We also attended an awesome traditional luau at the hotel, complete with smoothies and fire dancers. Then we were off to Maui for our final four days at The Westin. It turned out to be a beautiful experience from the minute we walked in the door and were given a lei and a Hawaiian punch drink. The beach, pools, and staff were all awesome and very kid friendly. Marsha and I snuck away for a day to the Island of Molokai via a ferry boat, where I played 18 holes of golf (the 11th hole had some beautiful beach/ocean scenery where the last scene of Pirates of the Caribbean III was shot). We also were privileged to have a glimpse of the famous Leper Colony where Father Damien ministered in the late 1800's. After returning to Maui before sunset, we returned to our hotel, changed clothes, and ventured out for a romantic dinner by the ocean at the Four Season's Hotel for our 7th wedding anniversary. The Ferraro's Ristorante served fine Italian food, most of which we could not read on the menu, but the close ocean view and sounds of the waves coupled with lighted torches made the evening extra special. Margaret was so gracious in helping us with Dimitri so that we could have some private time. It was a great trip!

Dimitri has been enjoying the rest of the summer with the many activities provided at the YMCA, and he is now able to swim very well without any assistance. Isaac just returned from a two month visit to his dad's. Isaac missed Dimitri almost as much as Dimitri had missed Isaac. They embraced with fondness as they reunited. (It will be interesting to see who will win the war over the T.V. that is in Isaac's room since Dimitri has enjoyed it to himself for the past two months).

I have gotten a jump start on my three classes that I will be taking for my Master's Degree (in Biblical Studies/Theology) at Southwestern AG University. Investing in my future (and Marsha's ministry), I purchased approximately $7,000 worth of good-quality commentaries and other Biblical books to add to my ever-growing library. I am looking forward to my first class that starts at the Leadership seminar at the General Council of the Assemblies of God in Indianapolis, Indiana next month. This class is called Biblical Preaching for the 21st Century, and the two others are Research Literature and Technology and Hermeneutics. With the jump start, I hope to have time to successfully complete the three classes during the Fall semester, and thus qualify as a full-time student and receive a Presidential scholarship from SAGU for having earned at least a 3.9 GPA from my undergraduate school, North Central University. Since both of these universities are Regionally accredited and reputable, completion of my Master's Degree will qualify me to teach undergraduate theology classes at any university, if the Lord should open such doors at some time in the future.

Marsha has been teaching the Singles Sunday school class (along with Doug). As of a week ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her surgery is tomorrow. It's been a tough struggle for her, but she is trusting God. Please remember her in your prayers.

 

Date: May 19, 2007

 

 

Dear Reader,

While Marsha, Dimitri, and I were in Minneapolis for my graduation ceremony, we stayed with a wonderful family who also adopted a son from the country of Kazakhstan. In fact, their son Christopher was best friends with Dimitri when they were together in the orphanage. They had not seen each other in two years, since it was 2 years ago that Christopher was adopted out of the orphanage. Almost a year ago, Marsha and I adopted Dimitri and I found out about his best friend and the family that adopted him and they also were excited about a possible reunion. I figured that the days surrounding my graduation in Minneapolis would provide a great opportunity to get together and share common experiences. We all had a great time.

My Senior Project entitled "Theology of Work and Its Practical Implications" has been posted on my Theology Corner. On May 4th, my family (Marsha & Dimitri) watched me graduate from North Central University in Minneapolis, Summa Cum Laude. The Director of the Carlson Institute (Distance Education school) hand-delivered my paper back to me reiterating what the professor (dean of the theology department) had written: "This is one of the most thorough pieces of work I have ever corrected. Very well done. Subject covered well. Good sources. A well written paper. Should be put into a book or journal." I was thrilled to hear this (as I had put a lot of work into that paper!) and that I received an "A" in the class, thus finishing with a GPA of 3.957 as shown on my transcript. Additionally, I was honored to be one of three students to address the graduates and their families (the other two were the valedictorian and the class president).

The week after, I flew to Southwestern AG University in Texas for the new student orientation for grad-school (majoring in Bible/Theology). I am looking forward to furthering my education and growing from the course materials as well as preparing for the possibility of being a teacher in a university in the subject that I am learning.

Pictures of Dimitri's 7th birthday and first in the U.S. can be seen on his web page.
Some pictures from our vacation to Washington D.C. in February and to Minneapolis in May can now been seen.

 

Date: May 2, 2007

 

 

Dear Reader,

I apologize for the delay in posting an update concerning "What's New?" Every spare moment for the past few months, I was diligently researching and writing my Senior Project entitled "Theology of Work and Its Practical Implications" (to be posted on Theology Corner soon). Having completed the project as scheduled, I am taking Marsha and Dimitri to my graduation ceremony in Minneapolis (we leave in an hour). I'll give some updated pictures of our recent trips and of Dimitri when we return, but for now, here is a quick update...

Dimitri is growing by leaps and bounds. He's grown about 4 inches and gained 10 pounds since he arrived from Kazakhstan. His English vocabulary improves everyday and even the trace of Russian accent is now disappearing. We celebrated Dimitri's 7th birthday with a pirate party, complete with a live pirate and treasure hunt. He had a great time with about 20 of his friends. He is now into story writing and story telling; he's showing off all that beautiful English he's learned.

Isaac is now 16 years old and staying busy with Spring Training for Football at his high school. He is once again the equipment manager for the football team. He comes home everyday sun burnt and exhausted. Most recently Isaac and the dance team that he is a part of at church (the "B" boys) received the honor of placing #1 in the district of Florida at the Fine Arts competition in Orlando. To God be the Glory! The 2 pound preemie who was never supposed to walk or talk wins a dance contest (with others). What a blessing this team and it's leaders (Josh and Ryan) have been to Isaac's life. This experience has definitely broadened his horizons and enlarged his vision.

Marsha is still working for Ann Taylor Loft less and less as her Spring speaking schedule was very busy this year. She recently took even more time off to care for Margaret, who has faced more challenges than all of us lately. In the month of March, she celebrated her 85th birthday and was also diagnosed with breast cancer. After extensive tests, it was determined that surgery was needed. With great strength and faith in God, she faced the surgery and smiled all the way through. Three days after her surgery, she was laid hands on her 92 year old roommate praying for her healing as she left the hospital. She is doing great. The doctors were able to get all the cancer and no further therapy is needed at this time. Her courage and faith are an inspiration to all of us.

 

Date: Christmas, 2006

 

 

Dear Friends,

As with many of you, the year 2006 has been a whirlwind of activity for our family. However, without a doubt, the highlight was our trip(s) to Kazakhstan for the adoption of 6-year old Dimitri in May, June, and July. It's hard to believe that 5 months have passed since we brought him to America. Communication was difficult for the first two months as he always spoke Russian even when we acknowledged that we did not understand. We became very good at charades though. During the 3rd month, Dimitri began understanding English greatly and speaking a little English. During the past 2 months, he speaks only English, and Russian is becoming a distant memory for him. He is doing very well in his Kindergarten class. His behavior has been improving as we consistently love and correct him. He has been accomplishing so much, day by day. He impressed us by memorizing and speaking clearly his Sunday School Bible verse of John 8:12, "Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness." Dimitri loves the family and his relatives and enjoys going to Busch Gardens and Disney World, watching cartoons on TV and on DVD, and just playing games in general.

Isaac is now a 15-year old freshman in high school and he adores his new brother. This year, Isaac was able to be one of the "managers" of his high school football team, which enabled him to travel with the team and interact with all the players--a great thrill and confidence builder for him. He is very active in our church's youth group and still loves his Christian break dancing group.

Margaret is also doing well. She had a knee replacement in the beginning of the year, which was quite a procedure with a very extended recovery. She is now up and around, though still using her cane from time to time. She has been a great help to Marsha and still cooks for the family, and we certainly appreciate that! Every time we are tempted to think of her as 84, she jumps in her Jag and speeds around the corner out of our neighborhood, making us all think she is 20.

Marsha is currently working for Ann Taylor Loft and has gone from 40 hours per week to 32  hours per week and soon to 20 hours per week. She enjoys her work but finds that having an extra family member requires more time than she anticipated. She ministered (spoke) approximately once a month at various churches and women's conventions. Coupled with Doug, we have been teaching the Single's Sunday School class for Victorious Life Church since the Spring, and prior to that, we were teaching the New Believer's class.

Doug reached a milestone of 15 years--working for Verizon as a Systems Engineer, monitoring and trouble-shooting mainframe computer application systems used throughout the country. He has been working the night shift for the past 5 years. In his spare time, he learned a new computer language, "Visual Basic .NET," and wrote a professional computer program (and game) to solve (and play) the popular Sudoku puzzle. Furthering his education, Doug completed two of his last three courses (which included literary/theological essays) for another B.S. degree, maintaining just under a 4.0 GPA. All year, he has been working diligently on his extensive Senior Project entitled "Theology of Work and Its Practical Implications" which he plans to complete in the next few months and graduate from North Central University in May. Doug also put forth much effort serving as a professor for two classes at One Accord School of Ministry, teaching both the Book of Acts and Apologetics. Doug has also taught faithfully the Sunday School classes at church. He continued to serve both as a national director and the webmaster for FGBMFI. In addition to these worthwhile activities, his favorite is to spend quality time with his newly adopted son Dimitri. We all looked forward to our first Christmas with Dimitri, and he made it extra special as he was continuously filled with joyous excitement!

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: October 5, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Dimitri has been in America for two and a half months. He is thoroughly enjoying his new life! A webpage for Dimitri is now available for viewing. It contains many pictures from his first days in America along with our recent trip to Disney World with our family and a trip to Busch Gardens. Dimitri started Elementary School in August and is enjoying his new Kindergarten class. Originally he was placed in the first grade for a month, according to his age group (6), but since he is just learning the English alphabet (instead of reading on his own) and since his behaviors are more in line with younger kids, we requested to have him placed in Kindergarten. Although his teacher enjoyed having him, she whole-heartedly agreed with our decision as did his English teacher, followed by the administrators.

For me, Doug, I've been working my normal 40 hours per week during the night shifts at Verizon and spending about the same amount of time (40 hours per week) with Dimitri when he is not in school (and I am not having to sleep in preparation for my night-shift work). On the very first day that Dimitri met Marsha and I, the director of the orphanage told us that "Dimitri dreams of having a close father." Some of our favorite activities include swimming in the community pool that has a big slide (or swimming in our own pool), going to Busch Gardens and going on the rides, and playing bowling on the computer. We have shared many other experiences together. It has been a joy teaching him, training him, and seeing him grow and improve in different areas. The rest of the family also enjoys his active personality, and yet there are times of correction and discipline.

For the past 5 weeks, I've been teaching the college-level course, Book of Acts, to six interns from One Accord School of Ministry. They have also asked me to teach Apologetics for the next semester, so I will continue to be busy studying, teaching, and pouring my life into these worthwhile students. At the same time, I have been, and will be, working on my final class for my B.S. degree at North Central University. My Senior Project will consist of a 30-60 page essay on The Theology of Work and Its Practical Applications. I have already bought about 150 books related to this topic. (Perhaps I need to limit my reading if I hope to finish the essay by the beginning of 2007 and graduate in May of 2007) Having receive an "A" in the previous class, Value and Meaning in Literature, I am still maintaining a 3.95 GPA as I go into the final stretch.

Marsha is now working part-time for Ann Taylor Loft in Citrus Town Center. She enjoys selling ladies clothes (and buying them). She has been speaking a couple times a month at different events, and Marsha will be ministering at the District Assemblies of God Women's Meeting this weekend. Being the mother of two boys has kept her busier than she would have ever thought.

Marsha and I have been teaching the Single Adults Sunday School class at Victorious Life Church ever since we have been back from Kazakhstan.

Isaac has been attending High School as a ninth grader. He has been helping the HS football team, and he enjoys being a part of the team.

Margaret has been editing her book (with Doug's help) that describes her adventures in Africa as a missionary. As always, she is helpful in preparing the evening meals.

 

Date: July 21, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Dimitri and I are back from Kazakhstan!
I've updated the figures and events on our Adoption in Kazakhstan page.
All the e-mails that we sent to friends updating them on our adoption journey can be found on our Adoption in Kazakhstan E-mails page (along with a few pictures).

Everything went as planned (from the schedule given in our previous e-mail), and our adoption of 6-year old Dimitri Joseph Woolley is complete. He arrived home on Wednesday evening, July 19th. The household members greeted Dimitri and I at the Tampa Airport along with my mother, Sigrid. Everyone in our family and extended family is very pleased with Dimitri. He is excited about life and about being in our family. He charms almost everyone with his friendly personality and his enthusiastic exploration of his new world.

Marsha did a great job arranging Dimitri's room while I was gone for one week. We missed each other very much but kept in touch via phone. What an experience it was for me to be with a new child (who only speaks Russian), 24-hours a day, for 6 days! While it was good, it is very good to be at home now with the support of others!

 

Date: July 12, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Today, right now, I am leaving for the airport to travel back to Kazakhstan to pick up Dimitri. Please pray that all goes well. If so, then,

I arrive in Almaty on July 14th, Friday, at 5:15 AM, then travel to Kostanai and then to Rudny to pick up Dimitri and stay for 2 nights in Kostanai. On Sunday morning, we fly to Almaty.
Monday, July 17th - medical exam
Tuesday, July 18th - Visa interview
Wednesday, July 19th - fly out of Almaty with Dimitri back to Tampa, FL, USA!

Marsha has been getting his room ready for his arrival. Since only 1 of us is required to return to Kazakhstan to finalize the adoption and bring Dimitri back, Marsha will be staying home. (It also saves us $2400 and it is a tough trip).

 

Date: June 29, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

On June 26, we officially became parents to 6-year old Dimitri Joseph Woolley. The two week appeal process ended on the 26th. Our "power of attorney" was able to fill out paperwork in Kazakhstan to obtain his new birth certificate with our names on it. This was obtained today, June 29th, along with an adoption certificate. He will also obtain a Kazakhstan passport. Once the paperwork is complete in about 2 weeks, we will return to Almaty, Kazakhstan and meet Dimitri. There we will have an American doctor give Dimitri a physical exam which is then needed for an IR-3 immigrant Visa to the U.S., which would be obtained the following day. Hopefully, we can leave for America the day after getting the visa!

My Sudoku computer program version 2.2 is now available on my Sudoku page.

 

Date: June 22, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

We have posted all the e-mails we sent to our friends during our adoption journey. These E-mails were sent to our friends to inform them of our adoption journey and to provide a focus for which to pray for us. We appreciated that support! Although the change of the law in Kazakhstan took us by surprise, it did not take God by surprise. We believe that God used it to direct us on the path He wanted us to take.
I've updated the figures on our Adoption in Kazakhstan.

During our trip (and afterwards), both Marsha and I read through the long novel by Russian Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. I've completed my final essay for my NCU course, Value & Meaning in Literature, entitled Father Zossima's World View in The Brothers Karamazov. The essay can also be referenced on my theology corner (both in html and pdf formats). Having taken the final exam the day before, I am now complete with this class. I only have one class remaining for an Interdisciplinary Studies B.S. degree at North Central University. I anticipate that it will take me a whole year to complete my Senior Project and thus I plan to graduate in May of 2007. Our family is planning to be at the graduation ceremony in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It will be extra fun since Dimitri's close friend from the orphanage (who was adopted by a family in South Saint Paul, MN a year ago) is in the area where we are going, so they will be able to meet once again and Marsha and I will enjoy socializing with the family.

 

Date: June 13, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Pictures from our trip to Holland and Kazakhstan are now viewable on our Vacations page! We have chosen to adopt 6-year old Dimitri. The judge in Kazakhstan ruled favorably on our behalf. We will return to Kazakhstan to pick him up in the early part of July. I've updated the "latest news" on our Adoption in Kazakhstan from the latest e-mail that was sent prior to leaving Kazakhstan. Much more details will follow shortly.

 

Date: May 6, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

We are on our way to Kazakhstan for our adoption! We sent an e-mail to our friends on our list yesterday updating everyone of our adoption plans. If for some reason you did not receive that e-mail and would like to receive the latest news and picture(s) of the children we select (perhaps after May 11th), please contact me of your interest, and I will include you on the e-mail distribution for this purpose. You may see the details of our adoption on our web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan.

The latest version of my Sudoku Puzzle program (v2.1 on 5/3/06) can be downloaded from my Sudoku v2 page. I will spend the next month (overseas) not updating it; Instead both of us will read two books related to adopting toddlers & attachment/bonding and then I will focus on my studies for Value & Meaning in Literature by reading The Brothers Karamazov, written by Russian Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and writing an essay on "Father Zossima's world view." Maybe I will solve a few Sudoku puzzles from the one puzzle book that I will bring.

Marsha and I met with Isaac's teachers and administrators for a yearly performance review. Isaac is doing very well in this school. They had many nice things to say about Isaac. While he is still struggling with math (and is far below his 8th grade level for it), he is reading at a 9th grade level, which impressed everyone there who knows him! We are pleased with his performance and the help and attention he is receiving at his new school.

Margaret has been driving again. She is recovering nicely from her knee surgery from several months ago.

 

Date: April 27, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Our Letter of Invitation to travel to Kazakhstan for our adoption has arrived!!!!!! We are being requested to arrive in the city/region of Kostanay on May 10th. This means that we need to fly into Almaty, Kazakhstan on May 8th or 9th. Things are moving quickly!  Once in the region, we will probably select two young children (boy & girl), trusting the Lord to guide us. We are required by their law to bond with the children for two weeks prior to the court hearing. (This should be enjoyable). All this, with our travel, may take 3 - 4 weeks. Since there is a two week appeal process after the court hearing, Marsha and I plan to return home during those two weeks and get prepared for our new addition(s) to the family. (I, Doug, will go back to work at Verizon for those two weeks). When the time is ready, we will go back to Kostanay, Kazakhstan to finalize the adoption and return with our child(ren). This 2nd trip may only take a week or two. You may see the details on our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan.

I have been spending a lot of time in the off-hours enhancing my Visual Basic .NET program to solve the Sudoku puzzle. I have made many enhancements to the program, and now it is able to solve any puzzle in the world (given that it is solvable). The program will solve most puzzles within a second, while solving the very hardest ones may take a few minutes. It has turned out to be a very enjoyable game as well, for the user. It also shows the user step-by-step how to solve the puzzle, using particular strategies. Feel free to surf onto my Sudoku v2 page, check out it's features, and download a copy of my newly released Sudoku v2.1 program.
It uses the new .NET 2.0 framework that comes with Visual Studio 2005. The framework can be simply downloaded from Microsoft's web site, enabling you to run the Sudoku program. Instructions are on my Sudoku v2 page.

 

Date: April 11, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Concerning our adoption process, yesterday we were e-mailed by Adoption Ark saying that "the region informed our representative that they will invite you in May. There is no more info provided--they just told that they will see you in the region in May and they will provide the LOI [Letter of Invitation] for you to be able to travel." Marsha was excited since our travel plans seem to be definite for the month of May. You may see the details on our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan.

Marsha and I have been teaching the Single Adults' Sunday School class for the past month, and things are going very well. For the past two weeks, we have been teaching about crisis (especially as the relate to relationships) and the "slippery slope" timeline of a crisis. A person can become bitter or better through the crisis, the difference between the two words is the letter "i"-- I make the difference (in my attitude) whether I will be come bitter or better from a crisis. Each class member received a copy of my essay that I did for my Crisis Counseling class in 1999, entitled Crisis Counseling Theory and Intervention, which can also be found on my theological corner.

I was ecstatic to receive a 100 on my mid-term essay for Value and Meaning of Literature. The professor wrote, "Very well done--You have an excellent writing style. Nice sentence variety. Your ideas are thoroughly developed. Wonderful!" This is a big improvement from my English & Literature days in High School! The essay is entitled Comparison of the Novels by C. S. Lewis and Albert Camus, and can be found on my theological corner.  I have started reading the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Marsha was suppose to have surgery on March 22nd, but something wonderful happened instead. She shares, "On March 20th, I had an appointment with my doctor for a pre-op consultation. My surgery was scheduled for Wednesday the 22nd at 2:45p. As most people know, a pre-op is a formality prior to surgery where consent forms are signed and blood work is drawn. Dr. Wilkerson also ordered a last ultrasound to see the size of the ovarian cyst. It had been around 8.5 cm and had been growing at a rate of 1.5 cm per week. The ultrasound was performed and the tech did say it was smaller but I presumed not small enough because all the forms were then presented to me. When I had asked my doctor if a cyst this size could dissipate he had said 'no, not usually when they get to this size.' I signed so many forms: 1) explanatory surgery consent  2) consent for removal of cyst and ovary  3) consent for removal of both ovaries and uterus and on and on. I then waited and waited. The nurse said he would explain all the procedures to me when he came in. When Dr. Wilkerson came in he had a big smile and jokingly hit me with my chart and said 'What did you do? -- Pray for a miracle all weekend? The cyst has shrunk significantly. It's barely 5 cm at its widest point and the center is completely clear. The rest will dissipate into your body. I don't see any reason to perform the surgery.' Praise God!!!
Addendum: On April 17th, Marsha had a follow-up appointment and the doctor said that the cyst is all gone!

For the past two weeks, Marsha has been working/training at Bealls in New Tampa, as an area manager--overseeing multiple departments within a store. Once the training is complete, she will work at the store on Dale Mabry.

The extended family is back from their cruise. They enjoyed themselves. My nephew Ryan got me hooked on Sudoku when he showed me his book that he was bringing on the cruise. It seems to be the "Rubik's Cube of the 21st century." The Suduko puzzle consists of a 9x9 grid of squares with some of the digits 1 through 9 placed in the grid. The object is to place the digits 1 through 9 in all the other empty squares so that each row, column, and 3x3 sub-grid has the digits used exactly once. Since people use logic to systematically solve this puzzle, I figured that this puzzle would be a good project to program into the computer. I have been learning Visual Basic .NET 2003 for the past two months and needed a good project to put into practice the principles I have been learning. After 24 hours, I was able to put together a functional version of the Sudoku game. For the past two weeks, I have been enhancing it to be a fully functional game with a graphical user interface. It also serves as a tool to solve the puzzle. It is able to solve all but the hardest puzzles and deliver a step-by-step solution with strategies for the user.
Addendum: On April 20th, I have created a Sudoku v2 page.

Margaret's had her knee surgery on February 28th at Tampa General Hospital. She has made good progress in recovering and her physical therapist said today that she would not need to return to help her since she is doing so well. It will still be a few weeks before Margaret can drive.

Isaac has been riding the bus for the past two weeks, ever since Marsha started working. I assisted him onto the bus the first day (to give the bus driver the permission slip from his school that he can take the bus). Marsha had also written a little note asking the driver for Isaac to sit closer to the front due to his instability in walking. The bus driver assigned him the first seat. All is well.

 

Date: March 17, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

Concerning our adoption process, we were just notified that our dossier was approved by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kazakhstan! The paperwork is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Education and Science, and Alla at Adoption Ark says "it can be released [approved] very soon, maybe in a few days or next week and forwarded to the region." Thus, we may obtain our Letter of Invitation to travel to Kazakhstan to adopt our children within the next three weeks or so. You may see the details on our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan.

I am still working at Verizon as a Systems Engineer, overseeing and monitoring half of all the mainframe applications that run for Verizon. As of this past week, we have a new manager (Tom Crane) whom I had the privilege of meeting when I traveled to NY, MA, and NJ to give ESP training. This will be the first time that I (and my co-workers) are reporting to a manager that resides outside the state.

I was delighted to receive a score of 100 on my 2nd exam in the course Value and Meaning of Literature. I just completed my midterm essay for the class entitled Comparison of the Novels by C. S. Lewis and Albert Camus, which shows similarities and differences in the way they refer to the Genesis account of the fall of humanity. To read my class essays, visit my theological corner. Now I will need to tackle the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Marsha and I have been asked by the pastoral staff at Victorious Life Church to teach the Single Adults Sunday School class (at the recommendation of the previous Single's Pastor) since the Single's Pastor just moved out of state. Marsha was excited about this opportunity to meet the needs of these wonderful people. As a result, we will be relinquishing our responsibilities for the New Believers class (that we've taught for 2 years) as of this Sunday.

Marsha has been offered an area manager position with Bealls, overseeing multiple departments. Originally she was scheduled to start working there in the middle of March, after taking care of Margaret for a few weeks after her knee surgery. However, now Marsha will need to have surgery due to a large cyst on her ovary that is causing her pain in her stomach.  The doctor has scheduled the surgery for Wednesday, March 22nd. We are hoping that she will recover quickly so that she can travel comfortably to Kazakhstan once we receive our final approval and Letter of Invitation.

Marsha was the featured speaker at a large Women's Conference, hosted by VLC for the AG sectional area. The meetings went well. She also spoke at New Beginnings Fellowship in Tampa as Pastor Paul & Claire Hollis were on a cruise.

Speaking about cruises, my mom (Sigrid), my brother (Brad), and my other brother (Craig) and his family (wife, kids, mother-in-law) are all going on a week-long cruise, departing from Cape Canaveral. All excited, the gang will hook up the night before at the Radisson Resort at the Port. I will drive my mom there tomorrow, and on the way I will visit a long-time friend, Charlie Crisafulli, on Merritt Island. He served as the a national director and state chairman for Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International a decade ago. He was instrumental in mentoring me in the fellowship. Coming close to 90 years of age, he is still healthy and active, living on 40 beautiful acres. It will be nice to have lunch and fellowship with Charlie and Beverly tomorrow at their place. They were very much hoping that Marsha would join us but she will need to stay at home to assist her mother Margaret who is recovering from surgery.

Margaret's had her knee surgery on February 28th at Tampa General Hospital. She has been home for the past 2 weeks and is recovering, but she says she is in a lot of pain. A nurse checks on her each day and helps her perform special exercises.

Isaac is still doing well in the public school in the New Tampa that he has been attending for the past two months. The next challenge will be having him ride the bus for the first time instead of being driven by mom to and from school. Marsha says that she enjoys driving him and spending time with him and it is not a long drive, like it was before when he attended the other school.

 

Date: February 25, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

On January 24th, I received sad news from Alla (at Adoption Ark) that our children in Kazakhstan (Vita & Russ) are no longer adoptable since their mother has been recently visiting them in the orphanage. Several hours later, after having some time to mourn, I delicately broke the news to Marsha who was totally heart-broken. Eventually we looked on the bright-side in that we can now choose a child or two that is much younger--perhaps a toddler or a baby. While the option of "unofficially pre-selecting" a child is no longer available with Adoption Ark (due to changes in the adoption process), once we are approved by Kazakhstan (perhaps in March), Adoption Ark will send our paperwork (and us) to a region that has the most children that meet our criteria--young boys and girls that are healthy.
We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails!  (We trust God to guide us!)
You may see the details on our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan.

I completed a course on Apologetics via North Central University, receiving an "A" in the class and a 100 on the essay. In fact, the professor wrote, "Excellent paper! One of the most complete, and most well written papers I've seen on this topic. Good bibliography of references. Very interesting to read! Good work!" For those interested, my essay explaining Apologetics may be read on my Theology Corner page (in either HTML or PDF format). My transcript page has been updated to include the latest "A", maintaining a 3.95 GPA. Currently, I am finishing a course on the Value and Meaning of Literature.

Marsha closed the stores of Casual Corner and Petite Sophisticate at Citrus Park Mall at the end of January. She is now receiving about two months of severance pay. She has just been offered an area manager position with Bealls, overseeing multiple departments. She said that she would start working there in the middle of March, after taking care of Margaret for a few weeks after her anticipated February 28th knee surgery. Marsha is the featured speaker at a large Women's Conference, hosted by VLC for the AG sectional area. She is excited about it and is studying and preparing prayerfully.

Isaac has transitioned to a new public school in the New Tampa area where we live. Marsha resisted the idea of taking him out of the private school and into the "L--" school. As I persistently argued the benefits of him going to this new school, she would often interrupt and say, "Don't say that 'L' word!" After obtaining much assistance from the staff at the new school, Marsha was persuaded to have Isaac try the new school. Marsha picked up Isaac from his first day and Isaac was crying and said he hated it because the school is so big (1600+ students) and he had trouble getting from class to class. Marsha was frustrated and upset, but Isaac went back to school the next day and enjoyed the school tremendously. He loves his teachers, who think the world of him. He has been enjoying the school every day for the past month! His mom is elated! The classes have been tailored for his special needs, and he has been placed in a regular reading class, since they have noticed that this is a strong area of his!

Margaret's surgery on her knee is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th. She will be in Tampa General Hospital for about 3 days. Marsha has planned it to be off from work for the first 2 weeks after this to care for her mom, though there will be some hospital staff members who will also check up on Margaret.

 

Date: January 9, 2006

 

 

Dear Reader,

We are thrilled! We just found out that on January 5th (the day before the Russian observance of Christmas), the Kazakhstan Embassy in D.C. approved our adoption dossier and has sent it on its way to Kazakhstan to be reviewed and approved by 2 other ministries: the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education. Afterwards, the documents will land into the region where our two children (Russ and Vita) are located and then a letter of invitation to travel will be prepared for us. According to Adoption Ark, Inc., we are the first ones to be approved since the new adoption requirements were recently put in place. They estimate that the rest of the approval process may take another 2 months, then we will travel to Kazakhstan for two trips, the first will last about 3 weeks and the second will be a month later and last about 1 week. You may see the details on our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan.

I completed a course on Apologetics via North Central University, scoring 96 on the final exam. For those interested, my essay explaining Apologetics may be read on my Theology Corner page (in either HTML or PDF format). Soon afterwards and at times simultaneously, I taught an 8-week course on Apologetics for One Accord School of Ministry. Marsha and I hosted the interns in the Apologetics class at our home for a nice dinner followed by a study session to review for their final exam. Pictures of this event and the class can be seen on my Teaching One Accord page. Currently, I am taking a course on the Value and Meaning of Literature and I have been reading one of C. S. Lewis' novels, Perelandra. Our family recently enjoyed the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, based on C. S. Lewis' book. We also enjoyed seeing the newly made movie King Kong. I have just enrolled for my last class prior to graduation: the Senior Project. I hope to complete both courses within the next 6 months and graduate Summa Cum Laude with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree (in essence, a Theology degree), after which I plan to matriculate in graduate school at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) in the Fall to eventually attain a Masters degree in Theology via distance education. In my spare time, I plan to continue to work 40 hours a week for Verizon as a Systems Engineer.

We enjoyed our Christmas celebration. After our family attended a 1-hour Christmas Eve service at Victorious Life Church in Wesley Chapel (with my mom and brother Brad), we went to my brother Craig's home to exchange gifts. We also brought Peanut (the poodle) to meet Rocky, their dog. It was fun having the dogs with us. Craig and Barbara were fantastic hosts and had great food for all of us!

Marsha is working at Citrus Park Mall until the end of the month, after which Casual Corner and Petite Sophisticate will be closing its doors nationwide. Marsha will receive about 2 months of salary as a severance package. On the ministry side, some doors seem to be opening up for Marsha within the AG in the district.

Isaac is still in his new private school. He spends half the day in his original class and half the day in a different class that is a bit more advanced.

Margaret's surgery on her knee has been postponed until the end of February.

 

Date: November 15, 2005

 

 

Dear Reader,

For the past two months, the Kazakhstan Embassy has been in the process of changing its requirements for internationals to adopt from their country. The new forms were disbursed to the adoption agencies last week and our adoption agency (Adoption Ark, Inc.) has put together the new forms that are required for us. We got a head start on two of the new requirements: (1) clearance from the FBI using our fingerprints, (2) medical clearance using a different list. We just completed the remaining 13 new documents and have had them notarized and apostilled (Marsha and my mom took them to Tallahassee on Nov. 15th). Via FedEx, I have just sent the entire dossier and 3 copies of it to Adoption Ark for translation and delivery to the Kazakhstan Embassy in D.C., after which it will take about 3 to 4 months before we are approved by the ministries in Kazakhstan to adopt. However, once approved, we can immediately travel to the country to pick up our precious children: Vita and Russ.

Please see our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan!

Marsha and I just returned from a one week vacation in Maui, Hawaii. We stayed at the beautiful Four Seasons Resort on the Wailea coast. You may view a slide show of our 200+ pictures in Maui and our mini-trip to the island of Lanai. Just click the link for our Maui trip on our Vacations page! This is probably our last vacation together without new additions to our family!

Traveling to Freehold, New Jersey on business for Verizon in September,  I (Doug) provided technical training on ESP (Enterprise Systems Platform) to 20+ technicians, using training documentation that I had developed in Tampa prior to my trip. A picture and description of my work at Freehold Data Center can be seen on Doug's Work Life page.

Marsha and I hosted the interns in the Book of Acts class at our home for a nice dinner followed by a study session to review for their final exam. At the same time, we celebrated my birthday. Pictures of this event and the class can be seen on my Teaching One Accord page. Currently I am finishing a course on Apologetics, and I just started teaching a course on Apologetics to the One Accord group. I am also taking a course on the Value and Meaning of Literature and I have been reading one of C. S. Lewis' novels, Perelandra.

Marsha is still working at Citrus Park Mall, though it is becoming clearer that Casual Corner and Petite Sophisticate will be closing its doors at the end of January. Marsha was just quoted her severance package amount, if she stays till the end. The last days can be tough, so we are hoping she can endure to the end.

Isaac enjoys his new private school. The teacher thinks that Isaac is doing so well in his class that he should be placed in a different class within his school. This may happen soon. Driving Isaac to and from school each day has been a difficult journey, but Marsha and Margaret are both motivated to help Isaac to get the special attention he is getting at this school. Maybe he will return to a school in New Tampa next year?

Margaret's surgery on her knee has been postponed until January.

 

Date: September 19, 2005

 

 

Dear Reader,

Although we were led to pursue an adoption in Ukraine from October 2004 through August 2005, it seemed that the adoption process became much less efficient and there have been far fewer healthy children from which to select (based on the group newsletters that are distributed daily from Ukrainian Angels, Inc.). Many more couples were coming home from Ukraine without having selected a child they could live with. Additionally, we received a letter from the National Adoption Center (NAC) in July 2005 stating that an invitation letter will be sent to us in December or January for an appointment in 2006 since all appointments in 2005 are taken. Disappointing. You may view our Adoption in Ukraine page for details.

Additionally, it seems that the NAC is experiencing many organizational changes. Also, just recently, the president of Ukraine announced that there would be organizational changes in his government to combat existing corruption, with several top-level persons being fired or resigning. Due to the delay of our appointment, our dossier documents will be expiring and need to be redone prior to traveling to Ukraine. Thus, since the documents need to be redone anyway, it seems that now would be a good time to simply switch to a different country that would require us to update our documents as well. Previously, independent adoption in Ukraine was ideal as it saved much money. However, since finding out that our companies and the IRS will cover $44,000 in expenses for 2 children, money is not as big an issue. Thus we are willing to work with a reputable adoption agency that works in another Eastern European area.  At this point, we feel that by going through our adoption agency and changing to Kazakhstan, we have a much better chance of adopting healthy children and having a pleasant experience.

In the latter part of August 2005, Marsha was directed by a coworker to checkout an adoption web site called www.precious.org. From there she and I found two adorable children that can be unofficially pre-selected from Kazakhstan via Adoption Ark, Inc. These two children are siblings. As of August 2005, Russ is 6 and his sister Vita is 7 1/2. They are described as healthy and intelligent. After thought and prayer, we believe that God is now guiding us in this direction and that these two children should be part of our family.

Please see our new web page entitled Adoption in Kazakhstan!

I, Doug, am currently teaching the Book of Acts in the One Accord School of Ministries, while at the same time, taking and finishing a course on Apologetics. Putting together all the forms for the adoption is very detail oriented and time-consuming, but this second time around is much easier. Marsha is working at Citrus Park Mall, though rumor has it that Casual Corner may be bought or sold off. Isaac enjoys his new private school, but he has been ill during the past two weeks so he has been at home and visiting multiple doctor specialists. He is doing fine and should be going back to school very soon. Margaret is planning to have surgery on her knee in the beginning of November.

Isaac will be starting a new school in August. It is a school that has a wonderful reputation in helping special needs children. Margaret is doing well, though now that our adoption is postponed to 2006, she is planning to have surgery on her knee. She is also writing a book on the computer that documents her life story. Our dog Peanut has become addicted to the doggie treats called "greenies" that Marsha loves to give him. These green chewable toothbrushes also clean his teeth and supposedly give him fresher breath, though only Marsha tests that out.

 

Date: July 23, 2005

 

 

Dear Reader,

Our letter requesting an adoption appointment (between July and October, 2005 or ASAP) was given to Ukraine's NAC on May 28th. Having waited patiently (and at moments anxiously) for our appointment date from the NAC, we did receive a letter from the NAC yesterday. However, they state that they will provide us with an invitation letter in December or January for a date in 2006. Marsha and I were disappointed, especially since we were opening the letter with anticipation of finding out our date of travel. The English contents of the letter from the Director states the following:

The Adoption Center has received your proposals concerning possible time of your visit to the Center. As the final schedule of visits with the purpose of studying the orphan children databank in 2005 for foreign citizens being the prospective adoptive parents have already been approved, your proposals may be considered only in 2006. The invitation letter concerning the approval of the date of your visit to the Center will be sent to you in December 2005 - January 2006.

We pray that the Lord will guide us according to His will. To see the details and the latest on our adoption journey, please see our Adoption in Ukraine page.

On the bright side, Marsha and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary on June 3rd at an extra special place (Victoria & Albert's) with some special friends (Pastor Tracy & Denise Larson)! You may view the pictures and the update on our anniversaries page.

Having completed a course in Church History II, I have posted two of the required essays on my Theology Corner page. I just received the grade back from the main essay entitled Origins and Early Growth of the Pentecostal Movement and the Assemblies of God. Encouraging to me, the professor gave the six-page essay a "100" with the following comments:

Excellent paper! One of the most complete, and most well written, papers I've seen on this topic. Good bibliography of references. Very interest to read! Good work!

On my Audio Sermons page, I've added a short sermon that I preached in November of 2001 entitled Dealing with Crisis. I've also added a recording of Isaac's first time preaching (sort of) when he was about 5 years old. I have added a page that shows Marsha's College transcripts from her freshman year at Southeastern Bible College in Lakeland, FL. My university transcripts have been updated also to include an "A" in Church History II. I am currently enrolled in Value and Meaning in Literature. I have about 2 classes left for another Bachelor of Science degree--this one in Theology (actually called Interdisciplinary Studies). Having searched for an accredited Graduate School to attend afterwards, I found Southwestern Assemblies of God University to be very accommodating. They will grant a 36-hour Masters of Theology in NT for work done via correspondence! Not many accredited schools have a non-residency requirement for grad work. Besides growing and learning from the courses, the degree would enable me to teach Bible classes adjunct in a University.

Since my brother Brad has discontinued using AOL, he has relinquished his web page to me, and thus I've added a page to describe the world of Brad.

Isaac will be starting a new school in August. It is a school that has a wonderful reputation in helping special needs children. Margaret is doing well, though now that our adoption is postponed to 2006, she is planning to have surgery on her knee. She is also writing a book on the computer that documents her life story. Our dog Peanut has become addicted to the doggie treats called "greenies" that Marsha loves to give him. These green chewable toothbrushes also clean his teeth and supposedly give him fresher breath, though only Marsha tests that out.

 

Date: May 20, 2005

  Dear Reader,

We received news from the National Adoption Center (NAC) in Kiev, Ukraine on May 18th via letter (and by e-mail from our liaison) that we have been approved to proceed with the Adoption and to request a date for an appointment with the NAC!!! We have completed our "request for appointment" letter and have sent it to our facilitator in Ukraine via FedEx. She will translate it and deliver it to the NAC. We are requesting an appointment date somewhere between July and October of 2005, yet it could be later than that. We hope to adopt a boy and a girl under the age of 7, preferably even younger. To see the details and the latest on our adoption journey, please see our Adoption in Ukraine page.

Traveling to Andover, Massachusetts on business for Verizon in May,  I provided technical training on ESP (Enterprise Systems Platform) to 10 technicians, using training documentation that I had developed in Tampa prior to my trip. A picture and description of my work at Andover Data Center can be seen on Doug's Work Life page. In addition to working 3 days and nights, I also managed to travel to Boston, to New Hampshire and to Maine with Marsha, who came for the first two days of the trip. We visited Uncle Cliff in New Hampshire and we ate at the fabulous Cliff's House Resort & Spa in Ogunquit, Maine. You may view the pictures on our vacations page under New England 2005.

 

Date: May 7, 2005

  Dear Reader,

We are still praying that we will hear positive news from the National Adoption Center (NAC) in Kiev, Ukraine within the next few weeks. If approved, we will then set an appointment with the NAC to travel to Ukraine to adopt a boy and a girl under the age of 7, preferably even younger. To see the details and the latest on our adoption journey, please see our Adoption in Ukraine page.

Traveling to New York on business for Verizon in April,  I provided technical training on ESP (Enterprise Systems Platform) to technicians, a project lead, and a technical manager at Blue Hill, using training documentation that I had developed in Tampa prior to my trip. A picture and description of my work at Blue Hill Data Center can be seen on Doug's Work Life page. In addition to working 3 days and nights, I also managed to visit a friend of the family in NYC (Alice Herber) and some relatives in Croton-on-Hudson (Rich and Sharon Woolley). I also passed by Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY, where I was born (the town was named North Tarrytown in 1966) and I have included a picture of it on the page About Doug.

Our family just returned from a brief vacation to Disney World in Kissimmee, Florida. You may view the pictures on our vacations page under Disney World in April 2005.

Realizing that the interns will be having a summer break soon, I have put together a page that describes my three semesters of teaching in One Accord School of Ministry and have posted a few of the pictures taken of the interns as they came over to our home and fellowshipped with us over dinner.

 

Date: April 12, 2005

  Dear Reader,

Our dossier (of translated documents for the adoption in Ukraine) was received and registered by the National Adoption Center (NAC) in Kiev, Ukraine on April 12, 2005! We were notified of this via e-mail from our translator Julia (residing in Orlando, FL) who was contacted by Valentina, our facilitator in Ukraine, who submitted the documents to the NAC. Considering that some applicants have been waiting for months to be registered, we are fortunate to have been registered within one month of trying to submit the documents to the NAC, and we thank the Lord for the answer to this prayer.

We are still praying to adopt a boy and a girl under the age of 7, preferably even younger. To see the details and the latest on our adoption journey, please see our Adoption in Ukraine page.

A page has been created for Marsha's dad, the late William Earl Lovick (nicknamed Bill).  After a full year of work, I have finished converting over 160 hours of sermons of Dr. Bill Lovick (from 1978-81) from audio cassettes to MP3 files, and have placed them on 5 CDs. I am excited about this new technology and the ability to preserve a rich heritage of Biblical preaching from a pastor & missionary who positively impacted the lives of thousands of people, including Marsha. There is link from his page to a list of the contents of 5 CDs of Dr. Bill Lovick's sermons, each packed with 33 hours of sermons in MP3 file format. Also, I have placed an excellent sermon/testimony of Dr. Lovick on his page that describes the Lovick's missionary journeys and another audio clip that gives a short introduction (by the music minister) describing Dr. Lovick as "probably the most sought after missionary speaker in the world!"

 

Date: March 17, 2005

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) took a vacation trip to Kiev, Ukraine and to Germany (Darmstadt & Frankfurt). You may view the 200 pictures from our journey via a slide show on our vacations page under Ukraine 2005 Feb. We spent a lovely 24 hours in Germany with my distant relative, Irma Stammberger (her web page has been updated with our recent visit). Irma cooked delicious bratwurst for us for lunch, took us site seeing, helped us buy some nice boots for the snow in Ukraine (and in Germany), treated us to a superb restaurant (Altes Schalthaus), and then provided a room in her home in which to sleep. Next, we spent 3 days in Kiev, Ukraine, where Roman Korniyko and Ruslan Malyuta picked us up, took us site seeing, and provided a place for us to stay at Father's House, in which they serve as the president and vice-president, respectively. On the next day, we attended their Sunday morning church service and saw a baptism ceremony for about 20 adults. Afterwards, we met Lyuda Litvin, an excellent translator with Father's House, and we attended a church service at the Embassy of God (the largest Evangelical Charismatic church in Europe with 20,000 members) and Marsha and I had the privilege of meeting with Pastor Sunday Adelaja, at his request after the service. After a wonderful time of fellowship in his office, he invited Marsha and I to share/minister to the leadership of the 2,000 home groups that would meet the following night for their monthly leaders meeting at the church. Next, we treated Roman & Natasha, Ruslan & Anya, and Lyuda Litvin to a nice Steak restaurant. On the next day, Lyuda, took around town and we experienced the Metro. We also met two professional ladies (with lots of international adoption experience) who will serve as our facilitator and translator for our adoption in Ukraine, when we return in the summer (hopefully). In the evening, Lyuda took us to the Embassy of God where Marsha and I ministered to the leadership. What an experience! The next morning, we said goodbye to our friends and the children at the orphanage of Father's House and went to the Borispol Airport in Kiev to fly home. Unfortunately, our passports were stolen out of my handbag attached to my luggage carry-on. Perhaps it happened as we were shuttled like cattle onto the crowded bus that took us to our plane. I noticed that my entire black folder containing our passports was missing after we had landed in Frankfurt and we were about transfer to our plane to the U.S. What an ordeal! We had to sleep in the terminal since we could not leave the airport (reminds us of The Terminal movie with Tom Hanks, which we bought and watched when we arrived home). In the morning, the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt worked with us to leave the airport and obtain new passports at the consulate. It cost us a bit of money for the visa to leave the airport, the taxi rides, the new passports, pictures, storage for luggage, but we were relieved to have passports that allowed us to return home! United Airlines was so nice and understanding about our situation that they waived the ticket change-fee (that their partner Lufthansa had charged us for changing the itinerary). We were glad to arrive home, precisely 24 hours later than originally anticipated. Pictures of our adventure can be seen on our vacations page under Ukraine 2005 Feb.

Concerning the adoption process, we received approval from the State of Florida and from the U.S. Government (Homeland Security) to proceed with the adoption. All our dossier documents were apostilled by the Secretary of State (Florida) and we received our documents just hours prior to flying to Ukraine on vacation on Feb. 24th. While in Kiev, we chose a facilitator and translator who will help us with the adoption process in Ukraine. We hand-delivered to Valentina and Alla our documents along with some money to have them translated and notarized and submitted to the National Adoption Center (NAC). Because of the vast number of people wanting to adopt, the NAC regulates the number of adoptions each week and randomly selects applications once a week on Tuesdays. We are just waiting for the day that our dossier will be selected for registration and to be reviewed, with the hopes that they will approve us for adoption. We still would like to adopt a boy and a girl under the age of 7, preferably even younger. To see the details and the latest on our adoption journey, please see our Adoption in Ukraine page.

Marsha, Isaac, and Margaret drove to Alabama where Marsha was the main speaker at a Missions Banquet in Eufaula during the weekend of March 5th. This left Doug and Peanut to fend for themselves at home.

For the past 6 weeks, we hosted a home group session at our home for the 40 Days of Purpose. During the two weeks that Marsha and I were away (in D.C. or in Ukraine), Margaret facilitated and led the session, which she was happy to do. I know that I grew spiritually as a result of the 40 days of devotional reading from Rick Warren's book, and we developed some closer relationships with those who participated in the weekly sessions.

I, Doug, have just finished teaching (for the 3rd semester in a row) a college Bible class to the interns of One Accord Ministries. This semester the course was Biblical Interpretation or basically, Hermeneutics. We wrapped things up for the interns with a pizza party and study session for the final exam at our home. I am now able to focus on my own personal studies once again and to finish my Church History II course.

 

Date: February 13, 2005

  Dear Reader,

Marsha, Isaac and I (Doug) took a vacation trip to Washington D.C. We stayed for 3 nights at the Crystal City Hilton hotel, where the FGBMFI regional D.C. convention was being held. In addition to attending and participating in the convention, we did have a chance to go site seeing and visit some historical places. Isaac enjoyed seeing some places and buildings that he had only seen on TV. Many pictures from our journey can be seen on our vacations page under Washington D.C. 2005.

Serving as a National Director for FGBMFI, I wanted to attend this special convention that honored our military. During the board meeting, I shared about the internet and web sites to 40 other directors (and special guests) in attendance. Marsha was given the opportunity to sing two songs at the convention that blessed many people. Isaac was having quite a few pains in his head and had to skip the last evenings sessions. Bob Bassler from Indiana felt led of the Lord to ask permission to visit Isaac in his room and share with him and then pray for him. Isaac felt better and was encouraged spiritually.

We also had an opportunity to visit Word of Life Assembly of God for their Sunday morning service and Pastor Wendel Cover invited Marsha to sing a song for the congregation. Afterwards, Pastor Cover and his wife Lois took us out to Mike's American Grill for a delicious meal and wonderful fellowship. Marsha, Isaac and I all had a great time in D.C. and in Virginia.

Our church, Victorious Life Church, is participating in 40 Days of Purpose, and Margaret, Marsha and I are hosts for one of a hundred home groups that are meeting together to study Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life. Each day for 40 days, every participant commits to reading one chapter of devotional material in the book, enabling spiritual growth as we discover why God created us and discover our true reason and purpose for life! Since Marsha and I were in D.C. last week, Margaret hosted the group and led the discussion with those in attendance at our home. Each week we also view a 20 minute video teaching by Rick Warren. This week, I led the study and discussion. We have four more meetings (total of 6 weeks or 40 days). Margaret will again host the group when Marsha and I are in Ukraine at the end of the month.

Marsha and I have made great progress on our Adoption paperwork! All documents were submitted for the Home Study and we have been approved by the State of Florida to adopt! Next, we have also submitted all our paperwork to Homeland Security (BCIS) and have gotten our fingerprints taken (along with Margaret's). Any day now, we expect to have an I-171H form sent to us stating that we are approved by the U.S. government to proceed with the adoption from Ukraine. After that, we will have our dossier (documents) apostilled and sent to our translators in Ukraine to translate the documents and submit them to the National Adoption Center in Kiev. Marsha and I will be taking a tourist trip to Kiev at the end of February to get acquainted with the country, culture, and people prior to our lengthy trip in the summer for the actual adoption. Once we are back from our short tourist trip, we will post the pictures on our site! Please see our Adoption in Ukraine page for our step-by-step international adoption journey.

 

Date: Christmas, 2004

  Dear Friends,

Looking over the past year, we were very blessed and had many positive experiences, in spite of starting the very first day of 2004  with an emergency brain surgery for Isaac. God has been faithful every step of the way, and even Isaac has had a good year! We've enjoyed seeing old friends on some of our trips and making new friends as we've reached out in new ways at church.

Marsha and I (Doug) were blessed to be able to take six major vacation trips, with five of the trips involving some ministry:

  •  Eatonton, Georgia (also Rockeagle, GA) 
  •  Washington D.C., Virginia, Luray Caverns
  •  Montreal, Canada (also Vermont and New Hampshire, for 4-year anniversary)
  •  Vancouver, Canada (also New Westminster, BC)
  •  Fort Lauderdale, Florida (also New Hope Church in Southwest Ranches)
  •  Niagara Falls, Canada (also Pennsylvania)

Marsha is still a supervisor for Casual Corner, having worked half the year at West Shore mall and half the year at Brandon mall. She enjoys her opportunities to minister approximately once a month, when the Lord opens the doors. We have been teaching the New Believer's Foundational class at Victorious Life Church for the past eight months.

I (Doug) still work for Verizon as a Systems Engineer and normally work 3 or 4 days a week from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. (night shift). On the side, I am pursuing a Bible Degree through North Central University, for which I only have a couple of classes left for another Bachelors degree. I completed a course in Music Appreciation, and I am currently enrolled in Church History II. It's been an honor to be asked to teach Sunday School at our church and to teach college-level Bible classes in One Accord Ministries. During the first semester, I taught the Sophomore interns the Book of Acts, and during the second semester I taught the Freshman interns New Testament Survey.

Back in March, I was asked (and volunteered) to be the webmaster for the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International web site, making good use of Macromedia's Dreamweaver that I had learned during the earlier part of the year. I also maintain several other personal and ministry web sites with Microsoft's Front Page, as I enjoy using computer skills that I have learned in order to benefit others.

Isaac is back in school after being out for a year due to his multiple surgeries and recovery. He seems to be adjusting well and making new friends at school. He continues to love watching baseball and the New York Yankees. During two months in the Spring, Isaac played golf once a week at a nearby Executive golf course.

Margaret is in good health, and looks younger and younger every day. She continues to be a wonderful cook and help with Isaac.

Peanut, our poodle, is approaching three years of age. He brings joy to the family and loves to play with Doug. Health wise, he is doing fine but his hind legs are not as strong and coordinated, and thus he has some trouble jumping onto taller sofas and beds. He is still the most enthusiastic member of the family and you'll find that out if you ever ring the doorbell.

Marsha and I hope to have a new addition to our family by this time next year, via adoption from Ukraine. We are looking forward to being parents to one or two young children, after we make a four week trip to Kiev, Ukraine and select a child or a sibling pair from the children we will meet. For the past two months, we have been filling out numerous forms required by the State of Florida, Homeland Security, and Ukraine. We pray that God will add to our joy by adding a child or two to our family.

May we all remember the joyous occasion of Christ being born over 2,000 years ago and how he lived, died, and rose from the dead as our Savior, enabling us to have a "right" relationship with the living God through faith in Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: December 14, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Our family, consisting of Doug, Marsha, Isaac, Margaret, Brad, and Miss Sigrid all went to Disney World on December 6th. We stayed at the Disney Hilton Hotel and at the Embassy Suites. On that evening, we journeyed into Epcot and went on Spaceship Earth, a fascinating ride that shows the history of the world and how different cultures and inventions came to be. Next, we walked quickly to the back of the park where we stood in line for 40 minutes to see the Candle Light Procession where Jim Caviezel was the narrator of the Christmas story. We were all in awe by the songs and especially the emotional delivery and intense conviction of Jim Caviezel, who had starred as Jesus in the Passion of the Christ movie. My mom, who has seen the show every year for the past 10 years or so, said that this was the best one she has seen--primarily because of the passion with which Jim shared the Christmas story. It is awesome to be in Epcot (and the rest of Disney World) during the Christmas season because they primarily play actual Christmas songs celebrating Jesus' birth and not just "holiday songs." On the next day, some family members failed to wake up on time to go to the park early, so we all went into MGM around noon. Our greatest thrill was being with Isaac as he rode on Tower of Terror for the first time, after being chicken of it for may years. Isaac liked it so much that he went on it a second time right after we took a picture of his first victory. Two pictures and a description of this adventure can be seen at the bottom of Isaac's page.

Margaret is so thankful for our friend Sarita Lange (realtor for Bible Based Real Estate in Orlando) for referring her to a realtor in Virginia Beach (Wendy) who helped to sell Margaret's lot there. To Margaret, this was a miracle because the land could not be built upon because it was "land locked property." However, the man who lives in front of the lot bought it to increase his property line. The deal will go through in January, Lord willing.

For the past 2 months, I (Doug) have been teaching a New Testament Survey course to eight student-interns from the freshman class of One Accord Ministries. We plan to have them over to our house for dinner and a study session to review the material just prior to their final exam.

Marsha and I are proceeding with our plans to adopt one or two young toddlers from Ukraine. We have begun the Home Study and the massive "paper chase." Further details of our progress can be seen on our adoption page. We plan to visit Kiev, Ukraine at the end of February for a few days, just to get a feel for the country and meet some of our contacts. This should prepare us for our 3+ week trip when we actually go to Ukraine to officially adopt. It is also very interesting to see Ukraine at the center of world news almost every other day as a result of the fraudulent elections this past November and the upcoming new elections for President on December 26th. We hope Yushenko will win, as he is pro-Western and pro-European, increasing our chances for good relations with the adoption process in Ukraine.

 

Date: November 2, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) have just returned from a wonderful trip to Niagara Falls and Pennsylvania. The first part of the trip became a romantic get-away, where we stayed in a suite on the 32nd floor of the Hilton Hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada, overlooking both falls. After eating dinner at the restaurant on the 33rd floor and walking along the river shore in the morning, we drove to Pennsylvania for the second part of our trip where we both shared our testimonies at the Meadville chapter of FGBMFI, hosted by Gary Sample, a National Director of FGBMFI. After visiting Gary and Dorothy at their home, we traveled to Cooksburg, Pennsylvania for the FGBMFI Fall Mountaintop Rally where Marsha and I were two of the main speakers for the 3 day event. We met many wonderful people including Dr. Steve Davis (an FBI chaplain who also spoke) and his wife Linda. Pictures of our trip to Niagara Falls and Pennsylvania can be seen on our vacations page. Two pictures from the FGBMFI Pennsylvania Rally have been added to the bottom of my FGBMFI Involvement page.

Marsha, Margaret, and I all voted for Bush in today's elections.

As a family, we hosted my 4 sophomore student-interns from my Book of Acts class. We provided them with a wonderful steak dinner at our home, cooked on Marsha's new grill. Fellowshipping with them was a pleasure, and it happened to coincide with my birthday dinner. These interns took their finals two weeks ago, and now I have been asked to teach another class for the freshman class of One Accord Ministries. I selected New Testament Survey, and I am enjoying it immensely! This class has 9 student-interns.

Marsha and I are considering adopting one or two young toddlers from Ukraine. We have several contacts, but we have not started the paperwork or the home study as of yet. I have started an adoption page for our journey and activities in the near future.

 

Date: September 28, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) and Isaac and Margaret and Peanut are still all fine. Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne came to our home with some tropical storm winds and rain, but we were spared of any real damage. We did have one tree that was knocked over and one of the screened panels on the pool cage was slightly ripped. We are thankful to the Lord and pray for those that may have suffered much more loss.

Recently, I have completed two major goals that I have had for a decade. First, as the author of a 778 page computer book, I have desired to make this available on the internet after converting the documents to the latest word processing format. All the Florida High School Computing Competition problems, judging criteria, and solutions (1985-1994) have now been converted into the latest version of Word and placed on the internet site as PDF files and as HTML files. The entire book (and additional chapters from different years' contests) are available for viewing at my FHSCC book page.

Second, all my seminary essays from Southeastern University (1992-1996) and North Central University (1996-2004) are available for viewing in both HMTL format and PDF format. The twenty-five seminary essays may be seen on my Theology Corner page. From a webmaster perspective, I incorporated Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to neatly format the HTML documents for these essays. The format of all of these essays can be modified by simply changing a few parameters in the CSS.

I have completed the Dreamweaver MX 2004 training book by Macromedia, and now I am occasionally learning about Flash MX 2004 through Marcomedia's training book. The Dreamweaver book was excellent, and the Flash book is just O.K.

For the past 5 weeks, I have been teaching a college-level course on the Book of Acts for One Accord ministries, held at Victorious Life Church. The four young students in the class are a joy to teach. We have another 4 weeks to go and are now focusing on the Apostle Paul's missionary journeys. The directors of the One Accord ministry have asked if I would teach another class during next semester that starts at the end of October. I am praying about this opportunity.

Isaac visited the hospital for a one-day planned surgery on his stomach in hopes of alleviating some of the minor pain he has been experiencing in the past few months due to his inner-tubing. The first two days after his surgery, he was at home and in pain, but he is recovering nicely and he is feeling good. It's likely that he will be returning to public school after his stitches are taken out in the next week or so.

Marsha is still working at Casual Corner and still has not been transferred back to her home-office in Brandon. Another opportunity has opened up for her to work for J. Jill clothing store. She really loves their products and a new store is opening up at the International Mall in Tampa.

Margaret recently had a blood vessel pop in her eye due to excessive sneezing and blowing of her nose. The doctors have helped her and God is healing her. Occasionally she types on the computer and adds more to her book documenting her life and experiences as a missionary in Africa.

Peanut has been put on a diet since his doctor feels that he is "fat."

 

Date: August 28, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) and Isaac and Margaret and Peanut are all fine. Hurricane Charley did not hit Tampa as it was previously predicted.

Tomorrow, Marsha and I and family will be hosting a Sunday School get-together at our home. As the teachers of the New Believer's class, we are looking forward to providing an opportunity for each person to develop closer relationships and to have a good meal! Marsha goes "all out" for these kinds of things.

Most of you already know that Marsha and I took a trip to Montreal Canada in honor of our 4-year anniversary and that we also took a trip to Vancouver Canada where Marsha ministered this past June.  Although pictures could be seen of our trip on our vacations page, depending upon your computer screen's resolution, the pictures may have been too large to see. Thus, I have reduced the viewing size of the pictures for the average viewer. If you have not seen these pictures, feel free to look at the slide shows for these two vacations on our vacations page.

In July, Marsha and I took a trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The main purpose of the trip was to attend my 20-year high school reunion, but we managed to visit family and friends and to minister at a church as well. Pictures of this wonderful trip can be seen on our vacations page under Ft. Lauderdale. Coverage of Marsha's ministry opportunity at New Hope church in Southwest Ranches can be seen too.

Having taken pictures of every room in our decorated home, I have posted the pictures in a slideshow that can be seen from our new house page. We thank the Lord for such a beautiful home and we are glad when we have the opportunity to open our home to others.

I have only two chapters left to complete within the Dreamweaver MX 2004 training book by Macromedia. I continue to practically apply these skills by maintaining and updating the International FGBMFI web site www.fgbmfi.org. After I complete the book, I plan to study Flash MX 2004.

For the past six months, I have been recording sermons from the late Dr. William Lovick (Marsha's dad).  So far, I have digitized 90 of his sermons into MP3 format and we have another 200 sermons available to us on audio cassette.  Recording at a condensed mode, I am able to place approximately 33 hours of his sermons onto one CD that can be played on the newer CD-players or on a DVD. I am excited about this new technology and the ability to preserve a rich heritage of Biblical preaching from a pastor & missionary who positively impacted the lives of thousands of people, including Marsha. I have placed an excellent sermon/testimony of Dr. Lovick on my audio sermons page and on Margaret's page that describes the Lovick's missionary journeys and another audio clip that gives a short introduction (by the music minister) describing Dr. Lovick as "probably the most sought after missionary speaker in the world!"

I have made good progress in my Church History II course. Of the 14 lessons, I have completed 9 of them thus far. For the next 9 weeks, I will be spending a little less time on this course as I am now teaching a college-level course on the Book of Acts for One Accord ministries, held at Victorious Life Church. I am excited about this opportunity as I have enjoyed studying Acts and teaching it to a weekly Bible Study group at my workplace in the past.

Isaac spent two months in Alabama over the summer. He was extensively tested by a neurologist with psychological tests and intelligence tests. I'm sure Marsha can share more with you on a personal basis if you are interested in further details from our meeting with the neurologist.

With doctor's approval, Isaac is still not going to school, but a teacher does come to the house once a week for a few hours to teach him and to check up on his homework during the week.

Marsha is still working at Casual Corner as a supervisor (about 30 hours a week). She is hoping to transition from working at the West Shore Mall to the Brandon Mall within the next two weeks, as she has been told. This works out better for her as the drive is a little shorter.

Margaret is doing fine. She has added a picture of her extended Dew family (from 80 years ago) and her as a baby on her web page under Margaret's historical family photos.

Peanut is still cute and lovable and is doing fine.

 

Date: June 18, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) have been teaching the New Believer's Foundations Class at our church (Victorious Life Church) for almost 4 months. For the past 6 weeks, since Doug has been working Saturday night from 7 pm to Sunday morning at 7am and sometimes working later that day, we traded responsibilities during this time. During class, Doug has been asking for prayer requests and praying for the needs while Marsha taught foundational truths to the attentive class. On June 6th we swapped roles once again and Doug taught on the Authority of God's Word and quoted many relevant Scriptures to build up the new believers and stress the importance of studying, meditating, and obeying God's Word as given especially in the Bible.

Marsha and I, took a trip to Montreal Canada in honor of our 4-year anniversary. Using frequent flier miles and Hilton HHonor points, we were able to reduce the cost of our 5-day 4-night trip. We stayed at the beautiful Montreal Bonaventure Hilton Hotel and scoped out the land from there. There are many marvelous pictures of our trip on our vacations page.

Marsha and I, took a trip to Vancouver Canada where Marsha ministered at a Women's Conference and then at two church services at Royal City Community Church. Using frequent flier miles, we upgraded to first class on American Airlines. The church put us up at the beautiful Inn at Westminster Quay with a view of the river. The 4 pastors and their wives' treated us to lunch and dinner every day along with wonderful fellowship. Marsha was a blessing to the many people and Doug briefly shared his testimony at the Sunday evening service. There are many marvelous pictures of our trip on our vacations page.

I have added introductory material to my Christian Worker Status essays. These 40 essays, written from 1986 - 1989, have been placed on my Theology Corner page to be read in either HTML or PDF format. I hope that you enjoy reading them almost as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

Learning Dreamweaver MX 2004 via an excellent training book by Macromedia, I am also practically applying these skills by maintaining and updating the International FGBMFI web site www.fgbmfi.org. The 2004 World Convention for FGBMFI will be held outside the this country in Abuja, Nigeria. Over 50,000 participants are expected.

I recently completed a course in Music Appreciation at North Central University via correspondence. My 6-page essay entitled Development of Twentieth-Century Musical Composition can be found on my Theology Corner page. Although I learned a great deal and came to appreciate classical music of various eras, I wound up with my first "B" (finishing with an 89.3 average where 90.0 is an "A"). My GPA has now dropped from 4.0 to 3.94. What a trial! My transcript from NCU is available for viewing. I only have another 3 or 4 courses to complete in order to earn an accredited Bachelors Degree in Christian Studies. I have just enrolled in my next course, Church History II.

Isaac has been doing very well physically, though he gets a bit tired now-and-then. He has been tutored at home by an authorized home-school teacher (once a week) since his surgeries ended on January 1st. He recently visited his 6th grade class at school, just to say hello to the class-mates, teacher, and some former teachers from the elementary school.

Isaac turned 13 on April 22nd. With his new golf clubs, we have played 7 rounds of golf at an Executive Golf course in Lutz. Isaac's home page has been updated with this information and contains a link to his new golf page that details our first outing and another link to another golf page that details the 2nd through 7th outings.

Isaac is spending the next 2 months in Alabama to be with his dad and step-mom.

Marsha is still working at Casual Corner as a supervisor (about 30 hours a week), but she has been working at the West Shore Mall instead of at the Brandon Mall. She has the option to go back to Brandon if she likes. It is a tough choice since she really likes it in West Shore, but it is such a long drive to there. Marsha had the opportunity to minister at a Women's Aglow in Titusville, Florida. We met up with some wonderful friends of mine who invited us to their home afterwards. We also had a chance to visit my (Doug's) half-sister Linda in Boynton Beach, Florida. Pictures of Linda and our visit can be seen on Linda's page.

Margaret is doing fine and helps out the family in numerous ways. She recently took us out for our anniversary to Red Lobster. The lobster and steak were great!

Peanut is still cute and lovable and is doing fine. A new and improved picture of him can be seen on Peanut's web page.

 

Date: April 16, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) have been teaching the New Believer's Foundations Class at our church (Victorious Life Church) for almost 2 months. During class, Marsha has been asking for prayer requests and fervently praying for the needs. With a passion, I have spent countless hours studying the Scriptures and reading about the Passion of the Christ (his suffering from the night in which He was betrayed until His moment of death) to enhance my teaching of the class. As a basis, we have been using The Cross essay that I wrote after much study about a decade ago. I also like to follow-up with phone calls and pray for class members, often with my wife.

Marsha and I, along with our mothers, saw the fabulous movie The Passion of the Christ soon after it first opened. My first words, after the movie, echoed some other famous words, "It is as it was." Having read a vast majority of internet commentaries and criticisms on the movie (mostly from a liberal and Jewish perspective) and whether it is an accurate portrayal of what actually happened, I conclude that almost all of the movie accurately portrays the Gospel accounts as given in the New Testament, which I hold as inerrant and fully inspired by God. For this, I applaud Mel Gibson. The charge that the movie (and the Gospels) are anti-Semitic would be true under two conditions:

  1. If the Gospel writers "made up" the accounts about the Jewish religious leaders' involvement.

  2. If the accounts of the Jewish leaders' involvement in Jesus' death provoke feelings of hatred toward Jews, regardless of whether the accounts are true or false.

If the accounts are false, then the story is anti-Semitic at its core in that the writers purposely twisted the facts to put some Jewish leaders in a worse light and place more blame on them for Jesus' death than they deserve. Without directly stating that the accounts are false, liberal scholars and Jewish leaders today argue exclusively from the vantage point of secular history--that Pilate was cruel and ruthless to the Jews and not easy to sway, and thus the Biblical account of the Jews manipulating Pilate must be a distortion of the actual events. Without denying secular historical observations, conservative Christians hold that the Bible accounts of history are true (and plausible) and that the disciples of Jesus were good ethical men who wrote under the inspiration and leading of the Holy Spirit.

If the accounts are literally true, as most Christians believe, then the question is "how should we feel toward those who had a part in Jesus' death?" Regardless of whether the accounts are true, this question is important, especially for the Jew. It is true that Pilate and the Roman Government were excessively cruel to all their victims and that the Jewish leadership feared stricter reprisals from the authorities or losing their positions and their Jewish nation if Rome decided to massively squelch the potential uprising that they might perceive from "King" Jesus and his growing followers. In spite of Rome's active participation in Christ's death, probably no one  holds hatred toward Italians or people from a Roman background just because someone from their ancestry was involved in crucifying Jesus. Similarly, no one should hold the Jewish people responsible for the part that some Jews had in Jesus' death. To do so is a willful misreading of the New Testament.

To get beyond a natural-mind's view of seeing the Passion events as a murder story that still needs judgment, one must see with an open mind and heart the supernatural plan and gift of salvation that God gave to sinful humanity, as shown in the Bible.

God was ultimately responsible for sending His Son to earth to die. There is a reason that Jesus suffered and died. It was not a "mistake." It was a gift from God. It was predetermined that He would lay down His life and die "for the sins of the world," and thus it was everyone's sin that caused him (and motivated him) to go to the cross, regardless of who physically or politically had a part in his death. The Jews, as a people group, are not responsible for the death of Jesus (back then or now); however, according to the Bible, there were a number of Jewish religious leaders and scribes that did have a major role to play in plotting Jesus' death and turning him over to Pilate for that purpose. For a Christian, the movie (and the Gospels) do not (and should not) evoke anti-Semitic feelings. God loves people so much that he offers forgiveness to any and all who will accept it by repenting and recognizing Jesus as Lord and that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for sins that each of us deserved. Thank you Jesus!

Having spent countless hours studying about the last hours of Jesus' suffering, there is so much more to say. I just wanted to give the tip of the iceberg of some of my thoughts surrounding the controversy that has actually generated further interest in the movie. By the way, anti-Semitism means "discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews". In essence, it encompasses all forms of hostility and hatred manifested toward Jews throughout history. That some Christian churches have historically been guilty of the sin of anti-Semitism is undeniable, but in committing it they contradicted their own beliefs and values. God does not hate Jews, but loves them, and so should we. Jesus was a Jew and so were his first followers, including thousands that repented and placed their faith in Jesus on the Day of Pentecost. Through my studies, I have gained a greater understanding of Jewish history and a greater sensitivity to the Jewish way of thinking. I pray that God's love would shine forth from Christians toward Jews and thus help motivate them to want to know our Savior too!

I have completed a decade long project of converting all my Christian Worker Status essays to Microsoft Word format from the 1980's Peach Text format. These 40 essays, written from 1986 - 1989, have been placed on my Theology Corner page to be read in either HTML or PDF format. I hope that you enjoy reading them almost as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

Having bought the hardware and software for Instant DVD, I am now able to play a VHS tape that is connected to the hardware device and send digitized information to my PC and store it in an MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 format. Due to space constraints, only small portions of video clips can be captured in a file that is used on a web site. I hare recorded a 2 minute segment of how Marsha and I met, which was aired on The Morning Show with Ed and Janis Russo back in 2002. This video clip can be seen on our multimedia page. To see several video segment of Marsha preaching, you may visit Marsha's Ministry multimedia page.

I have spent some time learning Macromedia's Dreamweaver and Flash. Marsha gave me the entire Macromedia MX 2004 suite for Christmas and I have been reading some books (that the mothers' gave me for Christmas) and taking some classes on these topics. To practically use Dreamweaver to develop and maintain a web site, I have volunteered (and have been requested) to maintain the International FGBMFI web site www.fgbmfi.org. This has been a big task since it has not been updated in over a year. It is personally rewarding to know that I am significantly helping this organization, for which I am a National Director.

Isaac has been doing very well since his last surgery on January 1st. No serious complications have arisen, praise God. He has recently been visiting a church with a childhood friend of his, Ryan. We are pleased that he enjoys this church and has a friend with whom he can relate.  He even listens to the pastor's preaching on tape in his room.

Isaac will turn 13 on April 22nd. As an early birthday gift, his dad in Alabama bought him a nice new set of golf clubs and irons. Isaac and I have hit some balls at a golf range and recently we played at an Executive Golf course where he played his first complete round of golf. Isaac's home page has been updated with this information and contains a link to his new golf page that details our outing on April 14th. Also on his home page is a picture of his previous dog, Phoenix.

Marsha is still working at Casual Corner as a supervisor (about 30 hours a week), but she has been helping out the store in the Westshore Mall for the past few weeks instead of in the Brandon Mall. She cooked a wonderful dinner for the family (after Isaac and I got home from playing golf) and my guest from work that came to visit us. We don't have guests over as often as we would like, so this was extra special. Marsha had a busy Spring as she has ministered at numerous places including her home church.

Margaret celebrated her 82nd birthday by dining at the Columbia Restaurant with her family. Instead of cable, she now has DirectTV which enables her to watch Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). She watches the program often and enjoys praising and worshipping and learning with those on the program. Although she has been going to the doctor quite a bit, she is doing remarkably well. She often cooks the dinner for the family, which is greatly appreciated by those who eat.

My youngest brother Brad recently came up to Tampa from Fort Lauderdale so that we could get together with the family. We took the opportunity to celebrate his birthday (35th) at Barnacles, his restaurant of choice. Craig, Barbara, Ryan, and Alexis came as well as mom (Sigrid), Marsha, Margaret, and I.

Barbara Woolley (my sister-in-law) has just been named as Teacher of the Month at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. A picture of this sign can be seen on Craig's page.

 

Date: February 12, 2004

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I (Doug) took a trip to Washington D.C. from February 4th - 9th. Pictures of this trip can be seen in a slide show presentation from our vacations page. On the first day, we rented a car and traveled to Luray Caverns. It was a two hour drive from our Hilton hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. Luray Caverns is the largest and most popular cavern in the Eastern USA. It is the 4th largest cavern in the nation. I last visited it when I was about 5 years old and just had to see it again and show my wife. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Next, we traveled to the Inn at Little Washington. It's restaurant is rated 2nd in the nation according to Zagat's Guide to Restaurants. It is also the most expensive restaurant in the nation at $118 per person (excluding beverages, tax, and tip). The place was not easy to find, but once we were there, it was well worth it. The place was immaculate; the service was excellent, and the 7-course meal was delicious. It was a very romantic time for Marsha and I.

The next three days were spent at the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International Regional Convention at our hotel. Doug is a National Director with FGBMFI and was encouraged to be there for the Directors meeting and the convention. About 200 attended, 35 of whom were directors (about half of them with their wives'). We had guest speakers from Congress. We especially enjoyed the humble, heart-felt testimony by U.S. Representative Jo Ann Davis of Virginia. During the afternoon of the first day, we met with Scott Pearson from Christian Embassy.  He arranged a tour of the Capitol with Jessica Rager, the staff assistant for Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado. It was great.

We bumped into some FGBMFI members who were going back to the hotel in their car, so we caught a ride with them, though we must have walked over a mile in the freezing weather looking for the gentleman's car. We did get to see some buildings (and take pictures). As a friendly gesture, they also took us to the Lincoln memorial. Although Marsha appreciated the kindness, she was freezing, so we cut the tour short. Additionally, our new friends wanted to get to know us more so we all went out to a restaurant.

The rest of the week went well, but none of the Senators on the program actually showed up to speak at the Convention. However, it was good to hear the hearts of some of the House Representatives and other members of Congress that did speak at the convention (and some that were added at the last minute to the program). The chaplain for the FBI was very good. Marsha was invited by the International President of FGBMFI to sing 2 songs at the closing session on Saturday night.

We attended church at Word of Life Assembly of God in Springfield, VA. Marsha was also given the opportunity to sing there as she knew Senior Pastor D. Wendel Cover from many years ago. The pastor and his wife took us to a Chinese restaurant that Marsha had her heart on ever since we got into the D.C. area.

The last day was spent just resting and relaxing. We were glad to get home.

Isaac has been doing very well since his last surgery on January 1st. However, he has visited the hospital on a few occasions when something has not been feeling right. On Feb. 10th, Marsha brought Isaac to the hospital since his stomach was in some pain. The doctors are still performing tests on him (two days later), but hopefully this is not a serious issue requiring surgery.

 

Date: Christmas, 2003

  Dear Friends,

Looking over the past year, we saw challenges and triumphs.

After returning from a Hawaiian vacation, days prior to Christmas of 2002, we found out that Marsha was pregnant. It was a joyous time for Marsha and I (Doug), yet it ended with a miscarriage in February. This was exceptionally challenging to Marsha.

In May, we moved into our beautiful new home that is a tremendous blessing from the Lord. It is custom built with two master suites, one for Marsha and I (upstairs) and one for my mother-in-law Margaret (downstairs). Isaac has his own room in which he enjoys playing and watching sports activities. Both Isaac and our dog Peanut like to sleep in Margaret's room. Margaret traded in her Volvo and purchased a new Jaguar for a really good deal.

In my free time, I completed a course in American History and a lengthy essay on the Declaration of Independence. I am now taking a course in Music Appreciation and have been enjoying classical music!  I am only a few courses away from another degree--a B.A. in Christian Studies from North Central University.

21,600 management employees at Verizon took the opportunity to leave the company in November with a generous bonus and incentive package that was offered to all management employees. I decided to remain with Verizon, since I am happy in my current job responsibilities and the new opportunities that are opening up (and I make pretty good money).

Marsha and I took a very memorable trip to New York, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania to visit some of my relatives and friends. It was the first time for them to meet Marsha. Seeing my Uncle Cliff at a nursing home and taking him out on a journey to McDonald's for ice cream was especially rewarding to us.

Marsha has ministered to wonderful groups of people approximately every other month. She has also worked as a supervisor at the women's clothing store, Casual Corner.  This past month she has not worked that many hours since she has needed to be by Isaac's side during his multiple surgeries and recoveries.

Isaac has faced 6 brain surgeries this year and came through each one. He had two brain surgeries at the beginning of the year, and was fine until the middle of November when he experienced dizziness and headaches. It was determined that his shunt was not functioning properly. Many of you know that, as a result of his very traumatic birth (weighing only 2 pounds), he has had a shunt for all of his life. The shunt is a tube that drains fluid from his brain and enables him to function normally. In November he had two more surgeries involving the shunt. After three weeks at home, he once again became dizzy and very ill. Marsha rushed him back to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida for specialized care. On the afternoon of December 11th, he underwent his 30th surgery. A second shunt was installed. After two days at home, Isaac started having stomach pains (due to an infection that settled in his shunt) and had to go back to the hospital once again to have two more surgeries to take out tubes and let them drain. Isaac is still being "worked on" at the hospital with just days before Christmas. It has been a stressful time, but we know that God is with us and helping us in this complex situation! We pray for Isaac's quick recovery.

"In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:39)

We plan to spend Christmas with family members in the Tampa, Florida area.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Further details of the entire year can be seen below for a particular period of time....

 

Date: December 12, 2003

  Dear Reader,

In the middle of November, Isaac was experiencing dizziness and headaches, and it was determined that his shunt was not functioning properly. Many of you know that as a result of his very traumatic birth (weighing only 2 pounds) he has had a shunt for all of his life. The shunt is a tube that drains fluid from his brain and enables him to function normally. He was admitted into the hospital and had two surgeries involving the shunt, the latter one being a complete craniotomy to visually lay the catheter in the correct spot in the brain. He was in intensive care for two days and he had a lot of discomfort. He came home two days before Thanksgiving and seemed to be doing well. Then on the morning of December 10th, he once again became dizzy and very ill. Marsha rushed him back to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida for specialized care. He was admitted and on the afternoon of December 11th, he underwent his 30th surgery. The doctors determined that his fourth ventricle in his brain was enlarged and fluid needed to be released from it. With the help of a skilled surgeon, this was accomplished and the shunt was modified to prevent this condition from reoccurring. The surgery went well and Isaac seemed to be recovering nicely as he laid in the hospital bed. We know that the prayers of many people on Isaac's behalf has helped to bring about the positive results, so we thank the Lord!  A detailed step-by-step status and some pictures can be seen on the Isaac's surgery page. An introduction into this recent surgery can be found on Isaac's home page.

In between surgeries, so it seems, we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with Greg & Theresa Ross at their neighbor's lovely home. On December 2nd, we also had a chance to get together with Brad (Doug's brother) and Sigrid (Doug's mother) and go to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas where the park was opened from 7 pm to midnight. There was imitation snow on main street. What a sight! We had a lovely dinner at Artists' Point restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge. It was excellent! Isaac had a steak and enjoyed himself to the max. The stitches and staples in his head prevented him from going on his favorite ride, Space Mountain.

 

Date: November 2, 2003

  Dear Reader,

Marsha and I traveled to New York for 4 days in September to visit some relatives and close friends.  We flew into New York City and stayed with Alice Herber (a long-time friend of my parents). She treated us to a delicious home cooked dinner. It was a beautiful time to be in a location with changing seasons. We rented a car and traveled through Connecticut and Vermont where the changing leaves were even more spectacular.  We live in a flat world with very little change between seasons (in Tampa).  We arrived at our destination in North Haverhill, New Hampshire to visit my uncle Cliff who now resides in a nursing home.  It was a great thrill for me because I had not seen my uncle for many years. We took him out to McDonalds for an ice-cream sundae.  Some pictures of our visit along with pictures of Cliff many years ago appear on Cliff's page.  On the way back to New York we stopped and visited other relatives such as Rich Woolley and his family, Donna Braccioforte & her family in New Jersey.  It was a wonderful time to remember the past and make new memories together as Marsha met them for the first time.  We also quickly passed through my hometown of Croton on Hudson, NY, where I grew up as a child.  It was great to show my wife my old stomping grounds.  We spent a half a day in NYC and saw a clear view of the magnificent city from the top of the empire state building.  We also had to go to the largest Macy's in the world (for Marsha).  I have seen Marsha speechless, but I had never seen Marsha shopless (but there were so many choices that she couldn't decide and thus didn't spend a dime!).  From Alice's home, her daughter Carol was gracious enough to drive us to the airport for our return to Tampa.  What a trip!

On October 16th, Marsha and I celebrated my 37th birthday by spending the night at Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Country Inn in Lake Wales, Florida.  My mom had highly recommended the restaurant and hotel to me for years.  We were not disappointed with the unique atmosphere and the European ambience that attracts couples looking for a romantic hideaway.  The six course dinner was incredible--not just delicious food, but very unusual combinations and selections.  Their soup is very famous with good reason.  Their first-course of a boiled grapefruit garnished with chicken liver was most unusual; The grapefruit was awesome but the chicken liver unfortunately was still a chicken liver (not our favorite).  The following morning we visited the beautiful Boch Tower & Gardens.  It was so exquisite and fun for the two of us to have some time alone.

During my free time, I have been studying my course work for Appreciation of Music.  It is one of the required courses that I need to earn a Theology Degree through North Central University's accredited distance education program.  It is one of the hardest courses that I have taken because I had virtually no music knowledge going into the class.  I have gained a whole new appreciation for classical music, and it has been interesting as I have learned the basics of pitch, notes, melody, styles, and music history.  I got an 'A' on my first of three tests.  I am currently learning about Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven at this time.

With a greater desire for classical music, I have added some more MIDI instrumental music to some of the web pages.  Each page has controls to pause and stop the music, just in case the user desires that.  I have added baseball music to Isaac's baseball page and his championship page, and I have added Phantom of the Opera music to Isaac's home page.  Although the dog Chauncey is not with us, there is a Scooby Doo music on Chauncey's page.  Some other pages still have nice music complementing the reading of the content, and I plan to add more music to other pages in the near future.  Also, I have improved the navigation between the multiple honeymoon pages.

Marsha and I visited some friends of mine who adopted a Chinese baby after journeying to China.  It was a thrill for us to see someone who has gone through the process and is enjoying their new addition, though they also mentioned their actual struggles and day-to-day issues.  Marsha's dream is still to have a child with me in some way and to become a full-time mom.  For now, she'll continue working part-time as a supervisor for the women's clothing store, Casual Corner.

We are settling into our new house very well.  Almost everything has a place, even our wonderful poodle Peanut. He has finally learned how to go in and out of the doggy-door (though it took him 1 month before he could do it on his own).

Isaac is now in the 6th grade and no longer in a "handicapped class."  He is attending middle school and is in an SLD class.  It is a big adjustment for him, but he is doing well.  He had been rooting for the New York Yankees all season and believed that they would win every step of the way, but I think he was disappointed on that last fateful night when the Marlins captured the World Series championship.

Margaret is doing fine, but she did have a fall in the living room while we were out at a hockey game with some friends.  She fractured her arm and skinned up her face, but she is doing better and looks great as always.  She bounces back quick.  She continues to make fantastic dinners and enjoys driving her new Jag.

Verizon employees in the Northeast never went on strike, and a settlement was reached a month after the initially proposed strike date of August 1st.  Although it was a win-win situation for both the union and the executives, there now needs to be some cut-backs with the management employees.  Like many corporations looking to reduce expenses, much of Verizon's Data Processing technical work is being (or will be) off-shored to India.  Verizon has given all management employees an opportunity to leave the company with a generous bonus and incentive package.  Thousands are expected to take the package at the end of November.  I am happy in my current job responsibilities (and make pretty good money).  Finding another computer job (and one that pays even close to one's current salary) is not easy in today's economy.  The group in which I work is not expected to be impacted by the cut-backs, though reorganizations are always possible. I am open for new and other responsibilities, and I believe that God still wants me where I am. I'm still happy with my life at Verizon.

 

Date: August 13, 2003

  Dear Reader,

We are still enjoying our new home.  We have built a 36 foot long aluminum picket fence along the side of the house so that our dog, Peanut, can have a place to go.  We have installed a doggy-door that goes from the patio to the fenced-in area, but he is still not comfortable in going through the swinging door on his own.  Pictures of the picket fence can be seen toward the end of the "slide show of the house construction" on our New House page.

I have been spending lots of time in my new office, which has been designed just the way I wanted it--Lot's of bookcases to hold all my books, plenty of new desk-tables for the computer and related equipment, and a nice central desk (which happens to be hand carved) for reading.  The walls have been decorated with certificates, awards, trophies, pictures, newspaper articles, and a special mechanical world-map that shows the light and time anywhere in the world.  You may see pictures of the office at the bottom of our New House page.

I am in the process of expanding the family presence.  I have a new page for Rich Woolley (my half-brother) and Donna (my cousin), and I have updated my cousin Rick's page.  I have updated our family page to include pictures of more family members.  As I obtain more pictures and descriptions of other, I will include them on this site as well.

Working for Verizon, I had the opportunity to travel to Utica, NY just in case the Union workers went on strike on August 3rd.  I would have helped out in the Central Office.  Since they did not go on strike (but also had not settled on a new contract), I had 2 days where I had some free time and got a chance to see some of New York and Niagara Falls with co-worker Tom Bee.  The pictures can be seen on my Vacations page under New York 2003.  After 5 days, I was back in Tampa at my regular job assignment.  Depending on how negotiations go, I could be back in Utica, NY.

I have updated the page About Doug to include my trip to my hometown of Croton-on-Hudson, NY and some pictures of my friends while in college.

Having recently celebrated our 3rd anniversary, Marsha and I decided to have a page dedicated to showing and describing our special anniversary celebrations.
 

 

Date: June 18, 2003

  Dear Reader,

We closed on our new home on May 6th.  Marsha and I moved in on May 7th after spending a week with our close friends Jim & Carol Riccio.  Margaret and Isaac moved in after the we brought their bedroom furniture from storage on May 8th after spending their week with my mom, Sigrid Woolley.  Our Move to our New House page journals the 4 steps we took to move and build our new home.  The latest pictures of the home can be viewed at our New House page.  One month later, we still have boxes to unpack, but little by little we are getting there.  The pool was just finished last week along with the upgraded landscaping in the backyard.  The five palm trees along the perimeter of the pool screen make the area look tropical.  As a family we got a chance to enjoy the new pool and even teach the dog how to swim and find his way out of the pool.  The pictures are cute!

Having been involved with the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) since 1991, I thought that I should dedicate a page describing my involvement with FGBMFI. Currently I serve as the youngest National Director for FGBMFI.

I have updated my brother Craig's page to include pictures of his new house in Meadow Creek Estates in New Tampa.  I have updated Doug's page to include more detail and pictures of my background.

Marsha is a bit disappointed about not yet having a baby that she has been longing for.  Prayers for her comfort and strength would be wonderful.  God can still do wonders!  As things settle down in the new house, Marsha is enjoying the new home and pool more each day.

Isaac has completed school for the 5th grade.  Recently, he went to a Devil Rays baseball game with a friend.  He is looking forward to his next baseball outing later this week and spending the summer in Alabama.

Margaret has been working hard to unpack many of her boxes and to organize her room.  She hopes to buy a new car as soon as things settle down.  Two pictures of the new home and pool are on her Margaret's page.
 

 

Date: April 19, 2003

  Dear Reader,

I (Doug) have finally completed my American History course via external studies at North Central University.  Having experienced life a little bit more since my high school years, I appreciated this class much more than I did when I took it in 11th grade.  The culminating essay was only suppose to be 6 pages quoting from 5 resources, but it turned into a 21 page paper quoting from 29 resources.  Everyone who has read the essay has given it a raving review, including the professor who gave it a 100%.  You may read this essay entitled, Adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which gives a historical and Christian perspective of this highly important event in American History.

My Rubik's Cube project that I had completed in high school had received numerous awards.  I further developed this project and converted the BASIC program solution into the Pascal programming language for my senior project at the University of South Florida.  The User's Guide for the Computer Graphic Solution to the Rubik's Cube and the complete Pascal program listing of the program are now available on this site.

As a family, we are looking forward to the completion of our new home that is under construction.  There is a page that describes the events leading to the acquiring of our new home and shows numerous pictures of the new home under construction from October, 2002 to April, 2003.

As a family, we had a marvelous time during our vacation to San Francisco and to Hawaii in December, 2002.  While in San Francisco, I had a chance to spend some quality time with my best friend from high school days.  Hong Wing Pun recently got married and I have created a page that shows pictures of Hong Wing's wedding.  Soon after spending a whole summer working with me in 1985, Hong Wing made Jesus Christ the Lord of his life.

Marsha experienced a miscarriage after having received delightful news of that she had come home from Hawaii with a "little souvenir."  She has recovered in many ways, but still needs prayers for further healing in her emotions and her spirit as a result of this great loss.  In spite of feeling weak at times, the Lord has made her strong to carry His word to others.  She has spoken to congregations in different churches in Eatonton (Georgia), Tampa, and Wesley Chapel (Florida).  Pictures, audio sermons, and write-ups of these recent events can be experienced at the God and Marsha's Marvelous Ministries site.  Marsha continues to work as a supervisor at Casual Corner, a women's clothing store.

Isaac has had two brain surgeries because of his shunt malfunctioning.  He has recovered nicely, though a scar can still be seen at the back of his head.  To celebrate his 12th birthday, we went to see the Tampa Bay Lighting hockey team beat the Washington Capitals in a playoff game in Tampa.

Margaret has gotten improvements in her teeth, thanks to her dentist.  She continues to help out in the family and prepares most of our dinner meals.  She enjoys praying for her family and friends and counseling others that need help.

Return to Doug & Marsha's Home Page.


Page was last updated on February 13, 2017