Even More Vacation Shots

Last post with pictures from vacation. We’ve probably got about 400 of them, so you’ll have to understand if I get a few up to the web. We made it home tonight just before a storm hit. As I type this, we’re unpacked and my wife and I are both beginning to dig into our inboxes and get caught up on a weeks worth of internet stuff. We had a great trip. The kids were awesome and the time together will be treasured. This couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Random Vacation Shots

It’s been one of the hottest weeks of the year here in OBX (including the hottest day of the summer today). We topped out at triple digits at some point today so the water of the pool and ocean have been just the place to be. We kicked the morning off with a jet ski rental and had a complete blast. Here are some random shots from the week that has been so far.

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Update From The Beach

It’s Wednesday and I am taking advantage of my 2 small bars of wi-fi connection to get a quick post up (don’t tell my neighbors I am borrowing his signal). Things here in Outer Banks (Corolla specifically) are as wonderful as always. The weather is extremely hot but we are taking advantage of the beach and pool to escape the heat. Running is an activity that MUST take place before about 8am or forget it. I ran on Monday and was still sweating after my shower….and I’m not kidding.

It is amazing how quickly I can get used to being unattached to my cell phone and the web (no offense). Sitting in a chair on the beach just pulls whatever is bothering you out and beats is back and forth like the shells on the sand. Now if I could just find a way to leave them there when I get up from that chair. The time with my lovely bride and the kids is just awesome. I am so blessed. As I ran this morning along the sand, with waves at my feet and the sun coming up over the ocean, one verse stood out to me:

What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? – Psalm 8:4

Honestly. Who am I that God would care for me as much as all that he created. We’ve fed turtles, seen dolphins, praying mantis, frogs, crabs and even schools of fish. Who am I that the one that created all of this cares for what I care for, loves what I love and hurts for what is hurting me? Awesome. Simply awesome.

**Be on the lookout next week for a video from the pool that is funniest videos worthy….

Vacation Day 1

As promised we pushed off early Saturday morning for Raleigh, North Carolina. After dropping Wubzzy off at the local Pet Palace for a week of pampering we began our 9 hour journey. Nothing compares to family time in a vehicle. Nothing. One of the memories of the journey was seeing the “Girls Gone Wild” tour bus on the freeway….pulling a mini-van behind it. I was like a little kid at Disney once we reached Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Even the local Wal Mart is stocked with North Carolina gear. This morning we push off for Outer Banks and a week at the beach.

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I Should've Built An Altar

This weekend we were talking to a friend that was recently in Charlotte, North Carolina. As soon as I heard the words Charlotte, chill bumps went up both arms. There is something magical about that city. A few days later, a rabbit trail led me back to a post I wrote when we had sold our home and were headed to Charlotte. There was so much excitement and unknown in that post. I also found this post which looked at what might have been if we would have made the move.  The more I reflected on that time, I should have built an altar somewhere….

Throughout scripture, we see times when God would instruct people to build an altar to remember what He had done. The landscape of the Old Testament is littered with little rock piles to God’s faithfulness and teaching. Yet there isn’t a single rock pile in my backyard.

All to often I forget.

All too often I move on and don’t look back.

He is faithful and I am forgetful.

It is good to remember the times that God was faithful and lessons learned because it shows us He will be faithful again. I spent some time reviewing all of the Charlotte related posts as my devotional this morning. It was a blessing. It was a reminder. I think the lesson here is that God wanted to show me His faithfulness and my forgetfulness. I’m not sure I need rock piles but I do need to acknowledge and remember.

It’s the least I can do…

What Not To Wear

Yesterday I opened my Google Reader and, like the rest of the “Tar Heel Family” was shocked to read that David and Travis Wear have decided to transfer from North Carolina to a destination which has yet to be announced. Because I am obsessed with North Carolina Basketball, I went looking for answers last night. Since you can believe everything you read on the internet, that was my source of information. It is a bad source. Something is wrong. People don’t transfer out of the Mecca of College Basketball (insert your lame NIT jokes here). After a season that was one new rock bottom after another, this announcement found another way to go just a little deeper.

Continue reading “What Not To Wear”

Every Dads Dream

Duke-NCarolina-Basket_WebIt is no secret that I am a fan of two things…The Tar Heels and one Mr. Tyler Hansbrough. Last night I was checking out a site that I frequent called MrTarHeel.com. I stumbled across this letter that was written by Gene Hansbrough (Tyler’s Dad) and submitted to Tar Heel Monthly. It’s too good to not share. Regardless of if you like the Tar Heels, Tyler Hansbrough or NCAA Hoops, it’s worth a read.

As I read it I reflected on the pride of this Dad. It comes screaming out of the pages as you read. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids? I’m not talking about winning Player of the Year, or NCAA championships (although that would totally ROCK!). I am more referring to knowing that they achieved their dreams. Sorry for the length, but I felt like it was worth re-posting. Here’s his letter (the bold emphasis are mine).

Would you call him a failure? He was a little kid and he couldn’t quite raise the ball to the basket. He put the ball way down by his hip and pushed with everything he had. But the ball just wouldn’t get over the rim. Still, he stayed there all alone, flinging the ball upward again and again. He never did make one that day but he stayed there a long, long time.

Continue reading “Every Dads Dream”

My Blue Heaven – Day 1

So I told you about a month ago about our vacation to OBX taking a quick detour through Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Early this morning we pushed off from Columbus and set our GPS for The Dean Smith Center (Home of the Tar Heel Basketball Team) on the campus of the University of North Carolina. Thanks to a connection from my good friend “D-Rich”, we had an appointment with a member of the staff on the Tar Heel Basketball team. Our goal was to get here was quickly as possible.

Quick note, in order to protect the privacy of the people and our contact at UNC, I am not going to post any pictures or use our contacts name. The last thing I would like to do is thank this man for his time today by plastering pictures and his name on the web. If you’re interested in seeing the pictures, let me know. Now back to my recap…

Before we arrived on campus we found out that they were holding high school graduation ceremony on the floor of the Dean Dome so we couldn’t actually see the court. What we got was even better. We met up with our contact with no expectations whatsoever. Really just wanted to get in and get a few pictures of the banners and jerseys in the rafters. What we got was a behind the scenes tour of most of the facility! I still cannot believe the amount of former and current players that were in the building. Check this out.

We started off in the practice gym and the first person we saw was former point guard Quentin Thomas working out. We said hello to “Q” and made our way to the weight room. There are pictures every where of former players. I passed one of former Tar Heel and current Cleveland Cavalier Jawad Williams. I was telling our friend about seeing him in Columbus while in the weight room of the arena there before a Cavs game. He said “you know, he’s here today”. Next thing I know, he opens the players room and there sits none other than Jawad Williams! We share a laugh about seeing one another AGAIN and that I am NOT stalking him (even though we are both from C-Town). He is also playing a video game with none other than current Tar Heel stud Ed Davis (at this point, I am beaming).

Also in the players room are former Tar Heel Mike Copeland (who we would spend time with again later) and a few other guys I didn’t recognize. We then head into the locker room. It’s all cleared out but the players name plates are still above thier lockers. I took pictures of all 3 of my kids taking turns sitting in Tyler Hansbrough’s locker chair. Our friend says “You know, he was here earlier today. He had to leave to do a Jim Rome interview at his moms house”! Ugh. Missed him by that much. We see more pictures and more guys he says were there earlier in the day (Sean May, Marvin Williams). Crazy. We eventually get onto the floor and take some pictures of the jerseys and banners.

By now I have had my fill, but we’re not quite done yet. We make our way with him into the office area. Once inside we see all of the hardware. The Championship trophies, the nets from Detroit and Tyler Hansbrough’s Player of the Year trophy (I got pictures of them all with “The Boy”). We cap it all off by stepping into Roy Williams office. Roy was not in but it was an incredible moment. Lots and lots of pictures. Great memories.

Finally, before we say goodbye, we are standing outside and current Tar Heel Larry Drew II comes walking up. He shakes all of our hands, introduces himself and we chat for a few. I kindly ask him if I can get a picture of him and “The Boy” and he kindly accepts. From there the family and I got some dinner, went over to Duke and took some fun pictures at Cameron Indoor and headed over to Franklin Street for ice cream. We also grabbed a few pictures of the famous well. Incredible day. My bucket list just got completely crossed off today! What a memory.

Tomorrow I’m going for an early morning run to catch some more sites and then “The Boy” and I are hitting the Tar Heel Museum. After that we’re gonna grab some championship gear from Franklin Street and head to OBX. It is safe to say that nothing else we do on vacation will compare with the first 24 hours. I love this place.

Final Thoughts


Some final thoughts before tonights big game.

  • Been interesting to hear which side the “Buckeye Nation” has taken for the UNC and Michigan State game. They either can’t root for “anything from that state up north” or they are rooting for the Big 10.
  • The analysts are correct that the game in December was totally different.
  • I don’t anticipate this, but should Michigan State win, you have to give them credit. They will have beaten three number one seeds to earn it.
  • Tom Izzo is a great coach. Roy had better have them ready.
  • The last two times Carolina won the Championship, they beat Big 10 teams (Illinois, Michigan)
  • I heard a statistic this weekend that was incredible. UNC has been in the Final Four 7 of the last 15 years.
  • Assuming they win Monday night, I will have watched 3 of their 5 Championships.
  • I’ve always been a Magic Johnshon fan, but in the match-up of alumni, I’ll take Jordan over Magic any day.
  • When I think of all the teams and players I have seen go through Carolina the last 20 years, this is my favorite team by a long shot.
  • I can think of no finer finish to the Hansbrough story and legacy than a Championship.
  • J.R. Ried has been replaced as my favorite Tar Heel of all-time by both Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington
  • My radio silence for the game officially begins when I click “publish” on this post.


No big surprises here however I do believe this game will be closer than some have predicted. Carolina has a way of going into “lapses” where they allow the other team to come back (Villinova cut that lead to 4 at one point Saturday night). If they are not careful, Michigan State is a well coached team and on a roll right now. One of those lapses could cost them the game. That being said,  the 4 that could have gone to the NBA (Hansbrough, Lawson, Green and Ellington) are 40 minutes from what they returned to do. Their depth and experience should weather the crowd and energy of Michigan State.

Heels by 12.

Memory Lane

daily_tar_heel_championship_coverI had to do a quick repost. Important note..THIS IS A REPOST! We’re not expecting a child. We were, however, expecting our third child 4 years ago when North Carolina was set to play for the National Championship. Those that have been here since the beginning might remember the chain of events that started the night before. In case you missed it, it was worth revisiting. Below you have my posts from the Sunday before the National Championship and the Day after. Good times…

Quite A Dilemma (April 2, 2005)

Okay, so one of your favorite teams is on the verge of playing for the National Championship and you are expecting the birth of your third child at any moment. It is often said that the Lord has a sense of humor. I believe that is true and this would be one of those times when he is getting quite a chuckle out of my dilemma! Wouldn’t it be fitting if Baby 3 decided to enter the world sometime between 9 and 12 on Monday night?

How many times have you seen the commercial where the husband is watching the game, while cheering his wife on through delivery. Now I must preface this by saying that there is no question that I will be with my wife in delivery if that scenario takes place. That’s what VCR’s and TIVO are for. I could never miss the birth of a child for some sporting event that, as much as I hate to say it, really means nothing.

I just find it so funny that for the first time in 12 years, my Tar Heels are on the verge of a championship. I can tell you exactly where I was when Chris Webber called time out to clinch the last Tar Heel championship. There were no thoughts of delivery, hospitals, diapers or babies that night. As I type this, I am reminded of how our priorities change as we walk this road of life. You see, all of this is actually very “tongue in cheek”.

The truth is no matter where I am, or what I am doing, NOTHING could keep me from my wife’s side as she delivers this child that the Lord has blessed us with. Not even North Carolina winning the NCAA title. So if you are watching the game tomorrow night and the phone rings from the hospital, don’t feel bad for me, I will be right where I wanted to be at that moment!



2nd Best (April 4,  2005)

Call it luck, irony, art imitating life or just God’s sense of humor, but what I wrote in my last blog almost came true exactly as scripted! At 9:00, almost to the minute, we were on our way to the labor and delivery ward at the hospital.

To make a long story short, they sent us back home since it wasn’t quite time yet. The funny thing was that we pulled into the garage with 3 minutes left in the 2nd half. The game was tied 70-70. I looked at Heather and said “see, we didn’t miss anything. It’s just a 3 minute game now!”

The rest as they say is history! What a feeling, to be National Champs! All that being said, it would have been and will still be the 2nd best thing that will happen this week. Although I am thrilled about Carolina winning the title, nothing will compare to seeing our new born baby for the first time. In the mean time, I am going to savor this moment until an even greater one comes along!

Go Panthers!

I’ve said it before but I officially left “Raider Nation” this summer in favor of the Carolina Panthers. Much of this decision is due to my hope that they will one day be my hometown team. Much to my surprise, my Panthers (see how quickly they became “my”) are in the playoffs and favored by some to reach the Super Bowl! Couple of quick notes as you watch the game this weekend.

  • I went to Indianapolis yesterday to draw the name of a lucky employee that received a 5 day/4 night trip to Tampa Bay to attend the Super Bowl. I am currently in negotiations to see if he will take me too. I was very happy for the winner and hope he has a great time.
  • Thanks to great friends in Charlotte, I had an offer to attend the game on Saturday. Sadly, I had to decline due to some conflicts here in sunny Ohio. We’ll just have to cheer for the Panthers from home I guess.
  • It will be fun to text some trash talk during the game with my good friend “TPlant” who lives in Phoenix and will be rooting for his Cardinals.
  • Only 32 days until Duke vs. Carolina. I know that has nothing to do with Football but I figured I would throw it in there anyway. GO HEELS!

Something Big


In March of this year, we began a journey that took a BIG turn yesterday. Huge. In reviewing that post tonight. I recalled quoting the lyrics of John Waller when he sang:

“Something so big, it’s destined to fail without you Lord”

Friends, readers and those that may be visiting for the first time, I have an announcement to make….

In a little over two weeks, the Conrad family will become official residence of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Yes, you read that correctly. TWO WEEKS! I told you it was big. As late as Tuesday evening, I was just telling Heather that “if God wants us in Charlotte, He is going to make it pretty obvious”. In the category of “Be careful what you wish for” I got a call from our Realtor and friend Steve this morning to inform me that there was an offer on the table. Never expected that. While the offer was less than we were asking (common practice), it was in no way insulting and certainly within bargaining room. It also had a qualifier. Our potential buyer wanted to close by September 19th. They also wanted an answer by 8pm today.

We met at 6pm and prepared our counter offer knowing we might only get one shot at it. Knowing we might need to be house shopping in Charlotte this weekend, we requested their response by 10am. 30 minutes after leaving our home, our Realtor called and said:

“I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is Missy and I are going to really miss you guys. The good news is that you just sold your home.”

Just like that, in the matter of 8 hours the kite has officially been launched in the hurricane (Hannah to be exact). We’re headed to Charlotte tomorrow afternoon and will be barnstorm house shopping on Saturday and Church visiting on Sunday. There is much more to come on this story, but if I could ask your prayers for direction, discernment and wisdom this weekend they would sure be appreciated. We’re excited about chasing daylight while placing our trust in much greater hands.

I’m sure I’ll post some updates to Twitter and Facebook throughout the weekend. Thank you all for your prayers and sharing the journey so far. Buckle up friends…it’s going to be a wild ride!

“Something Big” by John Waller

Tar Heel Obsession Tour

I’m warning you all, this is just the beginning. The 2008-2009 Tar Heel schedule is out which means my pre-season planning has begun. I’m already looking at things in the house I can sell to obtain tickets to some all of these games. Not really, but a second mortgage hasn’t been ruled out yet. Some of the dates that caught my eye are…

October 24th – Official first practice

November 18th – vs. Kentucky in the Dean Dome (That’s for you Mary)

December 3rd – Ford Field vs. Michigan State

December 20th – vs. Valparaiso @ the United Center in Chicago (Early Christmas gift?)

Feb 11th – @ Dook (My crib or yours Korbini?)

March 8th – vs. Dook at the Dean Dome. (no choice this time..my crib!)

The ACC tournament is in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (March 12-15). Looks like it’s “Hotlanta” for Spring Break this year. The NCAA tourney will make stops in Dayton and Indianapolis. We’ll cap it all off with a return trip to Ford Field for the Final Four. Here’s the best part, every game is televised (Fox Sports South) and 28 of them are on National TV. Love it!

Much, much, much more to come. For now, I’m off to get Fox Sports South added to the cable and start collecting change for the Tar Heel Obsession Tour 2008-2009.

Charlotte Update

I’m sitting at the airport in Detroit on my way to Norfolk and was reminded on my flight that it was probably time for a Charlotte Update. To be honest there is not a whole lot to update at this point. While we continue to wait on an offer on the house, we also continue to try to figure out what the time between “now and then” will look like. We’ve had visits but almost each one was someone that gave great feedback but needed to sell their house first. The kids start school this week, so it is another reminder that it is not always how we draw it up. Our home in Charlotte (Matthews specifically) must not be ready yet.

What reminded me to do this update was the re-reading of “Velvet Elvis“. The question that always follows “We’re moving to Charlotte” is “Why”? Sometimes I wonder if I even know. But the quote below reminded me. I don’t know what it will look like. I don’t know why we feel the pull. I just know that it is what we are supposed to do and I am being obedient. God has something for us. God has a bigger story in mind and we are just a part of it. Thanks for praying. We’ll keep you posted.

“A church is a community of people who are learning how to be certain kinds of people wherever they find themselves, so they can do whatever it is they do “in the name of the Lord Jesus”. The goal isn’t to bring everyone’s work into the church; the goal is for the church to be these kind of unique kinds of people that are transforming the places they live and work and play because they understand the whole earth is filled with the kavod (Glory) of God. God isn’t one building only. Doing these things for God happens all the time, everywhere.” – Rob Bell