Illustration Friday: Phoenix

My nephew is in town this week. He wanted to "play something." He's such the sports guy, I assumed he wanted to play catch. Since I have a bad cold, I wasn't all that excited about that. I was relieved when he said he wanted to color. While he colored his book, I made a sketch of him.

Did I mention he is from Phoenix? We killed two birds with one stone!

Illustration Friday: Peace

When this theme came up this week, I pondered what is the most peaceful time of this year. Last night, we had a candlelight service. It was serene seeing all the candles across the sanctuary. Amazing how something as dangerous as fire can seem so peaceful when it is a tiny flame.
I hope in the frenzy of this holiday season, you will find some peace. It's late on Christmas day, and I'm feeling it. It's either peace or fatigue. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference!

Silent Night

Anybody who thought it was a silent night has never been in a barn.

We gloss over the nativity story so many times and have romantic notions of what it may have been like. But if it was like any of the barns I've been in, there was nothing romantic about it.

What a way to enter the world. What a sacrifice to make!

Five Things People Don't Know About Me

In the comments for "IF: Help," Katie tagged me and asked me for five things people don't know about me. So here it goes...

  1. The April before I was born, my mother and father narrowly escaped the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak. They were at home when it occurred. Neighbors on each side of them were killed.
  2. My great-great-great grandmother was an Iroquois Native American-Mohawk tribe.
  3. I have yet to meet a food I don't like. Even though I'm from Indiana, I'm not a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I'll try anything once.
  4. As a teen, I wrote a letter to Charles Schulz. I secretly hoped he would need an assistant and would see through my feeble attempt at hero worship and hire me. Alas, twasn't meant to be!
  5. Last year, I ran the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon. I plan to run it again this year and train for a full marathon this autumn.
That's all the news that isn't about me.


Stinky, Lowly Shepherds

God works in mysterious ways. I have found it funny He would use shepherds to begin the birth announcements. But He always has a way of making things interesting. Merry Christmas.

Illustration Friday: Help

This time of year has been a little crazy. Surely you can understand, right? I've been wanting to do an illustration for this week's Illustration Friday theme. I've settled for something right out of my sketchbook. Here it is in its unedited form. Well, okay, I did erase the acne from Santa's forehead. Other than that, this is right out of the sketchbook.

I was thinking what poor Santa would do if he had mechanical trouble on Christmas Eve. What if that old sleigh has seen one Christmas Eve too many?

Everybody's gettin' nuttin' for Christmas?

I was at a work luncheon and Santa Claus showed up. He was roasting some key employees because they've been naughty this year.

I started thinking, "Wow! nobody has been nice this year." So Santa gave me gift in the form of this cartoon. Thanks, Santa!

Never as easy as it sounds

Why is the "love your neighbor" thing so hard to do? Why is it whenever I try to love my neighbor, everyone else is on their worst behavior? I can't do it without help, that's for sure!

Christmas Lights

It has been warm for an Indiana Christmas. I was able to put the Christmas lights on the house and wear a short-sleeve shirt. This time, my kids didn't have to wait for me. You know how impatient they get!

Caption reads: "Get Dad! Tell him I'm sorry I started putting up Christmas lights without him and I could really use his help!"

Illustration Friday: Masks

The word for this week at Illustration Friday is "mask." I was thinking about all the masking that goes on during the holidays. This is straight out of the old sketchbook.

Monster Christmas

Monsters says, "The great thing about being a monster around Christmas is it's the one day I can wear a red outfit with my green skin."

I did this cartoon a few years ago. I'm pretty sure "The Nightmare Before Christmas," had something to do with this cartoon. It's either that or one particularly moving episode of "Sesame Street."


Complete the caption: Santa Jam

This week, I saw a traffic jam on our local freeway. I thought about how this affects the Christmas spirit.

The next thing you know, this image popped into my strange, little mind.

I am using it for the Christian Humor Writers' "Complete the Caption" exercise this week.

You're invited to try your own caption in the comments as well.

Merry Christmas,

Snowman Convertible

It's getting cold here. I was thinking about the poor souls with convertibles. It's a shame you can't use them in an Indiana winter... unless you're a snowman.

Low Overhead

"We prefer a low overhead."

It's that lovely time of year where budgets are squeezed, tested and pushed. What are some good ways to cut expenses? I know! Cut that overhead.

I thought of the ideal for this cartoon when I was in the middle of a lengthy, boring, budget meeting. Thank heavens you can doodle and make it look like note-taking!

IF: Might Digital

Here is my version of "might", in a digital style. I still waffle over what is better: organic color pencils or the digitized twenty-first century!

Illustration Fri: Might

I'm trying a few things with color pencil. Strange, but when I think of might, I think of the anxiety that comes with it. This kid may be strong but he holds the world ( or at least he thinks he does.)

Might doesn't make right. It only gives you something else to worry about.

Jonah Boards a ship

This is a sketch based a project I was doing at Warner Press. It is from the story of Jonah.

"But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD."
Jonah 1:3 (niv)

Man! this guy thought the story ended there. Jonah is about to be rudely awaken!

Computer Angel

There is word the Zune isn't doing so hot.

If only all this technology would behave. Of course, if the computer is acting angelic, do we really trust it? Not me. Even now, if my computer acts angelic, I start wondering what it's up to.

Christmas Music

Well it's time to hear those Christmas songs and carols over and over again. The radio has gotten a head start this year according to A Racine, Wisconsin article.

"Listen Up" in USA Today has a blog on Improving Radio's Christmas playlist.

I love Christmas music. At least now I do. Ask me on December 24 and see if my opinion changes.

I'm seeing the elves and the scrooges already. How about you?

Birdhouse plus church equals Birchhouse

When I was a kid, my neighbors had a "condo" birdhouse. I watched that thing closely. I wondered if birds actually used it, and if so, did they play nice?

As hard as a tried, I never saw any birds go in to the house. Maybe they needed their privacy and waited until the nosy kid left the backyard.

That got me wondering what a whole birdhouse community would look like. Here's the start of one right now.

Running in shorts in November

Some of you southern guys may not see the big deal in this, but I was excited this morning. I ran in a t-shirt and shorts and it's late November! There was some puddles and mist, but I'll take that. This kind of thing doesn't happen in Indiana-at least not without some kind of permit.

The weather is changing today and tomorrow. They're talking temps in the thirties, snow and ice. But for this morning, I could run and feel great. God is good.

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!
Yes, there is nothing like a holiday to bring out the true nature of people. I hope you will have a blessed Christmas season.

Sunday Sermon: Advent & Isaiah

Yesterday, My pastor, Jim Lyon, preached on Isaiah's prophecy about Jesus. He said we needed to accept the gift Christ gave us when He came to earth. So here are the notes I took for this week. By the way, only twenty-eight days until Christmas!

IF: Invention

This week's theme at Illustration Friday is "invention." When I was at my mom's for Thanksgiving, I saw a picture of me and my mom when I was a toddler. The next thing I knew, I heard "Necessity is the mother of invention." So now you've met invention and his mom!

1 Peter 1:13-15

I did this devotional this morning while I was waiting for everyone to get ready for Thanksgiving. It's a good thing for me to remember as I go through the fun of a holiday weekend and the start of the Christmas season. 1 Peter is full of such good stuff. You can tell Peter had lived out his faith and proved his faithfulness through many years.

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IF: Clear

This week's theme is clear at Illustration Friday. This week hasn't been a good one for my cat. fall and spring are bad times for cats. They have to adjust to changes and they have to put up with rain and snow. They'll get over it. They just have to make everyone else miserable in the process!

IF: Smoke

This time of year brings back great memories of leaf piles, trick or treating and Grandma's strawberry pie (her pumpkin pie was okay but ooh! That strawberry!)

One of the things I'm not keen about growing up is when you have to act responsible when there is work to be done. Forget the raking! Can't I just jump in those leaves once?

Of course, the other downside of growing up is the forty-year old, big body isn't taking that jump in the leaves as that ten year-old body. Someone get the ambulance, please.

Growing up

My son is growing. He's taller than me now and isn't done yet. I drew a doodle and tried a few captions out. It's always good to try ten captions and pick one out of the group. Who knows! I may put this in finished form.

IF: This week's theme is Ghost

I like having a child getting the best of a ghost. Perhaps it's a little of those "Casper, the Friendly Ghost," cartoons that affect my wish. 'Tis the time of year where things go bump in the night.

Smitten: Illustration Friday

I've decided I need to focus more on my illustration. There is a site called Illustration Friday. It gives a topic and illustrators give their take on a word that week. Here is my take on the word, "smitten."

I began with five thumbnail sketches on the topic. I chose the bottom corner one because I liked the way it told a story. What happened before this moment? Will Cupid and the girl win. Is there a conspiracy going on? Stay tuned!

Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones

So what's your motivation to step out of the boat this week? Mine came from a sermon courtesy of Jeff Matas. I don't want tredmill spirituality this week. (Or the next week for that matter.)

By the way, Jeff is the guy preaching in the far right drawing. He really does have more hair than that. Too bad for him I didn't have my reading glasses with me.

Get in the Boat!

We had a guest pastor at our church last Sunday named Obadiah Smith. He was speaking on dreams ant his text was in Luke 8:22. It was a great sermon on how our dreams will come true on the other side if we do the following. You can see my sermon notes above. This is how I pay attention and get the most out of a sermon.
  1. Step in the boat (you need to get started!)
  2. Push away
  3. Turn away
  4. Sail away
Yes, we may meet those storms just like Jesus did, but when our dreams are in sync with God's amazing things happen!


Boardin' Pastor

I used this cartoon for a cartoon caption contest on Yahoo's Christian Humor Writing Group. I heard several great captions but the winner was Crystal Miller with...

" This kind of lightening bolt wasn't what Rev. Thomas expected for his Sunday morning sermon."

It's fun to see what someone else would write as a caption to you own cartoon.


Expirimenting with my own site

I'm attemting to see if I should have my blog through my personal website at If it works, I will continue my blogs at that site. See what you think.


Feeding the five thousand healthily!

I keep hearing all the talk about eating a healthy diet. They must assault you with all this information when you reach middle age.

All the food in the past must have been healthier, right? It wasn't processed. So.... if you're feeding five thousand, you want the best in healthy fare.

Quiet Reflection

It's school time again! The running, yelling and pushing abounds on the playgrounds and the classrooms. I was a quiet kid, so I can imagine wanting a little bit of that quiet reflection. Heaven knows I certainly did a lot of praying in school.
"Dear God, please let their be something new for lunch. Please let their be a place for me at kickball. And Please help that one girl not to have cooties!"

Classroom Consolidation

I love working with kids at my church. I pray I won't get too old to act silly in Sunday school, play a little Twister and drink red punch.

I've seen older people that just love kids and a few who... well, let's just say life has been tough on them and they are no longer user friendly to babies.

Let's keep the faith and stay young, if only young at heart.

Off the Chip episode 219

"The company wanted to save money so they hired a new I.T. consulting firm."

I heard the other day of a consultant who's primary task was to keep himself working with a client. He didn't want to do anything that would put him out of work so he kept doing scrappy little pieces of work to look like he was bein successful, yet he was ensuring he wasn't reaching the ultimate goal.

I have also seen a few luddite I.T. guys before. Can't say I blame them. A new technology comes along and it's just new enough to mess up the whole system when implemented. There is nothing like starting from scratch just when you have all the computers talking nice to each other!

Facing your fears

Cartoon reads: “You see, Roger? That’s why I don’t like facing my fears.”

I thought I'd just take one of my roughs out of my sketchbook. Is it facing my fears of showing my rough lines in all its glory? Perhaps. I do a lot of sketching but haven't had much time to create polished artwork unless I can invoice it.

Bless Dad while Mom is gone

Caption reads: "Bless Mom on her trip. And bless this food even though all Dad knows how to make is cereal."

Is this cartoon dedicated to Mom or Dad? Hey! it's Father's Day! My Dad got us kids through dinner when Mom worked even though his cooking skills were limited.

Mine aren't much better. Thank the Lord for wives and mom along with husbands and dads. We go together!

Prayer Requests

“Remember me in your prayers. When my dad finds out I stratched the car with my bike, I’ll need all the prayers I can get!”
You get all kinds of interesting prayer requests in a Sunday school class. I have a feeling I uttered a similar requests once. Though I don't remember scratching Dad's car, I did plenty of other things. I'm thankful Dad was gracious when I messed up. By the way, Happy birthday, Dad!

Prayer Life

"The hospital called. Your prayer life has been rushed into intensive care!"
Yes, there has been those times where my face gets flushed because I realize I haven't prayed most of the day. Come on, Kevin! You can't run on batteries all day!

NAEN Ministries: Work is its own reward

They say good work is its own reward, eh?
I create a monthly comic strip for NAEN Ministries. Once in a while, I like to take a cliché and see what happends when I twist it around. Good work is its own reward, but it's still good to receive a paycheck from it.

Lessons Learned

Caption reads, "Sunday school was great, Dad. James agreed to go out with me when I'm old enough to date!"

I often wonder what my kids are learning when I'm teaching a Sunday school class. Probably more than I want to know. Hopefully they learn an eternal lesson that will change their lives forever-for the better.

How I envy him!

Caption reads: "He never takes a bath, eats a candy bar for breakfast and belches the alphabet in one, giant burp. Man I wish I was like him!"

I used this one for my kid's church lesson on envy. I found out as an attention grabber, you can't go wrong with mentioning a burp.

Green with Envy

Caption reads: "Admit it! You're green with envy!" I used this cartoon with my lesson for kid's church.

Our lesson was on envy versus contentment and how we get distracted from other people and God when we are envious.

Spiritual Desert

Caption reads: "Ever feel like you're in a spiritual desert?"

My family just came back from a vacation in Arizona. I had not officially been to a desert until now. Now that I see this cartoon I did five years ago, I wonder if I need to revise the landscape. Nah! It fits the stereotype of a desert though it looks like nothing I saw out there.

Official T-shirts

"The disciples felt special when they received their official T-shirts."

I was thinking this week how great it would have been to be Jesus' disciple... I mean, did they know they were part of something really big? Probably not, for they didn't know what was going happen at the end of Jesus' earthly ministry.

Rockin' Luther

This Sunday, our youth group played the music for church. Some of the older fellows never quite know how to handle it. It went something like this cartoon.