Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dude (Looks Like a Baby): We're having a boy!!

Dude (Looks like a baby)!  Aerosmith references aside... Lovin' an Elevator, anyone?... Kathy and I are thrilled to discover the chromosomal make up of our baby!!

The suspense is over.  Lena is gonna have a little baby brother!!  Kathy and I had our gender reveal appointment this afternoon, and we couldn’t be happier.

No matter what the gender, our uncontrollable love for the tiniest Hamilton has been consuming us from day one.  But we are soooo excited to find out that he is a boy!

The soon-to-be proud mama of a boy!  Actually, We're ALREADY proud of him!

My days of being outnumbered by girls in our house are over.  And our treasured little 23 month old Lena is going to find out the exciting news tomorrow, when we're all home together!

In the meantime, both Lena and her soon-to-be baby brother are available for drafting into the fantasy co-ed soccer team of your choice.  Starting in January, we’re gonna having another winning season on our hands!

Coming after Labor Day weekend on

Garth’s Blog… 


Never before seen action pics and stories from last year's birthday skydiving!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blog changes- New Twitter feed and more

Don't fear change.

The growing traffic on Garth's Blog puts my anemic following on Twitter to shame.  Ever since I joined Twitter last November (link), my longer form entries here continue to entertain a much larger audience than my sporadic contributions to Twitter's self-proclaimed "micro-blogging" platform.  Not that I mind.  Hey, I'm just glad so many readers have discovered this blog!

But if any of you readers have a hankering to scroll through my occasional tweets without becoming a Twitter follower, I've created an easy way for you to do that:   My Twitter feed is now embedded on the right side of this page, just above the Blog Archive of monthly links to my previous blog posts.  Alternately, anyone who is already on Twitter can click the "Follow @garth_hamilton" button directly above the feed.  But you already knew that.

Above the new Twitter feed, the other website change this week is the addition of the "Share It" buttons to recommend any of my blog posts on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

So what what do you think?  Since these "share" buttons are already on the bottom of each post, is this overkill?  Does the added Twitter feed help pass the time while waiting for my next blog post to drop?

Or is the new layout too cluttered, bringing back head-throbbing memories of staggering away from the sensory overload of a noisy Las Vegas casino? Or worse, from an old MySpace page?

Feel free to toss me your feedback either in the post a comment section below, via your favorite social platform, or the next time you run into Kathy and I grooving away at a local Americana/folk music festival.

Here's a random photo of Lena crushing Daddy's ear before we dropped her off at the Eason grandparents' house, prior to leaving for this month's Mexico mission trip:

Coming Tuesday on Garth’s Blog…

Our baby's gender is revealed!!

And then...


Last year’s birthday skydiving!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Defiant Birthday- Hiking Mount Defiance

Climbing Mount Defiance:  Shaun, Seamus, and I put on our smirking faces after reaching the views of Mount Hood at the top

Trying to beat 2012’s spectacular birthday weekend (I'll post more on our skydiving adventure next week!) would be futile.  Why even try?  Skydiving, hiking, rock wall climbing, go carts, dancing, live music, celebrating with friends and fam… the bar was set a bit high last year!

Truth be told, I was planning to just skip my birthday this year.  Life’s been crazy since we got home from our Mexico mission trip a weekend ago (link), and I haven't even started posting our Mexico blog posts yet.  Last week was spent furiously catching up on emails, messages, chores, assignments, and sermon prep.  Plus, I worked at Delta all last week, including on my birthday night.

My friends and family were sadly informed that I wouldn’t have time to celebrate my birthday this year.  But they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

PDX Airport:  Kathy, Lena, and my parents treated me to a birthday dinner at Beaches on my Delta dinner break

My workweek was made a little more birthday-ish by the 100+ messages, calls, visits, and gifts from friends and family.  It was more than I had planned, which was nothing, and much more than I deserved.


To squeeze in some off the clock fun for my birthday week, I reconnected with my long lost hiking buddy Shaun for a climb up the brutal Mount Defiance on Saturday.
  Shaun's dog Seamus hopped in the back of my Jeep for the warm air cruise.

Mount Defiance was always Shaun’s and my favorite climb, and it’s a doozy.  The steep 12.1 mile loop boasts nearly 5,000 of elevation gain to reach the highest point in the Columbia River Gorge.

Climbing up one side...

The ascent to the summit of Mount Defiance isn’t so bad.  But it doesn’t take a mountaineering expert to guess that the steep, slippery descent back down to the trailhead is the most painful part.  And it’s also the most fun, assuming you don’t conform to the whole “control your speed” mantra.

... And running back down the other side

Our trail run/plummet back down to the trailhead inevitably hit a speed bump, in the form of one of the most spectacular near-wipeouts of my life.

Miraculously, I narrowly avoided a rock implant in my skull with a maneuver that only smashed up a couple of toes.  The quick of my toenails were bruised, from top to bottom.  Who does that?  Speechless, Shaun and I later conceded that I must have broken at least a couple of physics laws just to land on my feet!

It goes without saying that Shaun’s and my previous Mount Defiance speed records remain unchallenged.  For now.

Saturday night fun in Hood River

Against all odds, even a full work schedule couldn’t ruin my birthday week.  God is good.  Now that I’ve finally experienced a mellow birthday, I may have to hop back on board the crazy train for next year's August 12!

We’ll see.

Coming next week on Garth’s Blog…

Last year’s birthday skydiving!

But first...

Our baby's gender is revealed!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

E.P.I.C. Class of 2012/ Mexico mission update

From August 1 (New photos and video added August 14!):

First of all, a late congratulation to our Class of 2013 graduates: Allen Buckles and Will Irwin!!  Our church family got a kick out of watching the slideshow prepared in your honor last month.   The video is embedded below:

Crank up the volume, go full-screen, and hit the “play” button above for a fast-paced slideshow of our favorite ministry moments featuring graduates Allen Buckles and Will Irwin!

In other big ministry news, we leave for our Mexico mission trip tomorrow!  We’re heading for Vicente Guerrero to build a house with Welcome Home Outreach Ministries.  Check out our previous E.P.I.C. Student Ministry Update for more details!

Fundraising at the Washington County Fair:

The Mexico mission leadership team and students Patricia and Katie sold soft drinks at the fair to raise money for next year’s trip.  We had about 50 volunteers from AChoG and the preschool working last weekend!

Our two Mexico groups meet at last:

We mixed it up at Godfather’s Pizza with our to-be Mexico mission partners from Tigard Church of God.  We leave together for Vicente Guerrero, Mexico tomorrow!

And here are a few bonus pics from the last few months:

Volunteers Wendy and Sharon organized a couple of after-school dinner outreach events.

A few of us anxiously awaited for neighborhood students to arrive!

Our missionaries from Micronesia, Gary and Gwen Bistritan, stopped by Aloha Church of God to share about the school they founded on the island of Yap.

Too bad I didn’t think about visiting Gary and Gwen (or Ed and Jan Cogar!) when I got stuck in Guam earlier this year.  Yes, my Osaka/Micronesia travelogue will continue here on Garth’s Blog soon!

And finally... An explosive ending to our county fair fundraiser:

I tweeted this pic of fireworks booming in my rear-view mirror as we waited in line to exit the fairgrounds, with the Jeep's soft top down.

Coming on next month's E.P.I.C. Student Ministry Update…

Our mission trip to Vicente Guerrero, Mexico!

...And coming up on Garth’s Blog…

Birthday Skydiving!