Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Darkest Day

One year ago today, my cell phone startled me awake.

"Oh my God, Dad. You and mom have to pray. Allie's not breathing."

That's the call that changed everything. It was the beginning of the darkest time of my life. God was never so silent; never so far away. I tried to bring Him in closer. I believe, I practice abiding in Him. If I live in Him, He'll live in me, right? That's my theology. So where was He?

There. Here. Present.

I don't know why it felt like He was so hands off. But He wasn't. He was very much hands on through His body; the Body of Christ.

It's unbelievable how friends have rallied to us with prayer and support. And, as I look backward - I wish I could see forward but that view is unavailable to me - I see how God has prepared me my whole life for where I am now. I take comfort in that as I look forward to an unknown, un-viewable future. Past grace equals future grace.

So I'm not going to mark this anniversary with depression or sadness because those kinds of days creep into my life on their own. I'm going to mark this anniversary by naming the good things God has done.

He's provided for me.
He's opened new doors of ministry to me.
He's shown me how much love I'm capable of containing.
Not containing... overflowing.
He's shown me how strong and deep and tenacious my relationship with the charming and beautiful Susan.
He's shown what a good friend Dan is.
And Chris.
And Cheryl.
And Nancy.
And Dave.
And Debbie.
And Lyndsey.
And Justine.
And Super Dave.
And Lyette.
And Kathy.
And Jody.
And Dorinda.
And Chet.
And Jeff.
And Ron.
And Joyce.
And Stephan.
And Luann.
And Dot.
And Archie.
And very single person that has left a comment on this blog.
And you other blog friends.
And you, friend, that I forgot to mention by name. I know you weren't a friend to me because I remember; you're a friend because you know God sees and you were just laying up riches in His house.
Some of you sent me a book.
Or Allie a package.
And there are a jillion unseen, silent prayer warriors that have prayed for my family and doctors and therapists.
You've even sent us money.

If we didn't feel such intense and long-lasting pain, we would never know how much you guys really care for and love us.

So that's where You've been hiding, God; in your people.

From now on, April 29 is "God Shows Up Day."

Second Guessing God

I took time to read this book after I put Allie down for a nap every afternoon a chore I didn't look forward to, by the way. But reading time has been scarce for me since we started taking care of this little girl and this became a time of day I looked forward to everyday and I anticipated reading through a chapter of Brian Jones' book every afternoon.

I have lived through the darkest year of my life and I've turned to books like this to help me put things in perspective. The simplicity of Jones' writing and very accessible wisdom have helped me do just that. This book is definitely worth your time. If you're a counselor or pastor or find yourself often comforting others, this book is a must read.

Consistency pays off

I've been working my marathon training plan after slackin' off a little last week and have seen some improvement. My time has dipped, just barely, under nine minutes per mile.

Saturday's run:
run time: 44:54
run dist.: 5.03 miles
avg. pace: 8:56/mile
calories: 635

Today's run:
run time: 35:57
run dist.: 4 miles
avg. pace: 8:59/mile
best pace: 6:06/mile
calories: 484

My Garmin Forerunner 201 says that my best pace was 6:06 per mile. I wonder how far I kept that pace up. That best pace stat always surprises me. And vexes me. And teases me.

Running Tips from CompleteRunning.com
Tip Five: Buy new running clothes at the end of the season when stores dump the old season’s line. Think clearance!

Again, with the fashion tips. I don't know... You are getting that economic stimulus check in the mail. Maybe you owe yourself some new running duds. You deserve it. Treat yourself. Watch how much faster you run. Make your President proud and dump some cash back into the economy while making a fashion statement. That's why you run, right?

Monday, April 28, 2008

An Amazing Day

Where used to marking new milestones with Allie. Her recovery has amazed everyone that has contributed to it. But we have never experienced as many new things in one day with Allie as we have today.

We bought Allie a new little chair to feed her in - on that we could use anywhere in the house and also take places. Susan was feeding her in it and put a little "Q" shaped teething ring on the tray. She went for it with her left hand and picked it up. This demonstrates two things: she was able to see the orange toy on the white tray and she was able to coordinate picking it up with her left hand. This is new stuff. I can't wait to tell her phys. therapy people tomorrow. The charming and beautiful Susan and I are arguing over who gets to take her to deliver the news.

Ever since we brought Allie home last June, we've not been able to give her a bath. She only gets sponge baths. She terrified of the tub and, it seems, being immersed in water. Last week, the charming and beautiful Susan brought home a plastic kitty litter box from Target to fill with water at bath time so we can put her feet in it and gradually get her used to the water. And we wanted to get that funk out from between her toes that only a good scrubbing will remove. Today Allie got her whole bath in that little tub. Not a sponge bath. A bath bath. You know, like the difference between how Presbyterians and Baptists do baptism. One sprinkles and one immerses. Before today, Allie was sprinkled and sponged. Today, Allie was immersed and bathed.

Later today, we took Allie to the grocery store in her little umbrella stroller. We have not ever been able to push her around a store in a stroller. Not ever. She always had a melt down whenever we tried so we quit trying. Friends had given us beautiful strollers. But since Allie only seems to see with her peripheral vision, our really nice strollers limited her visual input. So we went out, again to Target, and picked out el cheapo umbrella stroller and Allie loves it. She loves the rough ride the cheap wheels deliver and the unrestricted, sitting-straight-up view she gets. I've been taking her to the corner park every day and today we went into a busy, heavy on the visual and auditory stimuli grocery store, and she did great. No melt down. We were walking on air.

Finally, for months we've been trying to get her to drink juice. She were unsuccessful with juice in a bottle so we tried a sippy cup and she just didn't want to know about it. She flat refused. That and choked. She used to the consistency and flavor of her milk and anything different was just too big of a change. But today she drank juice from a sippy cup with a silicone nipple that has to be bitten to deliver the goods. And she loved it. And we loved it.

We attribute all of this progress to your prayers for Allie over the past year, God's goodness, and Allie's stubborn refusal to give up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Buff McBigwell

I used to be proud of this boy.

This is unusual comedy. Like Will Farrel.

Already Slackin'

I started my marathon training just a week ago, and I'm already missing days. I'm going to have to punish myself. I ran Saturday, but missed Monday cross training and my Tuesday three mile run. But I did do five yesterday and three today.

Yesterday's stats:
run time: 27:16
run dist.: 3 miles
avg. pace: 9:05/mile
best pace: 7:13/mile
calories: 359

Today's stats:
run time: 46:45
run dist.: 5.06 miles
avg. pace: 9:15/mile
calories: 646

Running Tips from CompleteRunning.com
Tip Four: Buy running clothes you look good in and that will motivate you to run...

Um... this may be the lamest tip I've ever read. Take it from me: your shoes look cool when you first buy them, but as soon as you get them home, you see an add or your hip, little brother shows up at your door with something ten times cooler on his feet.

Running is not a fashion sport. You need to find stuff that works. If you like how it looks, consider that a bonus. I know everyone is into accessories and looking cool, but if keeping up with trends is what keeps you on the road, then you should find something else to do like mall walking or water ballet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

If you do church portably

Calvary Chapel Jupiter had been setting up and tearing down at Jupiter High School since 1997. The staff has it down to a science. If you want to see how it's done or you want to get your hands on some good used items that are part of this stream-lined system, contact Chris Goeppner on his blog.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Portable Church items for sale!!!

As many of you know our church is getting ready to move into it's first facility. This means that we will have to find a new home for some portable church equipment. We have 2 trailers (24 foot), Portable Church Industries custom boxes, wall panels and some other "stuff". If you or someone you know if part of a portable church and would like to find out more info about this please leave a comment and I will respond ASAP.

Labels: Portable Church

Life & Times

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hi, Grandma

Grandma Ruth is missing me so much. She thinks my Pop-pop is a slacker 'cause he hasn't posted any pictures of me lately.
But Pop-pop has been waiting for just the perfect pictures of me since everything I do is so cute. Pop-pop takes it for granted just how cute I am and probably passes up on some really good pictures that Grandma Ruth would like.
Sometimes Pop-pop needs to be encouraged to put pictures and to write things about me. Sometimes he needs to be nagged. Sometimes you just need to use a little guilt on him. I just bite him.
I have this new stroller. I now have three strollers but I refuse to ride in anything that cost more than twelve dollars. There are starving kids in Africa. All I need is a simple ride.
If you look closely at this picture you'll notice that I'm sporting shoes now. A kid at the park said something to her momma about me going everywhere in socks and ever since that day, Pop-pop has ben putting these shoes on me. Now my feet are less cold and blue.
ali-6So, if you see my Grandma Ruth down in Florida, give her a big hug from me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bubba Raps

You've gotta watch Aaron's latest Urban Youth Impact newscast. He raps about the Green Zone. It's off the cha-zain...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Über Christ Follower Bill Ritchie

I'm reposting this article from September 2006. It just came to my attention, again through Phoenix Preacher, the best source of Calvary Chapel news, that Pastor Bill Ritchie of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, Washington, has cancer. Please join me in prayer for this man of God, his family, and his flock in Vancouver, WA. He'll never fully realize how greatly used of the Lord he was at a crucial time in my life and ministry.

Your big ministry plans often turn out to be training ground designed by God for ministry yet to be discovered.

That’s what I found out when I went to plant a church in Southwest Washington. I diligently served and taught a small handful of people for two years while I worked as truck driver. My efforts never produced a church. That was a hard pill to swallow. Maybe I didn’t stick it out long enough. Maybe I wasn’t the right guy for the job. Maybe I didn’t hear from God. Maybe God took me to the backside of the dessert for a while like He did with Moses before he started his life’s work at 80 years old. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

I probably won’t have the true answer to my questions this side of Heaven. Here’s what I do know: the Lord used the time strengthen an already great relationship with my wife and birth in us a willingness to go anywhere and do anything for the Lord. Even back to South Florida. Even South Sudan.

During my years in Washington, Pastor Bill Ritchie, Senior Pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, Washington, encouraged me and mentored me. His church was an oasis for my family during a “wilderness” time.

Bill probably doesn’t remember me, but I remember him. He took time – made time – to invest in me even though he had a huge church to run.

One thing I’ve learned about God is that He has strategically placed the men that have shaped and will continue to shape my life everywhere my foot falls. God is faithful to use the faithful. I need to be faithful to Him by being teachable in every situation.

New Bubba Vid

This looks like it's going to be a series for Aaron and the kids at Urban Youth Impact. Bubba has a part in this one.

Fun stuff.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I didn't even know his name

A couple of Tuesdays ago, I went out to the parking area because I knew there was a bunch of garbage out there. I live in an apartment complex where we all dump our garbage in these huge cans. Somebody came and overflowed our cans one night with their contraband garbage and left a mess. I planned on going out to clean it up after the city garbage trucks came on their scheduled day.

My neighbor beat me to it. When I got out there, he had most of it picked up.

We've bumped into each other only a couple of times since we moved in here in August. He told me his name but I forgot it about ten seconds after he told me. I tried to strike up a conversation with him, but we never seemed to make a conversational connection. I don't know if it was me or if it was him, but we never got beyond a cordial "hello".

Today when Allie and I came back from th park, there were two cop cars on the street by our apartments and cops in the driveway down in front of my garage. It was a little unsettling and I asked if everything was okay.

And then I noticed the smell.

The girl in apartment two though a rat had died in the attic. But when our maintenance guy shimmied up into the crawl space, the odor was too much for a rat. It was the guy in apartment three.

I'm in apartment four. I'm so sad that I didn't know the guy that shared a common wall with me. He drank himself to death is what the cops said. This man needed the gospel I've been entrusted with, but I couldn't even remember his name.

Where Jim Wallis Stands | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Jim Wallis is a voice in the Evangelical Christian community that has stood against the Religious Right long before it was cool. In this article, Wallis takes a position on abortion, gay marriage, the war in Iraq and how these issues are used as vote getters and litmus tests rather than true moral issues that politicians car about.

That's his take anyway. What's yours?

Below is just one question asked and answered. You'll have to click over to Christianity Today's website to read the rest of the piece.

You have been one of the most outspoken evangelical critics of the Iraq war. Has the surge changed your opinion?

I haven't changed my view at all. The war in Iraq was not a just war. It didn't conform to the standards at all. And that's the view of the vast majority of evangelicals around the world. I think it was the worst mistake in American foreign-policy history, with the exception of Vietnam.

Did the surge make security gains? Yes. Is that a lasting solution? No. There's still very little movement on the political front. Is the surge working to reduce the violence? Yes. Does that mean the war in Iraq was a good idea after all? No. But I'm not calling for immediate withdrawal. Now that we've gone in there and made such a mess of it, there has to be a responsible transition, saving and protecting as many lives as possible, and an internationalizing of the security problem.

Read the entire article here: Where Jim Wallis Stands | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Official Start of Marathon Training

I started my training schedule on Saturday. Four miles to start. Four miles is where a 26.2 mile marathon begins. This is how the schedule will go: Saturday: long run; Sunday: rest; Monday: cross train (which half the time I take off); Tuesday: short run; Wednesday: long run (but not as long as Saturday); Thursday: short run; Friday: rest.

This Saturday went like this:
run time: 37:07
run distance: 4 miles
avg. pace: 9:17/mile
best pace: 7:19/mile
529 calories

run time: 27:47
run distance: 3:00 mils
avg. pace: 9:15/mile
best pace: 6:49/mile
395 calories

I'd like to get my pace under nine minutes a mile. But with the hills and all, I'm not totally disappointed in the pace I'm running. A month ago, I was averaging ten minutes a mile on this three mile run and since then, I've added another hill to the course. So, not bad.

Running Tips from CompleteRunning.com
Tip Three: Ladies, do not skimp on a bra. Even if it costs more than your shoes it’s still a bargain.

I wish someone would invent something for men in the same region. When I run more than ten miles, my shirt rubs my nipples raw and they bleed begging the question: "Why do men have nipples?"

Bubba and Urban Youth Impact

Bubba (that is, Aaron) sent me this video he shot with the kids at Urban Youth Impact's after school program. The reporter is a doll and the kids really ham it up and entertain...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Beautiful Julia

Here's my son's latest video created for viewing at Calvary Chapel Jupiter. The subject of this video is his girlfriend Julia and her story of finding faith in Christ.

Julia is not just beautiful in appearance, she is beautiful in spirit and presence. I'm so proud of these two kids and their unwavering devotion and faith walk.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Greg's Blog

Super Calvary Pastor Greg Laurie is now a blogger. That's cool. Better late than never.

The best place to get any Calvary Chapel news is on the Phoenix Preacher blog.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Word in Focus

One of my bible college profs is extremely supportive of Barack Obama. Dr. Taylor is a white, baby-boomer, conservative Christian that has been outspoken on his blog about why he thinks Obama should be the nxt president. Below is his latest rant. Forgive the funky run-on paragraph, but I'm just cuttin' and pastin' around here. And I promise this will be the last post about Obama...

Chew on this:

Thoughts by Dr. Larry Taylor:

Because racism is an evil in our society that must be opposed by righteousness. Senator Obama not only has a strong record of standing up for social justice causes, as an African American, he knows first hand the sting of prejudice and racism, yet is committed to bringing together an interracial coalition to promote social justice. Barack Obama was raised in a mixed racial family in racially blended Hawaii and Indonesia. His family tree is Technicolor. Because Barack Obama is a dedicated follower of Jesus, who combines the evangelical belief in the necessity of personal commitment to Christ with the social gospel of Martin Luther King, Jr. Mr. Obama is dedicated to the eradication of poverty and injustice, not through government handouts, but through education and social networking. Because Washington politics has too long been run by special interests with lots of money. Senator Obama takes no money from special interests, and has led a clean, honest, upright life in the public eye. He is beholding to no one other than his constituents. Because party politics in America has long been controlled by powerful political machines, as, for example, the Clinton machine that has controlled the Democratic Party for 20 years, complete with the Clintons faux marriage and carefully orchestrated poll-driven policies. Senator Obama has consistently spoken out for and maintained positions that were not necessarily what his audience wanted to hear. He is driven by his assessment of the issues, not by polls, and his marriage is real. Because the Bush administration has buried us in a war with no apparent end. Senator Obama was one of the few senators who opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning, but who also strongly supports the war on terror, the incursion into Afghanistan, and our troops. Because U.S. Economic interests, particularly those of big oil, have driven foreign policy in recent memory. Barack Obama has used (and promises to continue to use) a new brand of diplomacy that involves talking to friend and foe alike to seek peaceful solutions to complex problems. Because we Americans have not always had our brightest people in the White House. Barack and Michelle Obama are both brilliant. Barack has a BA from Columbia, his law degree is from Harvard, and he was a constitutional scholar at the University of Chicago. His deep rich understanding of history and world governments complements his Ivy League education. Michelle was educated at Princeton and Harvard. Because global warming is a real undeniable threat to the planet, as are a host of other environmental issues. As a Christian, environmental stewardship is essential to my obedience to my Master, and Senator Obama strongly supports protections for the environment. Because many of our children, most especially those of color in inner cities, are receiving a substandard education that condemns them to a life of ignorance, poverty, and crime. Barack Obama uniquely combines a Bill Cosby-like conservative message of personal responsibility, hard work, and self determination with government proposals to fund new schools, pay teachers closer to what they are worth, and supply children with the environment and the tools they need to learn. Because 40 million Americans lack health insurance coverage and many more have inadequate coverage, which is unconscionable in a nation as wealthy as this one. Unlike the back room deal Hillary Clinton put together when Bill was president, Senator Obama proposes bringing representatives of every side of the health care issue together around a table to devise a plan that will provide health insurance for every American. Because giving homosexual couples the right to visit each other in the hospital, inherit property, and share benefits does not in any way threaten traditional marriage. If traditional marriage is under attack in America today, it is under attack more from the serial polygamy of evangelicals whose divorce rate is higher than the national average than from gays. Mr. Obama supports the carving out of some sort of legal niche short of marriage to protect same sex couples, and I see nothing wrong with that. Because the President of the United States has nothing to do with abortion other than the very remote possibility of being able to appoint enough judges (not to mention get Congress to approve the appointments) to force an antiabortion agenda on the nation. There have been just as many abortions under pro-life Reagan, pro-life Bush I, and pro-life Bush II than there were under pro-choice Bill Clinton. Moreover, Hillary and McCain are also pro-choice, so the issue is mute. The solution to abortion is in winning the hearts of people, not judicial or legislative coercion. Because hysteria about Mr. Obama being a liberal or about comments his former pastor made, is nonsense that has nothing to do with his potential presidency. Because internet reports that Mr. Obama is a closet Moslem opposed to the Jewish State of Israel are flat out lies. Barack Obama is a devout Christian who fully supports Israel and the finding of a peaceful solution to the displacement of Arab Palestinians so that Jews and Arabs can live side by side harmoniously. Those who point out Mr. Obamas middle name, or the fact that his last name rhymes with Osama advertise their gross ignorance. And, finally, this Caucasian, Bible-believing, Jesus-following, Pro-life baby-boomer is voting for Barack Obama because, regardless of policy, he inspires me. He is authentic, real, hopeful, and eloquent. When I listen to Obama, I feel the same sense of inspiration and hope I feel when I read a speech by Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, or John F. Kennedy.

© 2008 by Lawrence Russell Taylor, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Word in Focus

Bra Wars

I came across (don't ask me how)this funny fight over copyrights...

Lawyers from Hanna-Barbera, owners of the cartoon, have squared up to a firm called Booby Doo, which makes sports bras.

Booby Doo’s owners want to register the name as a trademark. But the lawyers, representing the multinational Warner Bros, say it sounds too much like the name of their doggy detective.

So who's side are you going to pick: the tongue-in-cheek bra maker or the too tightly wound cartoon creator?


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"Did you do that?" asked the charming and beautiful Susan?

"Do what?"

"Put her on her back?"

"Nope," says me.

Apparently, while we were gabbing, Allie rolled over from her belly onto her back. That's a first!

Big Grin

What is that reflected in the VP's shades and why the huge smile?

Does he have a dirty mind or do you? Click here for the answer.

did it deliver?

I don't know, man. I was a little disappointed in the Office last night. I though it was less good comedy and more a dark plunge into dysfunction. I laughed much less than I cringed.

Am I just a stick in the mud? What did you think?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Susan's workin' her

I'm so proud of the charming and beautiful Susan. She is so faithful to work with Allie every day on her speech, crawling, rolling over, sight education, motor skills development, you name it. And Allie responds so well. Everything the therapists give us to do as homework, Susan diligently applies.

But what she cares about most is that tonight a new episode of The Office airs.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Humboldt Redwoods Marathon

Well, I could have probably put it off a little longer but I didn't. I'm officially signd up for my 2008 marathon; the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon.

Map of the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon and Half Marathon race course

Above is the map of the run and below is what the elevation looks like. I guess there will be some hill work. I'll be ready.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008



We bough Allie this beanbag chair. Actually, I bought all two of the beanbag chairs they had stocked at our local Target.


This is the first time Allie has had fun in the chair. Everything new takes a little getting used to with Allie. Once we figure out a way to turn something into a game, she digs it.


This is definitely the cutest baby ever.

Pay it Forward

starbucks1280x1024_stains "You're all set."

"What?" I'm sitting at the drive-up window at Starbucks."

"Yeah," says the cashier, "the car that was in front of you paid for you."

"What?" I ask. "Why?"

"Because the car in front of him paid for him. This has been going on all day."

I looked in my rear view and there are no cars behind me. "Am I last in the chain?"

"I guess so. Lucky you."

Then a car pulls up. I don't want to be last in the chain. I want to participate. But what if the car behind me is getting coffee for the whole office? What if everybody gets a cookie? Or they buy a pound of coffee? Should I make a break for it with my free coffee? Should I break the chain?

"What did they get?" I ask.

"Two talls" (which means 'small' in Starbucks speak), she says.

I had too "grandes" (mediums) so no matter what, I make out. "I'll pay for theirs."

Now I'm a hero. What did you do nice today?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Doctor Blogger Missionaries

For several months, now, I've been following the blog posts of Dr's. Scott and Jennifer Myhre. I found their blog during a random blog search while they were ministering and doctoring their way through an Ebola outbreak in their part of Uganda.

In their most recent post, two child patients personify both the joy and tragedy of ministry. A child lost; a child helped. Read Beads Over Blood and then subscribe to their blog's rss feed. It's real life drama.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where's the Miracle

It takes me awhile to work through the stack of books accumulating in different piles around the house. Last summer, an author sent me a book that I hope to review here soon and I just had to share an "ah-ha" moment Brian Jones, the author of Second Guessing God, unpacks.

Jones takes the reader to Joshua 3 where the Isrealites are guided to the banks of the Jordan to prepare to cross into the Promised Land. The Jordan that time of year is overflowing and God has to do a miracle if He expects His Chosen to cross over. The Bible narrative says that God caused the river to pile high into a heap upstream at the town of Adam.
Scholars estimate the town of Adam was roughly nineteen miles upstream from where the Isrealites stood, far beyond where they could see. It was a miracle, but it was a miracle the people didn't witness with their own eyes. God performed the miracle upstream, out of their sight.

I believe the same situation occurs in our lives today. Here's the powerful truth:God is always at work upstream in our lives.---Brian Jones, p. 35

I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Allie said "ma-ma" today. So she's on a roll.


allie-4I'm pretty sure Allie said "Pa-pa" this morning. And the charming and beautiful Susan confessed that she's pretty sure she said "pa-pa" the other day. But she kept that information to herself since both Charity and Aaron said "da-da" before they "ma-ma" which makes me 3 for 3.

Jealousy is one of the seven sins, Honey.

Of course, it's humbling to know that they all said "ba-ba" (translated "bottle") long before they addressed any people/parents by name. So I guess we know where we exist on the children's list of priorities.

Speed Racer Movie

speed It finally happened. Trixie, Speed, Racer-X, and Sparky, have reunited for Speed Racer The Movie. How cool is that? I can't wait till May 9th.

What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid? If they made it a movie, would you go see it?