A friendly reminder from Arnold

Put that Cookie Down (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

I was a little bored one evening last week and decided to play around with my phone notifications. The ringtone I set for my wife is Chris Farley singing “Fat guy in a little coat,” while he’s wearing David Spade’s jacket in the movie Tommy Boy.  One of our favorites.  It’s the text message notification I chose that got the better of me, though.

If you haven’t read the first chapter of my book that I posted on this site, let’s just say that cookies are a bad habit of mine (understatement!). I figured it would be cute to have the notification for receiving a text from Vanda on my phone as Arnold Schwarzenegger saying this. Continue reading


Does God have regrets?


Sorry, not the best quality pic, but it’s funny!


Do you think the New England Patriots regret deflate-gate?

It’s widely accepted by sports outlets that the team intentionally deflated their footballs 2 lbs. less than NFL regulations for the AFC championship game last Sunday. This gave them an advantage of greater ball control in the cold, wet conditions.

The Pats ended up destroying the Colts 45-7, and many claim that the indiscretion was insignificant to the outcome of the contest. Maybe so. Or . . . maybe not. Who can tell how many fumbles or incomplete passes were averted? And if it didn’t make much of a difference, why did they do it?

I’m less than a fan of the Patriots so my opinion is biased. They are consistently in the playoffs, and they have been consistently caught being unscrupulous. I know there’s a lot of moolah involved, but what about honor? What about winning without an asterisk next to your accomplishment? Continue reading

Garbage Can Greeting

Garbage Can GreetingOn our way back from men’s retreat last Saturday I got a text from Vanda telling me to avoid Route 224. It’s a major road that goes through Boardman, OH.  As we approached our house we witnessed a steady stream of traffic on the little side street our house is on.  That’s unusual for our neck of the woods.

But, that wasn’t the only thing different that we saw as Dan Lewis pulled into my driveway to drop me off. Emma, my 13-year-old, had made a sign using our garbage can and some pizza boxes. It read, “Have a nice day.”

I wonder how many people saw that and smiled? Okay, there may have been a few who thought it was some sort of taunting. I mean, we all know people who get their knickers in a twist (as my wife would say) just sitting in the driver’s seat as evil powers emanate from the steering wheel. If I know my fellow Ohioans, it’s a safe bet that a majority of them appreciated her sentiment. Continue reading

People with Autism are different, not less.

English: A boy with autism.

English: A boy with autism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was some free time at the end of class one afternoon.  When the students in the Autism Unit (AU) at Summit Academy in Youngstown, OH, have behaved well they are sometimes afforded a few minutes of down time before changing classes.  Mike* had been arm wrestling everyone he could find and had run out of competitors.

“Mr. Knick,” he asked, “do you wanna arm wrestle me?”

I don’t like to turn the kids down if they want me to participate in what they are doing.  So I obliged.

Continue reading

Discordant metronomes

I’m not going to try to explain the science behind this video (mostly because I can’t).  But . . . it’s pretty cool.  If you don’t want to watch the whole four minutes, watch the first thirty seconds and then skip ahead at 30 second intervals (i.e., 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, etc.) and watch for a few seconds at each.  You’ll get the idea.

The explanation on YouTube is “If you place 32 metronomes on a static object and set them rocking out of phase with one another, they will remain that way indefinitely. Place them on a moveable surface, however, and something very interesting (and very mesmerizing) happens.”

Continue reading

How to speak the international language

A dozen children raced to the fence to greet us before our van stopped in front of the children’s home in Tijuana. It was Friday, the final day of our missions trip to Mexico. There were no houses to build or garbage to walk through to minister in the name of Jesus Christ.  This time we brought pizza to about 25 children who had been either orphaned or abandoned.  It was in many ways the easiest day of the trip. In another way it was the hardest.

Continue reading

Down in the dumps (literally) in Mexico.

This is from Tuesday, our 2nd build

This is from Tuesday, our 2nd build

There are no photos to show you of Thursday of our week in Mexico because we were forbidden to take them.  So here’s a description of one of the worst and yet most inspiring experiences of my life.  We had been in the slums of Tijuana to bless families with homes that, as our teens had pointed out, were smaller than their bedrooms in Ohio.  That served as a primer for our trip to the dump.

Yes, a garbage dump.  Eddie Passmore, co-director of Mexico Caravan Ministries with his wife Maggie, had cautioned us before we left.  It’s important to quickly get past the shock of what we were about to see so that way we could bless the people in the name of Jesus Christ.

Continue reading

You seriously need a realtor for your spiritual journey

No, this isn't my house.

Photo credit: Håkan Dahlström / Foter.com / CC BY
(No, this isn’t my house)

Talk about feeling exposed.

In the world of real estate it’s not a seller’s market, but we’re starting the process of doing just that.  My in-laws have offered to sell us their home that is 1.5 miles from our house for a steal.  We’re extremely grateful for their generosity. Our kids won’t have to change schools and the home has much more living space, which fits well with our plans to start a missional community in the fall.

A realtor came to our home yesterday for the first time to give Vanda and me tips on the process.  We had worked hard over the weekend to clear away a bunch of the clutter.  I have also been working on repairs like replacing ancient ceiling fans and the clay underground tubes that direct the rainwater away from the house and out to the street.  But, we know there are things that still need work and the realtor let us know.

Continue reading

True Colors (Guest blogger: Emma Knickerbocker – 12 yrs. old)

One of Emma's drawings (Not from her project. That hasn’t been graded yet.)

One of Emma’s drawings (Not from her project. That hasn’t been graded yet.)

So it`s first period at my school, and I`m sitting in Mrs. Zitkovich`s class, minding my own business and trying to focus over Martin`s and Billy`s usual “trying to beat Billy up” sort of thing. We’re working on this poem I love called “The Highwayman”, and I`m checking over my homework.

The bell rings, and we all sort of quiet down a bit, not that much. Mrs. Zitkovich walks in saying, “Take out your homework.”

After we check it over Mrs. Zitkovich says we`re going to have a choice of projects about “The Highwayman” and all of them but one include drawing! I decide right away that I`m doing a wanted poster, but then Mrs.Zitkovich convinces me to rewrite the poem with another character`s perspective, which includes drawing.

So I take it home to work on it.  Then I take it in to school, SUPER excited, and I hand in the paper. Mrs.Zitkovich takes a look at it with a questioning look. “Why didn`t you color it?” she asked.

Continue reading