Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Blog has Moved!!

My blog has now moved to Xanga for the time being. You can keep up with me at


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dedications and Climbing

Yesterday was the official dedication of the multi-use training tower at ALERT. It is an amazing story of how God provided the funds to build the tower. The materials all have a guaranteed life of at least 30+ years. So they will be able to use it for many more years. On the North side of the tower there is a 22’ rappelling wall with the side open above that. The East side is the new climbing wall that has three main routes all the way up to the top 50’ above. The South side is a solid 50’ rappelling wall with the word ALERT emblazoned from top to bottom. On the West side you have part of it open and part solid with windows for fire training. So it is truly a multi-use tower this will be used by many different aspects of the training as well as for recreation.

After the dedication at 11:30 they had an open climbing day for anyone on campus who wanted to climb or rappel. I climbed each of the three faces on the rock climbing side, rappelled on the high side, and hooked guys up to rappel. While I wasn’t hooking guys up to rappel Capt. Dankers taught me how to climb up a rope with just prussik’s, how to switch from climbing to rappelling, and how to do a self belay for rappelling. That was all very fun.

Today I went to church with SMAJ Patrick. He is a great guy and goes to a great church in Gilmer. It was good to go. The entire church is excited and on fire for the Lord. The pastor was speaking about “Roadblocks” in our “Journey” or relationship with the Lord.

Thursday night when I came back from Malaysia they had been moving people around in the dorms, so I had to move all my stuff over to my new dorm that night. Ben was really nice and stayed to help me for an hour while he was waiting on his dad to get here and pick him up. I now have my own room and bathroom on the second floor of Aspen. It is nice b/c it stays very nice and clean! J

Hopefully soon I will be able to share all about our time in Malaysia. Until then you can read some about it and look at some of the pictures on the blog for the trip.

“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective though the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” Philemon 4-6

Capt. Dankers speaking at the dedication.

Me coming down the high side.

Me going up the high side.

Morgan conquring the hard side of the wall.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Malaysia or Bust

Right now I am in Malaysia working with ALERT. You can keep up with all that we are doing at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thank You

Each of the Cadet challenges would not be possible without the many tireless hours and the service or many different people. At Indianapolis it was no different. Many people gave of there time and energy to make an impact in each of the young men’s lives. Thank you all for your hard work and diligent service year after year. To God be all the glory!

II Timothy 4:7-8 says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” These men and women here have truly fought the fight and finished the race.

Red Unit Leader

Meal Chief and Logistics

Event Leader - Orienteering and Everybody Counts

Registration director and Meal assistant

Meal assistant and Registration assistant

Battalion SMAJ and Event Leader - Drill and Ceremony and Water, Water, Everywhere

Challenge Officer in Charge

Assistant Officer in Charge and Photographer

Green Unit Leader

Blue Unit Leader
Assistant to the Major and Event Leader - Obstacle Course and Travios and Chariot
Thank you all for your service and the many others that are not mentioned.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Heavans Declare

Psalm 19:1
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

As I was walking back from PT this morning this verse came to mind when I saw the sunrise. The Heaven truly do declare what an awesome God we serve.

The sunrise also reminds me of the words to the song, "You Reign". There is peace in my heart...YOU are in control. Thank you Lord for always being in control no matter what! :-)

Morning and night the sky shouts Your majesty
Saying the whole universe is under Your feet
This is the peace in my heart
The strength of my soul
Whatever happens in life
This much I know
You are in control

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Indianapolis ACC 2007

Here are some of the highlights from the ALERT Cadet Challenge in Indianapolis IN.

I am the one carrying the green Cadet flag.
Practicing sing during Squad Leader training.

All pictures courtesy of Richard Shoemaker, Brystol Reckner, Bryce Reckner, Nathan Blikstad, Stephen Winchell, and Lt. Dean Winchell.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Day in Remembrance and Celebration

On Sunday, August 5th, One of the Cadets that had come from Big Sandy with us for the Cadet Challenge received a call from his parents saying that a cadet that we both knew had been killed in action in Iraq. Jaron Holliday was a part of our unit back home, Alpha 2nd Oklahoma. He was killed on August 4th when the vehicle he was riding in hit an IED. Jaron had always wanted to serve our country in the military and he loved his job. He was also a beacon of truth and hope to all those he came in contact with. At the funeral they had a time of sharing and every single person, for and hour straight, mentioned what an encouragement and light he had been to them. The legacy of what Jaron did still lives on both at home and in Iraq with his fellow soldiers.

Major Farr, Peter Farr, and myself were able to fly up to Tulsa for the funeral. It was a great celebration of life with the gospel being clearly presented many times. After the funeral we went out to eat at Chedders restaurant with my family. That was a lot of fun, then we were off to the airport and a two and half hour flight home. It was fun getting to fly with Major Farr. I rode up front on the way down and navigated then Peter switched with me for the flight home. When we arrived back we went over to the Farr;s house and had Ice Cream. Yum!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Friends and Family

Friday night I played volleyball with all the ALERT staff. We had three courts going most of the time. A first at ALERT. We had really good games because the teams were smaller, we had about 5-6 players most of the time. We played till 10:30, then I walked back to my dorm and talked to Rowdy till midnight. At 1:30am Bryce came back from talking with one of the ALERT guys and he and I talked for another hour.

Saturday: We awoke to Bryce's phone ringing, at... 9:10! oops, maybe we stayed up to late. :-) While Bryce went to talk to a friend I took Rowdy around and showed him some of the places he hadn't seen yet around campus. After brunch we changed and headed out to the shooting range. We shot Bryce's 12ga, his new 9mm, and a 22. We had a blast. It was so much fun. Some of the Hendrich's also came and shot with us. Then we headed to Longview or the afternoon. He went to Army Navy Surplus, Academy, Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply, Wal-Mart again :-), and then to dinner at Cheddar's. Dinner was really good and we had such a good time talking, and laughing, and talking more, and laughing more, and watching Bryce talk on the phone. :-) We got back on campus about 6:30 and decided to go shooting again. :-) After shooting up the last of the 22cal. We got the haircutting stuff and Brystol cut Bryce's hair. As soon as she was done cutting his hair his phone rang. :-) He started smiling and made a beeline for the door. :-) So Lynn, Brystol, Rowdy, and I deiced that we were hungry for some Ice Cream. After finding Bryce wandering around on the phone we got his order and drove to Gladewater to Sonic. We all ended up with fruit smoothies rather than Ice Cream, but it was just a good. Then we came back and dropped the girls off and Rowdy and I went back to the dorm, talked for a while, and decided to head over to the Quest cadre barracks. There several of the guys met us at the door and decided that it would be best if they came over and talked at my dorm rather than theirs. After talking for a while I went and called my mom since they were coming over from Dallas to stay here for a few days. This was about midnight, Elizabeth answered and said they had just gotten here but they hadn't found any reception to call me. So went over to say goodnight and some of the Quest Leadership knew my brothers so they came to say hi. we talked with my family for about 20min and then headed back to the dorm at about 1:30. We got in bed AND turned out the light but continued talking till 2:30am! :-)

Sunday: Bryce had gotten up a little before seven and gone to lunch with a squad mate of his from basic, Lt. Pierce. Rowdy and I got up at 8:45 showered, dressed, and were out the door in about 20min. Since Bryce still wasn't back from breakfast Rowdy and I took my family's van and picked up Brystol and Lyndsae, then got my family from their dorm and drove to the Behr's house for the Campus church service. After church we talked with Brystol, Lynn, and Bryce for about 20min then they, Reckner's, had to go eat with the Henderich's. So I took my family around campus and showed them all the different places things happen. They we had a few crackers and cheese, talked for a while, got my hair cut, and walked to supper. After supper I had to do dishes with the rest of the single staff guys. Mom wanted to see what my dorm was like but since girls can't even come near the guys dorms I showed her what one of he empty ones that is like mine was like. Then we went to the evening service.

Shooting in the afternoon.


We decided that while Bryce was on the phone after his haircut that we were feeling a little left out so we decided to take a few pictures!





Friday, July 27, 2007

It has been a while

Last week I was home with my family. It was a blast. The time home is never long enough. Every moment was filled with one activity or another, and the few other moments were filled with much talking. Thursday night we drove over to Arkansas and spent the night at my grandma’s house. Early Friday we drove up to Silver Dollar City in Branson MO. We had a great time there. Getting totally soaked, sitting inside at two of the shows, flying across the tracks of several roller coasters, or walking from one end to the other. We spent the whole day laughing, waiting in lines, and then doing that all over again, then we headed back home. On the way home Elizabeth and I were the only ones awake. The drive went quickly because we were having a great time talking.

Saturday we worked over at Dad’s new office building. We spent the all day cutting up the trees they had knocked over with the backhoe. It was a lot of fun. I ran the saw most of the day. For dinner we all went out to Ricardo’s, a Mexican restaurant that we all love eating at. It was good as always.

Sunday afternoon I drove back and starched all my uniforms and Ironed one set for Monday. Monday thru Thursday I took the First-Aid class with Quest for my re-certification for my CPR and First-Aid. The class was good but there wasn’t a lot of new stuff on the first-aid side. However, on the CPR they had changed several things in the three years since I got my last certification. On the CPR test I missed one question then I aced the First-Aid test. Corporal Kordik bought the four of us that aced the test all a Sobe. He is such a cool instructor.

This morning about 5:30am Bryce Reckner, Lyndsae, and Rowdy Lax came in. Bryce and Rowdy are staying in my room, so I am sure this will be a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Psalm Eighteen

Psalm 18

Who is our God? What does he mean to you? What is our should be our response to Him for what He has done for us? Psalm 18 really shows us who our mighty God truly is, and what our response to Him should be.

Verses 1-3 "I love You, O LORD, my strength." The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Can we truly say that? I know that when the hard times come, when the world is pressing in, that I should turn to Him. My Rock. Yet sometimes we have a hard time doing that. Why? Is it because of our pride and ego, wanting to do it all by ourselves? Lord I pray that you will help me to turn to You, to run to You, in my times of need.

So what is our response to the God who created us and has provided protection for us?
Verse 46 "The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation".

Verses 49-50 "Therefore I will five thanks to You among the nations, O LORD, and I will sing praises to Your name. ...And shows loving kindness to His anointed, to David and his decedents forever.

What a great God we serve. Thank you Lord for all you have provided for us.

This week I am working with my dad at the office. I have been working on the plans for the new office and warehouse he purchased this spring. And have also done some demo work at the new office.

Yesterday we had a missionary friend over for lunch. We had a great time listening to her stories and all that she had to share. it is amazing what our God is doing.

In September I will be going to Malaysia with ALERT Cadets for the ATI Regional Home school Conference there. Back in January I applied for my passport and it finally came about the middle of June. Six months later. So much for the 8-10 weeks they say. So now I have all the documentation I need.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I am finally home again. I arrived home at 8:54pm Friday evening. Boy, what a great time we had. We stayed up talking and looking at pictures till just after midnight. It was so good to see all of them. As I came around the corner John and Victoria were running toward me. And then the front door flew open and the rest of the family that wasn't already out in the yard bouncing up and down came out to meet me. How sweet! :-) We had a great time.

This morning we got up early and help some relatives move. Then we went over to Dad's new office worked on taking out some of the old lights, cutting up more of the trees, mowing, and weed eating. Before supper I played basketball with the boys. We had fun but the old guy (me) still beat them all. During supper we watched "Remember the Titans". They had all seen it before while I was gone but, this was the first time for me. It was pretty good, I enjoyed it. Following the movie I went for a run. It was good to run back through some of the familiar parts of the neighborhood.

Here of a few photos I took around our yard:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Proverbs One

Proverbs One is so full of little nuggets of truth. Here are just a few of the things that i noticed this morning while reading.

Verse 2 WHY are we to read the Bible? "to know wisdom and instruction..."

Verse 5 WHO needs Gods wisdom?? Not only the foolish but also "A wise man will hear and increase in learning and a man of understanding will aquire wise counsel".

Verse 7 WHAT is the Basis for all wisdom and knowledge? "The fear of the Lord is the begining of knowledge:.

Verses 8-19 Choose you friends wisely. Who are you allowing to influance your life? Who are you influancing?

Verses 20-33 All we have to do is take the wisdom God has provided for us in His word and apply it to our lives.

Verse 33 God's promise to those who live wisely. "But he who listend to me shall live securely and shall be at ease from the dread of eveil."

What a comfort it is to know that God has provided all the wisdom we need for each situation we will face in life right in his word. Now what are we going to do with it? May we all truly be able to say, "I have fought a food fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..." II Timothy 4:7. Stay strong in the Lord.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To California and Back

Wednesday: I spent most of the day sorting and packing gear for the Sacramento ALERT Cadet Challenge. We finally got the trailer loaded and everything finished up by 8pm. I went back to pack my stuff but got sidetracked watching a movie with Lauren Kaney, Steve Parrish, and Nathan Kane. So I didn’t do any packing till Thursday morning right before we left. But hey, it only takes 15 or 20 minutes to get packed.

Thursday: The 27th we started out on our way to Sacramento at 9:00am. We had two STEP girls that we were to drop off at DFW. However, once we got there they checked in and it turned out that they were supposed to fly out of Love Field rather than DFW. So we turned around and made the trek back to Love and then we right back past DFW to a cadet families home for lunch. The Watson’s have a very nice house on a few acres outside of Dallas. At their house we had lunch with Billy Graham, a missionary from India. Then we continued on arriving at John Freidli’s house in Lubbock about 9pm where we had a wonderful dinner. We were on the road again by 10:30. We drove through the night only stopping twice for fuel, and then continued all day Thursday arriving in Riverside CA, outside LA, at 6:30pm. We spent the night at the Hick’s house. Joel and Angie stayed there with her family while we continued on to Sacramento at 6am. This morning I rode with the Maj. Mrs., and Katie Farr. We had a great time. We pulled into Sacramento about 2pm. Mrs. Farr and Katie wanted to stop by the Salvation Army thrift store so we looked around there for a while and then walked down the street to the Blue Diamond Almond processing plant. They had roasted almonds of every flavor plus just about anything else you could think of to make with almonds or put them in. we arrived at the Boy Scout camp about 3:30 and began setting up our tents and working around the property. Dan and I were tasked with performing the 500 hour maintenance on their John Deere 790 tractor that had not had anything done to it since they got it.

The Marshall family from the Mexico are the ones who are coordinating the conference and running the kitchen preparing all the meals. So they took us all out to eat at the Hometown Buffet. We had a great time there talking with them. Then we walked across the street to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. This Wal-Mart was unique in that it was two stories; I guess that is how they offset the high real-estate prices. Build up rather than out.

Sunday: We had a short church service and then worked around the camp all day cutting down brush, stripping and waxing the lodge floor, and working on the tractor. Dan and I ended up staying up till 12:30 waxing the floor. While we were clearing out the lodge so we could wax the floor Col. Moulten pulled one of the table carts out from the wall and behind it there was a skunk. We were able to get it to move part way to the door but once he was about half way there he wouldn’t go any farther. So Nathan go a box and trapped him under the box then we slid it across the floor and out the door and across the porch. Once we had him by the steps Dan took the broom and WHAM!!! Mr. Skunk went flying down the steps where he laid there for a second the rolled over, sprayed at the steps, and then took off running across the yard to the woods. The steps smelled for the rest of the day but the inside of the lodge and all of us were okay.

Monday: Then we were up at 6:00am and working doing much of the same plus a lot of weed whacking with a big two wheeled push weed eater and burning a lot of brush. Some of the crew also went and unloaded the semi at the convention center.
Tuesday: Bright and Early we had wisdom search and then headed over to the convention center to setup for registration and do Squad Leader training. We had 25 SL’s and they were a pretty good group. Maj. Farr had me do part of the teaching. I did the procedures part, sign-in, formations, emergencies, inclement weather, safety, general schedule, and such. After SL Training we took them over to the camp and walked them through the events and formation area. Ten we drove back to the convention center for the opening ceremony practice. I once again carried the Cadet flag in the color guard. Col. Moulten did a great job getting us all together and choreographing the whole thing. Then we raced back to the camp ate a quick dinner and got in our dress uniforms. The opening ceremony went very well and all the people really seemed to like it. I then worked at the Cadet Sales table for a little while then we headed back to the camp after the first break and got all the rosters ready for the first day of the challenge.

Tuesday: To transport all the guys over for the cadet challenge from the convention center to the camp we walked them two blocks to the light rail station put then on a train with some of the ALERT guys and SLs then they would ride 15 min to another station where Dan and I would meet them and then walk them 20min to the camp. Since Dan and I would be meeting the guys at the camp end of the route we didn’t have to go in to the convention center. So we got up 5 min before wisdom search walked over to the lodge for wisdom search and then after wisdom search and everyone else had left we would go take our showers and get our event ready for the day. What a rough life! J Because of this being the 4th of July there was only one train running between the times we needed so we had to get all the guys on one train and over here. It wasn’t too bad and they all made it over. Dan and I had Cooking and Fire building today. The guys each make a cinnamon sugar apple then we cook it in our fire while we teach them to how to make a fire and then they have to make their own fire, burn a string about three feet over the pit, and then boil a pot of water. All in all things went very well and the kids had a great time and learned a lot. After the challenge we came back and John Erickson and I went back to the convention center and worked at the booth and cadet sales table and listened to one of the sessions. Then we came back and hunted skunks and coons.

Thursday: We started work at 7am. Col. Moulten and I worked in a 60’ boom lift. Col. ran the chainsaw and I drove the boom. It was blast. After lunch Col. and I finished up then we loaded all the fire wood and burn stuff and hauled it out to the fire. After cleaning up John Freidli, Matt Bousfield, and I headed over to the Convention center for the evening. We had a great time and actually got in on a few sessions.

Friday: Major Farr spoke at the morning father’s session so I had to do the SL training. This was the same thing that happened in Nashville. After SL training I did Major Farr's job of supervising the sign in and the loading of the train. Jay Hearn did a great job of counting off the guys and getting them in teams of 10 with a SL to go to the station. He was awesome and did a great job. Thank you Jay. Today Dan and I had the D&C event. We had a great time and I think all the kids did also. One of the events they we had them marching in a field with lots of sprinklers going. They really like that. They also seemed to grasp the analogies really well too. Right after the last event we moved the guys over to the train station and took them over to the convention center and practiced their songs and verses with them. Right before we started our third event rotation Major Farr came and informed me that I would be leading the cadets in AND leading the battalion in their songs and verses for the parent presentation. AUUGH. I can’t sing and here he wants me to lead the guys in singing in front of 1200+ people????? After we had practiced a few more times we headed inside and got them all lined up in the back. Then Major Farr got up and introduced the cadet program and talked for a few minutes. Then he said, “Officer Shoemaker will you bring in the 2007 Sacramento Cadet Challenge Battalion, Cadet Battalion Fall In”. Boom, we were off, 200 cadets, running, screaming down the aisles and forming up in the front. After tearing down for a while at the convention center we headed back to the camp and I helped get in the kitchen getting the Staff/volunteer dinner ready. It was a lot of fun. After the dinner I talked with the Hearn’s and Blake’s out around burn pile, while Jay worked on banking up the fire. Mr. Hearn had some amazing stories of things he had found as a building inspector. Later one of the Hess guys and I hunted coons and skunks till 12:30. I finally had to go to bed.

Saturday: We all got up at 5am and packed our gear, loaded the trailer, and hit the road, next stop, Riverside CA. After one stop for fuel and lunch we arrived at the Hicks 8.5 hours later. After talking for a while we played “Catch Phrase”. It was a lot of fun. My team won. On our team we had John, Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, and me. For dinner Mrs. Hicks had lasagna, salad, and garlic bread. Ohh was it ever good. After dinner I laid out in the hammock and enjoyed the cool, slightly breezy California evening talking to my family. John, Dan, and I stayed up till 12:30 talking and finally decided that we should get to bed.

Sunday: My alarm went off at 5:30am and we all dressed and carried our bags outside. Mrs. Hicks made a wonderful breakfast of eggs, sausage, and cinnamon rolls. Last night Capt Rowe drove down to San Diego to load his trailer and bring it back with us. While we were eating breakfast he called and talked to Joel and said that he was having trouble with the lights on the trailer and it would be about 8 rather than 6 when he got there. 30 min later he called and said the trailer ended up being heavier than the limits on the van so he had to leave it. We finally left about 9:30am. In our van now we have Capt. Rowe, Dan Sterrett, John Freidli, Joel and Angie Tally, and me.

Monday: I am still awake even at 4:00am. Dan Sterrett had slept all day because he was supposed to drive the night shift. So about 6pm when he was supposed to take the night shift he says, “Richard, can you stay up here with me and help me stay awake and give me someone to talk to. Therefore, I stayed up all night till 4:00am and then slept off and on for about 4 or 5 hours. At 12:35pm we rolled back onto ALERT. Thank you Lord for bringing us safely back here. Once back, we unload the van and trailer, washed the van, and then unloaded our own stuff. After that we went and put together two display boards in the office. Right after dinner John Freidli and I took the boards to the UPS office in Longview. Here at ALERT the UPS guy comes at about 9am. Since we weren’t back then they had to go to Longview in order to get out in time. Then we went to Wal-Mart for ourselves and some of the QUEST Leadership guys wanted a few things.

So all in all it was a fun trip and we were able to accomplish a lot for the people at the campground we were staying at, the people at the conference, and all the others we came in contact with. Thank you Lord.

Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is Our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite”. Without God’s strength we would not have been able to accomplish all that we did. And He truly understood everything that we were going to face and gave us the understanding to take care or the problems when they came up. Thank you Lord.
Another one of me.

All the guys running in for the Parent Presentation