Valentine’s 2001: When I Tricked Jennifer

Valentine’s 2001: When I Tricked Jennifer

Ten years ago I tricked Jennifer into a “date.” Obviously it worked!

I had a crush on Jennifer from the time I met her at the Baptist Student Union in August 2000, but at Rolla there is a 5 guys to every 1 girl so I wasn’t even on her radar. That was until our paths crossed more and more. We ate lunch together almost every day along with 8 or so other BSU friends and hung out more with one of my friends from high school was in the same dorm as her.

Well with Valentine’s Day in 2001, I had 3 tests in one day. One test in the morning, one in afternoon, and one in the evening. That day was also Career Fair where I had to go for a class and try to get a summer internship. So it was a really busy and stressful day. It didn’t help when my teacher at my first test (Calculus III) was at lunch with the BSU gang and was grading my test at the other end of the table shaking his head. He was just teasing, but it didn’t help my nerves. What did help was after lunch on my way to career fair, I dropped off some heart shaped cookies into Jennifer’s car for her.

But with knowing that I had 3 tests coming up in one day, I bet Jennifer in motivation for me to get A’s on them. We would go out to dinner and if I got all A’s that she would have to pay for her dinner, but I didn’t get an A on all three tests, I would pay for it. I know I wasn’t really tricking her for its pretty obvious either way we are on a “date.”

So a week after Valentine’s Day 2001, we went out to dinner for the first time. I can’t remember the name, for it changed names many times and right now is called the Feed Lot. Excellent name for a sit down restaurant! But it was like an O’Charleys. It was a great dinner and I did end up paying for her dinner. We have now been together for a decade and married for 6.5 years. It’s been an awesome journey together and I’m looking forward to the next 53.5 years!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jennifer & Happy 10 years since we started “dating”!

One more thing, I might have paid for her dinner, but I won the bet and did get an A on all three tests! Plus I got an internship at MoDOT and got the girl so definitely a good Valentine’s Day!

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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Family, Marriage


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Lily’s 1st Birthday

On Friday, December 17 at 8:00 am, Lily turned 1. We had the party for her on Saturday afternoon with my mom and friends there to celebrate. I took some video of the event which is below. They are unedited so take them are as are for they are pretty choppy for I was trying to film it while doing other things at the same time. Enjoy! We will post some pictures of her party later this week.

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Family, Lily, Videos


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Starting a New Tradition

Tonight, we are going to start a new Christmas tradition in the Lettner household. We are going to celebrate Advent.

What Is Advent? Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. The Hebrews looked forward to the coming of a Savior or Messiah—the First Advent. Now, we are waiting expectantly for His return to sweep His bride off of our feet—the Second Advent. The Church has been waiting for Him to come back from the moment He left the first time.

Traditionally Advent is celebrated for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas so it started November 28. But we are going through Advent a different way. We are reading “Rediscovering the Christmas Season” Bible Reading Plan that our church ( put together on YouVersion. It has 24 different readings leading up to Christmas with questions and activities. Then on Christmas, you read the Christmas story. You can join us by reading at or downloading The Bible App on your phone & select the Christmas reading plan.

I have been wondering what to do for Christmas to make it special especially with now having Lily and I think this will help. We aren’t too much into Christmas to begin with. We love the trees and the lights and some of the music. But we get tired of the weeks of commercialism and materialism. It seems that the meaning of Christmas is lost in it all. I am looking forward to spending the next 25 days to focus back on Christ, celebrating his first coming and anticipate His future arrival.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

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Posted by on December 1, 2010 in Church, Faith, Family, God


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Life Out of Focus

I see the world differently than you do.  Really, I  do.

I don’t know what normal vision is, I’m just used to what I see. I have known since I was little that I didn’t have the vision of others. At different points in my life, people have been freaked out by my eyes. How is my eyes “scaring people” or making a police officer think I was drunk?

I have Nystagmus.

I have had it since I was born. My parents took me to specialists when I was really young. One doctor suggested eye surgery when I was Lily’s age (thankfully my parents got another opinion). They found out that it is not as much with my eyes, but with my brain. If you have seen me, you probably have noticed the Nystagmus. It causes my eyes to move back and forth side to side without me knowing it. I can’t even tell it is doing it, it’s just what I’m used to.

Growing up, I was always told by my eye doctor that there wasn’t really anything that could be done to fix my eyes. I couldn’t get to 20/20 vision, but to be thankful I can see well enough to drive. I am very thankful that I can drive and can work on a computer being an engineer. But earlier this year, when I went to my new eye doctor in OKC, he told me he heard about a doctor that helps people with nystagmus and lazy eye. The doctor is Dr. White at Visual Skills Specialist. So after having a quick consultation in April that he could help me, I went earlier this month to have the complete vision testing to see what condition my eyes are.

Two weeks ago, we sat down with the doctor for a couple of hours to learn about my eyes and how to proceed. Obviously, I have nystagmus which is a condition in the brain that causes it. There are many different reasons why people get it, like trauma. Like I mentioned that a police officer thought I was drunk once because of my “shifty eyes,” but like someone that is chemically imbalanced because they are intoxicated my brain doesn’t control my eyes like it should.  Dr. White said that the Nystagmus won’t go away, but might be able to lesser the frequency and angle of eye movement. But that isn’t the main thing that is of concern about my eyes.

I also have limited depth perception and it comes and goes. My eyes don’t move together for one will move at a different rate of the other. My eyes are very slow to focus on an object. I have trouble tracking an object for my eyes bounce off the object. I knew that one because of sports. I have a hard time following a ball when it is flying by (one reason I really don’t like dodgeball). Also my eyes are aligned right in their resting position. So that is somewhat like a small form of lazy eye. Finally, my brain choses what eye it wants to look out of for distance. So instead my distant vision being my eyes working together, my brain choses what image (eye) for me to see so I sometimes have overlapping double vision. This also is why the decreased depth perception.

As you can see (pun intended), most of my eye problems besides the slow focusing, are not eye problems, but how my brain controls my eyes. It’s not going to be a quick fix to get my brain to control my eyes. I wish I could just take a pill or have surgery and it’s all fixed. But it doesn’t work that way. We will have to train my brain to use both my eyes and then control how it sees out of them. It will be step by step working at improving my eyes.

This Thursday, we start treatment. I go every Thursday at 4pm for an hour to do different exercises to improve my control. Then every day with Jennifer working with me, I will have 30-45 minutes of home exercises to keep my brain using what I was just taught. This will go on for 45 weeks at first and might go on longer if I am still improving. Obvisouly, this is a big time commitment and it is a huge financial cost. Insurance doesn’t cover it so it is going to drain most of our savings. Hopefully this will dramatically improve my vision although I might not notice the dramatic difference since it is over a long period of time. Kind of like we know Lily is getting bigger, but we see her each day, it’s others that notice her change more.

Please be praying for us as I start this. Pray that it will help my vision and for our finances that we don’t have any major expenses next year with having our savings decreased. We know we will be alright financially, but prayers are always good. 🙂 I will keep you posted on how the treatment is going. Also I want to thank Jennifer for being so supportive about doing this eye treatment, also for driving me around at night.

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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Family, Personal


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Getting Rid of Cable (Update)

Two months ago, we cut the cable cord.

For the most part, we haven’t missed it.

Three months ago I wrote about our decision to get rid of cable when we moved into our new house. We got AT&T Uverse when we moved to OKC area a year ago. We had the U200 + Elite Internet + DVR. It was about $110 per month. If you need/want cable, I would suggest them if you can get them. We just realized that we are spending too much money on cable that we don’t really use.

At first, we mainly just watched shows that were on Netflix streaming or listened to Pandora through our Blu-ray player. We then got re-introduced to commercials with watching TV live. We would watch some shows online through Hulu,, or ESPN3 and have a cable between our computer and TV. This worked alright, but you couldn’t watch TV & be on the computer (like we normally are) and it was choppier than live TV (mainly due to the age of our computer). But a big one was that some shows we like on CBS (Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother) and football wasn’t online to watch whenever I wanted to.

So after two weeks of not having a DVR, we decided to buy a TiVo. If you don’t have a DVR, go ahead and live in ignorance about the greatness of a DVR, like we were last year. But once you have tasted the sweetness of the DVR, it is hard to go back. I know others that just use Roku or Hulu or now there is Hulu Plus and others that have built their own DVR. Also now ESPN3 is on Xbox.

So now after getting rid of cable two months ago and having a TiVo for over a month, we don’t miss having cable. Ok, sometimes we miss it a little, but not much. We miss having all the different channels like ABC Family, TBS, History, or ESPN, but we have different avenues to watch most of those shows. Old Office and Pawn Star episodes are on Netflix streaming and most college football games I want to watch are on ABC or CBS.

Now for the positives: We save $50 per month with having faster internet and HD programming (I didn’t pay the $10/month for it on Uverse). To do this change, there was very little initial cost. We had to pay an installation cost for our internet ($50), but with TiVo we got a $54 discount on our Netflix.

Here is the breakdown of our setup:

  • TV: 40” Samsung LCD 120Hz – Bought 1.5 years ago
  • Blu-Ray: Samsung – Bought 1.5 years ago.
    • Has YouTube, Netflix Streaming, & Pandora
  • DVR: Tivo Premiere$20/month for 2 years (included TiVo & service)
    • 45 hours of HD recording (1TB)
    • Excellent DVR playback (better than Uverse)
    • YouTube, Netflix, & Pandora (Better interface than Blu-Ray)
    • I liked the DVR interface of Uverse better than TiVo, but both are good.
    • TiVo’s mobile site is terrible while Uverse was great for quick recording
    • TiVo can record 2 shows at once, Uverse could do up to 4
  • Internet: Cox Preferred – $45/month
    • Download 12.5Mbps/Upload 1Mbps
    • Motorola Cable Modem – Cost $1 with internet package
    • Netgear Wireless Router – Bought 4 years ago.
  • Antenna: Terk HD Indoor – Cost $37
    • Good even for stations located a good distance away
  • Netflix – $11/month
    • 1 Blu-Ray Disc at a time & Unlimited Streaming
    • Steams on my Blu-Ray, TiVo, Wii, iPod Touch, & Computer

I hope this helps you if you are thinking of getting rid of cable. This is what I did since it seemed to be the best fit for our TV watching. Feel free to ask a question or say what your setup is to watch TV.

Do you still have cable or satellite? Or have you gotten rid of cable?


Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Culture


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Seeking Refuge

Yesterday, Myanmar did something for the first time in 20 years.

It held an election.

This country has been in turmoil for many years. 20 years ago when it had it’s only election in the past 50 years results were overturned since those in control wouldn’t give it up. You might know the country as Burma for that is how most countries, including the US, still recognize the name as.

So it might look like having an election would be a step into have democracy, but it seems that it is adding to the tension that is already there. News sources are coming out that the results were predetermined to keep the military regime in power and threatening people in this “free” election.

Over the past several decades, hundreds of thousands of Burmese people especially in the Karen ethnic group have left the country to live in refugee camps in Thailand. Just yesterday, over 10,000 Karen people left the country because of the elections and persecution from the government.

I’ve just learned about this country and it’s turmoil over the past few months due to an organization that helps international refugees. Some of those the flee to Thailand are helped by the UN to be relocated to start a new life. Get a chance in another country for safety, freedom, and raise a family. About 20,000 refugees from Burma are relocated to the US each year and some of them are placed in the Oklahoma City area. The Oklahoman did an article (& link includes video) about refugees in OKC (Link).

Jennifer over the past few months has been working with a family from Burma that was relocated here this summer. They don’t know any English, this is a new country, new culture, new everything for them. Their children are in school here. Jennifer is spending time with them befriending them and helping them with English.

Here is a video about The Spero Project which Jennifer volunteers with and our church partners with:

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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Culture, Videos


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Radical Living

Over the past few days, I have been immersed in lots of numbers at work. Over 20,000 of them. I was checking the calculation for reinforcing for about 2 miles of retaining wall so I created a spreadsheet to input the parameters and get it to calculate the pounds of steel. There’s a lot of rebar in 2 miles of retaining walls!

A week ago, I got a call from Pastor Mike McDaniel asking if I can help him make a spreadsheet for Grace Point members. We went to Grace Point for about 5 years while living in Arkansas. We still call them our home church.

They are going through a sermon series as well as reading through the book Radical by David Platt. I haven’t read the book, but I will need to since I’ve heard it is more of the application of Crazy Love by Francis Chan which I loved. I have heard of Platt for a couple years now since he is a rising young evangelical leader and has an amazing passion for God’s Word and teaching it. I have listened to a few of his Secret Church sessions which are fours hours of lecture on a topic. Great deep listens.

The point of Radical is not seek after the American Dream, but after the things of God. That might require you to give up stuff that you cling on to like your comforts. If you make more than $34,000 a year you are in the top 5% of world of wealth. In the US, we consider if you make less than $22,000 poverty. We consider two cars, a HDTV, cell phones, internet, and air condition as the basics of life, while most of the world wants clean water and food to eat.

This past week, Pastor Mike challenged the church to three things:

  1. Eating Less. Living like they do in Africa. Just eat Beans & Rice. The ultimate Dave Ramsey meal! And to drink just water.
  2. Living on Less. Using the ABC Budget: Absolutes, Basics, and Comfort. It shows you what is a need and what is a want. It’s surprising how much of your expenses are a want/comfort and not a need.
  3. Ask God Your Next Step.

Kind of funny that I listened to the podcast yesterday and already this week, we have had Mexican rice & beans and Chicken & Rice so we have been doing that without realizing it!

The ABC Budget is what I helped Mike make. Radical ABC Budget is what a pdf file of it looks like. If you want an Excel file of it, contact me and I’ll send it to you or Email Grace Point. Also, I encourage you to listen to the podcast.

If you have questions about the ABC Budget or want other budgeting spreadsheets I’ve made, contact me. It is important to live on a budget.

Let’s dare to be Radical.

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Posted by on October 7, 2010 in Church, Culture, Faith, Videos


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