Katelyn Marissa Benore is more than a month old now and she is still the most wonderful gift we have ever been blessed with. When Shantell and I met 10 years ago, we could never imagine how long the journey would take us to begin our family and what that journey’s ups and downs would look like. After several miscarriages we began to think perhaps God had a different plan for our family. We begun in earnest looking at different options for taking care of children. We went as far as going through a year long foster care certification. But jus as we thought the door to having children of our own was closing, Shantell got pregnant … twice within a few months of each other. The first had miscarried again, but the second began to be more stable as time went on. About the same time, God was about to change everything in our lives and I do mean everything.
Not long after the pregnancy news, Kevin was provided a new job opportunity. This was a big change, because it would mean leaving a well established life in Fort Worth, where we had spent 7+ years. New baby, new job, new city, and new housing. Thankful our marriage is strong, because those amounts of “newnesses” can always be stressful. But this was not the first time Shantell and I had big new changes. Uprooting from Florida to Texas in our new marriage was something we also did.
So where did we come up with Katie’s name? In 2000, a few months before I met Shantell, her mother passed away. This past February, my mother also passed away only. Luckily my mom knew before she died that I was going to be a dad. Before Katie was born we decided that if our child was a girl, we would honor our mothers by deriving her name after our moms. Shantell’s mom’s name was Kathie and my mom’s middle name was Lynn, so Katelyn is her official name. But long ago, in our first years of marriage I knew we would call our little girl Katie for short, because it honored Shantell’s mom but kept the name modern and cute. Marissa also has special meaning. We wanted a “M” middle name to honor all of the “M”s in our lives. Our stepmoms’ names both begin with “M”. Both my sister (before she was married) and sister-in-law’s middle names began with “M”. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers also had names starting with “M”. Shantell’s maternal grandmother middle name began with “M” and her paternal grandmother’s maden name also started with “M”. So the letter “M” is very important to the women in our life.
Anyway, if you would like to see pictures you can Facebook either Shantell or me. If we know you, we will accept your friend request.
Fellow ColdFusion coders! I have launched a separate blog for my discussions of ColdFusion related issues. For ColdFusion posts, go to askBenore.com. Also, please follow me on twitter @askBenore. If you are not a CF coder, but want to keep up with me … stick with benore.com, our family blog site.
Over the past 15 years I have become somewhat of a shoe aficionado. I probably started loving shoes after working at Dillard’s, a department stored primarily located in the south. I can still walk into the shoe department and identify prices of shoes based on the brand, much to the amazement of my wife. Now to be sure, I am no Imelda Marcos. I personally only have 5 or 6 shoes. They range in the $60-400 price range. My most expensive are cowboy boots that don’t get much use anymore. I also love the Ecco brand of shoes. I have two identical pair of Ecco dress shoes, one in black and one in brown. This Danish shoe maker knows how to marry style and comfort. Sizes are based on European size charts, so if you look at Ecco be prepared to also get a conversion chart. I use to be a Reebok tennis shoe snob, but I have sacrificed their classic styles for the comfort I’ve found in Rockport’s walking shoes. Sometimes Rockport shoes look like “old man” shoes, but I’ve been able to find a pair that look like regular tennis shoes but still have the comfort Rockport is known for. Plus I have found Rockports are easier to maintain and are much more durable. This is important, since I work in technology – my business attire is often a polo and jeans with tennis shoes.
That leads me in to my current dilemma, or as you may want to call it my “shoe drama”. I recently decided to replace a number of my shoes with … more shoes. One of the purchases was a pair of Rockport walking shoes. I love those shoes. Apparently, so did my youngest dog Lexi. I came home one day, after deciding to leave her in the bedroom for a few hours, with the back of my shoe gone. She had eaten them straight through. I have lost cords, credit cards, and even bedspreads … but never shoes. Like the rest of my dogs, she is used to eating cow leather in the form of rawhides but I would think shoes would be less than tasty. After paying $75.00 for the shoes, I was a bit miffed and thought “well there is $75.00 down the drain.” But the story does not end there. I bought my shoes at Zappos.com (where I have purchased all of my shoes since 2009). Their customer service is … wait for it … “Legend … dary” (shameless How I Met Your Mother reference). So, on a whim I decided to contact their Customer Service department to tell them of my plight. If anything else, I figured they’d get a laugh. So I emailed them this:
On my order XXXXXXXX, the Rockports didn’t last a month because my dog ate the back of one of them (the left one). Sounds a bit like “the dog ate my homework” but in this case, she really did. Maybe she thought it was an oversized rawhide or she really loves the taste of new walking shoes.
Obviously you can’t replace these shoes without me paying full price because this wasn’t your fault and my dog isn’t willing to pay me in anything other than milkbones, but I was wondering if you guys have any “left shoes”or mismatches on the Rockport sku# 7262451 size 13 (D)? I don’t know if you even get these types of requests … or if I just need to chop this up a total loss and replace them (as a pair). Please let me know if there is anything you can do to replace the one shoe and if so, what it would cost.
“Shoeless” Kevin Benore
Now when I worked in the shoe department at Dillard’s, we would never accept a return that we had no fault in. But Zappos.com went the extra mile and then went even further. I won’t share the email I got, because I didn’t seek permission – but let’s just say the response was funny and very gracious. They are sending me a new pair of shoes. And as always, shipping is free in both directions. Now, the story doesn’t quite in there. Although I specified the shoe that was damaged, they accidentally sent the other pair I had on the same order. Of course, in true great service fashion they have fixed that mistake. Additionally, they recently made me a VIP customer – which means I get free overnight shipping. That’s a privilege I have to pay for additionally at their parent company, Amazon.com. Without a doubt, I am a forever customer of Zappos.com. Their convenience, selection, but ultimately their superior customer service has made Zappos.com the BEST SHOE STORE … PERIOD!
If you don’t know anything about Zappos.com, or their culture, you should really read Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Zappos.com founder and CEO, Tony Hsieh.
What happened? This blog used to be called The Benores in Texas? As my brother rightly pointed out, the blog name had to be renamed. And although technically our old blog was named for a state, we now live in a major area that encompasses 2 states and a federal district. So we are now more aptly named … The Benores in DC!
So what happened? Well, it’s been almost a year since we’ve done any blogging. Sorry about that, times have been a bit crazy in the Benore universe. But Kevin and Shantell have moved from the wide open spaces of Fort Worth, Texas to the fast paced political arena of Washington, DC. Although our postal address is Alexandria, VA we really live in an unincorporated part of Fairfax County. After 7 years on Central Time, it is good to be on the East Coast. For the first time in my life I live in a state with consistent snow. Sure it snowed in Texas, but that was maybe a day or two out of the year. Here in DC, snowfall can happen multiple times a season.
So why did we move? It was time for a new adventure in our lives. We loved Texas. We made several good friends and it was hard to leave those behind. Since we are still pretty young and we don’t have to worry about uprooting kids from school, we thought … why not? In fact from the point I had an idea about moving to DC to an actual move only took less than 2 months. Crazy? Yeah, a little. So week 1, we started talking about the opportunity. By the end of the we I put in my resume to a few places in DC. The day after my resume went out, I got a call – which started Week 2. Week 2 was “phone interview” week. I did a bunch of phone interviews and took a test. The beginning of Week 3 I flew out to interview in person. Sometime in Week 5 I was offered a position. By Week 8, we were living in DC. I now work for Politico as a Senior Web Developer.
With the new job comes new responsibilities. I can talk about politics as in a neutral manner, but there can be no “taking sides.” Even though I do not write for the press, I am a member of the media and take my responsibility to be a neutral observer seriously. And in this town, there are enough people expressing opinions about policy – there is little need for me to add my voice to that choir. Instead, this blog will remain what it was primarily intended to be – a status update for our friends and family on what is happening in our lives. Although, I must admit – this forum has been under utilized for that purpose. But now with our friends and family spread out from as far west as Hawaii, to the Lone Star State of Texas, to the “snow in all states, except Florida”, I will try to do more writing about what we are up to.
Oh, in case you haven’t heard … Shantell is also pregnant. In another week, we will be in our second trimester. Things a progressing very well. We will have the baby sometime in July. And we will not find out its gender until he or she is born. I am sure you all will try to guess – but that’s just part of the fun. No one will know until he or she comes out crying. That’s it for now. And thanks for reading The Benores in DC.
January 30 Benore.com celebrated its 10th anniversary. Today we look back at the history of Benore.com and the journey of Kevin & Shantell in this brief timeline.
Sunday, January 30, 2000
Benore.com was registered. Kevin & Shantell were not yet dating, nor had they met.
Thursday, July 19, 2001
The Benore.com website launches as a photo and announcement website to celebrate the impending nuptials of Kevin Benore & Shantell Berrett.
Saturday, November 17, 2001
Although Benore.com was silent on this day, it was a big day for Kevin & Shantell. They united in holy matrimony.
Sunday, December 9, 2001
Soon after their wedding and honeymoon this site was transformed into “The Benore Family on the Web”. It had posted on it pictures of Kevin & Shantell’s life together.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Once again the site is transformed to a simplified “Benore.com” name that gives information about Kevin’s call to the ministry, their planned move to Fort Worth, and of course more pictures.
Friday, May 30, 2003
The site’s name remains the same, but the look and mission had changed. Now Kevin was in his first year at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the site was designed to communicate to friends and family back home how his progress in school. It also was meant to continue conveying Kevin & Shantell’s life now in Texas.
Saturday, January 29, 2004
Our first BLOG entry! Because of this entry I have been blogging for 6 years! Through the power of Blogger (now owned by Google) we were able to start our first blog entry and feed it to Benore.com. The first blog entry was about our seminary friends (and their blog), Matt & Susan Millsap.
Thursday, February 5, 2004
The site’s name was changed (short lived) to “The Chronicles of Benoria”.
Sunday, April 4, 2004
The site’s name was changed again, to “Benore Speaks …”.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
The site was redesigned with a “Flash”-y header.
Monday, February 20, 2006
The “Benore’s in Texas” blog was official launched! Although the design and even the blogging engine has changed a few times since, the blog has remained this name ever since!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
10 Years of Benore.com! And we aren’t going anywhere! We have this domain registered for the next 6 years. So what’s next? Well, Benore.com will always be a place to discuss what’s going on with the Benore’s in Texas. Sometimes it’s been a place for commentary and discussion, but mostly we discuss our life.
Soon Kevin will launch another site with a new mission. That site will be an opinion site centered around everything Kevin loves. This includes technology, entertainment, politics, business, and religion. Not only will Kevin opine on these topics, he will answer questions about these topics (or any other) submitted by his readers.
As many of you know, Shantell and I going to be entering into foster care in the next few months. The state of Texas requires us to have much of the material items purchased before we can bring a child into our home. For this reason we have started a baby registry. Most of our items are registered through Amazon.com’s Baby Registry. We chose Amazon.com for several reasons.
- They are often cheaper if not the same price as Target or Babies R Us.
- They offer free shipping – easy for all of our family that lives in other towns.
- They have a lot of choices!
So, if you are interested in helping us with the items we need for this new chapter in our lives feel free to purchase some baby stuff by clicking here.
UPDATED: Found a few spelling mistakes. Probably more. But the ones I found are fixed. 12/19/09 @ 10:22PM
Today I learned about the passing of Mr. Harold Bradley of West Palm Beach, Florida. Most of my readers have no idea who HB was, but some of you will morn his loss just as much as I do. For the former group, let me briefly tell you about HB. HB was choir director at Forest Hill High School (now Forest Hill Community High School). But he was much, much more than your run of the mill choir director. Think Mr. Holland’s Opus but replace the band with a choir and replace Mr. Holland with Mr. Bradley. He also preferred to be called HB especially if you were a member of one of his choirs. I used HB and Mr. Bradely interchangeably but both evoke emotions of happy memories. Don’t get me wrong, HB could be a tough hombre – but he was dealing with a bunch of immature teenagers. He let us play hard, but demanded we work even harder.
Because of HB I developed a love for the arts that I never knew existed. I joined the choir mid-year my sophomore year. I had always been a drama geek, but after singing Christmas carols in drama class in December of 1991 a member of Dimension 20 suggested I “go out for choir”. I had raw, unsophisticated, and completely untrained talent – but I could carry a tune. I tried out for a choir called “New Dimensions” and got in. There were several choirs at FHHS. New Dimensions was kind of like a minor league feeder choir. If you showed you had chops, you could maybe make it into the big leagues. For guys, there was only one big league team – Dimension 20. Women could audition for Les Femmes (did I spell that right?) or Dimension 20. Les Femmes was an all girl show choir with lots of talent. But Dimension 20 (D20) was the elite mixed choir. My junior year (1992-1993) I joined D20.
HB always showed love and tried to develop the talents of everyone in his class. He knew I was a goofy kid who would probably never have the confidence to sing a solo but he also knew I had a love for drama and music. He nurtured that. When we (and I mean the entire guys section) would get out of line he would quip at us with one liners. If we were slouching he might says, “Sit up, you look like an emaciated doughnut.” If we were being disrespectful he often would say, “There is a bus coming at 3:30, I want you to be under it.” If the entire group (usually the guys) were goofing off … he might throw a chair in our direction. The chair never landed on any of us but was close enough to get our attention. If we were late we were lectured with “15 minutes early is on-time”. That is a lesson I have still yet to learn. I remember one day Chris Cassidy and I were coming from his house to a night time rehearsal. Chris was speeding because HB hated tardiness and got a ticket. We were late and no amount of explanations would change HB’s expectation that we should always be on-time.
I had come from a middle class family, but because of the construction bubble in the early 1990s we were almost living at poverty level. Yet, HB and my friends in D20 did not care about how much money I had. I went to New York City with D20 my senior year. HB and the parents arranged for me to see 4 Broadway shows. Most of the parents were going to see 4 shows, but the rest of the kids only were going to see 2 plus the NY Philharmonic. But because of my passion for all things Broadway, HB made sure I got to go with the parents. Of course, I would be remiss in bringing the entire trip and not bring up the generosity of the Cassidy family. Without them I would never been able to afford to go to NYC in the first place.
HB was tough, but loved music and loved students. There was a sign in the choir room that said “God is love. Love is Dimension 20.” That sign embodied HB’s philosophy. He truly loved everyone in his charge. That sign would not make it most schools today, but HB didn’t care much the political correctness that was sweeping public schools (I am sure he used different terms to characterize his feelings on the matter).
He taught me to take personal responsibility for my actions. He taught me to love music and the arts. He taught me there was a time to play and a time to work hard. He taught me that there is a great diversity of people and opinions, and while its important to hold on to your convictions, it is equally important to respect those you do not agree with. These are things I have brought with me well past high school. It’s hard to measure or understand the impact of HB unless you’ve met the man and been in his class. The 100s of performances. The lessons learned. The little things that happen in everyday life that bring you back to those days (that only a few other people on this planet share). All because of one good man, with a big heart. Goodbye Mr. Bradley aka HB. Goodbye teacher, mentor, friend. Cheers!
I end this post with a poem by Walt Whitman. Never has this poem meant more.
O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up–for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
A few months ago, Shantell and I decided to start a new phase in our life. If you were guessing something like “they were trying to give away puppies, maybe they kept one”, then you are right about that … but that is not what I am talking about. (As a side note: we kept the runt of Daisy’s litter … and named her Lexi with the help of Shantell’s sister Whitney.) But no, that is not the big news we tweeted/facebook’d about.
Well, I will keep my readers in suspense no longer. OK, maybe a bit longer. On October 31, 2009 I tweeted “Taking a couple of classes today. And don’t ask why it’s a secret for now.” After that, people asked “Why?” and tried to guess everything from ministry related, to puppy classes, to parent classes. Every Saturday since October 31 we have been taking classes. Sometimes the classes were extremely fun and interesting. Others were a bit laborious. A couple of times it took me a day to physically recover (hard chairs + 100 mile round trip drive + arthritic tailbone = ouch). So what was the class for?
As of December 12, we have finished our classes to become foster parents. In the next few months we will continue finishing up our paperwork, getting our home inspected, and getting stuff purchased/gifted to us for the new addition to our family. Our goal as parents is to eventually adopt a little one. However, if you don’t know anything about foster care, the first goal is to reunite the child with their birth parents. This seems like a tension that stands in contradiction. But it is not. If we have a child that we are caring for and their parents get their life back together, we want nothing more than to reunite that child with their parents. However, if there is a child whose parents have their rights terminated for any reason – we would be honored to provide them a safe environment and become their forever family.
We will be registering for stuff, just like those who expect children through pregnancy do. Since we are new at foster care (and parenting for that matter), we’ve decided to start small … we will be seeking a child from birth to 2 years old. The reason for doing this is to limit what we have to purchase upfront for a child coming into our home. If we were open to any age, we would be required to have beds for all ages among other things.
So that’s our big news about the newest phase in our life. We will keep you posted on our progress. Keep in mind that some information we will not be able to share because of privacy laws – but we will share what we can! Thanks for reading and pray for us in our new endeavor.
I don’t normally talk about my disability except when soliciting prayer requests or seeking medical advice/care. Although an extrovert, I am also a pretty private person. But today I am laid up because of my condition – so I had time on my hands to write this article about. I am not looking to complain or get sympathy … just educating those who are interested. First, let me talk about today. Then you can read on if wish to understand more about my type of pain.
What’s Happening Today
Today I woke up from bed at 5:15am. Because the time changed last night, my body assumed it was 6:15am. A few minutes after I rose, I was back in bed because of the pain. When I tell people about my “tailbone” pain they often wrongly assume my pain is localized to that area. They believe I have problems sitting but I am able to do anything else. My pain does not stay in one area. Like many people with some kind of back or spinal injury, I have some areas of my back that are referred pain areas. That simply means I have pain in areas that are different than the source area. Today, my pain level was a 10 out 10 for about 2-3 hours. My pain seemed to come from the latissimus dorsi muscle area. No idea why my pain was as severe as it was, but it was defiantly more severe than normal. The pain has been reduced but I am still having mobility issues. Hopefully it will get better as the day goes on.
In March 2004 sitting in a class at my school I started getting pain in my tailbone. The pain was mild and annoying, but seemed to come from nowhere. I thought this was a temporary issue that would eventually go away on its own. After a few months of continual discomfort, I decided to go to our family doctor. The doctor sent my to get films done with a MRI. That initial MRI shows a possible old fracture of the coccyx. The coccyx is a bone at the tip of the spine, often referred to as a tailbone. The MRI indicated that this bone may have broke a long time ago and re-healed and fused backwards. This type of injury is common in women who give birth but rare in men. I have broke quite a few bones in my youth – apparently I broke this one and did not realize it.
A year later my family doctor moved to Maine. He then referred me to another physician in his practice. From 2005 until now, Dr. Damon Schranz has been my advocate for treating this condition. During the past 5 years we have pursed many different treatment options. So many I have honestly lost count. I think I have seen 4 orthopedic doctors or surgeons, 3 pain management physicians, 3 chiropractors, and even 1 manipulative medicine doctor. During this time period I have had 2 MRIs and CT scan and have undergone surgery about 8 times. Most of these were some sort of nerve block or injection.
After 5 years of seeking treatment to cure or remove the pain, the best course of treatment at this point for the long term is pharmacological. On most days the pain is reduced greatly. However this treatment is not perfect, so some days are better than others. I hope one day research will find better methods for dealing with chronic pain, but for now it is manageable. Without proper medication, I would likely be unable to move around, go to work, or have a life. Unfortunately, my life is far from normal. I can no longer do many of the things I use to take for granted. Believe it or not, very little motions like bending, lifting small items, or even sitting in an uncomfortable chair can cause setbacks. However, many people living with this type of pain can still be productive members of society.
I used to have an image of what people with what is broadly called “back pain” could or couldn’t do. And there is certainly a difference between people who have occasional back pain and those of us that have a chronic disability. There is a lack of understanding and empathy of those who have any disability. People often who don’t understand have never had long term pain. These people take a harsher stance than is appropriate. We should all take a step back and thank God our health is better than others. As bad as my condition is, I have seen worse. I thank God for giving me doctors and treatments available to allow me to function. I hope this helps you understand my issue and maybe understand others with chronic pain.
If a picture says a thousand words, then this one says it all. Garth Brooks is coming out of retirement. If you don’t know (then you’ve been under a rock), Garth is the #1 selling solo artist of all time in all genres. In fact, when you include all bands … he is second only to The Beatles. On October 26, 2000 he announced he would go into retirement until his children were out of school. He wanted to be available for car duty, all events, and everything else they have going on as a family. When Steve Wynn courted Garth to come out of retirement Garth responded, “You can’t afford me.” To that Garth has since declared “I was wrong.” Wynn bought Garth a jet, negotiated a weekend only schedule (Friday-Sunday), and gives Garth the flexibility to get out the 5 year deal whenever he wants. Garth will be able to announce his shows is stages so that it never conflicts with his kids’ schedules. So Garth gets to do what he loves without sacrificing the lives of who he loves.
So, why am I writing about this? Garth is why I listen to country music. His rock influences, storytelling/thought provoking songs, and pure entertainer abilities has turned Country music into a completely different art form. He announced the first 5 weekends which went on sale yesterday. As you can see in the picture, he sold out of the 20 shows quickly. His last weekend of shows in this batch is the last weekend in February. So Sunday, February 28, 2010 Shantell and I will see Garth Brooks in concert. This is the very last show announced. Tickets went on sale 10:00am central time, but we did not have the opportunity to purchase them until 12:35pm. They wait time was horrendous but we got our pick of weekends. And since that is the weekend before my birthday, we thought is would we a great venue to celebrate! We are hoping to fly in late on a Thursday or early on a Friday and then return Monday evening. That will give us 3 1/2 days in Las Vegas. Although Shantell has been as far west as California, I currently live as far west as I have ever been. So going to Las Vegas has always been a dream. With all of the shows, hotels, restaurants, etc. it’s going to be a lot of fun.
There are still a ton of cities on our first time “to visit” list. Domestic cities: Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle. International cities/countries: Paris (and/or southern France), London, Dublin, Jerusalem, Madrid, Tokyo, and don’t forget Australia! We also want to re-visit Miami/West Palm Beach, go to a game in Tallahassee (okay maybe more me than Shantell), New York City, Nashville, and Washington D.C. This list is not all inclusive, but it’s a start. But for now, we will soon get to cross Las Vegas off the “to visit” list … and see one of the best entertainers in any genre of music!