Category Archives: Top Five Tuesday

Top Five Red Heads I’d Kiss

So I learned today that it was “Kiss a Ginger” day and #Kissaginger was the top trending topic on twitter. Redheads have historically gotten a bit of a bad rap, kind of like lefties (Wendy and I are both lefties). I immediately warned our daughter,  Madison, to be prepared for any unwanted advances. I then started thinking about the red heads I’d want to kiss … appropriately!

For Top Five Tuesday, here are five red heads I’d give an appropriate smooch:

  1. Wendy has red streaks in her curly locks. So I would, first and foremost, appropriately give a deep and passionate lip lock to the only woman I care to truly kiss. That is, I would kiss her if I were home tonight (but will take a rain check until Friday!).
  2. Our daughter, Madison, would then get a loving, paternal peck on the top of her carrot topped head.
  3. I would give Carol Burnett a traditional show biz peck on each cheek if I had a chance to meet her and thank her for a lifetime of laughs.
  4. Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson is one of my “brushes with greatness” as I unexpectedly looked up to see her standing right in front of me at O’Hare one late night many moons ago. Love her pluck, and the charisma was oozing out of her as I understood in a moment why she is so beloved by so many. So a peck on the cheek for the cheeky lass.
  5. Finally, and just for the fun of it, my “fantasy” pick goes to an anonymous red haired lass in a Dublin pub.

Top Five Favorite Christmas Carols

Christmas is almost here! And while we are all inundated with Christmas music to the point of going postal on the shopping mall Santa, there are a few Christmas tunes never seem to get old for me. For Top Five Tuesday (one day late), here are my Top Five favorite Christmas carols….

  1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It’s not exactly a chart topper on your local mall’s holiday playlist, but I love the moody minor key, and the ancient mystery of the prophetic. It’s the storyteller in me.

2.   The Christmas Song. No one does it like Nat. Classic.

3.   O Holy Night. It gives me chills.

4.   Sleigh Ride. Okay. It just makes me happy. Clip-clop.

5.   Hallelujah Chorus. Tears. Joy. Truth.

Sing on! Merry Christmas!

featured photo by chatterstone via Flickr

Top Five Sinatra Tunes

In celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, it’s Sinatra week on this wayfarer’s blog. For Top Five Tuesday (posted one day late), here are my Top Five favorite Sinatra tunes:

  1. The Way You Look Tonight
  2. Too Marvelous for Words
  3. That’s Life
  4. The Best is Yet to Come
  5. Come Fly With Me

How about you?

Top Five: Thanksgiving

Wendy and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year and the house will be packed with both my family and hers. For Top Five Tuesday, here are the Top Five Things I’m looking forward to on Thursday:

  1. Gathering with loved ones, quieting our hearts for just a minute, holding hands, and thanking God together for the abundant blessings He’s showered on us.
  2. Making the Thanksgiving turkey for the first time (say a prayer…for all of us!).
  3. Having so many family members together around the table (there will be 16 of us! Yikes!).
  4. The pre-feast goodies, the feast, and the dessert.
  5. Afternoon games, conversations, and naps.


featured photo by Satya Murthy via Flickr

Top Five Mystery Heroes

Speaking of mysteries, I have always been a sucker for good mysteries. For Top Five Tuesday, here are my favorite mystery

  1. Sam Spade. I’ve always loved the hard-boiled detective stories of Hammett and Chandler. The grit, the guns, and the gams. You gotta love that seamy exploration of the dark side of humanity.
  2. Philip Marlowe. See above.
  3. Sherlock Holmes. I’ve loved the reboot of this character in the BBC series Sherlock, but I’ve loved the character since watching Basil Rathbone playing Sherlock on PBS when I was a kid. The thing that I love about Sherlock is his frail humanity beneath that all-knowing exterior. Opium addict. Broken relationships. His human faults gets me as much as his super human deduction.
  4. Fletch. If all you know of Fletch is the series of movies, you need to read the series of books by Gregory McDonald. While the first Fletch movie sort of captured the spirit of the books (then when wildly astray in to absurdity), the Fletch series is witty, humorous and top notch mystery.
  5. Encyclopedia Brown. Consider it the kid in me. I loved these books when I was a kid. A mystery in every chapter and you get a chance to solve it along with the boy sleuth. Classic, marvelous, and what every kid needs to build reason, deduction, and imagination.

Did I miss your favorite? Share who and why in a comment to this post! I’d love to hear.

Top Five Local Des Moines Restaurants

For Top Five Tuesday, I thought I’d bring a little local interest. Wendy and I love a great meal out, and Des Moines offers a host of unique, local options for dining out.

Here are my current Top Five local Des Moines eateries:

  1. Start the day with breakfast at The Waveland. The world continues to suffer from a lack of great greasy spoon breakfasts, and The Waveland has been doing it right in Des Moines for a long, long time.
  2. Noah’s Ark was the place my parents and grandparents loved to go when I was a kid. Not only does that windowless “supper club” ambiance take me back to great childhood memories, but the Italian cuisine has never ceased to satisfy.
  3. Django has become a favorite for Wendy and me. The bar is top notch and the food offers a great twist on some staple American favorites. Best of all, no corking fee for brining your own bottle of wine to the party!
  4. One of the things I love about Tumea and Sons is the neighborhood feel. First, you have to find it, which says something. Then, when I enter the place, I kinda feel like I’ve just crashed a neighborhood party. You can tell from this list that Wendy and I love Italian food, and this place offers some authentic Italian family cooking straight from Des Moines’ south side.
  5. We just ate at Cafe Di Scala for the first time last week, but it’s quickly made it on my top five list after one visit. One of the things I appreciated, as one who has hearing challenges, was the quiet atmosphere. The food, wine, and service were top notch. It’s certainly the most expensive place in my Top Five, but for a special meal out this is a winner.

Top Five Tall Tales

Speaking of tall tales, for Top Five Tuesday, here are my top five favorite tall tales:

  1. Paul Bunyan. When I was a kid heading to the North Woods every summer for vacation, the lumberjack and his blue ox, Babe, was an all time favorite of mine. I even talked my folks into driving through Bemidji, Minnesota on the way home so I could see the huge statue of him there.
  2. John Henry. Loved the story, and you gotta love the cadence of the great poem about “the steel drivin’ man!”
  3. Johnny Appleseed. Everybody sing: “And so I thank the Lord, for givin’ me the things I need: the sun and the rain and the apple seeds!”
  4. Daniel Boone was a man, was a BIIIIIIIG man!” I still remember my backyard transformed by imagination into the hills of Kentucky and me in my imaginary coon-skin cap rescuing the frontier.
  5. Chuck Norris. You can’t say that there are many modern tall tales, but you can say it about Chuck Norris. I mean, the dude threw a grenade and killed 50 people….then it exploded!

Did I miss one of yours? Feel free to share  in a comment!


featured image from  jbergen via Flickr

Top Five Tuesday: Five Things I Miss About My Toddlers

Speaking of the toddler stage…I know that pre-school kiddos are a handful. As a father who is about 20 years beyond those years there are things that I truly miss about parenting between when the girls were out of diapers and walking to when they were off to school. And, since I missed my “Memory Monday” post yesterday, let’s do a two-fer today. For the Top Five Tuesday and Memory Monday mash-up, here are the top five things I miss about parenting my two little toddlers:

  1. Bedtime stories.
  2. Cuddling (especially when they fell asleep in my arms).
  3. The screams of “Daddy!” and the sound of four feet running to greet me when I came through the door.
  4. The most hilarious things that came out of their mouths.
  5. Wrestling and rumbling on the floor, tickling, and the giggles, giggles, giggles.

Top Five Tuesday: Distractions


Speaking of distractions, here are the top five outlets feeding my appetite for distraction:

  1. Facebook: Who’s doing what, where, with whom right now?
  2. Twitter: #losingmyselfin140characters
  3. MLB At Bat: All things baseball and the Cubs at any moment.
  4. Photos: So many photos, so little time.
  5. PSVita: Inside the man is a boy who loves his games.

Top Five Tuesday: Trips with Teens

Speaking of trips with a youth group, here are the Top Five trips I loved taking with teens both as a youth and then as a youth leader:

  1. Missions trips. Whether the slums of Mexico City, the hollers of Kentucky, or reservations of South Dakota, my all-time favorite trips were those where the kids got a chance to serve others, to see, and to experience what life is like for people in drastically different circumstances than they knew. I can still see the faces and hear the stories of young lives that changed, and life journeys that took drastically new trajectories because of a week spent on a mission trip.
  2. Culture trips. Those who know me will not be shocked to learn that I loved exposing young people to cultural opportunities that they might not have had otherwise. More than once I had uncomfortable conversations with parents to explain why this or that movie, play or event would be beneficial for their kid, but the conversations with the young people afterwards and the lessons I observed the them learning was priceless.
  3. Amusement parks. I don’t often admit it, but ever since my Grandma Golly took the Vander Well kids on an annual summer excursion to Riverview Park in Des Moines, my inner child has been in love with amusement parks. Being a youth pastor gave me a great excuse to entertain my inner child a couple of times each year.
  4. Ski trips. I’m not great on the slopes, but I loved strapping on the skis and zipping down the mountain. It was a treat to get to do it a time or two each year with the kids. Truth is, I haven’t been on the slopes since the last time I took a group of kids over 20 years ago.
  5. River tubing. It’s a blast just to float down the river in an inner tube. Before there were “lazy rivers” at every water park in America, we had to go to a river and pay to have someone drop us off at one point and pick us up at another. I loved it though. The scenery always changed and you never knew what was around the next bend.