Friday, December 26, 2003

Happy Day After Christmas!

We had a great Christmas which we spent with family and friends. I hope you did as well.

I want to note an addition to the personal links section on the blog. I have added a link to a new blog I am doing called "Take A Stand." I have often made it very clear what my spiritual (Christian) beliefs are in my blog entries this year. I don't regret that at all but I have slowly come to the conclusion that perhaps it is better for me to focus more freely on that in a separate blog. IR Haven should primarily be about interracial topics. There have been some blog entries where I was able to tie the two together and should that be possible in the future, I will do it. But I don't want to confuse anyone about what IR Haven is about...and I feel like those lines have been unintentionally blurred sometimes.

To further clarify, the fact that there is a new blog does not mean that IR Haven will not reflect my beliefs at all. Who I am has not changed and I think that will show through in what I write.

For those who enjoy the spiritually-focused posts, you can continue to enjoy them at Take A Stand on

If you have any questions, you can comment here or e-mail me at

Have a great weekend!

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

On this fine Christmas Eve, I want to send my heartfelt thanks to all of you for reading IR Haven's blog this year. It is my prayer that each and every one of you will be well and have a wonderful, safe holiday season.

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Christmas Gets Closer

Just a quick blog to let everyone know I'm okay. The Christmas program went well on Sunday and I am enjoying my new job. IR Haven joined a new webring (Multiracial Cultural & Mixed Race). I may add a few more if I can find appropriate webrings and code that works with the blog template (ah, technicalities).

Anyway, have a great day!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Christmas Time Is (Almost) Here

So I finished up my bout with the flu and began a new job this week.

I've also been preparing for our church's Christmas musical tomorrow. There's a dress rehearsal today so I don't have long to blog.

I'll blog more soon!

Best Wishes,

Sunday, December 07, 2003

And Then There Was This Week...

Okay, so it's been a strange week. Following Thanksgiving, I got sick and then last Sunday, I somehow injured my left shoulder then Monday, my computer broke.

...but I'm okay.

Throughout the week, my shoulder has healed and my sickness has been letting up, little bit by little bit. And today, I got my computer back, its hardware repaired by my techno-superior bro-in-law. I had to go ahead and erase my hard drive and start over with my Windows 2000, but I had virtually all of our files backed up to CD.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, even when things get bad, if you hang on -- and pray -- they will get better.

That's all for now. I'll blog more when I get some more time.

Best Wishes,

Friday, November 28, 2003

Post-Thanksgiving Blog

I'm pleased to report that Clan Steadham had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with both sides of our families, yesterday. Fortunately, the whole family lives in the Central Texas area, so we didn't have to do too much traveling. Everyone was in a great mood and only one of my relatives was sick and couldn't make it.

Best Wishes,

Monday, November 24, 2003

Short Post Before The Holidays Begin

Just a quick update! I made a few minor modifications to the main page layout of IR Haven. The most notable change is the removal of the Tag-board; if no one is interested in using it, it's just taking up space. I also removed one of the links and edited my blogroll list.

Aside from that, Clan Steadham is gearing up for Thanksgiving with the in-laws.

Have a great holiday weekend and we will do the same, Lord-willing.

Best Wishes,

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Blogging About Why I Don't Blog About Politics

I think there's no easier way to stereotype yourself than to broadcast your political affiliations and opinions to the world. Let me explain:

Let's say there's "Joe Q. Blog's Really Liberal Blog" in which he spends months of blogspace attacking the President or what the Republicans and conservatives are doing to "bring down the country."

Next door (internet-wise) is "Mary J. Conservative's RepubliBlog" in which she spends months of blogspace attacking the Democrat of the Moment and liberals in general.

Fill in the blank with the remaining political parties and the blogs of their proud supporters of the moment. Then take a moment to yawn and stretch (it'll help you feel better).

I mean, there's really too much of it out there. It fills the internet kind of like an unsightly landfill. I mean, how many times do we need to read "(political) party lines" before it becomes what it really is: BORING?

I thought blogs were supposed to be the new definition of personal pages, your thoughts - not your party's thoughts, your experiences and a broad variety of matters which interest you. That's what I try to make IR Haven, partially interracial topics, partially a cross-section of my experiences, thoughts and beliefs.

Something else I don't prefer about politi-blogs is that they tend to be complaint-centered. I dislike that I've had to write a lot of this in a complaining fashion but I think it also helps summarize my point.

I dunno, I think it's more interesting to read someone's blog and try to figure out who they are based on what they do and are interested in. That alone might tell you their political beliefs, without them having to shout it to the internet.

While I have definite political beliefs and affiliations, I don't think they really have a place in the blog.

What do you think? Please leave a comment on this topic.

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Call From GQ

An interesting day already. I just did a phone interview with GQ (UK Edition), representing ISAA's view on a particular plus-sized actor.

There's something very ironic in me being interviewed by GQ.

No, really.

Anyway, the interviewer was very nice and asked some interesting questions which I tried my best to answer.

I'm gonna be in GQ?

Best Wishes,

Friday, November 14, 2003

Ridiculous, But In A Practical Kind Of Way...

That's right, folks, two blog entries in one day!

So, for the last week or so, my computer had been acting up. Okay, let me define that: my computer had been shutting down for no apparent reason. I know, I know -- you're thinking "Did you get a virus? Did some hacker gain access to your computer and start messing with you?" The answers are "no" and "no." Like most computer problems, the answer was much simpler. My motherboard, which has been showing signs of antiquity and ornery-ness, decided it no longer wanted to deliver power to the processor fan. So after about 15 minutes, my processor was shutting itself off to keep from overheating and basically melting to slag.

This was a delimma, as I had no other areas to plug in the fan on my motherboard. I pondered and pondered and tried to jury-rig something on another area of the motherboard -- to no avail! The idea of using the computer for 15 minutes at a time with two-hour waiting periods in-between was just too reminiscent of my roadtrip from Fabens, Texas in 1992.

I went and read William Shatner's "Star Trek: Preserver" for a while, to take my mind off my frustration...and when I got to the middle of chapter 19, it hit me! No, not chapter 19 -- inspiration towards a solution -- and it was so obvious!

Warning! Computer tech support mode: ON

I took the procesor fan off of its heat sink above the processor and left the heat sink on top of the processor. Then I went and grabbed a small, regular fan, placed it on top of a box and leaned the fan into the opened computer. This fan was probably ten times the size of the processor's little fan and, I would imagine, much more capable of cooling than its computer counterpart. It's propped up against the computer as I type this and, consequently, I have had no instant shutdowns for over 90 minutes now.

Computer tech support mode: OFF

Problem solved, even if it was a little, um, off the beaten path.

If I get the opportunity over the weekend, I'll take a picture of it with my digital camera.

Best Wishes,
Clarification: What Star Trek Geek Means To Me (And Other Novelties)

When I woke up this morning, I realized I hadn't exactly defined what I meant by "Star Trek geek" in yesterday's blog entry. To clarify, I have enjoyed the Star Trek television shows and movies for the most part. I will admit to videotaping my share of Star Trek episodes during the original runs of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and the first season of Enterprise -- and well, what Star Trek fan doesn't own a copy of the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?

Aside from that, I have only been to one Star Trek convention, when invited by a friend, in the early 90's. And for the record, I have never been interested in dressing up like any of the Star Trek characters!

Over the years, I think I've read about 5 or 6 Star Trek paperback books (including the two from this week), despised all the Star Trek comic book series (if the artists can't come close to a resemblance of the actors, why bother?) and followed a relative few Trek-related websites (TrekWeb seems to be the best and most comprehensive with the most care from its webmaster -- but The Dancing Shatners is my all-time favorite).

On the other hand, I don't buy novelties like the Star Trek action figures, Klingon dictionaries, replicas of phasers or pint-sized starships. I also don't agree with all the philosophies, story plots or the general direction (some might say "spiraling out of control") that the Trek franchise has been heading for at least 5 years.

The bottom line, for me, is that I have a fondness -- and a lot of memories -- of Star Trek but, in all honesty, it's an interest/hobby that I should eventually leave in the past...kind of like Star Trek itself should.

Best Wishes,

Matthew 6: 19 - 21 (King James Version - Jesus' words in red)

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

A Relatively Short Blog - With Some More Updates To The Site

A cold front passed through Austin last night and thanks to my allergies, I've not quite been 100% today. That, combined with some salsa that went bad, unbeknownst to me -- (Oh, why do things that still taste and smell so good give you food poisoning anyway?? Agh!) -- and it made for a strange day. But I seem to be doing better now and I'm grateful...

Speaking of moods, I went ahead and added the imood indicator to IR Haven, along with some new IR links, a new webring and Weatherpixie (to show you current conditions in Austin, Texas.

I recently renewed my library card. It had been so long since I'd used it, I was entirely out of the they made me a new card and added me back into the system. I could only check out two books initially and, being the Star Trek geek that I am, I chose a couple of Star Trek books. Since I never saw the pilot episode of Enterprise, I checked out the book version of "Broken Bow" by Diane Carey. It must have been a pretty good read since I finished the 250-page story in a day and a half! The other book I checked out is "Star Trek: Preserver" by William Shatner, with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens. I read "Star Trek: Dark Victory" a number of years ago and rather enjoyed their work with the characters of the different crews in the "classic," "next generation" and "mirror" universes (only Star Trek geeks would probably get that, so no biggie). After this, I'm gonna take a break from Trek for a while.

Just a quick update, I'll try to check back in this weekend.

Best Wishes,

Sunday, November 09, 2003

IR Thought For The Day

I am in a wonderful mood tonight. I want to share an IR-related “food for thought” commentary. Those who have followed this blog for a while know that I am a Christian and I’m not ashamed to say so. My wife is also a Christian. We are in an interracial marriage and have two young biracial sons. We are members of a nondenominational church which welcomes all nations and which has many interracial married couples and many multiracial children and individuals as members. We have been taught, based on Biblical scripture, that God is no respecter of persons (meaning that He doesn’t discriminate against nations or races of people) and that Jesus Christ came to save people of all nations/races.

There are those who believe (or have been taught) that spiritual salvation is only for one race/nation, etc. I have been taught that everyone will have an opportunity to make a decision whether or not to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

I make a point of not commenting after offering scriptures that have encouraged me. I simply hope that the scriptures below will be as helpful to you as they have been (and are) to me.

Best Wishes,

I Samuel 16: 7 (King James Version)
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Matthew 24: 14 (King James Version – Jesus’ words in red
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matthew 28: 18 - 20 (King James Version – Jesus’ words in red)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Revelations 7: 9 – 12 (King James Version)
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Alas! My Own Impatience Finally Catches Up With Me...

A few days ago, I wrote a blog entry asking for your comments and e-mails to give feedback. It was one of the few blogs that I didn't save a copy of the text, so I'll just have to summarize. I decided to go ahead and put the request back online since several people have commented and e-mailed me, much to my appreciation and surprise.

In the original blog, I asked why you, the visitors to IR Haven, didn't utilize the "comments" section more? I always appreciate any feedback I get on the site because I would like to know what you think. So, please feel free to click on "Comments" below any of the blog entries or send me an e-mail at

I erased the blog entry because I didn't want to seem like I was "fishing for compliments" -- because I'm not. I do need some feedback concerning the site, since the site is for you as much as it is for me -- and I value constructive criticism and your input concerning IR Haven. After all, our motto is "It's Not Just A Website -- It's A Community!" I say that proudly, as it is true that thousands of you visit this site each month and I think that's wonderful.

Have a great day!

Best Wishes,

Friday, November 07, 2003

New Feature and Some Updates To The Rest Of IR Haven

Hi everyone! I just wanted to make a quick blog about some changes to the IR Haven website. We now have a new TAG BOARD feature. Also, the IR Couples gallery has been updated. Click here to go straight to the IR Couples gallery. Pages 1 and 2 have been updated.

And finally, for a little more fun, I added the "This site is best viewed from a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee" graphic (look for it on the righthand side, below "Link To IR Haven")...somehow, it seemed appropriate.

Anyway, feel free to "tag" me a message on the Tag Board!

Best Wishes,

Friday, October 31, 2003

I Know That, Technically, It's Halloween But I Felt Like Sharing This With You

It's been a few posts since I blogged about an interracial topic. My apologies for that, as I know that's of great interest to those who visit the site. I don't have a fountain of ideas today but I can say this:

I am just as proud today to be married to someone of another nation/race/color as I was when I married my Angel nearly nine years ago. I am even more in love with her today than I was then and I feel even more blessed.

I am honored to be the father of two biracial sons who are the perfect blend of me and Angel. They make me very proud of them each day.

In a time when expectations for marriage and fatherhood are at an all-time low, it's a privilege and a wonder to be part of a truly interracial family. And even though tomorrow is not promised to any of us, I have a peace and comfort regarding the potential future of my family.

Best Wishes,

Sunday, October 26, 2003

This Probably Won’t Be My Most Popular Blog Entry…

Halloween is this coming Friday. It is probably no surprise to anyone that I don’t celebrate Halloween but my reasons might surprise you. Please keep in mind that I’m familiar with the origins of the term “Halloween” and how it developed into the “holiday” it is today.

Halloween has changed, though, particularly in the U.S., in just the last 20 or 30 years. It’s taken on new meaning as it’s been working hard to catch up with Christmas as the # 1 holiday of the year. Halloween has been the # 2 holiday for a number of years, which is rather amazing, since noone gets time off from work for it, noone gets any presents and families don’t get together to celebrate it. As a matter of fact, neighborhoods have generally gotten too dangerous to trick-or-treat anymore…and that “candy” might not be candy anymore. So what’s all the hype about? Costumes? Haunted houses? B-rate horror movies? Personally, I don’t get it…

I guess I look a bit more philososphically at the whole thing. The original meaning of Christmas, for example, was to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ upon the Earth over 2000 years ago, not Santa Clause giving gifts. And if the original meaning of Halloween had to do with a Celtic fire festival (“Samhain”) at the end of harvest, that’s radically changed, too -- to celebrating all things dark and evil.

To illustrate my point, something tells me the Celts wouldn’t be too interested in visiting the “House of Torment” haunted house in a renovated shopping mall…

It sort of makes me wonder why marketing companies have been so interested in modifying time-honored traditions to cheapen their meaning while at the same time, raising the price to celebrate them? I mean, the same thing happened to Easter – which was originally about Jesus Christ’s miraculous triumph over death – not chocolate eggs and bunnies. Modern horror movies clearly have no problem selling the concept of resurrection from the dead. One would hope a risen Savior would be easier to sell to the public than rotting ghouls. Maybe that’s part of the problem?

At a general glance, it appears that the marketing point is to direct public interest away from spiritual matters and to focus on Earthly concepts that can be marketed and sold to consumers.

So, in the proverbial nutshell, this is why I don’t celebrate Halloween.

Best Wishes,

Mark 8: 36 – 37 (King James Version) (Words of Jesus Christ in RED)

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

John 1: 1 - 5 (King James Version)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Wonders Of The Universe

The above picture is the remains of the Vela supernova which occurred countless years ago. It's a wonder of the universe, a sign of incredible change, the completion of a glorious cycle of existence.

This week, here on Earth, we saw the cumulation of efforts that had been weeks, even months in the making. Yesterday, the New Covenant Church (NCC) hosted "Youthfest 2003" at the Delco Center in Austin, Texas -- a four-hour event with musical and praise youth groups from NCC and numerous churches in the Texas area. Most importantly, however, the gospel was preached for about 20 to 30 minutes by NCC's pastor, Eddie Willis, Sr.

We had a good turnout -- especially in light of the University of Texas/Oklahoma University humiliation -- er, I mean, football game, occurring at the same time. I dunno, I think a score of 65 to 13 qualified as humilation, not just a loss, don't you? Hmmm.

Anyway, although technically First Light does not qualify as a "youth group" per se, we did perform during the prelude to the event (between 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.) and we received a roaring, heart-warmingly positive response from the audience. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun but our work wasn't over yet just because our band was done. I was delighted to help support some of the other NCC musical groups with my electric bass guitar playing and my wife Angel enthusiastically sang in the NCC mass choir.

Since the whole event was recorded on video and CD -- and the sound system at the Delco Center was first rate -- we're really looking forward to seeing and hearing the event from an "audience" perspective! I'll let you know if the videos or CDs will be available for purchase from NCC when they become available, for those who may be interested.

As I said, though, the most important point in the event was the Word being preached. This occurred mid-way through the event. And in the midst of this incredible event, one person decided to give his life to Jesus Christ.

And that made the whole event worthwhile. That made me all the more proud to be part of this. It's what made all the practices and rehearsals worthwhile. Just like the rings of light expanding from the supernova in the picture, the effects of this man's great decision will resonate and affect others.

And just like that supernova, God is in control of the whole thing. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He gets all the glory.

Have a terrific day!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The Second Anniversary: September 11, 2003

My wife, Angel, took the above picture here in Austin shortly after September 11, 2001 -- even then, it seemed symbolic of what we were going through as a nation...the chaos, the feeling of being thrown about in an intense wind. And, for all intents and purposes, we were. In many aspects, we still are.

Many websites, newspapers, magazines and television shows have already been finding ways to re-live the horror and terror of 9.11.01 through pictures and video footage of the burning World Trade Center (WTC) towers. Lawsuits are finally being approved to move forward and politicians are eager to find ways to use the tragedy of two years ago for their own benefit. I can't endorse any of that.

I find no solace in succumbing to fear or outrage in reviewing video or pictures of those horrible hours.

I think it's very appropriate to honor those who died and to remember the families of those who died at either the WTC or the Pentagon or on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. I think it's appropriate to pray for those families and pray for this world and its various leaders. I think it's appropriate to pray for the U.S. and Allied soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, along with their families.

9.11.01 was the harshest reality check many of us have ever received, especially in the United States...but also in many areas of the world.

Life is fragile, it's always been fragile. A bullet, a car wreck, a drug overdose, an accident, violence or an unexpected illness can just as easily end life.

To me, what's important is how we LIVE -- how we make our lives count for something! So, on the second anniversary of 9.11.01, I recommend that instead of focusing on death, destruction and dispair, focus on life -- your life -- and what you can do to help others. Some helpful things you can do include giving blood, volunteering your time or just giving encouragement to someone in need, either through donation or kind words (those are free).

Thanks for your time.

Best Wishes,

Matthew 5: 1 - 12 (King James Version - Jesus' words in red)

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Monday, September 01, 2003

What I Did On My Labor Day Weekend Vacation

It's been a while since my wife, Angel, and I had some time all to ourselves. In fact, the last time, we took any kind of vacation was for our wedding anniversary in March 2002, so we were a little overdue. One of our friends from church who runs a daycare graciously kept our boys for the weekend, so they got a little vacation, too!

No, we didn't win an all-expense paid trip to a Borg cube! This was the intriguing atmosphere of the Hotel Valencia in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Each floor looked like this. (See above pictures)

Actually, it was very cold on each floor, kind of like I would imagine a Borg cube would be, but something tells me the Borg wouldn't be playing instrumental jazz on every floor.

Either that or we escaped assimilation and didn't know it...? Hmmmmm!

Well, at least it wasn't tinted green everywhere (would've looked hideous if it did - see picture above)...

This is actually what the outside of the hotel looked like, in the midst of downtown San Antonio.

It was a very sunny weekend with a great deal of humidity and heat but we managed just fine.

Angel and I mainly wanted to get some rest and relaxation on this trip to San Antonio. So we didn't do the tourist thing. No visits to The Alamo or Fiesta, Texas or Sea World.

We did, however, visit a restaurant we'd enjoyed in March `02 -- Bambino Huey's. We had previously enjoyed the food, service, live traditional Italian music (with guitar and mandolin), gourmet coffee and the restaurant's signature dessert (the "Bambino Huey," available in vanilla and chocolate flavors).

We did receive very good service and the live Italian music...

...we enjoyed our salads (note new beard)...

...the food was pretty good and we were looking forward to the desserts...

...but they weren't quite as good as we remembered. Our waiter was very accomodating and brought us fresh, hot (chocolate) "Hueys" (since the first ones were lukewarm -- and this dessert is best when hot!) -- and we enjoyed those better...but we were left with the impression that either our expectations were too high or the quality had dipped just a bit. Nevertheless, we left full and fairly satisfied with the experience. So, if you visit Bambino Huey's in San Antonio and want a `Huey, ask for it hot!

We had a luxurious stay in the hotel. We were surprised at all the features offered just through the television set (still-in-theater movies, not-yet-released-to-DVD movies, video games, high-speed internet, select music and video channels, select television show episodes and of course, free cable channels)! We were economical, however, and stuck to the free channels -- those kinds of charges add up quickly! Besides, like I said, we came there mainly to relax, not to become assimilated by the hotel t.v. (maybe it was a Borg cube after all!)

On Sunday, we had a safe trip back to Austin, stopping off for a little detour to our old stomping grounds in San Marcos, Texas [I attended Texas State University at San Marcos, the college formerly known as "Southwest Texas State University (SWT)" from `93 to `95] along the way. Angel and I made it home before the rain from Tropical Storm "Grace" moved inland and a cold front triggered a lot of rain on Central and South Texas. We picked up our kiddos and are now enjoying the Labor Day holiday.

I hope y'all are, too!

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

You've Just Got To Love Texas Weather...

Remember my blog in February about 80 degree heat followed two days later by an ice storm? Well, last week, we had five straight days of 100+ degrees (Fahrenheit) heat, with Friday being 110 degrees. The weatherpeople were predicting another week of 100+ degree temperatures but the next day it dropped into the low 90s and upper 80s -- and stayed there until Monday, when a "pulse severe thunderstorm" erupted on the northern part of Austin, Texas...

It was pretty intense. We heard the thunder in the distance, getting closer, so my wife got offline and turned off the computer. Having once lost a beloved 14.4 modem to a thunderstorm in 1996, I tend to err on the side of paranoid when it comes to thunderstorms and computers. So, we unplugged the modem from the computer and unplugged the surge protectors (where the computer and monitor were plugged in) from the wall outlet. About five minutes later, a bolt of lightning struck a tree beside our house -- and it was so close, we could see it and it set off the smoke detector alarm! A moment later, the power went out. Had the computer been hooked up and online, it might have fried the modem -- and maybe even the computer!! So, sometimes mild paranoia pays off, you see!

Well, as it turns out (believe it or not), the "storm" itself hadn't even "hit" yet. I went out to pull our van into the garage, just in case it "might" hail. I had just pulled the van into the garage when suddenly, there was a massive gust of wind, so intense that, when I looked in the side view mirror of the van, all I saw outside was WHITE, no details -- like looking into fog, except it was wind and rain. Then the hail began, tossed by these winds, which were in excess of 60 miles an hour! Hearing the hail pelt against the back of the van, I forced myself to go to the back of the garage and pull down the door. After that, the hail really started slamming against the garage door. I got back inside, where my wife had already taken the kids into the front bathroom, just in case a tornado occurred. Both my wife and my kids were great in the midst of the storm. My son Adam let me know everything was going to be alright, he had already said a prayer.

I appreciated his optimism. My wife and I both said silent prayers as well.

Less than 10 minutes later, the winds died down and the rain and thunder stopped. I went outside to survey the damage. That bolt of lightning we'd seen and heard had split two parts of the same tree -- tossing one part to the left side of our yard and another part to the right side of our yard -- and these were not small parts of the tree! There was wind and lightning damage to trees all along our street but we were grateful noone had been hurt. Another wave of rain and thunder moved in later that evening and caused a brief loss of power but nowhere near as severe as the first.

In the northern part of the city, there had been a lot of damage but no lives were lost.

We got to see the unpredictable wonder of the power of God through nature and His mercy as well.

Best Wishes,

Thursday, July 03, 2003

IR Haven Is A Unique Blog

I have cruised around to different blogs (via Blogger and links from other blog websites) and I must say, they span the spectrum on male and female viewpoints and they vary tremendously. There are many young bloggers, many still in high school or college – which makes sense, that’s when lots of significant change and upheaval occurs in people's lives for the first time and they can actually do something about it. That’s when people start to develop a real sense of what they believe in…but IR Haven is different. It started out as a website first before it became a blog. Then September 11th happened – and the purpose of this website took on a whole new meaning to me. I guess you could say, in a way, that I felt a profound need to express what I believe in…beyond the fact that I am supportive of interracial relationships and multiracial children.

I’m reminded of an issue of the Strangers In Paradise comic book in which the lead male character was asked “You’re a Christian, right?” by the woman he cares most about. He answers “yes,” proudly. She then dumbfounds him with her next question: “If your Christian beliefs mean so much to you, why haven’t you ever shared them with me?” (For purists of the comic, I apologize for my choppy paraphrasing of the dialogue between Katchoo and David.)

I was not a sharing person before the Lord changed me; I was a deeply private person and truthfully, there were aspects of myself that frightened me – things I would never share, except with my closest friends. Deep down, I was very angry, hurt and troubled. It took going to the brink of death (via severe dehydration) to realize I wasn’t ready, spiritually, to die. I had to beg the Lord’s mercy just to keep me from dying that day -- and He was merciful. The next day, a real minister (discussion about real vs. fake ministers is another blog entry altogether) had to show me how to let the Lord clean me up from the inside. This started with a confession of faith: I acknowledged that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God -- that He died, was buried and was raised from the dead on the third day. I surrendered my pains and the hurts I’d caused myself and others; I took responsibility for those actions. Taking that step, I was able to pray to Jesus to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and His Holy Spirit by faith. That’s when He started changing me into who I’d always wanted to be but couldn’t because the anger, hurt or dysfunction – the sin -- would always get in the way.

IR Haven could not have come into existence without this change in my life (and my wife's life). God took two people of different ethnicities (Caucasian and African-American) and caused us to develop a deep love for one another…to the point that we would withstand challenges and disbelief from friends -- and threats, condemnation plus retaliation from family. The love that survived those difficult times was almost enough for us – but not quite. Without the love of Christ in our hearts, we did not know how to have a successful relationship, despite all that we felt for each other. God had to change us in order for us to learn how to have a true love and respect for one another, forgiveness for unintended offenses, understanding and patience that we did not possess before. As a result, our interracial marriage has become sweeter and sweeter over these last eight years and we are raising two wonderful biracial boys in that atmosphere of love and respect. I won’t say there aren’t ups and downs – that’s life – but I can honestly say that there are far more ups than there are downs…and there's no willful sin in our lives. Only God could do that!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a minister and I’m not trying to give the impression that I am one. I can’t save your soul, I’m just one man in the midst of billions of people in this world. I don’t have the pretentious belief that I’m any better than anyone else. All I can do is write about my life here in this blog and hope that it means something to you, that you get something out of it. I feel compelled to be straightforward with you, not make up clever gimmicks for you to come back. I’d rather you know me than some “quiz of the day” or news headline.

I’d rather share what I believe in deeply.

If you want to write me about it, that's fine -- but I won't debate differing spiritual beliefs. I believe what I believe. That said, you can e-mail me at . And if you just want to keep reading, that's fine, too.

Thanks for your time and for reading this.

Best Wishes,

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Looking To The Sky For Answers: An Explanation

The three-part Looking To The Sky For Answers is a true story, it happened to me in 1992. I have considered developing it into a book from time to time (thus the copyright notations on each segment) but lately it's just been sitting around collecting the computerized hard drive equivalent of dust...and I thought that was a waste, especially when thousands of people read IR Haven each month (which is both amazing and an honor).

In my life, I've been through some rough spots and on more than one occasion, I know I could have lost my life. Looking is one of those times. It's worth noting that after I got back from this experience in June 1992, my friendship with Angel (now my wife) really began to bloom. By Fall 1992, she and I would be dating; by Christmas 1992, she would propose to me and I would happily accept; and in March 1995, we would be married. I believe that the Lord or one of His angels spoke to me that day and the Lord spared my life and allowed me to develop this interracial relationship that would so change my life for the better. He blessed me with a real-life Angel and we would be blessed with two wonderful biracial sons.

I wanted to share this story because maybe it can be of help to someone somewhere. If that still, small voice speaks to you, please listen to it. It could save your life, your future -- or even your soul.

At the very least, I hope Looking is interesting reading. Please feel free to make comments and give me feedback about this real-life story.

Make sure to start at Part One; it's a little strange reading it backwards from Part Three. If you don't want to scroll all the way down, you can just click on this link.

Thanks for your time.

Best Wishes,
Looking Into The Sky For Answers: Part Three
Copyright (c) 2003 Allen Steadham

My father left Austin at 5:00 a.m. Sunday and, according to him, depended on the 18-wheeler truck speeds as his radar detector because he made it to Fabens by 1:30 p.m. We were delighted to see him but we were soon faced with a new problem: Bill’s 9-piece drum set would not fit into a Honda Accord LX-i hatchback alongside my bass guitar, amplifier, keyboard, keyboard stand and clothes bags. So Bill had to choose between leaving his drums and coming home with us or staying and finding a way to get himself and his drums back to Austin. He chose to stay.

The journey home should have been long but simple. It was early summer in Texas. Armed against the Texas heat with an air-conditioned car, we should have been fine…except we were in Texas. Warnings and jokes about changing Texas weather are based in fact, not fiction.

As we crossed the Texas desert to head back to Central Texas, I noticed the really cool-looking clouds rising like nukes from the surface. There were a lot of them. I think I counted four or six easily, from multiple directions across the landscape, behind us and to each side.

“That one looks like the Enterprise-D,” I said about one cloud. Dad grunted in acknowledgment, probably trying really hard to stay focused on the road.

As the afternoon progressed, the sky wasn’t so cool-looking anymore. It was actually looking dark and rather stormy. The rain started light, followed by distant lightning and thunder. A minute later, sheets of monsoon-like rain were battering the car from multiple directions and the thunder was tremendous. This was too much for Dad’s nerves; he had to pull over. I volunteered to continue the driving.

No sooner had we started driving again when the hail started. We didn’t even know how bad our situation was. Undaunted and refreshed from the good night’s sleep, I increased our speed and drove on. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know at the time that rain-wrapped tornadoes often mingle with such weather.

By the time we reached Fredericksburg, the rain began to let up. Now it was only a matter of time before we reached Austin. It was midnight before we made it home to crystal clear skies.

The inner voice had been right...and that had gotten me home safely.

We had more guardian angels than we knew.

Looking Into The Sky For Answers: Part Two
Copyright (c) 2003 Allen Steadham

It was dark by the time the van from the orphanage arrived. The people who came to our rescue had brought more sophisticated tools and were experienced mechanics that knew this car. They even brought a battery-powered generator and lights. I remember thinking that I didn’t care that none of them spoke English, I was impressed with the way they got down to business with that car! Soon, we would be able to continue on our way home, I thought.

But as time went on, something didn’t feel right. I became antsy and pretty agitated as we got closer and closer to our “freedom.”

You need to call home, an inner voice said to me. You need to put aside your pride and ask your folks for help.

I paced back and forth a while, not wanting to let go of hope. I really wanted to believe that Bill and I could get home on our own.

The voice and the nervousness persisted.

You need to do it. You may not get another chance. You’d better call home now!

Scared by the thoughts, I walked up to one of the gas station pay phones, chucked my pride with a sigh and called my parents collect. My mom answered the phone. I told her what had happened and that I needed help. Clearly startled by the news, she put my dad on the phone for me to repeat my story. While I heard disappointment in his voice, I also heard relief that I had turned to them for help and compassion for my predicament. Dad told me he would come pick us up the next day if we could just get back to the orphanage. I agreed.

I went over to Bill and explained what I had done. I asked him if we could head back to the orphanage and await our pending rescue. Looking back on the situation, I think he was as relieved as I was. Had we had more problems several hundred miles down the road, it’s unlikely the mechanics from Fabens would have come to help us. We committed to the rescue plan instead.

That turned out to be wise, as 30 miles into our return trip, the warning light came back on to let us know the engine was overheating again. Now going on 44 hours without sleep, we stopped the car and took a much-needed nap of about 30 minutes or an hour (I honestly don’t remember which). When we woke up, the overheat light stayed off for about 10 minutes before flaring to life again. Realizing the prospect of another stop-and-go journey, we decided to take our chances and just keep on going.

About 10 miles from the orphanage with the overheat light still glaring at us in neon red, the tailpipe fell down with a thud and began dragging rather noisily on the ground. Please keep in mind that it was welded together and had previously only been held up by chicken wire.

We kept on racing along, sparks flying and engine overheating, even driving across a field to try and knock the tailpipe off (sleep deprivation is the inventor of many odd thought processes). Finally, at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, we limped into the orphanage parking area, tailpipe still dragging. We found some empty beds and collapsed.

If only that were the end of the story… (To Be Concluded)
Looking Into The Sky For Answers: Part One
Copyright (c) 2003 Allen Steadham

I remember sitting on the trunk of the broken-down, dusty, gold-colored 1977 Oldsmobile LS. It was 1992 and I was in a small town called Sierra Vista, about 100 miles east of El Paso, Texas. Looking up at the beautiful blue sky scant with white clouds, sweating from the June heat, I wondered what I’d done to deserve being stranded at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, 600 miles from my home in Austin. This fine specimen of a car had broken down from multiple problems ranging from a stuck thermostat to a sick engine and my friend Bill, a mechanic in addition to being a great drummer, was doing his best to fix the unfixable. I heard him curse as one of the engine bolts broke on the vehicle we had nicknamed “The Deathmobile.”

Looking up to the sky in utter hopelessness, I thought to myself “Okay, God, I can see you’re trying to get my attention…”

I was a 22-year old electric bass guitarist recently divorced from a four-person rock and blues band called the “Killer Tomatahs.” Having gotten the opportunity of a “make or break” gig in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, we had decidedly broke – and this had broken the band, too. The actual break up happened in a border town called Fabens, Texas, at a little orphanage where Bill had grown up. The generosity of strangers had landed us a vehicle home but no guarantee that said-vehicle would actually survive the trip! One hour into our triumphant voyage home proved that to be the case.

Young and determined to defy the source of engine overheating, Bill and I decided to outwit and outlast the car’s problems…yeah, right! We would drive one mile, the engine would begin to overheat and we would have to turn off the car and wait an hour for it to be drivable again. That became very nerve-wracking after 9 hours, realizing we could have probably walked further in that amount of time. But with hundreds of miles to go and all our band equipment and clothes in the car, walking was not an option.

The generosity of another stranger helped get us to Sierra Vista. A retiree named “Gibby” used his RV to literally push the Oldsmobile 18 miles into that next town. Tired and frustrated as we were, a push was a welcome relief and we were immensely grateful for Gibby’s help. Pleased to be of service, the senior citizen drove his RV onward down Interstate 10. We called him our “guardian angel.”

It was mid-morning on a Saturday. Bill felt confident that he could go to a parts store a block away and pick up a gasket for the thermostat. He felt he could get us up and running in no time. Of course, he didn’t count on the whole town shutting down for a rodeo parade. Two hours later, Bill obtained the magic gasket and placed it where it was needed – until something else broke.

Suddenly, our guardian angel reappeared! Gibby had only left to go buy some tools for us to repair the car. For a brief while, hope soared...until that engine bolt broke. Nearing our level of frustration, Gibby had to move on. He had done all he could. We graciously thanked him for all his help and watched the RV drive off again. If even our angel couldn’t help us, we knew we were in trouble.

Bill called the Fabens orphanage to update them on our predicament and ask for help. More help was coming but it was 100 miles away. So we waited. (To Be Continued)

Sunday, June 22, 2003

A Few Updates

You've probably noticed the new updates to IR Haven by now. I recently added the Amber Alert banner because I think it's a tremendously valuable tool that helps save lives. If you have a website, please add the banner to your site by going to and follow the directions for adding the banner to your site.

In addition to the alerts, I have added new ways for you to interact with me through Instant Messenger (IM) software. I have added interfaces for ICQ and Yahoo! Messenger. At any given time, especially in the evenings, I will be on one of those IMs. And if I'm not online, send me a shout (leave me a message) anyway, I love hearing from you!

Today started early for me and my family, as First Light was the praise band at church today. We played a total of five songs today and the entire service was wonderful! Our church has two missionary groups on the field in Belize and Guatemala, Central America. Our pastor and a number of laymembers and officers have gone to support our sister churches in those countries and to witness Christ to the peoples of those countries. We are blessed to have quite a few Spanish-speaking missionaries.

I've been wanting to convey more of my feelings concerning my faith and what I believe but I've been waiting for the right time and the right words. For now, I will leave you with these:

Romans 13: 8 - 14 (King James Version)

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Have a great day!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, May 31, 2003

It's A World!

I was watching Nightline last night (well, it was interesting for a change!) about the "modernization" of climbing Mt. Everest. The son of the man who first climbed Everest 50 years ago called his father from the peak using a cell phone while being taped for a National Geographic documentary. And I started thinking, y'know, we are more technology and internet-connected, driven and dependent than any other time in history -- and yet, the internet was virtually unknown in 1994, less than 10 years ago. I can remember enjoying text-based bulletin boards in 1989 and we are WAY more advanced than that now-!

If I want to check the weather while online, I can activate Weatherbug or go to a local news website. If I need to contact an associate in another country, I e-mail or look them up on an instant messenger and chat "live." I don't even need local or cable television for my news anymore, I can catch it live from the internet.

I have been getting more (non-spam) e-mails than phone calls for years!

And we also have online communities -- like this blog -- to allow us to meet and learn about complete strangers...then lo and behold, before too long, they're our friends! Wild, huh?

Gotta run now, I'll post again soon.

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Tribute To My Dad

My father, Joe Steadham, died of cancer on May 20, 1997, five days before his 56th birthday. The threat of colon cancer had already appeared once in his life, had gone into remission for ten years and then came back with a vengeance around 1995. This week marks the sixth anniversary of his death. I don't mean to be dark or macabre; in fact, it is my intention to honor my father and his life with this entry.

My father was a huge impact on my life. He taught me responsibility, dignity, humility, friendliness and a lot about how to be a father. My father was a people person. He made trips to the grocery story -- almost daily -- just to converse with people at the store...and get one or two items. He was deeply respected by his co-workers at the Texas Department of Health, where he worked for 32 years (almost as long as he was married to my mother, which was 33 years)...a fact that was shown when over 300 of them paid their last respects at his funeral.

But perhaps the most important thing my father ever taught me was not something he told me, it was what he didn't tell me. He never discouraged me from making friends of different nationalities, he never encouraged me to think or believe in a racist manner. And when I began dating interracially in the years before I got married, he would take the time and make the effort to get to know the women I was dating.

I'll be honest, my father and I had some issues to deal with when it came to my entering into an interracial marriage but once my (biracial) son Adam was born in October 1995, things began to change. My father was given a six-month prognosis in 1995 but he lived an additional two years after that, sharing the first two years of my son's life. I truly believe that my father's love of my son is what kept him going for so long. My mother was so moved by my father's love for Adam that she had a picture of the two of them buried with my father (see picture below).

During the last weeks of my father's life, I had many opportunities to talk with him and we both had a chance to make our peace with each other over past hurts and misunderstandings. I have since learned how rare an opportunity -- what a gift -- that was.

I loved my father and I know he loved me. I hope I can be that kind of father to my two sons.

I know that the Lord has blessed me to have a wonderful wife and family and I feel honored to live this life with them -- and you!

Thanks for sharing this experience with me.


Friday, April 25, 2003

Ah, It's Friday...

First, let me announce that we got our van back last Thursday. I was glad for that, even though the PT Cruiser was pretty nice (as was having a CD stereo system in the car).

The musical drama A Crown Of Thorns went extremely well last Sunday. We had a good turnout, the program had a good pace and transitioned very smoothly between scenes and songs. One of the elements I like about our church and about this musical drama is that the makeup of the people is interracial and international. We have many IR couples in our nondenominational church and many biracial and multiracial children, young people and adults. The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons and Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel of peace to all nations. We practice that in our everyday lives, although it took the Lord changing us to make that possible for a group of over 300 people of all ages and all nations. God gets all the glory for that because people have a hard time doing that on their own.

It's been a good week so far. Tomorrow will mark the Fifth Annual International Size Acceptance Day (ISA Day). I'm pleased to announce that Austin Mayor Gus Garcia granted my request to have Saturday April 26, 2003 proclaimed "International Size Acceptance Day" for the City of Austin, Texas. ISAA began ISA Day in 1998 as a way to bring attention to size- and self-esteem-related matters and more recently, ISAA's Respect Fitness Health Initiative.

You can view the proclamation here

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by USA Today and the San Antonio Express-News. I don't know when the USA Today story will be printed/go online but the SA Express-News story will see print tomorrow. If I can find it online, I'll relay a link in my next blog.

That's all for now. See you soon!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, April 17, 2003

More Updates

Okay, so I rescheduled Entitled 2003 to the fall of this year, for numerous reasons (the war's impact on travel and planning being a huge factor) -- so now all I'm really concentrating on is Easter 2003. And actually, that's quite enough as I'm playing electric bass guitar for my church's Easter Drama/Musical this Sunday. The drama/musical is called A Crown Of Thorns. My wife, Angel, will be performing in the musical as well, as part of the orchestral ensemble. So we've had a lot of rehearsals in the last couple of months.

Click here to listen to one of the songs from "A Crown Of Thorns" called "Praise Ye The Lord"

"Praise Ye The Lord" is in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. If you need a copy of Windows Media Player (also available for Mac), click here. It was recorded live and is not quite CD-quality but should give you a good idea how the song goes (and yes, I play bass on it)...

If you're in the Austin/Manor, Texas area and would like to come to "A Crown Of Thorns," it's this Sunday at Manor High School Auditorium in Manor, Texas. Admission is free and you can e-mail me for directions if you are interested in attending.

We (my wife and I) hit an interesting snag last week when our van started having radiator problems, so I took the van to the dealership. Of course, there were complications and delays and cost add-ons (I have learned my lesson about dealerships now). Bottom line: we are still waiting on the final repairs and the return of our vehicle (I took it in almost a week ago) BUT there was one silver lining to an otherwise frustrating cloud...we got a loaner of a 2002 black PT Cruiser! (which looks almost identical to the pic below)

We will probably be informed that our van is fixed by the end of today or tomorrow but in the meantime, the `cruiser is fine with us...although it's not well-suited for transporting a bass guitar and amplifier.

Why do people stare at PT Cruisers so much? Sure, they're unique-looking enough but they've been around for a couple of years now! I see plenty of them on the road but it seems like everyone has to stare when we park or are waiting at a traffic light. Do you think no one's ever seen an IR couple and their kids in a PT Cruiser before? In a way, it's funny because no one's said anything rude...they just stare like they've never seen one of these before. Go fig?

Anyway, I'll write again soon. Bye for now!

Best Wishes,

Monday, March 31, 2003


Last week, I was in a baking mood, for some reason. The results turned out rather spectacular, so I thought I'd share them with you.

The first is my SUPER-Cookie, which is a combination of traditional chocolate chip and butterscotch chips. A YUMMY one-two that I highly recommend! By the way, that's Pampered Chef stoneware I cooked it on (completely covered by the cookie). After it cooled, I added blue icing and sliced it up into squares.

That night, I also made banana-raspberry pancakes -- also delicious!

I'll blog again soon, more stuff is pending.

Best Wishes,