Hawaii 2010

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Friday, July 31, 2009

A Fine Tuned Universe spreads like butter!

I could not sharing this butter picture found on another site I visit. It kind of says it all, doesn't it? My friend Jorg commented that this kind of dilemma has split many churches and denominations. Now this is related to picture #2, a book I was reading reviews of chapter by chapter on Jesus Creed, a wonderful blog by Dr. Scott McKnight and then I bought the book to assist me in my August Bible Study.

Do not buy this book, read Scott's reviews, as the language is so theological and scientific and so connected to a school of thought that most of us are unfamiliar with. The point of the book and my month long study, is to take another look at creation, and see where we are in relation to "Natural Theology". Are there proofs for Gods existence in the Universe? Way before Darwin, a book was written in the early 1800s showing proofs of God's existence from nature, the earth, and the universe. Since then scientists have been battering away at Theistic proofs.

Dr. McGrath engages the modern atheist and chastises modern Christians for putting their heads in the sand and committing some Galileo like boo boos by not using the scientific method in a helpful way. There ara all kinds of insights into the creators sustaining methods that are remarkable and observable.

For me, these summer studies began six years ago, this is the seventh, but noting how completely observant Jesus was of the world around Him and how everything He saw, and touched became illustrative of His father and the revelation of the Kingdom He was bringing. You name it, if it moved, smelled, created life, he used it. Wine, seeds, bread, water, mud, stones, trees, fields, paths, fish, clothing, earth and sky.

Jesus was in touch with the Fathers creation. As part of my campaign to learn more about the life despising message that crept into the church via Augustine's Neo Platonic influence on Christendom, I am joining others in showing that this life is a blessing, a joy, an adventure. This life is where I am living ionian life, age enduring life, this life is where I practice justice, humility, while takeing some time to smell the roses, drink the coffee, and yes, oh yes, to slather real butter on my toast, Can I get an amen, brothers.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Norton by Remote

Speaking of fascinating remotes, today I emailed Norton Security and had a chat with a tech person named Rashem who took over my computer and installed a program. I was sitting their watching my computer mouse open and close and test while having a conversation over a chat program. I am pretty sure it was outsourced overseas.

The world is shrinking. Next thing you know I'll be having a beer with the President.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OK so you can get in your own photos, now get out!

I love the power of remotes. It took me three tries to get Genevieve and myself actually in the frame, it takes practice to see the shot and then get in the shot, but allow me to introduce my secretary of over six years. She is organized, disciplined, effective in dealing with our folks, all who love her and tolerate me.
Thank you for your hard work and excellent skills and for making our work environment so pleasant.

Thanks to the lovely administrative assistant at my Dental Office for handling all the paper work, and schedules and making my time at the Dentists also pleasant. Today I had the stitches out from the implant and a buckle and DO, whatever that is. Doc said I identified my tooth number wrong last week....figures.

I visited an elderly man today who had a mild stroke a month ago. It is the second anniversary of the death of his second wife. He talks a blue streak with hand gestures and some of the words were understandable, but the story made absolutely no sense and seemed to be weaving tales from all over his life. His caregivers say he occasionally get very angry and wants to go home from the care center. I sometimes wonder if the mixed brain signals actually help people cope with their situation. This is a man who kept minutes for most every group he belonged to and used his computer quite efficiently into his 80s. I believe in the resurrection of the body and the restoration of our consciousness.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friend of Sinners

I have been trying to explain some changes I have been making in my application of the gospel of grace as I teach through the book of Galatians. Part of it has to do with our attitude toward “sinners”, “the unchurched”, “those with life damaging issues”, like addictions, or lifestyle differences. I find many people with traditional views seem to see all sin as the sinners fault, or delight, or choice, and the attitude I feel is that the gospel is sort of like a threat or a timed test. “You better get yourself through that narrow gate that leads to life you rotten sinner, or there’s hell to pay”. That’s a caricature, but I feel that in our attitudes sometimes, and I think it repels rather than attracts.

Since I began to study the doctrines of reconciliation and adoption, especially from those espousing a theology of Trinitarian relational theology. I began to realize that Christ sees our sin problem as a part of our Adamic nature, and He had compassion on sinners. The primary image that comes through then, is seeking the lost with a sense of identity for our own weakness, a realization that but for the grace of God we too could be in a lot worse shape. It is that way of thinking about humanity I see more clearly than I did when I was in a system that flattened the distinctions between the old and new covenant. Like a Micheal Spencer, the Imonk said, Instead of law then grace, many Christians actually have law, then grace, then law, and inadvertently begin to condemn and judge and be prideful that we have cleaned up our act so well. Be an ambassador, tell people God has reconciled Himself to them in Christ, be reconciled is an invitation to a banquet of love and presence and finally power to begin to change.

On a lighter note, I bought a remote detonator, uh, I mean, a camera remote so I can get in my own tripod pictures and take family shots without running across the room and telling everyone to smile for 8 seconds until the timer goes off.

This shot also shows our new living room furniture and the lengths we are going to to keep our cats from scratching the furniture. We have invisible cat repelling tape on all the seams, and covers when we are just lounging. My sinner cats have a fallen nail sharpening urge and I love them too much to get them declawed at the ages of 12 and 10. Repent and sharpen no more!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blogging Year 2

This is my 338th post since starting a year ago after returning from my 40th High School Reunion. I found the idea of seeing and hearing the ongoing stories of those of us who graduated High School together to be interesting and fascinating.

I never had the idea of this being a thinking blog or a debating blog or a how to do it blog. It is more of a sharing my daily life blog with hopefully some bits of wisdom and some things I have learned and some issues I would love to see my church address and improve, and by my church I mean the church that exists in many forms, the Christ followers.

I add a picture because it adds interest and I love the captured instant. It allows me to share my hobby and give visual reference to the things I experience. So, I am not going to add a hit counter because I am sure it would depress me. I am just going to spend a few moments each day when I have something to share, putting my words on paper, and spicing it with a recent or archived photo.

I looked back and realized I was dieting a year ago, lost some, gained it back. Month two is crucial for recommitment. A weekend of feasting set me back a bit.

Today I found out a new out of state friend of mine had Valley Fever that settled in his leg. He spent a good time rebuilding a rock river in his yard recently and I always wonder if the exposure to dust when you are a new comer is dangerous. I am thankful I have avoided that desert disease.

I loaded all my four day road trip and wedding pictures on my computer and relived each shot, such fun. Stop by when you get a chance and say hello if something catches your heart.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Home Before Dark

815 miles, that got the road trippin out of my system for a while. There is a funny line in one of my favorite movies, Support Your Local Sheriff, where the mayor's daughter keeps doing awkward and embarrasing things, like setting her dress on fire. After Jim Garner douses the flame she shakes her fist at him and says, "I'm sick and tired of all this stuff thats happening to me and somebody better do something about it quick".

As I was packing to leave the hotel and go the the Starks for lunch, I could not find my car key. I tore the room apart and unpacked everything four times. We finally decided to call triple A when a maid said she had found the key outside my door and it was locked up. So, by the time I spent the afternoon eating and enjoying the family I had to skeedaddle home.

I also broke my one month old 3g Verizon Wireless Modem. Somebody better do something about all this stuff that keeps happening to me!!!!!!

This is my one year blog anniversary, its been fun. More tomorrow. My teacher sweety wife meets a new class room of raw recruits tommorrow morning. Pray for strength.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The details matter because the Vows matter

Weeks of careful preparation to present the Wedding to the guests. Flowers, dresses, invitations, reception. When the day arrives and you have practiced you bring in a photographer to capture the memories. Lots of expense and lots of interactions and then its over. Why did we do all this. Because a young couple desire to declare a lifelong commitment by making vows. And all the hard work testifies that we believe that God ordained marriage and blessed it.

The second picture is an oops moment we caught before many guests arrived and we all thought it was hilarious. I love these experiences and this one was special. The brides mom had a painful nail ripping experience with lots of blood while they were dressing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wedding Weekend

Joe and Diane have three daughters, When they came to be part of the church I served from 1995 to 2002 her parents drove out from Sun Lakes where I now live, to worship with us. They had a beautiful new home, horses, and three active adolescents. Suddenly and without warning Joe's employer broke the contract and left them high and dry.

About the same time my own leadership became tenous for all the usual reasons, people upset that I did not perform as they thought I should, people becoming charismatic and wanting the church to move in that direction, the tensions of making major decisions in a building program, plus some Eschatological panic before 2000 Y2K????

I prayed and hoped as this family attempted to find new ways to provide for the family since they loved the community. I allowed the long hours of meetings and some relationships gone sour to affect my sleep, and while Diane was working as our part time secretary I had a heart attack. While I recovered she maintained communications with people who wanted to know how I was, and also kept a stream of people from stopping by as well wishers. I did not need that at the time.

Long story short, they went into debt, had to move. I survived a needless and rediculous church split but we lost so many families that my spiritual heart was not up for rebuilding our core group. I also discovered in a fast growing community with all kinds of church plants going on that the phrase, "If you build it, they willl come" does not always work. We in fact had a program badly damaged by loss of families and leadership.

So, here we are, surviving and thriving seven years plus later, celebrating a wedding. Life goes on, we learn, we recover, we live. Danielle and Jeremiah will make thier own story, and may God bless them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've looked at Clouds for One Day Now

Sounds like a great lyric, but the cumulus clouds were so amazing as I made my way out of the state by the southeast road through Globe, Thatcher and Duncun on Hwy 70. From Lordsburg NM I took a detour up to Silver Lake and got up around 7000 ft above sealevel, tried to make some cliff dwellings but the time got to me so I spent 8 hours driving and sightseeing and am resting in Deming NM

The beauty of the Southwest is something to see. It changes so much at different elevations as well, from scrub to tree to forest. I visited an old church cemetary that had headstones from the early 1800s. Click on the pics to fill your screen with rocks and clouds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time for a Road Trip

I love driving out of town. My family always took driving vacations, in our 57 and 62Pontiac's, we saw most of the Northeast on our summer vacations. Washington DC, West Point, Niagara Falls, Gettysburg. We had our share of "are we there yets" and some nightmare motels in the days before standardization. Spiders and roach motels.

The Stark family has honored me by asking me to officiate at their daughter Danielle's wedding this Saturday. We met in Queen Creek and her kids were in our youth ministry, and Diane worked as my secretary for a period. They had some disappointments and had to move and we have stayed in touch.

So I plan to drive and stop for photo moments and enjoy the back roads between Phoenix and Las Cruces New Mexico. Laura can't go because she is back at work, so this will be a combination personal time and reunion time. I will update you with some desert and mountain pics along the way. My last fling before we shift to a more active schedule in August around Sun Lakes Community Church.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eat Right, Get Moving, Keep it Fun!

I have begun month two of my shape up program. The scale bounces between 8 and 10 lbs lost. It seemed to be working faster the first two weeks, but my body adjusted and no matter what you do, 2 lbs a week is great and I am looking at it that way.

First thing I did was buy some very light running shoes, I got ASICS and they are very comfortable. Then I tried to get my mind right spiritually for the change as I am a very sick food addicted glutton, excuse my truth telling. Then I used information from the 70 diets books I have read and owned, which means sort of a low carb, healthy fat, less food volume kind of plan. Then I committed to at least six days of walking 45-60 minutes a day, and we have our hand weights and stretching cords around the house.

Third and last thing is to have occasional one meal or dessert breaks, although my Birthday was an orgy of overeating, and to make it bearable by making it fun. For that I carry my Ipod and sometimes my camera when walking. The other day I was listening to the Superman Theme in John Williams Movie CD and I began to walk with the beat and almost starting flying it was so good, it made me smile. The Ipod helps me sleep, masks my tinnitus. Because I have cool children I have pretty cool music, I am up to 4800 songs not counting Xmas stuff I store on the hard drive. I really love my New Age instrumental stuff. If you have not listens to Wyndam Hill records which is bought by Sony, they have been the home of many single artists like George Winston and some great jazz guitarists. Love Enya,learning to love Yanni, wish people knew me by just one name, but not Donny???!!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

God, Death, and Nitrous Oxide

I suppose there is nowhere that reminds us of our fallen world than the Dentist’s Office. We never want to go there. We have need to keep our teeth clean and to remove tooth decay, and to preserve the God given instruments that cut, grind and masticate our food.

The long, sad saga of R31 continued today. Years ago I had a root canal to save the tooth. Pain returned and I had a second root canal done by a specialist. Next the tooth cracked, and in February I said goodbye to my damaged friend and had it pulled. We enjoyed many steaks, and even my share of beef jerky, good ole R31 and I. Into the craters of that double rooted tooth went Bovine bone material which over the last few months formed new bone surface. Is this cloning? I wonder…..moo!!!!

Today, Dr. Braegger, my friend and Dentist for the last 18 years, placed a titanium implant into said bone surface. I was deeply under the influence of Laughing Gas, so I told his lovely assistant when I returned to this world that it felt like they were driving a mack truck around inside my mouth with all the jerking and torquing and drilling going on.

I never miss an opportunity to experience Nitrous Oxide. Several years ago I noticed that during the experience my brain would seize upon the ultimate answer to all the problems of the universe and I knew when I came to my senses I could write a book and save the world….but I could never grasp just what insight I had when I stopped the gas. I did a bit of Googling and found out what a popular recreational drug this was in previous generations because of the hallucinogenic effects of this gas.

The remarkable part of the experience for me is the level of consciousness I seem to reach. I can hear Dr. Braegger talking, and he is a talker. Today he was describing the cherry mantle he was assembling for his home fireplace. I can respond to commands, like “don’t close your mouth, its full of metal thingies”. But my body and brain are so fogged in, that I am trying to talk to God.

Thank you Lord, this is so relaxing…..give me some insight, let me see your face. And…..please do not think I am being irreverent, I think this is what leaving the body, physical death might feel like. The conscious you begins to feel separate from the body that served you so well, you can’t move, but somehow you know you are going to be safe and secure through this transition to a new dimentsion. Each deep breath takes me deeper into that other world……then I am back, and the Doc is describing the months ahead, before I get a shiny new R31 not human tooth to finish out my life with.

Thank you to my adult life dentists, all whom I appreciate although I don't want to go see you. Thank to Dr. Jimmy Little, Dr.Wayne Atkinson, Dr. Stephen Fetzik, and Dr. Micheal Braegger. I never wanted to come see you, but you repaired the damage, root out the decay, and make my teeth good as new. Thank you Nitrous Oxide for helping me get through the drilling, I am glad you are not legal, I could get hooked on you.
Thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are repairing the damage to my soul, rooting out the decay of my sin, and making me into a new creation, fit for the ages to come.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Breath of God, Aionian Life

Sometimes the presentation of a guest artist stirs us out of our normal level of expectancy and a moment of presence occurs in corporate worship. Today we had a flute/organ duet to a piece called He shall lead His flock.

A sense of the holy filled the room as we listened quietly and reverently. Our congregation generally expresses appreciation by applauding music but I asked them not to and explained how that beatific moment is part of our experience of aionian life, it changes us now, blesses us now, lifts us now, calms us now, creates longing now.

She also played Ashoken Farewell, an inspired creation of recent origin often associated with the Civil War through Ken Burns Historical Documentary series. She played a bass flute, a huge thing that she handled and played beautifully.

An instrument played with breath and relying on vibration of sound to create tonal melody. Its a God thing, and powerful to move our spirit within us.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life is to be lived, not escaped!

A reformation in thought with no dead bodies is desired here, and I see it everywhere. Hundreds of Pastors spend a weekend with Rob Bell and friends, the major premise, We have been preaching the fall from Gen 3 without the goodness of creation echoed in Gen 1-2. The Christian Monist website of Dr. Micheal Jones is sharing his book manuscript about the influence of Platonic Dualism and forms of modern Gnosticism on Evangelicalism that goes back to the father of modern theology Augustine. Jesus tells us He is bringing the Kingdom message here, and we can't wait to go there.

All the beauty of this good creation is ours to enjoy, and walking in love and reconciliation with our neighbors and praying for peace and doing justice and walking humbly before God is our joyful calling. I am fortunate that from the very start, in my first Sunday School Class, as a brand new believer, we studied Romans, using the Book for Teens entitled, "How to be a Christian, without being religious."
It is this creation, this universe, this humanity that is being renewed in the image of God in Christ For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. I will be resurrected bodily for a time/space new creation, so this present creation is to be cared for, ministered to, and enjoyed to the glory of God.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Summer of no TV...well, One TV Evening

I must pause to remember a very special evening, in July of 1969, "When man made a small step and mankind made a huge leap forward" Forty years ago I was the bugler, swimming and canoeing instructor, and camp counselor at Alpine Camp for Boy in Mentone Alabama in the high country of Northwest Alabama, filled with gorges and rivers. The training and orientation, plus two month long sessions, made for 11 weeks of no TV, of daily exercise and lots of walking and hiking. It was a magical summer for me, we would pick mountain blueberries in the afternoon and have a blueberry pie for dinner. We sang, and laughed and helped the boys learn to swim and canoe.

And one evening we all gathered before a black and white TV to see the Moon Landing, it was really a time of national unity and pride, thought the world was beginning to struggle with Vietnam and student unrest, our quiet days of ministry to the youth of our southern families was a great start for me. I had a young camper develop a crush on me during the inter camp dance the first week I was there and so they named me,Big Chief Cradle Robber, at the official Indian naming ceremony. Now that was embarrassing. One of the counselors came that summer with leukemia, he was from one of the prominent families in my church, he went back to Ole Miss and graduated with honors, and we had a camp counselor reunion at his funeral the next year. His brother is today the President of the Seminary I graduated from. Good memories.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How does Christian love hit the road?

Since I began asking myself questions over fifteen years ago when I had the freedom to question the truths of my upbringing and creedal church, one of the major changes in my thinking was in the area of how we are to relate to and view people outside the visible church.

Theologically there are twin truths that seemed to be overlooked in many Christian's practice. Reconciliation is explained by Paul as the message which we are ambassadors of "that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them"...so we entreat you on behalf of God, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God".

This tells me that God in Christ had this change of purpose after the cross and resurrection, and when people accept it they are not somehow triggering it, but accepting that which God had already accomplished. In other words, you are not qualifying or changing your status, you are realizing the status you already have, and that realization begins to change us.

So, our message to sinners is not God may love you, but God does love you, and the sooner you accept that the better your enjoyment of life and your growth in grace will become.

The other truth is adoption, which Baxter Kruger of Perechoresis has helped me see has a wider scope in the new covenant than most allow, that next time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Life, Dream Life, Real Life

Every now and then they make a movie about books and I always love them. I enjoyed The Neverending Story immensely and shared it with others. Of Course there is the Princess Bride which is a story being told to a boy that comes alive.

Inkheart, a more recent movie, accomplished the same magical art of bringing a story into real life and creating for the watcher an appreciation for the literature that marked his or her own childhood, and adulthood.

Most mornings I spend a moment trying to capture the fleeting images that my Melatonin laced brain created during REM sleep, and they are fascinating as they fade quickly from my mind.

Then I face reality, with news of sick people, the rising cacophony of political trench digging that is taking place as the party in power infuriates the party dethroned. And in that reality comes the gospel, a story of God communicating His love through His son, and asking us to take a costly path above the use of power over others, and instead to believe in servant hearted love. One things I am seriously thinking is to declare myself an independent and take my name off the roles of any party. The other is to pray that we won't bite and devour one another in our ideological battles, as Paul warned the parties in the Galatian Controversy.

And, then, I will read a great book,(which includes watching a great movie) and go to bed and have a great dream, and wake up tomorrow and live in the presence of the moment which is reality, hopefully doing the good works my Father planned for me to do.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Dieting Today, A Funny Sequel

Began the day making lunches for the homeless feeding program at Phoenix Rescue Mission with 20+ folks from church, carried 35 cases of badly needed water for them to pass out. Thank you generous saints of SLCC.

A fantastic Chinese Buffet for lunch in which I splurged.

Tonight we laughed out loud the Night at the Museum 2. The first was cute and this one topped it with sight gags, hilarious dialogue, uplifting messages, and a cute love story with the queen of cute, Amy Adams. How this women keeps landing roles that fit her wide eyed cuteness I don't know. Made me want to spend a week in DC and visit the Smithsonian. This movie will be in our library someday.

More culinary excess at On the Border, mahi mahi fish taco, guacamole dip, and for me a rare drink, a margurita. Tomorrow I get back on the program. Now 59, I promise not to sound like a stuffy museam all the time but a living person with new and fresh experiences along with some memories as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How quickly pass the years

My memories are mine, of painful and sublime, of the ordinary and the extraordinary, of the precious and the frivolously spent hours. May my moments oh Lord, continue to be spent in the presence of your abiding love, among those I meet, may I be a welcome fragrance of friendship and not a stinker. Now thats a Hallmark Card.....Not!

I play a game remembering where I was each decades birthday, after all memory is important and needs to be stimulated. Thankfully it is also selective and tends to dredge up the best of times

1999- beginning a building project, Grace Church Queen Creek, very happy time
1989- last summer at Moss Point Presbyterian Church, three young children in a nice small town, Lauras mom is part of our daily life as she works for me at church.
1979- Crystal Springs, young bride, first baby, overwhelmed and underpaid
1969- Camp Counselor Alpine Alabama my first ministry, blew taps every morning, three meals no snacks, the healthiest I have ever been
1959- a happy third grader in Oneonta, New York, riding bikes and playing with my army men in the root systen of a huge oak in front of our home.
As I said, the years are flying by.

I am a minister of a new covenant, based on better promises

There are at least seven tribes in the church, so says Barna's latest book. I have not read it, but I have studied the things we tend to agree upon and the ways we differ. We used to have divisions along the line of liberal/conservative, and of course the denominational identities of our unbringing. I always liked C.S. Lewis who called his book Mere Christianity.

I love the gospel Paul received, and try to explain it and understand it. He is not the curmudgeon many think he is, especially those who believe he is pretty strict on woman's rights. At the core of Pauls Theology is a powerful, broad, sweeping, explanation of just how God is going to bring reconciliation to the Universe, both seen and unseen, and its all wrapped up in the New Man, the risen and living Christ, who gives life that is age enduring, and I am enjoying that life this afternoon as I sip coffee, and head out to a time of fellowship. Listen to Paul's revelation of victory and you can get through the difficulties of this present age with His presence and power. It is all about the power of love and the passion to forgive, and heal, and help. Its about being saved by the faith "OF Christ" His faith, His victory, His inescapable love. I don't know which tribe that puts me in, and it has given me rest for my soul. Savior, like a Shepherd, lead us, much we need thy tender care.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Justin and Stephanie

It was a combination housewarming, wedding celebration for the Storm's and fun was had by all, lots of cameras taking pictures, and I enjoyed watching Joy and Candice get the feel of my Canon Xsi with the 18-55 mm. They took some great pictures and I think I have "flung a cravin" upon them for digital SLR photography somewhere in their future. I was kind of shocked to realize that Melody is a Senior this year and I am going to keep practicing and take some senior personal portraits for her.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Works for me, try it

Three or four years ago, maybe more, I began to use melatonin before sleeping. The story is that we make this stuff naturally and as we age we begin to loose it. I like the minty kind you dissolve sublingually, a fancy word for under the tongue. When it works I know it, because my sleep is deeper and my dreams are awesomely intricate wonders of cinematic scope and power.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Front Yard Landscaping Party

Roger and Sherrian invited us to see the finished product of a paverstone driveway and landscaping. They were also thanking and apologizing to their neighbors for the dust and noise over the weekend. There is hardly a place in their home that has not been remodeled since we met and they tell me this is it, they are finished. We enjoyed chatting and viewing their photos of a recent trip to London and Paris All week long I have been discovering that the rain we enjoyed at our home last week did enormous damage just 1/2 mile south of us throughout the areas south of Riggs Rd. Trees down, roofs damaged, debri everywhere, and just a sprinkle in Queen Creek 8 miles east.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Exercising more, eating less

Exercising more, eating less, or eating better or whatever. When I arrived home from vaca I got back on the wagon like Oprah has. I walk 45 minutes to an hour a day, and am beginning to tone with hand weights. Week three the scale has slowed down maddeningly, but that's OK. I have several routes in my neighborhood, and saw this cactus that had duplicated itself into a colossal colony of cactus. This is not something you see every day, and since I am in a non issue mood in the middle of this hot summer, here it is for your amazement. We had Oprahs Turkey meatball recipe for dinner and wow, good.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fireplace Mantle Project Phase II-content added

Laura suggested we ask which one you like, but I am not changing it again. Instead, play..."How many differences can you spot in this picture?" I always liked that game.
Anyway with a couple of coats of Behr "Heron" we got it back together with some significant changes to help the eye flow through the room, as Melissa says. The Heron was the color on the top left in the sample. The last time we updated our home was when Lauras mother died in 1993. We loved her furniture, but over the years the cats really damaged it, and kids in college affected our spendable income.

Melissas degree in interior design really helped us find this look we like, and we have discovered a two sided tape that really discourages cats from scratching. I have enjoyed seeing Laura pleased with the room, working together to reach a goal with her and our daughter, and...inheriting some of my favorite furniture for my home office , which I always tell her she needs an invitation to enter now.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Dropped Laura off to shop while I made a call, then did my daily walk in this upscale mall. It has been undergoing a renovation and is truly located in the hub of the winter vacation meca of Arizona. Like everywhere business is struggling and many restaurants have closed.

One of the great traditions here is that these Phoenix and Scottsdale hotels offer the locals very low rates in July and August, so we can have a resort experience. We have done it three times, you get 400 dollar a night rooms for 89 or so. One year at the Hilton we checked in late and got a Two Story Casita home for the same rate.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Proud to be a Golfer

The AT&T National won by its sponsor, Tiger Woods, set to honor Tiger's work with disadvantaged youth, to develop life qualities through The First Tee, and heavily reliant on honoring soldiers, especially wounded veterans. I am tearing up, with pride for the game of golf, which has provided for me so many hours of true recreation and kinship with others, has given me one place to allow my competitive spirit to be unleashed. Now, if I could just figure out what has gone wrong with my swing, my consistency, my distance, and just about every other statistic I might be able to finish my course with time on the course.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

Its a quiet day, no compelling desire to get out and party on the 4th or see fireworks. We instead disassembled our fireplace project to start again...the women in my life did not like the baby blue look to the paint. You can see the candidates for replacement colors. Stay tuned to see the finished results.

I am grateful for my life in America. The place and time of my birth were not my own decision. I pray for this country because her greatness was largely related to her goodness, I fear for this country because when she is no longer good, she will be no longer great. Of course, that previous statement is a quote of a visitor to this nation 100 years or so ago, reworked for my sentiments here.

Tonight we will watch the entertainment on the Washington Mall, and I will continue pondering the declarations of spiritual freedom found in Pauls letter to the Galatians. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Soaker for Central Arizona

Before dark, July 3rd, 2009 the Monsoon rain arrived in my neighborhood. Each year, for a few weeks, the humidity inverts and we have a brief rainy season, sometimes its a wimper, sometimes, like this evening a real refreshing soaking rain.

When you get less than 7 inches a year it is special to see and smell the rain. The cat even went out and got soaked.

Enjoy Independence Day, think independently!

I had a post all finished to flesh out one of the low points of my life and ministry and it was written with an honesty that scratched an old wound and made me want to come back from the past and live in the present. All three of the things that occurred continue to occur in the church as she is presently structured. I can only change me, and with God's love I have been changed and while I will continue to reminisce about my life, I just am going to leave those painful memories alone and see the hope and potential that lies in the coming next reformation, at whose leading edges we are living in our very young millennium.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Support Gabe Redding

The Redding Brothers have performed their original music at the Presence International Conference I attended the last two years. Gabriel is the talented drummer and vocalist who obviously enjoys playing. He also is a cyclist who is undertaking a cross country trip to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis. Our daughter is taking a daily shot developed by this research which tricks the disease into attacking the contents of the injection instead of the nerve sheaths. Not a cure, but a delay of damage. This is why we need to fund these causes. Type Gabe Redding or go the the MS WEBSITE to give. He is giving reports on You Tube

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Living Room Project

When we bought the home in 2003 we put new carpet in. It took years to get rid of the mirrored fireplace wall and finally to have a wood mantle with these decorative mirrors, with the new furniture. We do not like the wall color on the fireplace and may improve the placement of the mantle.

Sierra and Thexdar?

My grand kids brought over a borrowed Wii. We played baseball, golf, bowling, and some various shoot em ups. It is a remarkable technology and there is actually some physical movement, but it still feels like we are headed toward WallE world.

I still remember the original Sierra adventure games on my IBM XT. You had worlds to explore and a bunch of problems to solve. And Thexdar was a transforming robot who walked and flew through a maze of levels. Recreation...time away from work and thought to recharge, is a part of the human condition and being young, whether it is the tire rings being pushed with a stick back in the Spanky and our Gang days. I have a few more posts about ministry beginnings, but I needed some recreation, and before we played we actually went to the pool and swam and played in real water with real kids. My granddaughter has absolutely no fear of making new friends, it takes her about three minutes. Remarkable.