Hawaii 2010

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Friday, December 31, 2010

A specific New Years wish

Our Christmas Cactus has bloomed.....beautiful. Laura says it has found the right spot near the door for light and just enough cool to bloom.

My wish would be echoed in a quote I read on one of my blogs, the goal of life is to become fully alive. My enjoyment of people, "well, most of them", of music, or uplifting books and truth, of the beauty of creation, of the burden of living in a fallen world, are all growing in the direction of this goal.

May we continue to become what God in Christ desires us to be, His ambassadors of reconciliation in 2011. We face great problems and big issues as humanity goes forward and as God's purposes are revealed. Let's be there for it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Adventurous Pastor????

Both of my sons mentioned in recent conversations that they are risk takers and adventurous and that they got it from me. Don't know if that is so, but as I look back I have taken risks that have worked and risks that have fallen flat.

Brian and Matt are European travelers, something which we desire to do and have not yet done. On his way to France last summer, Brian made a stop over in Iceland. Apparently, they offer cheap travel to boost their own understandably meager visitor lists. He loved swimming in the thermal pools and learned to pronounce the name of the recent volcano.

He also is passing on to the next generation how to use Lego sets creatively. He has been making houses like this since he was old enough to put them together. We put him on the red eye back home to work and school and his NYC life last evening. A great visit.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The In Between Week

Brian connected with high school and NYC friend home to visit family in AZ

Laura with, "the sisters" at dinner

I am taking a few days off to enjoy my son Brian's time in Arizona before he tries to make it back to NYC tonight. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at our new friends home last night, met with the second contractor about our kitchen remodel project today, and then enjoyed a rare cold and rainy day in the desert.

The grand kids are here playing with Brian, and yes, I ordered a Kindle E reader from Amazon today for a last personal gift to Laura and myself. Thanks to Doug for the positive sharing of his experience with the Kindle, and to Sandy for great decorating ideas and dietary directions. This is the time for a new nutritional emphasis in the endless quest for physical well being. It is already well with my soul.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Electronic Books are here to stay, and hard to find

Don't want to surf the web or play games, which the Ipad does so well.

And the Kindle 3 at Bestway is sold out all over town, right after Christmas. No one has restocked. I have been thinking about getting one because they seem to work so well for what they were created to do, reading.

Also because my library has overrun house and office years ago. There is just no space for more books on shelves.

Still pondering.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Listening for the still small voice

These digital piano key weighted keyboards are a great way for your kids to try piano without investing in a half ton of furniture and a huge cost. The sound and features are quite amazing.

I am sure there are as many ways to choose preaching topics as there are preachers. Some go through books systematically, some follow themes, some ride hobby horses, some preach others peoples sermons.

My style for the last several years has been to preach expositionally and thematically. There are texts placed in context, but they are linked by themes that enable me to go a bit more in depth at times.

I also listen for leadings from God, and with the Isaiah passages done, this is a week for thinking about new subjects for the year ahead. I believe there are enough truths related to the gospel of Christ to fill an ocean, and when I quit being excited about it is when I should become a greeter at WalMart. I love looking at how greek words are used throughout the new testament. The nuances and the consistencies all build a case for divine inspiration. I am blessed to be a gospel forthteller.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thinking about movies

Life is a dance of joy.

I spoke this morning about the Frank Capra Movie, It's a Wonderful Life,playing off an excellent post on the worldview of the movie. George Bailey's frustration in reaching his goals masked his understanding of the blessings that surrounded him in his daily duties which seemed to trap him in normalcy. But, by the miracle of the plot, he discovered he truly was living a wonderful life....as are we all!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Family Christmas 2010

Woody is assisting Shannon in getting to know the keyboard.

We must be practicing for next year because nothing happened around here till after noon. Brian flew in from New York and I picked him up at a surprisingly busy airport at 10:30.

All our favorite dishes for dinner, Turkey breast, Shoe Peg Corn Cassarole, Broccilli and Raisin salad, Sweet potato covered with brown sugar, cranberries, yum.

Gifting was fun, the Trottiers now have a nice digital piano keyboard, and of course many toys from relatives.

A day to add to the many memories of a Christ filled holy day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ready for the Feasting

We will have two of three kids, and both grands, and a relaxing day of feasting and present opening, like most familys. One more day of delightful Christmas music of all sorts, from Bing Crosby to Celtic to Manheim Steamroller. The power of music is a gift of God.

Merry Christmas dear friends.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Special Days

All our three and Linda's two and my parents are watching some serious package opening one Christmas in the 80s.

Our son Brian is flying in for five days to enjoy the Holiday with us. My former Brother in Law is escaping New York's winter weather for a visit and wants to play some golf. The gifts are purchased, mostly without my help, but today I bought something I hope will be special for my granddaughter and it was joyful to load it in my car.

May each of you find in the special days before Christmas the fact that the inauguration of the new covenant began with an infant holy, and lowly, who rules the universe and is ruling until all his enemies are under his footstool, working all things according to the might purposes of God.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kitchen Remodel

Not our Kitchen, but the office kitchen and....how many chefs spoil the broth???

We have been thinking and planning for years to update our 1980s Kitchen. Mainly the seperation between cooking and dining nook with a hanging cabinet that blocks conversation, and we often manage to bump our heads against it. New appliances, New counters and cabinets, a more centered sink, and new flooring that will extend across the front of the house and connect all the rooms. So, here we go, bids coming in January.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Board Meeting of 2010

We did not know our friend Reynato would be entering the heavenly realm before we see him again.

We have a rotating three year group of ministry teams that make up our governing board and keep things organized and accountable. A great group of men and women.
We bath all we do in prayer and listening for the Lord's leading. It is an honor to lead those who are servant hearted.

The days ahead will be slowing down and focusing on family, simple worship, some rest and quiet time getting ideas and subjects for the coming year of teaching and serving.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Strings in Church

Our four Sunday's of Advent celebration are very special. We have a brass quintet, the Bell Choir, and today a String Quartet which contains three leaders from the Chandler Symphony Orchestra, including our beloved Conductor. So beautiful, and when joined with Isaiah's four dynamic Emmanuel passages we had a glorious time in the presence of God. We also celebrated the 80th Birthday of our founding pastors wife, who serves among us. Happy Birthday Mary Ellen and thank you loving daughters for the party.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

There never is a line to see Jesus and ask for gifts.

A young married couple being snaped in front of the treee by Grandma, who obviously struggled to get us in the frame.

After a long day I enjoyed a sumptuous evening meal with friends, went to bed early and listened to Christmas music while falling to sleep. While we have noticed a return of a more public recognition of the season withought so much Grinching about it, I still hear many Christians being upset about being dissed or dismissed by some.

Yet as I meditate on the last and greatest Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53, the suffering servant passage, it seems God knew well ahead of time that Christ would not be recieving a warm welcome during His sojourn here. "Despised and rejected of men", Yet "by His stripes we are healed."

We need to recapture the reality of Christmas more deeply than we defend the outward displays of spirit during the holidays, for Jesus clearly knew He would win no popularity contests, yet the enormity of God's sacrificial love drove the event from the beginning, including finding no room in the Inn.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Picture of the Day

Maui sunset off Black Rock at the Sheraton, first night.

Things going on, parties, dinners, but no time to post, so here is some random beauty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I cause disagreements in a quest for answers

These folks agreed when I asked if they wanted to be married.

Sounds like a pretty boastful statement, but in fact a searcher for truth is searching because he is unsure of that which he was taught, and thus, is willing to look at views that others find disagreement with.

Then, unfortunately, when you see some truth and it begins to set you free, and you begin to swim against the streams of popular thought, then others disagree.

There are lots of disagreement over doctrine in the Christian Church, and...I am OK with it. At least we care enough to struggle for answers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

RIP Buddy Wynn

In the clouds at the top of the world, Haleakala Crater, Maui.

Lost a high school buddy who passed away at 59 years old. We played basketball together at Callaway High School and had reconnected on Facebook. We visited with his sister Barbara at my 40th High School three summers ago, which was an inspiration to start this blog.

I always wish they would share cause of death in obits but I understand it may not be my business. We actually learned life guarding at the same neighborhood pool in Jackson MS. He had an active and committed faith and loved his family, life, and work.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Children of the working farm

We got together for a short photo shoot to help these Minnesotan newly weds remember their Arizona honeymoon.

There is something amazing and remarkable about children of a working family farm, with a Christian upbringing. These kids are mature beyond their age, and evidently in love.

I also think that they would desire that they stay in that environment which created a wholesomeness I remember but rarely see in the big city culture where I chose to live and minister.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

69...35.....1 week

Our Wedding Day

Life is a journey, taken one step at a time. Today I comforted a couple who lost their daughter to cancer quite quickly. They were married on Dec. 25th 1941, which will be sixty nine years ago this Christmas. One hour later we... married 35 years ago, 36 this January 18th, sat next to a couple on their honeymoon, all bright eyed and fresh in their journey together. I loved being reminded of young love, and being warmed by the strength of a very long marriage, now enduring the grief of outliving a child.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pet Peeve about truth

One of many Christmas pasts! Loved them all.

I have a pet peeve about some popular ways we live out Christmas truth. It seems that many still live in a relationship with the Old Covenant. As I preach through the prophecies of Isaiah I see tremendous changes promised....but many are more interested in the God who punished His old covenant people for their sins.

We are not in a community that is punished for being out of line, for the line, ie. the law, was hung on the cross. There is still an inevitable sowing and reaping in our moral decisions, but God in Christ is for us, for all of us. Peace on earth is about God understanding we are pretty much hopeless in the perfect obedience department. Christ became God's perfect obedience, and his faith saves us. It's so simple that we simply miss the core of the good news. God loves sinners, sent His Son to save us.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December in the desert

We live in a large and beautiful country with all kinds of topography.

My sisters Judy and Janet live in upstate New York, and Minnesota where the four seasons are different and fierce. Judy told me she loves living near Lake Placid.

I, on the other hand, played outside in shirtsleeves today and loved every minute of my newly revived golf swing. As did my partners from Iowa and Minnesota.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Enjoying modern vocal ensembles

Bring on the band!

The second season sing off the the vocal only groups has been wonderful.So many styles and sounds, all celebrating the human voice, melody, harmony, and creativity.

Thomas Edison invented the first phonograph in 1877, and boy have we come a long way in listening to recorded music, and the digital revolution has enhanced it even more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Amazon is real people

This is a relaxing evening at home with family, taken with ambient light, complete with sheet covered couch because we have cats who scratch furniture.

I bought a 2 dollar album from Amazon, the 99 Most Favorite Christmas Songs, and tried to download it at my local WIFI hot spots and it took forever, and then my time ran out with Amazon so I emailed them and got an answer and help from a real person.... it was nice, although his attempts to help failed. So I own 40 instead of 99.

Last night I went to sleep listening to Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas Album which is outstanding.

At the Gym I fill my 75 minute workout with FM 99.9 Christmas music, and..... all this fills me with thanksgiving that our world has been visiting by its Creator, who took our flesh. It is not a myth to me, and it is quite reasonable in my faith.

Today one of our men in Bible study spoke of discoveries of more stars in the Universe that we had ever estimated, and then read the verse that says God has named each star, and....I believe it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Entrepid Senior Golfers, Faithful leaders

Got too much shadow in our group golf picture this year. We enjoyed the day.
An organized church, even a niche church like ours in a Senior community still needs faithful people to use gifts of service and leadership. We have meetings, gather for worship, serve the needy and poor, minister comfort to the grieving, and we do it together. Leaders take turns moving to the front of the group and lead, then they move to the back of the group and follow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nearing the end of another year

These are Al K's daughter and granddaughter at the memorial banquent. They will be running a snorkeling and diving charter boat on the big Island of Hawaii next year. Thats quite a duo.

Got to sing along with the Hallelujah Chorus last night and heard a talented 4 year old violinist play with skill and some artistic flair.

I am writing from the free wifi at the Gym tonite, after my workout,...Laura will need the WWAN to post grades this evening.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Weekend to Remember

We enjoyed a happy family time with our 11th Birthday girl and her family. Shopping, enjoying special food and cake and ice cream. The gift I gave her broke in 20 minutes, a new record I think.

Lovely new members, our annual Brass Quintet played while the choir sang beautifully, and our annual meeting went well. Much to be thankful for.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rising Mistakage Meter

My grandkids love each other.

Memorial Flowers should be shared as widely as possible, enjoy the beauty.

For some reason, when things get hectic and extra dinners, and events and meetings fill the week, I begin to make mistakes. Today, I went to the gym, and got my car washed on the way.

Turns out I lost my cell phone out of the car when I reached for my wallet at the pay station. Thankfully they found it and I was reconnected when I began back tracking from the gym.

This is Shannon's birthday, so she and her mom and grandmom are on a shopping trip, and will enjoy the rest of the weekend with us, including a Birthday Cupcake feast she requested, Red Velvet Cake. I am told that people are making cupcake wedding cakes instead of traditional ones. The cupcake is an awesome mini treat.

We have a brass quartet playing for services, a double choir, and an evening with the Chandler Symphony that will include a four year old violinist. Cool.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Navy Farewell

Al was laid to rest at the Pheonix National Memorial Cemetery today. What a strong and wonderful family surrounded him and rose up and blessed his love and kindness in their upbringing.

Al's influence on me lies in the fact that many of his adventures and satisfactions in life started after he retired. Total new hobbies, learning to snow ski at 60, a dedication to daily exercise, and a deep appreciation for life.

I am really getting emotional in my old age. I cannot be at this wonderfully maintained property without tearing up for all the veterans who are buried here, all the families paying respect, and for my own Mom and Dad at the Naval Station Cemetery at Pensacola Naval Air station. We live in a great country, may She continue to stand.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A game of inches

We enjoyed our annual Sun Lakes Community Church Golf Outing. It was cold at 8am but ended up shirtsleeve as usual. We all had fun. Congrats to Hank, Joyce, Dennis and Bil for a first place finish.

I am now a student of the Peak Performance online golf instruction school taught by Don the Surgeon Strahan. I am learning his simpler and more back forgiving swing and have had some good results and some very bloody disastrous ones. Its a hard game to play well, ask Tiger.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Joys of Christmas past

The traditions we share with others in our family concerning Christmas become the glue that marks the passing of time, the celebration of life, the reality of faith, and the joy of gifting those we love.

This was a Christmas at Grandma's house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that was very special.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Early Family Christmas

I must have insisted on a Family shot with Grandma and Laura, as you can see, I used a timer and the color was much better. To you, this picture is sharing my past, to me, I can muster in the grey matter the feel, and smell and joy of being a young family. By the way, Laura just reminded me that I called my baby Melissa..Shannon in last nights post....oops! When you push the timer button you try to get in the picture and look natural, and it, never, quite, looks....natural. Fun

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas over the years

In the late seventies, as a young couple with one child, I began my love affair with photography, first with a Yashica viewfinder fixed lens, then I spent a huge 260 for my first SLR, a Ricoh. I loved those days in Crystal Springs, MS.

This pictures shows Grandma and Shannon staring at a tree that I literally cut out of the woods, they were big and ugly, but fun. Notice the orange color of that old film responding the warm lighting.

That manse was a turn of the century shot gun style home with three rooms with 12 ft ceilings on each side of a hallway that was designed to let air flow through the house. We still display the stiched picture on the wall by Lauras grandma and the stockings made by my mom. Chances are the gifts were short lived and long gone.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fervent Hope

I am thankful for my wife who always wants to walk to the edge for a better view.

Isaiah 2 speaks of a day when all the nations will seek the wisdom of God, and end their war faring ways. May we see it in our lifetime, if not, may we fervently hope for the day when it will be true.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pinky postscript

Do not use sharp scissors to open a bottle cap. Here is the instrument of pinky pad removal.

The problem with a damaged pinky is that it takes the damaged pinky to type the letter "P". My typing will be limited until the larger bandage can be exchanged for a regular bandaid. When you loss a portion of skin, it is not good to close the gap with stitches, so the bleeding must be stopped by cauterizing or clotting.

The healing time will be longer as the area builds a new layer of skin, and infection can be a problem.

I was impressed by the routine of the ER from triage to treatment, not fast but effective. The ER was not crowded after the feasting. There was a wounded police officer there that brought a crowd of fellow officers.

We headed back to the gym and they gave an Ipod to one of us in a chance drawing for those who showed up today.

Laura went to the Mall while I visited a friend for lunch. A good day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I shall miss my pinky pad

I used the wrong tool to open some sparkling ale. I snipped off a good chunk of my pinky pad and finger print with sharp scissors. Three hours in the ER to stop the bleeding and put some skin like patch to begin healing. I ate before going, by applying pressure to the wound, showing my priorities were in the right place.

Pause and Reflect Day

With one month left in 2010 I can thankfully agree with the song I just heard at Macy's. "I hope you are having the time of your life". So many special things made life joyful for me. Sharing a large, expansive, compassionate view of God in Christ has been fulfilling. Becoming habitually active physically has brought together body and soul in an energizing and satisfying way. Go out and walk, breath, and move...the quality of life will improve.

I am now in my 60s.....it's just a number, and each day is a gift. Learn something, appreciate something, observe something, think about God and the life to come.

My vacation was super sweet, Oh the things we saw, and the people we enjoyed.

In short, Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Clean desk, Clean life?????

Some folks believe a messy desk is a sign of a dissolute life, or at least poor management skills. For me it is the OCD like collecting of paper that overwhelms the desk. Anyhow, this tiny office is as clean as its been for a while so here is my thinking place, visiting with friends place, counseling place, reading place.

I will post you from the quiet of a Thanksgiving day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pushing the Thanksgiving Button

West facing Kannapali Beach gives a nightly show at sunset worth your trip to see.

I do not think you can just decide to be thankful without being a bit phony. True thankfulness sort of surprises you and fills you. Tonight after the gym we had a sunset that was so remarkable that I stopped to take a picture with the droid and was just overwhelmed with the crisp fall air, the colors of red, orange and blue painted across the western mountains, and I was thankful to be alive to see it.

Laura and I have swapped the first cold of the season this week. Hers first, then I got it. Spending half her time in a elementary school is a recipe for virus reception. For this cold we are not thankful, but miserable, which, however, gives you a good gauge for times when you feel great.

I cleaned my office today, which made me feel great. I hope I can keep it that way for a while. Hope springs eternal.

I am speaking on Psalm 46 for our Thanksgiving eve service. What a great challenge and encouragement to not fear, no matter what is going wrong in the world, trust God.
The latter verse says He makes wars to cease....and I was wondering....could He make the next one, the one that has not yet happened...to cease....and could I help in some way?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Growing up in one day

Gautier MS Presbyterian Church with a tiny congregation, enjoys this new building from the generosity of believers all over the nation after Hurrican Katrina.

I left the carefree days of childhood and became an adult on Nov. 22, 1963. I still played, but there was a loss of innocence, a beginning of realization that the world was broken, on the day President Kennedy was assasinated.

We had driven from our new home in Alabama to the New York Worlds Fair the summer before, and I had bought a souvenir stack of pictures of the Kennedy's in the Oval Office. I felt some kind of connection to them as we all did in those Camelot days.

Later I would read many books on the conspiracy theories, and am still skeptical of the conclusions of the Warren Report. We may never know, and after all these years it may not matter.

Today I played golf since I cannot play this Friday. Years ago a contender at the US Open made headlines by hitting the ball twice while chipping. Today, I kid you not, I had three double hits, something I have never done in my life. It never ceases to amaze me how I can find ways to excalate my score. You could not do it if you tried all day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We Gather Together

Jackson Square, New Orleans, a place to encounter humanity at its strangest.

All I have to do is sing one traditional Thanksgiving hymn and the spirit of the season begins to percolate in my spirit. I really want to be thankful for life, and blessings, and would like to declare a time out from the political vitriol that so dominates our national consciensness.

I know it is naive, but I just wish honest politicians would do the business of government, and honest bankers would make good loans and honest borrowers would make good payments, and honest wall street brokers would honestly handle my money as if it was mine and not theirs. Honestly, I'm not whistling dixie on this, but I must be dreaming?!!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Last Sunday of Common Time

It was a joy to fill my van with Christmas Gift presents from our wonderful folks for delivery all over the world.

Very busy day again in Sun Lakes, The Flea Market and Chapel sale, which had many good volunteers from our congregation. Profits are for the maintenance of the Chapel which we love and try to keep up.

Next week is Advent, and my appreciation for the tradition of the liturgical calendar is increasing as I age. We are creatures of habit and grounding the year in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be the source of our fruitfulness and joy for the rest of the year.

I had fun putting together a Thanksgiving photo montage of the past year to share tomorrow and express my appreciation to God for the ministry of Sun Lakes Community Church.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Dog Learning New Tricks

Just finished my second round under the video and written tutalege of Don Strahan and Peak Performance golf. I had just lost so much consistency that I was ready to try something, and this inexpensive offer really fits my own do it yourself approach to the game of golf.

I love what he teaches about the two central issues of golf, which are the physics involved and the physiology of the human frame and its limitations for this odd thing called a golf swing.

He promised quick results and I am getting them. Especially driving and short irons.
He promised less back strain which is true and wonderful. I have no pain after this round. I have hit more really solid and effective shots than usual.

Main problem I am having is mental. There is a point in this swing where I can hijack myself and become all arms smashing into the ground, which was my old destructive habit.

I made par on the last four difficult holes, eight pars overall, and a spate of suddenly bad putting.....its always something out there misfiring...and I am like a kid with a new toy, an old kid that is.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Heart Hallmark Christmas Movies

This is a Sun Lakes "Chotzki", I have no idea why they put a ceramic donkey on their mailbox, but if it makes them happy and I happy with it, and my grandkids loved it.

I am a total romantic when it comes to sappy Christmas movies. Last week Hallmark showed "The Christmas Card" about a Soldier who visited the town of a women who sent cards to Soldiers and ended up falling in love with her, much to the happiness of her Dad. I will be watching the Hallmark Channel to record some of my other favs to watch when I have time.

Here comes the season, and I am going to enjoy it.