Hawaii 2010

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Heaping up of troubles is not apocalyptic warning

I love this beach along the Napali Coastline in Kauai. May get to see it again this summer.

Earthquakes,tornadoes, oil spills, corrupt politicians...surely the end of the world is near!!!!!!!?????

I am sympathetic with the sincere person who concludes that when times are in upheaval it must mean the end is near. Sympathetic but unconvinced. There are physical, natural, human problems in every year of every era of history. They cycle in and out, sometimes cluster, and seem overwhelming, but......most who claim a particular verse of scripture to connect to today's news, are acutually reading someone elses mail. Biblical apocalypse had specific application to bring the Old Covenant to an end...it was the time of the end, not the end times. That is why there are so many apparently embarrassing time limits in scripture. ie. all these things shall happen before this generation passes.

Just pray for victims of disaster, support disaster relief, carry the love of Christ into hard times and hard places, hope those attempting to stop the old slick will succeed. But don't play the "this is the end" game. It really is embarrassing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A new Droid user

Yep, I have been waiting to jump into a greater degree of connectedness. I liked the reviews about the new HTC Incredible so I was in a line of nine to get mine today. I have been saving for a new camera lens, but decided that will all our summer travel it would be nice to find places and locations and stores when we are in strange places. Our kids are message senders and now we will be as well. So, I am in learning mode and loving it.

Fellow parishioners, do not judge me for my love of high tech organizing and connecting tools. The world is really changing, and so will I, a little later and slower, but I am a life long learner. The wedding of Droid and google tools is awesome, the camera will post my travel pics, and I can catch news and weather anywhere.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dying Fridge

Here is a classic kitchen photo from the 70s. Remember those models of Fridge.

We had a newer refrigerator when we bought this house but Laura said the colors was not right so we gave it away. Now almost 7 years later this machine is quitting on us. I guess there is never a great time to replace major appliances but just before vaca is not the ideal time. Anyhow, here comes the stainless steel Whirlpool. Glad to help the recovering economy thank you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Enjoying Pixar Disney's Up tonight

I am hoping to expand the story hearing capacities of my folks with my movie choices.
Movies like Up help children and adults discuss life and death and fear and dreams. A bunch of the ladies are twisting their hubbies arms to come. This is a life affirming film and a love story and a friend story and a dog story, and of course a misquided villian story.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Say it is'nt so, Lorena!

This is the rebuilt practice green at Cottonwood Club, and it came out very nice. I posted a picture when it was being reshaped and expanded last fall.

Women's golf is losing a real class act with the early retirement of Lorena Ochoa. She is a credit to the game, to women athletes, to her country, and to her desire to shift her focus to family and children.

I was always impressed by the way she handled herself on the course whether playing well or poorly, always polite and in control, a great interview after every round, and some terrific competitive golf.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What are you doing to my hair?

Today I returned to a Presbyterian practice for a family spread all over the map who wanted to celebrate this event together. I have baptized many, many babies, and practiced believer's baptism and baptized many young and older adults. When asked, this practice does not violate my conscience, I get both views and embrace the lack of uniformity in baptismal practice because the issues are so similar. It really is an act of faith, a vow to raise a child in the faith, and hope that God will capture the heart of this little girl for His own.

When the children are a little older you never know what kind of reaction you are going to get, and this one was precious. Thanks to Roger B for doing a wonderful job with my Canon Xsi.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Who invented Clapping?

Freedie V is thanking the cooks at our weekend banquet.

Our Choir has a clapping song tommorrow, and we have the classic clapping passage for our final poetry emphasis. Isaiah 55, "all the trees of the field shall clap their hands"....obviously a metaphor, since only Disney trees have hands. Our church is a clapping bunch, always expressing appreciation even when the solemnity of some pieces would invite silence.

Applause in a nearly universal language. And a great percussion and timing instrument.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Banter and conversation, all day long!

My good friend Don B decided to goof on my picture with a funny face, and yes, it was funny.

From 7 am til 8 pm I have been chatting with people I know. A buddy stops by every Friday for coffee and catching up, a car full of golfers pass the time to and from the golf course, a four hour round of golf is not stop commenting, laughing, cursing our bad luck, and discussing every kind of topic under the sun, lunch is more of the same, dinner much more conversation about politics, family, prom nite memories. I am exhausted from all the talking, and I loved every minute of it....for this kind of stuff is what makes relationships interesting and rewarding amd friendship valuable.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

See the USA in my Chevrolet?

Spent half the day looking at this. If my road trip is going to work, the AC on Laura's little Aveo must be fixed, and I must save the gas mileage and not take the Van, as Laura will fly over for a shorter vacation.

I am very pleased that American Cars are regaining market share. There are some fine vehicles around here. I decided to use the dealer for my repair because the price was the same as quoted elsewhere but here they offer a lifetime warranty.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shifting Gears

Three different types of cactus, I love the blooming ocotillo

My life in Sun Lakes revolves around a seven month/five month cycle. Folks who winter here here begin to leave, the heat rises. There is an opportunity for me to read a bit more, and enjoy some time away. Planning for a trip to Hawaii and back to the south are well along. The process of mentally relaxing has put my brain into sluggish mode. No great thoughts, no profound insights, just an inner joy at the beauty of life and the glory of faith.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Curly Sue

Tonight was movie night and about 30 folks gathered to enjoy a movie. I loved the story of Curly Sue, about Bill and his little friend and the way their lives were woven into the life of the wealthy lawyer lady. So many treat homeless people as a nuisance and deny their humanity. This movie illustrated the prejudice they felt, as well as the struggle to provide for themselves and to protect the girl. It was touching.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Its Monday and other thoughts

Is there someplace in a car that programs it to break down when its paid for. Our little Chevy 2004 Aveo has been a fine problem free car. We are down to a payment of two and today I was told the AC compressor was gone, and it's getting hot.

I had lunch with a true evangelist today. born in India, engaging brilliant students at ASU for almost 25 years. His stories of muslim conversions to Christ in Africa where he goes every summer are amazing.

Our church owns a golf cart, which I brought home for the grandkids to enjoy. Shannon is learning to drive and obey the rules of the road for carts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Busy and Joyful Weekend

One of our neighbors returned to building a train set for his grand child. And, wow, it is grand! He even built a 17ft garage to park his four complete trains and a trolley in every evening. What a labor of love and joy he shares with the community.

Sunday Evening Spring Dinner was blessed with Kevin and Rosie F. What talent and heart. They even sang "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" for Laura and I in recognition of our Pascagoula Ms. roots.

When the Grand Kids spend the weekend it is non stop activity from Friday through Sunday, and we love every exhausting moment, the waffle breakfast, the swimming pool water fight, the Disney Movie evening, the joy of them joining me behind to pulpit when we greet one another, and the fact that Benjamin conks out completely when he gets in a moving vehicle. We love it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Memorial to Earl H

Civil War Shells, some hits, some misses.

Earl's fellow musicians paying tribute in song

Gathered today with family and friends to bid goodbye to another Sun Laker. He had a successful career with Xerox, and bunch of great hobbies, like Civil War relic hunting and Bluegrass Music, and a loving wife and family. We met through the weddings of his children and though they are not members of my congregation, I consider them family and my friends as well. Each life is a gift, and we affect more people than we ever realize.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ben's Fifth Birthday Weekend and other thoughts

My 600th post. Almost daily. Laura asks if this is a burden. If it was I would quit. It is the casting of my heart into the vast blogosphere. It is knowing some of my parishioners reading and knowing my thoughts and heart and the normality of my life. It is a daily search for something memorable or significant.

Our Daughters family celebrates all their birthdays at Joe's Real Barbeque. First because it is a free meal for the celebrant, second, this restored old store is a taste of real Gilbert life. Joe, the owner started at Coffee Plantation in Tempe ASU where we used to gather on Sunday Evenings after church. It was one of the first and the most successful coffee shop in the US when it started. Anyway we celebrated Ben's fifth and he triped and hurt his hand while playing. We have them both for the weekend as this is also their 11th anniversary weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Photo Walk in Papago Buttes

I have no idea how the Buttes were formed, but they are weirdly beautiful. As I made the mile walk up to Elliot Picnic Site, I saw a beautiful girl and a photographer descending. She had two outfits and I was left to wander how she changed for the shoot. I shot about 50 pics, I love taking dead trees, and getting airplanes in the shot. It was a quiet and delightful hour

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Death Comes Unexpectedly, and other thoughts


This is a picture of three dear friends who served as groomsman in my wedding. Tommy on the right was killed in a car accident in Miami when he was in his 30s.

Tonights title is the preachers line in Pollyanna when she learns first hand what a fearsome Hell Fire preacher she has in her new home town.

Today one of my members told of her nieces husband, whose body was found on a bike path while he was training. An athlete, in great shape, and a heart surgeon, and unexpected death at 41 years old. I just really struggle with sadness when I hear such a story.

Last evening we enjoyed a viewing of Babe, about a pig with an unprejudiced heart. It is an amazing story in every way. I was so blessed to share it with people who did not grow up with the ability to know how to find good movies. We laughed and felt so inspired by that good pig.

It's the two year anniversary of my second heart attack. For the first time, I am doing all the right things to postpone the third, and yet, knowing what I know about the heart, the Preacher's words could be true of me some day. Now there is a real idea to bring before the Lord to ask that I might walk in freedom from the fear of death, which I absolutely know is one of the truths we are supposed to enjoy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Nest Egg

Spent some time trying to protect The Nest Egg today. It is getting difficult. I remember learning the rule of thirds in college. Money earning interest and reinvesting at 7 percent for seven years will triple. Ha?! I wish.

I am very concerned about the issues related to taxation and funding of the visions of the government. Who is'nt.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes I just can't think about reality

These men are being changed by discipleship, education, and hope.

Laura's Uncle Wade, buried in Lyon France, killed three days after D Day attempting to cross a river to take an occupied city, 10,000 killed in the attempt, a very real memory for our family.

We took our prepared bags of lunch to the Pheonix Rescue Mission again today. I always look forward to seeing ZZTop, the dude with the long beard that will not look us in the eyes as he performs his gatekeeper duties. I see men waiting for lunch, the men in the education and recovery program are refinishing furniture, and for a few moments poverty and desperation are very real.

We splurge for Chinese for lunch, surrounded my people wearing suspenders to hold in their enormous girth, and the reality of our obese nation becomes observable.

I work out in the gym, now an enjoyable part of my life, and know, that no matter how hard or faithfully I work out, my body is aging and will wear out, and the reality of knowing that hits with fresh meaning.

Fox News portrays the dire economic and political disasters on the near horizon in our over taxed, near bankrupt economy and the reality scares me.

Dancing with the Stars comes on and I leave, for the reality of most of America picking up their smart phones to keep their favorite hotty on the show another week makes me a bit sick.

My Confessional Seminary just fired a gifted teacher for saying we must look at what science is showing us about God's creation or we will look like a cult. And the fact that I was molded in that institution is just too real for me today.

Yet.....this is life, and I will wake up tomorrow Lord willing to open my eyes and turn on my brain and face it again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another great Masters and other thoughts

You are looking at a very
happy and thankful man.

The family values guy wins big. Some of the most amazing shots under tournament pressure by lots of guys. Phil puts himself in rarified air with a third win. I still remember when I first moved here Phil won the Tucson open while still a Senior at ASU. I watched him get the trophy on Sunday and Monday I had a very early meeting in Tempe, and I saw him and his coach hitting balls in the practice facility at Karsten Course. I said to myself, that young man is going to win a lot of tournaments with that kind of work ethic. It was so beautiful to have his sweet wife get a long hug. I used to watch them dating at the Phoenix Suns games during that same year. I still hope for Tiger to save his marriage along with his career. I must tell you I thought of the movie "Chariots of Fire" when I see two great athletes who react so differently to winning and losing. Something is still not wired right in Tiger's psyche, and I blame his Dad who robbed him of too much normal life.

Speaking of marriage. I spent time scanning photos today that we had sent to Laura's mom over the years that came back to us after her passing. Also many black and whites from Laura's childhood. Scanning is such a thrill. I feel that these things will survive electronically and on paper.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boy Scouts Thriving in Chandler

Tumbleweed Park is playing host to a Scout Jamboree this weekend. 3000 kids and leaders earning badges, camping and from my camera's view, having a great time. We did Cub Scouts in my middle son's life. Laura was a fine den leader. The Mormon Church uses Scouting in their boys program which almost garauntees and large and successful local and state program.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Old feels new sometimes

Wedding Cake 50mm 1.8 Canon Lenses

I love researching products on the web. It is really changing the way America shops. We enjoyed a couple of years of online Consumer Reports from our daughter. You can ask any question about if a product works and someone will have an answer from personal experience. I already found out the Quietus is a rip off product for tinnitus sufferers, so I did not buy it.

I was looking for a new Canon Lens for my vacation photos, desiring to move up in picture quality and of course pay more. I looked and looked and read some reviews on the lenses I already have and decided that my lenses are fine for now. And I looked at them through new eyes when others said they took vivid pictures.

Today I took the set of irons I used from 1993 through 2003, and they felt new in my hands. Sometimes a change in attitude can make your old stuff feel new, your present stuff enough for your trip. And by golly, if I do buy something new, I am going to make sure others have a high opinion and the value is real.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Masters is magic for me

I love watching the Masters. The grooming and spring beauty of the course, her starry history, the Azaleas and Southern Pines. I know the mental discipline required to putt well, to handle the holes that invite you to risk and reward for the birdie and eagle. For me, a fan, it combines sport and beauty in the most memorable way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Inter-Faith Dialogue

One of the things that is different here in our community is the level of interaction and cooperation we have between Christians and Jews. We sponsor a significat volunteer ministry to the frailest and most home bound of our residents, and we meet regularly to oversee fundraising events.

In recent years we have had some newer pastors who have retreated to a separatist stance more common in other communities. We have had a few tensions with the ending of prayers in Jesus name, the usual things.

I have become weary with the tension in recent years and just thought about backing away from the whole thing until I heard Paul Eppinger speak this week. A retired Baptist preacher, he grasped the importance of our need to demonstrate respect and understanding between all types of religions. His vision for using the Golden Rule as the link that allows us to live in peace and work toward a non violent future was implemented here in Phoenix in some substantial and innovative ways.

Americans really tend not to believe that the power of love can work in any way above the inter-personal. Christian's need to learn to love our neighbors, even those who faith is different.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bubbling the Bride and Groom and other thoughts

Spiritual weariness is not like physical weariness. It is deep and takes time to live through. Easter is over, a spiritual brother on the Internet, Micheal Spencer died in his early 50's. I found my heart heavy and my inspiration waining to continue our Bible Study with a fresh subject. It happens from time to time and I know it will pass and fresh wind will blow.

My connection with Micheal Spencer goes way back to a lady in our church whose father was President of the Bible Institute where Micheal taught in the woods of Kentucky. Having served there 17 years he was itching for another pastorate, and desired to live in a city where he could experience his passion, baseball. I loved his lectures and essays on the web, and his world was expanding through the web following and lectures in summer conferences, and his book is about to be published, when.....a serious brain tumor, an operation that did not get it all, chemo that could not stop the aggressive growth, problems with a paycheck ending and health insurance lapsing, loss of appetite, hospice, and death.

I believe in life after death, in resurrection, but there is this sadness that still comes when a comrade is taken.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Tremor Experienced and other thoughts

I always had a bit of curiosity about what an earthquake would feel like. The mild tremor that hit yesterday afternoon was totally misunderstood. I felt the movement and thought it was me or my heart pounding. I felt dizzy and faint for a moment. It never occurred to me that we would have a shake here in Phoenix. Very interesting.

Just heard that Micheal Spencer died from a Brain tumor. I had been following his writing for over two years. He had a powerful way with words and a desire for the church to quit playing games of all sorts. Rest in Peace, Internet Monk.

Saw a Kiter trying to catch the wind today with his wheeled scooter. Plenty of wind but all over the place. They looked like they were having fun in the attempt.

Our Audio Visual work is done in the Bible study room and will make movies and PowerPoint's easier to use. I agree that they have been way overdone in the church services, but are really enjoyable as a tool to enhance Bible Study.

I got stuck in the middle of the book The Deliverance of God, but am moving again. His point being that we have turned a Pauline diatribe into Paul's gospel and have thus brought some significant false teaching into our defense of the faith. So fully documented that it is a very difficult read, but potentially earth shaking truth.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010

The Hymns were old favorites and beautiful lesser known Easter Hymns, The Brass and Choir were strong, the message was about Paul's sermon in Athens. I realize again how important the hope of life after death is to me and to us all. Now lets get back to living each week in the fullness of that knowledge.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mike and Xochitl

You pronouce it "Sochi". I have a good feeling about this couple whose wedding ceremony I led today in our chapel. Two strong family structures, one religious and caucasian, one hispanic. Many friends, old enough to have found each other when they were ready for commitment. The Wedding was lovely and the reception at Serrano's in Chandler was intimate and joyful. We got to make our own Taco Salads. A super idea. Enjoyed our table fellowship and join many who wish them a great marriage and all their dreams together.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Working Out Has Become A Part of Me

This is yours truly in 1989 in Maui, when I was 39, and excited about the 59 year old me getting back there, Lord willing, this summer. Looks like I was on a diet that summer. Wait??? I am been on a diet my whole adult life. I am a foodaholic.

Today was the beginning of my ninth months of gym membership. Its really quite surprising how much I have enjoyed my three times a week visits to the Health Center. Today I bought some 40 inch pants, down from 44. My weight has gone for 245 to 227. I want to eat healthy because I am working out and have to pay for the over eating with delayed movement on the scales.

I enjoy watching others on the same journey. I have some heros who inspire me each time I am there. Laura joined me during her spring break and it going to keep it up.

My routine contains 15 machines of all sorts, a ten minute warm up walk, and 30 minutes of aerobic work, usually the eliptical, which is my current fav. 75 to 90 minutes, three sets of 12, with increase in weight on each set.

Oh, and everytime I get close to a five lb goal, it becomes excruciatingly slow to lose a pound. I am on all kinds of meds to regulate BP and heart, so it is hard for me to get my pulse real high, and I believe it to be healthier to go long and slow rather than racing my heart way up. My goal is to be at my college weight of 215 by my 60th birthday this July 13th. That 12 lbs in 3 months. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Consummation

I have been studying the concept of the consummation and restoration of the universe. This has been a point made in different ways by both N.T. Wright and Randy Alcorn. Wright calls it, Life after life after death. The results of the lifting of the curse on all creation will be a future physicality in God's creation for our resurrection bodies.

This integrates our present life with the life to come in a very healthy way. This values the universe God created and does not create in our minds some huge Shangrila resort somewhere where we and God hold an eternal church service and hymn sing. It enables us to practice resurrection in this life, with love and truth and beauty.

Alcorn says we are all twisted with a false idea he calls Christoplatonism, which mixes with Biblical teaching to create an idea that spiritual is good and physical is bad. Wright says it is as if Christ’s resurrection was only to prove that life exists, rather than to be the first fruits of the complete victory of God over sin/death.

Alcorn develops our future to involve further exploration, creativity and the enjoyment of creation. This is a difficult concept for those steeped in the dualistic teaching. Heaven is a place separate, removed, pure in a spiritual way, with rectangular walls, not mountains and lakes.

For a long time I thought that way because of Paul’s word, “that which is spiritual is permanent” and the idea of a spiritual body. Lately I have seen the glory and synchronicity of the fleshiness of the ages to come. Not dogmatically, but for the sake of the conversation.

This also creates the real need for an intermediate state, blissful and restful but not yet the consummation. It means we are not teeing off and playing tennis in Club Heaven five seconds after our death. It means we all take those future steps together corporately.

An April Fools Memory

Blogger is still letting me in. It was not an April Fools Joke, but the story is about a doozy of one.

It was 1969 and my best buddy Alex invited me to Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break. It was a magical experience for a teenager. We drove up to Ft. Pierce which had four to five foot waves. I am using Alex's old board struggling to get the hang of catching a wave.

Alex slips off his board and it rides a wave all the way to the beach without him.
He swims over to me and says, "Hey, Don, tread water for a minute while I check out your board", He catches a wave, and leaves me out there, Shouting "April Fools".
He had a bit of a selfish streak.

Later that morning the board came apart and cut my thumb deeply, and we ended up in the emergency room for stiches. I still have the scar.