Hawaii 2010

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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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A damaging love affair with Carbs

Of course I am going to eat the donuts at Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans.

I am reading Elizabeth's Hasselback's book on her experience with Celiac's Disease, a hereditary inability to digest gluten that has very damaging side effects and intense pain. Very interesting book and related to the weight loss wars I have been involved in unsuccessfully for the last four decades.

Low Carb, High Protein diets vs. Complex Carb dominate diets, verses balances of both. What I know for sure, for me....is that my activity level is very high for my age, and my weight loss has been encouraging over the long haul.

However, I am stuck, very stuck, two lbs up and down stuck. Over Eaters Anonymous stuck. Why can't I get the scale going down stuck. So stuck I feel like going to China Buffet and hurting myself in despair.

I know my problem. High Carb foods make me happy....and hungry. I do not feel good when overdoing Carbs, sort of a semi celiac reaction. And I need to change my diet to get unstuck. But...breaking up is so hard to do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What a day brings

Ladies Bible Study allows me to visit some great ladies, people bringing Christmas Gift Shoe boxes all morning, studying for Bible Study, finishing two bulletins, having lunch with a great new friend.

I had to cross the east valley to see my optician for glasses repair and adjustment.
On the way home I stopped at the Costco just off the 60 East. The parking lot was filled as usual, thousands were filling carts with electronics, clothing, food, you name it and they got it. Many, many, many, did I say many Senior citizens buying and eating and browsing.

The sales volume at Costco has to be huge. I saw lots I wanted, but left with some berry ice cream. I also shamelessly took my shoes off and had a foot and back massage with the Roley ball machines.

I guess you could call this a mini-vacation. Then off to the Gym, and evening Bible Study where we talked about the judgments of God being in line with the character of God. A busy day, a blessed day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November is payback for August

They closed a lovely tunnel connecting our community in a debate over liability and repairs. Boo, Hiss!
Oakwood has a new fountain, very nice?

Ideal weather in the mid 70s, sunlight, perfect weather for walking, golfing, and taking rides in the golf cart, as these pictures show.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Classical Gas Evening

Daniel T played for our November Dinner. He has been playing classical guitar since he was 7 and at 18 has a talent that has placed him high in competition. He really desires to use his gift for the Lord and we so enjoyed his music, his pleasent demeanor and his parents. He played popular, Christian and classical pieces with a mastery that was impressive. Thank you Daniel.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

God has given us everything we need for Godliness

This is a blow hole near glass beach in Kauai, breathing in and spewing out with the waves whether you are watching or not.

It has been fun to spend some weeks on the topic of exercising ourselves in Godliness. Transformation follows God's free gift of salvation. It has great benifits in this and the next life Paul says.

Peter uses the word three times in 2nd Peter 1. We have everything we need in the knowledge of Him to become partakers of the divine nature. What an awesome thought!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Paying respect at the Grave

Uncle Wade and family. Thank you for giving your life to win WWII. That is Wade with sisters Allene and Mary, Laura's mom, as beautiful as Laura is.

This has been a week to think about those who died. My missionary friend, our war dead. Today Brian sent pictures and brochures from his summer trip to France. He stayed mostly in Paris but made a day trip to the National Cemetery in Lyon. He found and photographed the marker of Ltn. Wade Horn, Laura's Uncle, who died on November 10, 1944 in the siege that followed Normandy.

Having a descendant at the gravesite for the first time in 64 years was special to us. Thank you Brian for doing this for mom.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Odds and Ends in my Thursday Thoughts

My friends who live and play in Sun Lakes put on one of the most thorough, dignified, and well executed Memorial Day services I have ever experienced. We involve high school honor guards, decorated veterans and veterans wives groups, local pastors, representatives of all branches, special music, the whole patriotic shebang. Very well done.

I am going to try a new swing coach...online teaching with Don Strahan and Peak Performance Golf. I have been hitting my irons so poorly for so long that I am willing to give this swing change a serious effort, it is simple, body friendly, and I hope will get me near the greens in a more consistent fashion.

We had a lovely long meal at the Keg with our friends last night. That is one classy restaurant where the service and ambiance are complimented by great steaks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Does God know the exact moment of my death?

Sunset at Black Rock, Kannapali Beach, Maui.

This question came up in the discussion at Men's Bible Study this morning. My answer was.....of course, being omnicient gives God a look ahead. That being said, it really would have no affect on me unless He were to whisper the day in my ear.

What that means to me, is that we can and should try to extend our lifespan if we are able, with healthy eating, exercise, stress management, efforts to have a safe home and drive carefully, etc. We can therefore say that we will live longer if we quit smoking or stop reckless living. We could still have an unpreventable accident or a sudden heart attack or stroke and be gone in an instant, to our surprise but not to God's.

Tonight we are having a special dining experience, and I will be more focused on taste, enjoyment and living...than eating carefully.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Will someone tell you if I died?

This is me being a youth leader in his late forties, during VBS. It is hard to sing and strum at the same time.

I was a little upset that my missionary friend died on August 26th and I did not know it until November 8th. We send our monthly support to a Mission Organization in Pennsylvania that acts as a clearinghouse for funds going overseas and to many independent missionaries, helping with tax accounting, transfers from one type of currency to another, etc, for a small fee.

I called the director of Renato's division and he said he heard of his death that very week from an American friend, but had to go online to get obituary information which by Sept. 5th when they had the ceremony, did not make the September receipt's.

I felt better, but I really wonder if I leave suddenly, (which is possible as I do about 45 minutes of aerobics five days a week, would Laura know how to get on my laptop and into my face book and log onto this blog and let you know? Probably not, as least until she had time and emotions to call in my cyber son-in-law.

We always say going quickly is a blessing, but I kind of hope I have a chance to say I love you and good bye and see you in heaven.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rest in Peace, my Philipino Brother

The Phone rang today, it was Pastor Del Mundo's wife telling me he had died suddenly of a stroke and aneuyrism at the yearly conference of his fellowship.

He was 47 years old and had spent his whole career in youth ministry, the director of Student Missionary Outreach on the Island of Negro, he and his family lived above the Ministry home. Renato came to the States to visit family and graduates about every other year, and stayed in my home several times. We had great fellowship in Christ. I always marveled that he would travel with almost no money and trust God to provide travel funds along the way.

His death came as a complete surprise given his young age. It took a while for his wife to get notice to us as He kept the ministry records on his laptop. He died at the end of August. I will miss his love of theology, young people, and his people and country. He turned down large pastorates to continue his youth work for what for us is a shockingly low salary. God bless his wife who is taking over the directorship and his talented sons who will make him pround.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Love Never Fails

An arrangement of I Cor. 13, piano by Jim Brickman and vocals by Amy Sky. Check it out on YouTube, it is very beautiful. Jan R signed it in Church this morning.

The Sun Lakes Woman's Association had their annual sale of other peoples junk becoming someones treasure. Stuff everywhere.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cruising the Hood

We were going to swim at Halley Pool....we must have missed the memo on the pool redo. We stopped to take pictures here and there. The grand kids love riding and driving the golf cart.

Preaching on Godliness as a "manner of life" tomorrow....so different from the religiousity that Jesus opposed in the scribes and pharisees, so different from the sin lists so many enforce, instead, it is a list of engaging qualities. Faith, patience, love, endurance. Paul then tells Timothy that such a lifestyle will bring persecution, and I mostly say, Bring it on.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lost and Found

I asked the Cat where my stuff was and he said...nothing!

I have a hard time keeping track of small things. I have been unable to find my digital recorder and my back up hard drive for my photos for over three months. When I leave things around Laura cleans up and puts things away and forgets where she put them. It does not help that I have two offices, one in the home and one on campus at work. It does not help that I am a bit of a hoarder of books and papers. It does not help that no amount of organizational advice helps me for very long. Please do not mock me for this weakness if you don't have it.

Yesterday, after looking in the same drawer for the fourth time I found them under some paper. I am very thankful but wish I could stop this bad habit.

In their absence, I have forgotten how to use both of them and must relearn. Is'nt aging fun?! The grandkids are coming for the weekend, now that will be fun. I brought the golf cart we keep at the office to enjoy the fall weather and drive around the neighborhood.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fear of Muslims

A Maui Sunset, God's good evening gift.

Dr. Zassar came to speak to our interfaith group. The following week he was on The Factor with Bill OReilly, who was impressed and apparently said he should be on Obama's Cabinet. Dr. Zassar desires the Muslim world of which he is a part to come into the 20th Century and give up their insistence of converting every place they live to Sharia Law, which he contended is not the orginal heart of Islam. He believes they must seperate Mosque and State.

Most of the conversations I hear is the conclusion that they won't, can't, or have no desire to stop their violent colonization of the west. I continue to hold the hope that Christians will realize the unique role they play in this tension, and pursue the way of peace. I really hope that we can learn from the past and find a better way than mutually assured destruction.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just Doing It

I love the line from a cute movie "Curly Sue" about a father and daughter eating at a buffet. "When we get a chance to fill the hump, we fill it". That is what happens to me when I go to an all you can eat buffet.

As I began month fifteen of gym membership I asked the person who checks us in electronically how many times I had come to the gym. I was pleasantly surprised that at day 300 of the year I had worked out 150 times, an every other day average. Four O'clock in the afternoon may not be right for many, but it has worked with my schedule. Even today, when my will power was down, I knew that if I just got out
the door and started walking I would feel better, and I did. I use the forty minutes of aerobics to think, to relax, to reflect on the day. The stretching and weights are very rewarding. I am hoping my heart is responding with strength and healing and health.

I am glad the election is over and pray the mandate is heard and we become more fiscally responsible and free enterprise encouraging.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls Day

Many were killed when this stone cathedral in San Jaun Capistrano collapsed during mass....bad doctrine and the traditions of men have done untold damage to people seeking to know and serve the Lord.

I was reading Richhard Beck's interesting article on the traditions behind all souls day in RC festival days. A crack in the earth caused a man to overhear the demons in purgatory fearing the prayers of the saints in springing people from torment, so we pray for our dead who died with sin still clinging to them. Gifts and offerings and prayer can shorten their time in purgatory.

Sounds like a good money maker to me.

I no longer believe in eternal torment the way some do, I no longer believe the scripture teaches it. I am an ambassador of reconciliation,sharing as Paul did that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting their sin against them, he has committed the ministry of reconciliation to us, in which we urge people to be reconciled to God. For me, God's love in Christ is inescapable. I am not listening to cracks in the earth for the groaning of sinners in purgatory.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Concert Observations and Celebrations

As a Halloween Encore they came out as Brookes and Dunn and Reba and sang one of their songs...fun.

Our ears are still ringing, the throbbing drum beats vibrated our bodies. This crossover country is loud. Lady Antebellum had as many as five guitars going at times. Yet for one song they all took acoustic instruments and played classical country with great beauty.

The Country Music crowd is disciplined, multigenerational, in love with the words, and likes to move with the music. Some of the songs were deeply moving and so well orchestrated that you were lifted emotionally in your feelings of joy.

The success of Country music is the song writing and melodies, combined with developed talent. These three young people are good, trust me on this. They can play and sing with the best.

Comerica Theater sells popcorn for $11.50, drinks for $10, water and cokes for $5 It seats 6,000 at its most expanded and it was pretty full. As a Christian there is a bit of built in guilt about something this...."wordly". But as I watch, talk with people nearby, watch people trying to take photos in the dark...me included...I think, this is just good clean fun, very pleasant entertainment, and we had a blast.