Hawaii 2010

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sleeping in San Diego

I really love this home in the willow district.

Almost 350 miles this afternoon and I have arrived in El Cajon, a bedroom community of the big city. I will catch some ZZZz and drive to the conference and my other motel on Point Loma Harbor.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The New Covenant, based on better promises

Here is another view of those obelisks outside Mercy Gilbert taken with my new Canon ELPH 300EM

I love the new covenant, it is the gospel of Paul which is the gospel of God in Christ.

Everyone who loves and reads the bible has read every verse of the new covenant....but many, me included, missed it because we were blinded by tradition,or so set in a theological position that any teaching that did not fit, got ignored or twisted.

It stresses God activity on man's behalf, inclusion of all in the plan of ages, God's grace as expressing Himself through love as the highest value.

Find it, believe it, practice it, change with it, enjoy it.

I will be heading to San Diego for a four day seminar, will try to stay in touch, I am leaving time for walking, photography, sitting outside in cool weather, and finding a good fish taco.

Me, on A Diet

Brian and the grand kids always pull out our ginormous box of legos and have a design contest when he visits, here are this years entrants.

I bought a sale copy of the huge educational book by Dr. Oz and associate on how we get fat and what to do about it. Entitled "YOU on a Diet." Very funny illustrations through out that are worth my super discounted price. I am on a search as to how I can get off my present sticking point.

Today will complete two years of total commitment to diet and exercise. I have spent 350 plus or minus hours in the gym, combining aerobic and non aerobic exercise, and my body has really responded, I am shaped differently, and feel wonderful, inspite of the fact that heart attack number 3 intruded on the party.

I am however, stuck, and am on a research quest to get me unstuck as I have 20lbs of belly fat and upper back fat to get rid of. I will share my results and frustrations.

Off to the gym with my fellow sexy senior citizen, Laura.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I am late, like the Congress

This is one of the few perks I still get, and not in many hospitals these days.

Day off, golf with friends, shopping for a needy person. Tired of vilification of those who want our nation to stop spending. Tired of blaming on both sides. Hoping we survive this mess.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Its a small world after all!

I am so sorry I made you think of that song, you will not be able to get it out of your mind the rest of the day.

Laura and I discovered that we both attended the New York World's Fair in 64 the same summer. Walt Disney unveiled a Unicef Pavilion ride, commissioned one of his writers to create the song, moved it to Disneyland where it remains an immensely popular attraction.

I learned when I was growing up, that Dixie, the south is a series of small worlds.
I live in a small world called High School, a small world called College, a small world call Seminary, and then I lived in a small town in the south. Each had their own rules and cultural realities.

Brian just returned to his College World at U of Arizona for a few days. He loved his time there but is glad he moved on. You cannot go back. You can take it forward. He and some fellow students moved to NYC and have managed to survive and thrive. He lives in a different world than I but it's still people, work, cooperation, kindness, with some logical awareness of danger and need of security.

We get to hear about his new life in that melting pot city. Last night at Oregano's he introduced us to Pesto Pizza, which was delicious and delicate in flavor.

As a westerner I will always be a southerner, can't escape your raisings. But I have learned as I have grown, that, it is a small world after-all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thoughts from the Man Cave

Sunrise, sunset,sunrise, sunset....swiftly fall the days, one season following another....

Most evenings this summer I am firmly ensconced in a chair in my man cave, trying not to hear the blare of the absolutely terrible stuff they call summer TV specials. I dislike reality shows with a passion, no offense if you love them. The whole direction of TV just sends me out of the room these days.

I use the time to read and study. Reading the research and thoughts of others who are hardworking and intelligent raised my own level of understanding. In the area of health I am trying to figure out why my body has stopped losing weight. In the area of evangelical health I am trying to figure out what went wrong with the harvest. Its all more fun than "America's God Talent"!

I am finding lots of people who share about why diets fail. The body just does not cooperate in the long run with the stress that calorie restriction gives the system.
That is why yo yo weight gain is such a problem. Interesting stuff because my bodies set point is still twenty pounds higher that I need to be healthwise. It's the kind of quest that makes the time fly by in the mancave.

Then I switch gears and wonder why modern Christianity is so pessimistic about the future when Paul, who was very realistic about how needy we are, was very, very, optimistic about God's plan to rescue and restore humanities hope through Christ.

There is a scene at the end of Titanic after Rose has told her story and drops the emerald into the deep, that she goes to sleep (dies), and is reunited with the masses of people who died so long ago and the love of her life. I think the future is something like what Cameron was showing in that heartwarming conclusion.

I passed by a shopping center on Southern yesterday that was totally dead and deserted, and I remember in my mind when it was vibrant, and I am sad. I pass through the halls of Banner Hospital and remember I was a patient here just a few weeks ago, and I see people crying in the surgery waiting room and think about a future time when all the broken people who died in this hospital will be reunited with their loved ones......and the mancave glows with hope.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post 1100...Before and After

Eggs are my friends.

I love before and after pictures. I am happy for everyone who successfully loses excess weight and regains health, and thankful for everyone in the health industry who is trying to help restore people to active lives.

This week I will mark two years in the gym. 104 weeks of 3-5 weekly visits to walk, stretch, lift weights, and raise my heart rate.

As I mentioned, I am a bit stuck and am trying a new month long experiment to increase my metabolism, returning it to a more normal function. Everything I have already done has moved me us some notches in that direction.

So a FB friend says today he lost 30 lbs since May by drinking something with his coffee, and I think, what a waste of time all this work has been. All I needed was a packet of ***** and the fat would melt off my body.....I think I need a before and after picture on that one. For me, there has been no easy fix and no magic formula and no melting away of anything. I am through with quick fixes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Researching Life

This is an interesting sculpture/water feature outside Mercy Gilbert Hospital, the birds love it but fly away before I can catch them perched atop the stones.

I love research. I am a researcher. I notice all the time that people around me are fine just living and not knowing what went wrong or what could go better. I need answers.

The problem with Christianity, I have concluded from my research, is that we are not preaching and living the radical gospel of the New Covenant and the Apostle Paul. So I am researching and testing methods of recovery.

The problem with my health, my bodies reaction to food, exercise, rest, metabolic syndrome, ie(diabetes) is another subject for my personal research.

Because I am searching......researching, and examining and reexamining, I tend to be open to new ideas and those who espouse them. This is the nature of research. You listen, you evaluate, you test.

Since I have been moving both my belief system and my bodily health systems in the direction of healthy change, I am slowly getting healthier, and that is good.

Last night I encountered a researcher with a different idea about losing excess fat.
I read it, thought about it, and I am about to test his research on a willing subject. ME.....for if you have no guinea pig, no lab rat, how are you going to know if it works. More about this later.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


ANOTHER DAY OF LIVIN' Good ole St. Joseph watching over his hospital which the Catholics dropped recently for the manner in which the doctors were trying to save lives. Go figure?

For some reason I have been listening to alot of music from the 70's. It was a good decade for me, finishing college, getting a master's degree, become a Mr. with a Mrs., having a child or three.

In the paper today, two pages of people left this earth and the obituaries tell their story.

In Norway, some crazy man decided to take 100 peoples precious lives and turn himself in when the law arrived. Tragic for whatever twisted reasons he had.

I sell a product, an idea, that has come on hard times. The product is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is becoming a hard sell in our culture and around the world. Why? Could it be that we have added or subtracted from the meaning of the good news till it does not even sound like good news to people?

So, while I enjoy every day of living, I burn with a desire to see the true good news flourishing around the world, as I believe it is destined to do.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Health Talk

The Zumba Class is rocking to the beat of loud music.

I am gratified that my daughter and her husband have gone paleo/primal in their approach to eating. For those who are unaware of the word, it means eating natural foods and moderating carbohydrates that cause quick insulin surges that lead to health problems.

I feel so good eating this way, and know it will help my heart. I am about to celebrate two years in the gym. I worked up to it by walking for quite a number of months. This is now part of my lifestyle that I value for its benefits.

Every week I see people coming in with morbid obesity getting started, and I like the fact that our rec center is all ages, all shapes, all fitness levels.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bible Study Thoughts

Shannon and Charlotte built a huge tent home in Grandma Fran's living room this week.

The Pharisees were very upset with Jesus for healing a man's hand on the Sabbath, and thus breaking the fourth commandment, so they met together to plot his murder, thus breaking the commandment not to kill....does this make any sense to you?

I have enjoyed sitting each week with some of the resident's at a local retirement home discussing the Book of Matthew.

I am building a little trip excitement for a study seminar in San Diego. I am going to hang with the Nazarene pastors at Point Loma University to study for four days...and to breath ocean air, and stare at the ocean, and eat a fish taco or two.

The "Grand" life

Fisheye Ben and Fisheye Shannon. My grands are heading back to school next week. Ben to first and Shannon to sixth. They are the reason, among others, that I want to remain a fleshly resident of planet earth and not pass to the next realm, yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Embracing Old Technology

Being left handed presents special challenges to the penmanship issue as you are pushing your hand over the area you just inked, so you have to go slow and be careful.

Several years ago I began signing cards and notes with a fountain pen. It took several tries before I found one I liked. They feel so smooth and personal when you move them across paper. I enjoy the process of filling the ink from the well, and coaxing it back into service after it has sat for a bit.

The Web

Here is the beginning of the dust storm that engulfed the east valley and the airport this week. This is why I keep my camera in my man bag.

I have embraced the world wide web. It enables me to say hello to a friend in Africa, know my family knows I am still here, and as a source of information has been nothing less than miraculous.

However, as I stared at an empty building that used to be a Border's Books I felt some sense of remorse, and I hear the warnings of those like Josh McDowell who said that you cannot protect your young people from thoughts and ideas that can damage. They would never go to the bookstore and buy a book by an atheist, but they can read tomes of anti theistic writing on the web for free at any time.

There is, of course, a double edge to that argument. You can also have access to ideas that can set you free, and shift paradigms for the good. So, I continue to applaud this new way of connecting.

The tool can be used for good or evil, once again its a matter of the heart

Books will not die, even if they are increasingly electronically transmitted. It will be hard to have your work published and printed unfortunately, but I believe we have not seen the new ways that conversations and studies will be made available yet.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eating Out

This is a wall decoration at BLD.

Tried many new restaurants on my Birthday week. Enjoyed Oregeno's even with a 30 minute wait on a Wednesday evening. Great Salad, great thin crust pizza. Enjoyed BLD in the same complex, short for breakfast, lunch,dinner....duh! Great salad.
Enjoyed Linn's Chinese buffet, no I did not overdo it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Son and Dust Storm fly into town

Brian is home for his vacation. We enjoy having him and learn of his activities in NYC, which included being in crown scenes for Men in Black III this week. Cool.

A fairly good sized dust storm hampered traffic around the rush hour today. pictures coming.

Laura goes back to work

Her staycation is over. Don't you love the freedom we have to create words. A vacation in which we went nowhere....a staycation. Sort of the Carmageddon in LA freeway lingo.

Its bittersweet for us, because her career is important to her, and us. It keeps her young. But there is this growing realization with every passing year that, contrary to public opinion, first graders are not sweet. They can be loud, selfish, obnoxious, and unruly. But....as I said yesterday in church, life is a process of growing, and Laura gives these kids love, structure, and the foundations of language and writing that will change there lives forever, and this is important...and trying work. You go girl!!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Tiny Camera

I have given my trusty Canon 590s to Shannon. Goal is HD video with good pictures as well. Giving up an eye piece, gaining in smaller size.

The new toy is the Canon 300 ELPH HS, and I am on a learning curve as this mornings video was jumpy and shut itself off after a minute.

Happy Birthday present to me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Angels and Saints on Thomas Rd.

Today I visited folks in Scottsdale and Phoenix hospitals. In fact, Thomas Rd has a passle of hospitals. Scottsdale Healthcare, Arizona Heart Hospital, The Phoenix Childrens Hospital, and St Josephs/Barrows.

The Renaissance

Sailing and snorkeling on a trip from Maui to Lanai.

Some of our church family live in a luxury apartment complex in Sun Lakes. The commons area was designed to look and feel like a small town, and there are beautiful decorated sitting rooms, gaming rooms, library.

The meals are all served by young waiters, and are elegant. Last evening our date night was with three other couples there. It is always a delight and the food is fine.

It is known here as the home of those who need some care but not at all like a nursing home. Many residents are well into their 80s and 90s.

Good conversation always, and our host was pretty sure that the lifestyle their working life created may not be available for us and our kids and grandkids if things do not improve. Sad but prophetic perhaps.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day Off??

Stand up paddle boarding is the most recent addition to my bucket list.

My friend Don, who knew better, joked that I got my sermon mailed to me by Fedex every Friday. Others tease pastors with the time worn comment..."you only work one hour a week".

For many decades I have bucked the traditional trend of pastors taking monday off. It never worked for me. Things came up on Sunday that needed to be set in motion, people needed to be seen who were absent for illness, and all my friends were back at work.

Fridays is a great day to relax a bit. Your studies have set the direction for your weekend, you can find people leaving work early for a round of golf, but Friday is never as crowed as Saturday.

Saturday, I am home but my mind is in full creative mode. We have rarely gone out on Saturdays, but again, Friday is date night. I am always on call for hospital visits, seven days a week. But I enjoy the Friday break.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pictures are important

At Gil's memorial service, as with many others, the family puts together a photo montage of events in a loved ones life. For those of us who met toward the end, it really helps us to fill in the blanks, to see the vivid moments of family gatherings, dinners, cruised, hobbies.

I enjoy looking so much and while I look, I photograph the pictures....a picture of the pictures, and I keep making memories of my own.

I feel so honored to pay tribute to a life well lived. It inspires, gives hope, reminds us of the good we all experience.

All this picture collecting and music storing is maxing out my hard drive so I am temporarily unable to share something from today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time and memory play tricks on us

A birthday reminds you of how many 365 day blocks of time have passed. The mind feels both the age passed and the memories of a million moments of life.

My life is full of rich reflections, joyful experiences, comfort during sadness, and so many daily joys that I cannot stop sensing the reality of a wonderful life.

We are vulnerable to the rising problems beyond our control, finite in our powers, and limited in our lifespan, but today, it's all good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where's the dust mop, Honey?

Dean and Mary Jane caught this amazing photo during our recent Haboob???

I plan to work a bit, golf a bit, and eat out a bit on my Birthday today.
Thanks for all the well wishes, notes, cards and connections.

Yeah Walmart

Maui, 1988 standing in front a Kochski infested home in Lahaina.

Attention Walmart shoppers, As we were leaving the Phoenix Rescue Mission yesterday my eyes were struck by the look of the Hope Coach Van. It had a list of its services on the windows, including what I thought was cute, "Hope Totes"...toiletry kits passed out to the homeless so they can keep clean when they find water.

Apparently Walmart sponsored the purchase of a brand new van because the old and unadorned van was parked next to it. Way to go Walmart.

Tommorrow is my 61st Birthday. I am amazed that I am still here given my decade long struggle with the reality that is heart disease and diabetes.

I am a baby boomer, part of that vast procreative movement of husbands and wives after WWII. We are a huge bunch of selfish people who believe the world revolves around us and for which business and government are supposedly gearing up to handle, given that the rise in sheer numbers of people will necesitate more services.

Given our state of government brokeness, somthing has to give in the area of discounted and free services.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Famous Dave's in the House

Last night we enjoyed our summer patriotic family dinner. The BBQ was exceptional, the singing, talking and laughing reminds us that we are a family of believers. Butch really knows how to set a table.

The occasional feast fools the body into knowing you are not starving it, and it actually helps you lose weight in the long run.....that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Famous Dave's in the House

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One year ago I saw birds close up

The twice daily trip to Ship Island Ms is something we never did when we lived there. It was a total blast. Being followed by popcorn guzzling seagulls and large brown pelicans the whole way, seeing a huge civil war fort that never fired a shot, knowing that when they damned up the rivers for power in the 30s that the gulf islands stopped growing are started shrinking. Most amazing fact, during Hurricane Katrina the wall of water that hit the coast went completely over the walls of the fort.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday is for errands

A deserted day at Ke'e Beach, the end of the road above Princeville, Kauai.

The end arrived for my parishioner this morning. It was peaceful and his last week was without much pain.

I am still hoping to delay the grim reaper through diet and exercise and prayer. I have used my invisible shoes twice for workouts and found out there are unused muscles around arch and toes that need to be built up.

A year or so ago I got up early to walk the beach in Mexico and the pain in my feet from neurophathy was so bad I grieved that I might not be able to go barefoot again, so this is a vast improvement for me.

Thinking about the passing of Betty Ford. I saw the Ford's up close at a speech stop in Jackson, Ms during his term in office. I liked them both, and poor Gerald was a real target too often.

Did a paint repair job, bought groceries for a shut in, a back up hard drive to save
my ailing laptop. Now the message for tomorrow takes center stage in the oven of my heart and mind, hoping it will come out tasting done and nourishing the folks in church.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hospice reality

Every one has there own sunset.

Most people have a handful of times when they are in the room with dying friends or relatives. I have a lifetime of such experiences. It is always sobering to watch death approach. Observe the life sustaining systems shutting down, the appetite, alertness, breathing disruptions.

There are humane measures which make dying easier. Pain meds help people sleep and relax. Nurses help people move and keep the dying clean.

It is very solemn and very real, and it tests your faith that this tent is not all there is. Angels do not fill the room, at least any I can see. I rarely hear a last profound word, which was all the rage for Christians for centuries.

They die, they pass away, they enter rest. And I see them, and remember them, and thank God that I can number my own days, and so get a heart of wisdom.

The End of an Era

Watching the last shuttle launch brought back the memory of the Challenger explosion in 86. I was on the road traveling from Jackson to the Mississippi gulf coast. I stopped at my former church in Crystal Springs to watch the moment of disaster, but for the rest of my trip I relied on radio alone.....and found out how powerful the mind can be to fill in the gaps of the spoken word.

The radio generation did not miss out, they actually had the opportunity to create images in their mind, and it can be very dramatic. I will never forget that day, especially because so many children were watching America's teacher in space.

Life contains idealism, and realism, and if we are not careful, both can lead to cynicism. My life with NASA was filled with so much that was great about our desire to explore the solar system.

We must in our Christian life keep the balance between God's ideal picture of how life can be, with the struggles and brokenness and accidents and injuries of actually reality. If not we can become cynical about faith.

The day we walked on the moon, I was an idealist camp counselor sitting with a group of campers on a porch watching the event. The reality of a life of ministry contained many times of discouragement and struggle and loss. I thank God I am still hopeful, and only occasionally cynical about life and faith.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Have you seen anyone wearing Vibram glove shoes? They are kind of odd but they allow people to exercise naturally with the sensation of being barefoot and the protection from sharp object. They are expensive. So, I bought a kit and made a pair of "Invisible Shoes", which are vibram soles tied with laces. So I am going to try barefooting. I will let you know. It is way beyond flipflops. People are running marathons in these things.

What is my favorite thing to eat as a luxury when dieting? Ice Cream.

I bought the Scrabble game for my Kindle, and, just like everyone testified. It cheats!

When the game is close and it has a big tile like J,X, or Q, it will invent a word. This happen even though the game tells you your word in not in the dictionary. Makes me madder than heck. The funniest one yet is the word "blowlily"!!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dust in the Wind

"All we are is dust in the wind". I have the best of Kansas on my ipod, "Carry on my wayward son, there'll be rest when you are done." Great songs and some deep spiritual insights from that group.

We had a huge dust storm come by as the sun set last evening leaving moments of very low visibility and lots of residue on the porch.

This goes on the list of things they do not tell you about until you move here, like monsoon humidity instead of dry heat, and jumping cactus, and scorpion infestations.
I love this state, really, I do.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mall Walking Practice

Since the Rec center was closed, I spent 2 hours at Arizona Mills Shopping mall exercising yesterday. It is a large rectangle that can be walked in 18 to 20 minutes plus or minus weaving in and out of strollers and teens who insist on walking side by side down the walkway.

On this holiday weekend I saw Arizona normies out in force of every ethnic background, physical stature, size, and dress. Tall Muslim women with flowing robes, wheelchair bound people with disabilities, a huge slice of the hoi poloi. (people in mass).

I tried to see these people as Jesus saw the needy crowds during his ministry. I tried to simply love and accept the diversity of clothing styles, body shapes, and jewelry or tattoo adornments without judgement or condescension.

As a believer, I am not of them in a sense, but I am an ambassador to them, not trying to instantly demand that their culture fit and conform to mine. Could I see the real people behind the clothing and ornaments. Which is what missionaries have been taught to do since Christ came.

The sad tale of the English missionaries stopping the Hawaiians from being themselves and forcing them to dress and act like proper Englishman is one of the low points of evangelical history. And its a mistake that keeps many young people from entering the doors of a church everyday. There is a pharisee in me, and I need to tell him he is not in control of my eyes and the compassion needed to reach another alienated generation.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cultural and generational diversity

One of the greatest things about being American is our diversity. It is a constant over geography and aging that we are surrounded by folks whose experience and ways of thinking are different than ours, and yet we bend and flex with toleration and patience to a great degree.

I mentioned a popular song from the 40s we heard, which was amusing and our first time to hear it, and the vast majority of my older Americans knew the song well. It brought back memories of the decade of WWII, when I was only an idea in my folks future.

Our birthday dictates our experience, and limitations and the way we see passing fads and realities. You are shaped by what you experience. They had bell bottom trousers to express service and separation, I had bell bottom trousers to express rebellion and freedom. Its odd and wonderful.

Each time we spend a few hours in New Orleans and feel the way of life for that coastal French influenced city, we realize how people are stamped by their environment. I love it, and I love my diverse country and her freedoms of expression and life.

I love the places I have lived and the decades I have lived in them, for each has put its stamp on my own experience of life and freedom.

And, of course, I love the idea that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He can roll with whatever reason we where bell bottom trousers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

118 Degrees is hot

A year ago we headed back to the south for 10 days, which always included a visit to Aunt Jenny's Catfish House in Ocean Springs. This photo is from a few years ago but it still makes my mouth water.

We are really steaming here with the heat and rising humidity.

Happy America's Declaration Day to you, in hot and cool climates.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Shall Be My Witnesses

Marge C celebrated her 90th Birthday and her fun loving family inserted and lit 90 candles. What a conflagration!

The best witness we can give a non Christian is respect and considerate love. The truth is that probably very few Christians engage in aggressive evangelism on a day to day basis.

The other truth is that those who do probably need to back off. Paul and the first century evangelists were very aggressive and under commission to get the gospel to the ends of the known world in that generation. Paul says they actually did accomplish the task.

Today, in a gospel saturated culture, we should rely more on Paul's admonition to always be ready to give a reason for the hope within. Don't be pushy or rude, let people inquire. I do not want to be evangelized by Mormons, nor live under the cultural demands of Muslim religion. I want the freedom to practice my faith, and the respect to allow others to practice there faith or lack of faith as long as no one is being harmed.

God is on the case, of people you would harm if you pushed them. Relax, do justly, act mercifully and walk humbly with the Lord.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Laptop Woes

One of those generic images loaded into computers, makes me want to sing, "sittin by the dock of the bay, wastin time".

My HP/Compaq froze up last week and is in the diagnostic care of my tec savy son in law.

I am using the wifi at Superstition Mall waiting for my wife to come get me after turning in her ailing vehicle to the Auto shop.

Sheesh, everything breaks down. It's called the law of entropy, and God knows about it and is slowly doing something about it.

I am using the laptop of my friend Jack, who entrusted it to me to spiff it up and make it user friendly. He bought it from a friend who upgraded.

I find some people need laptops and some can take or leave them. I love the mobility of the technology.

Enjoy you holiday weekend fellow Americans, we love you fellow Canadians.