Hawaii 2010

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 a quiet year with a health blip

Georgie's well read Bible on display at her memorial service yesterday.

We had a good year, marked by two heart cath procedures, which led to our decision to stay close to home during Laura's summer vacation. I was able to get back to exercising quickly and enjoyed a four day study leave in San Diego in August.

I have always felt personally helped by observing the seasons and passing of time, for it is the way in which life is experienced, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

2012 is an important year for our world, how can it not be given the present tensions.

Nevertheless, Happy New Year, friends.

Friday, December 30, 2011

In Case of Rapture

I have acquaintace with a respected Christian leader in the area of music who published a book recently about his passion for Bible Prophecy, which he told me he had been studying for fourty years. This year he placed an insert at the end of his book which shared his reasoning and his biblical understand of the math involved, and basically state that he believed that the first stage of the end times, the rapture of the true believers from the earth will take place.....tomorrow, December 31st, 2011.
Not being an expert in these things, but living most of my adult life surrounded by various predictions, I am not holding my breath or spending my wifes inheritance. I did this past month, in light of this knowledge, thank God daily for my life and for His presence over the decades. I am pretty sure I am a true believer, although I will not be presumptuous.
If he was sincerely mistaken, I am OK with that, I still love and respect the brother and know that I myself have gone down some sideroads over the years I had to back out of.
But, I did want to let you know just in case this blog is unmanned, I am sure the crash will leave no one left behind injured, just befuddled.
Happy New Year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Inn is temporarily closed for remodeling

Lots of changes when Shannon turned 12, she will no longer be bunking with Ben. Her newly designed room will feature a 60+ year old dresser, bed, and nightstand that we inherited from Laura's mother.

It leaves us guest roomless, but no matter how many years I done been beggin' and beggin' hardly any of our northern or southern friends comes to visit.

No worries, Laura has plans.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Contemplative Life

I am hearing the call to get away to a quiet place before the New Year begins and listen and renew. I try to do this twice a year, just a day or two. But I am the only person in the office this week and a memorial service is coming. These tensions we all face. I will find the time.

Spending time with a family in grief, walking through a home that is every inch the reflection of the interests and passions of the dear departed wife. An office/hobby room that is organized and efficient. Collections of memorabilia lining shelves, jewelry and clothing no longer awaiting their selection for the day. We Christians believe in hope beyond the grave, but I continue to agree that death is the last enemy. It is deeply difficult to lose a life partner.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GIGO leaves a lasting residue

This is me, dressed in dark clothing, trying to look slender for a photo, and it is not quite working.

Garbage in Garbage Out was a computer concept from the early days of programming I think, and it is also a spiritual truth in the physical and spiritual realm. My body has been treated to many sugary treats, and some second helpings this week, and my body dutifully tries to deal with it, but some calories get packed in the storage zone and now something has to happen to get those guys burned up.

What we put in our minds and hearts leaves a residue of sludge if we think and react poorly as well.

We are not and will not be perfect in this life, but I love the phrase Peterson shared in his book on Psalms, "a long, slow, obedience in the same direction".
Just get back on the right path and keep going.

My messages this January will be developed from the theme, "He knows our weaknesses".
"touched with the feeling our our infirmities" the old KJV put it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Wonderful Day for Family

I amg proud of catching such smiles.

Christmas 2011 was a joy. Great food, gift exchanges, relaxing.

We lost a sweet friend yesterday. Georgie M died from complications of surgery. We are in shock and saddened by our loss. She was so honest and interested in others.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wet Hair and Beautiful, many Christmas's ago.

What I am doing I could not have done when I was a kid. An afternoon present opening an an almost evening Christmas Dinner. I had some eggs at 7, and am snacking of Christmas candy, but waiting for a great meal of Turkey and Dressing.

Enjoy you day and your family.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all

An old Christmas when I had my dog Don-Anna, and Laura's dog Noel.

We enjoyed a fun reunion with our Mississippi friends down in Casa Grande, where we met halfway. After we visited some stores in the Casa Grande Mall and enjoyd the latest Sherlock Holmes adventure. They are so full of surprises and film making uniqueness that we have loved both of them.

Eddie and Jill showed me their new truck camper which I thought was really neat. I live around so many people with two homes or large travel trailers, none of which suit our budget or lifestyle. They have this really cute cabover insert that is amazingly nice and functional with a queen size bed, full bathroom, and full kitchen. I could see myself buying a truck someday and using that to see the USA, Lord willing.

We enjoyed our saturday workout in the gym today and now I am preparing for our church service tomorrow while Laura cooks for our Christmas Dinner. Nourishing Traditions!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Laura begins her two week break

My bride, the Christmas before we married. We have our 37th coming next month.

She's home and we slept a bit later on my day off. Headed to lunch with Eddie and Jill whom we have known since college. God has been good to both of our families and lots of living was enjoyed.

Hawaii has been much on my mind as I join a group wrestling with the management of my timeshare. Someone showed a sales piece I distictly remembered about the advantages of owning versing using hotels to vacation. They said we were "prepaying" and inflation protecting our future vacations. OOOH Yeah. The owners have been assessed a fee for repairing the damaged buildings that would make this summers vacation cost me 1000 dollars a night. The owner was a big contributor to Pres. Obama as a resident of the state. Decisions will have to be made soon as to our reaction to all these issues.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bad Shopper

Here is a better view of the contruction project at the Intel plant. It looks like a five or six story structure so that crane has to be over 40 stories tall.

I have developed over the years an aversion to large malls. I never know when I go if I will enjoy my time there. I think because I have no ability to shop well for others it becomes burdensome to try. Laura knows this and probably wishes I were not like that. I need hints and ideas.

We look forward to seeing some of our college friends who are in Tucson visiting their daughter. We have very few folks we have stayed close to that long and catching up will be great. They live in Jackson, Ms.

May the days leading up to Christmas be filled with His Kingly presence, which began when He was born, declared a King by His Father.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Music Magic

I did not take this picture but it reminds me of Robert Frost's two paths poem and makes me thankful that God led me down the path less traveled, because my life has been forever changed.

Again this year, listening to Christmas music has been not only a blessing but a strengthening experience. My three new albums were great, a classic Amy Grant, Micheal Buble, which is mostly secular but nice. (my kids reminded me that he has a potty mouth in his concerts, which is regretful and not like the great balladeers upon whose shoulders he rests) The last and most wonderful has been Sarah McLaughlin whose harmony voice overs with herself and the songs themselves have enchanted me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Christmas Presents Ever

The Choral Group singing/acting.

A 5 foot sled when we lived in upstate New York. A kid with a sled and a hill is a happy fellow. The sliding dish was a close second. I my opinion neither of them were very directionally controlled and I have a scar to prove it.

When I was 15 I got a small reel to reel tape player, which was my introduction to electronic voice reproduction. I taped all kids of songs and conversations.

Best Christmas Candy I have not seen in a long time. Ribbon Candy peppermint, all looped an waiting to be broken and enjoyed.

Best sleeping arrangment. As the fourth child of middle class folks we never owned a four bedroom home, so I often slept in dining rooms. On Ceperly Dr. I would rearrange the dining room chairs at night so I could watch TV when my parents thought I was asleep.

Best Toy, in Troy, a Fire Truck that you could hook up to a hose. I would spray everything with that toy.

Most used gift. Two used bikes in fourth grade, a classic English Bike with gears and a bell, and an old big framed bike for off road and casual riding.

Funniest memory, family pictures around holidays, including all my sisters in curlers and strange knee length pantie thingys. I still have that picture, check in tomorrow to enjoy that blast from the past.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 in Photos

Horses are a significant part of Arizona History, this guy waits outside the Courthouse for his
rider, long bronzed.

Because I always carry a camera, each month and special event is recorded. It is valuable for me to see all the ways I am allowed to enjoy and serve and see my world. I will share some highlights at our last board meeting this evening.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Balancing Thought

My sister Judy said that there is something worse than an overteched Christmas celebration, it is one in which equally talented kids have to go through a HOLIDAY Celebration in which words have been changed and the message of Christmas silenced for political correct singing....I agree.

We had a lovely Brass Quintent support of choirs and singing today, and we enter into the week before Christmas with a quiet schedule and a thankful heart.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Best of the Best of the Best

Here is an example of the youth preserving something ancient and passed down. I love that.

My grandaughter performed in a youth choir that was part of the Christmas Extravaganza of our largest Christian High School, which was using the 1000 seat sanctuary of a church that began shortly after I moved west. As you know, I kind of dropped out of the contemporary church scene a decade ago, and I was reminded again how much things have changed from the more traditional way we worship.

The church has a black stage, more like a rock concert, with fog,(which I am told makes the cameras focus better). There was singing and dancing and acting and glee like comedy and I knew I was watching the best of the fine arts kids, from full orchestra, to piano, to singing and acting and even a percussion group. There were fast moving slide shows and movie clips on two large screens with teenage cameramen preserving views of the faces, and even snow at the end.

It was all great, and there was all kinds of interest among the kids in serving God with their lives, but......I could not escape the fact that for these kids, serving God is singing and dancing, and high tech lights and computer graphics, and showy, glitzy entertainment.

It made me feel old and obsolete, Laura observed that even the Gospel invitation was so perfect it made her uncomfortable. My daughter says the tuition is quite high, and I wondered about what will happen when all this is old hat. Have we Christianized Glee or has the world Gleefulized the youth of this generation. I feel really bad thinking that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rabbit Ears...Who knew

I was given a lovely small screen LCD TV by a friend this week, just right for an office location. Since we went digital we have only had one cable connection live in our home. I found out the HD channels can be picked up with Rabbit ears, and its true, I had over 40 channels, all the local channels and some nice family time channels as well. I am in business.

On another note, the Intel plant outside our neighborhood is putting some huge new structures in place with one of the largest cranes in the world. I stopped for a picture the other day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Change we can't live with

This chuck of land used to belong to the coastline of Hawaii, but got stranded all alone.

All change is difficult. Risky something for the future, breaking a harmful habit, facing the inevitable decline we feel in aging.

The church is changing, society is changing, culture is changing, I am changing.

Some changes are worth resisting, some cannot be resisted, some should be embraced.

I have an acquaintance that left her marriage and her faith, reached out from traditional beliefs to a broader new age type of spirituality, and found it equally frustating. At this point she is only sure on one this, that she is living and still alive, and still about to live and love and experience the daily reality she faces.

That's enough of an anchor is times of great change.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nuclear Stress Test

The Angel of Healing.

I guess I have had five of these over the last decade. It has been over three years and unfortunately I postponed one before my heart incident in April that might have detected a serious problem. Hence today and tomorrow.

The Stress part requires you to get your heart rate about 136 for over a minute. I reached 150 and kept it there. It is stressful, but being in shape helps alot. Then you lay very still while a picture is being taken by a machine sensitive to the radiation they injected when your heart was racing.

I stopped my meds for four days and was glad to get back on the one that keeps my blood pressure stable.

The result is a picture of your heart veins that shows any blockages and allows a safer intervention.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Streams in the Desert

I tried to capture an ocean fog on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene this August.

My backyard is a big puddle, its still raining, and I enjoy it because it is so rare. I had a chat with a friend who moved back to the northeast a few years ago and she misses our weather so badly she looks out her snowy window and feels like she is a prisoner.

These days are hard on teachers like Laura because the kids do not get to let off energy outside and they must fill the extra time.

Weather is God's business, and it is a marvelous balance of seasonal influence, even in the desert.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rescue Mission Monday

The talented orchestra from Sundays Cantata.

The crew arrives at 8:45, I have been out since 7 am shopping for the supplies needed to makes 250 PB&J sandwiches, with pretzels, cookies, and some candy.

I am teased about my inability to keep the spread inside the bread, and it is true, I am a sloppy jammer.

We drive on a cold rainy mid morning to that side of town that shows the wear and tear of being industrial, and post war. The gatekeeper, the same for the last several years, opens the gate looking like a relic from ZZ Top and has never looked directly at us or spoken to us. His silence holds pain, most probably.

Larry and i switch from delivery boys to consumers as we drive to the Business Costco for items for the church and personal as well. I snag two more cases of Alkaline water in my healing program.

We splurge in every way at a shiny new Oriental buffet, sampling small portions of lots of different things. I overdose on protein. We cannot help but notice the large number of very obese people, for whom we know this is like pure cocaine. It is sad, especially when the seeds of the disease rest in my heart.

A final stop at a huge golf emporium where we hit a few new clubs, convinced that they will help our game, but we leave empty handed.

I hit the gym at 4 for a long walk and stretching, coming back slowly from the miserable cold I suffered and the lost days of exercise. I see a beautiful women on the treadmill, and I desire her, and we speak about dinner plans and a coffee time together, she is my wife, the best part of my wonderful life.

A rainy Monday, in my wonderful life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special Cantata

I hear the Prophet Calling, by Pepper Choplin was a great pleasure to sing for our mutual congregations this morning. Thank you Bob C. for finding it and teaching us to perform this Christmas special.

We had fainters in both services in the choir, it was warm up there with sixty folks on the platform. We are hoping both are OK.

Music prepares the heart for worship.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Shannon and I drove around the lake in the golf cart and stopped for a photo.

It's a beautiful Saturday in Phoenix. I am on that last leg of a cold, last night I slept propped up with pillows so I could breath. Ah, the common cold.

I am looking forward to the presentations of our Cantata tomorrow with over 40 voices and a dozen orchestral instruments. It is a modern rendition by a very talented composer who weaves the Christmas themes old and new together with some great styles and a very meaningful message.

Since we are under a rapture watch, I have been watching a few apocalyptic movies during my sick time. In the film "Knowing",Nick Cage is a widower and a preachers son who finds out the hard way that we live in a predetermined pattern of history.

Lots of biblical images and struggles with science and faith and calamity and a moving sort of angelic rescue to restart humanity elsewhere. It's dramatic and thought provoking.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Heart Health

Vacation blessing and nightmare.

Had a six month check up with my Cardiologist and had a good EKG readings, stable heartbeart, clear lungs and carotids. I have scheduled a Stress Test as all my heart incidents have been asymtamatic, meaning, no warning signs preceding the actual blockage event. It is the only way to see arterial closing and plaque buildup.

I am really working on the attitude of making each day a gift and cherishing life.

We have a major stressor going on with our time share on Kauai, which has been a problem since we bought it 10 plus years ago and is now a major problem. The present management company has decided to pass on 65 million dollars of repairs to the owners. This will push our nightly stay cost way up. What a disaster for so many who actually believed they were purchasing future vacations without inflation. It was a lie, a damned lie and we are trying all legal methods to get rid of this albatross, and are close to some less legal methods. Any ideas out there??

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Tried to teach a Bible study this morning without a voice. It is rare for me to lose the voice, but I was squeeking and raspy today.

Even the youngest navy men and air force recruits who survived Pearl Harbor and approaching 90. Soon the eyewitnesses will be gone and the footage with remain and the books, but when you lose the voices, will we remember how quickly the world can change?

Monday, December 5, 2011

One week of Xooming

The visual, tactile, speedy and convenient Xoom tablet opens up the visible side of the web, and the reading and research are so pleasing. I am just adding useful apps and the wifi hotspot is working very well. The picture and this short first impression was done on the xoom with the Xoom camera.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A full Sunday of Music

The Bell Choir added beauty to our traditional worship with the combined Choir today and the Chandler Symphony played with a Pheonix based Bell Choir this afternoon. One of there best Christmas concerts yet. Another dinner birthday celebration, and Shannon is home with bookoodles of new clothes. Thats a southern word that Laura used today....really....she did.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A cold and rainy Saturday

Shannon resting after a long shopping spree with Mom and Grand Mom. The 2011 Version of our Christmas Tree and the new decorative mirror Laura bought.

Am reading Scot McKnight's book, The King James Gospel revisited and he echos so many of the things I learned from Dallas Willard and others on the reduction of the gospel to a plan of salvation that is private and works like "sin management" software where we get a code label so Jesus can scan us and tell who is in and who is out in a crowd.

The gospel is about a King and a kingdom, rooted in the story of Israel and fulfilled in the story of Jesus, He is the gospel, He is the life, and He is the presence of the kingdom that is here and coming. We are called to follow Him daily, in a costly way that cannot be hidden, and be willing to invest our present lives in things that bring justice, peace and mercy and redound to our life to come.
Good thoughts for Christmas time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shannon's weekend of fun

Acting all Goofy at Disney Land over Halloween.

Shannon, our first grandchild turns 12 on Sunday. She has allowed me to relive my own first daughters fun as an older and more seasoned human being. We have so enjoyed her visits, her talents and maturity and our travels together. She has helped us to be young everywhere we go.

Tomorrow the girls go on a clothes shopping trip while I enjoy Ben.

Today was a beautiful as yesterday was cold and windy and wet. Got to play golf again with my regular Friday friends and enjoyed being outside so much.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

National Memorial Cemetery

Golf today, the group was smaller and the weather was blustery, but we had fun.

I led the burial service for a veteran of WWII and Korea today. There was a live Mariachi band playing at the service nearby, and the honor guard had to fold the flag twice because the first did not pass muster.

This man flew many planes around the world and each time he got close to combat something intervened and he spent time training and writing about air safety for the Air Force. He was healthy into his 90s, and a lovely Christian man who loved his life and his family.

The WWII vets are almost gone, and each time I am emotionally moved with the honor and care shown at the Memorial site.