Hawaii 2010

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finding the joy of staying put

One of my favorite staying put pics from ten years ago. We did all the landscaping for our backyard pool and loved being there on a hot Saturday after the chores were done.

I tried to get Laura interested in a short trip, and she really wants to just stay put. So I am settling down to the idea of future trips, and happy enjoying the heat of Arizona.

I have been reading about barefoot running, so last night I went to the gym in flip flops....big mistake, the walking and elliptical time created bruises and blisters between my toes and I am limping around today. Dumb, I know.

Some things you can seem to count on. Right before Laura heads back to school her car starts breaking down. We take it in tomorrow.

Laura watched Glen Beck's final hour today. I may watch it later. I struggled with two things in his approach. First, a conspiratorial view of history. If indeed history is being written by a handful of liberal billionaires then a cupboard full of groceries is not going to save us. Second, the knowledge that Mormonism was an apocalyptic movement, started by a man who believed he was ushering in the final days and a new world. Both Mormons and Left Behind Christians are always certain the curtain is about to fall.

If it all plays out as Beck teaches, He will have been a true prophetic voice for our time. I will continue praying, and hope you will invite me to dinner when the store shelves are all empty and their is rioting in the streets.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Rest of the Story

Hyatt Regency Kauai, one year ago this week. SIGH!!!! It's 108 outside.

So, lauching into year 45 of my spiritual journey, I am two weeks from my 61st Birthday. I am reminded of something Paul Harvey often said on his beloved broadcast. "There is no self government without self discipline".

We are reaping around the world the fruits of our selfish "please take care of me" desires. Greece is turning to violence as they face economic austerity. Can America stop sucking the teet of big government? Can individuals take responsibility for our personal lives, work lives, family lives? I hope so.

I always repeat another quote that I do not know the source of. "First you pay the price, then you enjoy the price." As someone living with a pretty serious case of heart disease, I no longer have the luxury of postponing efforts to eat and exercise in a healthy manner. As I have stopped consuming empty foods, my blood sugar levels have stabilized, and most amazingly, I wake up eager to eat right another day, because the hunger pangs that come with empty foods have subsided. I paid a price to leave the comfort foods out of my diet, and now I am enjoying seeing the weight drop off....(painfully slowly, I add out of a desire for candor). Now I am beginning to enjoy the price I paid.

At the end of July I celebrate two years of a commitment to regular weight lifting and aerobic exercise. It takes some self discipline to get out the door to the fitness facility three to five times a week. But as I have paid the price, I am enjoying the price.

I am not bragging, I am basically a bit lazy, as we all can be at heart. God in His grace has helped me to help myself by adding self discipline to my pizza loving life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blooming in the Heat of the desert

Here is a slighty heavier version of me hangin with the Guavas!!!!

So, the years of my Christian life are now divided. 22 years in the south, and 22 years in the desert southwest. Yesterday I visited with a leader while he worked around our property, studied, spent an hour with a man who just found out he is dying, and met a woman whose friend asked me to check on her that had no food in her home except oatmeal. She has a severely broken ankle and was just released from rehab into a new place. I went shopping to enable her to eat.

This day, this anniversary is a microcosm of my life. I eat, move, love my wife, think about God, plan things with his people, and help whomever crosses my path each day, and it is a good life, a wonderful life.

In Pheonix, a city I love, I have had some dissapointments, but I have reached maturity, broken with a lot of shibboleths of my younger life, and felt a freedom that is real. My health has been an increasingly serious issue, and I am doing all I can to heal my heart and body. Like the man I met today, someday I will see my own end approaching, and I am thankful that there are no regrets.

So, I drink my morning coffee, and head off to see what will happen today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When I was whistling Dixie

Is this sign supposed to be cute? Is it designed to bring sinner to repentance?
It reminds me of the South and it's subtle legalism and game playing.

Gladys W took me around to meet her friends in the little Mississippi town where we began our married and pastoral life. She was so excited, and she said, “I want you to my our meet new little pastor”. I am not kidding all 6ft 210 lbs of me I consider the next period of my life under the title, When I was whistling Dixie.

There was something strange about these small towns and tidy little church buildings with little pastors. Somehow, sometime, compromises had been made, and Christianity had become little, just a small part of small town life. I did not enjoy it, and it caused some problems which were bad and ultimately good. The good part is raising a family and preaching and being a pastor in the expected way, including getting to fish and play golf again.

It was so spiritually barren for me that I tried to escape, and we went through a very dark period of spiritual and financial testing. This led us to small town number two, which was much the same except I made some changes in my own approach and attitude that bore good fruit.

There were so many good things outnumbering the bad that I thank God for my final years in Dixie, yet I wanted out. I was only a transplanted southerner, and so I made an exit in December of 1989.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

When the Rose was in Bloom

I am constantly amazed at the coincidence of my ordination date, for it was exactly nine years after my conversion date. June 27, 1976.

Those nine years in the infancy and maturity of my faith were lovely. Dating Christian girls, attending a Christian College, preparing for my calling in a Christian Seminary,being involved in youth ministry, serving in my first church, finding a fine believing wife.

Previous to all this I was a rarely churched believer. My folks had no real regular church attendance, so my experience with church was limited and the types of believers I hung around with in college, seminary and ministry were highly dedicated and motivated. I think this type of experience may have set me up for the struggles of the next phase of my walk with Christ, which I call "the little pastor phase", check back tommorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Christian Anniversary

Each year toward the end of June I think about the beginnings of my walk with God. Something real and deep occurred late one evening on the 27th of June 1967, that makes 44 years in the faith.

I am the same person, but lots of water has gone under the bridge of life. No matter what things are going on in my life there is this constant unshakable belief that God called me into fellowship with Him, and the I did not deserve it, but have been aware of His presence and thankful for His gentle guidance and patience through all these years.

It feels as though I have had a lot of freedom to make my own decisions and lots of acceptance to my own unique sets of strengths and weaknesses. I am able to see the mistakes I have made in the context of "a long slow obedience in the same direction", as Peterson puts it.

I absolutely do not feel special in any way, but blessed in every way. Since I hang around with a lots of friends older than I am, I really have a desire to keep on trucking and make some more anniversaries. My times are in His hand, and that is enough for me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Restocking used items?

A Pastor is always surrounded by food, mostly festive and sugar laden.

We bought a waffle maker at Walmart, brought it home, opened it, and noticed little flakes on the grill, which were, upon examination, pieces of waffle, and furthermore, some other stains on the bottom.

Would Walmart repackage a piece of returned merchandise and sell it as new?????

We returned it, and will buy somewhere else, it was too weird for us.

Waffles are a treat for the grandkids.

I was borderline obese

Always jabbering, with thicker neck a few years ago.

Obesity is a sobering word. We went to Walmart last night where the world shops and saw how widespread (pardon the pun) the problem is, especially among the young.

I think the highest I have ever weighed as a 6footer with a stocky (as in livestock), build is 260 lbs. This morning I weighed 220 lb. Lots of that weight is now muscle as the result of almost two years of regular weight lifting. (I enjoy showing the rips in my calve muscles) but I am not going to post them online unless I get accused of being a Wiener???!!!

Even with the exercise losing weight has been difficult for me. I am not a good calorie counter, I do not enjoy feeling hungry and deprived. That is why I am so excited about primal eating. It goes against the AMA but totally agrees with all the studies about reversing heart disease.

Here's the beef- drastic reduction in processed foods, very little or nothing white (you knew that was coming), ie. potatoes, pasta, rice, bread. Substitution of lots of healthy fats like real sinfully filling butter and eggs, meat and chicken and fish, and lots and lots of healthy veggies, salads, and fruits and nuts. See Mark's Daily Apple online for more info.

I am never hungry, I am losing weight, my blood sugar is constantly at non diabetic levels, I am feeling and sleeping great. My pants don't fit but I am not going to restock until I lose another 15 lbs. I am not bragging here, just grateful to have found a path, though not without pain and self denial, that has such tangible rewards for the struggle.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

God Bless America

This is a Hotel store in Kauai, full of expensive things. Everytime I see those glass sculptures I am sure I must have one....until I look at the price tag and realize it is for some very rich person with money to waste.

I picked up a factoid I am presently pondering. In modern history, there was not that large a gap between rich and poor until the 1800s. Everyone was basically eaking out a living with farming, and very small business, not a lot of multi millionaires around.

In the last 200 years many many people have had money and time and advantages far beyond most in human history. I am thinking this includes most Americans middle class or above. We have more luxuries, toys, spendable income, than centuries and centuries of people who loved God, worked hard, lived and died with very little extra income.

As we face the bursting of this bubble if things don't change, I wonder if we will be able to settle for less, simplify our lives?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bucket List Checkmark

One year ago today we drove the road to Hana in Maui, it was everything we had imagined for scenery and foliage.

The first day of summer here in Phoenix was stifling hot, and I spent the afternoon out in it going from hospital visit to doctor's office and errands.

Monday, June 20, 2011

San Clemente, CA we love you

My friends Stephen and Michale are looking at rentals in San Clemente for a son's graduation from boot camp in the fall at Camp Pendleton. I told her we stumbled onto the town one year and loved it so much we came back four years in a row. Long well maintained beaches with great parking,(if you have the quarters), and a great downtown shopping and eating place, near San Jaun Capistrano, an hour above San Diego.

Everyone goes down to the pier at night to watch the sunset, I love the Coast Liner trains sipping up and down. I am told they even built Johnny Wiesmuller a public pool to swim and train in when he was the original TV Tarzan. Cool place.

The U.S. Open

For many years I attended a Presbyterian General Assembly on the annual week of the U.S. Open Golf Tourney. I remember watching Hale Irwin win one year, and this weekend he was watching his son play as a talented amateur.

The traditions of golf include honor and fairplay and the inner test of mental strength that this sport requires, and the young man who won seems to epitomize all that is good about the game.

God must see things a bit this way, as generations follow one another and fathers teach sons how to play, as rules stay the same when fashions and equipment change. The proud father hugs the winning son and says, well done.

I want that from my heavenly Father one day, about the game of life.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Laptop Woes

I just purchased a replacement power cord for my Compaq because the old one was not making contact, so I was pleased to have a constant power source when all of a sudden without warning it stops completing the boot process. Frustration.

The great news about God is that He is endlessly fascinating, deeply relational, and enormously loving. So ends Dr. Lambs book entitled God Behaving Badly. It was an enjoyable read.

The good news about vacations is that you can rekindle the memory by looking at your photos. Sunday in Maui was a relaxed breakfast in Lahaina, a craft fair under the big Banyan Tree, and a ride to the beaches north of Kaanapali to see Hawaiian families off work and enjoying their own beaches with family.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Father

My Father waa a doer, not a talker. Most of my memories involve me helping him do something in the basement or around the house or yard.

I always was amazed that he could lay on the floor watching TV on his side with his arm supporting his head. I would go numb trying that move.

He worked hard to support us, moved when and where he must to keep working. He had some work dissapointments and financial struggles and tried to keep us out of them.

He was gone alot in later years traveling as a salesman, but we forged a close relationship in his last two decades. I am grateful that a man who had no parents to raise him was my father.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This was my Father's Day gift a year ago, and boy have I given it a workout. Its my goto lens on the camera all the time for everyday shooting.

Most Churches will be emphasizing Father's Day on Sunday, and how beautifully it fits with Trinity Sunday and the beginning of normal time.

God was in Christ is the truth that sets me free. The Angry Father image is gone and the loving Father image is strong.

Travel Anniversary

We left for Hawaii a year ago today. Usual bad start by going to the right terminal and thinking it was the wrong terminal and leaving and then returning. We have a long term problem with the signage at Sky Harbor, but it also reflects lack of attention to details.

Returning to Maui after two decades was so interesting. Things we remembered and yet so much time had passed. This is the Sheraton Maui, same location but completely torn down and rebuilt, including the mandatory massive pool structure. I already have a hankering to return to paradise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Memories of Technology

History Channel had a special on gadgets that changed the world. I was thinking of my favorites and why. First, a small portable FM radio with an earplug that kept me in touch when I lived at Camp Alpine for Boys in 69.

My first portable cassette player. Cassetes replaced records beginning in 83, and I began to walk with this cool toy attached to my belt with stereo, cool.

My first IBM XT, a generic model with a very cool keyboard, brains on floppy disk, no hard drive, but it opened the world for me in 84. Spell Check was my lifeline to typing from then on.

My first laptop was a Compaq in got for work in 97. I loved it.

My Ipod is now three years old, and rates way up there for making my exercise and relaxation easy and delightful. Over 6000 songs of all types. Of course my digital camera ranks right up there.

Yep, got to add my mobilephone which the show agreed has changed the way we live.

Summer Reading

Laura is using her time off to read. Trying some noted newer novelists, and always a crime drama from Ann Rule. We talk a lot about issues raised and I am always in and out of my Kindle collection.

I got the complete works of George McDonald for 2 dollars, over 50 novels. McDonald made a living writing and lecturing after being booted out of the church for believing and teaching that God is Love. He had a huge family and a fascinating life which included terrible bouts of illness which forced him to summer outside of Ireland and England. His biography is tremendous.

I was an OK student, remembered things and made decent grades, but my real education has been the last fourty years when I made reading a priority. The old saying was, reading makes the full man. I have learned so much about life, health, scripture, the world, my hobbies, by listening to those who are farther along or completely dedicated to a subject.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One year on Flickr

The red bars above this text are a gateway to my Flickr photos, which I started a year ago. I have some of my sets there in the hope that friends and families can enjoy them when they have some time. Check it out. Click the red bar on top.

Saddened today at the closing of some Marie Callendars Restaurants. It is quite a landmark eatery around these parts. I am not a regular their, usually once or twice a a year, but it had good food and great pie.

Happy today that my gym friend Julie still has her summer home in Greer. We watch all our fires with some anxiety and concern.

I drove to the Phx Rescue Mission with sandwich lunches today. So many contrasts in the 60 mile round trip. The Indian Reservation, Lower Buckey's Industrial area, our downtown. We are welcoming the Southern Baptist Convention this week and they are getting some hot June weather.

Behavior is taught

Little Ben did not want to ride in the golf cart driven my his mom. Why not Ben, she asked, I drive you all the time in the car? In the car I have my seat belt, he replied.

I was raised in a culture with no seat belts. To this day my wife has to remind me to buckle up. For us, it seems, well optional, or an imposition. For Ben, whose parents trained him from the beginning, it is totally necessary. No movement of the vehicle until we are safely belted in.

This little vignette from life shows me that human behavior can change. A generation of smokers were warned of the dangers of smoking, and yes, people still smoke, but far less, and with more public disapprobation.

Nutritional consciousness has risen with education. My folks never discussed why we ate the foods we ate, they were just learned behaviors for their folks, but I guess my point is, when we learn better ways and teach them, it becomes natural for our kids to do the right thing. In Christ we are shown the ultimate better way.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

God Behaving Badly

Sunrise over Shipwrech Cove, Poipu Beach, Kauai, almost one year ago.

I have been reflecting upon the issues raised in Dr. Lamb's book on the Old Testament. We have raised in this decade a batch of atheists who indict God and say He is unworthy of our worship because He sanctioned so much violence in the Bible.

They miss the point, sadly, because God is bringing the story forward, he is developing a people, and then launching a new thing in Jesus, which should make us thankful that we are no longer in an obsolete covenant. If you fail to see the progressive revelation of Christ you have already twisted the message, and you are behaving badly.

Christians, unfortunately, behave badly when they treat unbelievers as inferior people, for they are the very ones we are called to practice our new life upon. Isreal was judged for pride and separation. When we are separated for God, we reenter the broken world with love and kindness and compassion....at least we are supposed to. Some Christians are living in the old covenant are surely as the muslims are living in sharia law.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Joy of Cooking

We are beginning to dust off the cookbooks and do some things to make our life full of variety, some old favs, and some new things from my Nourishing Traditions Cookbook. We got some nice zuchini from a friends and I marinated slices in a homemade recipe that was so good.

Living in the moment with grandkids over, saturday chores, and good wife and a good life. I am blessed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You know you are getting old when......

You have some gift money to spend and you buy TV Ears and CoQ10 at Costco.

The TV Ears come highly recommended from my other hearing impaired friends. I am not techniqally hearing impaired but it seems to help the distraction of tinnitus. It also allows you to watch TV after spouse is sleeping.

The heart therapy is that new liquid CoQ10.....there was a salesman there, and I thought I would give it a try. The cholesterol lowering meds do a number on this stuff, I am told, and heart health is enhanced with this new delivery method.

Bothered by Politization of words

I once was a kid, I was the shortest person in my family. I grew up to be the tallest. God loves kids, but he knows we have to grow up and live like adults, and have children of our own.

One of the concepts I am teaching in my ministry is the truth of progressive revelation. God lets people in on His plan at the right time for them. God, in fact, expects humanity to progress, to mature. When I was a child I spoke as a child and thought as a child, ect. We should be making progress as a people, and as nations learning to live together without resorting to violence.

I am bothered that the word progressive is being used as a bad word by conservatives.
Ew, that man is a progressive! I am telling you that God is a progressive, he sent Jesus to tell us to learn to live in the spirit, not the flesh. He hopes we will find better solutions to the problems facing mankind than lex talionis, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eating Primally

My new Cardiac Physician checked me out today and set me free for six months. Insofar as it is possible I am attempting to eat and move and live a lifestyle of heart recovery.

I am following the theory that the problem for diabetic related heart problems is inflammation as a result of insulin sensitivity and insulin overproduction to deal with glucose. There are tomes of evidence that the strict control of carbohydrate intake is the best chance for stopping and or reversing my genetic and whatever else is causing my arteries to clog.

The natural foods I am eating are filling. I will always love bread, but I have not missed it as much as I thought I would, and yes, there are still times when I eat Wasa Bread, or Wheat Crackers, or an occasional sandwich, but it is just a small part of my daily planning.

Breakfast, an omelet with turkey bits and cheese, Lunch, a salad with homemade dressing, and some lowfat cottage cheese with pineapple bits, yummy. Dinner, Chicken breast in wine with mushrooms and white cheese, some leftover salad, and quinoa, my new high protein rice substitute. Hard to call this suffering??

I may get hit by a bus, or develop cancer, but this is something I can responsibly do to help me be a good steward of the time I have left in this body. If the big one hits my heart, I will not regret this effort.

I love the people I am connecting with in the Primal/Paleo side of eating. I enjoy the crowds at my gym of people of all ages moving, stretching, and lifting. I am kind of encouraged that a fine group of teenagers are working out regularly. Mark Sisson or Marks Daily Apple, and the Primal Blueprint have helped me a bunch, and my new educational cookbook by Sally Fallon is named Nourishing Traditions. Yum.

Life is Challenging

I learned that the Giant Sequoia's only live at a certain band of altitude, they trive in the heights.

No matter where you live, you will be surrounded by people facing changes and challenges. My life has returned to normal after a serious life threatening heart problem. I sat with a man yesterday who has been handling severe back pain for almost a year that has changed the quality of his life.

Another man has a wife who no longer knows him and tries to escape him in public. I have a friend at the gym whose beautiful mountain home is being threatened by Arizonas high country wildfire.

Life is sweet and life is tough, and if I understand Paul’s gospel, it has a purpose in our lives because we are God’s project. We are hammered on an anvil that is pleasant and painful, for an ongoing restoration project in which our character is more important than the present tent of our habitation, and the stuff that surrounds us.

Our response and our endurance bear fruit unto the ages. We suffer a little while and find comfort to keep on keeping on until we cross the river. There is nothing wrong with hoping and praying that each situation will improve, that loss with be avoided, but there is nothing ultimately tragic if those events change us and lead us to become those who overcome their trials with faith.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vacation withdrawal

Now that it is June I find myself longing for some out of town scenery. We made a personal commitment to remodel instead of travel this summer. I am totally with that decision, and the joy of our new eating space is deep and satisfying.

It does not however, extinguish my desire to hear the ocean crash the shore, to see what kind of stores occupy the downtown of a new place. Until this desire passes, I shall look at pictures of old vacations, create some staycations around town.

If I had the resources, I would visit Dixie again, see my sisters up in Minnesota and New York, wet my toes in San Diego, and find someplace cool enough for a jacket.

How can I top this view of town called Hanalei.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Recovering the aionian Gospel of God

God did behave badly in the Old Covenant. People were judged. Uzzah incurred God's anger in the rather innocent act of stabilizing the ark as it was being returned to Israel. To the modern Atheist this indicts God and makes Him unworthy or worship.

If you see God speaking through the ages, then the harshness of the Old Covenant helps you understand the power and glory of the New Covenant. You also see that Uzzah will live again. Yes, there is a sense in which he was the victim of a series of violations of God's desire for the symbol of His presence and blessing. the incident unnerved David and he sent the ark away, where it resumed its power to bless.

Now we know that God has the power to bless and curse, and more than that, the power to bring blessing out of curse, and to reverse the curse in his own good time. I grasp the ultimate victory of God, and can rejoice in His jealousy for His own name and fame, for it will be ours as well when He totally destroys the work of the evil one.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Last summer we encountered the crew of Pirates IV setting up camp at Hanalei, Kauai at the ball field of the Lutheran School. Scores of white trucks passing by were quite exciting. We were eager to see how the island would play a backdrop in the adventure we have enjoyed.

We recognized the beautiful interior shots, but of course the play of real and fantasy is what made this series so fascinating. You could never tell when Jack was improvising with great luck, or just was a genius who planned so many moves ahead that he always comes out on top.

The absence of the beloved characters from the early movies made this effort seem worn out, but the mermaid theme, the Christian Character, and the incredible scenery still created a spectacle. So many people find work in a major movie, all over the world. Of Course we waited through the credits for the teaser that opens the possibility for lover's revenge. A fun night out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I graduated from Belhaven College in Jackson, Ms in June of 1972. Hard to realize that I will have a 40 year reunion next year. It’s a small Presbyterian College that is now a University. My four years there were great and foundational to my life in so many ways.

Today I led as Bible Study at Ocotillo Village Retirement Home, and the lady next to me graduated from Belhaven in the 30s. Small world. She knew President Gillespie, and his son who was Dr. Gillespie, my roommates father in law.

It was a woman’s college until the early 60’s, some of my spiritual mentors were in the early men’s classes. I had the privilege of teaching there as an adjunct professor for two years after my ordination.

Each time I am back in Dixie I drive through the campus with a sense of gratitude for the education and the fun I had there.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sharing Pictures is a blessing

Today our Church Directory arrived. I have enjoyed recording our events with my camera and seeing them published like this is gratifying. Pictures have always had a large impact on me. I remember loving to flip through the Life Magazine when it came and I learned so much history graphically.

My family always had a Kodak of some sort, and when I purchased my first SLR, a Ricoh, I was hooked. When It broke I had a Yashica fixed Lens, some more inexpensive cameras, until the early digitals came out in the late 90s.

Borrowing a slide converter to save some of Mom's slides, a digital scanner enabled me to save my big box of pictures I took from the younger years of our family. And of course, the last several years have seen me pointing and shooting a just about everything.

Truth be known, most people do not enjoy looking at other peoples photos. I do, and I visit my own favorites quite often.