Hawaii 2010

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I am a miracle of modern medicine

This is a Disney shot from 2005.  A sweet memory of one of many of our days at Disneyland.

This week I start my yearly check up and test with my excellent cardiologist.  I have a genetic propensity for plaquing in my arteries that first showed up with a heart attack in the year 2000.

Yes, it is acerbated by my propensity to accumulate too much fat around my belly area, as the picture attests.

Two more quick trips to the hospital with chest pains led to us being proactive and we successfully intercepted five potential areas of arterial narrowing over the last five years.  I tend to  have very few symptoms when these life threatening clogs are developing, and tend to pass the non stress part of the test, ie plenty of oxygen for day to day living, but then I fail the stress part of the test which shows the narrowing of the arteries.

Yes, I try to eat healthy, yes I exercise regularly, yes I pray about it, yes I meditate about healing, yes to everything. But the reality is that I have a problem that might lead to sudden health emergencies, or lead to arterial bypass surgery.

So, with thankfulness, peace in my mind, I begin the yearly testing. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Congrats to Alan and Sally

My ministry friends are beginning to retire. Sally H and I went to High School together, she was a prom date for Senior Prom. Married a Seminary Friend Alan C. I remember once we met while on a hospital visit and discussed our frustrations with our early pastoral ministry. He said may we had to be 30 to get respect in the ministry.

He and Sally just retired after 30 years in the same church as Senior Pastor. I saw him showered with respect at his going away party. You have to really respect a couple that stayed in one place that long with all the coming and going of people. Long relationships, lots of ups and downs, but no endings and beginnings the way my ministry history turned out. That's Sally and Allen C. in the middle.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thoughts as August winds down

This is my selfish little Hummer who is hoarding all this delicious nectar to himself. He would have more friends if he shared.

We enjoyed Florence Foster Jenkins and BenHur this week, both well done with good food for thought.

The cooler days and nights have my pool just right for a refreshing swim. 82-86, just perfect.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Carbon Monoxide?

An artistic twist from a downed desert tree.

Laura was roused by a loud beeping last night. This new home has a Carbon Monoxide detector which went off registering a 25. The booklet said if it reads 70 leave the house and call 911. HMMM!

An A/C repairman saw it on the wall the other week and told us it was one of the best on the market and incredibly sensitive. So, I got up last night to investigate. Gas stove turned off! No evidence of leaks in gas furnance or gas water heater, the obvious culprits. So we sat up until a reset showed no readings and went back to bed.

Did not wake up dead, so we are keeping an eye on things for a while.

As we reach the end of August we both feel the need to get out and get involved again in our career fields. I am as good as the next guy at doing leisure, but when leisure time is all the time, it just gets to be too much. At least thats how I feel now. It could always change. Still enjoying life, and watching for the silent killer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Recovering from the 100 Year Storm

My heart goes out to the masses of people whose homes are lost or damaged in this years flooding in the deep south. We have been able to dry out and clean our back porch from our recent inundation of water. As we placed the furniture I am reminded how grateful I am to have this outside space for our early retirement years. We meet here with each other, and with our morning devotional reading and spend at least an hour enjoying the morning air, and battling a dozen nasty mosquitoes we can't seem to get rid of.

In the late afternoon and evening we repeat our time outside as the sun sets. In just a few weeks we will be out their anytime during our mild winter days. I keep thinking about that goofy movie line, "Honey, I bought a resort". For some reason maintaining this pool daily reminds me of the happy years of my youth as a life guard and pool cleaning specialist. The Pineapple is a Hawaiian symbol of hospitality and we are planning on using the space for entertaining as we get settled.

Death and Taxes

Of that morbid title comes the reflection, "if your still paying taxes you are not dead". As we take our first faltering steps into this retirement part of life I have been struck by how much the continued taxation of my post retirement benefits and taxation of my savings withdrawals.

This has messed up all my projection planning and budget worksheets. One wonders if it were possible for the rising population of seniors to stage some sort of mass tax revolts for the purpose of limiting the spending and demand for tax dollars on the middle income seniors.

Meanwhile we wonder if we are enjoying total freedom of time or would enjoy part time work to make this all working more smoothly.

Back to the death part, morbidly speaking. It's time for my annual stress test and hopes that whatever is causing the random narrowing of my arteries might be slowed down or stopped by the end of ministry stress and the continued care shown by our diet choices and exercise. I have failed five years in a row, earning what one of the doctors assistants what he called a near bionic artery filled with metal.

Surprisingly, I spend little time thinking this negatively, preferring to enjoy each day as a gift to be together in a lovely place filling our day with conversation, continued learning, and involvement with friends and family.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A tender reflection on Theodicy

Last week a family of five was killed while driving in a construction zone near Denver. An inattentive truck driver plowed into them and took their lives just as they were beginning to train for ministry in Japan. Young couple and three little kids.

How can we rejoice when a "parking angel" opens up a space for us, and we feel so special in God's sight, when this family perished in a painful instant.

Members of a Calvinistic Congregation whose pastor teaches that God is sovereign and foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. No doubt the grieving family rejoices at their joy in heaven, but the lingering sting of death so cruel and so random and so preventable, in a sense that driving responsibly would prevent such accidents.

These family losses sadden me beyond my ability to reason. I think of all the joys of raising family, serving the Lord in a different culture, just gone, five crushed bodies, three sweet children, two loving Christian adults.

One thought, the invention of the auto creates great freedom and connection to move around in this world, and the possibility of accidents thus allows anyone to hit and hurt anyone else. If we say God could prevent any wreck He desired miraculously, then we must also say He allows any wreck he chooses to allow. One of my friends believes we are loved by God but these day by day possibilities of danger, well, God lets it play out, with relentless love and fragile freedom. This allows him to function when our humanity hurts others and limits their freedom and takes their lives.

I continue to reflect.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Road Trip To Denver

We went north through Albuquerque on the way up, two days drive, enjoyed two and 1/2 days at a great conference, walking the .8 of a mile to the church from our Motel and enjoying the speakers and friends we chatted with during our time there.

Home west over the Rockies to Grand Junction, our fist time to see Vail, and Aspen, and the Awesome Glenwood Canyon, and when we headed south we enjoyed The Arches National Park and lots of desert mountains and valleys along the Way, one day we drove almost 12 hours with our side trips, and six more to get home today at 3.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The 100 Year Storm!!!

This waterfall is fed by a high swamp that gets hundreds of inches of rain a year, the wettest spot on earth we were told.

What an evening we had. After a very dry summer and just after we watched all the flooding in central Phoenix we finally got some rain. We sat on the porch enjoying it, .....until it kept getting harder and harder, lightning and thunder, and a downpour that in moments over ran our downspouts ability to send the water away from the back porch. For 45 minutes we worked with brooms finally brushing the waves of water into the pool, which went up five inches.

I am convinced that the thousands of gallons of water pouring through our downspouts would have filled our porch and entered the living room and the brand new carpet. It was exhausting and stressful.

This morning we are drying out soaked patio carpets, cleaning a pool the color of lake water, and wondering if this every happened before since the previous owners were never here in the summer, this being a winter home. There is a tiny strip of vented plastic between the cool deck and the porch that is supposed to drain normal water out to the sides of the home, but this was an overwhelming amount of water.

Monday, August 1, 2016

August-the last total endurance month

An acquaintance has been in Kauai posting pics all week and creating a longing for the islands in me this week.

We woke early on the first day of August to overcast sky and have enjoyed the respite from the heat, as we will enjoy our trip to Denver CO beginning Thursday. Laura watched HELLBOUND the documentary with me to be introduced to two of the speakers we will hear this weekend and to begin to understand the deep conviction I have that God disciplines us to restore, not for retribution or revenge. Humanity must break the cycle of scapegoating and violence if we are ever to truly have the Prince of peace bless our world.

Speaking of the brokenness of creation, we have attracted about four hummingbirds to our backyard feeder so far and for the last couple of days were distressed to find one of the larger ones actually bullying the others and running them off from the feeders from his perch in a tree nearby. My goodness the feeder has six flowers and unlimited nectar fellow...stop being so selfish and share with your fellow Anna's. I do not like Bullys, which explains why my heart is troubled a lot lately.