You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.
My Friday was a full day. Every hour was packed with studying, meetings, people, emails, text messages, writing deadlines, standing meetings, impromptu meetings, one on one clarifications, et cetera. By the time my smart phone dinged for the next session, I was pooped.
When I arrived at home Yvonne and I sat together to enjoy a decompress hour. Then, it was time to head back to church for another meeting. But, this meeting included dinner.
We were scheduled to join the session of one of our twenty-three small groups. Both of us were looking forward to connecting with more of our people during a personal and intimate venue.
Once at church we made our way to the designated room. The food arrived and the aroma made our heads turn. Soon collective grace was offered and we all wandered into the kitchen to load up our plates for a great meal. Tomato beef chow mein, baby bok choy and fish fillet with corn sauce were as Rachel Ray says, “Delish!”
The meal served as a facilitation. Busy families don’t have time to add a meeting at church. But, when it is a gathering around a meal that is catered, it makes busy lives enjoy the evening.
Little children accompanied moms and dads. Their laughter and squeals were delightful. Friendships were special for the children who suddenly blended into one mass of rambunctious humanity. Their tastes for the meal was imperceptible but their joyful delight made the evening.
Soon, they was escorted next door for an evening of babysitting. The adults gathered. Together we talked, laughed, explained and prayed. It was parent time, time to grow together, grow deeper with each other and to learn more about each of the amazingly varied lives that we live.
We talked politics, child rearing, history, life preferences, et cetera. It was fun, informative and helped us get to know each other better. Christ had His common impact on our lives was the focus on our conversation.
The evening wasn’t over. A wonderful climax was about to ensue. Enoch was whisked into our room by his parents. Closely in tow were all of the other children. Today he was turning two
We had a birthday party! Cake and ice cream was the center of our evening dessert. This is real life, when friendships start, deepen and last for years.
photo credit: google image
For the last decade of my life I was used to driving my four wheeled vehicle to an international motorcycle show in January. We mount the latest in hot machines and give our opinions on the comfort, layout and latest features.
Some times we even buy something for the riding season that is still a distant April or more likely May Spring weather. We eventually part company with a wave, last minute joke or good natured tease. But, at home as we pass by our winterized motorcycles, we sigh deeply.
Since November we have hidden our bikes from impossible riding weather. We have added a stabilizer to our gasoline tank. Of course we ran the engine to distribute the chemicals with the assignment to protect the fuel system from gumming up. Gasoline left to itself will break down quickly, coat every part of the fuel system with gunk.
But, now I live on the Left Coast, God must love it here. It’s January in Cali. The weather for this past week has been amazing! The sun has been shining. Temperatures rose to the low 60′s. Then, it crept even higher to the high 60′s. Yesterday it was in the low 70′s.
On Thursday I put on my motorcyle gear. Chaps are comfortable and take away the wind chill on my legs. Then, I put on my riding jacket. It zips up precisely and buttons up to keep the weather out.
With my helmet strapped on and gloves snuggly fitted, I rolled out on to our neighborhood street. The rumble of my Kawi smoothly head south on 34th Ave. Normally, the shortest route to my office is down 36th Ave and then through Golden Gate Park. But, this too beautiful a day for the shortest route.
Instead, I followed Fulton down hill. It would end at the Pacific Ocean. The sun was rising and cast a disappearing shadow on the asphalt that lay ahead of me.
In the distance, without the shade trees of giant eucalyptus the ocean was lit by the morning light. Waves were breaking on the sandy shores of the nearing beaches. They almost looked like they were lit up with some clever engineering lighting system.
Then, my route took me south along the Great Highway. A soft breeze cradled my steady ride. Seagulls glided dodged each other overhead. I drank it all in and felt the deep privilege of such a spectacular commute.
photo credit: google image
Paul humbly admits that according to the world’s standards he does not measure up to their “wisdom” or “persuasion”. His self-effacing disposition is not to be confused with a message that is less than excellent.
Rather, the wisdom in his message is not missing, rather, it is from a different source. Those who are spiritually mature understand it. If the measure of wisdom is of this world, then there is no understanding.
Even when those who are considered bright by the world’s standards are pushed forward, they have no capacity to perceive spiritual truth. Their personal end by eternal standards is a dead-end. Paul’s wisdom is from God, full of truth and mystery as well.
Great confidence can be placed in what God’s plan includes. His strategy in our lives was laid out before time. That certainty brings great comfort and breeds a depth of trust for all who follow Him.
Proof of the foolishness that is replete in the world’s best is embedded in history. These who thought highly of themselves are guilty of the heinous crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Blindness cannot be more clearly demonstrated than that wicked deed.
All who follow Christ experience unimaginable adversity in life. During the pain of the trials purpose and reasons are elusive. However, when life has been lived, God ALWAYS has amazing reasons for His designs. It is always good if we love him.
There is no medical report, no website flashing banner or text message that assures us. Rather, God puts in our lives a faithful witness. His Holy Spirit testifies, comforts and affirms God’s grace in our lives, even the intricate picture of life’s purposes.
Just as we all live with own spirit that knows the intricacies of our deep passions and dreams, so the Holy Spirit knows the plans of the Father for us. There is no spirit of the world available for us. But, God gives us His Spirit to be His witness in us every day of our lives.
What is spiritual is of great value than what is temporal. Without His Spirit a person does not have the capacity to understand spiritual truth. Like a language that is gibberish they reject truth and hold on to the temporary things. That is all they have.
Having Christ is the difference. His mind gives us the means to complete understanding of the things of God. That is the wisdom of the ages.
1 corinthians 2.6-16
photo credit: google image
On our approach to our apartment Yvonne and I were enjoying great conversation about our evening out. Automatically, I pressed our garage door opener. Slowly and methodically the chain driven motor rumbled and the entrance to our inside parking spot appeared.
The oddity of what we saw was peculiar. The door from the garage to the ground floor hallway was open. We never leave it open.
Normally, the hallway is dark, but this time the light was on. My suspicions were immediately on alert. Quickly, I exited our car and sped upstairs and was relieved that our apartment door was still intact and not broken open like our last burglary.
But, my relaxed mood was in for a shock. When I trotted down the stairs and into the garage to give Yvonne the OK, I did a double take to my left. My treasured Raleigh road bike was gone!
Burglars had struck again for the third time in less than a year. I was disgusted. “No! They stole my bicycle!” I moaned.
We took a quick assessment of our garage. The bicycle helmet was also missing. Those cads!
My bike was a slick road bike. It was built for the long distances and had carried me for countless miles in Oregon, Michigan and California. The bike was tuned to me personally.
In Michigan I had the bike customized just for me. A local bike shop took my order. They installed a flat handle bar in place of the racing curved bar.
Since they were working on the handle bar, I had them upgrade my brakes, grips and add customized bar end handles. A computer for speed, distance, time and combined calculations finished off the top end of this spiffy machine. It was a very cool look.
A Blackburn luggage rack doubled as a decent rear wheel fender. The normal skunk stripe from a rainy road would not send a rooster tail splattering mud and grime up my back. Its design allows saddlebags to quickly attach and detach from a strong frame.
On the back-end of my bike is an electric tail light. It will flash or hold a steady light. Safety is always first.
On my silver blue mount I have commuted for miles in Oregon. In Michigan we cruised the undulations of Farmington Hills. Here in California our routes started eating up the Pacific Ocean frontage road. God knows that I miss my bike.
photo credit: google image
People who loves dogs, have a dog or who have had a dog understand the dynamic of heart and loyal devotion. What our dogs give us every day is immeasurable. It takes so little to enjoy the return of endless loyalty and companionship.
The greeting at the door is a favorite. Who wouldn’t like a life to bounce, bark and lick you when you get home after a long day at work? Most humans wave, grunt but keep their eyes on what they’re doing. It’s comical.
Dogs are very different. They go after loyalty with gusto. It’s like they have been missing you for weeks and you are finally reunited again.
Nemo and Oscar were our guests for two weeks while our kids, their masters, were off on a mission trip to Rwanda. They became a part of our daily routine. You don’t have a choice when you have a dog in your life.
What’s great about dogs is that they don’t take much investment. But, they do require a consistent daily regimen. That routine usually begins early in the day.
For days we had the schedule down. Just like clock work we were walking the dogs in the morning, feeding them right on schedule, giving them their meds faithfully, walking them again, playing with them, walking them again, feeding them their dinner and walking them one more time. Once the rhythm is set, you are alert to any unusual aberrations.
Guests came over. We were thrilled to see them. The dogs were even more thrilled. Can a dog get too excited?
Nemo launched when the knocking fell on our door. His medical limitations went berserk. A massive drop in his sugar levels spun into a lethargy where he lost all of his bodily functions.
He laid on the floor unable to move or control himself. We cleaned up the mess on both ends and gathered him up for a quick trip the local vet. The medical staff was wonderful.
They came and took all of the history that we could give, accounted for the recent episode and waited for the staff to do an examination. Both the technician and the veterinarian came to talk with us. They brought into a room and recommended a preventative treatment for Nemo.
Yes, by the time we arrived at the Animal Hospital, Nemo was fine. But, since we were there and his reaction so extreme we decided to have him checked out. No, the national health care system doesn’t cover dogs.
photo credit: google image
There are very few reality shows on television that capture my interest. Marketing strategies that advertise new attempts grab my interest but more often than not I have turned the pilot show off before the first episode is even half-way completed. Expectations form in my mind and if those are disappointed or if I feel that I was sucked into a bait-and-switch entertainment, then I am easily motivated to for the OFF switch.
Over the years of the show American Idol I have been entertained. Both with hysterical laughing, deeply moved tugging of my heart and marvelling at the singing talent that many people enjoy. Of course the drama behind the judges desk is half of the entertainment.
With the major shift of personalities who critique the singers, I wasn’t sure that I would be interested any more. This 2011 season wasn’t even on my radar. My schedule is busy enough that I plan very very few TV watching moments in my life. But, happen-chance put me in front of the TV during a writing project.
Randy was his usual insightful skilled observer. Steve was very humorous and right on the money when it came to spotting talent. But, Jennifer was amazing.
Lopez clearly displays her musicianship, performance expertise and depth of humanity. Truly she was torn when it came to rejecting hopeful stars. Saying “No” even when it is obvious is never easy for people who know life.
Rejection hurts people. All who have the responsibility to assess the talent or lack there of in the lives of others must respect the life that tries. Those who do this best couch their language care while telling the truth.
Tens of thousands hear the truth on AI. A precious few standout among the millions who enjoy music to give us more of the music that stirs our lives. This show finds is one mechanism that gives all of us those few.
The judges helped discover Paris, mother of a special needs child. Yes, she obviously has talent. We all heard it.
What is stunning is the story of her life. Some whine that the stories distract from the focus of discovering talent. But, no singer rises to the level of what music is at its essential without their lives, their heart and their soul expressing itself through the composition in song. Go AI, I’m enjoying the new season!
photo credit: google image
The Bay Bridge that links the East Bay area with San Francisco stands as an icon to this remarkable part of the USA. It is an engineering feat. For many years it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.
For years it has transported 100,000 vehicles across the San Francisco Bay every day of the week. Since moving to California we have never been on the bridge alone. In fact has always been busy.
What complicates the crossing is the annoying toll fee. Every vehicle has to stop and pay a toll. In the days of my childhood the toll was a few coins. Now, the fee has risen to nearly $5.
There have been too many times that I was stuck in the long lines trying to get through the toll booths. There are always impatient people trying to cut in line, find a shortcut through traffic or pushy people riding on my rear bumper. The toll plaza is massive.
Vehicles spread our from a four lane freeway to 24 lanes of toll booths. Traffic backs up as every vehicle stops to pay the hefty toll. It’s boring, frustrating and annoying.
During those moments of irritation, we all have the same thought. “Why did I pick this line? It’s the slowest of the choices.” That’s when I choose to switch lanes only to get backed up with a second bad choice. So I tough it out.
Out of my peripheral vision, however, I notice an amazing phenomenon. It’s called movement. No, it wasn’t just a faster line, it was an amazing flow of traffic through two lanes that were zipping along making the rest of us look like we were in a parking lot.
It caught my attention. Yvonne and I made a note of what we saw. Our eyes scanned what gave these vehicles the privilege to have such quick passage. The key word painted on their lanes and overhead in abundance was FASTRAX.
My brother gave me the low down. Those who are local to the Bay Area and travel often across the bridges could apply for an electronic sensor. Each time the sensor connected with a toll booth reader, your account was charged with the toll fee. No attendant was at the booth, there was no need for change and cars just zipped through.
I have applied. My vehicle is equipped with the sensor. We zip by the throngs of vehicles with the smile of a local on our face.
photo credit: yahoo image
Traffic is stop and go.
He has never been to our fantastic city in all of his world travels. That made it easy for Yvonne and me to rearrange our schedule and show him around. Afterall, many had taken the time to give us a tour of this city by the Bay, now we could return the hospitality to another.
First, we took the exit to Brotherhood Way. Down this well landscaped thorougfare, I pointed out to Raju about a half a dozen builidings for worship. They were all next door neighbors.
Next, we skirted Lake Merced. It was a beautiful late morning and the sun was shining nicely over the mirror surface of the water. Joggers, walkers, bicyclists and skaters made their way around the perimeter of the lake for a personal workout.
Then, our tour took up the Great Highway. For miles we enjoyed the vastness of the Pacific Ocean lapping on the sands of the beige beaches. Temperatures were in the low 50′s and invited at least one window opened to enjoy the sounds of crashes waves.
Our route took us up the cliffs of Richmond and let us park in the lot leading us to Lands End. Wind swept trees, barking seals and fog horns welcomed us to stay a while. The path led us to Raju’s first personal view the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
“Wow!” Raju exclaimed. I love this reaction since few visitors ever get to have their first glimpse of the bridge from this vantage point. It appears as the walking path bends to the right, following shoreline that leads into the San Francisco Bay.
With our smiles still lingering we drove up to the Legend of Honor. There we took in the Halocaust memorial. It is simple yet poignant.
We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. We took some time to enjoy the vista point in the Marin County. San Francisco looks wonderfully inviting from there.
Lunch was at Pier 39. Then, we stopped by to check out the sea lions. We had done enough walking to make our legs love the rest of our automobile tour. That included our adventure down Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world.
Chinatown was our climax. The common faces, enjoyable sounds and unique aromas made me feel like we were some place familiar. We finished the first tour as guides for another.
photo credit: bruce fong photography