Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mud and Dust


Yesterday was an interesting day for a number of reasons...but one seminal moment stands out that must be shared. Before I left for work, I told eldest daughter...bless her take necessary precautions for sanding dried sheetrock mud. She and I had put it on fairly thin, because not a whole lot was, I said just take off the ridges. I warned her that after sanding, the dust would hang in the air like the worst dust cloud you would ever be in.

So, I get home at lunch to find the front door open and my beloved wife spitting nails, so to speak, at eldest daughter because there was SHEETROCK DUST EVERYWHERE. I mean, she looked like a ghost, she was so was the rest of the house. I escorted beloved out of the room to cool off and then explained to eldest that...this was probably not "necessary precautions." lol I said, you have taken off more than there any dried mud even left on the walls? :-) Yes, but... Mom had to chill -- and so did I, as I had some other things to take care. But, before I left, I hugged eldest and said "thank you."

When I returned home after work, the house was sheetrock dust anywhere -- I was impressed. Both girls had done a great job of cleaning. I know it wasn't easy, but the end result will be worth it, right? :-) Blessings,


Friday, May 22, 2009

Look Out Below


Alyssa couldn't help herself, but found this picture and had to send it to me...interesting how it just happens to fit in relationship to the recent rerun about "raining cows." She must be my daughter... :-). Blessings,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Growing in Popularity


Even up to a few years ago, people were saying that horse racing was a dead sport. I have been a horse racing enthusiast for over thirty years, and I do not recall this much excitement since I was a kid. Why? The players in 2009...Calvin Borel, Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra...have captivated the country. Calvin Borel won a Kentucky Derby two years ago aboard Street Sense, so he has been a rising star. This year he rode the second longest long shot (50-1 odds) in Kentucky Derby history -- Mine That Bird -- to victory.

With two Kentucky Derby victories in three years, Borel is at the top of his sport...and maybe in a way that not has been seen since Steve Cauthen in the late 70s. Borel made the amazing decision to leave the Kentucky Derby winner for the filly, Rachel Alexandra, who dominated the Kentucky the same weekend as the derby. Borel had been running Rachel Alexandra throughout the year leading up to derby weekend and was very familiar with her. In fact, Borel was convinced that the filly could not only run with the boys at the Preakness this past weekend, but that she could win. He was right. Borel led Rachel Alexandra to the first filly triumph in the Preakness in 85 years. There will be no Triple Crown winner this year...this is certain. But, Borel has become the first jockey to win the first two races of the Triple Crown -- the third being the Belmont Stakes in a few weeks. He could become the first jockey to win a personal Triple Crown aboard two different horses.

So, we come to the third segment of the show. The big question is -- will the filly ride in the Belmont in three weeks? This is a decision that will be made by the owner and trainer likely in the next week. The concern is that she was overheated and tiring down the stretch at the Preakness. They want to be as certain as possible that she will be good to go racing, because fillies, typically, do not have quite the strength as the colts...and the Belmont is a huge 1 1/2 mile race. Borel will ride Rachel Alexandra if she goes, but if not, he will likely be back on Mine That Bird for the interesting, potential victory trifecta. No filly has ever won two Triple Crown races, so the odds seem to be stacked against Rachel Alexandra, but this is, in part, the drama that is drawing so many people back to the sport. The Borel, Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra trinity has made for some compelling drama that has significantly boosted the television ratings. They are going to have to continue to "mine" this story, because...with no potential Triple Crown horse, there needs to be a catch. We'll see if the drama holds. Blessings,


Monday, May 18, 2009

Thanksgiving in May


We had such a nice visit with Kim's folks last weekend. When we arrived on Friday evening, they had prepared a full Thanksgiving dinner for us...complete with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and, of course, cranberry sauce -- my favorite. This was very special...and a wonderful blessing. Hey, I will eat a Thanksgiving meal anytime! It was another good reminder to be thankful all of the time, which brings me to some other blessings.

I am really thankful...and humbled by what the Lord is doing with our group. We had 131 yesterday, which by all of our reasoning, doesn't make any sense whatsoever...but it seems to make perfect sense to the Lord, so we just keep on being thankful. We had our appointing, recognizing of deacons and ministry leaders yesterday...and it gives me a great sense of peace to have so many wonderful, quality people who will be working together to help us continue to organize effeciently, and therefore be effective. One of the funny, little things that comes from all of this, is that we cannot keep the directory up to soon as we think we have a final copy -- nope. :-) We don't even really know who is with us, yet. We had about a dozen go with us to our last Rangers game and Christian concert last fall. We are going to have 77 go with us in a week and a half. This is so cool in so many ways.

I just ask for your prayers for wisdom that we will be able to make good, positive decisions based upon what the Lord wants for us...and not some earthly temptation to wisdom that may seek to introduce itself. Blessings,


Friday, May 15, 2009

Hubble Refit


The space shuttle, Atlantis, blasted off three days ago in order to do the final repairs on the big eye in the sky...the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the final time that it will be done, because the shuttle fleet of three will be grounded next year. The Hubble, launched in 1990, has outlived expectations by several years...continuing to give up amazing pictures of the universe. It was due for repairs in 2002, but a number of circumstances -- including the destruction of the shuttle Columbia on reentry -- prevented the mission from taking place then. Now, seven years later, there is much work to be done...a daunting task in order to keep the telescope operational for several more years. When its time is up, it will descend into the atmosphere and be ultimately happens to all satellites and other orbiting machines.

It is pretty amazing that the shuttle can pull up next to the telescope and retrieve it with a long, robotic arm. It will take the astronauts several days, beginning today, to complete the repairs. By the time that they are done, the Hubble should be more powerful than ever, in many respects, bringing us even more dazzling images from across space. To say there are risks involved in this spacewalk repair mission would be an understatement...but these astronauts have trained countless hours for just such a time as this. Here is hoping that all goes well and that the Hubble will be able to operate for some time yet to come. Update soon. Blessings,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Raining Cats...and Cows -- Revisited


I am rerunning the story about the cow from Nov. 2007 so folks don't have to dig through the archives to see it. Here it is, in essence...

An hour north of my hometown of Wenatchee is the town of Manson on Lake Chelan. The story is told today in the FW Star-Telegram of a couple driving back to their hotel in this area when a 600 lb cow falling at 76 mph landed on the hood of their mini-van. The cow apparently had fallen 200 ft off of a cliff over the road. The couple, on a trip from Michigan, were frightened but fortunately were unhurt. Unfortunately, the cow had to be euthanized.

However...for the sake of pondering, this story has brought to mind questions for friends and family. We have to wonder what this cow was thinking??? One person wondered if the cow jumped off or was pushed. Hmm. Someone else wondered if this cow was auditioning for a chik-fil-a commercial. Yet, another thought perhaps it was looking for the cat and the fiddle and strayed a bit off course (?). Since Em is starting Algebra, I thought it would provide a good equation. If a 600 lb cow falls 200 ft at 76 mph (how on earth they figured this is beyond my math capabilities), how many feet per second would the cow be falling? Perhaps there is another reason for this event (?). If you have another reasonable explanation, please feel free to offer...blessings,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bullwinkle Can't Fly


A disturbing, albeit a warped sort of way...story has come across the newswires today. A 500 lb yearling moose apparently leaped a guardrail on I-95 in rural Maine and fell several yards and landed on a nearby road...unfortunately, the moose did not make it. One motorist called a nearby town to report that "a moose fell out of the sky." It is not every day that you see a moose fall out of the sky...or even a cow (see Raining Cats...and Cows blog from 11/7/07). In fact, I probably wouldn't even write this message had it not been for precedent. :-)

Now, this would have to be startling in every respect...and it brings up several thoughts, as one would expect from me -- especially if you have read the earlier post concerning animals flying who are not supposed to do so. First I log this under miscellaneous or space? Second...wasn't it Rocky the squirrel that could fly? Third...perhaps it is time to fit Maine moose with glasses, or at least get them a road map. Finally...perhaps it is time for all vehicles in the state of Maine to be equipped with a moose, uhh...moon roof. Blessings,


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Super Team


Nearly half-way through the Nascar season, Hendrick Motorsports is nearly at the top of their game. Their drivers are paving the way to another great season for the team...but not those whom we might have thought. A look at what's happening with Nascar's #1 team.

#48, The Champion -- Jimmy Johnson has been his usual solid, if not spectacular, self so far this season. He has been consistently near the top of the standings, and is likely setting himself up for another championship run. He has won the past three, which has only been done one other Cale Yarborough in the 70s. All in all, he is quite impressive, even if he is not a favorite of mine. The only knock on him is that he is too mellow, laid back. He does not seem to have the killer instinct. But, long as he and Chad Knauss, his crew chief, keep putting the #48 in the Champions Circle, what does it matter?

#24, The Veteran -- Jeff Gordon, my long-time favorite, is a four time Sprint Cup Series champion. Jeff does not dominate like he used to, but he is still such a dangerous competitor. He is near the top of the standings every week...and usually at the end of the year, as well. I believe that he is going to break through again and win another championship...soon.

#5, The Old Man -- I say this affectionately concerning Mark Martin. He is 50 years old, which certainly does not seem old (especially as I am fast approaching that number), but in racing terms, he is nearly Methuselah. He has quickly become my favorite this year, although he has always been near the top of the list. (Note -- Morgan Sheppard, who was recently racing in the junior circuit...the Nationwide Series, is in his 70's, which IS seriously Methuselah). Martin has won two races this year, which is absolutely amazing...a testament to his conditioning and will. He has finished second in the series championship one time over his nearly thirty years of racing, but has never won one. There would be nothing cooler than seeing him win one this year for Hendrick.

#88, The Name -- It appears that Dale Earnhardt Jr is always going to be the most popular driver on the Nascar circuit, but is never going to live up to the hype of his famous name...which is too bad, as he has also been one of my faves. I think that Jr, as he gets older, is putting more and more pressure on himself to win a championship...and is getting fewer and fewer good results. When he is running good, he can stay near the top of the standings...but when he is not, he psyches himself out, tries to force things to happen, and makes too many errors in the pits and on the track. Sadly, he is going to go the way of former teammate, Michael Waltrip, into competitive irrelevance, soon, if he does not figure out how to relax and let things come to him.

#25, The Kid -- Brad Keselowski is only running a part time schedule as a rookie with Hendrick. Yet, in only his fifth start (I believe), he was able to get a win at perhaps the most difficult of all tracks -- Talladega. He has a bright future, and is going to have to wait awhile before he is going to get the #5 ride, as Mr Martin is not planning on going anywhere anytime soon.

*#s 14, 39 Stewart/Haas Racing -- honorable mention to Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman who are running Hendrick chassis' and motors. They are also getting great results this year. Although I am not a big fan of this tandem, you have to respect their abilities.

Fun team, Hendrick's crew...easy to root for (or against, I guess...if you are a fan of other teams, drivers). Hope they continue to have a super year. Blessings,


Friday, May 8, 2009

The Vanity and Inanity of the Anitys


You can tell from the title that this is a message that has some sincerely sarcastic or satirical overtones...but one that should be taken seriously, nonetheless. I did some thinking while on my week's break and some things occurred to me. For all of our proclamations of being ones who belong to Christ-ianity, it seems that there are a number of substitutes that often try to crowd out our devotion to the King of Kings.

Collegianity -- I spent a number of years on a beloved Christian college campus (see last message) where many of the students did not believe it necessary their Bibles or go to church. The reasoning was usually something along the lines of -- I have Bible classes during the week...I get enough Bible then. (No, I am not making this up). One of my tasks, as a "campus minister" was to help some understand that this was probably not going to cut it the grand scheme of things. We had some success in convincing certain ones to engage in a regular quiet time and go be with a church family on Sundays, at least.

Judaianity -- as one person has called it. This is somewhat ironic, as I have had a couple of friends in my life actually become "Jewish Christians" in culture and practice. They did so by choice...and I make no judgment about this. We see many Jews who become Christians, but generally not the other way around. But, to me the greater irony is how many Christians unwittingly adopt "judaianity" as their religion. They are more interested in holding to a form of religion...binding rules and regulations...rather than being set free by Jesus to truly be able to be spiritually productive citizens. Fear...of not keeping all of the rules, not maintaining all of the proper traditions, weighs them down and they are generally insecure about their faith. The hope is that by preaching and teaching Jesus that some who are bound will come to be set free by the Holy Spirit to know their Savior and be assured of their salvation.

Churchianity -- this is actually closely aligned with Judaianity in that the focus of those who inherently practice this form of religion are distracted by "the church." Everything revolves around the church...moreso than anything else. The talk is about the church...the preaching and teaching are about the church. It is often done so in "defense mode," as in having to protect the church -- as if God is not capable of doing such. It all becomes pretty egocentric when it depends upon me to make sure that everything is all right with the religious world and that nothing false is being taught or preached. The sad irony in this is that some are so focused upon how the church should operate and what the church teaches, that many do not ever come to see or know Jesus. We can be so churchocentric (making up words) that we miss Christ. However, if we focus on getting people to know Jesus, matters regarding the church properly fall into place and with the right perspective.

Materialianity -- is to be unduly under the influence of the the things of this world, but still put on a happy face on Sunday morning, dressed in Sunday best. :-) This one is much more difficult to discern, because we live in a rich culture, by and large. The thought being...are our possessions and time our master or our servant? We know the answer in relationship to the rich, young ruler. Many good people succumb to materialianity...having little depth to their faith, finding it much easier to be served than to serve. When church matters do not go the way the materialist thinks, he or she will most times take their toys and go home. Materialianity is not so much concerned about others -- self is really on the throne, rather than Christ. This makes it pretty hard to "love your neighbor," unconditionally. When Jesus is on the throne, the things of this world find their proper place and we have the proper perspective about them.

Christianity -- as a friend of mine has said...what on earth does this mean anymore? The principle is right and pure, but in the hands of humanists, has routinely come to mean something that it is not. Christianity, culturally, can mean adopting any number of anti-biblical stances and practices...all in the name of Jesus, and have it all be good. This is why another friend suggests a more direct term...such as believer or disciple. I believe that this is probably more inherently accurate in defining who we are...without all of the cultural trappings associated with "Christianity." Still, I am going to suggest...

Jesus -- simply knowing the person...having a genuinely personal relationship with Him. As seen on t-shirts and bumper stickers..."don't let your religion get in the way of my relationship" -- well-said. Not allowing ourselves to be bogged down...albeit purposely or unwittingly...allows us to truly see Jesus for who He is. This is what is going to matter in the end. All of the other "anitys" are some form of idolatry that keep us from truly seeing and knowing Jesus. We should not neglect the OT or Paul's writings, etc -- but as one Bible professor shared with me one time...I challenge everyone to put off any religious trappings and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over and over again. Blessings,


Monday, May 4, 2009

CC Thoughts


I had not felt such a mix of emotions in a long time, being at Cascade College for the graduation and reunion. It was a blur of hours and minutes in so many ways. It was great to see so many -- Stephen & Diane, who were there briefly, Friday...Toby, Emily, Mike,Deanna, Kayla, Karissa, Bryce, Jack, Melba, Jim, Debbie, Dave, Betty, Lori, Dan, Linda, Kami, Brad, Dana, Will, Damian, Vance, Ernie...and some of my favorite professor people, June and Dew Anna, among many others. I know that I am missing several, but it was great to see all.

Stephen, Diane, family and myself went out to good Mongolian BBQ, Friday evening. It was a brief, but a nice visit. My good brother said...don’t you dare go back to campus and chase that wonderful MBBQ down with a hot dog or hamburger -- I didn’t. ;-) I had such a pleasant stay with Jack & Melba...she made one of my all time favorites, roast beef and mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner, and it was terrific. Are we beginning to sense a theme here? I have eaten well. Another reminder that...vacation does not = eating right, but eating wonderfully, nonetheless. The chapel, graduation ceremony and dinner in the JC were all great. Lots of fellowship with above said friends. At the dinner, I felt the loss on the hearts of those who had invested their lives in CC. I pray for them.

Just going to wax philosophical for a bit...heard a lot of things said about the closing down of Cascade College over the weekend. There were definite melancholy moments. A friend had said to me...well, at least you do not have to do a funeral this trip, to which I replied -- that’s right. As the weekend unfolded, it was the same sense of loss, however, that I feel at a funeral. It is a loss...a significant loss. Pain is an old enemy...but, as they say, it is a good teacher, as well. I had come to grips with the pain before I arrived and that helped me to sort it out. Easy for me to say, however, who had been removed fromColumbia Christian College for many years. Those who have been on campus had the greater struggle, for certain. I had heard someone say the word “failure” over theweekend. I do not believe that CC was a failure in any respect, but a grand success. As some said at the graduation, it is what you do from here that makes the difference for Cascade College. If this is the case, then, I can tell numerous good, wonderous and successful stories about how graduates have impacted the lives of many, many people. So, indeed...a loss, but not a failure.

As I sat at the graduation, it took me back 22 years. It was so much the same. Same gymnasium, same multi-ethnic mix of people who had attended when I did, and were graduating. Same spirit that shone through the students, faculty and staff. And, yet, here I was -- so much different, and still the same. It is a testament to the Spirit of God working in that special place in the lives of thousands of people over the many decades. Whenever I meet someone who attended Columbia or Cascade, there is an immediate bond...and knowing spiritual understanding -- so cool. This is the great spiritual legacy that carries on. I thank the Lord for using Columbia Christian College and Cacade College to shape the spiritual lives of so many. Blessings,


Friday, May 1, 2009

NW Happenings


Well...made it the NW yesterday -- pretty uneventful aside from a delay in SF. I am having a nice visit with Jack & Melba here in Vancouver. Heading over to CC in a bit -- looking forward to it with a lot of different feelings -- excitement, sadness, anticipation, a bit of nervousness, etc. One cannot spend five years of their life in a place and not have a bunch of memories...especially a place like Columbia/Cascade, where activities, plans, happenings were a flood on a daily basis -- wonderful memories. I hope to catch up with Toby & Emily, Mike & Deanna, and Stephen & Diane at points today. I'll keep you posted on happenings. Blessings,