Saturday, December 20, 2008

The vision paradox

When I was 12 I got my first pair of glasses. At first I was embarassed to wear them around anyone but I could see so much better practicality overtook vanity. On occassion I revisit the Dr. to have my eyes checked and the perscription tweeked. I like to see clearly and the idea of corrective surgery is totally out of the question. The older I get the worse my eyes are but the better I see. If you look at the pictures from the last blog and today's anniversary picture, you will see a beautiful woman, my wife of 39 years today. Hence comes the vision paradox. The eyes of youth saw the beauty of her youth. My aged eyes know a depth of beauty that my youth could not recognize. I am not the only one who sees it. Total strangers constantly compliment my wife on her "elegant beauty". IF only they could see the depth of her beauty, but that takes a lifetime. If I have the health of my grandfathers, 39 years is only half way. Check back in December 2047 and I will tell you of a depth of beauty that can't even be imagined now. By then you will understand what I am talking about now. It is a very Happy Anniversary. I woke up with Deanna at my side. What more could I possibley want...except 39 more years!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I've been busy

Christmas and 1st Anniversary

I have spent every moment I can this week scanning old slides and photos into my computer and have not taken time to blog. There are so many wonderful pictures that remind me of what God has done I am anxious to share them with you. If I ever figure how to down load 8mm video Doni will probably disown me. You would love her in her "Amy Grant" phase. The gymnast thing didn't work out to well. It will be fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Cooking Buddies

As every grandchild is different, every relationship is different. When Zandi lived with us while their house was being built she fell in love with smoked meats. At the time I was making smoked goose, but to her all smoked meats are "smoked goose". Now when she comes over she helps me make some...most of which she eats! Making jerkey is kind of a chore unless you are making it with a grandchild, then it is a pure joy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Never give up

As Christmas approaches my mind is drawn to my parents. Mom left her cancer behind in 1985 and Dad woke up with mom in 1991. I find it cathartic to scan my dad's old slides into my computer. The picture above is of my mom's parents taken in 1972. My mom was raised literally on the Virginia/West Virginia border. The state line split the house in two. My grandfather was a typical man of his times. As a child I found the remains of his still. While a life long gambler, drinker and general abuser, he managed to raise 13 children. Mom was number 6. Times and troubles and according to here sister a boy named Tag caused here to run away to her older siblings in Baltimore Maryland during WW2. In Baltimore she meet both Jesus and my father. She was 17 when they married. Life was hard for her mother, very hard. Somewhere along the line her mother entered into a relationship with Jesus as did most of her siblings. Grandpa resisted the call of a relationship with God all of grandma's and mom's lives. Admittedly, grandpa, by all accounts, was not a very nice man but mom really desired him to find the freedom she had found in a relationship with God. I only saw him two times in my life, but every Christmas mom would feel those tugs on her heart for her family. She prayed for him her entire life but died not seeing her prayers answered. God had a special plan. A couple of years after mom's homecoming dad flew to a rest home in Virginia where my 98 year old grandfather was living. At that time he told dad that after news of mom's death one of his sons showed him the way to a relationship with God and how he too could go to heaven and be with grandma and mom forever. He entered into a new relationship with God and changed his way's as evidenced by his answer to dad's query "are you still betting the numbers?" His response: "No, a Christian man doesn't do that sort of thing". Incredible!

When Grandpa finally did pray to receive Christ, mom was right there with Jesus and knew it. Her prayers were rewarded with the shouts of praise from the angels that she got to hear! Check out my archive blog for 8-1 for a more detailed look at how prayer transcends time. Years of unanswered prayer finally paid off. Perhaps you are feeling some tugs for your friends and family this time of year too. NEVER GIVE UP. God brought my grandfather to him in his mid nineties! God will answer your prayers too. Never Give Up!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The apple does not fall far from the tree!

Click on the picture to the right and compare Braxtn to her Daddy, Daniel at the same age. Double click for a larger image.

Papa's response to Tori's silly hair pictures

For Jodi

Does this help explain anything to you about your husband?

Be sure to read the comments about this particular coat when Daniel wore it at this age. It saved his life!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

For the Woman in my life

I have been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful men in key relationships in my life. Deanna's dad Poppy was the kindest, most self sacrificing man I have ever met. A while back I did a blog on my aversion to the movies. This was Poppy's domain, the local theater in Victorville.

For Doni

Tori was not the only adorable toddler!
Doni and Poppy 1976

I admit I cannot match Doni's photo ability but she does not have
at least not yet.

Spiked hair?

Deanna and Doni 1974
For those who have been wondering why Darin and Ryker sport spiked hair:
It is a family thing!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tower of Terror

I’m not going to admit how Darin got 39” Karsyn on the 40+" hight restricted rides at Disneyland, but he did it all but one time. Karsyn is definitely Darin’s daughter. She road every ride, hands in the air and sometimes soaked to the bone…as in pouring water out of her boots after the log ride at 11PM! The one that surprised me was the Tower of Terror. On this ride you go up a couple hundred feet in an elevator, the lights go out and you free fall in the dark. If your seat belt was loose (like hers had to be) you will literally suspend above the seat. Most adults get a rush, most children are scarred. Karsyn, with her hands in the air, laughed her way through tower of terror…I was with her too. She loved it. The whole key to these kind of rides is to give the illusion of danger when no real danger exists. It makes you feel like you are living on the edge when in reality every possible safeguard is in place for your safety and enjoyment. Believe me, at this point in my life, if it hurts, I will not do it. But it was just really fun. It looked scary, but it wasn’t…assuming you are not prone to motion sickness. The difference between Karsyn and me was I knew the possible/probable dangers…like getting wet or motion sick. Karsyn only knew she wanted to be with her dad who said it would be fun. She entered the ride with expectations of fun, not anticipation of failure and the accompanying fear. She had a ball experiencing Disneyland's adult rides with her dad. He loved it even more with her at his side. It was for moments like these that Disneyland was built.

In a sense, our heavenly Father turns the world into one big Disneyland. Every day there is a threat of danger, (some of which are quite real). Every day Father says to trust and rejoice because He is in absolute control of the ride. He only asks us to sit back and enjoy it with Him. I want to approach life like Karsyn approaches rides at Disneyland, trusting, eager and ready for the ride.

Just for fun

I know I said I would never edit a picture, but I am waiting for Dee to hang up some cloths and was messing around with photosmart buttons becasue Doni's pictures are so cool. The top picture is the enhanced version which really brings out the smoke from the fires in California. A while back I told you about my beach bum father. This was the beach he loved. Everytime I return here I rememer how he used to take me to the outside break and turn me lose on a canvas surf mat. I was never scarred even though I was a preschooler who could not swim! I totally trusted my father and lived inside his dream, which was way better than anything I could do on my own. I wish I trusted my heavenly Father now in the deep waters and rushing waves of life as simply and purely as I trusted my earthly father back then. His answer would be the same as dad's when I asked why he put me at such risk at such an early age. "I never let you get hurt". He didn't. It was exciting and wonderful being with my father doing what he and I loved to do. It is really the same thing now. As I concentrate and remember the depth of His Love for me, my trust grows and we can truly enjoy what others shrink away from in fear. I want to ride those waves of life with the same confidence and excitent now that I had back then. How do you want to live life?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bait and Switch?

My girls, my Bro and my wife

Several people I know make at least part of their living selling Newspaper subscriptions. The bait to try the paper is a gift card that is roughly equal to the first months subscription. In accepting the card, the person is agreeing to start a subscription to that newspaper which they can later cancel if they choose. Of course this is my simplified explanation, but the customer must be made aware that this will be an ongoing purchase until it is cancelled. It is the same way with the book, magazine and music sales pitches we hear all the time. How clear the sales person makes the continued subscription is a matter of debate but I imagine many people never hear much beyond the free gift card. It is like the TV music pitches for the oldies. Buy one at the regular price and get the second one for a penny. The fine print that you can’t read at the bottom of the screen is that now they will send you their choice for music every month for eternity if you do not cancel…in person…at their home office…in a place you have never heard of or will ever find. A lot of sales pitches work like this, including the typical pitch to receive Christ as your Savior and stay out of hell. While that is true, it is not all the truth or even the true starting point of importance. After 40 years of pastoral ministry I am becoming concerned more and more that our well meaning evangelistic efforts are at a very minimum misguided. Consider this from Andrew Murray:
“The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him—something very different.” People still decide, not yield. I believe I have lived my life trying to do your job, going for a decision that has no need to grow as apposed to yielding that has growth as its very essence.”

It seems to me that our evangelistic zeal is to get a decision not make a disciple. Are we trying to do something only the Holy Spirit can do? Notice Jesus’ way of making disciples in his time on earth. The decision was to follow, not just make a decision. I’m thinking there is a lot of baiting going on in the Christian world today that is part innocent and part ignorant. In the long run this may be doing more damage to the kingdom than it is doing good. Statistically the churches of today are much larger than at any time in history. Why are so many people making so little difference? Why is Christianity today characterized as a mile wide and an inch deep? Could it be so simple as they made a decision but never yielded? Is there something you or I can do about it? I'm thinking there is. What do you think?
If you haven’t read He Love’s Me by Wayne Jacobsen, now might be a good time. It is a great sequel to the theology behind The Shack.

Promised pictures

I just looked at Doni's pictures and if I had any ego I would never post mine. I just set the camera on auto and push the button and hope for something recognizable. I don't know what editing a picture is nor would I likely do it. I am more of a WYSIWYG potographer. I also don't know how to put a slide show together. Aimee will have to show me how. That said, here are a few I like.

Relationship and Fellowship

Mom's favorite mohawk
I loved it all but as I said before, my favorite thing at Disneyland was watching my children interact with their children. All that really says is that my treasured role on earth is being Papa. Deanna never said what her favorite thing was specifically but her comments lead me to believe it was watching her four sons interact. For her mother’s heart that was the thing she commented on the most. Every time the four boys were together, (ok they were usually poking or prodding each other) she commented on how wonderful it was. Only she could tell you why she feels that way but there is a mystery here. When the boys were small it was not uncommon for a total stranger (usually in a grocery line) to make a comment about Deanna’s “creativity” in giving birth to 4 boys who were so different. They still are in about every way you can think of. But they still prefer to travel in a pack of 4 whenever possible. It is interesting to note that the one area they separate in is in their relations with their mother and sister. It appears they do not want to share either of them with the other brothers. They typically seek out Mom or Doni alone time. Why is that? The simple answer is they are brothers, they seek and enjoy the fellowship because of their relationship. . Because they are so different, they do not always agree and sometimes it is serious but because of the relationship they purpose to improve their fellowship. That reminds me of something Andrew Murray wrote:
The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see
1 Corinthians 1:26–31). God’s friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all—we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.”
I’m glad we got to go to Disneyland and spend time working on our relationships before we all get lost in the “doing” of the season.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meeting with Wayne Jacobsen

The Shack editor/contributor/publisher Wayne Jacobsen was in Arizona this weekend and I had the opportunity to visit with him for a while last night. I really enjoyed our time even though I had to share it with a few others. I found Wayne to be real, likable and worth listening too. One of the reoccurring questions asked centered around raising children, in or out of the institutional church. His answer was simple. Parents raise children, not programs. I believe that and have taught it for years. How do we teach our children? The way they did in the OT. Use life to teach life principles. To help illustrate how to do it, I posted 101 sermons in a second on Here is a sample.

101 SERMONS IN A SECOND: Using every day life situations and common objects to keep central the message of Christ.

1. Activities: Choosing friends and activities Put food coloring in cooking oil and mix in water. Let it stand for a few minuets. Note how it separates. Sometimes there are reasons to put the together for a while, but some things will just not stay together. 2CO 6:14

2. Anger/Temper: Baking soda and vinegar in balloon. Pour backing soda and vinegar into a balloon. The expanding balloon represents what happens to us when we get angry. COL 3:8

3. Anger: Can you pop a straw? Pinch both ends of a straw and rotate the straw end over end causing the straw to wrap up on itself. The center of the straw will form a bubble. Have someone flick the end of the straw with their finger. If it is wound tight, it will pop with little pressure. This illustrates what happens to all of us when we get “wound up to tight”. The least little thing can make us POP! PRO 29:11

4. Arguing/Yelling: Have you ever tried to argue in a whisper? PRO 15:1

5. Auto Breaks: Brakes are used to slow down and stop a car. What slows down and stops our bad behavior? PSA 119:11 If we have memorized His Word, it will act like the brakes in a car when danger pops in front of us.

6. Auto Bumper stickers. What bumper sticker do you like? Should we have a bumper sticker on our car? What should it say?

7. Auto Gas fill up = Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to put gas in the car? Just like we have to keep our car full of gas, we must keep our bodies full of food and our spirit filled with Him. JOH 6: 35

8. Auto Gas Gage: The gas gage on your car reminds us to keep the tank full so we do not run out of gas and become stranded. What reminds you to keep your spiritual tank full? Sunday Worship, Bible studies, Family devotions. Heb 10;24-25

9. Auto Windshield cleaning Sometimes windows get so dirty from daily driving we cannot see clearly out of them, especially when it is dark outside. To see the road clearly and be safe the windshield must be washed. Sometimes our spiritual windshields need to be cleaned too. Sin and attacks of Satan have stained the window and it is always dark outside in this spiritual world. We clean our windshield with confession to see the life ahead with the light of God’s Word. ACT 28:26-27

10. Braces: Make braces a reminder that the tongue needs a guard. PRO 10:19; JAM 1:4. 1PE 3:10

The idea is not to lecture children in a school type setting but to trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to teach as life happens. Just keep it real. There are 89 more on the web site if you need some help getting started.

Home Again

What a week! We all decided to delay our summer vacation to go to Disneyland together as a family and it was well worth the wait through the long hot summer. In all there were 27 of us, all my children, grandchildren and Deanna's sisters. Doni refused to take the pictures so I took about 500 hoping one or two would be useable. I even found some features on the camera I got from Doni that she insists was not there when she owned it. Who knows? Doni said the best part was watching her children experience Disneyland. NO WAY! The best part was watching your children watch their children exerience Disneyland! It is twice as much fun, plus the added bonus of watching the play between the aunts, uncles and cousins....PRICELESS! Gram is displaying my idea of security: Dad's cell phone number on their arm. It failed twice. The kids were wearing long sleaves and forgot to tell security to call the number. Next time we will put it on the back of their hands!