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Allie

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Life here with Allie has settled into a routine. Mondays and Thursdays is physical and occupational therapy. Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday is speech therapy. Friday an educator comes to train and re-train Allie's brain functions and motor skills. Every other week a nurse comes in and get Allie's weight and evaluates her progress.

Molars have been working their way through Allie's gums. One cut through a couple of weeks ago and one is taking it's sweet time coming through on the other side. The poor kid is miserable. And if Allie ain't happy, nobody's happy. I'm praying that once that tooth cuts through, she'll get a bit of a break.

One positive breakthrough is that Allie is now taking naps everyday, twice a day, in her crib. She used to take short naps in our arms during the day, but as soon as we tried to lay her down in her crib, she'd wake up and naptime was over. But now, we're able to lay her down and walk away. This is huge! Today she took a record long nap for 90 minutes. I was at church when this happened so the charming and beautiful Susan got 90 minutes to herself. She was like a new woman.

On January 18, Allie will be fitted for leg braces. Her doctor thinks there is a strong possibility that Allie will walk before she sits or crawls. This is pretty exciting. When supported, Allie stands up and takes steps. She even puts one foot in front of the other on the tread mill. Last time we tried it, she walked for about three minutes on the treadmill. Cool beans.

We took Allie to the beach today. It was about fifty degrees and super windy. The sun was bright and the sea was rough. There was so much sea foam blowing around it made me think some prankster dumped a boatload of dishsoap in the waves. That would be a colossal prank. Allie loved it. Even though she couldn't see the ocean clearly, she could feel the sun and the brightness, her ears were filled with the sounds of wind and sea, and her little face bore the brunt of a chilly sea gale as it turned her cheeks rosy. Her face froze in an open mouthed smile. She was so beautiful in the poncho and little hat that her Grandma Yolanda made for her with amazing talent and tender loving care. 

Ahhhh, Coffee

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Allie and I sat together watching her favorite morning news show, Fox and Friends, when at seven o'clock, the coffee machine automatically kicked on like it does every morning at this time. I set it so that the charming and beautiful Susan can wake up to nice hot coffee.

The sound of the brew, the smell, knowing my wife is getting up soon; these all give me a warm fuzzy and prime my salivary glands for a nice hot cup o' joe. This feeling is manufactured in heaven.

I got up to get a cup of coffee to find my hopes dashed. The coffee filter had collapsed clogging the machine causing hot water and coffee grounds to flow onto the counter. What a mess. Poop.

Does stuff work like that at your house sometimes?

Religious Rhetoric

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christianese, religiosity, pet-peeves both. People who use churchy talk to sound holy, better, or smarter are as enjoyable to me as nails scraped across a chalkboard.

Throughout the Bible, examples are made of people who talk religious and act evil. Below is the intercepted transcript of a conversation between two people that appear to love mass murder, religion, peace, and God. Try to wrap your brain around that.

A transcript released by the Pakistani government Friday of a purported conversation between militant leader Baitullah Mehsud, who is referred to as Emir Sahib, and another man identified as a Maulvi Sahib, or Mr. Cleric. The government alleges the intercepted conversation proves al-Qaida was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto:

Maulvi Sahib: Peace be on you.

Mehsud: Peace be on you, too.

Maulvi Sahib: How are you Emir Sahib?

Mehsud: Fine.

Maulvi Sahib: Congratulations. I arrived now tonight. Mehsud: Congratulations to you, too.

Maulvi Sahib: They were our men there.

Mehsud: Who were they?

Maulvi Sahib: There were Saeed, the second was Badarwala Bilal and Ikramullah was also there.

Mehsud: The three did it?

Maulvi Sahib: Ikramullah and Bilal did it.

Mehsud: Then congratulations to you again.

Maulvi: Where are you? I want to meet with you?

Mehsud: I am in Makin. Come I am at Anwar Shah's home.

Maulvi Sahib: OK I will come.

Mehsud: Do not inform their family presently.

Maulvi Sahib: Right.

Mehsud: It was a spectacular job. They were very brave boys who killed her.

Maulvi Sahib: Praise be to God. I will give you more details when I come.

Mehsud: I will wait for you. Congratulation once again.

Maulvi Sahib: Congratulations to you as well.

Mehsud: Any service?

Mauvliv: Thank you very much?

Mehsud: Peace be on you.

Maulvi: Same to you.

HT: IndyStar.com by way of Homeland Security Blog

forgiveness and anger

Here's a question I wrestle with: can a sin be forgiven but really forgotten? I mean, we say, "forgive and forget," but is the forgetting part really a possibility? Can what has been forgiven afterward still cause emotions to flare causing injury to old wounds?

Allie's First California Christmas

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Charity bought Allie this red Santa coat last year and Allie can finally wear it this year. Allie had such a blast having family around her. Charity opened each one of Allie's gifts with her and then they tested each one out.

Of course, everything Allie has either lights up or makes noise or both. When Charity and Aaron were growing up, if you bought one of them a toy that made a bunch of noise, that toy got to live at your house and the child could come visit the toy at your house. That was the rule. I really had no use for noisy toys when my two kids were little because they were noisy enough. That comes from their mother's side. But Allie, it turns out, is the center of the universe.

Not that Charity and Aaron weren't at the center of something. While Allie is the center of the universe, Charity and Aaron were more like the center of their own solar systems. Their mother and I were in orbit around them. Like a moon. But don't tell Susan I said that since this time of year with holiday eating and all, everything I say tends to lead into a discussion about diet.

"I think the car needs a tune up."

"Are you saying I'm fat?"

Pictured at the bottom of this photo is a "jack-in-the-box" sent to Allie by the charming and beautiful Susan's mother, Dorice. As you can see, Charity is already startled by the sudden appearance of "jack" even though he hadn't yet made his startling entrance. Allie, so far, thinks this is just something that makes noise. She doesn't know about the "pop-goes-the-weasel" part.

So far, Allie thinks "weasel" is another name for Grandpa.

"How did you get Pop-pop in there?"

Charity is naturally gifted with musical talent and we expect the same from Allie.

I, on the other hand, can play a "jack-in-the-box".

This is a cool toy. It lights up and plays a little song. We let it live at our house since we want Allie to stay.

This is my sister and me. My sister is the one with the hair.

This is that charming and beautiful Susan I've been telling you so much about. But she wouldn't be happy about me posting this picture of her acting scary so please don't say anything to her about it.

"Mum's" the word.

Missionary News

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Have you read an interesting article about missions or a missionary recently? Have you received a good news letter from a missionary on the field or read an interesting missions related blog post? If you thought it was good, others probably will, too. Email it to me and I'll post it.

I need suggestions...

Monday, December 24, 2007

I just got an iTunes gift card from my niece. What should I get? Check out my fave music.

Über Christ Follower Glen Mustian

During the trial of my life, God has provided a friend. Glen Mustian is the new pastor of Calvary Chapel Eureka. He just moved to the area this summer after retiring from twenty years of service in the U.S. Navy. He's the son of a Baptist minister and has been serving in Calvary Chapel around the country while living in different parts of the country and world during his stint with Uncle Sam.  He's got a pile of kids: Cassie, Amanda, Alyssa, Sarah, Josiah, and Jeremiah (I hope I got their names right) ranging from 19 to 3 (I think).

He's come to town with a passion for reaching the lost and discipling the found. Glen spearheads a team of us guys that go down to a local homeless mission once a week where we share the gospel and hang out with the guys that are provided shelter for the night. Not only is Glen a great Bible teacher, he plays a mean guitar. He's a closet Pink Floyd fan. Thursday night at the mission, he covered Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and had more participation from the guys than any other time playing our regular rotation of Sunday morning songs. The spiritual application he made to the lyrics was simple and really connected with the guys. He made it super easy for me to follow with a devotional about spiritual hunger.

Last night, he and his wife showed up at our door bearing gifts for Allie. I was so surprised and overwhelmed. God has really used this man to help Eureka feel like home again after going through such a difficult time in our family.

where's Santa right now?

Click here to track Santa and estimate his time of arrival at your house.

HT: www.noradsanta.org

Kids at the Beach

Thursday, December 20, 2007


These kids are cousins. Ambir, Aaron, and Charity.


Charity and Aaron. The kids came up into the office today to ask me if Aaron can borrow the car to go out to the beach. You know that feeling you get where you feel compelled to say "no", but you can't?

What if they don't like me?

That battle's already lost.


I hope Aaron doesn't drive like he plays. Charity is not thrilled to be lept over like she was a gymnast's horse.


Yin and yang.

Aaron's here :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Aaron got here yesterday. Allie is very happy. Everybody is pretty much stoked.

Allie's nurse came by this morning while Susan and Aaron were at Target. Allie weighed in at 20 pounds even which is three ounces heavier than two weeks ago. She's moving in the right direction.

Inner City Ministry

This is a video my boy put together for Urban Youth Impact, the ministry he works for.


That is my son doing the back flip. CCJ worship leader, Jeff Thompson provides the music.

Hey, Santa:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hint, hint...

MSRP: $120,000

Missed this booger

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I was only gone three days and it seems this little girl changed so much. Have you ever noticed how much kids change when they're little? A few days, a week without seeing the little person growing up in your house feels like eons whiles you're apart, and then when you get back, and everything is different.

Have you ever seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? Leaving Allie for any length of time is like passing through a "Star Gate" coming home to discover an older version of the baby I left. What a trip.

Retraction

I received a nice note from one a Mercy Ships VP regarding the previous blog post pointing to Chritianity Today's article. YWAM and Mercy Ships are two different ministries and apparently I'm the last person on the planet to know.

Both are great ministries. To fid out more about YWAM, click here: link. To learn more about Mercy Ships, follow this link.

Random Reflections - Greg Boyd: Washing Osama's Feet

what do you guys think about this picture?

HT by way of PP:Link to Random Reflections - Greg Boyd: Washing Osama's Feet

Saving Faces | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Christianity Today has a great article about YWAM's Mercy Ships. Let's pray that God takes last weeks shootng incident and uses it to glorify Himself by sending more peopel into the field to spread His Glorious Good News. 

Staff members point to a South African couple, volunteer Trudi Venter and her plastic surgeon husband, Tertius, as an example of costly obedience. God leads just the right people - often couples - toward outreach aboard Mercy Ships. After Tertius operated on patients for 10 days on the Anastasis, he heard God's call to refocus his entire surgical practice around care for the poor. Since then, he has served on board 12 times.

On this tour, his wife joined him. One weekday morning, Trudi sang to comfort a fussy baby - Emanuel, a cleft-palate patient - as her husband toured the wards.

The Jesus film, VeggieTales, and other Christian videos are often shown to patients and their families to introduce them to the gospel. Trudi helped another patient, Nayo, 3, sip water from a cup as she pointed to a television playing the Jesus film. "Look! Jesus loves the children. He says the children must come to him." The child intently watches the screen as Christ heals a blind man.

Read the whole article here: Saving Faces | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Myspace.com Blogs - Tips for Eating - Luann MySpace Blog

Saw this on Luann's MySpace.

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an "eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it!!!! Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat (YUM) - have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"

Source: Myspace.com Blogs - Tips for Eating - Luann MySpace Blog

A Left Turn in Albuquerque

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm having a great time with some bro's in Albuquerque. We're planning and mapping out what we're going to do to raise awareness about Shepherd's Staff specifically and missions in general within Calvary Chapels. A few really cool guys have come on board to help represent the ministry and regional pastors' conferences around the country. I'll cover from Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Northern Nevada. We've also scheduled missionary training at our facility in Mexico in late July. I'm pretty excited about 2008.

One of the guys I met is lead pastor of the Calvary Chapel in Uncasville, Connecticut. I enjoyed hanging out and talking to Joe. Conversation with him is thought provoking. Check out his blog.

What Does Hillary Believe? | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christianity Today sent out an article today about Hillary Clinton and her faith. Like her or hate her, this is an interesting read. The following excerpt was in response to this question to author Paul Kengor by interviewer Rob Moll (Rob Moll was the writer who put out that horrible piece of reporting based on runors and gossip about Calvary Chapel about a year ago).

"Tell me how her marriage to Bill Clinton has impacted her faith."

Probably, what has kept turning her back to God more than anything else through the 80s and 90s has been the trials and tribulations her husband has put her through. He has been well known to be unfaithful to her since, according to rumors, since the earliest days of their marriage and certainly since the 80's.

Read the rest of the article here: What Does Hillary Believe? | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

other crap by Rob Moll: link
crap I wrote about Rob Moll's crap: link

A Kiss for Julia

Monday, December 10, 2007

Got this text from Julia today:

"Please give Allie a kiss from me!"

Well, Julia, kiss this.

Connected???

Sunday, December 09, 2007

 What is going on today?

It was not immediately known whether the shootings were related to an earlier shooting about 70 miles away in the Denver suburb of Arvada. There, two people died and two were wounded early Sunday when a gunman opened fire in a dormitory at a missionary training center on the campus of Faith Bible Chapel.

Source: My Way News - 4 Shot Outside Colorado Springs Church

YWAM Article Library

YWAM Staff Killed in Denver
By Paul Filidis

It is with great sadness that we report the shooting death of two staff members at our YWAM Denver (Arvada) training location. The shooting occurred just after midnight, Sunday early morning; two additional staff members were injured, one is in critical condition. Please pray -- for the families who are on their way to Denver -- for the critically injured young man undergoing surgery today -- for the staff and students who have been evacuated to another location -- for the apprehension of the gunman who fled the scene

Source: YWAM Article Library

Update

Two dead in YWAM shooting... 

Source: My Way News

My Way News - Gunman Wounds 4 in Missionary Center

please pray... 

DENVER (AP) - A gunman walked into a training center for young Christian missionaries in a Denver suburb early Sunday and opened fire, wounding at least four people.

The shooting happened at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Youth With a Mission center, Arvada Police spokeswoman Susan Medina said.

The extent of the injuries was not clear, and the gunman was still at large Sunday morning.

According to its Web site, Youth With a Mission has about 1,000 locations worldwide and trains people to become missionaries. About 50 people were inside the Arvada site when the gunman opened fire.

Source: My Way News - Gunman Wounds 4 in Missionary Center

Mitt's Mormon Underwear

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's rare for me to foray into  politics here on this blog. I've wanted for a long time to post my opinions about Mitt Romney's candidacy and his religion. I decided not to post an opinion about the politics or the religion of Romney or any other candidate. But then Romney decided to make a speech about his Mormonism. He invoked the memory of JFK's speech about his Catholicism. Which leads me to ask why every candidate somehow feels like he/she somehow has to identify himself/herself with JFK in every election? Everybody has a short memory about the Bay of Pigs, Viet Nam, and Marilyn Monroe, I guess. I digress.

Back to Romney: he put himself out there. David Frum summed it up best on his blog:

To be blunt, Romney is saying:

It is legitimate to ask a candidate, "Is Jesus the son of God?"

But it is illegitimate to ask a candidate, "Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?

mormon garments

Romney's speech was torn from a page of the Mormon Evangelism Handbook. Look like Christianity on the surface. But keep Mormonism's secret and dark side hidden beneath a glossy veneer of blond hair, blue-eyed, whitesome-delightsome.

The last thing Romney wants is  public discussion of what the LDS church believes.

Source: David Frum's Diary on National Review Online

Kudos, little bro'

My brother Dan dove headfirst into a fresh restaurant endeavor up in Portland, Oregon. Dan has been honored three years straight with the titke of Iron Chef of Oregon and now his restaurant made it into The Michelin Guide.
Daniel Mondok, chef and owner, cooked at Carlyle and Olea. But nothing prepared me for the leaps in invention and execution that his new position has brought. Sel Gris emphasizes French plus some Italian and American bistro cooking, but artfully modernized with invention and imagination.

Read the rest of this article here: Thrilling and Michelin-worthy - OregonLive.com

Spreading the Cheer

Friday, December 07, 2007

I found this on one a Shepherd's Staff Missionary's blog.

Sometimes telling the truth costs you something... and then sometimes telling the truth is just fun.



HT: Link to Jacksons in Spain

Bath tub Mis-adventure

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The charming and beautiful Susan and I just had the fight of our lives with Allie. Allie is kind of freaked out by taking a bath in the tub - it could be that voices sound different in there or that the fan is running or being in water - so we purchased a little blow-up tub so we can give her a bath in her room where she is comfortable. As soon as her feet hit the water, she flipped out. I mean FLIPPED OUT flipped out. She screamed, hollered and yelled so much that she projectile vomitted all over us, in the water, and on herself.

We decided to continue with the sponge baths for a little while longer.

Medically speaking, Allie continues to move forward. She was seen by Dr. H. who oversees the physical therapy unit Allie goes to twice a week. Last time we saw him, I thought I might have to thump him. I've become a little over-protective of this baby these days. At our first appointment with him, he roughly flipped Allie over on her tummy and she freaked so bad I had to take her outside and swing with her to get her to calm down. And he didn't offer us a whole lot of hope, either. And we were a little hope deprived back in those days.

But this time, it was totally different. He talked about the possibility of Allie walking before she crawled, about braces, about goals, and he talked to us in terms even I could understand about the brain and how a child's brain heals. It was and educational, hopeful, and upbeat conversation.

Here are Allie's current challenges and what you can be praying about:

Sitting. She sits with support and she holds her head up better than ever. But she needs to gain balance and the instinct to stop herself with her hands when she leans to far left, right, or forward. She puts some pressure on her right hand and has developed more trunk strength and coordination when leaning right than left.

Tummy-time. Her g-tube is out and she spends more time on her tummy, but doesn't get there on her own or roll off of her tummy without assistance. But she is content there and has greater range of motion with her arms than ever.

Eating. She is eating better than she ever has. We feed her soup, avocados (yep), cereal, bananas, cookies and these baby cheeto things. Her tongue and mouth are working great. She gained a half pound in two weeks. I thought for sure she gained more, but she's doing okay and is definitely more active.

Sleeping. She gets a lot of sleep at night. She only wakes up once or twice. She is an early riser. Therefore, so am I.

She's sleeping right now, as a matter of fact, in the arms of the charming and beautiful Susan.

We appreciate all your prayer. Allie's medical crew is continually amazed by her progress. I have plenty of opportunity to testify about prayer and the power of God.

Christmas Tree Killing

Monday, December 03, 2007

This is Charity in my buddy Steve's driveway. As you can see, Steve is a four wheel drive enthusiast.

This is Steve and I. I'm the one in the Old Navy pullover. Steve lived around the corner from me on Humboldt Hill. Me and Steve have been friends since the eighth grade.

We drove up to Southfork Mountain in Trinity County. To get the kind of trees that are good for decorating, you have to get up to around four thousand feet above sea level where the white fir grows.

The most interesting sight on the way up was the guy cutting the backstrap out the roadkill deer on the side of the road. Here in Northern California, venison is a delicacy. The backstrap is that tender piece of loin on either side of the spine. I've heard of people taking meat from roadkill, but I've never actually witness it go down.
We took four trees Saturday. Trees never look that great out in the woods. It's not until you get them home and decorated that they look like Christmas trees.


Here's me slaying a young tree.

Here's me and Steve making sure the tree is good and dead before we drag it to the truck.

My trophy tree.

We dragged my niece, Ambir, and my daughter, Charity out of bed early in the morning and had them ride up to Southfork with us.


Charity is getting a whiff of Christmas. Who doesn't love that fresh Christmas tree smell?


We tied three trees onto my little car. I was pretty proud of that.

Finished product. Allie loves to lay on the floor and watch the lights flicker and flash.

Coming and Going

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My buddy Steve sent me these pictures of dedicated elk hunters. I don't think these guys are into hunting as a hobby.

Steve is taking Charity, Ambir (my niece), and me into the woods to cut some Christmas trees... I'll have some pictures tomorrow.

Can anyone tell me what kind of car this is? Chevette?

 

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