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Allie's latest trip to San Francisco

Thursday, February 28, 2008

We just took our quarterly trip to San Francisco to see Allie's neurologist. The first bit of good news is that he's so happy with Allie's progress that he switched our visits from quarterly to once every six months which is really excellent news because Allie doesn't like to be in the car for longer than a half hour and we're talkin' about six hours in the car when we go down to the big city. So, yeeeeaaaaah!

The next bit of good news is that Allie's been taken off her seizure medicine. She's never had any seizures so no need is what the doc is thinking. When Allie left the hospital, she was taking eight meds through her g-tube. Now, she's down to one, and that's just a muscle relaxer.

These trips down to the bat area are alway tough on us. This time we had to meet with the district attorney which sucks because that just dredged up all the emotion over the horror Allie went through so many months ago - almost a year.

We also met with Allie's social worker and everything having to do with the adoption is coming along smoothly. Pray for us that it continues to roll along without any major hitches.

Karen Refugees of Phoenix

I received this email from my buddy Jeff the other day:
After I saw the new Rambo movie, I was compelled to call the Arizona Republic and tell them that a large group of the people that were being exterminated in the Rambo movie are living here in Phoenix. They sent out a reporter and a photographer last weekend, and the story ran today, ALL over Phoenix....and my phone is ringing off the hook!

The article isn't completely accurate and he attributes some things to me that I didn't say, but overall, it gets the point across.

Thought you'd enjoy seeing it.

It's an interesting article. Here's an excerpt:
The Rev. Jeff Jackson came to West Dunlap in December in large part because of his decade-long background of working with Karen refugees in Thailand.

He and Glenn Ramey, who has served as the church's pastor for the past 41 years, estimate that 250 Karen now attend their church. It is a remarkable story of regeneration for a once demographically obsolete church that was dying just three years ago.

The base of the church's congregation, Caucasian city-dwellers, had left for the Valley's expanding suburbs. Ramey struggled with the church's decline and gave serious consideration to closing it down and putting the land up for sale. But at the depth of the demographic crisis, recently arrived Karen refugees, many unable to speak English, began showing up at its doors.

"The infusion of the Karen was a great blessing to us," Ramey said.

Read the rest of the article here: link

G.I. Joe

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Remember when the coolest thing about having a G.I. Joe was kung fu grip?


My buddy Dan sent me this photo of a G.I. Joe death squad. Rodents beware.

Rock-a-bye

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sleep time is a busy time in our little household. Allie is going through a phase where she is up every couple of hours during the night. This keeps the charming and beautiful Susan hopping. This morning, I took over the watch at around 2 a.m. and fed Allie a bottle and bounced her on the ball (we use a fitness orb as a rocking chair - it's the only thing that works for me...). I usually put Allie down for a couple of naps during the day and she goes right out, but her night time sleep pattern is different and it takes a little more patience.

This routine, while rough on the charming and beautiful Susan and me, is a good thing for Allie. She has so much more flexibility and range of movement than she used to so she's a little wiggle worm these days; day and night. But she doesn't have all the movement that she needs. So, she has enough movement to flip over on her back while sleeping or to lose her pacifier, but she doesn't have the vision or ability to move well enough to find her lost binky and put it back in her mouth. So she wakes up.

But even while she's moving, when we pick her up, she relaxes in our arms and falls back to sleep in them. But in order for her to stay asleep in her crib, we have to rock with her for about an hour. Tonight, for me, this was a sacred time. I just watch over her and pray. I wonder why it's taking so long for my prayers to be answered, but maybe these kind of prayers take longer.

We're coming up on a year since this happened. I arrived in California on May 1, I think it was. I was full of despair, but I made positive confessions hoping somehow this would prompt God to bring me back the baby we had living at our house before horrible things happened to her. Why did God let this happen?

I asked that then and I'm still asking it because I haven't heard the answer yet.

But God decided to answer a questions I never asked. I never asked Him if I could love a baby so much. He's shown me that I can love more than I ever thought I could.

And I never asked Him if I had a strong marriage. Though rocky at times, He's shown me that I'm married to an amazing woman and that our marriage can survive the worse tragedy imaginable.

God showing us these things in the here and now gives us faith for the future. When Jesus' disciples prayed, "Lord, increase our faith..." I think this is how He does it. What do you think?

Haircut of the Year

My sister forwarded this whack photo to me. I gotta quit opening her forwards.

Refugee Images

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Christianity today sent out this interesting article about refugees from Chad.
"This country has huge potential both in terms of human potential and economic potential," Birch said. "And [it's a] tragedy to see a country like this just not ever enjoying peace. I think Chadians would like to see people outside of Chad joining with them and praying for peace and a lasting solution to Chad's problems."

Chad has seen a remarkable growth in its Christian population over the last 30 years, according to Torrey Olsen, senior director for World Vision programs. Most estimates now say that more than one third of the general population is Christian.


Click here to view the slideshow.

HT: Christianity Today

hot search item

Monday, February 18, 2008

This picture originally posted almost a year ago has been a hot item in internet searches today. Why is that? Do you know something I don't?


Great photo entitled "Female member of Mursi tribe in Southern Ethiopia" -- a woman with an AK47 and an iPod.

Link

(via Digg)

Lost Coast Ride

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The charming and beautiful Susan and I took in the most amazing scenery yesterday on a motorcycle ride we took to the Lost Coast.

My buddy Steve was our tour guide. Ever since Steve and I were kids, we talked about getting motorcycles and riding through the country side. It only took thirty years to make it happen.


Just to fair, I didn't take these amazing photos. I clipped them from Flickr albums. If I'd actually taken the pictures, half of this beauty would not have been captured or communicated.

The ranch these cows belong to is the western most ranch in the continental U.S. These cows are grazing on the beach. No condos on this beach. Just cows.


We're incredibly thankful for the respite care we receive through St. Joseph's home health care and the Redwood Regional Center. David, the nurse that cares for Allie while we take a break, has become a friend and running partner.

Sequoia Park


The weather here has been gorgeous. The sun shines brightly in February even though it's the middle of winter. Over Allie's shoulder is my sister, Jennifer.


This slide extends from the middle of a clump of redwoods. A platform is constructed on a stump.


The charming and beautiful Susan may be having more fun on the slide than Allie. The slide doesn't impress this little girl.


Swings. Now swings are cool. You can feel a breeze and pop-pop get some serious air.


Allie is able to swing in this little seat all by herself. That's the charming and beautiful Susan over Allie's shoulder helping Allie launch herself as high as possible.


Susan mugging with Allie.


Bryon's turn.

"Mamma's Boy"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So, while you were out to a Valentines Dinner with your lovely significant other, I was preaching down at the Eureka Rescue Mission which is what someone does from our church does every Thursday night. A Bible study/gospel message is presented every night before dinner is served down there. My talk tonight was from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10 - the story of the Good Samaritan.

As if the Good Samaritan wasn't a tough enough subject for, you know, homeless guys, one of them decided to heckle me. "Get a haircut," he says. I'm bald so I'm an easy target for the really creative heckler. Then he asked for my shirt which I was willing to give him if he still wanted it after I got done talking. He came up after I was done, but only to call me a mamma's boy. So I forgot to give him my shirt. It was actually pretty funny.

Homeless dudes just don't fake their feelings about preachers. It's kind of refreshing to really know what people think about you.

How about you? Do you really want to know what people think about you, or would you rather people hold back a little? How thick is your skin?

Expand your language

truthi-ness, wikiality, suck-tackular, informationable... These are words either seriously under-used or made up. I introduced you to them here.

One under-used word that I predict will be heard over and over is the Clemens coined word: "misremembered" as in, "my good friend, Mr. Pettitte, is an upstanding, truthful person. He didn't lie about me, he misremembered."

Not only can our sports gods do whatever they want, they're allowed to redefine language as they see fit.

Crash

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My computer has collided with my arrogance. Don't you hate when you think you know something only to find out that the knowledge you think you have falls dismally short?

My computer has slowed way down, so I started clicking this and deleting that. "What's this? I don't know. I must not be using it." Delete. Crash.

Then I found an XP disk in my office so I thought I'd just reload it. But I erased everything in the process. My computer didn't even recognize itself. And it didn't know me from Adam. It couldn't hook-up to the internet. It didn't remember where any of my files were. It didn't know what size to display itself on the monitor. It was, like, in a coma.

But I am now addressing you from the very same computer. I'm on the internet. The screen works. Yipee. I found all the drivers I needed on my manufacturrs website. I can't believe I thought to look there. Pretty impressive. I guess I am smart. I'm a legend in my own mind.

What stupid thing did you do lately? Feel free to come clean about voting for Hillary if you need to get it off your chest...

I'm sorry. My computer...

I'm sorry. My computer crashed. No blogging until further notice. listen

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Home Again

Friday, February 08, 2008


I love to travel. I hate to travel. I miss home. Home is defined differently for me these days.


Home is not where. Home is who. Home is the charming and beautiful Susan and Allie.


I played hookie from work yesterday and just hung out with the girls all day.

Can You Be Evangelical and Vote Democrat?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I've heard it said, you've heard it said, that you can be a Democrat when you come to Christ, but as you mature and grow in the Lord, you will naturally vote Republican.

Is that a true statement? Have you heard that said? Is a definition of solid theology mean that salvation is a free gift, but to keep it you have to vote Republican? Is that the natural flow of logic? According to Christianity Today, young evangelicals are drawn to Obama? Are they mis-guided? Or Holy Spirit guided?

Should Obama earn the Democratic nomination, his message of hope and unity will appeal to young evangelicals, said Allen Hertzke, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. Obama talks openly about his faith, often employing biblical imagery in his speeches. But any outreach effort from Clinton would need to overcome her family's history.

According to Dr. Dobson, there are no choices and therefore, the truly Christian, family friendly thing to do is to not vote...

"Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for President in my lifetime," Dobson said in a message to his e-mail subscribers the morning of Super Tuesday. "I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for President for the first time in my life."

C'mon Dobson, you're acting like a strong-willed child.

How can we not talk about politics? This is the biggest Presidential Election I can remember.

Source: Super Tuesday Results Show Split Between Evangelicals and Their Spokesmen | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

 

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Snow Driving

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I just made a run to Starbucks in the snow. Now I know how the Donner party must have felt.

These locals don't know what they're doing, that's for sure. They're zipping around me like I know what I'm doing driving in the snow. I have forty years of no experience at it. I felt perfectly justified taking a handicapped space since I don't know how to drive or even walk in the snow.

Michaels

John Michaels, pastor of Calvary Chapel Spring Valley, is a former nuclear physicist. He has and incredible talent for making science and math interesting as he uses them to illustrate biblical concepts.

Michaels turned to algebra for an example in one of his messages. Remember algebra? Remember telling your teacher when you didn't do your homework that you'll never use algebra in real life?

Michaels said that in algebra we learned about formulas and equations. Every equation has two things: a constant and a variable. We, in our spiritual lives have a tendency to view our circumstances as the constant and God as the variable. But that's backwards. God is the constant and everything else in existence is the variable.

I definitely need my brains washed.

Ortiz

52 year old Ken Ortiz, pastor of Calvary Chapel Spokane, took his pulpit looking quite hip - like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. Or Rob Bell's older brother.

He delivered an oration on the Kingdom of God - one of the best talks I've ever heard given on the subject. Even as I'm typing this, John Michaels (CC Spring Valley), who is speaking right now, is saying how overwhelmed he was by the talk Ortiz gave. The man can bring it. Check out his podcast on iTunes.

Keep Tabs

BLOGGING LIVE FROM UGANDA

I'm jealous.

There's a pile of bloggers teaming up with Compassion and heading over to Uganda on a mission trip. Anne Jackson will be live blogging about all that they get into over there. I hope this is the first trip over there for her. She's a great writer and I'm looking forward to how she'll pen her first impressions of Africa.

Make sure you pray for the safety of the team. The most dangerous thing anyone can do over there is unavoidable: enter traffic. Anne left a little twitter note about traffic today. You ain't seen nothin', honey.

Now do the right thing and go sponsor a kid...
SPONSOR A CHILD FROM UGANDA

Calvary Chapel Pastors' Conference - Spokane 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm swoopin' up to Spokane, WA, to represent Shepherd's Staff at the 2008 Inland Northwest Pastor's and Leader's Conference. This should be a good conference. One man that I've thoroughly read and learned from over the years is Gayle Erwin. He'll be speaking at the conference. And Shepherd's Staff board member John Michaels will teach. I'm looking forward to that since Michaels always shares about the Great Commission and World Missions. Rock star Bob Caldwell will give a memorable talk and host Ken Ortiz, no doubt, will challenge conference attenders to live out real faith in the real world.

I'm also really looking forward to Old School Worship by Terry and Nancy Clark. Last time I heard Terry sing, Pastor Bob Coy got beat up. I'm trying hard to repress that memory.

Clam Beach Run

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I ran the shortest race Ive ever signed up for today. But it was the longest 8.75 miles I've ever run. And the most beautiful.

It was 43 degrees and raining. The first six miles was mostly uphill and the downhill and then uphill and down... you get the idea. It wound through Redwood and Spruce forests, the little town of Trinidad, Ca, and then down to Clam Beach.

At mile six, the course emerged from the woods and wound up on the beach. But that trail to the beach was blocked by the Little River. This winter has been unseasonably cold and the foothills nearby have a nice blanket of snow. Of course, the Little River is partly supplied by the runoff of melting snow and icy rain. If there was ever a day for God to do a repeat of the Red Sea Crossing, today was the day.

The water was about chest high and the current was running quick. A rope was strung across the river and I needed both hands to hang on. The water was chest high and COLD. I'm pretty sure it was colder than the air. I'm definitely sure it was the coldest water I've EVER been in. It was painfully cold. What happened to certain parts of my male anatomy brings an episode of Seinfeld to mind.

The final two miles were totally flat, but on the beach with a twenty mile an hour liquid wind blowing in my face. My shoes weighed a good five pounds more courtesy of the Little River. My shorts were soaked. My shirt was cold and wet and robbing my body of any heat I could manufacture. BTU's were exiting my body through my skull even though it was covered with a stocking cap. Of course, it was thoroughly soaked, too. I could see the horizon and even the finish line almost the whole time I ran on the beach, but it seemed like a mirage, a trick of the eyes, because it never got closer.

I finished the race, unofficially, in about an hour and twenty-five minutes. But I started my personal timer a little late so we'll have to check the stats in a couple of days. There should be a link here.
My Official Time: 1:25:16

Eureka Reporter Article
Times-Standard Artcle

Attack That Hill, Boy

Friday, February 01, 2008

It's taken me some time to get back on track with my running routine. I just can't find any flat ground here in Eureka. Florida conditioned me for flat, boring, and warm. Here I have frost, rain, hail, and hills. The path of least resistance eludes me. Is staying in shape and enjoying running supposed to cost this much?

I complained to a couple of the nurses that provide care for Allie who are fellow runners. "I can't find any place with no hills," I whined.

"No hills? How boring," said Char, Allie's nurse/case manager. "Why would want it to be so boring?"

"I've been sprinting up the hills in front of my house," said David.

"Well, good for you," I think to myself sarcastically, but say aloud, "Now that's a thought."

I have three marathons under my belt, but these local runners have challenged me. I can finish the race on flat ground in a tropical climate. But can I finish the race on rough terrain while beaten by harsh wind and icy rain blowing in off Alaskan Pacific currents?

I've taken the wrong line of attack with this new life I have here in Northern California raising my handicapped granddaughter. As a husband I look for the path of least resistance. I'm looking for a downhill course where I can feel the sun on my face while running in cool, forested shade.

I'm looking for a jogging trail through the Garden of Eden.

I've been training for a race tomorrow. The further I run on these training runs, the more I realize I cant avoid hills. Monday I stepped out with seven miles ahead of me. As soon as I walked outside, the rain turned to hail and ice. I just pulled a hood over my stocking cap and went for it. As I ran inland, there was an inch of snow in some places and the sun started to come out. I had a nice downhill run with and even steeper uphill on the other side of the valley. I ran at that hill as hard as I could. I made up my mind to attack these hills instead of avoiding them. There is no way around.

It makes me think back to my days in infantry training when we had to hike up hills in full battle dress with seventy pound packs on our backs. The mountains we climbed had names I can't repeat on this family friendly blog. Think of the seven words you can't say on television, and you'll have a feel for the kind of names these hills earned.

They're hills like those that I'm climbing now. But like the instructions of a drill instructor in my ear, I hear Jesus' voice as He tells His disciples: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."

I'm here, you're there, establishing the kingdom of God. It's not going to happen without obstacles and steep climbs. Attack.

Rave Reviews

My little brother continues to rock the restaurant scene up in Portland, Oregon. Check out what Heidi Yorkshire, scribe for the Willamette Weekly had to say:
When I first saw the restaurant, on a bland block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, it actually glowed in the winter gloom. The shoebox-shaped space is simple but uncommonly chic, and the subdued dining room directs all eyes to the brightly lit kitchen, framed by a proscenium-like filigree screen, where chef-owner Daniel Mondok stands center stage, in starched white, positioned to make sure everything in his little kingdom is exactly the way he wants it.

In a world where restaurants are “concepts” and super-chefs clone themselves from Las Vegas to Dubai, Sel Gris is something very different: one skilled, imaginative artist expressing himself in the medium of food at one moment in time. Mondok, who headed the kitchens at Carlyle and Olea locally before opening Sel Gris last September, works with the big stove on his right, a stainless steel table in front of him. With a quietly purposeful kitchen crew behind him, he cooks. And every dish that leaves the kitchen lands on Mondok’s work station first. He eyes every one, adds the finishing touches—a few meticulously selected sprigs of thyme, a squirt of sauce, a sprinkle of sea salt—and then, when he’s proud of it, he sends it to the table.

read the rest of the article here: WWeek.com.
 

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