Thursday, December 10

Stone of Hope

"What is an Ebenezer, anyway?"

Hymn No. 400 sings: "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." The words are wonderful, but when we come to verse 2, and the words: "Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come..."

1 Samuel 7:12-14 says Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

The word "Ebenezer" comes from Hebrew and is actually two words pronounced together: Even Haazer. Written in Hebrew it looks like this:


It is usually transliterated as a proper name by dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for "help" (Ezer) and putting it together with the Hebrew word for "stone" (Even) to create: "Ebenezer." The etymological roots of the word, thus defined, should demonstrate that an "Ebenezer" is, literally, a "Stone of Help."

In 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 5:1, the Ebenezer is strangely identified with a particular site, about four miles south of Gilgal, where the Israelites were twice defeated by the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was stolen. These battles took place, however, before the site was actually named Ebenezer. The two battles mentioned in 1 Samuel 4 and 5 took place at Ebenezer, but some time before it was so-named.

The site wasn’t named Ebenezer until after the Israelites finally defeated the Philistines, and took back the Ark of the Covenant. To commemorate the victorious battle, Samuel set up a marker-stone, named it "Stone of Help," and thereby the site became identified with the stone and with the place where God’s miraculous help aided them in their victory over the Philistines. The stone, standing up-right, was called "Ebenezer," and the site naturally took on that name as well.

Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a "stone of help," or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are "Ebenezers."

Orion

I spied your entirety through my skylight tonight. You were brilliant!

Job 9
1 Then Job answered and said:
2 “Truly I know it is so,
But how can a man be righteous before God?

3 If one wished to contend with Him,
He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.

4 God is wise in heart and mighty in strength.
Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?

5 He removes the mountains, and they do not know
When He overturns them in His anger;

6 He shakes the earth out of its place,
And its pillars tremble;

7 He commands the sun, and it does not rise;
He seals off the stars;

8 He alone spreads out the heavens,
And treads on the waves of the sea;

9 He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;

10 He does great things past finding out,
Yes, wonders without number.

11 If He goes by me, I do not see Him;
If He moves past, I do not perceive Him;

12 If He takes away, who can hinder Him?
Who can say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’

Monday, December 7

Am I Alone?

I just got home from taking 5 friends to the movies, The Blind Side. (Good reviews from all of us.) It was nice to break our regular meeting routine and to "be" outside "doing" something different. Breaking routine is good. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Brief discussion followed as we headed to the car a parking lot away. I... however, didn't want it to end, so suggested we head to a burger place to get shakes or something. Since it's 30 degrees outside, they thought something hot sounded better. I decided to take them to Chocolati for a delicious hot chocolate...

I hoped we'd sit for a while and talk about the movie, or life or something... but it was really warm inside, so we stood outside (go figure the logic here) in the freezing cold drinking our hot drinks. Ten minutes later, drinks gone, the cold starts to bite, so we pile in my truck and I take em home.

Here is the question. Why is it, the minute they stepped outside of my car and ran into the house, did I instantly feel all alone??? We had a good time... I enjoyed treating everyone... but by the time I walked into my house (only a block away) I felt.... not sure that destitute is the right word... but I did feel lonely. How can this be after just spending a nice time with friends?

. . . . . .......sigh!

.....it is December after all

Monday, November 30

Divorce...

I
H A T E
it.

Sunday, November 22

Chicken Soup

Today's note... Chicken Soup. The famed feel good treat when you are not feeling well. Well, I wasn't feeling well, but more importantly, my friends were sick so I decided to make them some soup. Folks get intimidated I think, but there's really no need. I'm a boy and I can make it... so can you. I like things a little spicy (helps clear the congestion) so bare that in mind should you make this yourself. Also, the "magic" of chicken soup is the fat/oil from the chicken. It's important so don't be too healthy freaky to omit it.

I have never written down a recipe before--I typically just wing it. I'll do my best to out line the ingredients. If you make soup with things that you like, then ultimately, the outcome should be good. Above are some of the fresh ingredients. Yes, Coke-Cola makes me feel good, so ... there it is. Other ingredients are cilantro, celery, carrots, onions, pasta, broth/stock, hominy, pasta (i use tiny stars). This is definitely hearty and stew like. Oh! Chicken, of course, corn, green beans, peas, and diced tomatoes, garlic....
Chicken: 2 breasts, 4 legs-all with skins. I boil them in water for about 30 minutes, until tender. No longer, else they get tough. Meanwhile, I pour a little olive oil in a nice big pot. Use the biggest pot you have...trust me. My pot never seems to be big enough. Olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and some butter. Add the diced sweet onion, cook til transparent. Throw in some diced carrots-try to keep the pieces of carrots all the same size so they cook evenly. Add in lots of chopped garlic. The more the better. Stir. Just prior to the garlic changing color/browning (once this begins, it happens very quickly), add in the can of diced tomatoes & chilies. I also through in 3 red chili peppers that I had drying from the summer. I removed the seeds, but left them whole for easy removal later. As needed, I add water and chicken stock. More water at the beginning, and more broth/stock at the end. Chop some celery. Check on the boiling chicken. I add some salt and pepper and garlic (and other desired herbs) while it's boiling to insure that it doesn't taste bland at the end. Back to the soup, toss in the Celery, Cilantro and some Hominy. Simmer on medium heat. Add some more liquid. Taste for flavor. Add Salt, a little Cayenne pepper, White Pepper, Herbs to taste. Adding it all at the beginning helps the flavors swirl throughout the soup... melding everything together.

Now, pick the chicken from the boiling water and put on a plate. Keep that water boiling cuz you're going to throw the bones back in for a couple hours. This is how you make stock. You may add more herbs or garlic or onion to this liquid while it boils and reduces... Yes, you can skip this step, but it's in boiling the bones that you get all the minerals and richness in taste. While that's boiling, go back to the soup and add in some frozen Peas, Corn, and Green Beans. Give that a stir. Turn the heat down. Add the deboned & defatted/deskinned chicken and wait for the stock. When the stock is ready, strain out all the bones and remaining fat...all you want is the liquid. Bring it back up to a boil and add the pasta. I like to do this because the starches from the pasta help thicken the stock. When the pasta is ready, gently pour into your soup. Stir a few times. I like to add a little more cilantro at that end for added fragrance. and brightness. I added more Hominy at the end because it got just a little too spicy. The flavors mellowed, blended well.... my friends were both surprised and delighted that I thought of them. Definitely a feel good moment. Bon appetite. Just give it a try.


Sunday, November 1

Happy Unhappy... hallows

So... although I personally don't make a big deal out of halloween (essentially turn off the lights and pray nothing horrible happens, covering my head trying to mute the ruckus from all the partying freaks as they yammer up and down the street breaking bottles and clinging to each other wobbling home--with a slight chance it'll be their own--and I mustn't forget the bittersweet screams of sirens piercing the night and early morning air....)...... and perhaps, just perhaps I find joy poking fun at the folks who willfully revisit their youth as they play dress up paying no regard to their age.... hummm... but this is true, upon rare occasion, I give props to decent costumes. I'm not all Ebenezer.


Saturday, October 24

Ugh

This is me........and how I feel. Actually, more the sentiment. I don't feel so bad as much as the tickle in my throat that gets no relief from coughing, yet coughing is all my body wants to do, but not do cause ridiculous amounts of coughing only amount to a throbbing headache and a throat tickle that is, well, not funny at all. Ugh. After 3 weeks of this... I'm done! Lord, please take whatever this thing is away, or let me die.

Wednesday, October 21

Contradictions

Well, tonight I had the privilege to attend my friend's debut... Her first live-in-front-of-a-crowd-other-than-her-family performance at a funky little place called Cafe Racer. What a wonderful surprise to see her so well composed on stage. I shouldn't say "surprised" because she's always such a delight to be around, it's not surprising in the least that the show went off without a hitch. Sure, Heather acted all nervous... but, she loved it. It's great to encourage her now at the beginning stages for certainly if she continues to pursue music, she'll be a great success and me? Well, I'll just be one of the "little people in a flannel shirt". There is a sample of her music in the right column. I think I'll put up a new song.


In regards to the title. Well. It is becoming more and more evident that I am a person of contradictions. For example, in talking with one friend about the whole blog thing, I reluctantly passed the address on to her. I say reluctantly, not because I'm not proud, but just not sure if I want people that I know reading and knowing a bit more about me (behind my back, sorta). But then again, I have her to thank for spurring me on to posting something new since I get kinda lazy about it. We talked about Montana and how beautiful it was... I really should post some photos from there. So... therefore... henceforth... read my blog... Wait! Don't read my blog... if you do... don't let me know that you do... but uhhh... actually... a comment or two would be encouraging cuz who doesn't feel alone in the world from time to time? See??!?!?? Contradictions.

Finally, I hope you are enjoying the Autumn colors wherever you are. We had a cold snap that I was certain would bring an early change in seasonal colors. And it's thoughts like that that prohibit me from being an author in the Farmers Almanac. Almost a month later, those long awaited colors have arrived in full grandeur. Below is a one of perhaps a series that I'll post. I really, reaaaaally like panoramic photos....Not a ton of color in this one like others... but this is definitely a path I'd like to go down....

Monday, October 12

Sunsets

Sure. They are pretty.
But sometimes... Sometimes they are just so darn
S P E C T A C U L A R!


Thursday, October 8

Remodel

Today (and yesterday), I helped a friend research some materials for the remodel of her 1910 Craftsman home. She's exhausted. It is not easy to combine her tastes with her husbands, wanting to please everyone, deal with designers, contractors, general laborers (like the dillweeds that working on restoring/staining her windows...family business or not, some people simply do not belong in the front line of dealing with customers!) Then of course, I throw in my two-cents, by her request which is great... but I want to respect the boundaries of that request and friendship, and honor her tastes and thoughts while offering my honest-but not hurtful-opinions. Taking on such a task of a remodel, no matter the scale, has an Eiger of decisions to be made.

Lighting alone, is such a mountain. One thing that I think is great through the process is that in the quest to find the "perfect lighting", you're able to narrow down your tastes. You have to look at billions of lighting fixtures, seemingly, to discover the cliche and mundane, ugly, cold commercial, tacky, wishful thinking, and ahh...just the right one. We did the 3 bedroom ceiling lights, the stairwell, landing, and entry. We even have a back up plan if things, for whatever reason, don't look perfect. It was really rewarding to see her smile as she made her first purchase. Sighs of relief. Twinkles of delight.

I'm glad to be her friend. I'm glad for the opportunity to explore materials and furnishings with someone else in mind. It makes me feel good to have someone who wants to know my thoughts and appreciate them and even utilize them. In this, I am blessed.

Wednesday, October 7

Still pondering


Last week at church, Richard told and interesting story...seen here. The whole sermon was really good... you can download it here. The memorable thought that captured my pondering mind was this:

"Life is a train ride during a 100 year storm."

Monday, October 5

Seasons changing

Some Autumns are better than others. Temperatures plummeted last couple weeks to the 40's but slowly and surely it's warming back up again. This is the habit of the beautiful Northwest. And as with every season of change, there are challenges. Certainly, some days are better than others... but always challenging non the less. Along with happy feelings, there is discomfort. Optimism battles reality. Sunsets are precious and beautiful. Leaves crunching underfoot are brittle skeletons of what once held prismatic glory. Alas, this is life. This is the inhaling and exhaling of existence that must occur. Life, and death. It's easy to feel the presence of God in the warmth of the sun on my face, and his Spirit in the sunbeams radiating from heaven. It's in the overcast clouds that my faith quivers. Rhetorical questions swirl in the vortex of my mind. The orchestrated chaos of change wisps me about like a fallen leaf in a miniature twister. Oh.... to be a mighty oak... (or a chestnut tree such as these above) rooted in the rich soil of God's grace and mercy.

Tuesday, September 1

My amazing friends

Local news soon to be National News!
Phil and Brian are two great guys who have a worthy vision. Please check out their website I Love Baseball and be part of the excitement!


Thursday, August 13

Swine flu update

According to the BBC, "Globally, there are now 215,090 reported cases, and 1,735 infected patients have died."

Tuesday, August 11

If you're missing Hotlanta

Here she is...


Sunday, August 9

Two Quotes

"The curse of a godless man can sound more pleasant in God's ears than the Hallelujah of the pious." Luther

"The sin of respectable people reveals itself in flight from responsibility." Bethge

Monday, August 3

GNP

If you've not been to Glacier National Park, you really must drop everything you are doing and GO! The beauty and peacefulness I experienced here was unlike I've seen elsewhere in the world. A bold statement, I know. Perhaps it just suited my soul to breath in the purest of oxygen...


........now, if I can figure out how to economically print a 57" poster...

Friday, July 31

The Blue Angels


It's Seafair weekend. Blue Angels have been practicing. The weather is Excellant. The hydroplanes are gearing up for action. The weekend is shaping up into an adrenaline, fast paced, heart pounding, roaring engines, thrilling kind of weekend.


Wednesday, July 29

forecast Seattle: 103???


video
Seattle's having a heat wave... Here's to a little refreshment... just crazy....

Saturday, July 25

Proverb

Write your sorrows in the sand, your blessings in stone.

Humm....

Bambi is a stupid name for a majestic elk stag....

Monday, July 13

Dear God,

When multiple people ask for the same thing, how do decide who gets "yes" and who gets "no"? It must be a real hard decision sometimes.....

Thursday, July 9

12:34:56 on 07/08/09

Today...? Today was a pretty good day. Truck loaded, a full tank of gas and unusually bright eyed hopes for the near future, I left for Montana...later than I had hoped but it was without consequence. The cool grayness of the northwest clouds would soon dissipate, replaced by warm golden hills of wheat, alfalfa and corn. It surprised me how much the crops have grown in a week. Before I could make my break though, I had to stop at costco to pick up some jerky (necessary road trip snack) and some Starbucks Via for a gift. Ok, and a slice of pepperoni pizza. Why not. Today had it's own leisurely agenda. I met a couple from Montana who were quite nice to talk to and familiar with the boom town of Darby. They said the skiing is really nice and slopes are scarely crowded. The Pass was lovely. The lake, serene. I need to stop in Roslyn one of these trips. Ellensburg was a longer than usual pit stop. A friend noted a cool feed store called Ranch & Home. Lots of great things to look over, especially for those that like old hardware stores. I picked up a clearance shirt and a pair of gloves to protect my hands from repairing the barbed wire fences. There's a great photo of an old fella who still works there who had a pet buffalo...rather, raised buffalo and one had an extraordinary friendly disposisition as shown by him kneeling with the large beast towering over him. That friendship lasted 20 years.

I like seeing the various hues of gold. Even cooler was a field loaded with various heavy machinery, bailers, columbines, tractors...I'd like to try harvesting something sometime. I like the sculpture of the stampeding horses overlooking Vantage and the Columbia River. Glacing at the clock, my shopping/exploring day was coming to a screaching halt. Shane told me about Big R in Spokane for westernware. Fortunately, there was one in Moses Lake. The nicest clerk came to my rescue in the Cinderella moment of frustration. (ok, so it wasn't really Cinderella who was frustrated cuz the shoe actually fit, but I can't remember her big footed sisters names). The clerk patiently helped me find a perfect fitting pair of boots. She asked if they were for work or dress and I told her, "work likely, cleanup on Saturday to wear to church on Sunday.". She laughed and said, "That is the cowboy way...".

I missed connecting with a couple friends, Brice and Geoff. Perhaps on the return. I did connect briefly with my buddy Daniel, who is still hurting. The separation is yet to be reolved and the economy prohibits him from coming to the Ranch where I feel he could greatly benefit (if nothing else he could hammer out some frustration). Winding through the mountains, I let out a "whoa!" as the rising, 97% waning gibious, harvest moon appeared between mountain peaks. I've never seen it such a ripening pumpkin color before. It really is quite impossible to resist driving without headlights, guided only by moonbeams. It reminded me of night hikes I'd take in Hells Canyon, hearing wolf howls in the distance, watching deer and their shadows graze... there was one spectacular falling star that appeared to literally tear open the night sky to reveal a glimpse of heaven. I hope to never lose these memories.

Yup, today was a good day.

Sunday, June 21

Peace vs frustration

Although there is little to nothing I can do about it, I've been feeling frustrated about my life. Guess the feelings are always there, just some days they rear their ugly heads. Had I been born and raised on a farm, I would know all sorts of things. Things that only (seemingly) a dying few know. Like when to sow and reap harvests, the nitrogen content of alfalfa, how to set & repair the sprinklers, how to repair farm machinery, how to drive a bailer, how to make substantial home repairs and improvements, how to tend a herd of cattle or buffalo, or how to grow a substantial garden, how to handle water issues, how to anticipate and protect from further issues,....on and on. So many things I don't know that I would like to know. The life of a rancher is non stop work, yet, it seems so appealing oR, had I been born in a different state, perhaps love would not have alluded me so easily. Life is what it is though...but I can't help but feel bummed that it's nothing like I thought it might be....

Montana is a gorgeous place...at least the Bitterroot Valley. It's been everything I imagined. One simply cannot help but feel close to God here. The rugged beauty and big sky draws the hearts of men. Women seem to prefer the city with all it's ammenities. Today was a peaceful day with rapid thunder showers rolling through. I'm glad the Lord ordained Sundays to be a day of rest.

Thursday, June 18

Cows & Fish

After a painfully slow start, my waterproofed feet were in the East Fork river struggling to find sure footing in the impressive current. Even Brad Pitt would have struggled. I learned a few new things and definitely enjoy fly fishing, but admit that being perpetually out of my element is taxing. I honestly wish I didn't get so frustrated.

The weather changed rapidly throughout the morning, settling on sunshine and cumulus clouds and warm breazes. I tore my shorts big time today. Fortunately my friend was a friend and told me before it became embarrassing. In route to the Greenhouse, I discovered a sickly looking calf. I sought help with no avail. Same no success in searching for boots too. By evening, I pleaded with the owners to help the baby calf...which they agreed just as a coyate crossed the field.

It took some effort by the four of us, but we managed to give it 2mm of penacillin. Mama cow watched from a distance. She might be pregnant again. The calf hobbled down to the pond for a drink, getting his legs stuck in the ponds edge. He choked out a mooo...stammered, and weakly moved his legs out of the mire. As darkness quickly approached, we gave distance to the blue-67 family. Can only hope tomorrow he'll be stronger.

Monday, June 15

Montana

The Bitterroot mountains are amazingly beautiful. I followed my heart, my spirit is satisfied, my body sore...I delight in the memories being created here with friends. More updates soon to follow.

Thursday, June 4

The Winds of Change

So, I've totally slacked on my blog. In some ways, there hasn't been much worth reporting, but in some ways... I've not been able to find a way to be brief. Then time slips by...or....I just get distracted.

The school year is coming to a close, and my friends are moving on. I've enjoyed my college guys and watching each of them grow in their own ways. I complied an album on facebook, a year in pictures sort of thing. It's great to look back over our activities and the all the good times we've had. Our final get together was last night. We played a 9-hole par 3 round of golf in the warmth of the evening. Then it was off to the waterfront for two scoops of yummy ice cream in warm waffle cones. We walked to the end of the dock and watched the sunset. There were laughs all around, good conversation and a healthy dose of appreciation for living in such a beautiful place. We've had a bit of a heat wave, it's early for us to experience temps in the 80's, and the Puget Sound looked too inviting. We joked about going for a swim...pretending to push each other over... then the banter began of, "I will if you will"... and ..."NO, you go first..." Cells, hats, wallets, shoes and socks began to pile up as one by one, they leaped over the railing into the 46 degree water. Certainly, we were the only people in Seattle driving around an 80 degree evening with the heater cranked and blasting.








Tonight, after an Appreciation Dinner, the winds kicked up like crazy. The air has begun to cool. For some reason, I think of Mary Poppins when she says, "I will be around until the wind changes directions." The wind is blowing, this chapter is complete. I can only hope and pray that my guys will know that I am their friend, confidant and mentor, always... my commitment to them has no end.

Our year in pictures can be seen when you click the title link.

Tuesday, May 12

I am proud to say, "These are my friends"


Now, some of you may not recognize the latest dance craze called "Jerkin' It"... don't ask...I can't explain it... My guys made me breakfast a couple Saturdays ago and we watched some youtube vids about this new "style" of dance and shared some laughs and bewilderment. Well, who knew these boys would decide to throw their own video together... it really should catch the world by storm... C'mon... tell me what you're thinkin.... Single ladies, I can totally hook you up....

Monday, May 4

Today, my small group made me breakfast. It was delicious. And thoughtful. I came home, showered, then took a drive in the country, seeing parts of this state that I haven't seen before. There were lots of clouds, but the sun was shining bright and just a beautiful day for a drive. Up and over hills, twists and turns, viewed a valley that is typically the flooded in winter, a couple bridges, a dam, a few barns, a few horses, sheep, cows and goats, mere pockets of population terminating at a lake. It was quite the view the whole day through out. Quiet too. Driving home through traffic was a drag...but picking up 5 guys for church was awesome! (it would have been good if I had cleaned out my car first, but two hopped in back and made faces at the cars that were following us. That was pretty funny) The sermon was reliably good. Richard ranted a little story that made me feel we were twin brothers suffering the same circumstances. Saw a couple friends, too. We all had dinner--Chicken burritos. So good! Caught part of the sun set enroute to visiting another friend, laughing mostly about her ridiculous boss. Just came home to prepare for tomorrow... Pretty good day overall. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, April 30

ooohbama

100-DAY MILESTONES (with the best yet to come I imagine)

  • Guantanamo closure ordered
    - -No more free meals fellas
  • Ban on abortion funds lifted
    - -free abortions! wehoo
  • Obama unveils executive pay cap
    - -esp to those who didn't support the elections
  • Stimulus plan signed into law
    - -it pays to be deliquent!!!
  • Obama outlines Iraq pullout plan
    - -by sending 21000 more troops
  • Obama ends stem cell funding ban
    - -Sweet... let the cloning being--Dr Zavos free commence cloning dead people, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1172587/Calls-jail-doctor-cloned-dead-girl-Cadys-blood.html
  • Iran offered a 'new beginning'
    - -we promise not to do anything to make you want to bomb us anymore
  • Obama promotes nuclear-free world
    - -No more Nukes in the entire world!!! Thank you!
  • Obama publishes 'torture' memos
    - -Sleep deprivation no longer allowed, tickle them with feathers
  • Cuba offered 'new beginning'
    - -Cigars all around

  • The US Congress capped Mr Obama's 100th day in office by approving a $3.4 trillion budget for 2010
    - -No more billion dollar a day spending...and really? why cap it at just 3.4 trillion?

    Careful careful now... people hardly noticed in February, but now in April... you are actually getting described as a socialist... (according to recent gallop polls)ya gotta be careful....

Pull a Dory... Just keep spinning... just keep spinning... just keep....

Wednesday, April 29

A bit of a gray day



But this made me smile... I may have even laughed a little. You gotta look close! hahah... here's the driver...





Tuesday, April 21

Confession

OK... so this won't be the biggest confession... more of an admittance... I'm still not a 100% sure of this theory, but...Sunday night after church we have dinner (at church). It's great. It only costs like 2-3 bucks and if you can't afford that, you'll still be allowed to eat. This week, we had, well, i don't remember, but for dessert we had these little ice cream bon bon things. My friend offers me hers (even though it had a bite in it) and as it turned out, it was a jelly! Gotta say I'm not a big fan. Creams and caramels most definitely, but jellies... not my fav. I'm not even that bigga fan of Jelly Bellys. The name just hits a little too close to home--although I have toured the Jelly Belly factory in California and learned that it takes up to 14 days to make a Jelly Belly....I can muster a little room for the pear and popcorn ones... but like them as an occasional treat. My small group used to meet at our mentors house and his wife always had a bowls of peanuts, m 'n m's, hot tamales and Jelly Bellys....and yes... we ALL picked through them. :) Where was I?

Well, this became the topic of conversation on we concluded that jellies aren't most people's favorite. Then chocolate covered gummy bears came in and perplexed us. I like chocolate covered gummy bears...my dear friend Kelly may she rest in peace got me hooked on them. Well, not hooked so much as convinced me that they were good. The conclusion/problem/confession is now that I've compared the two, it should reason that I actually do like jellies. I can hardly bring myself to say it without cringing. Maybe a side by side taste test will need to happen soon.
PS--I got in a fight with the pompous grass (yes, I know it's pampas grass) today. The machete and I won, but my arms & legs are the wounded victims of the battle. Turns out the blades of grass are serrated, so if you go against them, you get these little paper cuts everywhere....they are uncomfortable.

Saturday, April 18

Susan Boyle & Friends

Britain's Got Talent indeed!!! If you are one of the few people who have not seen this, click the title above, Susan Boyle. There are some other impressive acts as well. My favorites are: Flawless (dancers), Stavros Flatly (funny) and Julian Smith. Check them out....

Monday, April 13

Easter 2009

The weather was wacky today with honest to goodness rain. I had lunch at a friends house. They are fantastic cooks. The delightful surprise at the table today was two sauces for the ham. One a cherry pepper that had a bit of a kick and the other a sweet maple spice mustard something or other. They were both delicious! I was sleepy at church, still having a hard time sleeping. Tonight, I saw a friend who's been traveling for the last 6-7 months in Central America. So good to see him and his friendly smile. He's one of those dynamic individuals who people are drawn to and ultimately, I believe, blessed by him. Saturday night I heard a fella speak, a very down to earth bloke who articulated the presence of Christ in his life through stories of surgery and travels. He'd make the perfect grandpa. Aside from some yummy apple crisp, I took away these words he spoke, "...the Kingdom of God is displayed through love and friendships..."

Friday, April 10

Good Friday

Wednesday, April 1

No Joke

March was freezing, ending on a chilly bitter rather depressing note. I had hopes that April would be different. I woke up looking forward to a walk with the pugs in the sunshine, admiring all the cherry blossoms....instead, I woke to 34 degrees and snow flakes. Guess the joke's on me today.

Saturday, March 28

Today, I was kinda overwhelmed with discouraging thoughts and disappointment, accompanied by the Northwest drizzle... so I escaped to my last trip to the Grand Canyon in January. A good friend and I were amazed as the colors began to pop as the sun set. We were even more excited to watch the full moon rise above the yonder plateau. I like the textures as well as the colors.


Thursday, March 26


I'm not sure I'm into the whole global warming fad, however, drawing people together for a cause is a great exercise in humanity. www.Earthhour.org has more info on ideas to make it a community event or just how to be creative with the kiddies when the lights are out. Pretty sweet idea all in all.

Sunday, March 22

Coming Home

All good things must come to an end. Sitting in my 4runner on the ferry, I continued to take long, deep breaths inhaling the salty air and exhaled slowly. Many parts of me would like to remain on this rural island, with their friendly police officers....

Thursday, March 19

Haven't had much to say these days. I was optimistic that it would be a legendary week since it started off so strong... and maybe it's just a matter of perspective... or maybe I'm just greedy.
Sunday-I got to play with the puppy
Monday-I talked with a dear friend who seldom has a spare moment.
Tuesday-Helped a friend in the garden
Wednesday-Did some billing, which means a little money coming in.
Thursday-is that today? Well, today I'm heading north to Whidbey Island so that I can help a friend move tomorrow. I'm very blessed to know generous folks with cabins up there who like to share. Even though the weather is lousy, (grey, cold & rain are not favorible beach weather), it's still great to get out of the noise of the city, ie-the fire engines, police, and ambulances honking with sirens blasting, driving by now. Humm... maybe I'll wax my car.... I like to take private retreats up there. Sometimes, I do share with others though, taking my small group, which is traditionally a great bonding time. Here's a photo taken just as we were leaving dock. I didn't even have to photoshop it. Taken with my phone-so it looks better on a small scale.

Sunday, March 15

Today, my friends Joe and Anna are proud pug puppy rescuers. For Joe's birthday, Anna got a puppy. Technically, they will deny it since Joe's birthday was last weekend... regardless, Anna has finally gotten her wish. Acer, the puppy, is approximately 11 months old according to the rescue vet. His color is brindle which is really unusual for a pug. Personally, I'm more of a great dane kinda guy, but this little fella is so incredibly soft and puppy like, only the coldest of cold would turn a blind eye. I'm baffled that they found such a pup needing to be rescued. They are still deciding on a name, keeping Acer as a middle name. The best thing about this little guy is his sweet temperment. We sat on the floor and played and held and cuddled him until he couldn't stand it anymore. It was such a treat to be his first introduction into the Joe & Anna family. They will be great care givers and I will do my best to be a good uncle. Name suggestions allowed.

Garrett Gue: Housemate, friend, musician

Tonight, I had the privelege of supporting my friend one of his first live performances at Trabant Chai and Coffee here in the Udist. He and his girl did a great job!!! I finally figured out how to post audio to this blog... least, I think I did, so I've included one of his songs. You can download the entire album from iTunes or facebook. Garrett's kind and great. Support him. Go on... support him...

Thursday, March 12

Yesterday's Lesson


Just foolin' around and trying to learn how to make comic book style pictures... first attempt. Continuing to remember sunny-er days, attempting to stay warm. If you know any great tutorials on this process... please let me know.

Sunday, March 8

Best in Show

What a day. Another sleepless night, although I made contact with a long lost friend on the other side of the pond. Our conversations have always been to the core of things. One friend mentioned he is having marital problems. This reminds me of another friend who is in the same boat and although I witnessed his wedding and vowed to walk along side them, I have no idea how to help. Another friend wrecked her car last night and is feeling extremely overwhelmed with what has now turned into over-commitments, her new job, family (overbearing dad, ie, "how's the car?" he asks, w/o even asking if she was ok)....ugh! materialism. I feel for her, but not sure how to help. It's in the trying times that we are taught to rely on Christ. It's in the hardships of marriage and friendship, that you discover what real commitment is. The world situation is horrible.... Ireland, Middle East, China... USA... And yet my pastor encourages us to not only cling to but also exemplify hope to the world. How to do this, I've yet to figure out. Like life, the weather today was tumultuous. Sunshine, snow, dark clouds, rain, hail all within minutes. My reprieve? Attending the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show. There were some beautiful animals around. My favorite is still the Great Dane. Admired a few. Pet a few. Wanted one. Lingering thoughts of yesterday interrupted my laughter of the agility trials. My life lacks intimacy.

Saturday, March 7

It never rains when you want it to


wounded heart by *cepums on deviantART
Image by Cepums of deviantart.com

Who KNEW this would ever be a topic.... I certainly have come to terms with being single for the time being, not morbidly, just realistically. But over the last couple months there's been some stirring of the heart pot. The first love of my life, my high school sweetheart has recently tracked me down. She still looks exactly as I remember her. Her children have her nose and crescent shaped eyes. She's on the other side of the country and living happily. I couldn't believe that my heart skipped a beat when I read her email. It's been a very, very long time. And although we never dated, she said some very kind things to me unlike what I've heard from anyone. It's been fun to think about her and reminisce, but also quiet challenging to keep my heart in check. My mind has wondered down paths that it shouldn't and although I want to tell her that I still would give her the moon, I know deep down that I cannot, should not convey my affection for her.

With that said, at a sushi party tonight, I remembered a particular gal that I met and clicked with.... clicked with until I found out she was moving to Cali. Well, hello, long distance won't work! But over the last couple months, mainly in December, we spent some intense times together which included intense conversations. Now... could shoulder. Texts, emails and phone calls are not speedily returned if they are even returned at all. I don't want to paint her in a bad light, she's very sweet and kind. I'd like to think we've both been busy...but the "intenseness" that was once there, seems to be a little lack luster. My buddy says, "Maybe she's just trying to get over you..." which of course totally made me laugh and reply, "Ok, seriously?!!! No girl has ever had trouble getting over me."

I'll take responsibility. For sure. I've so many questions swirling around my wee brain that she's stirred up. She gets credit, but the reality is, if any girl started showing me a little favorable attention, I'd be confused. One friend told me that I frustrate her because, "I'm so afraid to let anyone love me, it's ridiculous!!!" That caught be by surprise. She might be right.

Siiiigh...Now, I almost feel like I have to apologize for something when nothing has even happened yet. I was guarded. I was protected. I tried to not mislead, or lead in any direction for that matter, neither yes nor no, just...shrug...I guess if I can't explain it, how can I expect her to understand it? I've grown allergic to some C-words... Commitment being the most troublesome, communication a fast runner up.

Not sure how long this will last or how many sleepless nights I can have...was up until 4a.m. last night. So many questions. What makes my heart flutter like with my first love and is it wrong to compare the two. Time is a major factor, and the December gal I've seen a handful of times...out of state doesn't help at all. And speaking of out of state, there is a gal continentally diagonal from me...She graces my thoughts...I have admiration for her, then see the disapproving look of her parents, the age difference (which is hypocritical because I think age is in the heart and love should find love without bounds)...the fact that she has no idea makes me grin and cringe at the memory the last time I "sprung" my affection for an unsuspecting friend. The weird thing about that was that all her friends knew, but she claimed she didn't. "I hardly know you," accompanied her denial, not to be confused with "I know you too well," voiced by a denying two year crush. Shoot. I was hoping to find answers in writing this out and listening to Norah Jones...seems all I've come up with is a lengthy blog......... .... .. .

Yep, it never rains when you want it to...You humble me, Lord

Two Brothers

I've just finished watching this movie, and it's really, really well done. Compelling story, beautiful sweeping panoramas, tender.... although with moments hard to watch, this brought me back to my childhood and the desire I had to work with animals. Sit close to your mama or daddy or loved one, and enjoy the show.



http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1860174105/

Thursday, March 5

The weight of the world

Is starting to sink in. Just today, I was knocked up side the head with discouragement, foreclosures, homes in Detroit selling for $19,000 wondering how I'll ever be able to afford a 700K fix-er-upper in the city that I enjoy, wondering what the heck is going on with government and all the wacky decisions they continue to make locally and in DC, wondering where my next paycheck will come from, wondering who will ever hire me if my current situation changes, wondering if I've once again been rejected by a girl before things even have a chance to heat up, peering out my skylight to see rolling gray clouds...(well, I actually don't mind the rolling clouds so much). I literally pulled the blankets over my head and went back to sleep. It's quite easy to spin out. And yet, I got out of bed, arranged to meet a loyal friend at SBUX--discovered more common ground between us, we both loved feeling the sun on our skin as it broke through the ominous clouds, smiled at my snowdrops, proudly discovered my peonies breaking ground, got invited to be in a wedding and had a delicious slice of homemade carrot cake. I'm glad I got out of bed. Who knows what tomorrow holds? No matter how much I trust in the Lord, each day still holds it's challenges and rewards.....

Tuesday, March 3

Ughhhh....

I hate viruses.... Guess that's what I get for stickin' my nose where it don't belong.... (sigh)

Saturday, February 28

Give it a try


It's so cool to know the guy who came up with this process! The whole family is great. It was really, really unfortunate that someone spilt the beans by dishing the scoop prematurely. The really wanted to honor Don by telling the whole story--what went behind the success, the secret that he and his wife had to hold for 20 years...it's a shame the world was deprived because someone keep their mouth shut for 72 hours. I always hated those kids growing up... I think I still do.
Before you judge, give it a try.

Offical Time Waster


Here are the rules:
(NO cheating...I was severely challenged in this rule)
1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random, Read More” or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations" or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together. (Two free programs that you can use are paint.net [http://www.getpaint.net] and the GIMP [http://www.gimp.net] )

5 - Post it and tell me so I can see it too!

Thursday, February 26

Bad Mojo

.... or is it bad Cojo....what is mojo anyways? I hate my computer today.

Really?

It's almost March, but today, Ash Wednesday, it snowed.... snowed this morning too... good 2". The mountains are not working their magic at keeping the flakes off us... Snow in the city is really unusual. This is 17th... lot's of friends live on this street. It was designed by the Olmstead brothers way back in the day. The street is lined with chestnut trees including a row in the median island. It has it's moments of beauty, but most memorable are moments of clean up.
This would be my house. I'm up in the attic with two sky lights. My room's pretty bright. It kinda stinks not to be able to see the street, but I can certainly hear it (esp on thurs-sat nights). Amongst the chaos of vocal life and sirens, I used to hear an occasional whistle from my friend H, which would be my cue to chaperone her dog walk through our dodgy Mary Poppins neighborhood. Her pup had to be put down this last fall, 11 months after her husband passed away. May they both rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 25

Baby Steps....

This morning, I woke from a dream. I know they are only interesting to the person that had it, but you have to understand that I seldom wake having remembered where my mind wondered aimlessly during REM. Perhaps this morning came from guilt... perhaps from continual heartfelt prayer... perhaps out of some fear, although I didn't wake afraid. I did however, toss and turn for what seemed like hours. Thrashing about usually does the trick for making the dream stop or at least change gears. Not this time. The just of it concerned my visiting friends in the south. I was at their house, rather their parents house, sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag, blocking the stairway leading down. Once things came into focus, I saw an open kitchen, dining room, living room plan... all painted hot flamingo pink with bright orange trim. If you knew the southerners I was thinking of, you'd laugh and know there's no way such urban tack would ever come near their precious vintage lace and teacups. Cabinet doors started opening, and kids began to pour out from every direction. I was looking for a my favorite little nephew, but his sisters only brought bits and pieces of him... They said, "Trinny can't come out to play right now, but you can hang on to this if you want to..." I woke, puzzled, scratched my head and tried to figure what it all meant. The only thing I can come up with a backpack of guilt for not having updated my blog for over a year as a sweet friend gently reminded me. I don't know why it's so difficult... maybe I don't think my life is that interesting... maybe I want it to be such a sweet layout... shrugging off that no one reads it anyways (which was entirely the point so I could truly voice my thoughts without revealing my darkness within to my friends) ... perhaps a combination of these and more excuses... but baby steps. It's always been a challenge for me to journal, but baby steps right? If a loving wife and mother of five (not counting the husband) can keep me informed with pictures & updates, certainly I can jot a note now and then. I will of course have to talk more about the past since the future is unknown at this point...