Monday, November 9, 2009

Walk on On

"Home... hard to know what it is if you've never had one
Home... I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the heart is"
Walk On by U2

Soon Linda will be going on a Walk to Emmaus. My prayer is that it will be an intimate time of renewal with our Lord.

We all need that time to draw close to Home. As Christians we have never been Home, but we know it exists and this temporal world is not it. So we all desire to Walk On until we arrive at our one and only true Home.

Draw closer my dear that is my prayer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rambling on from the ramble no more one, hopefully.

Wow, it seems so long but so fast since I last blogged. We are in the new abode, and loving it.

Hopefully the rambling days are over, at least for now.

We have been getting slowly adjusted to new climate, in two words, hot and humid, it can be sufficiently summed up. Whereas, Sumas, WA was cool and damp. I personally prefer the hot and humid.

We started off getting acclimated by working outside early in the mornings and just yesterday we actually went outside and worked for about an hour during the hottest part of the day. Well, we were in the garage with three box fans running, but it was still very hot and humid.

Of course the Coral Snake show down at Burton Town was exciting. We had never seen a live Coral Snake, but there he or she was darting out of our leaves and on the move, and as they are extremely deadly it seemed prudent to do away with it.

Our other big adventure is finding a church home. We have been surprised to learn that we are in the middle of a hot bed of mainline liberal church goers. So we continue to visit churches praying that the Lord will lead us to our new church home, where we can worship Him in spirit and truth.

Linda and I are also loving the Bluebell aquatic center in Brenham, TX, just a short and straight 15 minute drive away. Hey, as y'all know that is a short drive in Texas. We try to go two times a week to swim and water walk. We are also trying to walk two or three times a week. Needless to say, we are sliming down, which is good.

Bottom line, at least for us at this time,life is behaving well and we are enjoying it.

We have had difficult news of the sudden passing of a dear friend, Alan Phillips, and are praying for his family. Our prayer list seems always to grow, although there are many praises, there are always more things and people to pray about. I now understand why Paul said to pray without ceasing.

We are looking forward to the cooler months of winter. Everyone here constantly reassures that it does indeed get cooler and that winter is lovely. Pray so.

Blessing to you and thanks for reading my rambling words.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teaching, I just could not have said it better!

Such bright stars, who shine in the darkness, but will the darkness notice them?
Dune Lark has said it well.

Waiting Zone!

So, what is there about waiting that is so hard?

Yep, we are waiting. It seems like an eternity, but it has only been since May the eight. That is when we signed on the dotted line. We agreed to their counter offer, and supposedly, we were to close no later than June 15th, which has come and now is gone.

The contract breaker date for knowing about financing has been reset so many times that neither we nor the sellers any longer talk about it. We were told, via email, Eureka you have been approved for financing, but wait for it. Yes, that is right the other shoe, which is the actual closing.

No one, not the closing company, the mortgage broker company, our agent, their agent, them, or us knows when, or, even, if we will ever actually close. I mean, is it possible to be forever buying a home, but to never buy the home?

Why do I feel stuck in an old rerun of the Twilight Zone? Is anyone out there? Help, please find us and take us out of this Waiting Zone.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hakiu on the move

Surrounded by opened boxes of our lives’ ancient relics (photos – some of which we no longer even know the names of the people, animals, places, or occasion – old knick-knacks, memorabilia, and just plain junk) we separate and pack away again.

Or we place stuff not to be repacked in the growing piles; one each for Sally Ann, and various friends to whom we will give our valuable treasures, and one each for recyclable, and just plain old trash to be tossed. Is this all life amounts to, piles of stuff with memory only value attached?

I have many more times than once gone through this process when moving to a new place. It is always a melancholy experience. One cannot help but feel some kinship to the treasure in piles that signify life lived and gone.

Must one always toss away stuff with the attached memories? Will the memories return after the artifact of the memory is gone to some nowhere? Nevertheless, alas, it becomes a simple practical process; we cannot avoid moving what is not truly valuable, as we are paying for the move. That old twirling baton, or that old antique dresser that belonged to mother, must be worth their weight in coins, else off with them (with apologies to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka, Lewis Carroll ).

However, as unsettling as this pre-move purging process is, it does not have the true sadness of the similar process when a loved one passes. I have helped with this more than once. It is truly sad to know that all the physical stuff that comprised one’s life is of so little value to the living. Must life always be reduced to piles of stuff?

Wait, my spirit says, all this process is the prerequisite for moving onto to a more hopefully situation. In this case, our final, I hope, retirement place; a home we truly love already.

And, so it is with the life lived and gone from this plane. They are already there, in a much better place seeing face-to-face, no longer in darkness but with light shed on all life’s important questions, and truly do not need their old useless stuff.

Therefore, it is right to give or throw most of it away. The rightful owner no longer needs it to make their life have meaning, as they have arrived at the place where all the physical of this life has no value at all in the light of the true meaning of a life well and faithfully lived.

So, open, sort, and pack
or pile shall be my task with
a new found smile all the while
(with apologies to Hakiu poets everywhere.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Rain

We expect, or at least hope, that Easter Sunday will be a day full of sunshine. This equates with the day that the Son shines bright in our life.

Alas, here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, it is raining at 7:30 a.m. this Easter morning, and has been raining all night. It should not surprise me that, this is the weather; but somehow it seems to take away from Easter or maybe not.

The Pacific Northwest is a place of abundant greens. There are more shades of green here than browns in the desert. It is a land of great beauty with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Everyone who lives here knows that eventually the sun will shine again, and it will be utterly gorgeous when it does.

The cross, as is the “more” book of Romans chapter 5 in the Bible, is more. The more that comes after the darkness is dispelled. Just as the sun transforms the rainy gloom into beauty, so does the Son banish the darkness and bathe our lives in glorious light; light with an infinite number of different hues of glory tailored for every one of us.

So celebrate; whatever rain and gloom might be in your life, eventually, just as here this morning in the Pacific Northwest, it will clear up and the "Sonshine" will break through, and what a day of celebrating that will be.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

doctor doctor doctor; is the doc in?

All thought about in the fashion of Catch 22 or Major Major Major.

Finally I am getting to see the kidney doctor in the morning; OK here is the fancy name for kidney doctor -- nephrologist. Getting to see this elusive bird, with three appointments rescheduled by her office, is about as difficult as spotting the believed to be extinct ivory billed woodpecker, or like getting surgery for a hip or knee replacement in the land of the frozen chosen (for those not in the know this means our neighbors to north, Canada).

I should be ecstatic, however, my unbridled enthusiasm is severely tempered by the requirement to get up at 6 am and drive 30 miles one way for the appointment; then to have the joy of various bodily fluid samples required on demand.

Why is visiting with the medical profession such a stressful and often humiliating occasion?

Ah well better this than another visit to the worse than doctor person -- the dentist. The need for dentist has to be a direct result of the snake and apple escapade.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ouch, ouch.

He casually asked if I wanted to see something educational but gross. Being somewhat shaken and a bit lightheaded, I said, sure, before I gave it much thought, and there it was in all its ugly infamy; the offending tooth.

I will not describe it further for the sake of the weak of stomach and feint of heart.

I am glad it is gone. Hopefully, the infection that destroyed jawbone, worked its way into my sinus cavity and caused great pain is gone as well.

Life is like that.

Some times we must suffer through pain (physical, spiritual, mental and emotional) to get better. Pain, believe it or not, is a good thing. It tells us when something is wrong. However, too much pain is a bad thing. So, with the help of many shots in tender places, the pain was lessened, the tooth gone and now the healing can begin.

Such is life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Life is always full; full of many things and right now my life is full of decisions. You would think that by the time you get to be older and wiser (hopefully, wiser) that decisions would come easier. But, for some strange reason it seems that the opposite is true.

When I was younger I made decisions quickly and without a great deal of thought to what making a decision meant, or by what standard or standards I should be making my decisions. I often worked by the heuristic that if it got me closer to my goals, whatever they were, then it was a good decision.

I have come to realize that the only true standard is, does it keep me in the center of God's will. Now of course this includes first and foremost compliance with His standards, precepts, and principles which can be known from the Bible and the indwelling guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I have also come to realize that every decision made closes as many doors as it opens. This is fuel behind the alternative history literature genre.

So, if we decide something, what might have been could have been equally as pregnant as what can be. So, how do we decide?

I can only feel it goes back to the only true standard. However, knowing God's will beyond compliance with His standards is not always an easy task, alas. It is knowing the specifics, or as they say, "the devil is in the details" that is difficult.

And it means when we worry about the future details the devil can fool us. The real true test of faith is to trust God to "be a lamp unto our feet," and "to order our steps." Note that the empahsis is directly on the next step.

So, although, we have many decisions to make about the possible shape of our future, Linda and I, just need to pass the true test of faith one day and one step at a time.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Apple and a Psalm a day

I believe in the value of eating fruit, and some what believe in the truth of "an apple day keeps the doctor away." Okay, it helps that I happen to like apples.

I also believe even more fully in the value of daily devotional, bible reading, time alone in prayer with God, and time with my beloved wife in prayer.

Unless one get entirely the wrong impression of me, those who know be best know that I am not consistent. But, I like what Thomas Merton ( said,"There is only one happiness: to please Him." He also said elsewhere, and I am paraphrasing; It is enough that we earnestly desire to please God. So, I try to remain consistent in daily devotional, bible reading, and prayer.

Actually, these are my Lent positive this year along with trying to be more health conscious. So for, at least in my limited understanding, my Lent negatives, which are really positives for me, I have given up Diet Cokes and sweets.

Oh, as part of my daily readings, I was reading through the section of Psalms 80-90, talk about up and down and inconsistency, at least if you believe that they were written one day after the other, instead of over the course of David's life. In one of the Psalms he will unabashedly sing God's praises and then in the next he will lament his state of affairs and that God seems far away.

This I can identify with, and I am sure, many others can as well. At this time in my life Psalm 90, seems a fair appraisal of the situation, at least at times. Psalm 90 seems to me to a true statement of man or woman's existence under the sun. But, in case you did not know, in Psalm 90, as David usually does, he ends his song of lament with praise for God and a plea for his favor.

So, I too ask for God's favor on all of us, especially myself and those I love. I think that God's favor is better than all the apples in all the orchards in all the world.*

My disclaimer: I intend no slur on apple producers and is this strictly the opinion of this writer and not of the Church.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now gone

Well time drew close and now is past. Did not make the flight to Texas. Too many little health issues made it look very unpleasant. It is not fun to be sick away from home. So we opted to stay put. Maybe next time we can get some BBQ and Tex-Mex.

Oh, why reflections in a puddle? Well think about it.

What you see reflected depends less on what is being reflected and more on 100s of other factors. Depth of puddle, size of puddle, lighting conditions, wind, temperature of the water, angle or orientation of vision, field of vision, etc.

Thus, the meaning of life. What each of us sees it as all depends on 100s if not 1000s of other factors, many peculiar to the viewer alone, and not much on what it really is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Draws close

Time draws close -- close to the time to fly to Texas and once again visit family, and reacquaint ourselves with our roots; time to look for a home to buy; time to soon move to Texas; time to begin the transition into yet another type of retirement.

Yet while time draws close, it also runs out. The time for doing all the above will come and pass or run out.

While time for taxes comes every year, time for leaving this mortal plane comes once to one and all.

Every little closer and then out is one more mile marker toward the final time out call. All face that call; some with fear and dread because they will be dead, others like myself with wonder and awe. It will be, for me, the end of wandering and wondering and the beginning of staying and knowing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Look around!

I am living vicariously through my daughter's experiences in Namibia. One thing it is doing is causing me to once again look around me and give thanks for the innumerable blessings of living in the here and now of where God has placed me. We, those of us living in developed countries, are for the most part incredibly fortunate. Our big worry now is how will the down turn in the economy inconvenience us, and not where will our next meal come from. Hearing that her department only had enough funds for one stapler, when we have three or four lying around the house, is a bit sobering. Why do I get to spend my live in such affluence while so many do not?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What me Retire?

Lately I have been giving serious consideration to taking the big plunge into a second semi-retirement -- retiring from the USAF and then becoming a prof was my first semi-retirement.

Oh, I also decided to start using capitalization as appropriate. When I was in the USN we used 100 wpm (words per minute) teletypes which only had capital letters. Not having to worry about capitalization facilitates faster typing, but hey, I will go back to the flow and cap as I go.

Um, back to retiring, I have mixed feelings about such a big step. So, I am hoping the university and I can work out a progressive retirement deal, sort of like a progressive dinner. Progressive in that I envision a gradual shift into retirement; first elimination of ancillary responsibilities, like advising, committees, etc., then a reduced course load.

If it is a go, we will go; go that is back to Texas and begin to seriously do the work needed to build our home on our raw land. Yep, raw land in need of much improvement before a home can be built. Just as we all are "raw land" in need of much improvement. The land will certainly not be completely improved in my life time.

Personally I feel that God is in the business of person improvement until we leave this mortal plane for an immortal multidimensional existence. So, to me moving into semi-retirement is just another step in God's improvement plan for me and maybe, just maybe, I will finally no longer be able to say, "I have never lived longer than 4 years in any one place in my life." That will be nice.