Saturday, December 31

Latest Art Project

There are times when the unintentional ends surprise the mundane means. Angel's latest art project turned into an unusually patterned abstract with bold color and hidden pictures. Note the cat's eye and a few faces.

Sorry, but I can't give you any trade secret details about how she did it.

Happy New Year from our neck of the woods to yours. May God have mercy on us all.

December Drenching

A second straight year of flooding is confirming our fears of Global Warming with these southern hemispheric storms being pushed into the west coast. This is the wettest December since 1955. Local t.v. stations are airing full time coverage of the Global Warming flooding. A bank of Global Warming thunderstorms is fast approaching the central valley north of us.

Our t.v. has just gone blank with a severe Global Warming thunderstorm warning. They should hit us in 1/2 hour, Global Warming Time. 60 mile per hour Global Warming winds.

Guess I better sell my old pickup and get a new Passat that emits no harmful Global Warming emissions. Global Warming will stop worrying me and I will be able to focus on the other crises in my life. Did I mention Global Warming?

Saturday, December 24

Great Wal of China

China's new Wal(Mart) has made the old Wall obsolete. The old wall has fallen as New China partners with New America. It won't be long before China's product quality exceeds 'Made in the U.S.A.' brands, and our manufacturing sector disappears. At least until there's a revolution and the Red Menace is replaced with free-for-all capitalism. Then wages will rise and we can start competing again.

So our biggest concern is a political one. Democracy in China. The two-party system in China. Real freedom of religion in China.

"With God all things are possible," Jesus said.

Friday, December 23

Taped Out

Wrapping gifts is not my favorite avocation and it's done in haste and sloppiness. Sorry, but it's the testosterone in me. My creativity ends before it begins with each present. But I do like using years-old bows that have multiple layers of tape on the back of them. Practical, thrifty and nostalgic --- now what wonderful gift was this on in 1975?

Tape is the essential article. Tape is great stuff. They pay me big bucks at work to use it, so I'm an expert after 38 years. Need something taped? I'm your man.

Wednesday, December 21

The Missing Annual Update

This year's annual Christmas letter never made it to press. This will be a delight to some and regret to others. We get about a half-dozen of these yearly updates. At one time some friends who live in Sacramento would send about a detailed, 5-7 page, handwritten both sides (but copied) account of everything. Most send a single page that's not even filled. Our friend Mike M. absolutely opposes giving or receiving anything during this season and told us so in a long letter a few days ago. He says, "Whenever I receive a form letter from somone on Christmas [seldom, I am happy to report!] it paralyses me. They do not ask about me. I assume they are not interested in my life. Then, if I write throughout the year, they do not respond."

Mike believes since celebrating the birth of Christ is neither mandated nor seen in the Bible, we shouldn't do it. Furthermore, he cites the history of the celebration beginning with the Roman Catholic Church and eventually being accepted in Protestantism, although rejected initially. I can understand both views, but now isn't the time for me to argue the points.

Mike also feels uncomfortable answering any kind of correspondence from women. "But often it is the wife, not the husband, that sends these December holiday letters, and I feel awkward writing to any man's wife for extended chatting."

This just goes to show there are all kinds of people in the world. So I am trusting that most of those folks who usually get our perennial letter [always written by me] will take it in stride and afford a measure of forgiveness. This blog comes close to highlighting a few things that are a bit more interesting than a detailed account of dental visits, number of pills we take or how many times I mowed the lawn this summer anyway.

Suffice it to say that God in His grace and mercy helped us through another year, granted us visits with family and friends, and met all our needs. Now you know.

Monday, December 19

Paso's Martian Connection

Far more important than life on Mars is the little known rock that bears the name of "Paso Robles." Yes, the Mars Rover scratched the surface of this sulfur laden piece of lithic mass and immediately surmised an appropriate name.

Let's see . . . a rock on Mars named Paso Robles. And the possible reasons are . . . 1. The Mars Rover was test driven on similar terrain - downtown Paso. 2. The Mars Rover was looking for a parking spot and couldn't find one. 3. The Mars Rover was stuck. 4. The Mars Rover smelled sulfur. And yes, folks, that last one must be the real reason for the appellation.

Thankfully, the good citizens and leaders of this growing community have enough git-up, gumption and go to solve the parking and sulfur problems. In the mean time, someone needs to write NASA and get this rock renamed.

Saturday, December 17

Getting To The Church On Time

Saturday morning's overtime mandate dragged me out of bed at 6. It would be cold again in that old pickup. It doesn't really warm up until I'm a 1/2 mile from work, so I usually don't turn it on. What! Waste gas warming it up before I go? Forget it!

I'm there first to unlock, turn off the alarm, turn on the heaters, then start up all the equipment in pre-press. Pressman Miguel will be only one coming in with me. I'm "filling in" while Corey takes a two week vacation (one of them in Bermuda). It has been a week of 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. I've perfected the dance and wasted miles of film trying to make negatives for the press plates. There is NO substitute for hands-on training. This week's feelings of frustration, defeat and failure have been mitigated by an encouraging supervisor and a few victories. Hey, you can only do so much with so little.

Alarm set, doors locked, I head for home, have a hotdog lunch and shower for a 2 p.m. wedding at Morris Chapel at UOP. Barb is sick, so I'm going alone. It's raining. It's cold. It's miserable, but I have my trusty umbrella and a warm jacket.

I pull into the parking lot and find myself the only one there. Maybe they called it off. Or maybe it's at another church. No cell phone, so it's back to the house where Barb meets me at the door and asks what's wrong. "No one's home," I said. She finds the invitation and we both stare at it. "Sunday at 2 p.m." it says, not Saturday.

I jump back into the car and head for Target to do my Christmas shopping. The parking lot is full.

Sunday, December 4

Mood Makers

Another winter forces us indoors against our summer-loving wills. December delights in delivering divine drama, while its trivial trappings take a taxing toll on our tranquility. It's the annual dilemma coming back to haunt and heal us. We decorate to celebrate. We beautify to beatify and bless.

"Then [the people] said to Him, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.' Therefore they said to Him, 'What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."'

"Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' Then they said to Him, 'Lord, give us this bread always.'

"And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst . . . and this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.'" -from John 6

This season's distractions will surely blind most eyes to the reason for celebration. May yours be opened to see the glory and wonder of grace that's found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 1

Remembering Glory Road Times

How very strange to hear they've made a movie so close to home.
Glory Road is the story of the 1966 NCAA Champions from Texas Western College in El Paso (now U.T.E.P.). No big deal, except I was there trying to earn a degree at the time. I joined a bunch of friends and partied while watching the final game on T.V. Pretty exciting stuff for a small town no-nothing like me.

I was also Dance Committee Chairman that next year, so we decorated with a basketball champion theme for one of the dances. I still remember drawing these huge players on 15' lengths of butcher paper to hang on the walls of the auditorium. Unfortunately, our shindigs were for the nerdier element, so I don't think any players actually showed up for the event, thankfully. Those renditions of 'Big Daddy D.' David Lattin and Nevil Shed were pretty scary.