Sunday, July 29


Grandma Skinner would be 106 years old next month if she were still on this side of the River. When you'd visit her in San Luis Obispo, she'd most likely greet you at the front door wearing a colorful kitchen apron that she'd made or bought cheap.

We inherited a number of them, including one that fits Angel perfectly. She and Grammy baked peanut butter cookies yesterday morning, so I had to grab a picture of her displaying three of them in the backyard. This was seconds before they slid off the plate in front of her. She said her arms were getting tired.

A lot slips off our plate as we go through this life. Thankfully, a lot more stays on it.


A Word for the Day: Luke 7:36-50

"One of the Pharisees asked him [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.' And Jesus answering said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' And he answered, 'Say it, Teacher.'

"'A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii [1 1/2 year's wages], and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?' Simon answered, 'The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.' And he said to him, 'You have judged rightly.' Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, 'Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven - for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.' And he said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, 'Who is this, who even forgives sins?' And he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'"


Thursday, July 26

Wonder of Wonders

People have loved traveling to see the wonders of the world for thousands of years. The Greek and Roman world built their huge temples to Apollo, Artemis (Diana) and a panoply of other 'gods' that were real wonders of the world at the time. Zillions of dollars and man-hours (like 55 years to build just one column for the temple in Didyma (they worked on this temple for hundreds of years and never really finished it).

The extravangance, super-size, architectural style and religious significance drew people from around the known world to visit. Some things don't change as the tourism business continues to grow and we can't get enough vacation time to experience the awe-inspiring God and man-made wonders available to us.

Heaven and its glory should be the ultimate vacation destination, yet we give it little thought. The God of all of creation's beauty has prepared the most beautiful and mind-blowing place for His people. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also." I highly doubt that He lives in a hovel.

Sunday, July 15

With This Ring . . .

We hosted another birthday party for Angel yesterday. The backyard filled with guests who ate pizza, four different salads and Ratatouille cake. A long slip-n-slide with a giant shark's mouth opening and closing entertained Angel and Jessica, while most of us oldtimers would have liked to join them (it was about 90 degrees outside). The usual ritual of Angel sitting on a little chair in the living room opening gifts bored most to tears, especially a few of the kids who spent the whole time playing games on the computer.

Then Ryan took Liz by the hand, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry him (while Angel was still sitting in her little chair). Very romantic, except for all the wrapping paper and boxes scattered all around them. Yes, everyone was surprised, especially Elizabeth.

We are so thankful that this pending union receives our full blessing and hope for a wonderful future. Both Ryan and Liz have gone through some very bad relationships and now have a chance to put that all behind them as they begin their lives together. May God lead them into the future as they seek His face and direction.

Friday, July 13

Navy's $4 Billion Phone Bill


Navy Phone Bill: $4 Billion

And you thought your phone bill was high. The Navy is paying about $4 billion a year for calls, according to Defense News. And not surprisingly, there is a whole lot of padding in that tab.

A check of telephone bills in the Jacksonville, Fla., area “found that when we have a digital receipt for a phone bill in the area…we are being overcharged 30 percent,” deputy chief of naval operations Vice Adm. Mark Edwards told a group of military-industrial insiders at a recent conference.

Telephone service with no digital receipt showed overcharges of 18 percent, he added.

The Navy’s top IT official said he wasn’t accusing telephone companies, but he just might not let it slide. “What I’m saying is: It’s my money and I want it back. And we’re going to get it back,” he said, to some chuckles.

By recouping 30 percent of the $4 billion tab over the five-year defense plan, “we could build another carrier, just on the phone bill,” noted Edwards, a former ship and carrier battle group commander. “It won’t be quite that easy, but we’re working it.”
And it might not end there. Edwards wants the Navy to change course by replacing traditional landlines for VOIP, or “voice over IP,” communications, he said. “It would save us over 24 percent the first year” and 24 percent the second year, he estimated.

Saturday, July 7

Life in These United States

My annual trip to the County dump (recycler) ended with my truck running out of water and blowing a head gasket or worse. I had to use an old Godfather's Pizza cup on a tie-down rope to fish water out of a small irrigation canal to be able to get the poor ol' thing home. Out of the 100's of cars that passed by my hood-up predicament, not one stopped to offer help. "In the last days, the love of many shall grow cold," warns Jesus in Matthew 24:12. But I wasn't begging for assistance. Maybe folks thought I was fine, watching me dip for water.

So that's our second vehicle down for the count. I'll try to sell the 98 Tracer on Craigslist for about $300. I don't know what to do with the truck yet. If I can get $1000 for it, it's a done deal. Needs a 350cc in it anyway, not that old clunking 6 cylinder.

I guess this situation deserves a rant about how badly I've got it here in these United States. Down to only ONE vehicle! How will we survive? Cheaper to buy another one than repair these.

Let's go to Iraq instead, Baghdad in particular where Christian families are being forced from their homes due to sectarian violence. Iraq's new government doesn't have control of it, neither the U.S. Army. You are politely asked to leave. Then they come and throw your stuff out and move in if you aren't gone already.

The Boston Globe tells the story.

My bicycling to work sounds pretty good compared to having to find another country to live in.