Sunday, August 30

First Time Champs

I'm watching the last out of the last inning of the Little League World Series and the Blue Bombers from Chula Vista, CA just pitched the final strike to win the game and championship with a score of 6 - 3. Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) was narrowly squeezed out by a better California defensive team that had some late inning hits by their key players. Click here for details.

There so much more emotion and excitement in Little League than the majors. These kids don't hold anything back, especially their tears when they lose a big one. And the crowd/family support is phenomenal.

The U.S. now enjoys five straight championships, in spite of the 75+ other nations that enter the competition. The largest organized sport in America, some 2.5 million kids (boys and girls) participate in our favorite pastime.

Many of us boys played with our 12 year-old peers back in the day. We learned teamwork, throwing and hitting skills, and a lot of humility. We've hopefully forgiven all the bad coaches who belittled us, team mates who didn't like us, and parents who never saw us play.

We'll keep those memories for a long time. But toss the bad ones and just hold onto the good ones.

Saturday, August 22

Rusting Out

Thanks to bruxelles5 Photography for this reminder that due to the physical law of entropy, all things that can rust WILL rust eventually, given the right circumstances. That pristine new set of wheels you bought back in 1960 just isn't the same car 50 years later, even if you've done your best to keep it spit polished.

Just as glaring is the degenerative aura taken on by your face in the mirror as the years add up.

We're all rusting out, like an old car, soon ready for the scrap heap after the engine shuts down and the battery dies.

And you can bet there will be no Cash for Clunkers Program for any of us.

Friday, August 21

Minor Invasion

A little flock of even littler bushtits landed in the birch trees outside the dining room window after dinner. These diminutives flitter, flutter and add some acrobatics to their feeding routine. They'll stick to the side of a tree looking for insects and spiders or hang upside down examining the back of leaves.

My 200mm lens is hardly the best bet when shooting through this window. And with midget birds in trees, manual focusing is a must. I've done it enough to know you have to take 50 pictures to get 5 that are close to being in focus. There's also the fun of gently sliding your long lens between the open wood shutters without scaring the little guys, although when they came through the last time, I was able to get withing 5 feet of them in the backyard without spooking them.

So if someone would like to get me a new Nikon D90 and a fast f2.8 long zoom lens, they will be amply rewarded with some truly wonderful birdy pictures!

Jesus tells us, "Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:25-26.

"Therefore do not worry , saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34

Lord, increase our faith!

Thursday, August 13

Striking It Rich!

This year's rains and less than a little pruning resulted in an over-abundance of grapes. What a surprise, because there's normally next to nothing. Angel was wowed, too.

We took bags full to our class at church last Sunday and got rid of the first pick. We bagged another 15 or 20 lbs. today of Thompson and Flames. Not the biggest, but pretty sweet. Perfect for snacks at work and a refreshing change when you need a drink.

Sometimes there are rewards for doing nothing and letting God do the work.

Sunday, August 9

Sunday Sermon

From Psalm 119:130, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." -ESV

from Charles Bridges' 1827 commentary on Psalm 119 --- ". . . But - Reader - rest not satisfied with whatever measure of light may have been hitherto vouchsafed. Seek that the word may have 'an entrance ministered unto you abundantly.' The most advanced believer is most ready to acknowledge, how much of the word yet remains unexplored before him. Cultivate the disposition of simplicity - the spirit of a 'little child' (Matthew 18:3) - willing to receive, embrace, submit to, whatever the revelation of God may produce before you. There will be many things that we do not understand: but there is nothing that we shall not believe.

"'Thus saith the Lord' - is sufficient to satisfy reverential faith. To this spirit the promise of heavenly light is exclusively made. 'The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The meek will he guide in judgment; the meek will he teach his way.' (Psalm 19:7; 25:9). It is beautiful to see a man like Solomon, endued with enlarged powers of mind (I Kings 4:29-34), acknowledging himself to be a little child (I Kings 3:7), afraid of trusting in his own light; and seeking instruction from above.

"But never will an unhumbled mind know the benefit of this Divine instruction. To such a student, the Bible must ever be a dark book, since its very design is to destroy that disposition which he brings to the inquiry. That knowledge, therefore, which is unable to direct our way to heaven - nay, which by closing the avenues of spiritual light, obstructs our entrance there, is far more a curse than a blessing. Far more glorious is the simplicity of the word than the wisdom of the world.

"'In that hour, Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.'" (Luke 10:21) -KJV

Saturday, August 8

Scrabble On, Dude!

This 60's version of a futuristic freeway has yet to materialize. And if it does, there is little chance of any family playing Dominoes or Scrabble while scooting from San Francisco to Paso Robles. Families do next to nothing together in 2009. The current trend follows a more autonomous existence where the goal is to say as little as possible to each other and hole up in our personal entertainment/relationship universes. Computers, cell phones and lots of homework aren't very family friendly.

How about making a new rule: Game Night. It will definitely change your life - and reinvent your definition of family.

Playing in your car is optional.

Friday, August 7

"I Asked You First !!!!!"

I picked up Angel after school yesterday. She wanted to know if I brought the old pickup. I laughed and said, "Not this time." When her mother was in high school, she used to hate me coming to pick her up in the rattle-trap and would tell me to park far away so her friends wouldn't see her get in it.

Anyway, Angel parks herself in the backseat of the car and proceeds with the small talk for awhile. Then she wanted to ask me a question - something she'd learned in Language Arts, she said. This should be interesting, I thought. "If you have a snowman, how long will he take to melt?"

What?! First of all, I said this really wasn't a Language Arts question: it was more like a physics/science/math question. She agreed. Next, I told her, we need some more information before I can answer, like what is the size of the snowman and what is the temperature outside. That will get us closer to the rate of evaporation. She offered, "Two pounds" for the snowman and 100 degrees outside. That helped, but still left me guessing for a rate of evaporation.

I posed a hypothetical rate of 1 oz. per minute. Just guessing here. Then I said, "Suppose the rate of evaporation is 1 oz. per minute. You have 2 pounds of snowman. 1 pound equals 16 ozs., so 2 pounds would be 32 ozs. So if it evaporates at 1 oz. per minute, and you have 32 ozs., how many minutes would it take to completely disappear?"

I heard a big sigh from the backseat right before she said, "Why is it everytime I ask someone a question, they end up asking ME to answer it? My mom does the same thing!"

A bit shocked and humbled, there was nothing for me to do at that point than tell her the answer: "32 minutes - about a half an hour." She was okay with that, I guess.

She didn't ask me anything else for the rest of the trip. Smart kid!

Saturday, August 1

ObamaCare In Action?

Let's see: It's the Crowleys of the world who will take care of the disabled elderly Gates of the world while the President doesn't seem concerned. Is something wrong with this picture. Or is something wonderfully right?