Monday, April 13, 2015

We're Going To Miss You Joel

Today I logged on to a local news site that I frequently peruse and I saw a headline that sparked my interest. It said that a man from Bend, Oregon had been killed in a fall while taking a photograph during a hike. I thought to myself that I know a guy in Bend who likes to take pictures of the places he hikes so I clicked on the link. I was deeply saddened to discover that the person named in the article was, in fact, my friend Joel.

Joel was a very likeable person who loved hunting and camping and the outdoors in general. I spent many hours with him mutually enjoying God's gift of creation. I have many fond memories of seeing his campsite with a two or three gallon coffee pot hanging over a fire on some contraption that he'd fabricated from old branches and chunks of wood that he had found around the area. I remember one time, early in the year, it was very cold. He had a cabin tent set up and some kind of wood stove and inside that tent was almost too warm to be comfortable. He was the only guy I ever knew that had and wore those one piece thermal underwear that one might have seen Robert Duvall wear in Lonesome Dove. Those are fond memories.

Joel and Julia were always invited and present at family events because they were like family.

I am sad as are all of his myriad other friends but we just need to continue to remind ourselves that he fell off the trail Sunday and into the arms of Jesus.

Well, at least I can be confident that when my time comes, there will a hot pot of camp coffee hanging over a fire waiting for me.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Guard Your Thoughts

It's been nearly two years since I last posted to this blog. It is a little more difficult now because I lost a piece of one of my fingers a year ago and typing isn't quite the same. Oh well, its time to move on.

I felt like expressing some feelings because I got some real hard news this week and it has been weighing heavily on my mind. You know when you're watching a game on Sunday and someone fumbles the ball? It kind of ruins the moment for him and maybe even for you if you're a real fan. Often the team and maybe even that very guy can come back and still win the game. In other words, some fumbles aren't that bad in the big picture. Some fumbles, on the other hand, will change your life forever.

I have this friend that I have known for over thirty years. We haven't been real close for a while because he moved away a few years ago but we enjoyed getting together when he and his family were in town. Back in the eighties, however, he was on the inside. I mean we were tight. We shared pretty personal information, we spent a lot of time together. We were pretty close friends.

This week I get a call from my wife and she says she has just forwarded an email and that I need to read it. Ok, I stop what I'm doing and I read the email. My friend has been arrested for a pretty serious crime. You know, the kind of crime that might ultimately end up with a life sentence. That kind of news can really set you back a bit. I mean I feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for his family, I even feel sorry for myself. I believe that we actually are our brother's keepers and when a brother falls, we own a little bit of the fault.

Ok, here's the warning. Actions with these consequences don't normally happen in just a moment. What does happen in a moment is a thought. If an evil thought pops into your head, it is your responsibility to squash it. Don't feed it. Replace it with something good. If you choose to dwell on the evil it will grow and become stronger and possibly will culminate in an action that can negatively affect your future. A friend who was somewhat wiser than his years once told me that it is kind of like having two imaginary dogs. There is a white one and a black one. A good one and an evil one. The one that you choose to feed will ultimately become the stronger of the two. Choose wisely which dog to feed.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Family and Friends Detroit Lake Campout 2012

We just got home after another great week away at Detroit Lake. This event is eagerly anticipated each year. This year we probably had around eighty participants from one year olds to over eighty year olds. The weather was fantastic, everyone stayed safe and good times were had by all.
Each year Ty and Jenene put together some kind of special event for the kids. This year they invited Captain Jack Sparrow

and his lovely and talented wench

to officiate a treasure hunt which taxed its participants to their limits.
In this image all of the participants are receiving their instructions from Captain Jack.

Here are a few of the challenges experienced by the contestants.

Did I mention food? This year we split the meals up and and had a great variety and no one had to do so much that they got worn out. We ate Mexican, Italian, and perhaps even American.

Now there are some smiles. I think that those are representative of the feelings that we all shared this week!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

C'est La Vie (That's Life--En Anglais)

Wow! I think I just made it to a new milestone in my life and I'm having a bit of trouble getting used to it. Over the last few years, I've noticed my eye sight has become increasingly worse. Debbie finally convinced me to make an appointment at Costco with the the eye doctor. He discovered what I had been recently realizing. My vision had digressed to the point where a pair of prescription glasses would be a true benefit.

The lenses that we purchased are what is described as progressive and transitional. Apparently that means that they are multi-focal and they darken a bit when I'm out in the sun. The transitional part seems to be good so far. I'm actually ok with the idea of needing corrective lenses but I've discovered that getting used to wearing them all of the time is a little difficult. I don't know if it will always be this way or if my brain will at some point figure out how to compensate. Often, my surroundings including the ground are moving around. It's kind of like being under the influence of some kind of narcotic. Another thing that is difficult for now is that things that I know are perfect 90 degree right angles appear to be 15-20 degrees off. I cut a board the other day and the angle looked so off that I had to check the saw to see what angle I'd cut. I sure hope that my brain will at some point figure out how to compensate. The frames that I chose were from the Randy Jackson eyewear collection. Who in the world is Randy Jackson? I really asked that question. Yeah, now I know, he's one of the judges from American Idol. I guess I'm the only guy in America who's never watched the show! Sorry.

One of the frustrations that I'd been having was trying to see well enough to tie a fishing fly on my leader. Hopefully, that is a frustration that will never be realized again. I also purchased a pair of polarized progressives. I can hardly wait to try them out on the water.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Weekend To Remember

This was a most remarkable week end! Though it wasn't the actual 80th anniversary of my father's birth, we had chosen to celebrate it this weekend in order that more of the people important to him would be able to attend. Here he is floating around with his charming bride.

I have three other siblings and of the three,it originally looked like only two of us were going to be able to get away for this event. Eventually, a third member of this four member group was going to be able to be there, at least for a short time. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the fourth sibling was already there and was going to be able to complete the surviving members of the family group with which I grew up. I want to specifically thank Tanna, his wife, for allowing him to come and share this weekend with us.

Here he is teaching some of the younger members of the family to eat crawfish. Try to imagine how fortunate those kids are!!!

Since many miles and personal complications separate us most of the time, this complete reunion was a remarkable and forever memorable event.

We had four generations of family plus a number of friends together for a delightful weekend of celebration and catching up on each other's lives. I see some seemingly flagrant ommisions of pictures of important people who were here but unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of them. I am very sorry for not getting a picture of every attendee. Each person who was here was valued and I wish that I could have posted an image of them as well but alas, I am amazingly fallable and apparently, didn't get a picture of everyone. Oops!!

At one point, I was thinking of how fortunate we were to be able to have all of us there and be getting along. I know that many families do not have that luxury.

God has been and continues to be gracious.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Twenty Seven Already?

Tomorrow is the twenty seventh anniversary of our wedding. It is actually pretty amazing that God has been so gracious as to allow this relationship to weather all of the storms that typically can scuttle a marriage like ours. I love the lyrics the song "What God Has Joined Together" by Paul Overstreet.

Yeah! I know that I've posted these lyrics before but they still ring true!

With shaky knees and my old nervous grin We stood before the Lord and all our friends. Your daddy cried a teardrop as he gave his girl away. I promised to keep lovin' you until my dying day.


And what God has joined together let no one come between Or try to put asunder lovers building their dreams. The light that shines forever is now burning in our hearts. What God has joined together, let no one ever part.

Well that was several years ago today. And we walked some rocky roads along the way. But the Lord has helped us make it through the crazy ups and downs And when we took the wrong road he turned us both around.

When the evening of our lives on earth is near, And our eyes grow weak and words are hard to hear; Well, I pray the Lord is tender when he comes to call us home, And he lets us go together so we'll never be alone.


What God has joined together, let no one come between; Or try to put asunder lovers building their dreams. The light that shines forever is now burning in our hearts. What God has joined together let no one ever part.

What God has joined together let no one ever part...

I couldn't find Paul singing it on Youtube but this guy does an adequate job. At least you get a feeling for what the song should sound like.

I took tomorrow off to be with my bride! I wonder what will come of that?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fifty Shades of Green

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It has been 5 1/2 months since my last post. It's not like I've been in a coma or anything. It's just that I'm not like the Pioneer Woman who can make mowing the lawn sound interesting.

In spite of the title, and the fact that this is a dirty post, you'll find that you will will not need to cleanse your mind after reading it. The dirt, after all is just the kind of earth in which one might plant their roses.

Anyway, my first wife Debbie, ok, she's my only wife, has been going crazy for a number of months or years about some arbor vitae that we had lining our driveway. She finally convinced me to take action. She wanted to buy a chain saw and reduce them to stumps. I was a little hesitant to spend that money as I already had a saw that I had bought in a garage sale a few years ago or maybe ten. The tricky part was that in all of the years that I'd owned this saw, I had never actually had it running. :( Well, I spent a few minutes with it and Oh My Goodness! You got it! I got it started and sawed down all of the arbor vitae along the driveway. As it turns out, the saw does have issues but the arbor vitae are gone and there was suddenly room for a new era of plants and yard decore. She had a vision which included an arbor, roses, hydrangeas, various other flora, statuary and digging, a lot of digging! By the end of the day, I thought that I had dug my own grave. Fortunately for me, I have been taking my pills and I survived the physical labor. Let me share a few images of the finished or at least, nearly finished project.

This image is what the driveway looked like before the project began.

These images show the yard as it looks today!

As much as I hate working in the yard, I believe that there is a marked improvement. Who would have thought?