31 October 2004

This new season...

I am looking forward to the Christmas season. I have some ideas for new traditions.

I have the only Chia pet nativity creche. So now is the time to take out the set and plant the grass and begin to water. Before the twelve days begin, I will have a full blown Chia Christmas experience. I also have a "homies" creche.

Donate a pint of blood to the bloodbank. By the time Christmas comes someone will have a gift waiting for them. Life.

Vote for someone that will not increase taxes and appoint liberal judges to the Supreme Court Bench after the new year. Like W! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!!!!)

Make gifts for the family. Make food, photos, scarves, hats, purses, etc. Buy rare used books, records and other things that inspire, encourage, expand awareness, creativity, and understanding. And give the balance of what you would have spent to someone who has nothing.

Make a wreath. Be creative and use things other than fir branches.

Do something different. Add wasabi to the cranberry dressing.

Meet a new neighbor.

Write a letter to a fireman or policeman and thank them for the job they did this year and that you are thinking of them during this season.

Take out the youth pastor or the janitor from the church for lunch or coffee. You treat.

Get a bunch of friends and make soup for the church choir's Christmas performance. They won't know what to do with you.

Plant bulbs for the spring. Put one red tulip bulb in a pot with all white ones and enjoy the uniqueness in the spring.

Do as Cosby does and learn to make a pastry, like bear claws or croissants. And invite your mom for breakfast.

Stand up to bullies and give time or money to the underdog. Work for mercy and justice.

Try a new ethnic restaurant and ask them how they celebrate the holidays. Have the owner tell you a story of their holidays from home.

Take a walk and skip.

I know this sounds like Martha Stewart type stuff, but we need to do something other than the same old, same old this year. Enjoy life, drink responsibly, vote, celebrate the birth of a child and the life of someone who has passed on, tithe (give 10% of your earnings) to a mission or a church. (We designate ours to the youth ministry.) Be bold and reach out to the person in class or at work who you have never met. Take a different street to work or school. Slow down and turn off the radio or CD player or the iPod and listen to the sounds around you. Now I sound like Dr. Phil... Sorry

Good friends...

Christel and I had an enjoyable evening with Dan and Suzanne Kimball. There is nothing better for the soul than laughter and love. We get both from them!

28 October 2004

A problem...

I have been hit with a virus. Emails have been sent with stuff like, "I'm nude", "Hi", "Thinking of you", and others. You have been hit if you have ever sent me an email. I am sorry. I knew when I opened this one email from an old friend that would never send me an email. Especially one that said "Hi" I am an idiot.

I am sorry if I have inconvenience anyone.

26 October 2004

Great time off...

Christel is a music teacher for a few of the mountain K-8s up here, and they always take the last week of October as a holiday. It is really the only week that Christel and I have together. Summers she's off but I am busy with camp, the day I get off from summer she starts school. The Christmas holidays are usually busy with me planning a college conference (but this year there is not going to be one) and getting ready for staff interview trips. Needless to say but I will anyway, we don't get much time off together. This is a great week because there are not very many kids off during this week so we can relax at different movies, restaurants, shops, and fun places...

It is raining, which is great to build a fire and read. We are heading to spend a night at the Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast in Fish Camp. Roads are closed for a few hours because of the snow. We are very "whatever" right now so we are not in a rush. Just enjoying the time.


A get away...

I gotta tell you what Christel, my wife, did.

Sunday, I ended up preaching both morning services and I led worship and preached Sunday night. The night time service felt like the Tony Show. I get tired of myself quickly.

But what happened was as Christel and I got in the car to go home she turned to me and told me that her and my bags are packed to spend a night away and where would I like to go. The main thing was that it couldn't be about work. We decided to go to the Monterey Penisula (one of our favorite places). We called some dear friends, Kord and Jay Lazarus, who live in Pebble Beach, and told them we would be coming into town tonight and can we plan a dinner or lunch on Monday. Instead they told us to come to their house now and we can spend the night with them. They built a new house, actually it is classified as a remodel. In Pebble Beach because of a building moratorium, they cannot build new homes so they demolish all but an existing wall or such and build on the same foot print as the previous house. Jay has such an incredible style and high quality in the details that I spent much of the day just looking at the little things of the house. It was exquisite. Being around them has always been a wonderful experience for our spirit, soul, and body. We have wonderful talks about the Lord and what He is doing in their lives. It was Kord and Jay who introduced us to the beauty and power of the Catholic liturgy and eucharist. It opened our lives. They are important friends and we are continually blessed by them.

We had breakfast on their patio, a little cool but very nice. Lunch in Pacific Grove at our favorite Vivolvo's Chowder House. The best seafood bisque and calamari steak. Ask for extra garlic with the calamari! We then walked around art galleries and some shops and headed home. An overnight can bring much peace.

Christel's planning to get away again drew us closer and the drive provided wonderful talks about dreams, fears, explanations, jokes, stories, and silence. What a gift she is.

24 October 2004

Last night's call...

I got a call last night as we sat down for dinner from my pastor, Rick Irish, telling me he was in bed with an 102 degree fever and wasn't going to make it to church to preach. He asked if I could cover the night sermon, I said I would, then he told me our friend Todd Fonda had an accident and was sent to University Medical Center and the Assistant pastor, Paul DePledge, was going to spend time there and wouldn't be able to handle the morning service, would I also preach for those? Sure...

We pray for Todd, for another miracle of God's hand to touch and heal, provide peace to the family, and wisdom to the medical team.

I was hoping to spend the day with Christel at the Art shows around the mountain areas. But I feel like I should do this. Then we are taking the week off and spending some time traveling to the coast for the day, gallery hopping, long conversations, and maybe into the valley of Yosemite.

23 October 2004


Check out Steve Hart's blog, VintageFaith. I pray this heart would take over the denominations.

22 October 2004

New to the blogsphere...

I want to welcome Asher Wallace Ekhardt, son or Bill & Tracy, to the community!!!

What will the world be like when he has his first child?

I pray that he will be a man of peace and wisdom like his parents, know Jesus to be true and powerful and full of love.

Blessings to you Bill and Tracy. Job well done.

20 October 2004


It is snowing. This is the second day in a row. Snow.

The students from the catholic schools are here this week and they are loving it. Parents/Counselors kind of. Teachers not so much.

Great magic. Great God.

19 October 2004

Timbo said it...

A major concern in this election is who is going to pick the next few Supreme Court Judges! That is a major major. I don't want judges who will make laws. I am voting for Bush.

Watch for the attorneys from the demos to cause a lot of ruckus in this election. They already have 5 lawsuits and we haven't even voted yet. Except in Florida.

And what are they doing in Florida with the early vote? Is it because everyone is retired in Florida and they eat dinner at 3:30pm so why not take that logic to the vote?

I didn't mention anyone by name, did you notice? I aim to please.

I am being taken off all the pomo blog lists. Cleave kicked me off a few months ago. Wow. I guess I am not trendy anymore. Just an old, conservative, hick, non-ordained, Bush loving, former smoker and drug addict, believer in the Mother, proLife, antiWar, SUV driving, tri-focaled, moving out of the PCUSA, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez karioke singer, bleu cheese and bbq sauce dippin', English muffin kind of blogger guy. It is hard being cool for a while and then people go to someone else. Maybe in 10 years I will be a part of the retro people... like boy George and Aerosmith.

When I was in high school I worked with the "lower the voting age to 18" group. I am very proud of that association and work. I hope you vote. Find the man that is running for president who is closest to your thinking, faith, etc. and vote for him. Even if you are not voting for Bush to not vote is a shame and you should vote for Nadar or the other guy. For this was the first elections in Afgahanistan, it is a precious privilege that we should never take for granted. There are some important issues on the ballot that needs your attention. Read the literature that the state sends out. VOTE.

I had a cinnamon roll from the fair the other day. Man those are good.

I think I said it all... good night.

OK, I will behave...

I will not rant anymore about kerry and eddie. I will not suggest anything about that he should have used New Jersey Governor James McGreevey as an example instead of Mary Cheney. Won't talk about the hands, the flipflop, his record, his not associating with the left side of the party...

Let's talk about the Seahawks...


In the real world, Steve Hart is inspiring. Check out his blog. Much prayer and praise for a new work in Spokane.
This morning I read, "John Kerry and John Edwards believe in a better, stronger America - an America that is respected, not just feared. An America that listens and leads - that cherishes freedom, safeguards our people, uplifts others, forges alliances, and deserves respect. This is the America they believe in. This is the America they are fighting for. And this is the America we can be."

kerry and eddie believe that we can be better, stronger, listeners and leaders, cherishers, uplifters and forgers. We are worth fighting for. We can be something we are not.

Yep, I for kerry. I want to be better and he is going to make me that way because I can't do it on my own.

(I am getting all of the information from my kerry devotional on johnkerry.com and you can too. It is inspiring!)

18 October 2004

I changed my mind, I am for kerry.

I read, "To protect America's health, John Kerry and John Edwards will develop a private and public strategy to prevent a crisis like the one we are experiencing today. They will strengthen our nation's ability to develop, produce, and distribute safe flu vaccines by putting America's ingenuity to work." AND I read, "John Kerry and John Edwards have a vision for American education: every child should be held to high standards, and every school should have the resources and the responsibility to meet those standards. Every classroom should have a great teacher. Every young person should graduate from high school, and every young person who works hard and wants to go to college should be able to afford it. And all Americans should be able to get the skills they need to succeed throughout their lives."

They've got plans and strategy, vision and development. All Americans should be able to... succeed throughout their lives. I'm all for that.

Thumbs up!

17 October 2004

I cannot stand watching kerry. There is nothing to attach one's self to this man. I cannot understand why people would align themselves with this guy. I respect Ralph Nadar much more. He is a liberal and stays a liberal. Doesn't change his colors to get elected. There is something honorable about keeping with one's beliefs and knowing you will never win an election. I like Jerry Brown. He never changes. Kennedy stays put.

I can respect difference of opinions and anyone who sees the world differently. But this guy... Why do you like him? Give me something that you see in this guy that is honorable and respectful. Something that could give me a difference of opinion. Don't talk about Bush's mentality, or scowls or anything like that, tell me about kerry.

On a lighter note...
Tracy E. is going to give birth to a newcomer and our prayers are with her and Bill E. When your child rebells (s)he will be a republican. I pray all is well. Peace to you two...

16 October 2004

I have got to say it...

I don't like John Kerry.

I don't believe John Kerry is genuine.

I don't want him anywhere near my children, my money, my life.

I worked for George McGovern and he is no George McGovern.

He is a liberal but is afraid to be called that. I resent that. He is a catholic but doesn't believe in anything the Church stands for. I cannot respect that. He votes against what he now says he is for.

I cannot respect how John Kerry used the daughter of his opponent as a case in point. It is not fair game. He doesn't have any class nor respect as he said he did.

He is not genuine.

His hand gestures are contrived. I would rather vote for someone who grimances when he hears a lie!

Why would anyone want this guy to be their president?

There I said it...

13 October 2004


I am not bored with life but bored with the offerings that use to mean something. I am thinking I need to pack lighter and enjoy more along the way instead of needing more and attaining stuff. I like to visit people and hear stories more than watching television. I sat last Tuesday night and listen to Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, speak. Maybe I should go to the university in Fresno and see who is speaking there. Don opened my eyes because he did not speak like the others it was not a christian message as much as a brother in Christ sharing his life. Does that make sense? So often we go to hear christian messages that don't affect our life. Our summer staff sang one of James Taylor's song, Shed a Little Light for a concert and some of the people asked if we could change the words, "Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King..." to "Let us turn our thoughts today to Jesus Christ our King..." Why, because they were unable to listen to anything that was not CHRISTIAN. We keep closer to doctrine than truth.

Go figure...


On Monday, I spent four hours from 8 am until 12 noon sitting in my dentist's chair while Bernie, the dental hygenist, scraped the roots of my teeth. Yes, scraped the roots of my teeth. I am not a good brusher, hate flossing, and haven't seen Ed, the dentist, or Bernie in 3 years. I don't know if it was meant to be punishment for the lack of dental care I am giving myself or if it is the consequence of said lack of actions. Any way I brought along the iPod and listened to music that would calm and get my mind away. What did I choose? A little James Taylor, a little Bruce Hornsby, a little Joan Baez and a lot of Secret Garden. They took my mind away. Secret Garden took me to a different world not without pain but where all there was was pain. It was interesting that this pain caused me to focus. I was aware of it for the entire four hours. Yes, I got a local which did a lot to block the pain. Ed perscribed some Valium but I was 4 minutes late to the pharmacy to be able to get. So I had to be there a cappella.

On Tuesday, I sat in Rick's office with Ginny, the Business Administrator, and Rick, the Executive Director, discussing and putting together the budget for 2005. We had to carve out $57,000.00 to make the budget balance. There was no drilling, just carving. My mind did a lot of wandering. I should have brought in Secret Garden to take me away but I had to focus. It was hard to focus without pain. Like last year when it came to the final moments and we had to cut, I focused - I felt the pain then.

What are we going to accomplish with this money. The same old, same old or would there be something new? Do we have to spend more to accomplish something new? Or do we reallocate our resources for this new work that God is doing?

Reallocate. Do it for less. Focus on what He is doing not on what we are not going to do.

Bernie had to spend her four hours in a small area 5 square inches working on my mouth without Secret Garden playing in her ears causing healing to my system. I hurt but she was bored. We need healing to our system, not so that we can spend more money but do what needs to be done.

Kind of like the motto of the Marines... Simplify!

10 October 2004

I'm a little bored...

I am finding myself in much yawning. Not a lot of life in what I have been doing. I tried to write a few blogs only to X it out and turn off the computer... bored with myself. I have heard myself say the same thing over and over, complain about the same people over and over, eat the same thing over and over, worship is rutful and I can't stand it.

At fifty it is pathetic to be bored. I know better. Plenty of opportunities, I have seen incredible things. Demonic activities overcomed by the name of Jesus, healings change the course of someone's life, prophecy come true, creation, beauty, etc., etc. But now I can't stand Christianity as a product whether traditional or emergent. I would rather go to an Art Gallery opening than a worship service. Maybe it is a mid spiritual life crisis, or seeing too many things come and go and not leave an impact let alone a stain. Promisekeepers, Billy Graham crusades, PoMos, blogs, etc. I am even bored with Vente, sugar-free vanilla, breve lattes. I can't get excited about a computer, when that use to bring a lot of fascination, they are quickly obsolete - satisfaction is fleeting when things become obsolete so quickly.

My addictions are greater than my passion. I am almost, and I must say almost, at the point of could give a frik about the whole thing. It is not for something new that I crave, but something real. The love of my wife and children are real. I deeply enjoy that. I should have sooner. My wife's love is like good brandy - it gets better with age. Good brandy is for sipping and enjoying, not mixing with seltzer water or 7up. My children are moving out slowing but it seems like they were just arriving a year ago. They have new adventures and new heartaches. I want to protect them but I know that passion comes from risk not comfort. They have to fall into it and have a bodily reaction. Their souls need to grab on to it. I pray that they would let their souls have fingers.

I am finding the collection of leaves from the dogwood trees near camp soothing and peaceful - even more than a corporate prayer time. I don't think I am looking for something more... I think I need to be looking for something less. I need to change my rhythms to match His rhythms. My Rosary beads need to become more important than my pocket pc.

I am wolfing my food and not enjoying what things taste like again. Drinking a glass of wine so I can sleep at night. Praying for someone and thinking about a problem at work. I cannot focus on what is happening at the present moment.

This past week was wonderful, but I am pissed at myself for what I am doing with myself.

Sorry you had to hear this...

08 October 2004

What a week...

I spent the week in Southern California with some friends, new and old. I had meetings with Donald Miller, who wrote Blue Like Jazz, Rudy Carrasco, from Harambee in Pasadena, Robin Dugall, from Orange County and APU, Izzy, a YP from a Free Methodist Church in Long Beach, Andrew Eagle, new YP at Beverly Hills Pres, Ben and Lauretta Patterson from Westmont, Santa Barbara, Andy Bales, Executive Director of Lake Avenue Community Foundation where I sat in on a consortium of urban ministries like Harambee, Skid Row, Open Door, Lighthouse Men's Christian Home, and a few others. And I had a great dinner with my son, Simon.

It was an incredible time. I designed this week to be aware of new things, confirm old and lasting truths, get refreshed, be born again again, and do a lot of thinking. My time with Donald Miller was incredible as we drove to dinner together after he spoke at this small venue of a emergent church. He spoke some great things with great insight. I haven't been inspired like I was listening to Don in an awful long time. Incredible...

A quote taken from Robin Dugall's blog from Don's talk...
"Culture is obsessed with the HOW's and completely ignores the WHY...the Bible is focused on the WHY's and completely ignores the HOW". Mmmmmm... give that some thought? Look through your Bible and see if you can see a "formula" for spiritual refreshment and living. Give your Bible a shot as showing you a bullet-pointed message on just about anything. Isn't it tragic that we have shackled our God through the bonds of pragmatism. God is attempting to pull us into a redemptive and passionate relationship with Him and we're still trying to figure out how everything is going to work out in our life so that we are comfortable and happy." Don's new book, Searching for God Knows What, is great as it follows the line of thinking which he covered in his talk.

Robin, Don, and I went out to dinner in Irvine afterwards and talked. I was blessed, stretched, and renewed. Like minded, new thinking, acceptance...

Conversations over sushi and a evening stroll in Carpinteria with Ben and Lauretta Patterson was such a delight to feed my soul and set some errors straight in me. It is good to have a friend who will lovingly correct. There is a painting of Ben preaching at Hope College hanging over his fireplace that was very touching. He is preaching to a full house and in the air are angels worshiping... very cool and an incredible gift and recognition of his success there.

I am processing a lot from this week...
a teaching of Rudy's in my car on economics,
camping and the small independant churches,
the consortium meeting,
allowing the encouraging rebuke from Ben to sink in,
and enjoying my time with Simon.

New heat in my soul, new ideas in my mind, new strength in my drive... it was a great week.