View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A time for every thing --

Dear Orville and Bernice; 

Oh, my goodness, how my heart aches for you both and Doug, on the loss of your daughter and sister.  I can only imagine what pain you are going through.  And yet I know there is joy in your hearts knowing that she was a child of Christ and is now home with Him.  The suffering and pain are now gone and Teresa is free at last, free at last to run and play and enjoy the beauty of Heaven at the feet of Jesus. 

As you know, I called the next day and talked to you, Orvy, and as Jeff has said to me numerous times, "How are you not able to express yourself verbally and yet write the way you do?"  (I still think he believes I use a ghost writer.)  I wasn't able to share what was really on my heart because I do have a difficult time expressing myself. 

This afternoon I was catching up on my daily devotion with Rick Warren, and today's text came from Job and Ecclesiastics.  As I was reading the verses and text of Warren, thoughts started running through my mind of things that I needed to convey to you both.  It has been several months since this has happened, the inspiration, so I knew that it was from the Holy Spirit.

  I love the book of Job, because it gives us insight into what goes on every single day in Heaven between God and Satan.  If you look at chapter one, verse 8, God asks Satan "Did you notice my servant ______  (insert your name, my name, any child of God).  I believe that Teresa's name was put there somewhere back in time, and Satan challenged God to pull back his protective angels and watch her curse God's name.  All it did was bring her closer to Jesus and God.  I'm sure that Teresa was angry with God, just as Job was, yet in the end, they were faithful.  In Chapter 7, verse 11 Job says "NO!  I can't be quiet!  I am angry and bitter.  I have to speak."  I believe God expects that, because we are just human, we have weaknesses and faults, just as Job did.  He cursed the day he was conceived and the day he was born, but never the name of God.  In the end God blesses Job many times over what he lost. 

I have said before that there should be a 13th commandment, or directive that says a parent should not have to bury one of their children.  But look at how many families in La Grande First Baptist Church have done that over the last forty years, especially the last 10 years.  Your family is just the latest.  Only God knows what the blessings will be from this.  We may never learn what the purpose of Teresa's calling home is while we are here on earth, but we will when we get to Heaven and Jesus will explain it all.

I know that the church family there is ministering to you both, and what a blessing they are.  I know that they are sharing many scriptures with you and so I will spare you any more.  I don't need to tell you where your hope is, because you already know that it is in Jesus.  My hope and prayer is that through all of what Teresa went through, lives will be touched and souls saved.  My greatest disappointment is that I am not be able to be there with you in your greatest hour of need.  Know that Jeri and I are there in spirit and love and miss you all so much. 

I wrote this following "VIEW FROM THE RIDGE" back in June of 2006.  You may remember it or not, but it was about one of many near misses that Satan has thrown at us. 

 There was this particular Tuesday morning in late March when God was having his morning coffee and donuts – or maybe fruit from one of the twelve trees mentioned in Revelation – and discussing various people on earth with  the angels who had come for their daily report with God.  Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them.

   God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?" Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth."

   God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Mikey Q? There's no one quite like him--honest and true to his word."

   Satan snorted, "Yeah, I’ve watched him and I can tell you he ain’t no Job!  I admit he is in church most Sundays, but his morning devotions have been hit and miss, and there have been a few meals that grace was not said.  Then there is his golf addiction and course demeanor.  He still has some work to do on his anger management.   

God replied, “I didn’t say he was perfect, but he has been a loyal and faithful servant, and you have to admit that he is a unique individual.”

Again Satan snorted, Excuse me, do you think he does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart?  Now I admit that he hasn’t had it as good as Job did before I started working on him, but you have to admit that you pamper Mikey like a pet.  Sure, you allowed me to annoy him a lot, but you haven’t really allowed me to make life miserable for him.  Nothing really bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions.    

God replied, “Hey, I let you give him the big C! 

Oh, come on, Jehovah, you limited it to Prostrate cancer!  He would have lived another 10 or 12 years if he did nothing, for crying out loud.  Eight weeks of radiation turned out to be a vacation, a piece of cake.  I put two months of rain in the Portland area trying to dampen his spirits and he still had a great time with his family and grand kids. 

Then I had him nailed in Mexico with that SUV that was headed straight for him and his pick-up but, no, you have to divert her the last ten feet to just barely miss him.  Almost scaring him and Jeri to death doesn’t count.

God answered, “So what do you have in mind now?”

Satan thought for a moment.  I have this big wind scheduled for today in the Santa Barbara area where Mikey Q will be traveling.  You know how he hates headwinds and how he gripes and complains the whole time.  Well, this is going to be the mother of all head winds and we’ll see how he and that fifth wheel trailer holds up and who he ends up blaming when every thing goes to you-know-where in a hand basket.    

 God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead--do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God.

So there was a mighty blast of wind that day in the Ventura and Santa Barbara areas.  Trees were blown over, power lines were down and roofs were damaged. 

 The next day the angels are again meeting with God and of course Satan is there, too.  Then God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Mikey Q? There's no one quite like him, is there --honest and true to his word,   devoted to God and hating evil? He still has a firm grip on his integrity! You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn't work."

Satan answered, Well, Emanuel, you are a sneaky God.  I had a hunch that you would do some end-around move so I loosened up a few of his lug nuts and weakened a few of the wheel studs so that the right front wheel would come off when he was doing 60 mph.  I wasn’t going to wait around for the wind to do him in.  But then you did your preemptive move and clogged up traffic right when every thing was supposed to  fall apart.  I can’t believe your timing!  He is barely moving when the wheel breaks loose and the hub comes to rest on the inside of the rim.   Nothing touches the ground!  So again, you have protected him and Jeri.  Are you ever going to tire of pampering him? 

God replied, “Well, you know the old saying, ‘I take care of those who can’t take care of themselves’, and Mikey is right up there at the top of the list.  It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.”

Folks, we’re not sure that the above conversations actually took place, but from our view of the events, something along this order must have.  We have no explanation for the missing lug nuts and failed studs, why that wheel and none of the others, why on a straight stretch of smooth freeway, why there and not deep in the heart of Mexico where we had been the previous month.  No one had worked on that wheel in over 6 months and thousands of miles.  Hundreds of questions; not one single answer.  Except, as always, God is in control!  It was not by chance or luck that we were slowed by traffic at that critical point in time.  As we sat there for over four hours waiting for the tow truck, traffic never slowed again!  Losing a front wheel at freeway speeds with a 12,000 lb. trailer in tow would have resulted in a very nasty wreck.  God provided the protection; God gets all the glory.     

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sights in Utah

In our travels this year from Hawaii to the mainland, we have spent time in Portland, then three weeks on the ranch in Summerville, then drove to Southern California via Kanab, Utah, to spend 10 days visiting Jeri's sister and 96 year old Mother.  On the return trip to NE Oregon we stopped in Bryce Canyon and spent three nights and two days viewing some of the most awesome vistas this side of Heaven.  I took several hundred pictures (thank goodness for digital cameras with huge memory cards) of which I will share a few with you here over the next two or three blogs.  The pictures do not do justice to the colors and can't show the depth of the scenes that are there.  You can stand in one place, take pictures, move a few yards either direction and see things totally different. It is a National Park and treasure that is well worth the trip to visit. 

9 am on May 1st.  we left Hawaii for this!??
 But, first back to the beginning.  We arrived in Portland the night of April 24th, spent 6 days visiting Randy and Lani and the three grand kids.   On the 30th we drove to La Grande and spent the night with Orville and Bernice, then the following morning drove out to the ranch to untarp the 5th wheel trailer and get it cleaned up to move into. 

 About 5 miles from the ranch we came across several grass fields being irrigated.  The early morning temperatures had fallen well below freezing and the morning sun had failed to melt the ice sculptures that had been formed. 

Family started arriving the next day for our three day weekend retreat before the new renters and future owners moved in.  It was a great weekend and we were blessed with gorgeous weather. 

Jeri and I spent the next two weeks continuing to sort and pack "stuff" out of the house, trying to decide what to keep(very little), what to yard sale, and what to give away.  Not a fun time.  

We then went to the Boise area to visit with Kris and Andy for 5 days, then headed to Kanab, Utah.  We were going to visit Bryce then except the temperatures at 8'000 ft. were still getting below freezing at night and only in the 50's and low 60's during the day. We were not ready for that and that is why we went to Kanab.  

We spent the first night in Nephi, Utah, then headed down hwy 89 to Circle City, once the home of Billy the Kid, and ate lunch at the Circle City Cafe.  They make a great burger and onion rings and chili. 

Spent the night in Kanab and the next morning Jeri and I played 9 holes of golf at the local golf course, located next to red rock bluffs that serve as a back drop to the city.  

Moqui Cave
That afternoon we drove north a few miles and visited the Moqui Cave.  The cave is a museum of artifacts, fossils and history, depicting life in southern Utah spanning centuries. The cave’s history is as interesting as the artifacts contained within.  A cool room in the back once housed a fully-operational tavern, where those wanting to imbibe could hide their “devil’s brew” from prohibitionists.  Host Lex provides fascinating historical commentary. Especially interesting is his family’s polygamy background.  The cave also boasts one of the largest fluorescent and fossil mineral displays in the country. Exhibits include more than 1,000 arrowheads, ceremonial points, jugs, pots, bowls and working tools of the Anasazi-Navajo for the “Ancient Ones” from centuries ago. 

From there we drove west to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  
The park is a 3,730 acre recreation area with over 2,000 acres of sand open to OHVs. The area open to OHVs is about six miles long and approximately one mile wide. Sitting at an elevation of 6,000 feet the park enjoys mild winters and warm summers. The Coral Pink dunes have laid down several hundred feet of sand along the 200 mile long Sevier Fault. A "notch" between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains directs the windblown sand (the venturi effect) to this corner of Southern Utah . The reddish colored sand is supplied by ancient Navajo Sandstone that is carried from the Virgin River to the bottom of the Cane beds and the eroding Navajo Sandstone around the park.


It is nice to see a state or federal park that allows families with ATV's access to areas like this to explore and see areas not accessible  by foot.  Besides, who doesn't enjoy playing in a giant sandbox.

As sand slips through our hands, so do the days of our lives. 

This fence is buried under 15 to 20 feet of sand.  A wind shift could expose it in a week or so. 

There are many of these almost monolith like plateaus or bluffs that appear to have been chiseled to their shape.  They look like they have marks or scars that would have come from someone rough shaping with a giant chisel or rock hammer.  

What continues to amaze me is how God took this planet of rock, dirt and water and created so many beautiful and diverse areas for our visual entertainment.  I have been blessed by being able to travel to some of the corners of this earth and have found beauty everywhere.  There are a lot of butt ugly spots, but there are a lot of knock out gorgeous vistas also.  Thank you Lord for your gift of creation and the beautiful scenery. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Taken at Rancho de Jamon May 2013.  back row, left to right:  Andy and Lesley; Kris; Hana (Mitchel's girl friend) Mitchel with Max; Drew; Bethany; Randal; Charles and Stacia.  Front row:  Cash, Kris' Great Dane; Jeri; Lani; and Mike.

In my previous blogs you have read about our adventures of leaving the ranch and buying a house in Hawaii.  So the family decided that we should have one last weekend at the ranch to say our goodbys and reminisce about how blessed we have been to have had the privilege to live there and how God used this piece of land to mold and shape each of us into who we are today. 
House site before house arrived.

What I would like to share now is some before and after pictures of the changes not only of the ranch, but of our family.

Arriving after one mile journey after being on the same place for 80 plus years

In May or June of 1974, we found this house, built between 1890 and 1895, that was going to be dismantled.  I had a friend look at it and he said it was very sound and worth the effort to move and remodel.  We found a house mover in Pasco, Washington, that would move it for $5,000.
House finally over foundation
Took them two or three days to raise it off the basement foundation and onto the axles to move it down the road, and another day to travel the mile to our place.  The next morning they started to move it up the hill to the new foundation, only to have the left axle sink into a spring that we were unaware of.  They spent the rest of the day jacking the house up and backing it back down the hill.  The next morning they tried going up the center of the field, only to find another spring.  They then repeated the previous days work.

On the third morning they showed up with a rented D-9 cat and a truck load of planks.  Two of my neighbors brought down their D-4 cats and with all this extra horse power and traction, they were finally able to haul the house up the hill to it's final resting site.   Total cost:  $2,000 for the house, $5,000 to move it, $3,000 for the foundation, plumbing and electricity.  A bargain even in those days!  We were in it, but the remodeling had to wait another twenty years.  

 Over the next few decades, few pictures were taken except of family.  Those were hard years and I was not in the mood for picture taking.  Nor could I afford the film cost. 

June 2002

June, 2010


Today the house looks like it has been there 100 years.  Twice we have had people who grew up in the area years ago stop and ask us if the house had been there back then because they couldn't remember it. 

While visiting dad in January of 2005, he said if I built a studio apartment, he would come.  So the summer of that year we built this really nice over sized two car garage with a 600 sf apartment above,  only to discover he lied to me.  He never came.                                                      

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Modern day cattle truck

Sunset at 41,000 feet
Actually, this will have little to do with cattle or trucks, and everything to do with flying with today's airlines.  I love flying; the take-offs and landings, seeing the earth from various altitudes, clouds, sunsets at 41,000 ft., but all the rigor that you have  to go through to fly anywhere is rapidly diminishing the enjoyment part.  It is resembling the loading of cattle on a truck.

We are now in Portland, Oregon, staying a few days with our daughter, Lani, and son-in-law Randall and their three kids.  The trip here from Hawaii was the latest in adventures in flying.

We started out the morning of the 24th with the last minute packing.  One of the great joys of living in Hawaii is that I don't have to spend three hours preparing and winterizing the house for the three months we will be gone.  All I had to do was close the windows, lock the doors and unplug all the appliances except for the refrigerator.  Took me all of five minutes.  My sister, Sharon, and brother-in-law, Richard, picked us up for the 10 minute ride to the airport.  On our way I picked up a sub sandwich to share with Jeri on the airplane as past experience has taught me that the meals provide by the airlines can be skimpy and/or unappetizing.

Since we had left plenty of clothes in the 5th wheel trailer, here on the mainland,  we figured we could travel light.  HA!!  Boy was that a pipe dream.  By the time we packed all the Kona coffee and candy we were taking back to friends and family, plus the inventory of a small pharmacy of pills and supplements, lap tops, I-pads, chargers for everything, that pretty much filled a checked bag right there.  So we ended up with our four carry-on's and two checked bags.  Sorry, folks, but I don't go anywhere with out my sticks(golf clubs to the uninitiated). 

I have learned to wear long pants on the airplane because it is usually cool or down right cold.  The last time I wore long pants was the flight over last September.  Plus we would be arriving in Portland at 11 pm where the temperature would be in  the low 50's, hopefully not colder.  You have to remember that it has been almost a year since we have suffered temperatures below 60 degrees so we were not particularly looking forward to coming back this early.   Much to our surprise we have enjoyed temperatures in the high 70's and low 80's. 

I have also learned not to wear my cowboy boots since it is a real pain to take them off and on for the security line.  But, one more year and I won't have to do that.  TSA has determined that people 75 and older can keep their shoes and boots on.  Hopefully there are no 75 year old terrorist out there with a penchant for shoe bombs.  I now arrive with untied tennis shoes so all I have to do is slip them off and on and tie them later.   I also leave my belt off until I make it through the line.  We no longer pack any toiletries in our carry on but instead pack it in our checked luggage.  The stuff always had to be in a separate bag and set out by itself, which means you had to pack it on top so it would be accessible.

The Kona airport is small so it is not much of a walk from security to the gate. Now we sit and wait for our flight.  I liken it to a holding pen for cattle waiting to be loaded. Unlike cattle, people will fight to be on board first.   Gate personnel make the announcement that boarding for first class and Hawaiian Air Lines premium club members, families with kids under 6 and those needing assistance can now begin.  I swear half the waiting area stood up and started crowding towards the gate.  Maybe three or four families had small kids, half a dozen elderly that need assistance, there are no first class seats to Honolulu, so what's the big rush?  The plane is not going anywhere until everyone is on board. 

Departure time comes and goes, there are still people in the aisle, flight personal are shuffling people around, appears that the flight is over booked.  They finally get everyone seated, didn't see anyone leave the plane, and we finally get going only 20 minutes or so late. 

Arrival in Honolulu is at gate 57, the plane barely stops and two thirds or more of the passengers stand up and starts taking down carry-on luggage.  Have none of these people flown before?  It takes at least 5 minutes for the articulated stair way to be put in place and the door opened.  You would think the airplane was on fire.  Jeri and I always just sit and wait until the crowd thins out and then we can leisurely exit like civilised people. 

We were at gate 57 and, of course, needed to be at gate 27.  The only gate to our right was 56, the south end of the terminal, and it went to gate 80 to the north.  Confused, I start walking and finally find someone who can tell me where gate 27 is.  He says take the stairs to the next level and a shuttle will take you to gate 27.  Now I am questioning if I am even in the right airport as we have never had to do that before.  We make our way to the shuttle holding pen where we take a seat and wait.  About 10 or 15 minutes later a shuttle shows up, they call our gate number with several others and we board a bus that is crowded with people and carry-on luggage.  Jeri and I were going to have to sit in separated seats, until a nice gentleman with true Aloha spirit and an empty space next to him got up and let us sit together.  This old man and woman thing is starting to work out.

The bus pulls up to what the driver says is gate 27 and as we start to get up and grab our bags, a young lady sitting next to Jeri asks if she can carry her bag off the bus for her.  My first thought was "keep and eye on her and make sure she doesn't run with it".  Bad thoughts, Q, bad bad thoughts.  This young gal walked a few steps from the bus, sat the bag down and waited until Jeri got there.  And, yes, we thanked her profusely.  Not a big deal for her, but a big deal for us.

We then walked into this new holding pen but unable to discern what gate number it was.  No signage, just a reader board that indicated flight so and so had departed for Manila.  There is a line at the gate desk with a lot of people in it so we join the group.
I asked one lady if we were at the right gate and she said "I think so, but I haven't been able to find a number".  I looked around and saw that gate 26 was to our right and gate 28 was to our left, which one would assume that gate 27 was in between.   After about 5 minutes or so, and the line is not moving and the people behind the counter are busy with passengers, I ask the person behind me what this line was for.  She replied "for people with ticket problems".  Well FRITZ, we don't have any stinking ticket problems, what are we doing standing here!  Apparently we weren't the only sheep blindly following because I think two or three others left the line after hearing the explanation. 

Our plane finally arrives at the gate, about 10 minutes before the scheduled boarding time.  It is a new airbus 330 and I am thinking another late departure because it is going to take at least 20 minutes or more to unload the passengers plus then they have to clean and prepare it for the next load.  Then I notice that it is being towed into place.   Not a good sign normally, but Honolulu is Hawaiian Airlines hub so it was just being serviced.  For the loading scene, just refer back to paragraph 7 and double the number of passengers.  Again, we sit comfortably in our seats until most have cleared the boarding gate. 

We sat in row 11, seats were comfortable, adequate leg room, and to our surprise the meal was good. 
There was no choice, it was chicken in some kind of mushroom sauce, a salad and a chocolate Macadamia nut bar.    AND a complimentary glass of wine, thank you very much, and a choice of white or red.  Never saw that before, and no we were not in first class.  That was row 1 through 9.   Flight was supper smooth, very quiet, very enjoyable and the cabin crew were very nice.  We arrived in Portland within three minutes of schedule.

Again we waited until most of the passengers had cleared before our departing.  As Jeri was leaving the aircraft door, there were several aids waiting with wheel chairs for some disabled passengers.  One lady asked Jeri if she wanted a wheel chair, and knowing the loooong walk from the gate to the baggage claim, she said yes.  Turns out the lady had immigrated from Russia, spoke good English with a Russian accent, was very friendly and shared some of her past.  It was an enjoyable walk to the baggage claim. 

Our super son-in-law was there at 11:25 pm just as we were gathering one of our checked bags, but not my golf clubs.  Heart started to beat faster, panic was starting to set in, and several other passengers were also anxious about their bags.  Turns out the bags were waiting for us at the over sized bag station, two sets of clubs were there plus several other large parcels.  Heart rate returned to normal, blood pressure lowered, everything was back to normal. 

To most people this would have just been a normal, run of the mill flight, but to us, we could see God's hand in helping us.  I believe that the Holy Spirit motivated the two people on the bus.  As for the wheel chair, we had not ordered one, yet God knew Jeri needed it and provided it.  It is an awesome God we serve  when He provides and meets needs before we even realize the need, or even have time to pray and ask for help.  We are told to pray and ask, even in times when we have no idea how to pray or what to ask for.  Just continue to pray because the answer is already on it's way. 
Dick, Sharon and Jeri at the Kona Inn, Celebrating Mike and
 Jeri's 53rd wedding anniversary. 

And Sharon and Dick's daughter, Merrill, visiting from L.A.
Dinner sun set

Friday, March 8, 2013

So you think you have it tough!!

No matter how tough things are going, you can bet that there is someone who is going though tougher times.  Be it health, finances, marriage, job or no job, if you look around it won't take you long to find someone in a worse place than you.  But first, I need to lay some back ground.  

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from Sue, a lady in our church that Jeri and I have become friends with,  wanting to know if I was interested in driving a young lady, Heidi, to her dialysis appointment once or twice a month.  I said sure, since I have been looking for opportunities to volunteer anyway.  So she gave my name to Mary Ann who coordinates all the various drivers for the three days a week that Heidi has dialysis. 

Heidi is in her mid-thirties, maybe 5' 1" or 5' 2", can't weigh 80 or 85 lbs., has been married to Dale for 12 years.  Shortly after their marriage both her kidneys failed.  Her first transplant lasted a year before her body rejected it.  Her mother then donated a kidney, only it was  rejected 6 months later.  During the second transplant operation she suffered a major stroke leaving her partially paralysed on her right side.  In the ensuing years she has had two open heart surgeries replacing heart valves, and two minor strokes.  She just returned from a weeks stay in a Honolulu hospital where they were treating her for a blood infection that could be damaging her heart valves again.  She may be facing a third heart operation.  

Jeri and I picked her up this Wednesday morning at 10:15 a.m. and drove the 30 minutes to Keauhou where the dialysis lab is.  She was obviously tired from the trip from Honolulu the previous day, and I'm sure from needing the dialysis, so there wasn't much conversation.  I found out later that is pretty common with her as she has a quiet personality.   I also know from personal experience that when you don't feel well, sometimes conversation is the last thing you want because it takes effort to think and talk.  Especially with a total stranger.  So we just enjoyed the ride in the Camaro, the breath- taking views of the ocean, the warm sunshine and air flowing through the open windows of the car.   

My thoughts turned to the irony of two people sitting side by side in the same car, neither of who by all rights should still be alive, yet here we were still pressing on with what ever God has planned in our lives.  

You have heard me in the past compare life to the poker game of "seven card no-peek"  where you are dealt seven cards face down, you don't get to look at them, and you turn them over one at a time.  You don't get to exchange them or discard them, you play the hand dealt to you.  

The difference is that God is the dealer, He knows what cards you are getting, and has planned for the good and the not-so-good cards.  Nothing comes as a surprise to him.  Therefore, no matter what your situation is, stop worrying, take each day and get through it, then do the same the next day, and every day thereafter, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.  Enough cliches in that sentence for you?  Glad I don't have to make a living at writing.  Or Golf.

I don't know what the future holds for Heidi, but it sure doesn't look promising from where I sit. But then I don't have God's view and He may have something very special in store for her.  God is already blessing her with people who love her and are ministering to her and her husband, a couple who are providing an ohana (sorta like a mother-in-law apartment) free of charge, and a large network of people who are willing to give up time to take her to the dialysis appointments so her husband can maintain his job.  

My thoughts then turn to Peggy and Teresa who are fighting the return of cancer, and Pam who is fighting it for the first time, the tough days that they are having with the effects of the chemotherapy, of daily dealing with the consequences if this doesn't work.  There is a huge elephant in the room of their lives and it is impossible to push out.  That is why prayer by all of us is so important, to sustain and uplift their spirits, to carry them through the difficult days that they have.  

I have known and experienced the prayers of many of you the past three years, and I pray that you all will pray for these and others who are suffering.  Send cards, letters, e-mails, call, visit, talk to them because there are days that the loneliness can be overwhelming.  Love them like no one else can. 

 Eph_6:18  Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people. 

Jas_5:13-16  Are any among you in trouble? They should pray. Are any among you happy? They should sing praises.  Are any among you sick? They should send for the church elders, who will pray for them and rub olive oil on them in the name of the Lord.  This prayer made in faith will heal the sick; the Lord will restore them to health, and the sins they have committed will be forgiven.  So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect. 

One last thought, or confession, how ever you want to look at it.  There are days when I am sitting in the sun, absorbing the heat and the seemingly healing rays of the tropical sun, when the feelings of guilt flow over me that, for the time being, God has spared me what others have gone through.  Why were the prayers for my friends Freya, Bruce, Mel and John not answered.  Only God knows the answer, but it still perplexes me.  Then again, maybe I am spending to much time in the sun.  These thoughts only occasionally occur to me on the golf course.  Hmmmmm.  Really can't spend much more time playing golf. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 in review

Well, it must be time to write again. I am getting e-mails wondering if everything is OK. Yes, things are fine; different but fine. In the past I looked forward to bad weather days to work on book keeping or writing. The problem (?) in Hawaii is there are no bad weather days. Consequently I have spent lots of time on the golf course, sightseeing with company or just vegetating.

2012 will go into the history books as a year of major changes for Jeri and me. Moving off the ranch after 37 years has been difficult, but not as much as I had anticipated, but more so for Jeri. Moving off of 200 acres to a 6,000 sf lot has been interesting, but again the adjustment has not been as difficult as I had imagined. Moving into a one story house has been good, since both of us were tired of the stairs in our Oregon house. Downsizing into a house 1/3 the size of our 120 + year old house has also presented challenges. Dealing with a life time of accumulation of “things” was both good and bad. It is amazing what you keep, and then when you have to get rid of “stuff”, one tends to wonder what in the world were we thinking when we decided to keep it. So this past summer we had two yard sales, made several trips to donate clothing and other things to charitable organizations, gave most of the family heirlooms and antiques to the kids, and yet still have a bunch of stuff to dispose of this coming summer. 

On the flip side of all of this, finding a new church and getting plugged in has proven much more difficult than I ever dreamed of. But it is slowly improving. Being an impatient person as I am you might be able to imagine my frustration. Jeri has joined a women’s Bible study and made new friends, and I have joined a new men’s bible study that just started up so I am meeting new people. We have finally been assigned to a care group, where we already know several of the couples, so this will be good. I have played golf with the pastor twice and we are getting better acquainted. What started as a difficult journey has finally come to an end with my realizing how self-centered my church search was. All is good on the church scene. Plus, it is so nice being only 3 or so miles from the church; beats being 20 miles away like we were for so many years. 

Golf is proving much more difficult over here. The course I play 90% of the time goes up the side of a mountain and back down, starts at 1900 ft. elevation and tops out at 2900 ft. There have been a couple of days where the clouds were so thick you had to wait until they blew through so you could get a bearing on what direction to hit, and still be able to follow the ball’s flight path for a split second in order to have some idea where to start looking for it. But, on a hot day it is much cooler playing there than down at sea level. It is also much less humid. AND, it is only 1.7 miles from the house. What a treat that is!

The fairways and rough are planted in Centipede grass, similar to Bermuda grass, only worse. In the short rough it grabs the club and sends the ball in all directions, or stops the club and the ball travels only a foot or three. And if you get into it where they haven’t cut it, it can be two feet tall and IF you find your ball, it is impossible to get it out. The views on some of the holes are to die for, though. Just beautiful. They also have a local rule that if your ball drops into an area where the fural hogs have plowed the ground up looking for grubs, you get a free drop out of it.  

And, speaking of views, we have sunsets every evening, but like snowflakes, no two are alike. We had been told that on days when there are no clouds on the horizon, you can see a green flash on the edge of the sun just as it disappears when setting. We have seen it twice but haven’t been able to catch the green in a photo. The closest I’ve come is in the enclosed picture, but it shows up as white and yellow. I will keep trying.

Then this past summer, as if I didn’t have enough health issues, I was diagnosed with pre-type II diabetes. The general thought is that the effects of a total of 14 weeks of radiation and more PET-scans and MRI’s than I can count from two episodes of cancer, are playing havoc with my Pancreas. So now I am keeping track of my glucose readings, carbs and calories. I have a diet program on my iPad, a spread sheet on my lap top keeping track of all these numbers and trying to make some sense of them. Not working but it keeps me occupied. And frustrated. I know, I am a hopelessly addicted numbers freak and it drives me crazy. It worked great when I was an IRS agent, not so much now. 

Now that the tourist season has swung into full speed, there are one or two cultural events going on every weekend. This past weekend was held at the Kings Palace where they held hula competition for different age groups. Fun watching the kids. Of course, that means more traffic. Estimates by the Hawaii DMV claim there are as many registered vehicles as there are people. I tried to research the number of rental cars that are registered on the Big Island and was unsuccessful. But from personal observation, I would guess that 25-30% of the cars on the road are rentals. Could be more, could be less, but it sure seems to be a lot. They tend to drive slower than the locals, because most of the traffic officers use unmarked personal vehicles and they love to nail the tourists in their rented Mustang and Camaro convertibles, the high powered BMWs and Mercedes. That is when they are not playing traffic controllers (flaggers) at road construction sites.  What a total waste of taxpayer's funds.
And, no, they have not ticketed the yellow Camaro. They have seen it plenty of times, and even occasionally give the “shaka” or hang loose sign, so it is becoming a familiar sight on the west side of the Island. Still get oohs and aahs from the kids and even the occasional comment by adults. Several times at church, while meeting new people, I get the comment “Oh, yes, you’re the one with the yellow Camaro!” It has been a great ice breaker. 

Starting last week, Jeri has been hosting a new ladies Bible study at our house. One of our goals when purchasing this house was being able to use it for God’s service, Bible studies, home groups, etc. That is why we have had, pretty much, an open door policy for people wanting to visit. It has been so special being able to visit with the Umplebys, Rayburns, Pattersons, our two sons and their wives, Diffenderfers and the Jaegers. And then, out of the blue, we get a call from the McFarlands who were visiting over here, who we hadn’t seen in 30 years or so. Had dinner a couple of times with them, and, of course, taught them how to play Wizard. 

So God continues to bless us, has given us our hearts desires, blessed us with visits from family and friends, and we are starting to make new friends in this new church. This past Sunday Pastor asked me to give a testimony which has, in a way, given us celebrity status for a week or two. That has opened huge doors for meeting people, and maybe, finally, ripped off the “visitor” tag. 

Yes, it has been an interesting and good year. God has been faithful, as always, in providing and answering prayer. And AGAIN I had to learn to be patient. I hate those lessons!! Sorry it has taken me over a month to write this. I’ll try to do better in the future. 

Sunset on the beach at old Kona airport

Sun down

Just another view