Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WEDNESDAY'S CALIFORNIA STYLE RECIPE

Don's Famous Raspberry Ice Tea:


In a 3 Gallon refrigerator drink dispenser, add:

32 oz low sugar raspberry juice
12 oz low sugar raspberry coffee syrup
6 large tea bags
Sweeten to taste (I use a non-sugar sweetener)   
Top off with water, blend thoroughly and set in the sun to brew.

You can add ice to it, but I like to cool it in the refrigerator and pour it directly into a tall glass. It's the summer treat I imbibe year around.

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE POSSIBILITY OF MIRACLES

I became a seminary student at the age of twenty-seven. Karen and I had been married seven years. We had two sons aged four and one. Life was simple and hard. Karen worked as a secretary to the professors. Between classes, I labored in the school's wood shop. Our cramped, duplex apartment was subsidized by the Southern Baptist Convention because most students could not have lived in affluent Marin County, California, otherwise.

We were young, not yet embarked on our careers, and making little money. At least one of my paychecks went entirely to childcare; begging the question, why was I working, at all? During that time we went without many things I consider staples, today. Of the things we often did without, goodies topped the list. We simply couldn't afford to indulge ourselves that way.

One fine day, our oldest son asked if he and mom could make some chocolate cupcakes. And believe me, he was not impressed with our sound, fiscal reasons for denying his request. Karen had an idea; why don't we pray, asking God for cupcakes? "Chocolate cupcakes," my son was emphatic. They prayed, and that evening--with impeccable timing--a neighbor dropped by bearing a plate of chocolate cupcakes.

Now, I have to admit, I don't KNOW that Karen did not talk to her friend, who then took it on herself to answer our son's prayer. Frankly, I never WANTED to know the answer. So, you might be forgiven for doubting that miracle.

But there is another incident in our family history of which I am unshakably confident of its divine nature. Years later, the boys and I went camping. We found a spot in the nearby mountains that was absolutely devoid of other humans. In two days we did not see another human or even a vehicle. We enjoyed absolute privacy; an unheard of luxury in Southern California.Yes, it was a fantastic father/son trip.  ...Right up to the moment I locked the car keys in the trunk.

The boys turned in surprise as I let out a howl of despair. I was angry with myself. The nearest road was ten miles away. The nearest dwelling three miles farther. Throwing a tantrum in front of my sons was not going to improve our situation. Instead, I called us together for prayer. We simply asked God to rescue us.

No sooner had we said "amen," then a beat up old Dodge van rolled into the campground. The men inside--from South Carolina, no less--had camped there twenty years previous. On a whim, they decided to drop by on their way back home. How's that for a miracle?

But wait, there's more. These guys were AUTOMOBILE UPHOLSTERERS. They quickly yanked the backseat out of the car. My younger son wriggled through the packed gear to grab our keys.

The cupcakes?  Hmmm... I don't know. I BELIEVE God could have supplied them; no question. Did He? Got me. I DO know an out-of-state van full of automobile upholsterers arrived on cue to rescue us. THAT is nothing short of divine intervention. David Hume, take a hike.

One final thought about the cupcakes. Suppose Karen DID talk to her friend, who decided to answer a boy's fervent prayer? I can tell you this; they were seminary students too. They had children as well. They bore the same financial burden as we. I think its at least NEAR miraculous she had the heart to think of somebody else's children. I believe God did it, either way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

PELONA VISTA MOTORWAY

Here are some photos from my trip today. The first shot (1) shows a road behind me with a rough retaining wall below it. (2) is a shot of a fairy-like hillock that my friends Eric & Rex would LOVE to climb. (3) Hillock closeup (4) Its a real park with rules and everything! (5) The Microwave/Dish station at the top. (6) Looking north past the hills south of the California viaduct  to the Antelope Valley. (7) Close-up of Godde Hill Pass; my home in Quartz Hill is just out of sight on the other side. (8) Still some snow in them thar hills.








HOBBITON IN THE ANTELOPE VALLEY?!

I took a hike today in the mountains between Lake Elizabeth Road and Acton. I've known for years of a dirt road system through there called the Pelona Vista Motorway. Today, I found a way to get to it. After my hike I drove this road back into the hills and to the top of the mountain. Along my hike I came across a feature that reminded me of Tolkein's imaginary town of Hobbiton. Here is a video.

video

Monday, March 12, 2012

ALAMODE

"It can be exalting to belong to a church that is five hundred years behind the times and sublimely indifferent to fashion. It is mortifying to belong to a church that is five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up."
              Joseph Sobran


If it's true, it isn't new.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

PTOLEMY

For all you "everybody thought the Earth was flat prior to Columbus," people.

“The earth, in relation to the distance of the fixed stars, has no appreciable size and must be treated as a mathematical point.”

Ptolemy,  The Almagest  circa. 150 ad

Friday, March 9, 2012

PRESENCE

Vocativs Atque non Vocativs, Deus adent


(Bidden or not bidden, God is present)
                         
                        Carl Jung

Saturday, March 3, 2012

WISDOM FROM DAD

"Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. "

                                 Proverbs 1:8


The book of proverbs is not a book of guarantees. These pithy sayings are not promises from God that nothing in your life will ever go wrong if you follow them. Many people have trained up their children in the way they should go and never saw them follow the Lord in later life.


No, Proverbs are simply wisdom about the way life works in general. There is no real difference between the spiritual sounding lines found the ancient book of Proverbs and slightly more modern wisdom such as, "a stitch in time saves nine." The ancient Near Eastern world loved proverbs. There was a whole wisdom movement found in the writings of Egyptians, Babylonians and most literate societies of the day.

I'm not disparaging the godly wisdom of Proverbs, I am dispelling the notion that these are "magic words" to summon the power of God.

When I think about learning wisdom from my dad the progression went something like this... 
* When I was 5 my dad was the smartest man in the world
         * When I was 16 I thought my dad was an overbearing Tyrant 
         * At 17 I thought he knew nothing about life
         * At 21 I began going to him for advice
         * Now I just quote him all the time without giving him credit

When you honor your parents they--in turn--are blessed to have such a wise child.

FOR YOU: KEITH URBAN



Lyrics | Keith Urban - For You lyrics

This song really spoke to my heart about the very human, imperfect people I know, Armed Service, Law Enforcement, and Fire that put their lives in the line of fire every day. Keith Urban has captured not just the camaraderie, or brotherhood, but the love it takes to do this. I am moved each time I hear it and think about the words.