The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More Will Smith

Cover of "Hancock (Single-Disc Unrated Ed...Cover of Hancock (Single-Disc Unrated Edition)

I just watched Hancock, another recent Will Smith movie. It has a very new twist on the superhero theme, but has value in its good moral. Jesus said it best: No greater love has any man, than to lay down his life for a friend. (though He went one further and laid down his life for his enemies (while we were yet sinners) ).

Good movie.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Where have you been?

It's already the nineteenth. I haven't written anything since last Friday, but only because you weren't coming by at all.
Not that anything has happened.
Last weekend Kiki made it to church for the first time in many months. That was good! People swarmed her. Josh received his graduation Bible. Then, that evening, I took Kiki to the ER. She was dehydrated again, and was found to have a UTInfection (hadn't pee'd for many hours), but did not need to be admitted.
On Tuesday night, after Josh umpired a couple of church league softball games (Yay Josh!), we drove him to Fon du Lac to meet Noah, and Noah took JD home for the week. It has been quiet around here without him around (no sports on TV either).

Victoria got her car loan approved on Wed. I bought her 90 Caravan on Thursday (yay). I also worked some this week. The leg is much better!
Until Thursday night anyway, whenl I hurred a few steps and re-pulled the muscle a bit. I do need to be so careful (from now on??).

Friday, June 12, 2009

There. I got off easy.

Silver bowl with modernist base designImage via Wikipedia

That wasn't so bad.
Now on to last night.
We watched the newest Will Smith movie, Seven Pounds.

I don't want to give it away so I'll just talk about the 'silver bowl'.

In the movie it was nothing as ornate as this, for it does not need to be. It's not the bowl, but what is carried, and delivered, inside the bowl that is so very valuable.
It is the Gospel. So treasured by we who have it in hand, and purchased at such a great price, that as we go about sharing it and multiplying its work, we must step with supreme care lest we trip and fall. From its source, the very heart of God, then along our own paths and brought to those in desperate need we must take the utmost care. Each footfall is critical. The proper handling is imperative. New Life itself is at stake, so the propriety of each step is vital.

No, the movie is not a Christian film. There is no gospel message given. But being me, I see the Gospel (the truth) where it underlies every other good thing and its light is revealing every bad thing. If you see the film for its wonderful/sad story line, the suspense and the tricky revelations, keep an eye out for the silver bowl!

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What have I done to myself?

Cover of "The Old Man and the Sea"Cover of The Old Man and the Sea

So yesterday I mentioned that I had read The Old Man and the Sea but then committed the horror of saying 'More later'! Now I am committed, so that puts me in a time/word deficit!

I mentioned that the theme I specially noted on this reading was manhood. From the arm wrestling story to the drinking shark liver oil, the driving of the harpoon and especially the humble acceptance of his supposed ensuing ruin at the end, the Old Man exemplified the strength and maturity that a real man should have. I appreciate the model of the man.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doctor Day

Not to be confused with my first grade teacher, Mrs. Day, or her son the priest who ended up recruiting me into the seminary after 8th grade, Father Day; yesterday was a Dr. day in that yesterday was devoted to doctoring my Kiki. She had a lab in the AM followed by a long appt. with Dr. Ihde, and then a long afternoon in outpatient getting some much needed fluids pumped into her veins. It was good to know they could do that on an outpatient basis. She felt better right away, and it is just plain good for her.

I used the day to read, while I sat by her in the little room and she mostly slept. I read all of The Old Man and the Sea (Hemmingway) yesterday. I've read it before, but really enjoyed it all the more this time. It speaks so much to what it means to be a real man. More later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Done at PJ's

Whereas last Friday Jesse told me that I could come back to PJ's on Monday if I was up for it, today John called to tell me the end has come. No surprises there. The last boat was supposed to be leaving town today. I'm somewhat disappointed that I could not work the whole last week and a half available to me, all because I accelerated too fast one time for about 2 seconds. Many bucks of opportunity cost!

On the other hand, Kiki has been so ill. I hate to think of her being home, scared, without me being around. PJ's schedule was so demanding; I was gone over 15 hours a day.

But now what? Once my leg is better, then Tradesmen may or may not have work for me. I may or may not drive truck for Midwest. All I know for sure is that my last check is about gone, I do have bills to pay, insurance expires at the end of June and Kiki is very sick.

Which leads one to fear.
I was lying in bed this morning looking at my deeply sleeping wife. She had been up a lot in the night I know, so I was very glad to see her breathing steadily and resting well. But fear began to assail me like acrid smoke rising out of a pit: Thin and wispy at first, but pungent and thickening. 2 Tim 1:7 came to mind. I had to research the reference, but I know the verse in song, and it means a lot to me: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
That choking smoke feeling I was getting in regards to my family's near future was not something God wanted me to have, or even endure, but a vaporous threat to be dismissed with a waving hand of faith in Him and His provision. I began to think about the three 'spirits' that God provides in the stead of fear: Power, Love and a Sound Mind.

Some fearful threats we face come at us with a force that can only be repelled with a greater forceful response. This is why a country must keep a standing military. If we have a ready powerful arm, neighbors and enemies simply know better than to attack. Peaceful relations are likely to follow, but if some rogue nation makes a stupid attempt on our territory, we are ready because we have a 'spirit of power' at hand.
The same is true in a city prepared in advance with a solid police force. Citizens are better protected from danger when they keep a standing bulwark of trusted, trained men at hand.
And a man's home is safer for his family if he is ready to protect it from outside marauders with some form of defensive power. And why the most cowardly of criminals choose to break into the homes of the feeble or elderly; it is simply a calculation of where the responsive power may be least likely encountered.
In the spiritual realm, the power we have is in the name of Jesus! There simply is no greater name, or power, that can overcome that Name. He is all, He has done all, He rules over all, and in Jesus' name, we have the victory!
Whatever the threat may be, the Christian who trusts in His name can rest in knowing that whatever assails, can only be broken, or seem to prevail.

Some fears come at us in an emotional sense only. The extremely shy person, the bully, the very sad disheartened man or woman, the alone and the elderly: Life for such people, and many others, presents only one day of fear after another. What hope does one have of overcoming the bad marriage, the insecurity, the reality of a shortening, and failed life?
If Love is the greatest of faith hope and love, it is because in love, we can find the hope to continue even without a comfortable resolution of life's issues. Love brings us the faith to say, 'Oh well', or 'Praise the Lord anyhow!' when our circumstances will not or do not change.

I may be so deep down afraid to go visit a neighbor who needs some help, but by appropriating and applying the full love God has for me, and so, of course, my neighbor, I can actually get myself out the door, or to pick up the phone; thus, overcoming the work of fear that would curtail the work of God through me.

In our world today it is the battle for the mind that seems to wage the strongest. All the while armies are training and building; that terrorists are recruiting and plotting; that countries are experimenting and testing their aggressive hardware; people are busy arguing and fighting, fretting and fuming, posing and postulating over every issue day in and day out. The media and the counterculture, the blogs and talk shows all have something to say, and each is convinced that his view is absolutely correct.
And each one should be. One shouldn't have a view if he isn't confident of its value. But the tendency to hold tenaciously to a questionable view is where the fear comes in. Sometimes we are so afraid of being found wrong that we fight for an opinion, and all of the associated opinions, as if it were a lifeline to a rescue helicopter. But God offers the Spirit of a Sound Mind. One that doesn't concern itself with the ramifications of having to admit a mistake. It assures us that being ultimately proven true by God, being in line with Jesus (whose other name is, in fact, Truth), having a 'sound mind', is what really matters in the end. With that awareness, and with our thoughts tested by the spirit of God, it doesn't matter what mistake we have to admit to, nor what unpopular stand we have to take.

It would seem that God has us covered. We have no need to fear.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Got up Early

I got up early today, and reworked one of my favorite stories a little bit. 'Another Gift' is my 'creative nonfiction' story about seeing my wife and then, 2 year old Victoria walking up our dirt road in Alaska. I asked for, and received, a few good tips from Allan M., a teacher and friend from church.

Kiki was kind enough to help me get my leg settled on the ottoman, and went back to bed with the puppies in tow.

To synopsize yesterday's Sotomayor post: If you rise from rags to riches, but still dress in rags, you ain't done risen very far!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is Compelling?

All the original talk about Justice Sotomayor was about her 'compelling' life. She was raised essentially in poverty with both of her parents being immigrants (not really though, Puerto Rico being part of the US)etc., and she went on to do well in ivy league schools and become a federal judge.
Everyone is justifiably impressed with someone overcoming the odds to that degree. Even Rush and Sean H confer that much to her, but I have another take.
What is 'compelling'? Is it just doing something opposite, or other, from what one would normally expect? Escaping from a rut, or what might seem to be a natural destiny? This kind of history is not at all uncommon in America. Our system is dedicated to making this possible for its citizens every day, and we all know it as the American Dream. There has to be another, higher element to make what we might call a regular occurence in these United States, so compelling.
Rising out of a lower caste where the caste system almost always predicts correctly might beget a compelling story. But, what if that person then turns around and uses that new position to his advantage, imposing the same caste system to control and deprecate his former neighbors? Not so good then after all. What if that person sees his new position as one she can use to control and/ or deprecate her new neighbors? Still not so good. Even if the goal is to bless and to elevate the lower casted group into better realms, it is the method that must be disparaged.
If a person is abused as a child, suffers some physical malady, is constrained unfairly but rises to become CEO of a big company or non-profit, then he has an impressive story. But what does he do with his position? If he only has selfish aims, or greedy intentions, his story begins to fall flat.

If Sotomayor has risen from such depths, to such heights, her story will only be 'compelling' if she uses her acheivement to judge with the blindness of lady justice herself. If the black robes suggestive at least of the colorblindedness a judge must have, impart their effect. If, on the other hand, all she brings to the bench is a heightened form of street fighting, using her power to impose only a 'fair is fair', or 'two wrongs make a right' mentality, then all the 'escaping of poverty' and 'beating the odds' rhetoric becomes less compelling, and ultimately, repelling.

Today is Today

Couldn't go to church today. My leg is SO stiff and sore. I had to cancel out on singing with the worship team at the last minute and felt like a cad doing so. Adam didn't expect me at practice last Wednesday, but accomodated my presence into the arranging, and then I bail! What a bum!

We've just been sitting around today, goofing off with V AND J. We all have fun sharing and bantering about. They went off shopping in the valley while Mom and Dad just sit. Kiki fell asleep on the couch with two dogs piled on. I want to go over and give her a big hug, but my leg would object and I'd wake her out of a deep sleep she needs. I'll catch her later.

Little correction

I wrote my last posting today as if it were today, but it were actually yesterday. All that happened on Saturday.
Big deal? Yeah.

Great Sharing

Hobbling about today worse than ever. Guess I'll see the Doc on Monday and find out just how bad off I am.
While Victoria was at work today, and Josh went to his end of the year chess banquet in the park, Kiki and I sat around and we ended up having a good visit with Noah. He is so searching for answers about life, and ever more willing to listen to our views.
We talked a lot about economic issues and politics, but also got into the Gospel message, some prophecy topics and God's overall 'scheme' to use the Jews in history to reach the world for Himself.
Noah had to leave for a while (friends do call you know), but came back later and we talked a bunch again. I was greatly encouraged by his open attitude. I feel honored, I guess it is, that he would consider what I have to say.
I am honored indeed to have a good relationship with all 3 kids, even as they are really no longer kids, but young adults. Victoria is 251/2, Noah 221/2 and Josh just turned 19.

Lord, thank you for the blessing that each one is to me. I ask you to hold on tightly to each one, always drawing him or her closer and closer to Yourself; please meet their deepest need, that being YOU. In Jesus name.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

4 out of 5 ain't bad

Noah didn't make it home. Stopped off at a friends and drank too much so the rest of us went on without him. Great conversation late into the night.

Friday, June 5, 2009

More waiting

Noah's coming home tonight, Victoria's really bummed because her Rob is a 'bad gorilla', so when she gets off work tonight we'll all go out for a late, late snack. Kiki is feeling a little better, and she'll be up for such an all family adventure.
I know you don't know all the names, but over time, you will.
Heidi, Lucas, Jackson, Tiger, Orion and Brownie will all have to stay at home tonight.


Waiting all day. Waiting all week. Waiting for my left calf muscle to reattach itself down there. Lottsa limping and sitting and watching tv this week.
Also waiting for my bride to heal. Kiki has been ill for a long time; struggling with diabetes for a long time; most often out of control blood sugar. Lately her blood pressure, instead of being too high, is playing low. She has been hospitalized twice in the last month or so, and should be checked out again today.

Lord, Kiki is hurting, and scared. Please comfort her and heal her body.

D-day tomorrow

Would that Obama could pray like

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why am I home blogging you say? When I should be out building yachts? (you say?)
Yes, I should be putting in the last full week working on 'Oneness', last 150' yacht PJs will put out this year, but I gave myself a severe calf strain on Sunday.
And yes, it was a 'sportsinjury'! I was talking to a friend at the Sunday School picnic when a frisbee was thrown to him, but went more towards me. Adam yelled, 'It's you Mike!' and I took off after it. If by 'took off' one can mean 'I took the first step'. But with that step came the pop and the pain. I thought maybe another frisbee hit me in the back of that leg! And since then, I have been out of action.
It has been nice hanging out at home this week, but there will be no check this week, and no job next week. We'll see.

First day blogging!

And to think I'm just wearing my old gray 'Washington DC' shirt! Shouldn't a guy get dressed up a little bit for such an occasion?
I remember buying this shirt at a Goodwill store just about six years ago this summer. I was out bumming with my son Noah that day and naturally we went to Goodwill on our way to play miniature golf. I had an interest in all things 'east coast' that summer, so tieing that with my inherent patriotism, this shirt was a no brainer. And now it's getting a little snuggish; and it has a little hole, no, it's just a spot, on it.
Good reading eh? You'll be back for more, I am sure!