April 26, 2013 | 0 comments

The Boston Marathon bombings came as a shock to all of us.  Now everyone is scrambling for answers, asking why.  Though some politicians are loath to call this a “terrorist” attack, and are studiously cautious about making any reference to a religious war, most know it is.

This past weekend, our congregation celebrated the missions we support with 18% of our budget. Many of our members have served overseas.  Others are involved in local ministries such as food pantries, Gospel mission to reach alcoholics and addicts, crisis pregnancy counseling, and we are active in the fight against human trafficking.  Our “life groups” look for ways to serve our communities.  We are far from perfect.  We are sinners saved by grace, and an autonomous group of believers who strive to be more like our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

One of our speakers was Yoon Kwon Chae, a Korean Christian brother our congregation has supported for 35 years.  He and...

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April 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Future tripping is a phrase familiar to those who work 12 step programs.  It has to do with fear of the future.  A lot of people, not just those with addictions, are experiencing this right now.  Come to think of it, is there anyone that doesn’t have some kind of “addiction”?  If it isn’t alcohol or drugs, maybe it’s texting on an iPhone or exploring all the apps on an iPad.  Maybe it’s surfing the net or playing a computer game that draws people into a time-sucking world of make-believe.  How many people feel a little down and head off to the Mall for that pick-me-up purchase, or another $5 specialty drink.  If that doesn’t work, there’s always one of those casinos popping up all over the country. 

We deal with fear in all kinds of ways. 

Abraham ran to Egypt and then, when faced with Pharaoh’s attraction to Sarah, handed her over and made her lie to save his own skin. 

Jacob ran away from Esau, served time...

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April 12, 2013 | 0 comments

I’ve discovered a report called Wastebook 2013.  You all probably knew about it long before I did, but it’s eye-opening to find out what our government thinks is necessary.  Robotic squirrels?  A campaign to make more Americans crave caviar?  Martian meals?  Did you now it costs 2 cents to make a penny?  Floating outhouses for Oregon fishermen? 

Oh, I know.  It’s just a drop in the big bucket of taxpayers’ money.  Each little pet program isn’t that big a deal.    

There’s an active campaign going on the north coast right now to sign up MORE people for food stamps.  If you don’t want to use them for necessities like food, you can always sell them on line and get cash to buy whatever you want.  Like candy bars and condoms.  Or marijuana and movies.

More drops in the bucket.

It’s those seagulls I was talking about in a blog a few weeks ago, and a mentality that seems to permeate our...

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April 6, 2013 | 0 comments

I was reading quietly in the living room the other day when I heard voices coming from the kitchen.  Several people, men and women, were all talking at once.  Their voices kept rising as they became more frustrated, until they were stridently shouting in an attempt to make their points heard.   I called out to Rick.  “Are you watching the news?”  Yep.

Now, I’ve been known to sit at the kitchen counter and get in on the interview.  “Be quiet, you bozo, and let the other person speak!”  Maybe we’ve replaced the old Friday night boxing matches with the news programs.  We no longer watch two men duking it out in a ring, but enjoy a panel of supposed experts presenting “the facts” with volleys of sarcasm, indignation, exaggeration, whining, rationalization and justification.   Sometimes I expect to see them pointing fingers and sticking out their tongues when they’ve finished throwing their tantrums. 

When did “...

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April 2, 2013 | 0 comments

Have you ever been to the beach and wanted to feed the seagulls?  The problem is you tear off a little crust from your sandwich and toss it to one, and ten more show up.  Toss a little more and a flock descends.  You start to wonder:  if I run out of bread, will I become the meal?

Turkeys are different.  They startle easily and run for the barn.  In the wild, they run for the hills. Of course, they’re very tasty.  Benjamin Franklin thought them majestic enough to be an emblem for our country.  I’m sorry, but Thanksgiving would be downright depressing.  There’s our national symbol lying stuffed and roasted and ready to carve up for hungry guests. 

And then we have the eagles.  Our forefathers were trained in the Bible. I know there are many who want to revise our history, but truth is truth.  The only two questionable Christians are Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, so when squabbling became intense at...

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March 26, 2013 | 0 comments

These two words can strike fear in any writer’s heart.  It’s a given with me.  I know my characters inside and out – or think I do -- but sometimes how I picture them isn’t what’s coming through when objective readers get their hands on the manuscript.   By objective, I mean professional.  Also, by objective, I mean anyone who may have heard my thumbnail sketch of the story, but has yet to meet the characters on the written page.  I’ve been through endless conversations, triumphs and tragedies (all in my head) with these people (characters), but that doesn’t mean even I know them.  Sometimes I don’t even know myself!    Still, I’ve invested time with them – a year and a half.  I love a couple of the characters, would like to drop kick a couple others.  But have I written them as full as what it takes to engage the reader?

Group therapy – I mean group critiquing – can help.  Everyone has a different opinion...

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March 15, 2013 | 0 comments

We met so many nice people along the way, on the ship, in the bus, on land.  I filled a notebook, took hundreds of pictures and bought a shoebox full of postcards which are now in a memory box.  

Tidbits I learned along the way:

“The wet” is a season of cyclonic storms and monsoon winds.  Thankfully, the wet started two days after our visit to Darwin.  We had sunny skies with light breezes.  Our guides kept telling us we were very, very fortunate with the weather. 

The national bird is an emu and the symbol of Australia is the kangaroo.  Neither can move backwards, but only forwards – which is the reason they were chosen.  Australia is a forward-looking country.

“Advance Australia Fair” is Australia’s nation anthem – not “Waltzing Matilda”!

Aussies eat both emu and kangaroo.   I think they’re the only nation that eats their national symbols.  (We tasted both, and both were tasty – though...

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March 14, 2013 | 0 comments

Rick has said I am the only person he knows who takes longer to summarize a movie than it takes to watch it.  I could blog for the next year on what we saw and learned on this trip.  Someone asked me if I’ve ever thought of writing a travel book.  Nope.  I get too excited about tidbits, like the giant grasshopper I had to get down on all fours to shoot (a picture), or the flowers with a bee or bug in them or an interesting doorknob or crack in the side walk, or dripping bark from an eucalpt.  Rick just rolls his eyes and keeps walking, knowing he can’t shake me.  I run and catch up eventually.

However, since I am facing revisions and Tyndaleans may wonder if I might miss my deadline, I’ll put things on fast forward.

We cruised the rough Tasmanian Sea, landed in Hobart, visited Bonorong where I scratched a kangaroo’s chest (soft fur!) and watched Tasmanian devils run circles around their enclosure. We fed emus and cooked in the sun; pant,...

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March 8, 2013 | 0 comments

We didn’t see much of Picton, but boarded a bus for a ride through timber covered hills and vineyards to Blenheim – a small, quaint town.  Our goal:  Omaka Aviation Center, a small, but special display of World War I airplanes owned by Peter Jackson.  Rick’s passion is aviation, and  every time we pass a plane, he gives me the history.  I balk at the mechanical details. 

Jackson’s Weta Workshop put together the Omaka Museum dioramas, right down to realistic details of soldiers picking over the Red Barron’s plane and body for souvenirs, and another airplane hung up in a tree while a German and American pilot discuss surrender terms over a cigarette.  We could have spent a day there.  Alas!  When you’re on a tour, you get used to the command, “Time to get back on the bus.”  Aghhhh!  (The good thing about a tour is you don’t have to wait in lines to see the highlights.  You don’t get lost.  The guide knows more...

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March 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Wellington is a beautiful town – with its bay, hills, older renovated homes, booming film industry and weather that is gorgeous (while we were there, anyway).  Like San Francisco, Wellington has earthquakes, but every place has some little drawback to keep the faint-hearted away. Wellington is also Sir Peter Jackson’s home town, and the town loves him, not without good reason.  He pours his movie profits into buying buildings in “Wellywood”, and converting them to expand his Stone Street Studios.  He hires lots of Kiwis (the people).  His success means success and prosperity to a growing number of people.  He renovated one facility, adding apartments and even a gymnasium for creative people who don’t want to leave the building when the imagination is going strong. 

Jackson involved tens of thousands of Kiwis in the movie.  He went to the Westpack Stadium for a cricket game.  A shy man, when introduced, he said a quiet “Thank you.”...

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