A whirlwind, life happenings, & other musings…

Feels like I have been trying to live in the middle of a whirlwind of activity for the last 2 years… last week was the ‘high point’ of activity, centering on a family road trip to Los Angeles for my graduation ceremony from LIFE Pacific’s MASL program. Pardon the bullet points, but I have a series of fragments floating around my brain I am attempting to put into some sort of pseudo-coherent stream.

  • We drove. A lot. Nothing in Los Angeles was close to anything we needed to go to. By my calculations, we drove about 700 miles while in LA. Boom.
  • Spending time with thePastyGangster & his girl Alex was excellent.
  • Being able to have my whole family together, albeit for a short time, was the highlight of my time. The older I get, & the bigger my kids get, the more & better I understand this. Time together is precious.
  • I need my own bed like an engineer needs their Excel spreadsheets.
  • We stayed with theBean’s auntie Janet – she graciously accommodated our invasion of her home & space – it was a joy to be able to get to know her, & to have her see & get to know our family.
  • The pomp & circumstance of the actual graduation ceremony cracked me up – the outfits we wore (cap, gown, & HOOD,) as well as the get-up worn by the Doctoral faculty of LIFE were from another era… Looked like they were headed to a Renaissance Faire (with an “E”).
  • Now that I have walked in the graduation ceremony, it is now time to buckle down & finish my final project so I can be done
  • Disneyland on Mother’s Day was empty. It must have been the 100 degree temperatures that scared away the locals. We rode the underground & indoor rides as much as we could during the heat of the day.
  • We saw Stevie Wonder in the Main Street ice-cream store at the end of our night. ThePastyGangster waved at him. True story.
  • Dropping Pasty & Alex at the airport on Monday was a sad day. My heart hurts.
  • iDoey went home with my parents Monday, & it was down to theBean, theWeez & me. My heart hurts. Again.
  • I spent most of Monday & all day Tuesday in “Blue Sky Session” meetings discussing & working through the preferred future for the tribe we are a part of… it was encouraging, beautiful, & time well spent.
  • Got home late Wednesday & hit the ground running – wedding rehearsals, youth group, 4 weddings on Saturday, church Sunday, council meeting after church, Mexico mission team meeting after the council meeting… then home. And I crashed.

Tonight is our monthly book talk for “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” (which I wrote about HERE. To say I am excited about this would be an understatement… the opportunity to discuss one of my favorites with people who are discovering it for the first time gets a big “BOOYAH” from me. And even a “Hey Now!” One of the reasons I love the book is, to me, Peterson captures a central truth of the Christian faith: we are “DISCIPLES who spend our lives apprenticed to our Master: Jesus Christ. We are in a growing/learner relationship always… Further, we are PILGRIMS who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, & our path for getting there is the Way, Jesus Christ.” I can’t wait. But I have to.

Over the last several weeks between Easter & Pentecost Sunday, I have been challenged to expect more. I want to be a person with an exercised, growing, supernatural faith – these last few weeks have been full of miraculous God interventions in our church family, both financially & spiritually. It reminds me of the Scripture in James 4 that tells the reader that they don’t have because they don’t ask. I have to ASK…

Sigh. Time to engage… Until next time…


The 1st full week of the New Year & other stuff… A short post to get back in the swing of things…

Yesterday was theWeez’s 16th birthday – it was a Sunday (Pancake Sunday at that) which meant church, good eats, & then a trip out on the town for her with her mom for girl time, manicures, & shopping. I wouldn’t understand, so I just watched football.

Birthday dinner was at Grimaldi’s next to Scheel’s. If you haven’t eaten there yet, & you like Brooklyn style, coal oven-fired pizza made right in front of your eyes, you should give it a run. Tuesdays they have a bunch of specials too…

TheWeez scheduled her own appointment for her Nevada Drivers Test – its on like the proverbial Donkey Kong for Wednesday afternoon. I have no doubt she will pass – she’s a great driver. Currently, I’m contemplating purchasing a pair of driving gloves, a “driving scarf’, & some white Vuarnet’s for theWeez to wear for her test. I figured good taste could make a positive impression. TheBean believes that my encouragement to theWeez to quote appropriate phrases from our favorite movies during the test could be a mistake – tell me, how could, “I feel the need… the need for speed!” or “Kick the tires & light the fires, Big Daddy!” be a mistake? TheBean’s contention is that the driving instructor she gets may not have a sense of humor. Hmmm. She may be right.

With theWeez’s birthday having come & gone, we now have a 21 year old (the Pasty Gangster), an 18 year old (iDoey), & a 16 year old (theWeez). Goodness. 2013 is a big year in the numbers game for us. I have to say that looking through pictures from just a few years ago shows a very different looking clan… a bunch of kids really. Now they are Big People Humans. And I am proud of them.

Thoughts while traveling in “the Freezing Fog…”

I was up early this morning, & out in the 5 o’clock hour. Not just for fun, but so that I could get to the hospital to wait with a friend for her husband to get out of surgery. It’s normally a 15 minute drive, so I gave myself 30 minutes for travel, parking, & navigation of the maze that the hospital has become due to New Construction. Plenty of time.

Hadn’t planned for “The Freezing Fog,” which is what the guy on the radio said that Reno was experiencing. Visibility wasn’t bad… I drove Vista to I-80 with no trouble; however, when I tried to take the 395-S exit, & came to just about a dead stop. Baaarreeeellyyy moving. Inching along. Sigh.

Changed the radio station, & the Voice said that travelers should try to avoid 395-S & the Mill Street exit. Which is where I was headed. Too late. Bummer.

The unforeseen ‘down-time’ in the car left ample time for thinking – it was way too early to have the radio on… I think its because loud noises in the morning push my buttons & grate on me. So instead, I thought…

What came to mind was a series of interactions that I’d had over the last week; blunted ‘discussions’ really, marked with misunderstandings. Assumptions. Over-reactions. Defensiveness. Low-blood-sugar responses.

In the quiet of the car, & the stillness (my car included,) things I’d said & done bounced around my mind. It struck me that I had spent a lot of time trying to BE understood, & to MAKE myself understood, instead of trying to understand…. Funny how I hadn’t seen or even considered that due to a myopic self-focus that had majored on thinking of me & my needs, instead of considering those of others…


The cars were still just barely inching along. Making negligible progress.

What to do, what to do? Communication is more than just talking increasingly slower & louder until the other person gives in understands. I think I know what might help. Listening intently (as opposed to formulating responses to partially heard expressions. You don’t do that too, do you?) Asking clarifying, not condescending, questions. Listening some more. Talking.

Came across the reason for the traffic jam: an 8-car pileup @ just past the Glendale exit, caused by the culprit, “The Freezing Fog.” Off to the right of the accident, I saw a guy with a camera-phone that had climbed up the overpass, to film the crash. KOLO TV… Good news is no news.

And then, the traffic cleared. To the hospital.

I want to listen better. More fully. Be fully present in the conversation, & not merely be crafting rebuttal’s & counter-arguments. Starting now.