Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

Hang out with the old preacher by browsing my blogs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So cute

Our great granddaughter, Lillianna, visited us today. She likes to play a game on our computer that engages the player to "bake" cakes according to the order placed by the customers. On a conveyor belt the player moves the cake from station to station to fill the order as it is pictured in the corner of the screen. She doesn't fully get the concept.

She likes to make the cake the way SHE wants it instead of according to the order. When the conveyor belt reaches the final position, it is boxed and shipped and the chief baker comes out and commends you for doing it correctly. However, when you do not make the cake according to directions, the baker comes out and bawls out the player for making the cake incorrectly. He says "You did not make the cake correctly! The customer is very particular about his order. You will have to make another according to directions." Or words nearly identical to this.

Today, I read those words in angry character. Lilly said, "Papa, Papa." Then she patted my face and said, "Calm down, Papa."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Close to finished

Did you ever hang around a work site and watch the workers build, paint or operate machinery? Maybe as a kid. Well, today I feel like a kid again, doing just that. This is not our home yet. Today it is a very busy work site, and I feel like an observer who is somewhat in the way of progress.

If it takes a heap o livin' to make a house a home, this ain't my home yet. It's getting a heap of activity, but that activity is not living as we usually think of the word. One worker is painting our laundry room a sweet, light Dodger blue. Another two men are painting the ceiling of our new portion of the living room. And for good measure the heater/ac man is carrying his equipment through the house and getting into the attic to finish the copper piping and connections to make the unit operable.

Yesterday we had an extra laborer tearing out a nuisance tree and it's bundle of roots that resembled underground dreadlocks.

The place is potentially wonderful, but we are not there yet. Potentially wonderful is not wonderful. It promises to be so, but not all promises are fulfilled. Like the promise of our big discount membership in Direct Buy, from whom we ordered the overhead lights/fans for our new portion. When delivery time was almost here, we get a phone call informing us that the units we ordered are not available. "We can't give you what you hoped for with your expensive membership, but have a nice day anyway." Our one agenda item for today is to go see the owner of the business, face-to-face to tell him that his company stinks and demand our money back.

Now before you count us as unreasonable and demanding, let me tell you that even though we got a discount membership because we are so aged, it was still a major investment. The idea is that a member saves so much money on large items like appliances, furniture etc., that he more than recoups his membership fee and buys needed items at something like half the price. So we ordered a new freezer to replace our energy-guzzling antique freezer. Three or four weeks later my wife phoned to find out when we might expect the arrival of the unit only to find that it was unavailable and they neglected to inform us. Now it's the fans. According to the catalogue they were about half the price suggested by the manufacturer. Well, so what? They can be priced at ten cents for all the good it does when they are not available.

At my age I don't expect to live long enough to recoup my investment. There just aren't that many things we need any more. I am trying to think of the most sarcastic ways to make my point dramatic for the owner. Oh, by the way, we do hope to speak to the owner of the business because he was the one who personally sold us that membership. He said he likes to get on the floor and meet customers to keep in touch with the likes and dislikes of the public. Boy is he going to hear of this "public" dislikes!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Somewhere about 1956 or so, Barbara and I were in our courtship days. It was thrilling to hold hands. I was having fun just as long as she was with me. She is still bubbly, but even more so in those days. I have nothing but fond memories of that time in our lives. One episode of our courtship is perhaps known by no one until now, as I will disclose some of our secrets.

My schooling was uncertain because I decided I did not want to graduate from BIOLA. I had been given the impression that it would be required of me to spend at least one year in residence, and I did not want to do that. Expenses were manageable as long as I lived at home, commuting to and from school. So the year before I settled in at Los Angeles Baptist College, I bummed around. I took a couple of courses at Covenant College. Yes, that same Covenant College that presently sits atop Lookout Mountain. It was located temporarily in Pasadena in those days. I also took a class in German at Los Angeles City College. Barbara wanted to learn a little German too, so she signed up for class with me. I'm not sure how much German we learned, but we did have fun driving to school together twice a week for that semester.

One night after class, as we walked from the building some young men were handing out literature at the curb, and we were curious enough to take a leaflet. I was hoping to find it was a Christian witness and I had just been handed a tract. But, to my disappointment, it turned out to be a Communist Party propaganda piece. The next night of school these guys were out there again, only this time I came prepared. I handed him a piece of literature titled, "Have You Considered Him?" It was a well written and persuasive Christian booklet. But the next time, when I tried to hand off another piece for our side, the young man refused to take it. Oh well, I tried.

As our conversation covered many things during our drive to school, one night we had discussed how sheltered Barbara's rearing had been in the home of a reconstructed Methodist. In spite of the fact that he was now an Orthodox Presbyterian minister, the small town of Bridgewater, SD, required several fundamentalist safeguards (e.g. the pulling of the shades when engaged in a game of ROOK for fear the neighbors might think they were playing cards at the minister's house!). For some stupid reason, we talked about the fact that Barbara had never smoked a cigarette. So the next night I smuggled a cigarette from my mother's purse (she later quite smoking). On the way home from class we pulled to the side of the road, not to do some necking, but smoking. I lighted up a weed and handed it to Barbara, and she took one abbreviated drag before she convulsed in hacking and coughing. I knew she would be cured of her curiosity with just one. That was it. Since then neither of us has had the least temptation to use tobacco in any form.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Majestic Trees

My blog about the Grand Canyon reminded me of another experience on vacation that inspired my poetic heart several years ago. I have written a few poems following great impressions of God's wonderful creation that have struck me while on vacation. One that was actually published (in our denominational magazine, "New Horizons" is also one of my favorites. We vacationed in Sequoia National Park several times in the past. We have now graduated into the category where our favorite "camping" experiences are done in vacation resorts that are owned by our vacation club, Diamond Resorts. When we went to Sequoia it was still at the point in our lives when we threw our 2 inch foam on the floor of a pup tent and cooked over the wood-burning camp fire pit. Barbara tolerated the experience for my sake, and I loved it because my parents used to take me camping in the high Sierras almost every year for several years in a row. Now, when either of us gets down on our hands and knees, it becomes a major project just to stand erect. At our age it is routine to arise once or twice during the night to use the restroom. Neither of us can even imagine trying to do that in the freezing temperatures at 2 in the morning, while bears are scouring the grounds for carelessly concealed food. The scenario is ludicrous to play in the imagination.

But the trees! They still spin their mystic influence on me. So here is the thought provoked by these old camping experiences.

The breath of God is whispering to me
Where it comes and goes I do not know
But I hear His “Peace” through needles of a tree
Messages from nature’s daily flow

His sentinels wait patiently each year
To remind me of their Maker’s might
Demanding that I lift my voice in cheer
And praise Him for the eloquence of sight

They hurry not nor fret the winter’s snow
Against my stress, displaying mute disdain
The glory of God in dignity they show
My world hurries by, but they consistently remain.

“I was here a thousand years” they mime
“When God the Son took pity on your race.
My rings of age play havoc with your time
“And testify how recent came His grace.”


Monday, June 7, 2010

Jack and the Zucchini

I remember my mother reading the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" to me. I found it fascinating. Poor Jack was hoodwinked by a slick dude in the market place. He sold the family cow for a mere handful of purportedly "magic" beans. After Jack confessed to his mother and apologized for his boyish stupidity, he thought he might as well plant the beans. The wonderful surprise was that the beans grew into a giant beanstalk overnight! You remember.

Well in my case it was the magic zucchini plants. I had to buy them in a six pack, even though I didn't think I needed that many. But of course there was nothing else to do but to plant them. Now you must realize that I am basically a city boy. We live in a heavily populated suburb and the property does not have open ground for a large garden. So I planted them all in a brick circle in the middle of a cement patio. This circle must be about 3 feet in diameter. The plants are predictably going crazy. I've grown zucchini before, so I am well aware of how they can get away from me and become gourds. So I check them out every single day. Okay, maybe I skip the sabbath.

Enough said. These seemed to grow overnight. In point of fact it was more like 48 hours. I must have missed them during my inspection last Saturday. There are some smaller ones that are about right for cooking, but when I saw these two giants, I left the others to grow one more day. These veggies are big enough for stuffed zucchini which I am planning to prepare tonight. But I had better harvest the others tomorrow before they start coming after me. This is so fun!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sending Steve

Steve and Linda Larson are our newest missionaries. We are sending them to Uruguay to join the Faulks in the happy task of proclaiming among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Actually the reason we have anybody in Uruguay in the first place is because a Presbyterian minister there had responded to Steve's website for reformed literature in the Spanish language. Steve has been getting hits from many different countries (including Cuba), and strangely many of them are adopting the name "Orthodox Presbyterian" for their churches, even though Steve has warned them that this action does not create any official connection with our denomination.

So, after sending representatives to meet the church in question, our denominational Committee on Foreign Missions decided to send the Faulks to Uruguay where they are just getting their feet wet during their first term on the field. Since our mission policy is to place at least two families on the field in any chosen location (a very good policy when you think about it), inquiries were made for any volunteers to supplement our staff on the field in Uruguay. Eventually the finger pointed to the Larsons, and after the Committee issued a call and the Presbytery of Southern California approved it, Steve was issued the call, and the session of the Westminster OPC arranged for the installation service which took place this evening.

Here we see Moderator of Presbytery, Zach Keele, administering the constitutional questions to missionary, Steve Larson.

Pastor Mike Passarilla of our Costa Mesa congregation preached the sermon. Regional Home Missionary, David Crum, gave the charge to the missionary. Mark Bube, General Secretary of our denomination's Committee on Foreign Missions was on hand to lead in prayer, and Pastor Donald Bucanan, of Calvary Church, La Mirada, delivered a charge to the congregation, or rather, the regional church. All this good stuff took only an hour and a half. Each message was meaty, scriptural and thought provoking. I always enjoy it when my colleagues open the Scripture for me. So called miracles and tongues leave me cold. My heart is warmed by the faithful proclamation, explanation and application of the Bible. Please deliver me from affected drama or stand-up comic type preachers. I don't want to hear a heady lecture or a folksy chain of cute stories. Just tell me what the Bible says. And God was honored by what I heard tonight. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Battle of the Bulge

The ongoing struggle to manage one's weight is not really thrilling news, but concede me one more post about this. You see I have determined that I will allow myself one "indulgence" per month. My first such indulgence was a trip to Ports O' Call restaurant where I enjoyed scallops and shrimp brochette over spiced wild rice. I also enjoyed a side of asparagus. Yum, yum. When one is just finishing a liquid diet of 20 weeks, you have no idea how delicious such a mean can be unless you have been there yourself!

My second indulgence was construed to be our whole week of Grand Canyon dining. Here we are, for example, at breakfast in the country restaurant in Williams. Pancakes, bacon and eggs were part of this. Then there was the sandwich and a raspberry malt at the Twister (the local 50s diner). The other meals were provided with coupons as part of our vacation package in the hotel dining room. It was served buffet style, and the food was great. I enjoyed corned beef hash for breakfast. For dinner there was a carving station, a row of sides and a salad bar and a separate pasta station.

Needless to say, I was definitely apprehensive when we returned home and I first stepped on the scale. What a delight to find that I weighed exactly the same thing that I weighed the day we left. Yes, that is only maintenance, but under the indulgent circumstances I was much relieved. Now it's back to work in weight management. I've already dropped a pound or two. My goal is still about 15 pounds away.

Every morning I am reminded how good God has been to me. I have a wonderful, understanding wife for my companion and best friend. I have better health and less lard to carry everywhere with me. What a relief!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grand Canyon Inspiration

The brilliant hues of sunset
Are frozen in the rock
Stripes of layered limestone
Stored in ancient block

Vistas vast and startling
Span both north and south
With pinnacles and valleys
Within earth’s open mouth

That little ribbon blue
A mile or so below
Is mighty Colorado
Where screaming rafters flow

And near to me the precipice
Whose sheer hypnotic cliff
Disorients observers
And lures some to their death

This vast and mighty canyon
Is more than just a hole
It staggers imagination
It touches thoughtful soul

The God who made it happen
Also wrote the Book
But here He simply says to us,
“You see, I made you look!”