26 May 2006

Learning a New Language

This week I received word that my father more than likely, 90% sure from the doc, has esophegal cancer. This Friday the results from the biopsy come.

You would think that being a pastor I would have some resources for this kind of news, I didnt. I couldnt get over my own need for a pastoral presence, not my own but the real need for a pastor. I always thought it was peculair when folk wanted me to come to the hospital and have prayer with them, now I understand their need.

12 May 2006

Our First Trip to Jekyll Island

Tomorrow the family and I pack it all up and go to Jekyll Island, GA for a much anticipated vacation. Four years ago we took our first trip to Jekyll Island. We made reservations on the north end of the island at a now defunct inn. We arrived and went to show the daughter the beach. We ran out only to find a huge rock break wall ten feet from the edge of the shore, yuck. Next we thought we would put our bags in our room and figure out what was going on (we had a ocean view room). I put the bags down on the bed, Lori went to the balcony (she had to lean over to the left and stand on her tip toes to see the ocean). Meanwhile I noticed something very peculiar. On the nightstand between the two beds, in the ash tray laid a freshly extinguished cigarette with bright red lipstick on it. That did it.

We went down to the front desk, cancelled our room and went to Tybee Island instead. Another dead giveaway should have been all of the old people at the inn, they were everywhere.

This time I know someone who lives on Jekyll, have researched and confident of our stay. The weather is supposed to be in the mid-80s with water temperature in the mid-70s. (Yes, we are staying on the south part of the island, without the break wall!)

Since this is vacation the ibook will be staying in Rhode Island. I am taking three books: The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, The March by E.L. Doctorow, and Centering Prayer by M. Basil Pennington. Plus, Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction by George Bain.

I also broke down and bought a compact flash card, a 512mb at Staples for $14.99 after rebates, so we can take more than three high resolution photos.

08 May 2006

In the Ground

Today I wrapped up some planting before Memorial Day, Saturday we go on vacation.

Planted 12.5lbs of Russet Potatoes. They are fantastic, they store forever, and if you cut the small ones in half (lengthwise) scoop them out a little, place some coldy jack cheese and bacon on them and bake 'em at 475 for 10-15 minutes you have yourself some of the best potato skins in the world. Double them with some ranch dressing, and hot pepper sauce (I like to put the ranch dressing in a circle with a hole in the middle to fill with the hot sauce) and a cold beer - mild heaven.

Planted .5lb Walla Walla Onions, sweet onions with good flavor.

Planted the seed potatoes I had left over from last year, mainly purple, red and some green mountain white varities.

Reading the Da Vinci Code

I feel like such a tool, I actually went out and bought the book and to beat all I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I put off reading the book to the last possible minute. I hate reading books everyone else is reading and plus it seemed too tacky. I felt used, a bit dirty and violated when i finished.

Here is a quote from Chad, buddy who lives in H'burg, "That's how I felt about reading the Da Vinci. I felt like an addict. Like it was crack. I couldn't stop reading it until I was finished. I wanted it to be over, but I couldn't pry myself away."

The book was a real page turner, but sentences werent earth breaking.

Vocation Issues

A few weeks ago I went to CRCDS for an Alumin/ae Executive Council meeting. There I met some alums I never knew, heard some great stories and was assured that the school is doing well. I want CRCDS to suceed. When you are a liberal Baptist it is truly our only school to call home. I am one of those snobs who believes all other ABC seminaries are bible colleges. The new president seems like a great guy and one who I truly think will be able not only to turn the school around but also able to lead it to a healthy place.

While at the meeting I met the pastor of this church. I was inspired by his vision of his church and the work he is doing in central Florida. I came back to L. R. and thought our vision for the church was too small. I thought we needed to expand our expectations. I laid out four goals.
1. increase to an active worshipping community of 200.
2. concentrate on evangelism for 18-40 year olds.
3. tithe our budget for local and global missions.
4. cant remember the fourth one, hmmm.

Then last week I had lunch with this guy. I like John he is a great guy who has a calm soul and wise counsel. It has been about a year since we got together for lunch. I looked forward to our conversation but at the same time I knew being around him would remind me of deeper issues of vocation: mainly my call to contemplative life.

Sure enough after about 10 minutes we got t' talkin' about prayer and inner life stuff and I left thinking what was going on with me, why do I bounce around like a ping pong ball?

Then after the dust settled I began to remember my true feeling of evangelism and contemplation. I think there is a real place for this in my vocation as an ordained clergy. A great friend of mine, Chad, gave me great resources from Thomas Kelly on this very subject. More on this soon.


This could very well be my favorite time of the year, Lilacs are in bloom! For two weeks, maybe, they bloom and fill the air with their lovely aroma. I grew up with lilacs but never paid much attention to them. Then I moved to Rochester and next to Highland Park. Every year they would hold the Lilac festival showcasing the hundreds of lilacs in the park.

Cities need more public parks. There is something truly rejuvenating, refreshing and recreating about beautiful public spaces. I would go over to the park for lunch, take pictures or just muse.

Here are the kids in the Dafodils.

At the library the other day I picked up Horticulture Magazine and stumbled upon a note for the Arnold Arboretum Lilac Sunday. We are going to be away for Lilac Sunday, Mother's Day, but my gut told me that the Lilacs would already be in bloom. So Friday we journeyed up to Jamacia Plain, MA to see the place for ourselves.

Another wonderful park.

As expected the Lilacs were in full bloom. Here is my favorite, the Cheyenne.

As we meandered amongst the lilacs we stumbled upon Syringa Reticulata a monstrous Lilac fromm Japanese seed planted in 1876.

Imagine a Lilac planted right after the Civil War is still going strong! The Lilac is the one in the center of the picture, the wife, the girl and the boy are in front of it for perspective. It is the latest blooming lilac, hope to go back and see what flora it presents.

03 May 2006

Gardening Notes

An unusual warm Spring here in New England, the warmth makes me think that I am late on my seeds.

So far I have planted 3.5 lbs of red and white onions, some beets (detroit red and bulls blood) and carrots (touchon, thats right the really bizarre ones), strawberries, peas (which the rabbits have munched down) and some spinach (again the rabbits).

The window sills are full of tomato and flowering plants. Luckily the kids have stayed out of them this year.

the bees, I have no idea what is going on with them. One day they are all over the place, the next no sign of them. I hope they are doing okay and will start to flourish when it gets warmer.

The latest news item states that the soda companies with quit selling soft drinks in elementary school. What is wrong with only serving water?

I love water, it has a proven track record, and folk seem to be willing to go to war for it.