Thursday, December 2, 2010

When A Sticker Was Enough

I got a call from our youngest daughter the other day and in the course of the conversation she told me that her oldest son, Atticus, had received a special sticker from his teacher because he had been good all week. No doubt an indication that such was not ALWAYS the case.

I couldn't help but think about how much simpler life used to be when getting a sticker was a big deal. A STICKER!!!! What do you do with it? You take it home and show your parents and maybe they post it on the fridge or stick it on the wall in your room and it's over.

But then I realize that it doesn't even take a sticker to make most of us adults happy. All it takes is a kind word, a compliment, an affirmation, an "at-a-boy." Long after the sticker has lost it's "sticky" that compliment will still warm your heart. As I was leaving La Junta on our last Sunday there as Interim Pastor way back in May of this year, one of the members said, "Man, I hate that you won't be back. I feel like I'm losing a pastor that I've known for a hundred years."

That thought lodged in my heart. It was delivered with warmth and sincerity. It was real. It was a "sticker." The kind that comes your way during the course of life, but not nearly often enough.

It's not one that I can show my grandson, but perhaps it's the kind that I can share wtih him and show him how to give to others. We all need them.

Give someone a "Sticker" today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apartment Living

For the first time in our married life, Jane and I are living in an apartment here in Shoreline, Washington. Shoreline is a bedroom community of Seattle and most folks who live here just seem to say "Seattle" when asked where home is. 

Our dwelling place is just three blocks from the church, up a fairly steep hill to the west. Last week in snowed here and the three or four inches made mobility almost impossible. When you combine hills with snow and ice plus the fact that most folks here don't have all weather tires it makes for quite a challenging experience. Jane and I loved it. It reminded us of Colorado plus, the community in which we live was almost shut down. We had the streets to ourselves and we made good use of them.

But I digress. I'm writing basically to show you our apartment. We moved out of "The Big House" in Highlands Ranch, Colorado back in '08. Downsized to a flat. Then in '09 we retired and downsized again to the cabin.  Moving to the Seattle area to serve a temporary assignment in the Aurora Church of the Nazarene meant downsizing again.  Our apartment is a cozy 608 square feet. It's very nice. New. Just a bit small. Jane can occasionally be heard to complain "there's no closet space left!"

We're on the fourth floor and give thanks daily for the elevator. Now, let me take you on a tour of our "crib."

Welcome to our living room. Yes, the furniture is rented with the exception of the recliner near the window. That was in the pastor's office at the church until I snagged it to use at the apartment.
 Yes, this is standing in front of the window looking back toward the front door.

 This is our lovely, and rarely used, kitchen. When you move someplace on a temporary basis you don't realize how much money it takes to set up housekeeping again. We drove to Seattle in an Escalade and thought we had room in it to bring the necessities. We were wrong.

Jane took this shot of me getting off the elevator as she stood in our door way. Those full length mirrors sure do intimidate a person when you're walking out in the morning. "How did I get this fat?" "I thought these pants were longer than that." "My hair is a mess."

Since these photos were taken Jane has put up the Christmas tree and found other bits of seasonal decor to place in appropriate spots and it's a very festive little place. And as I mentioned before, it's very cozy.

Serving the people of this fine church has been such a blessing to us. It's our second interim assignment. The first was in La Junta, Colorado. The thing that we've discovered in this new phase of our ministry is how warm the people are that we've been invited to serve. Just as La Junta, the people here at the Aurora church have gone out  of their way to make us feel welcome and at home. We've been in the homes of many and found such eager listeners when we preach. I know that I'm a few years out of the "contemporary" pattern and this church has been functioning in a fairly contemporary mode. ( I tell people that I'm not old, I'm retro). But the older folks have welcomed us as a "contemporary" and the younger ones have accepted me as a grandpa. I like both roles.

Once again, this church has done more for Jane and me than we've done for them. They've made us feel like family.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've been thinking about that word a lot lately. "Home." It's a word that's packed with meaning and emotion. As a child it was a ranch style house built by my father on an acre of ground given to mom and dad by my mother's dad. My grandpa Turner. It was on the south side of a dead end, dirt road in Wichita, Kansas. The north side of the road was a wheat field. When cars drove by on hot summer days the dust would seem to hang in the air forever. On cold winter nights the old Humphrey stove would put out enough heat to keep the house toasty. It was home. Mom and dad made sure that it felt safe. My little brother, Terry and I shared a bedroom. He was seven years younger than me but we still became great friends sharing that room. It was home.

I lived there until Jane and I were married. Our first "home" was a 28 foot trailer house. Eight feet wide. Small, yes, but we were young and it didn't matter. That first Christmas we purchased an artificial tree from Sears and decorated our home for the season. It was home.

Since that inauspicious beginning we've lived in 17 different places (counting our current apartment in Shoreline, Washington) but they've all been "home." Jane always made it so.

These past two weeks we've been on the road and in the air more than we would have liked. Jane's mom died back in Wichita at age 96. We flew "home" to help care for her funeral. We stayed in a nice hotel and somehow as we drove the familiar streets from our childhood we were "home." We haven't lived in Wichita since 1971 but it was home.

After the funeral we flew back into the Seattle airport and were back in our apartment for the weekend in order to preach at the Aurora church. After that morning worship service on the 7th we again caught a plane and flew "home." But this time it was taking us to Colorado. Jamie picked us up and we spent that Sunday night at her house and then on Monday we drove "home" to our cabin in the mountains. We hadn't been there since the Thursday before Labor Day. We unlocked the door and walked in greeted by all our "stuff" and we were home.

We love that little cabin on the creek. it's a peaceful place for us. It has been for the 6 years that we've owned it. During some turbulent years in our last assignment we would escape to the cabin and try to recover. It welcomed us with open arms. Gratefully, everything was as we left it. We put clean linens on the bed and Jane started vacuuming. I went to the garage to check on my treasures. The old gas pump was still there in front of the garage and the things that I treasure, though of little value, were all still in place. My office was a bit cold and dusty, but it was home. We were home.

After a week of errands, doctors appointments, dentist appointments and even a short case of the flu following my first ever flu shot, we boarded a plane to fly back to Seattle once again. Staci picked us up on this end and drove us to our apartment. She was so thoughtful. She had a big pot of stew in the back of the SUV for our dinner. We arrived at the apartment and unlocked the door. In a matter of moments she had the stew on the stove and our little place was filled with the delightful aroma. We were "home."

Yesterday as I preached at the Aurora church I discovered that the gracious people made us feel "at home." I know that the old philosopher said that "Home is where the heart is" but  I guess I've never been so pulled between places in such a short time. I discovered that it's true. Home IS where the heart is.

Maya Angelou said it this way.  "I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."

I'm discovering that she's right, and that I am.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Flying the Friendly Skies

You probably know by now that Jane's mom passed away last week and we spent Sunday night through Friday morning in Wichita. Our flight there last Sunday afternoon was not just uneventful, it was actually pleasant.  I wish I could say the same thing for the flight home on Friday.

I expected the small commuter plane from Wichita to Denver. It's a short flight and easily endured even in a small plane. What I didn't expect was the small plane on the 2 1/2 hour flight from Denver to Seattle. You know the plane. The kind with two seats on each side of the aisle and those seats are small. Thank you United Airlines.

To make matters worse, Jane, in an effort to cash in a $100 coupon that we had from United, had to book our seats separately. Don't ask. As a result our seats were not together. No problem on the flights TO Wichita. Both legs of that flight were in full size planes, designed for the Big and Tall man.

Not so in the little planes. They had no extra seats and no way we could change seats and be together. 

The trouble started in Denver. The gate/terminal was PACKED. People couldn't find a place to sit and hardly a place to stand. As a result, we were eager to get on the plane. I shouldn't have been.

Jane was in the seat directly behind my assigned seat and MY seat was 4A. That's right. A window seat in a little plane means that my head is pressed up against the wall/ceiling at all times. But that was to be just the beginning.

As I entered the plane I scoped out the landscape and spotted my luxurious leather Lazy Boy awaiting me. I wish. It was about 13 inches wide.  Now most of you also know that I'm not a small person. I know, I know. But I'm not. I'm big. I'm 6'2" and well north of 250....or 260. Okay, north of 270. I'm big. I'm tall and wide. But when I spotted my seat I noticed that the little lady in seat B was.....well, she was short and wide. I'm not making fun of her at all. I'm just trying to describe the situation. She was of Asian descent and I'd swear that her feet didn't touch the floor when she was sitting down.

She stood up to let me climb into the pit that would be my home for the next eternity. I sat down, found the seat belt and strapped myself in. She then proceeded to sit down and dig for her seat belt. We immediately became intimate friends. Somewhat embarrassed by where her hands had been she quickly pulled down the little arm between the seats. Lord knows we wouldn't want to touch. But we couldn't help it.

We made some small talk about the tight fit and soon the plane was speeding down the runway. Once airborne we sat there like a couple of Buddha's. Arms crossed to keep from touching each other and to stay out of each others space. But what about our hips?

As the trip wore on I found that part of the time my right cheek was in her lap and at other times her left cheek was on my lap. We read the same magazine. I'd swear that she was listening to tunes on my iPad from MY HEADPHONES and they were both on my head.

To illustrate how short she was, picture this. Her head hit my shoulder UNDER my arm pit. When I lifted my arm to adjust the air flow or the light....yep, her nose was right there.

After about an hour and a half she drifted off to sleep. I felt so cheap. I've never slept with a woman other than Jane. And with her right behind me I couldn't help but feel that I was somehow being unfaithful.

To make matters worse, she had one of those sleep disorders where every time she came close to waking up she'd jump. I thought she was having a seizure but it kept happening. I soon realized that it was a sleep issue but she continued to sleep and to jump and twitch the rest of the way.

When the plane finally landed and we were able to deplane, I felt like I should at least tell her my name. She wasn't interested. She was as eager to get off that plane and forget about the previous hours as I was.  God bless her wherever she is.

We're flying back to Denver tomorrow after church but we're not flying United. We're going Frontier. At least they have little televisions to keep you occupied. Oh, and we bought the tickets together so we can sit with each other. If you're as big as me you better marry a little woman. I did.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The STIMulator

On Tuesday morning I was awakened at 4:45 a.m. by the bright light of my Ipad telling me that it was time to get up. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I'm not by nature an early morning person. I'm not an "Early Christian." I'm a "Later In The Day Saint."

But yesterday was special. My son-in-law, Josh, had invited me to join him in the Simulator (the SIM) at McCord AFB for a two hour session.  To be honest, it wasn't just the early hour that had my attention. I was bit nervous. Well, actually I was a LOT nervous. You know, I didn't want to embarrass Josh nor did I want to be embarrassed myself. I mean, flying a C-17 has got be be complicated.

UNDERSTATEMENT!!! When we arrived I went through the appropriate security checks, Josh signed me in and we were escorted to the SIM by a little guy that I thought was the janitor. Wrong! He was the instructor. I climbed in to the co-pilot seat and fought to make myself comfortable. Everything in the plane was difficult for me. It was not intuitive. The seat belts wrap around each leg indivitually. Naturally they were to short to snap so adjustments had to be made. It became obvious that there are no pilots wearing XL flightsuits....or XXL. Then shoulder straps came over each shoulder and were eventually snapped into the upright and locked position.

Then the seat had to be adjusted left to right and the HUD (Heads Up Display) had to be opened and the brightness level set. Then the seat had to be adjusted up and down. I'm telling you, it's a major operation just getting strapped in to that beast.

Little did I know that the instructor would be sitting right behind us. He was. I assumed he'd be outside the SIM somewhere operating the thing. No, he was right behind Josh and he was manning the computer that set the postion of the plane in different locations. The first was at the end of the runway at McChord.  Josh pushed the throttles forward and the plane began to move. About this time I'm having trouble believing that we're in a SIM. It's a dream come true in one way. Every time I've flown commercially I've wished I was up in the cockpit with the pilot just so I could see out the front window. Well, this day I was and as the earth rushed by faster and faster the SIM reacted in such a way that it conveyed the impression of actually rolling down the runway. Even the bumps on the runway seams were noticable. Then Josh pulled back on the stick and the plane began to rise. What a thrill. I didn't want anyone to remind me tthat we were actually just a few feet off the ground. I suspended my embrace on reality and within moments we were airborne with Mt. Rainer poking out of the clouds to my left. A few moments later we were above the cloud level and circling the field.

Josh then lined up the  plane for a landing back at McChord. As we approached the end of the runway he said, "It's all your's!"  "All mine? I don't want it!" But I took it and with his guidance and the help of some automatic pilot stuff that I didn't totally understand I brought that brute to a perfect three point landing.  Well....almost. It bumped a bit and I might have slammed the front wheels down a bit hard but at least we survived.

Such was not the case when we became airborne again. This time he pulled the plane up under a KC-135 for refueling. I can't tell you how frightening that process is. You're a hundred feet from another jet and your flying about 400 miles an hour. Josh gently guided the plane up to the refueling boom and with a thud you could hear it attach to our plane. Then, once again he said, "It's all your's." With great confidence (not) I grabbed the stick to hold the plane in formation. It started to drift a bit and I brought her back. It drifted the other way. I fought to bring her back, but this time I drifted too far. The boom came unattached and as I sought to correct my fight path I overcompensated and tore the tail off the KC-135. Immediately all the windows in the SIM went bright red and Josh said, "We're all dead." Well, thanks for that bit of encouragment. I was sure the crew in the 135 was gone but I thought Josh and I might have a chance if we ran to the back of the plane.

The little guy in the back then said, "Where to now?" Josh told him "Afghanistan" and mentioned the coordinates. In seconds, we were flying over the snow capped mountains heading in for an assault landing on a little airstrip somewhere in that god forsaken land. Josh took care of that landing. Assault landings are above my pay grade. We stuck the plane down hard and within a couple thousand feet she had stopped dead still. Amazing what good pilots can do with this plane.

We then came back to the good old USA and flew through fog and even snow. The little guy in the back said he put the snow in to remind me of Colorado. It was awesome.

I left the experience just exhausted. My admiration for Josh and others who fly such monsters is off the charts. It's not just the actual chore of flying the plane, it's all the guages and switches and knobs that one has to be familiar with. It's the immense amount of knowledge that has to be stored in their minds and called up for use in a fracton of a second.

Back in the car Josh asked me what my impressions were. I could only think of one word. OVERWHELMED. I was, and I am, totally overwhelmed by the complicated process of flying such an amazing machine.

So, to Josh and his fellow pilots, I SALUTE YOU! And thanks for a memory that will last until I get dementia.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Grandpa's Weekend

Hello, there.  I'm Staci.  Tim's daughter.
I've been checking his blog daily, like many of you, waiting breathlessly for a new post from him.
Alas, nothing.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands and hijack his blog for a day.
(An easy thing to do when you're the one who set it up.)

Where is he?
What has he been doing??

Well, lucky for me, my dad has taken on an interim pastor position at Aurora Church of the Nazarene in Shoreline, WA.
A mere 60 miles from me!

Mom and Dad have set up temporary shop in a nice apartment within walking distance of the church.  They are spending their time encouraging and supporting the congregation of Aurora church in their search for a new pastor - and in between small groups, lunches and church services they've been taking in some of the local sights.

Hopefully, dad will share some of those experiences with you in the future.

But today I'm going to tell you what they did this weekend.

They gave my husband and I a rare weekend vacation.  
They arrived at our house on Friday afternoon amid screams of, "Gramma and Papa are here!!"  Soon after, dad was ambushed by book bearing boys and suckered into reading.  It was so fun watching him try to read around their big ol' noggins (that they inherited from him!).

Saturday morning Josh and I left for downtown Seattle for the night....but not before a comforting breakfast of Monkey Bread made my mom and her two helpers.


The rest of that day and night the kids were left to my parents to entertain.  And they did it in true Stearman style.
It's October 2nd - high time they hit a punkin patch!

Schilter Family Farm is just down the road from our house and an easy stop for the grandparents.
The following are pictures they took that I pilfered from the camera - it's always interesting to see what your kids are doing when you aren't around.

The hayride is mandatory.

I'm told John wanted no part of it - and cried quite a bit.

Daniel had no such qualms.

I'm told the slide was incredibly slick...resulting in a one time only performance by Daniel, however, the diaper John was wearing seems to have given him some cushion.

Despite his allergies Papa took them through the petting zoo.  Ducks, cows, ponies, pigs, goats...

The required punkin picking, of course...

And my mom snagged pictures of Daniel smiling!!  Something I find it impossible to do.

And one from John...

I'll have to photoshop the two pictures together.

My kids love when Gramma and Papa come to visit.  I wish you could see what great grandparents they are - as I'm typing this post my dad has cranked up the Sunday Night Football theme sung by Faith Hill and is dancing in front of the tv with the boys.  
They eat it up!!

So, this has just been a peek into Tim and Jane's weekend.  Help me get my dad back on this blog on a regular basis!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grapes of Wrath

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. We flew to Seattle on August 21st in order to preach at the Seattle Aurora Church of the Nazarene. Since we were also scheduled to preach there on the 29th we took advantage of the week and stayed with Staci and her boys in Lacey, Washington, which is about 65 miles from the church.

The Aurora church is in that transitional time between pastors. Pastor Jim Manker resigned recently and the church has not started the process of finding their new shepherd. As a result, while we were there they asked if Jane and I would be willing to spend some time there as an interim pastor while they conduct their search. We said yes.

We flew home on August 30th in order to put things in order here at our cabin in paradise and pack some things into the car and then drive back to Seattle.

Well, when we got home we became aware of the fact that the IRS wants to review some of our tax returns from a previous year. So, we contacted an accountant to represent us as the meeting since we'll be in Seattle and then we started digging for documentation for the audit. I'll be FOREVER grateful for a wife who keeps OUTSTANDING records. Even so, we spent the past two days - I repeat TWO DAYS - in our home office trying to get the necessary proof together for our accountant.

Have you ever had a colonoscopy? Well, I have. On more than one occasion. Let me consider. Colonoscopy/Audit? Colonoscopy/Audit? I'll take a colonoscopy ANY day. They, at least, give you meds to make you sleep. An audit provides no pain relief. Just pain.

Then there's the fact that we drive from here to Montana. That's right, Montana. We've been scheduled for almost two years to speak at the District Laymen's Retreat there. As a result, we're driving a vehicle packed to the gills with "stuff" for our Seattle stay as we head to Montana. The Escalade is going to look like the Jode family's Model A in Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."

But, there's good news. We get to serve at a church with a great legacy. We get to meet and make new friends. We get to live close to Staci and her family for the first time in her married life. We will probably still be there when she and Josh welcome their third child, scheduled to arrive December 31st.

And then there's this. Josh arrived home today after being deployed in Qatar where he was piloting a C-17 for the past four months.

It's a good day, but we're going to miss our cabin in the corner of Glory Land

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mommy Dearest

For the last three weeks Jane and I have been caring for my mother. It's not that she needs someone to look after her, it's just that we were in Topeka for almost two weeks preparing for and celebrating her 80th birthday. Then we brought her home with us for about 10 days. This past Monday I drove to Oakley, Kansas, where my brother met me and I gave him my passenger. Mom. He took her back home to Topeka.

When mom is with us she's usually pretty low maintenance. She goes to bed early (now that I have a TV in her room) and she sleeps late. She doesn't eat much and her demands are few. But Jane and I like to treat her to some special activities that she doesn't get to do back in Kansas.

Just about five miles from our home is the entrance to Pike's Peak. At the foot of that road is a tourist trap/Amusement Park called The North Pole. Naturally it's built around the Christmas theme featuring everything from Santa on duty every day to an actual frozen pillar of ice functioning as that mythical spot....since the north pole isn't and never has been found in Cascade, Colorado.

And the best part? Admission is free to persons over 60. Bingo! All three of us walked in without dropping a dime. Now, I'll admit that we weren't interested in many of the rides, but we did venture on a few. Mom was more interested in the gift shops, which make up the majority of the park. And yes, she found several treasures to take home with her.

But here's what I noticed. My 80 year old mother is 4'10" tall. She's SHORT! trying to get her on the rides was sometimes a challenge. Then I realized that I had been facing the same challenge everytime I'd helped her get into my Escalade. She's SHORT. And then when my brother arrived to pick her up, he arrived in his Avalanche. Thank God for running boards.

Come on mom. They're holding the train for us.

Hop up in there mom

Hurry mom! there's a car behind us.

I guess it's something we all have to look forward to....if we live long enough.

And then I'm driving home and I run up behind this character.

Look closely. That's right. He's got a pair of crutches strapped to the back of his MOTORCYCLE. Either he's alredy hurt or hes anticipating problems. Life is always interesting. Laugh Often, Love Deeply, Shine Brightly.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lost in a Small Town

Last Sunday I was scheduled to preach in the 10:30 service at the Valley Church of the Nazarene in Monte Vista, Colorado. I owed pastor Michael Staton big time. You see, he had scheduled me for a series of services back in March. Several weeks before the first service was to occur I looked at my calendar. As I turned the page from February to March I realized that I had double booked. The other scheduled event? A trip to Hawaii. I got on the phone before calling Pastor Michael to see if I could book someone else to take my place. I was able to do that. My friend Norman Moore had that week available. When I called Pastor Michael I told him I'd come to Monte Vista ANYTIME he wanted me and I'd do it at no cost to him. Thus, my trip to Monte Vista last Sunday.

Monte Vista is three and a half hours from our cabin. That meant an early morning. It means EARLY for us. By 6:00 we were in the car and on the road. Naturally our first stop was McDonald's for some nourishment to hold us on the trip. It was the first time I've ever been at McDonald's before they had the sign turned on. There were lights on inside, but my car was the first one in the drive thru line.

The trip was uneventful. Traffic was light at that hour on a Sunday morning and the scenery was terrifuc. Blue sky, elk in one of the meadows, oldies playing on the xm radio. It was a good mornig.

Monte Vista is a community of about 3500. How could a person even imagine getting lost? Well my contact there was Carolyn Sullivan. She told me the church was on south Jefferson. I found the street but not the church. Finally I called her on my cell phone and asked where the church was. She said, "Jefferson." I said, "I'm on Jefferson." She said, "I'm standing in front of the church. I don't see you." Then I could hear her ask someone, "What street is our church on?" Then I heard the unidentified stranger proclaim, "Madison."

Monte Vista Church of the Nazarene

I was one block off. When I turned the corner there stood Carolyn, cell phone to her ear, talking us in the last 100 yards.

The worship experience was great fun. Music was terrific. One song featured two banjos, a guitar, a standup base and a fiddle. Good. Really good.

The sermon was one of those "so, so" sermons. The preacher (me) spoke so long and said so little. But it was a good day.

The youth pastor, Josh Smith, told us we were going to his house for lunch. The pastor's wife said, "Follw me, I'll be in the gold truck."

So....we followed the gold truck.

Following the gold truck

For a small town there was a lot of territory to cover. A couple of times we lost sight of the truck but we were always able to catch up and stay close on their bumper.

After driving what seemed like miles, the truck finally pulled in to the driveway. But the pastor's wife didn't get out. It was a family. A very curious family. Wondering what the couple in the Escalade were doing following them all through town and I'm sure a bit disturbed by the fact that we were taking pictures of them at the same time!

Fortunately, they recognized us. They had been in the worship service at the Valley church. I explained my delimma and they laughed with us....or it might have been "at" us. The gentleman's name was Ken Sears and he graciously offered to lead us to the youth pastor's home.

Meet Mr. Ken Sears. My new friend in Monte Vista

I started wondering if I could be trusted to find our way home.

While I was lost....twice....Pastor Michael was in Alaska working as a guide. He should have stayed home. I would have paid HIM for a guided tour Monte Vista!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gasoline Alley

I wish I knew more than I do about automobiles. I'm pretty good at taking them apart but putting them back together can be a challenge to me. Back in the 80's I had a 57 T-Bird that I drug home on a trailer. It was great fun. When I got it home I got it started and drove it in the condition in which I found it. However I soon discovered that the transmission wasn't shifting right and eventually it stopped shifting at all. It was an automatic.

I pulled the engine and transmission out because it was impossible to take the transmission out from under the car. The transmission was then rebuilt and I brought it home, put it back on the engine and with the help of a teenage boy from the church youth group I put it back in the car. It started, ran and shifted properly.

Today I'm dealing with a 35 Ford pickup that I refer to as BOB. Since it sits on a drive right next to where the carpenters are working on the building project I've been a bit hampered in my quest to strip it down. But I have discovered that it's a great place to hang out with my grandson, Daniel.

"Grandpa, how do you have those plugs gapped?"

To make matters worse, we celebrated July 4th with 9 individuals at our little cabin. Four were grandsons and none of them are over age 6. The evening of the 4th there were flash flood warnings for the valley and we were up until after midnight making sure that the water did not rise above the comort level. It didn't.

Oh, and before that we had dinner for my brother's biker friends from Topeka, serving 25 total. Jane made brisket and pulled pork.

And before that I thought it would be nice to have my old gas pump wired so that it would light up. Thought it would be a nice touch when the bikers rolled in.

I'm still selling regular for 33 cents a gallon.

You get the picture. The truck has been on the back burner. And I write all this just to say that it's fun working on the thing with grandsons around. They are curious about the tools and what "grandpa's doing." My prayer is that someone among the group of little ones will be able to figure out how to help grandpa put the stuff back together. If they do....I'll give them the truck one day.

Love those swim trucks, Daniel.

Friday, July 9, 2010

And So It Continues

Several weeks ago I posted a blog about the construction project that we are currently undertaking. It's moved along well and I thought you might like an update on the progress.

Lumber being delivered

For the past three weeks we've had a stack of lumber on our little front lawn. Most of it should be gone after today.

Walls going up

Trusses going on

Garage door going on today

Custom window compliment of Gene Beyers

At the conclusion of the day we will be able to lock the garage and it wll be dry. Monday the roofers are coming and then on Wednesday the electrician wll be here. Hopefully we will be able to call the inspector after that and have him sign off on the project. We are excited about the progress.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Afternoon At Micky D's

Let me set the stage. It's Wednesday evening. The day was warm and we had worked fairly hard around the cabin. There's always much to do. I walked in to the cabin and sat in my favorite chair.

Now picture this. The chair is positioned so that by looking up I can see the edge of our loft. The loft edge is protected by wrought iron railings and looks over into the kitchen area as well as my favorite chair.

Daniel (3) and John (18 months) are up in the loft. They are lying on grandma and grandpas bed watching Barney or some such communistic, socialistic, anti-Christian (that's what people aways said about the stuff my kids watched....My Little Pony, The Smurfs....Lord, what's wrong with us?) fare on our TV.

I looked up to notice that John was standing by the railing. His sweet little cherubic face pressed up against the wrought iron. Smiling. Then I noticed that he had taken off his diaper. He's not potty trained yet. And then I started yelling. "HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! as I realized that without his diaper, going commando, he had no inhibitions. He was free and there was a strange warm, liquid sensation hitting my arm.

The Perpetrator

That's right. He was expressing, either his individuality or his disdain for his grandpa. It was a perfect arch out of the loft and into the kitchen via my favorite chair. I have new appreciation for the phrase, "The Golden Arches."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daniel's Initiation

Several days ago I published the account of my hike to the Pantry with Atticus and Conrad. This past Sunday afternoon I decided it was time for Daniel to make the pilgrimage. I had preached in Pueblo that morning and the girls had stayed home with the kids. John had been sick all night keeping Jane up until 2:00 a.m. Staci has been sick ever since she got here, so Daniel and I were the only healthy ones in the bunch. When I asked him if he wanted to go for a hike he was more than eager. He just didn't realize that it's 9/10's of a mile to the Pantry.

With hiking sticks in hand (mine hand carved by Ernie Loganbill in Independence, Kansas) we set out. It was a perfect day for the adventure and we enjoyed the time together. Well, at least I did. Daniel is very quiet and I'm never sure exactly when he's really enjoying our activities. But, we walked and he was a great little trooper. Never whined or whimpered. He just walked. It was as though he was thinking, "let's get this over with."

At the Pantry we sat inside (it was only in the 50's here on Sunday) and had some drinks. His poison is chocolate milk.

As we were ready to leave the hostess asked if we would like some bread to feed the ducks at the pond. "Certainly." we said. "Gus," she yelled, "give me some duck bread."

With our well filled sack of "duck bread" we made our way to the pond and found the ducks weren't all that hungry. We fed them anyway. "Eat, duck." They were less than impressed.

As we walked home Daniel occasionally would be heard to say (under his breath) "I'm tired." "Do you want to ride on grandpa's shoulders?" "No!"

That little guy walked every step of the way. A total of 1.8 miles carrying his walking stick. Later that evening I asked if he would like to go for another walk. His response, "I would go for a 'widdle' walk."

Me too, Daniel. Just a 'widdle' walk