Friday, October 31, 2008

. . . the harder they fall!

Following Lewis & Clark . . . 200 Years Later

I visited Fort Clatsop yesterday. Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Expedition spent the winter of 1805-1806 here. It represented the westernmost terminus of their historic journey to explore the Louisiana Purchase and to find a route to the Pacific Ocean. The fort that stands today is a replica, of course; the original is lost to history (but built anew through the drawings and notations found in Lewis's journal).

I have been fascinated with the story for the Corps of Discovery for a long time. It was truly neat to stand on the ground upon which they stood, and worked, and lived two centuries ago. Here are some pictures.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is what's left of the Peter Iredale, a British sailing ship that ran aground on the Oregon coast on October 25, 1906 . . . 102 years ago!
Today was fairly overcast, but the view of the Pacific was spectacular, nonetheless. I will post more photos later, including some I took of Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1805-06.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My travels for Manuelito Navajo Children's Home have brought me to Portland, Oregon. I will be here until Monday and speaking to the Gladstone Church of Christ on Sunday morning and the Oregon City Church of Christ on Sunday night.

This is my first trip to the Northwest, and I am greatly impressed by the beauty. The drive from the California-Oregon state line to Portland is spectacular. Every inch of real estate is beautiful. Here are some photos I took along the way.

This last photo is of the Oregon Sate Capitol in Salem. Its a rather impressive building, but it does look a lot like a mausoleum. And, from a distance the gold statue on top reminded me of Moroni!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Awesome Weed, Man!

This is the view from the parking lot of McDonald's in Weed, California. Is there another McDonald's in America with a better view?That's Mt. Shasta in the background. The photo does not give this mountain justice . . . Mt. Shasta stands 14,162 feet (the second tallest mountain in California). The town of Weed sits at about 3,000 feet . . . that's 11,000 feet of prominence! To compare: Pikes Peak stands at 14,110 feet, while Colorado Springs is at 6,000 feet, leaving only 8,000 feet of prominence--and there's no Cheyenne Mt. to crowd a photo of Shasta. To put it simply, Mt. Shasta is a massive mountain (and a non-dormant volcano, at that . . . it last erupted in the 1700s).

A deer visiting the cemetery? I'd like to think she stopped to pose for the picture.Another view of Mt. Shasta. I'm gonna have to return when the sky is clear and when the peak is clothed in snow. The view of the glacier fields is impressive, though (upper left).
Here's a view of the Klameth River in far northern California (6 miles short of the Oregon border). I looked for salmon (they're supposed to be running upstream), but I didn't spot any. But, I loved seeing the changing colors of the foliage.

The lady at the visitor center said they're expecting the first snowfall of the season in a few days. It's hard to believe the year has almost drawn to a close.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Superman III. A Return to Snowy River. After Mash. And . . .

I'm in a motel room in Chico, California watching Godfather III. I saw it once before, many years ago. I had forgotten how inferior it is to the first two movies of the franchise. The first two, of course, are masterpieces of the cinema. This last film is second-rate, at best. It really is much more like a TV movie than the follow-up to two of the greatest movies of all time. Maybe I can catch another running of SportsCenter instead of wading through the last hour-and-a-half of this dribble.

Better yet, I will read another chapter or two in The Afghan Campaign, by Steven Pressfield. It is a wonderful fictionalized account of Alexander the Great's campaign to conquer the tribes of Afghanistan in the 4th Century B.C. Though fiction, it is founded on a thorough command of Macedonian culture and warfare. If you like this kind of literature, head over to and get you a copy. I found my copy at Barnes & Noble for $5.99--on their discount rack! Not bad for a hardback.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where Will I Wake Up?

I've heard airline pilots joke that at times they forget where they are. This, because of their near-constant travel, and the different places they visit all blending together. I can relate.

Since January, I have spent at least one night in these places (and, in many of these places, more than one night):

Rancho Cordova
San Bernardino



Grand Junction
Silverton (Cascade Lodge)
Dolores (Four Corners Camp)

Great Bend



Elk City

Wichita Falls
El Paso
San Angelo
San Antonio
Corpus Christi
Flower Mound

New Mexico
Santa Fe

Yes, I have actually spent a night at home in Gallup! Although, it seems like many years since I've been there. Actually, its been 39 days since I've been home (and counting . . . I've got 9 more days to go on this trip, and another 5 overnight stops!). However, to be honest, I was home for 45 minutes on October 10! A pit stop on a drive from Lubbock, Texas to Flagstaff, Arizona, and then on the next day to Turlock, California.

I really do love the travel. This is a beautiful country! And, I've seen everything from the Mohave Desert, to the Pacific Ocean, to the Great Plains, to the Mississippi River, to the Grand Canyon, to the Colorado Rockies, to the Gulf Coast, to Monument Valley, to the Sierra Nevadas, to the Great Bend, and, for the past several days, to the San Joaquin Valley of California.

I spent today "pitching" another double header. I visited the church in Dinuba, Calif. this morning and the congregation at Farmersville, Calif. tonight. I enjoyed being with both families and sharing some news about the Manuelito Navajo Children's Home. These are two small churches with big hearts.

I have said it many times before, but the great blessing of my job (other than talking about the beautiful kids we have at MNCH) is spending time with so many different congregations. Big ones. Small ones. Churches in the city. Those in the country. Traditional churches. Churches trying some new things. Affluent churches Those in low income neighborhoods. Some common denominators: a love for Jesus, a love for each other, and a heart for those in need. May God be praised!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

At Sutter's Mill

I visited a place I've been fascinated with for most of my life, Sutter's Mill. I remember reading a book while in the 3rd or 4th grades about John Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848. It was a great book, and I've wanted to visit the mill site ever since. Today, the place is a California state park. The mill, destroyed by a flood in 1862, has been reconstructed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here Yesterday, Gone Today!

Proverbs 11.28 -- Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves.

Seven trillion dollars! That's a seven followed by twelve zeroes. An astronomical sum, particularly from the perspective of someone making a low five-digit salary, but that is the amount of wealth that has been lost in the U.S. stock markets during the past few weeks (and that is a conservative estimate!).

Seven trillion dollars . . . is there any clearer demonstration of the fleeting nature of wealth to be found? "Here one day and gone the next," isn't that the saying we hear from time to time? But, do we live our life with this philosophy in mind?

Modern society is built on the philosophy that happiness is a product of wealth and possessions. From birth, the idea that more is better is taught. And, so, we work and earn, work and earn. It's all about the money, isn't it?

Days and nights spent on the job. A family at home without a father. A church left without a sister. The health of the body, mind and soul all but forgotten. "Gotta pay the bills, gotta put food on the able, gotta buy this, gotta buy that, gotta save up for the future." It's all about the money, isn't it?

Money is a necessity--life in this world requires the green. But, wealth is simply a means to an end, it is a resource and nothing more. "Here today, gone tomorrow." These words are so true. Why can't we hear them over, "Gotta, gotta, gotta"?

Seven trillion dollars . . . here yesterday, but gone today!

At the End of the Rainbow?

I took this photo a few weeks ago while driving on I-40, west of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

San Francisco

I left my heart in San Francisco . . . well, no! It is a beautiful city, and probably the most cosmopolitan place I have ever visited, and full of history and striking architecture, but I can't imagine living there. I am way to simple and traditional in my outlook and manner of life to ever be at home in San Francisco.

Here are some more photos from my visit to the city by the Bay.

Monday, October 20, 2008


  1. I am a lifelong and committed Dallas Cowboy fan, so let me say . . . "Go Titans!" My great hopes for this season are quickly dissipating. The Cowboys are "playing" like a group of overpaid and cocky athletes who seem to think a Super Bowl is an entitlement and not something they must earn on the playing field. Jeff Fisher's Titans seem to be the antithesis of this.

  2. The San Francisco Bay area is a beautiful place filled with a lot of strange people! I am enjoying my time here, but this is as far away from my "Texas roots" as I have ever been.

  3. I have found good Mexican food in northern California . . . Chevys is a great place to eat.

  4. I am tired of hotel beds!!!

  5. I absolutely love The Cosby Show . . . even when watching an episode for the 15th time. Why can't the Networks make TV like that again?

  6. I met someone who knows Willie Mays yesterday. Now, that was a baseball player!

  7. The Democrats controlling the Presidency and both houses of Congress??? I'm afraid that the next two years will result in the raising of taxes (and, yes, even on those making far less than 250k), the cramping down on free speech and dissent (the "Fairness Doctrine"), the socialization of medical care, the government takeover of the oil companies and other "Big" industries, the radicalization of the courts (to a further degree), the weakening of the military and our national safety . . . and the list continues.

  8. Whatever happens in the election, the KING still rules!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pics from the Pacific Coast Highway

I remain partial to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, but the coast of California is one of the most beautiful places I have been blessed to visit. These photos come from my journey up the Pacific Coast Highway from Cambria to Monterey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why I'm Voting Democrat

(Borrowed from an e-mail I received today.)

I'm voting Democrat, because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I'm voting Democrat, because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat, because when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because, I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat, because I'm not concerned about the rights of victims of crimes so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I'm voting Democrat, because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution to the freeloaders.

I'm voting Democrat, because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe wackos who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat, because I believe that open borders and government give-a-ways to foreigners is a great way to grow a nation.

I'm voting Democrat, because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

I'm voting Democrat, because I don’t believe a marriage is just between a man and a woman.

I'm voting Democrat, because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Troubling Times

I'm certainly on the left coast! This news story confirms I'm far from home. And, it confirms that our nation is traveling down some dark roads. (The story below was found on the Fox News website. The reporter was not named.)

If for no other reason, your vote on November 4 will determine what kind of judges are appointed to the federal bench. Judges in California "ordained" that same-sex marriage is "legal" in the state. Hopefully, the citizens of this state will vote for Prop 8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, affirming marriage as it has been recognized since God blessed Adam with Eve.

Fox News:

First-graders in San Francisco took a field trip to City Hall to celebrate the marriage of their lesbian teacher on Friday, but opponents of same-sex marriage in the state say the field trip was an attempt to “indoctrinate” the students, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The field trip was suggested by a parent at the Creative Arts Charter School, and the school said the trip, where students tossed rose petals on their teacher and her wife as they left City Hall, was academically relevant.

"It really is what we call a teachable moment," said Liz Jaroslow, the school’s interim director, according to the newspaper. She said same-sex marriage had historic significance. "I think I'm well within the parameters."

California will vote on Nov. 4 on Proposition 8 which seeks to ban same-sex marriage in the state, and supporters of the measure say the field trip shows that allowing same-sex marriage will mean it’s taught to school children, the newspaper said.

"It's just utterly unreasonable that a public school field trip would be to a same-sex wedding," said Chip White, press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign, told the Chronicle. "This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose."

Now, That's a Rock!

I spent the day at Yosemite. What a beautiful place. Here's a photo I took of El Capitan. Yesterday, two guys from San Francisco scaled the 2,900 foot face of El Capitan in 2 1/2 hours! A new record. Wow! I showed some restraint, though, and didn't even attempt to challenge the record :-),

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lessons Learned On the Road

I began Friday in Lubbock, Texas. I ended Saturday in Turlock, California . . . 1,340 miles later! I spent Sunday speaking to churches in Turlock (AM) and Stockton (East Main-PM). I head to the coast, beautiful Monterrey Peninsula on Tuesday. Pebble Beach! Too bad my clubs are in New Mexico.

In my travels this year for Manuelito Navajo Children's Home, I have learned some things.

  1. Motel rooms can be the loneliest places.
  2. This is a beautiful country, even that long stretch west of Clovis, New Mexico.
  3. Most people are genuinely friendly and good natured.
  4. I love wireless Internet (greatest invention since ESPN?).
  5. Driving west in the hour before sunset? Argh!
  6. The Charlie Daniels Band is becoming a favorite.
  7. Days Inn in Midland, Texas? Awful!
  8. Costas Now is the only program on HBO worth watching. I've seen Costas's joint interview with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron 8 times now. That is Must See TV!
  9. There's too many Obama signs, but I see Palin signs in some surprising places.
  10. McDonald's makes a great pit stop, especially since it is Monopoly time. BTW, have you noticed how sophisticated the remodeled McD's look? I'm impressed. Just wish they'd upgrade the food!
  11. The Cowboys really are America's Team. Even in central California. Blocked punt? Argh!!!
  12. Cracker Barrel, Chick Fil A, and Rosa's . . . in that order--breakfast, lunch, and supper. Throw in a Braum's nightcap, and you've got the perfect roadtrip day . . . foodwise! Unfortunately, California doesn't seem to have any of them.
  13. Rush never grows old! But, there are too many long stretches without Medved and Ramsey.
  14. I miss preaching for a small church . . . but, I love talking about MNCH.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Leaving the Land of Rosa's

Go west, young man!

Well, I'm headed to the left coast tomorrow, my second visit to California this year. This time, I'm headed to the central valley and northern California, places I have never been. I spent part of my first year of life in San Diego (where my dad was stationed in the Navy), and I have returned to southern California a couple of times for visits (most recently, in May, to Pepperdine), but I have never been north of Oxnard. So, I am about to cover some new territory . . . I'm excited. This development trip for Manuelito Navajo Children's Home will be taking me all the way to Seattle, Washington. I'll return to Gallup on November 7.

BUT, I am having to leave the land of Rosa's behind. I have spent the past three weeks in Texas (with the exception of a few days in Arkansas), and I have certainly had my share of fajitas from Rosa's. Perhaps I can make it until November, when I come this way again!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heard About the Poor in Church?

I am reading a great little book, Preaching on the Sermon on the Mount: The World It Imagines, editted by David Fleer and Dave Bland. It is a volume in their wonderful series of books on preaching (I've loved reading all of them). Richard Hughes offers a challenging quotation in his chapter. The quote is from Jim Wallis, and his book, God's Politics. The context is a discussion on what the Bible teaches about poverty, particularly a Christian's responsibility to the poor.

Wallis says, "We all sat in a circle to discuss how the subject (responsibility to the poor) had been treated in the various churches in which we had grown up. Astoundingly, but also tellingly, not one of us could remember even one sermon on the poor from the pulpit of our home churches. In the Bible, the poor were everywhere; yet the subject was not to be found in our churches."

Joining in this conversation, I'm racking my brain trying to remember a sermon I've heard on the poor. I know I've heard a lot of sermons on the general subject of benevolence; and, I've personally preached a lot of those. But, I must say, I don't remember a sermon that spoke particularly of the poor and the obligations to them from Christians and the church.

Jump in the conversation: Have you?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Four Dark Years

I try to remain optimistic, but I am afraid that we are about to enter four dark years. I will vote for John McCain, but I am not an eager supporter. He is certainly no second-coming of Ronald Reagan, or even another Teddy Roosevelt (his "hero"). He is more like a Gerald Ford redux. I love Sarah Palin, but who exactly does McCain inspire? His ONLY conservative issue is the war on terror, but even there he cannot clearly and forcefully articulate his vision and the great threat against us. And, on the great financial issues of the day, he is treading water.

Can we survive four years of an Obama-Pelosi junta? I'm worried that we're about to find out. Our nation survived LBJ, Carter, and Clinton, but the threats there were mild compared to the danger of Obama-Pelosi.

Let me be one of the first to say, Gingrich/Palin 2012!!! Too bad a successful write-in campaign for 2008 is beyond the realm of possibility.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Restraint? Perhaps that has something to do with the inner discipline of avoiding driving into every Rosa's parking lot that is passed. If so, I haven't yet learned the mastery of restraint. Two days spent in Lubbock: two trips to Rosa's! Ahh! The power of fajitas! (Oh, and I refuse to tabulate the visits to Rosa's during the five days I spent in Abilene recently. Okay, it was seven!) Of course, in my defense, I'm headed to California next week (for a 4-week PR and fundraising tour for the Home), and Rosa's will be a long way off (fajita withdrawal is coming!).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Has It Been 20 Years?

I attended my 20th year high school reunion tonight. Has it really been 20 years? I must be getting old!

I graduated from Lubbock Christian High School in May 1988. It was the culmination of 12 years of education spent within the Lubbock Christian Schools system (all but 1st grade, which was spent, in of all places, New Orleans, Lou.!). I am very appreciative of those years, especially of the many, many relationships that came in that time. I remain in contact with many of the students who I befriended in those years (friendships that are worth more than all the riches of the world), and I still see many of my teachers from time to time. It is always special to worship with the Green Lawn church and see several of those teachers.
I've spent the day thinking back the 20 years that have come and now gone since I was a proud L.C.H. Eagle. More than half a lifetime has passed! Wow! As I looked back, I remembered . . .
  • Ronald Reagan was president on the day I graduated, and within a few months I would cast a vote in the Presidential election for the first time . . . a proud vote (then and now) for George the Elder.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in that year long ago, and they haven't been back to the Series since. Although, with the whupping they're giving to the Cubs, they might just make it there this season! I'm a loyal Cardinal fan, so I love the Cubs getting beat.
  • 1988 was the last summer I spent working as a pot washer at Camp Blue Haven. Boy, do I sure miss that place.
  • I was working at the Brittany Restaurant here in the South Plains Mall in Lubbock during 1988. I loved that job, too.
  • I would enroll as a student at Oklahoma Christian "College" in the Fall of 1988. I only spent one semester there, before I returned to L. C. U. If they'd only have let freshmen take Greek! Of course, when I got to L. C. U. and jumped into Greek class, I quickly discovered I wasn't yet disciplined enough to excel at it. Maybe it had something to do with M-F 7:30 a.m.
  • A highlight of 1988: "miniature" golf in the Green Lawn church building with Danny Holmes and Tim Byars. What a great way to waste a couple of hours . . . except when I tried to "tee" the ball up two flights of steps, careening it off two walls . . . err fiberglass windows.
  • A regret from 1988: not going with my family on a 3-week road-trip/vacation to the Northwest. Alas, I spent the time working at the Brittany.
  • And, who could forget the 3-13 Cowboys? Of course, had I know that would be Tom Landry's final season, my interest would have been piqued.
  • That was also the year my Oklahoma Sooners began to unravel.

I'm wondering who will be at the 30th reunion?