And the journey continues....
Friday, May 18, 2007
And the journey continues....
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Historic school building...the Fourth Ward School Cultural Center
Presbyterian Church...only one of the few buildings to survive the great fire of 1875
Catholic Church. According to the tour guide, this church was a mega-church in the 1800's, with 4000 members! Incredible.
And the adventure continues....
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I could go into details about our engagement and wedding. Our pastor had actually done the wedding of Brenda's parents (and in an interesting twist, I was pastoring my first church in Colorado when Brenda's parents came for a visit and asked me to "officiate" the renewal of their vows for their 25th anniversary). Wow...just thinking about everything that has transpired...it's like scenes are fast-forwarding in my memory.
But as I sat next to my wife today during our latest adventure, I thought about how fortunate, how blessed I have been for the last 25 years. I know...from Jackie Gleason on down, most men say their wives are the greatest. Well, mine really is.
When we decided to spend some time at Lake Tahoe, I went online to find out things to do in the area. And lo, and behold, we found the "Lake Tahoe Cruises."
The Tahoe Queen, an authentic paddleboat.
The two and quarter hour tour took us across the lake (Lake Tahoe, by the way, is HUGE) and over to Emerald Bay. The Tahoe Queen, has three decks (including a dining deck) and incredible, unhindered views of the Lake. We stayed on the third (top) deck and took in the view.
Looking back at the big paddle wheels (they also slice and dice and make julian fries!)
The shore from where we departedSing it with me: "What do you do with a great view of the Marina?" (sorry....a rather feeble attempt to parody a Sound of Music tune. Must have gotten too much sun!)
Above pics: sites and scenes
The cruise was very relaxing and interesting...at least what we could hear from the captain, due to a speaker that tended to fade out. Emerald Bay has a history of its own with a hand made building on the shore called Vikingsholm Castle. A little granite island in the bay features what looks like a castle turrett. And from our vantage point, we could look up and see the high, narrow highway that brought us to town!
So our Silver Anniversary vacation continues. Signing off from beautiful South Lake Tahoe...
Monday, May 14, 2007
Jake and Elwood Blues themselves! About the only thing I have in common with the famous Blues Brothers is that I'd like to think that I too am on a mission for God. (only I don't say it with the midwest accent).
It's time once again to sign off. But before I do, here's a couple of quick pics from just outside our door.
Our home away from home for most of this week.
Gorgeous mountain on the horizon. Don't know what it's called, but I'll find out and let you know.
Ahhh...to boldly explore a harsh alien landscape! Could this be the planet where our alien visitors from a previous post come from? Wow...I could have the makings of a novel here. But in reality, the picture above is from a place that has the potential to be more dangerous to life here on planet earth...or at least a portion of it in this region. I'll explain in a moment...
My wife and I are continuing our 25th wedding anniversary vacation (that's silver, for those of you who keep track). I mentioned in my last post that we ate at an incredible place called Black Bear in Susanville, California. It is rare that I am surprised at a resteraunt visit, but this place made me go "wow." The staff was friendly and personable and seemed to make an extra effort to insure the food was exactly how you liked it. The food arrived quickly (under 20 minutes in a rather full place). It is served on a platter (not a plate). A big platter! And nearly every square inch is covered with food. The bacon cheeseburger I had was incredible: thick and juicy and delicious. And for my colleagues at the DC, I want you to know that I had bisquits and gravy on Sunday morning before we left! And there was so much, I couldn't even finish it all. I guess one of the biggest surprises was to discover that there is a Black Bear branch in my proverbial "neck of the woods." When I get back, I will have to look it up.
The Bear bids us a fond goodbye from Susanville
Before heading to our ultimate destination of South Lake Tahoe, we decided to visit Lassen Peak, home of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Our previous post mentioned seeing Lassen Peak from afar and that it had erupted in 1915. Well, in 1916, it was made a national park because of its significance as an active volcanic landscape. According to the documentation, all four types of volcanoes in the world plus active hyrothermal areas are found in the park. And, what I found most interesting, "Lassen Peak is one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world (is? as in present tense?). It is considered to be active today." (today? uhhh..how about tomorrow?)
So yes, ladies and gentlemen, we took part of our silver anniversary and decided to get up close and personal with an active volcano! Is that cool or what?
To reach this sign involved a relatively steep drive up the highway and another steep drive up the access road. It's a gorgeous view, but a looonnnggg way down.
After getting our permit from the ranger post up the road, we proceeded along the highway. Our first stop was "Sulfer Springs", which is a study in contrasts. At the parking area, there is this:
Snow drifts bigger than me (there was more snow higher up even deeper!)
But there are also active sulfer pits a few yards away...pits that belch out hot plumes of gas. Yes, the picture we started with above is one of those pits. What you can't experience from the picture is the size (probably about a yard wide), the smell (rotten eggs), and the sound...a deep bubbling, churning, sloshing sound from deep within.
The drive up the mountain is steep and the snow from last season is piled high along the sides. But there are some great views along the way:
We saw several bent and broken pine trees, victims of the huge amounts of snowOur God is an awesome God
Because of the heavy snow, we were stopped at another parking area and had to turn around. Up ahead was an area called "Bumpass Hell", named after a settler who lost his leg in one of the sulfer pits. But access would prove problematic:
Whaddya mean the trail is closed? I don't care if there is enough snow to swallow an RV, I want to hike!
So with that adventure over, we headed back down the hill and to our ultimate destination of South Lake Tahoe. And except for some rather challenging stretches (there is a narrow ridge at one point that is a sheer drop off on either side...fun stuff!), we had a good trip.
It's great to get away, but it's even better to get away with the one you love!
To learn more about Lassen Peak, they have a website: www.nps.gov/lavo
Saturday, May 12, 2007
....and then. According to the display, Lassen (a volcano) erupted in 1915. Gulp.
What's wrong with this picture?A section of Highway 44 is undergoing major repairs. We were stopped for about ten minutes while waiting for a pilot car to escort us through the rough, torn-up dirt road. Being on a long interstate trip means always looking for ahem means to satisfy one's uhhhh well....you know. I glanced over and saw a typical construction site "porta-potty." There's only one problem. Did you spot it yet? That's right....one of the wheels isn't even touching the ground!
Our evening in Susanville was a pleasant one, with a very nice dining surprise. More on that in the next entry. Until next time...
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Actually, I didn't bristle, but I do have a certain disdain for the question. I presume that the reason is curiosity: what does a "children's ministries director" really do? It's a hard question for me, because, proverbially speaking, I wear a lot of different hats. If you want to be really technical about it, I have two paid jobs at my church, neither of which is "children's ministries director." That's right--the thing that occupies a great deal of my time, thoughts, energy, and creativity is, in reality, a volunteer position! I'm fortunate, though, in having a paid job that gives me a certain amount of flexibility in carrying out the children's ministry. But to divide my week into what segments fall where? Uhhhh, that's a little hard to do.
6:15 a.m. Open the facility for the church DayCare. This includes retreiving messages, unlocking doors, getting out toys, double checking the schedule, etc. I also make the coffee, which is Biblical (there's a whole book in Scripture about it: He brews!). By 6:30, the kiddos start trickling in.
8:45 a.m. Teach one of the 4 year 0ld classes. Sociologists call this a "contra-typical career position." They've obviously never watched Kindergarten Cop or Daddy Day Care, otherwise they would realize that early childhood education is just bursting with near-middle aged bald guys who know the names of the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and three Power Puff girls.
11:00 a.m. Class over. Time for what I affectionately (delusionally) call "me time." In the next 1.5 hours, I will eat lunch, catch up on the news, maybe go online, do some yard work (maybe), get a quick "power nap," run errands, etc. This isn't absolute...sometimes, I am needed later at the DayCare, sometimes I choose to just jump right into something else. And some days, when there is no class, I'm off even earlier, giving me even more "me time."
12:30 p.m. Job #2 is "Administrative Assistant." This is where the flexibility comes in. My mission is to serve the needs of the pastor and the church. For my pastor, it is a matter of removing obstacles and distractions (like screening phone calls, visitors, helping drop-ins, etc.). As part of my duties, I also handle publicity and promotion (the church newsletter, press releases, etc.). I carry out "missions" for the church adminstrator (finding out if any of the pile of old keys fits into any existing doors).
But the rest of the afternoon is pretty much up to me. When I'm not handling "official duties", I'm free to study, prepare, pray, call, research, and otherwise carry out things like children's ministries, sermon and lesson prep, etc. It's such an incredible blessing to have the time and freedom to do these things each day.
Weekends, of course, are a whole different animal. Obviously, it's a time to recharge, spend time around the house, dialogue with the occaisional cult member who chooses Saturday morning to come to my door, and so on. I enjoy the time with my wife. But at some point, I run down to the church to put together last minute items for Sunday and to set up the room for our children's program. Since we meet in the fellowship hall, everything we have is moveable. A lot of items are stored on the stage, so we have to take it all off the stage to put in its various places.
If all goes well, the process is fairly quick. If we run into trouble (such as the sound board not producing sound), then it takes a little longer.
And that brings us to Sundays, a day which deserves its own post. I try to arrive early (about 8 a.m.) to do any last minute chores. Our "Celebration Small Group" meets at 9 a.m. I gather the kids and dismiss them to their classes. Then I "hightail" it to the other side of the building to teach an adult Bible study.
At 10:00 a.m. is "Celebration Large Group." I facilitate and teach the kids during this time, unless I'm filling the pulpit for the pastor when he's away. After it's over and the parents have retrieved their children, we put everything back on the stage again.
And then Monday, it starts again.
That's it...a typical week. But not so typical. Every day the Lord gives a fresh batch of mercies and grace to meet whatever challenges come up. It is indeed an adventure! I get to work with kids..how cool is that!!!
And next week? Well, I'm taking a break from my "typical week" to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. As I have the time and free wireless, I'll probably blog about the sights. In the meantime, the adventure continues (cue Indiana Jones music and fade.....)
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Sooooo....the kids were herded into their safe areas, all the doors were locked, and all of the drills we've done for this scenario paid off. A half-hour later, the police called back with an "all clear," and the kids got to tell their parents about their adventure.
The local paper had a passing reference to us, stating the suspect "hid" in the church. It's more like he "passed through" the building. At any rate, here's the link if you want to read about it right here.