Texas Fritter


This last Sunday was Mother’s Day and we happened to be in Seattle, Washington celebrating Tyler’s college graduation the previous day.  On Sunday we went down to Pike Market in downtown Seattle to get a taste of Northwest Pacific flair before going to dinner to celebrate Nadine’s day.

Nadine loves flowers and I try to get her flowers on a regular basis, but today was not the  time to get her flowers because we were traveling and the flowers would have no place to drink their water (can’t take a vase in the car).

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I know she loves fish, especially salmon, but putting a salmon in the car uncooked would be a mistake.

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I was having a hard time figuring out what to get her until I happened upon something that she loves.  Just a little backdrop.  She has a sweet tooth or could I say several sweet teeth.  To be exact all of her teeth love sweets, any kind of sweets.  Her father was a baker and pastries are her downfall.  As we were walking down Pike Market, we happened to pass a pastry shop with all kinds of pastries.  The one that caught my eye was her favorite, that being an apple fritter.  But this wasn’t just any old apple fritter.  It was a Texas apple fritter.  You might ask, ‘What is a Texas Apple Fritter?’  Well below is what was staring us in the face.

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We walked on without getting the fritter, but about an hour later the sweet teeth began to call and we had to go back.  When we arrived, they only had one left and its as if the money magically flew from our pocket to the cashier and the fritter was ours.

Below is a very fulfilled mother celebrating her mother’s day gift that did satisfy her sweet teeth.

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One of the members of my family described this fritter as bigger than Nadine’s head.  I believe it was.  On this journey, there are times when you just have to indulge your senses and go with the flow.

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Controlled Chaos


On our journey through the Northwest, we stopped in Spokane, Washington for the night and had the opportunity to walk downtown to see the Spokane River running through the walk-ways.  The Spokane River starts in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and snakes it’s 111 mile way to the Columbia River that eventually pours into the Pacific Ocean.  A close friend of mine told me a fact about the Columbia River that dumps its fresh water into the Pacific Ocean.  There is so much force of the Columbia River when it drains into the ocean that scientists have found fresh water in the ocean 6 miles from where the Columbia River merges with the ocean.

In Spokane there is a spillway in the middle of the city where the water flows over it and produces electricity in the picture below.  On the right, you can see the large amount of water spilling over the spillway in a controlled way as the walls stop the water from spreading over the side walls.  Once on the other side, there seems to be a chaos of water going everywhere with white rapids going in every direction as it rapidly moves down-stream.

It’s like our life at times.  There are times when there seems to be control in our lives and everything is running smoothly as we see on the picture on the right.  All of our life is organized and we manage to get the things we need to do done.  We have enough money in the checking account to pay all of our bills.  Our children are getting all of their homework done and are getting to bed on time.  The projects at work are getting done in the time that we’ve been given to get them done.  Everything seems to be going the way we want things to go.

Then all hell breaks loose.  We experience chaos in our lives when the money runs out and we still have 10 bills to pay.  Deadlines come and we aren’t even half done with the project.  We don’t know which way is up or down.  The relationships that we deemed closest to us are breaking apart.  We seem to be tossed to and fro with no anchor to keep our lives steady.  It’s in these times that we do need a solid foundation on which to rest.

Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament speaks to our need for a solid rock when our lives seem to be in chaos.  “Though youths grow weary and tired and young men stumble and fall, those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31.  On this journey there are going to be times of controlled chaos but we have a rock to stand on when the winds and torrents of life tempt us to be blown off course.

 

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Red Dog


You may be wondering why such an odd title for a jlog (my blog).  Am I going to be talking about an Irish Setter that is red?  They are very pretty dogs, but I’m not going to be talking about that kind of dog.  What about a Cavalier King Charles ruby dog?  They are reddish-brown in color and are wonderful dogs, but that’s not my topic.  In fact it’s not a dog at all that I want to talk about but it is an animal and its red.  Give up?

Well, I was in Jackson, Wyoming and came across a small herd of buffalo that had just calved a very tiny buffalo.  A new born buffals is called a red dog because it is red when it is born as in the picture below.

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Little “Red”, as I called him had just been born a few days earlier and we were so close to him that we could hear him grunt a deep grunt as his tail would go between his legs each time he grunted.  His mother was oblivious to his grunts as she continued to eat in the background.  He grunted and grunted, but she wasn’t having any of crying out to her.  He finally just layed down and quit grunting.

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I have no idea what little “Red” wanted by his grunts, but whatever he wanted he didn’t get it from his mother.  It reminds me of times when we ask God for something and He seems not to hear our prayers or answer our requests.  In the case of little “Reds” mother she was not going to give Red what he wanted.  Sometimes God does the same thing in saying no to us because He has a better plan for us than to give us everything that we ask for.

As a parent of children, what would happen if we gave in to every request that our children wanted from us.  Candy.  No bed times.  No vegetables.  Mac and cheese all the time.  Rooms filled with junk toys.  Our kids would be spoiled rotten if we gave them everything that they asked for.

On this journey, like Red, there will be times when we don’t seem to be getting what we want in life.  Maybe its time to realize that God may just be saying no to our request like momma buffalo was saying no to Red.

 

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The Beauty of Peaks


Nadine and I are on a 3+ week journey that has taken us from Arizona to Colorado to now Wyoming.  We have some wonderful friends that invited us up to their summer-house at the foot of Grand Teton National Park.  We were going to Lacy Washington for Tyler’s college graduation from St. Martins University, so we took them up on their offer. I had been to the Grand Teton National Park with my folks when I wan young, but had forgotten most of what I saw.  Nadine had never been to the park so it truly was a new adventure for both of us.

It took about 8 hours of driving from Grand Junction, Colorado to Jackson, Wyoming and it was well worth the drive.  Over the next two days we saturated our eyes with the beauty of God’s creation with snow-capped peaks, emerging mountain flowers, more rugged peaks, and more yellow and white flowers.  It was breath-taking to take in the sights.  A few pictures below cannot capture what our eyes took in.

We journey through life having opportunities to view some of God’s creation.   When we are given those opportunities, we need to take advantage of it.  Worshipping the creator rather than the creation keeps our focus centered on the source of life and not the results of his choice to create.  We have been truly blessed to see in the last few days what He has created for us to enjoy.

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What You See Isn’t What You Get


We have been on this 2 week journey through Arizona and now Colorado.  We stopped in Grand Junction to visit friends and family and found something very interesting.  First of all a side-note.  Does anyone know how Grand Junction, CO got its name?  For those who don’t of which I was in the camp, the Colorado River and the Gunnison River start in different places in Colorado, but are joined in Grand Junction, making it the grand junction of two rivers.  Just thought you would like to know or maybe only one or two of you would.

Back to my story.  Outside Grand Junction there is a national park called Colorado National Monument.  The picture seems pretty non discript to me from a distance.

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It seemed like another mountain until we entered the monument.  Then things changed.  We first came across a herd of desert mountain sheep  There were about 10 or so and we got fairly close to them as they were grazing in the rocks.

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The more we climbed up the monument, the more beauty began to open up to us.

It was anything but boring.  Around every turn we encountered more beauty in the rock formations than I had ever seen.  From coke ovens to independence rock to smoke stacks.  Colors that even my color-blind eyes could appreciate.

Before we began to drive into Colorado National Monument, it seemed like any other mountain drive, but once we made a commitment to take the drive, it was anything but mundane.  It reminds me of perspectives we often have with people we come in contact with.  On the surface the person may be like any other person and we categorize them as such.  But if we take the time to investigate their lives and look closer at them as a person and the experiences they have had in their lives, the boring turns to beauty.  The mundane turns to exciting.  The ordinary turns to the unique.

On this journey, God is ready to give us new and different experiences if only we are open to listen to Him and take the steps necessary to turn our ordinary into extraordinary.

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Snow in May


Nadine and I had been planning on taking a 3 week road trip to Colorado, followed by Wyoming and then to Lacy, Washington to attend Tyler’s college graduation.  We were anticipating this journey for a long time and June 29th came for the eventful caravan ride.  It was uneventful on the trip to Colorado Springs and then to Denver for a few days at each place to visit family and participate in some consulting with a client.

May 3rd arrived and we had planned to drive from Denver to Grand Junction to visit Nadine’s family for a few days.  We said goodby to her son and family and off we headed on Interstate 70, a drive of 3 hours and 59 minutes to be exact from our travel app.  Little did we know that rain in Denver turns to sleet and then to snow and snow-packed roads. The higher we went the more snow we saw.  Warning signs stating that chains were mandatory were flashing every few miles.  It was becoming slushie on the highway when we entered Eisenhower Tunnel at the top of the mountain.  We thought we were in the clear when something happened.

We exited the 2 mile tunnel only to find total show packed roads coming out of the tunnel and a 6-7% decline coming down the mountain.  Cars and trucks were sliding in every direction in front of us and as I put on the brake, my truck began to skid as well.  We couldn’t stop.  My brakes were to no avail.  We were going to hit the cars and truck in front of us and we had nothing we could do to stop it.  Except for one thing.

On the right side of the semi-truck in front of us was a pile of snow that no one was venturing into.  My only thought was I didn’t want to hit the truck so I guided the wheels to the right of the truck and my truck began to go in that direction.  I was in knee-deep snow but I didn’t hit the truck and the snow brought me to a stop.  I put the truck in 4-wheel-drive and passed the semi on the left and began to head down the mountain at 5 miles per hour.  I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw that the semi I had almost hit was beginning to slide with the back-end moving into a jackknife position.  He had blocked off all cars in back of him.  We finally got down to where the snow was beginning to melt on the freeway and continued on our journey.

How many times do we find ourselves cruising along in life thinking about our destination only to find that a snow storm hits our path and causes us to have to deal with the difficulties that are facing us.  It may be a financial crisis.  A relational crisis.  A vocational crisis.  Whatever it is, we feel helpless in solving the problem as we did when we were sliding in the snow and had no brakes.

Fortunately we realized that the Lord had directed our thoughts to turn to the right and gain control of our truck.  On this journey when we find ourselves being out of control of our circumstances, God is only a prayer away to give us guidance and direction to our circumstances, if only we would call on Him.

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Decision-Making Tree


Decisions are an everyday occurrence and sometimes we get tired of making decisions all day long.  What to have for dinner?  What clothes to wear for work?  What clothes to pick out for school for our children?  To go on the busy freeway or take the side streets to avoid the traffic?  What advice to give to our teenage child or adult child, or just listen and not try to fix the situation?  To exercise or not to exercise?  To take the new job or keep the one we have?  To move or to stay put?  I could go on and on with the decisions we are confronted with each day.  Sometimes it seems that ignoring the decisions seem like a better alternative only to have those stored away decisions come to hit us in the face.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a decision where we can’t lose by making the decision, but could have a tremendous win by going down that road.  Let me give you an example of what I mean.  There is a story in the bible of a city that was cut off from any food entering it.  The people were dying of starvation and were confronted with the decision of what to do.  There was an army outside it’s gates waiting to kill everyone in the city gates, and people were running out of food–literally.  The story begins with lepers talking about the city’s plight.

“Now four men with a skin disease were at the entrance to the city gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s surrender to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.””  ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭7:3-4‬ ‭CSB‬‬

These four men were looking at their options and choices.  1.  Doing nothing and dying (they said it twice).   2.  Going into the city where there is a famine and dying.  3.  Surrender to the Arameans’ camp and if we live we live and if we die we die.  You see the decision tree they were talking about had all the scenarios with possible outcomes.  In all of their negative scenarios they were going to die which is what was going to happen to them anyway.  Their third choice opened up the door for them to live.  You see no lose and only a win by staying alive.

Lets say you want a raise and the raise can only come about if you ask your boss.  If you say nothing, you haven’t lost anything because you are in the same place you were at before you started wanting a raise.  If you ask your boss for a raise and he/she says no, you haven’t lost anything and if he says yes, you have gained something.  No lose and only win situation.

By thinking about making decisions with a no lose scenario and only win perspective, it gives us more boldness to ask for what we want.  On this journey we are going to be bombarded with all kinds of decisions.  If we can grab ahold of this concept, we are going to become more bold in going forward and not allowing our fear to stifle us.

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