Saturday, May 16, 2009


Rest day today. I'm taking a break. Hope you do, too. I hope to meet you here tomorrow!

Friday, May 15, 2009

...In The Shade!

What shade?

Our local forecast today could read like this. "Weather is hanging in there today at a sunny 100 degrees. Warming up over the weekend and will reach 104 by Sunday." Ahem. It's mid-May. But this causes me to remember a story...

It was August of 1969. My dad and I were up and saying goodbye to my mom at 4:00 a.m. He got into his 1967 Ford Galaxy 500 -- our first family car with air conditioning -- and I started up my 1955 Ford sedan.

We headed west on highway 60 and arrived at my Grandma's house in the mountains about 5:30. Grandma had breakfast ready and we ate a quick bite before Grandma joined dad in his car and I followed them back out onto the highway.

We crossed into Arizona a little over an hour later and very soon traveled further into the state than I had ever been. By noon, we were driving through Apache Junction and making our final descent into the Valley of the Sun.

I remember it distinctly...because the heat was like a blast furnace. I grew up in the U.S. Southwest, but my hometown was approximately 4600 feet in elevation. The rare days over 100 degrees were scorchers. It was well beyond that on this August day in Phoenix. AND it was normal!

We spent that night with some relatives who didn't have air conditioning. They used a "swamp cooler" and a few fans to cool their old house. Even in the middle of the night, I couldn't believe the heat. The next morning it was close to 90 degrees in the coolest part of the day.

I guess I got acclimated (sort of). By the end of this summer, I will have spent 36 of the past 40 years in this desert. It's still horribly hot, but I don't pay that much attention to it anymore...

...until a newbie describes that "blast furnace" feeling.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

I have two accountability partners. I'll call them Jim Bob and LJ. Yesterday, LJ said, "For the past couple of weeks, your blogs have sounded...uh...more 'preachy.'" (Maybe he doesn't know that I'm a preacher. Hmmmmm.)

I explained to him that my schedule has been so full of late that my creativity level is somewhere in the minus range. Soooo, if you're like LJ, hang on! I think the ol' creative genes are startin' to perk back up.

But it may take a few more days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Personal Information Managers

It was surely a gift from heaven! That 8-foot-long phone cord that allowed us to take the only phone in the house out of its cradle and talk privately from the confines of our laundry room. Many hours of the evening passed with that cord stretched out and one or another teen sequestered behind the laundry room door!

Why were we there? Simple! It was private!

I know that our parents would have sat us down for a strong talk had they known some of the subjects we discussed over that telephone. In the same way, I know they didn't approve of some of the movies I watched or the music I listened to.

On the other hand, I didn't grow up in a place where a vast number of kids have cell phones before they reach high school. Texting would have been pure science fiction back then. The first video games we played were simple, in arcades, and had to be paid for --

We live in a different world now. More than ever, we need parents who will take seriously the role of "Personal Information Manager" for their kids. What are they watching and listening to? Who are they communicating with and about what? What is the content of the games that they are playing?

By the way, we thought of our conversations on the end of that long phone cord as private. But we knew that our parents wouldn't approved of everything going on. Even if we complained about their involvement, we knew!

With kids today...I'm not so sure they know.

What do you think? And what are you doing to manage information in your family?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


"Huh? What did you say?"

"What did I tell you to do?" asked the mom.

"Pick up my toys," her son said hesitantly.

"What do you say back to me?" Mom was looking him straight in the eyes.

" that I would pick them up." He knew he was nailed.

"And did you pick them up?"

"Ummmm, no."

If only conversations in the family were always so simple. One way that Jesus helped people communicate with Him was by asking great questions. One of my favorites is, "What do you want me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51) There's something about the direct simplicity of the question that makes we think about it...often.

Cathy and I took a couple of days last week and drove over to San Diego. Mostly, we needed to communicate.

I'm glad we did it.

And you? How does your family communicate?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fisherman Father

On Sunday, I concluded a series called "Power Up..." with some lessons from Jesus on how to "Power Up Your Family". The first lesson was, "Spend quantities of quality time with them."

My dad was a fisherman. He didn't get to go fishing that often, but he took advantage of it when he could. He loved trout fishing in the lakes and streams of the Rocky Mountains in the northernmost edge of New Mexico.

I wasn't all that interested in taking the time to go fishing until I was a teen. However, at about age 16, I began wanting the thrill of landing fish on a boat, a dock, a lakeshore, or the bank of a stream. One memorable summer, dad and I went somewhere different every day of vacation.

We didn't catch very many fish that year. But we created a memory that I have held onto for over 40 years.

What "quantity of quality time" do you remember from your childhood?

What have you done recently to spend time together with your family?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One Amazing Mom

My mom's young life had been filled with hardship. The years of economic depression drove their family to a place along the Continental Divide in Western New Mexico. Her parents eked out a living for their three daughters and two young sons. Then her daddy fell ill. The distance from good medical care left him vulnerable and he died very quickly. She was just 13 years old. That single event did much to shape the course of her life.
At the ripe age of 16, she got married. My dad's military service during World War II moved them around some until he finished his duty. They ultimately settled in a town called Socorro.
I wrote recently about my birth and the faith that surrounded my life before I even knew it. From time to time I share some of the many stories I recall from childhood. My mom is in the middle of most of those.

Mom has known the joy and the pain of raising four children. She endured the loss of one of my sisters -- at age 20 -- in 1976. She carved out a new life of serving others after my dad died in 1990. She was there as Grandma, friend and confidant to my two nieces.

In the midst of it all, she helped provide stability to several foster children. She went back to her studies and got her high school degree after I was grown. She overcame her fear of driving in the city and moved to that place of freeways and harried drivers after dad died.

Now at almost 83 years young, she watches after her two older sisters and keeps her door open to lonely senior adults who live in her neighborhood.

And she continues to be a source of wise counsel for me. I'm 57 years old and she is still teaching me through her humility, her commitment to her family and her simple love for her Savior.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! When I see the amount of love, kindness, and stability that exists in our family, I see the product of your faithful influence.