Friday, October 30, 2009
That's right! After all these years I finally broke down. I am almost 60 you know. I know, I know.... a lot of good years left in me. But when it comes to the snow, I broke down this week. We have lived in Denver for nearly 13 years and have always shoveled our snow. Of course, the snow is usually light. The problem is..... I widened the driveway, I shovel the curb sidewalk to the neighbor on my left..... and to my right, and I keep shoveling it all the way down to the community mailbox. Add to this, I have sidewalks on both sides of my house, the back of the house, and all the way down to the shed. On top of this I have this huge uncovered deck that always doubles in snow accumulation. I always thought I was fit enough to shovel. But with this snow storm being so early in the year, I finally broke down. Yes, Sir! I broke down and..... and..... bought a snow blower!
This is expensive, but this is good! In only 30 minutes I cleaned out our driveway, and the walkway in front of both neighbors and all the way down to the mailbox. And I did one of my neighbor's driveway. Did you get that? Now I'm doing my neighbor's driveway! Is that to assuage my guilt for spending too much? Or, is it because my neighbors still have to shovel by hand?
Did I tell you that I have a motorized lawn edger? Ya, you guessed it! I edge in front of my neighbors as well. The problem is..... I think they have come to expect it. About once a year they wave at me and say thanks. That's OK, I will keep mowing part of my neighbors lawn anyway. I wonder what else I can buy and do to make my neighbor's lives easier.
Any suggestions? I may or may not break down. Ha!
This mornings Starbucks is really good.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Ron is a drug addict. So is his girlfriend (common law). Noel took Ron under his wing and provided work and encouragement. He invited him to church. Now he and his girlfriend attend. Recently Ron went with us on our missions trip to Navajo Station in Arizona.
Ron rode down and back with me. He shared with me his background of drug addiction, trouble with the law, and homelessness. For an entire winter he and his brother lived in a car. Other times he slept on the street with his girlfriend. They hustled people for money to buy drugs. Ron spent time in prison, got out on parole, left the state with his girlfriend and ended up on the streets in Denver.
Prior to the church service on Friday night, Janette and myself shared Jesus with Ron, and he accepted Christ as his Savior. It was the beginning of a new life for Ron. All the way home from Arizona Ron asked about what it meant to be a Christian. He said that he sensed the new life within him. He and his girlfriend want to serve the Lord and have a new life.
When Ron got home from Arizona, he discovered that someone had broken into his car and stole some things. A couple days later his land lord evicted him. Ron was homeless again and pretty shook up. I met him outside the church Sunday morning when he told me what had happened. Janette, our missions pastor; Noel, his friend; and myself helped Ron in this time of need. Before nighttime Ron had a new apartment. Janette had found it for him. Others donated to help him finance it.
Ron needs a lot of prayer and encouragement. He's been clean from drugs for over 200 days now. But like an alcoholic, it takes only one fix to put him right back where he was. Except he won't be back all the way because there are others helping and praying. By God's grace, Ron will make it.
In the photo above, our missions pastor - Janette is ministering to Ron.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Samuel is one of twelve kids in the Street family. I met him at our work and witness trip to the Navajo at Navajo Station, Arizona. He's a black boy who looks to be 9 or 10 years old. I first noticed him when he sidled up to me as we were gathered for a group meeting. I put my hand on his shoulder and he looked up at me. We were friends from that moment.
Sam liked my pickup truck, a 2009 F-150. He asked if that was really my truck, then later asked me if it was a rental. He must have thought it was too nice to own. Then he said, "I'm going to have one like that when I grow up."
Sam also helped with the ditch digging. He chipped away at the hard clay then scooped it out. When it came time to backfill the ditch, he helped with that, too.
Sam also noticed that I wore the same shirt two days in a row. He sat with me in the church services, and next to me when we ate. I like Sam.
One of the most remarkable things about Sam is is memory. I gave the sermon on Friday night. I gave illustrations of five different families I ministered to in Drayton, ND. The last illustration was about a guy named Gary, whom I witnessed to about Christ. Gary rejected Christ and two days later was killed in a car accident. Sam asked me if this was a true story. I said it was. Then I asked Samuel if he heard the rest of the sermon. He recited back to me all five illustrations in order and in detail. I was astounded!
Samuel has a special place in my heart.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Well, I am home now. It was a long drive from Ganado, AZ to Denver. 601 miles. We left there at noon and got here at 9:30. Sally (my GPS) led us all the way. I'm in love with Sally. The trip was well worth it.
Our church provided and installed a $8,000 generator that we were able to purchase for $1500. It had very few hours on it. Now the church at Navaho Station, only has to flick a switch and the generator starts and runs on propane. We also finished wiring their house so that it now has electricity. We tiled the floor in their kitchen and dining room area and installed the Hardie backer in the two bathrooms. We also finished installing their drywall, however we did not finish the texture. We left the materials for them to finish, and they do have a couple of men who can do that.
Then we provided what they call "Revival Meetings." I spoke one night and Janette our missions pastor spoke the next. The congregation is very small, but the meetings went well. Their Associate Pastor, Jed Silversmith, spoke Sunday morning.
We plan to go down again next year. If the drywall texture isn't finished we will do that. The next big project there is getting water up to the parsonage. We need to run a line 200 feet and install a septic system. Doors, cabinets, fixtures, carpet, and trims all need to be done as well. Also, the parsonage needs a heating system installed.
We had 24 team members, and all but one worked. But then we don't expect kids in diapers to work. It was a great team and we are looking forward to next year. I want to thank Janette Mikatich, who served as our chaplin, Noel Bennett, who headed up the drywall project and the installation of the generator; Derek, who headed up the tiling; Jerry Street, who headed up the music; His wife who was the head cook; and the Silversmiths, who allowed us to come. And a special thanks to Samuel, who memorized my sermon.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Yahteh! That is "Hi!" in Navajo.
Right now I am sipping something less than Starbucks in Chinle, AZ. My work site is 55 minutes to the south where there is no phone service, water, or electricity. My GPS (Sally) can find the way out, but not the way in. So why am I here? Why does anyone live here? But live here they do.
Our purpose for being here is to help them finish the parsonage and to set up a new generator system that work off from liquid propane. We are also electrifying the house and fixing gas leaks in their gas line. A couple of our workers are tiling floors, a couple are working on drywall, a couple more are setting up the electric panel and a whole bunch dug 100 feet worth of ditch in hard clay. We buried electric and gas lines. Thank god that last phase is finished. Even the children were digging, and had good attitudes about it - they wanted to help. Their mother had them take turns scooping out 5 shovelfuls at a time.
I gave the sermon last night. But just before I "preached" the pastor nudged me and asked me to go out to the power house. we had to fill this generator with gas while it was still running. The gas tanks was jiggling and the exhaust was red hot. I thought I was going to see jesus real soon. After I preached, the pastor nudged me again and asked if I would go fill the generator again. I took two associates with me. I was determined I wasn't going to die along. The guy who poured the gas in had shaking hands. The guy holding the funnel just plain closed his eyes. The guy holding the gas cap dropped it down on the red hot exhaust. There really is a god, else this might be my obituary.
This morning my coffee does taste good.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Here I go again! Another missions trip! This time it is to Arizona. A group of us from our church will be working on a new parsonage for the Navajo near Chinle, (NW AZ). This will be quite an experience. They have no running water and no power. We have to bring in our own. Some of our group will be staying in a dormitory in a nearby town. I and a couple of others will be staying at the Holiday Inn, in Chinle - about 45 minutes from the work site.
Did I mention that the road is rustic. Very rustic. Very, very rustic. And it is not well marked. So I have our contact down there placing orange flags at all of the turns. You can't see the turn off road from the the main road, and there is no sign. If it rains, my 4WD will be required. We are able to buy supplies at Gallup, NM, an hour-and-a-half away. One of our volunteers has to go to the doctor each day, also in Gallup.
We will caravan down from Westminster. That should be fun. We have a van with a family of 12 (or is it 14) and they are pulling a large pop-up camper. We have a truck pulling a utility trailer loaded down with materials. There is one other car, then my truck loaded with materials and tools. I can imagine we will need to stop at every gas station and rest area. Someone will always have to go (if you know what I mean).
Somehow they found out that once upon a time I was a preacher. Now I have to preach for them one night while down there. Maybe I'll get a sore throat and will have to pass. Lucky them. Secretly, I am looking forward to it.
We will be finishing their sheetrock and their tile. We will also be ditching for electricity which will come from a generator we are donating. The house is pre-wired, we will hook up the electricity. We may also build a deck.
We will definitely need your payers. I will miss my Starbucks. Please pray for good coffee and great success on the project.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Bronco-mania has returned to Denver. Step aside John Elway. There is a new generation of Broncos fans that like the new blood, and the new blood is doing very well. And, did I mention, step way aside Shanahan? The genius you were, you didn't improve the team from the day you arrived. You rode to the Super Bowl on the coat tails of Dan Reeves, who already had a great team in place.
Now we have this new guy, Josh Mc Daniels. Mc Daniels is a rookie, but a good rookie. He learned from the best, and today in his first contest against the best, he beat the best. He let Cutler go (I had a hard time thinking of his name) and hired Kyle Orton. Orton is stingy with the turnovers and is an accurate passer. And, boy, that defense! Pretty stingy.
So now, all those people who thought the Broncos were going to be a bust are getting back on the band wagon. I'm sure the big Northeastern media will find excuses for the Patriots' loss and will downplay the Denver victory. But who cares? At the end of the day all that is important is, who wins. So far that has been Denver.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Thanks to the Obama administration, gold has topped $1,050.00 per ounce. Think about that. An ounce of gold isn't very big due to it's atomic weight. When you hold that little lump in your hand you have to say, "Are you kidding me? This little lump is over $1,000.00?" Yes, but it is one thousand almost worthless dollars.
There are two main reasons why the price of gold is going up. First of all, the value of your dollar is going down. Ever since Obama started stimulating the economy by printing more money and saturating the marked with it, the value of your dollar has been speeding downward. Therefore it takes more dollars to buy an ounce of gold.
Secondly, because your dollar has been becoming worth less, thousands are buying gold with their dollars as a hedge against inflation. This has put pressure on the gold market, causing the price of gold to go up. Gold is an international currency and will one day be accepted where the dollar is not.
Is gold a good buy? For now, yes. But if the US economy recovers and the value of the dollar goes up against other currencies, you can expect the price of gold to go down. But the price of gold will not stay down because the demand will always increase.
But did you know that one day bread will be more valuable than gold? The Revelation says that in the last times a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold. The day of world wide famine will come. Anything edible will be worth a lot. Safeway and King Soopers will be asking a lot for their food, if they have any to sell.
I wonder how many bags of gold a cup of Starbucks coffee will bring.
For now I will drink my Starbucks and buy Apple Computer stock, which seems to be doing better than gold right now. (AAPL) If you have $190.00 you can buy one share. Or you can buy a share of Ford Motor for $7.50.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Poor Obama won't be able to step out of his Chicago home and walk down the street to see the Olympics. He went all the way to Copenhagen to tell them that is what he wanted to do. And of course, being the admired world leader that he is, the committee should have bent to his will. Even Michelle Obama and Oprah were there to convince them. So what happened? Chicago was eliminated in the first round.
Let's put this in perspective. Three influential blacks went to the Olympic Committee pleading their case for Chicago and Chicago was eliminated in the first round. Does this mean that the Olympic Committee is racist? Probably not. But somehow I am racist for not wanting Obama Health care. I don't get it.
Actually, what in the world happened to Starbucks? They have these big red and white signs up pushing instant coffee. You try to buy a regular cup of coffee and they insist on you taking this stupid taste test. I waited and waited in line today, just wanting to buy a cup of coffee. Well, the only cashier was giving taste tests to everyone on front of me. Well, I had taken the taste test myself, earlier. And.... and.... I didn't like their instant coffee. Mean while the cashier was telling everyone that you can't tell the difference. Now, I don't know if I want to buy coffee from someone who can't tell the difference between brewed coffee and instant coffee.
Well, it was finally my turn to buy my coffee and true to form, I was offered another taste test. I told her, "Tried it, didn't like it, got the T-shirt." No actual T-shirt is given for taking the taste test, but one should be given. To console me she gave me a coupon for a free tall coffee.
Now, anyone who has read my blog knows that I have had nothing but good to say about Starbucks. They should have hired me as the advertising manager. I mean, two of the best things that have happened to America is Ibuprofin and Starbucks. But, whoah! Instant coffee is a step in the wrong direction. Makes me want to sell my Starbucks stock. And, geez, I hope they don't keep asking me to take that stupid taste test. I don't enjoy standing in line that long along with the people that have the swine flu. Let me get my coffee and get going.
How about this idea? Keep an urn full of fresh coffee, put a credit carder reader on the urn and a swipe of the credit card gets you a grande for the price of a tall. Put your own lid and jacket on and get going. I bet that is a line that would move, and..... be lucrative. Let the people who want all that sticky sweet stuff and the "why bother" stuff stand in line.
I guess I won't sit by the phone waiting for them to call. But, hey, a good idea can work in anybody's shop. A Starbucks for your hand and an Ibuprofin for your head..... or..... anything else that is inflamed.
Right now I am enjoying my real, brewed, coffee. No cream, no sugar, no flavor, no artificial sweetener. It's just the way coffee was intended to be.