Monday, February 25, 2008

On Being Free

Hailey’s mom just sent me an email confirming that she was no longer Epstein-ing** me for one of our properties. She then asked if I felt that it was a breath of fresh air to no longer have to cough up the dough for the mortgage and miscellaneous expenses.

Thinking about it, I replied that I feel much like I imagine the slaves felt when Lincoln set them free. Two of the properties that I owned I no longer own. Granted, I’ve got a chunk of change, but no solid property as an investment. And I expect I’ll have my freedom from the marriage and all of the emotional baggage and beatings. Unlike some slaves, I had what I thought were the solid, good things one should have at the age of 47. Now, by and large, I’m free to move on. Move on to what, though? That is the question, the mystery, and the opportunity.

Picture by Thomas Nast

**"Given that it takes a minimum of six months and one day to obtain a divorce in California, it is common for one spouse to continue paying community debts while the divorce is pending. When a party uses his or her separate property for community purposes after separation, that party, as a general matter is entitled to reimbursement."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What I'm Reading

Is this cool or what? Now I can share what I'm reading. I'm generally reading 3 books at one time, you can see them on my bookshelf. Click the little arrow to see more books. I'll keep adding them as the year goes on.

I had to change my layout to allow for the bookshelf. I think it was time for a change anyway. Now I need to see if I can find a widget for "What's On My CD Player." Heck, you could go on ad infinitum; What's on my stove, What's on my back, What's on my wall........

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Enjoying the Desert-1st Installment

The Sunday morning tradition has become to head over to the Water Canyon Coffee Company for bagels, coffee and Tea Zings. “We almost live off of them,” Hailey says. Ski-hat, long black hair, black jeans and tee shirt; the girl behind the bar mixes the Tea Zing, whisks the juice, milk and fruit together and pops them into the blender, all the while talking with a local about getting her car back after being without freedom for two months. Haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet, but the Mojave Hotshots are on tap to play jazz there every Sunday. Any other given evening you can pop in and catch another live local band or musician.

Stuffed French toast at the Crossroads Café. Three pieces of challah bread stuffed with raspberry cream cheese served with your choice of bacon or sausage or fruit and a cup of great coffee.

Local radio: Last year as the Sawtooth fire raged through the neighborhood I tuned in hourly to find out about road closures and evacuations. Want to know what’s on the school cafeteria menu for your kids’ elementary, junior high or high school? It’s broadcast every morning. High school sports scores, broadcast daily. Finally, when I’m tired of listening to the top 40 country songs over and over, I can tune in on weekends to hear the best of the local music scene, the whole range from gospel to jazz to rock and roll.

Something about an environment where the coffee is served 70’s style, local story-tellers and poets do readings, and most of the audience is comfortable in hiking boots and pony-tails, makes this my kind of place.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Taking the Lead

Try this: Next time you are out at a coffee joint, a bakery, an ice-cream place or any similar type food-to-go place, watch the male/female couples and see who places the order. Numerous times I've noticed the woman orders (and often pays the bill) while the man just stands by looking rather clueless. I doubt that when Bogart and Bacall went out for "a cuppa Joe" that Bacall ordered (whistled, maybe). The same goes for Astair/Rogers, Marshall Dillon and Kitty, Prince Ranier and Grace Kelly, Fred Flinstone and get the idea.

I'm not certain what the failure of men ordering for their women says about our culture and society. But I can't help but think that it's somehow a reflection of the natural order gone topsy/turvy.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Importance of Vision

Vision and hope are crucial to a fulfilling life. The apostle Peter wrote these words to folks on fire for Christ; who stood a good chance of being lit up as lanterns at one of Nero’s parties, “ For he who lacks these qualities (diligence, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and brotherly kindness) has become blind or short sighted….”

The big picture for me as a follower of Christ is to not lose hope or vision for Heaven; that place where I will be transformed from this mortal body to a body and mind incorruptible, where worship and life are pure and undefiled. On a slightly smaller scale, to look here to Jesus to be my satisfaction. Which means what? It means that when I go to work I focus on how my actions and attitudes can bless others-even at five in the morning. It means that on days when I feel really lonely and all my being is screaming out for deep companionship that I don’t try to numb it with pornography or other things, but I cry out to Jesus and acknowledge the reality of my aloneness.

Conversely, I do believe that there are short term goals that we can (and must) set for ourselves that add richness, texture and perspective to our lives. The last few years I have been flying up to Portland every year to ride in Seattle to Portland. Having this goal on the calendar accomplishes a number of things for me. It causes me to get out on a regular basis and ride my bike to train for the event. It provides me with the mental assurance that there is something good coming (similarly, this is why Peter writes to the saints to, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”), in this instance a week of time with a good friend, some good exercise, and whatever other wonders Portland has to offer. Finally, when the fulfillment of the trip comes, it is provides a period of rest and renewal before I begin another cycle of day-to-day living.

Much in the same way that Peter wrote to “remind you of these things, even though you already know them” and, “to stir you up by way of reminder,” so I write to remind us to set some tangible goals for the upcoming year so that we can avoid getting bogged down in the normal, hum-drum, shallowness that our daily lives can become if we fail to live without a larger vision.