Friday, August 21, 2009

Zion Nat'l Park-1st Set

The hike up to The Emerald Pools during our trip in July. A long, hot hike past the first two pools, which weren't pools at all. The third stop was a pool, though hardly emerald.

Don't Shoot the Cat

Candace Donato is experiencing the first-half of his fifteen minutes of fame.
Donato, who isn't even five feet tall, is now training Mr. Bones, a seven foot long albino the water!
So far, he can "stop."
"I place my hands over his eyes and he stops," Donato said.
The white alligator will be swimming around, and then pauses when Donato's hands cover his eyes. Mr. Bones can also "shake hands."
"They put this gator back of a Ford truck," he says, "cause they wanted to show how the bed of the truck was 'Ford tough." Alligator swung his tail roun and destroyed the bed of the truck." Such was the story I heard from a man in Memphis, while on a road trip through the south.

The same road trip took us to Kleibert's Alligator and Turtle Farm, in Hammond, La. (Britney's been there too!) The tour guide went to great depths to explain that alligators are driven purely by instinct. Killing instinct, in fact. As I remember, he then threw a gator a piece of meat. He explained the gator roll, and how they use their body of solid muscle, to spin numerous times at great speed while holding the prey in their teeth. This kills and rips their prey simultaneously.

Sigmund and Roy thought the cats were safe too.
On October 3, 2003, during a show at The Mirage, Roy Horn was bitten on the neck by a seven-year-old male tiger named Montecore. Crew members separated Horn from the tiger and rushed him to the only Level I trauma center in Nevada, University Medical Center. Horn was critically injured and sustained severe blood loss. While being taken to the hospital, Horn said, according to sources, "Don't shoot the cat!"
I'm guessing that someday soon, Mr. Donato will experience the final segment of his fifteen minutes. "According to sources, while on his way to the hospital, Donato gasped, "Don't break Bones, don't shoot Bones."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alzheimers and Attitude

Sitting across from my dad, you would simply think he’s a quiet old man. Quietly dreaming, lost in his own thought. Sometime he cusses and gets ornery. He’ll track with you when you’re talking and make an appropriate joke. Then he’ll ask you (for the 12th time in thirty minutes) if you want something to drink.

My dad has Alzheimer’s, whatever that means. I think it means different things to different people depending upon their experience. I suspect, for instance, that even if my dads’ health was normative that he’d be ornery. Perhaps at Eighty-one, he’d do nothing but sit and rest even if his mind were more alert.

The wife of my father is heading out for a short five day vacation, and I’ll be heading into town to hang out with him. It’s not with great anticipation I do this, nor with anxiety or angst. I am just not looking forward to it.

I dread the long periods of time with my father. I see them as empty and boring. I’m uncomfortable in his house. I’ll have no access to all of my stuff, my computer especially. I’ll be hemmed in-freedom restricted, life curtailed.

Mired in this mindset, a thought flickered in my mind-What does this say about me? It’s four days-out of my comfort zone, granted, but also off work, time to rest, pray and think. Time with my dad.

Time to readjust my attitude and my thinking and make a choice. I have a magnet from Newlife ministries ( on my fridge that says “Healing is a Choice,” followed by 10 tenets, all positive, all life affirming. Choice number 6 is “The choice to embrace your life.” So I head out today, embracing the weekend with positive expectation; albeit teeter-tottering with dread and pessimism.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not Atwitter About Twittering

I'm out of touch with culture already as I don't watch television. Now I'm missing the Twitter boat. Everybody is doing it. God's apparently doing it. Yup. Traditionally, pilgrims visiting the Wailing Wall in Israel leave their prayer requests at the wall, verbally, vocally, or in writing. Now you can Twitter God from the privacy of your own home, or while at work, or even, gads, while driving. I'm not certain, however, that God has a Twitter account. Otherwise, wouldn't Jesus have made the Lords' Prayer less than 140 characters?

Past presidents are doing it too. Quincy Adams will start twittering soon. This could open a door to all types of Twitter notes. Mark Twain on Twitter? Ayn Rand on Twitter. Famous composers like George Frideric Handel on Twitter; nah, they're de-composing.

Finally, fellow bloggers are all up in arms because of Sponsored Tweets. You knew it'd come to this, of course-Tweeted commercials.

Don't look for me on Twitter. Takes me a day to text two sentences to my daughter. If you want to talk, you can e-mail me or call me on my cell phone (the one that doesn't take pictures or link to the Internet.)

Update: Everybody's doing it except for the Marines. "The Marine Corps on Monday issued an administrative directive saying it was banning the use of Marine network for accessing such sites as FaceBook, Twitter and MySpace. The order doesn't affect Marines' private use of such networks on personal computers outside of their jobs."

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Theology Of Suffering-God's Purpose in Pain-Part Two

"God has appointed who shall suffer. Suffering comes not by chance, or by the will of man, but by the will and appointment of God."
-John Bunyan, quoted in The Hidden Smile of God, by John Piper.

"God permits what He hates to accomplish that which He loves."


Oft times it happens suddenly; the phone call in the middle of the night, the truck crossing the median, the dive into shallow water. Immediately you are thrust into a difficult period of life, a season of struggle, a short or long period of trial.

Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that life should be easy. Difficult experiences were the rarity, the intruders, and the abnormal freakish events. Historically and biblically I’ve had it all backward.

In thirty years, I’d never had a call from my friends’ mother, then, one night it came, “John didn’t want me to call until he was certain he’d live…” In short, a truck had crossed over the median and straight into his car, all family inside. John had to be extricated from the car with the “jaws of life.” All four of limbs shattered, both eyes blinded by battery acid. His wife suffered spinal injuries, one child a small concussion, the other fine. Three years later John has made great progress, but struggles daily with the damage done to him in the accident.

One of the best-known, present day stories of struggle is that of Joni Eareckson Tada, who, “26 years ago, was lying on a hospital bed in suicidal despair, depressed, discouraged, after the hot July afternoon when I took that dive into shallow water, a dive which resulted in a severe spinal cord injury, which left me paralyzed from the shoulders down, without use of my hands and my legs.”

Since God is for us, and since,
“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven” ---Why trials? Like the climber with his piton (a piton acts as an anchor to protect the climber against the consequences of a fall), I need fixed concepts for my mind to hold onto. So I wrestle with trials, to grasp their purpose, to gain solid hold in a slippery chasm.

Joni lays out three key reasons for trials in our lives.

1) They are like a sheepdog leading us to God. Nobody is naturally drawn to the cross.

2) People suffering great conflict always have something to say to those who are handling lesser conflict. As Paul says in Corinthians, “Blessed be the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort …with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

3) They increase our capacity for God.

As I wrestle with the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of each difficulty that comes across my path, the pitons holding me up are rooted not in the possible answers to the why questions, but in the ultimate purpose of a God that has love, mercy and goodness as key components of His character.

Make time to watch or listen to the video, because, as Joni shows, “People with disability are gods’ best audio-visual aids to how we should handle trials.”