Sunday, June 30, 2013

Relationship Rewards

Good relationships take work. While on vacation this week we connected with my sister and her husband. The sis and I have had a rocky year. You have to invest time and energy in to get something out. Last night we had beers with a couple and the conversation turned to friendships. Michael said that guys tend to have one big fight that cements the friendship. That rang true. Though I don’t know if it’s the fight that makes it or that you’ve been close enough for long enough so that you go at it.

It’s like that with your kids or in a good marriage. A friend of ours that just celebrated 60 years of marriage says that a good marriage means, “It’s safe to say you’re sorry.” You work things out. You invest the time. You create those memories even if it’s the stupid jokes you tell at the dinner table. One of my now favorite stories is that my dear daughter threw up in my shirt pocket when she was little. You share sickness and you revel in health.

Vacation was different this year. It wasn’t all about Sea World or the road never travelled. It was about the laughter when a transient scared my daughter in the Gaslamp District and the Kettle corn that my wife bought and my daughter inhaled. It was about comparing food favorites and food nightmares over a homemade corn muffin slathered in honey-butter. It was seaweed necklaces and cell phone videos. It’s less and less about the experience. It’s more and more about the time and the blessings the investment produces.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Everything Else Is Just Waiting

Life is on the line and everything else is just waiting---Mr Wallenda, founder the Flying Wallendas

Life, unfortunately, is full of waiting. It’s when you are ‘all in’ that life is most exciting. How do we handle the waiting? If you are a Wallenda you fill the waiting with practice for the big event. The practice is living on the line as well. Life is chock-full of the mundane and the full press performances are just a blip.

I have a hard time with the get up, go to work, come home, pay bills and go to sleep kind of life. I must have something different on the calendar; a bike ride, a mini-getaway or even a day trip that is different. Those days don’t make one feel significant.

Somewhere in the taut walk on the wire we feel significant. We are using who we are. At the fullest we are fully using who we are to glorify who He is. The rest is waiting. In that waiting is the learning to know significance and to make it all count---even the hum-drummest of days.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blogging, Goal Setting and Grace

It has been fifty-one weeks since I set down my goals for a year of blogging. To date I’ve posted 313 times; roughly twenty-six times per month. My goal was to blog everyday for a year. A good goal though I didn’t hit it but, “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.”

The goal was measurable and realistic. For me it came down to the usual battle between legalism and grace. How much would push myself in order to post everyday? What kind of annoyance would I be to those around me? At the end of the day (which is when most of these decisions were made) I oft decided that going without posting was the healthier choice.

I am coming up to year two. I have a year behind me with real numbers to help me determine the goal for this year. So what?

I’m not stopping. I enjoy the process immensely. It is deeply gratifying at different levels. I process my life through my writing. I exercise my creative gift. People read the darned thing! I will keep at it---but how much?

I don’t know when I’m writing I only know when I’m not writing. I’m allowing one to two days off per week. It is difficult and sometimes impossible to post while on vacation so I won’t fret about writing the weeks on vacation. I’m guessing it’ll end up to be about twenty to twenty-five posts per month. You can keep me on track.

That’s the tension. I don’t know how writers of daily comics do it. I guess if it’s your eight-hour-a-day then it’s easier. So strap in for another year. Just don’t expect a lot this week. The calendar’s chock full of lazy days.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We Toast The First Day Of Summer

We toast the first day of summer with a sparkling wine from the Doffo vineyards in Temecula. One can taste the layers; not too sweet, not too dry. Chilled and crisp the wine contrasts with how summer begins.

Hot, dry and smoky the past weekend blew smoke from the Hathaway fire up the canyon into our valley. Turning on the swamp cooler made it smell like somebody was barbequing in the kitchen. As I type the temperature has dropped to the mid-seventies. It is to hot to sleep without the cooler on.

At least the sheets don’t stick to you. I spent a summer in Chicago. The humidity was high. It took me many nights of practice to perfect the placement of the fan. I remember, vaguely, that having the air blow into the room from outside was better than the opposite. Some nights the rain would move across the lake dropping the temperature as it rolled. You’d feel it as the fan blew now cold air into the room. Sleep moved into a deeper phase. The rain came and the air smelled cold, crisp and clean.

There will be days in July and August that the sheets will stick. In Arizona it’s time for the monsoons. They’re not really monsoons here. A thunder shower is mostly what happens. The change in air temperature and air quality isn’t as dramatic as in Chicago. Sleep comes sometime. Deep sleep stays at bay. The swamp cooler, perfect modifier of the environment is useless.

We toast the summer. The long days and the comfortable nights. We wait for the thunder showers. A good storm is amazing all lightning and pelting rain. Then it’s over; bullet marks in the sand the only evidence it ever happened. Summer can feel like that too. July is almost here. Where did June go?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Goal Setting and the 2% Solution

“Take a year. Give it a try. When you’re fifty-years old, you will have spent two percent of your life trying to make your dream come true. And when you look back, I think you’ll realize it was a good two percent.”---Bruce Feiler, The Council of Dads

“The fourth challenge in the Radical Experiment is to give some of your time in the next year to making the gospel known in a context outside your own city….We have discovered that 2% of our time living out the gospel in other contexts has a radical effect on the other 98% of our time living out the gospel in our own context.”---David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

One of the many principles I’ve learned in my life is that if I hear the same message from different sources in quick succession I need to heed the message---hence the 2% solution. This year my wife and I are applying it in the challenge from David Platt. We are going to Guatemala which is both outside our context and outside our comfort zone. How to apply this principle to my dreams though?

One way is to reverse the order. I don’t know what my dream is. If I were to spend one year doing something fully within my choosing what would it be? If I can figure out the answer then I am within shooting distance of my dream.

One can break this formula down any creative way you choose. If the ratio is roughly fifty-two to one; then for a normal 24 hour day (if my math serves right) we are talking about half-an-hour per day. What could you do for a half hour today that will bring you closer to fulfilling your dream?

Two percent. It’s a small number with huge potential on how to invest your life. Let me know what you come up with. I’ll keep you posted as I do the same. Gotta go!--- my half-an hour has come and gone.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Vacations and Great Stories

Another summer is upon us. Tonight I don’t have to drive the daughter home because there is no school tomorrow. It’s a hop and a skip until the first week off of work; the first week of vacation. My customers have already begun asking me what my summer plans are. I’m fairly certain that a number of them live vicariously through me. That’s not really it. It’s that most people choose not to choose a good vacation---or to live a good story.

It even comes down to blogging. Since I was born I had a desire to write. I oft felt like Jeremiah when he said, “Whoa to me if I don’t preach.” All of us have dreams and talents. Many choose to bury them because using them is too risky or demands to much energy. Perhaps too they don’t have friends that are invested.

I began this blog in part because a good friend encouraged me to. Ours is a friendship in which we share deep enough to talk about dreams and what-ifs. I mentioned blogging. He said, “What if?” Currently too I have friends that read it and a wife that is wholly supportive. The adventure borne is not borne in a vacuum.

This summer the family will lay additional groundwork for lives that make a good story. We will goof off, we will go camping and the wife and I will spend time outside of our comfort zone in Guatemala. This summer isn’t the end. The challenge is to figure out the next chapter. That’s the challenge for all of us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Christian Parenting: Guts and Gospel

If you enjoy living life by the seat of your pants; half guts and half gospel then parenting is the adventure for you. From the moment they hand you the baby you are inundated with child-rearing suggestions. Early on I realized that raising my kid was going to have to flow from who I was not who people told me I needed to be.

As a Christian I knew people that had their children memorize tons of scripture. We knew kids in elementary school that couldn’t do the three B’s; Barbie, Bratz or Britney. Looking at all the options the gospel oriented camps fell on one side or the other; grace or legalism. Rarely was there an appropriate balance.

I came to Christ in my twenties without the benefit (or curse) of a Christian home. I had no preconceptions. I just knew that God’s teaching in Deuteronomy was to teach children ‘when you rise up and when you lie down.’ Ooh boy! Not growing up in a Christian home meant I’d made many mistakes. There was a good chance I’d make more.

I chose the light handed approach. Much grace and little legalism. I figured that God got hold of me despite my parents and my background. Certainly He was capable of adjusting the trajectory of my little arrow.

One chooses the principle and follows it. There’s a lot of slop in-between. Parenting is like that. Seems the thing to do is balance all the wisdom and advice out there with how you are wired.

My daughter and I have had a number of good conversations about following Christ and what that looks like. I try to be realistic about my story and focused on the heart of God. Living as a Christ follower doesn’t come with an instruction manual. It is half guts, all Gospel and a heart set in the right direction.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Loss Of Passion

I was in Spearfish to watch the Passion Play but my attention was captivated by the lightning storm overhead and not the drama onstage. That’s how I’m wired. I tend to think most people were once wired the same but their senses grew dim as they exchanged awe for nature over simple amusement in a living room.

The Passion Play occurred in the Black Hills of South Dakota for seventy years. The community would take parts and portray the events centering on Saviour and Easter. Culture changed and crowds diminished until the last passion play was performed in Spearfish on August 31, 2008.

The play left no mental picture. The lightning exploding against the backdrop of the amphitheatre is an image I will remember my whole life. I can’t help but think we’ve lost something in our addictions to pictures on plasma screens. The death of the Spearfish passion play was due in part to this change in the way we seek amusement. The death of our own passion is a response to the way we choose couch and brain-numbing comfort over the beauty and splendour of the creation.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Good Parenting---Fodder For Father's Day

Children raised well---you know it when you see it. At the gas station today our car was lined up behind one with three teenage girls in it. After getting gas two of the girls got out of the car to go into the min-mart. The one driving got out of the car, said bye to them and moved her car out of the lane. I pointed out that her gas tank wasn’t closed and she gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Small thing but you know it when you see it.

A friend of ours has children excelling in school and involved in social services. When we go over to visit the children do not greet us nor engage in conversation. It could be a case of children seen and not heard. You wonder when you don’t see it.

Fatherhood teaches both the father and the children. As a father I have the choice to be selfish or giving. I remember a time when my daughter, small enough to fit on my chest, was sick and would only sleep laying on me. I spent the night lying on the floor, daughter on chest thinking, “This is what fathers do.”

That little girl has grown into a mature teenager. She excels in school. Significantly greater is that she is gracious, wise and well mannered. At sixteen when most teens are rebelling mine still tells me what’s going on in her life.

Fatherhood is part parenting and part communicating character. The hope is that I exhibit enough positives that she sees and models.  How will my daughter turn out? You’ll know it when you see it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Good Cop, Bad Cop

“Highway 395 left a bad taste in my mouth,” Chris said, and then recounted this story. He was driving along the highway en route to his parents’ house outside of Mammoth. In each small town the speed limit would decrease; sometimes radically. In one of those situations he noted that the speed limit was 25 and verified that he was at 25 mph. He saw a police car parked up ahead of him.

As he passed the police car the cop inside waved his hand in a downward motion to indicate that Chris should slow down. Chris shrugged at him and spread out his hands to indicate that he was unclear what the cop wanted as he was in compliance. So the officer decided to pull him over. He handed the officer his license.

In California an officer has the power to suspend your license. You can get your license suspended for: excessive moving violations, driving without insurance, refusal of sobriety test when pulled over, DUI, driver negligence, driving without a license, reckless driving history, medical conditions, physical or psychological limitations, and other legal things you've done wrong. Chris’ license had expired.

The officer suspended his license. He was four hours from home and four hours from his parents yet the officer wouldn’t cut him any slack. Chris was escorted to a nearby park and told to call someone and tell them to come get him. Then the officer parked his car a block away and waited two hours to see if Chris would get back in his own car and continue his trip. Chris ended up having his parents make the four hour drive down and then a four hour return trip after he’d gone to the DMV the following Monday.

We all have had our experiences with the law, some good and some bad. I had one bad experience as a teenager but many where the officers gave extensive grace though I had broken the law. It’s rare though to hear stories that seem more redolent of sheriff stories that take place in small cities in the south (aka In the Heat of the Night). It seems a simple reminder how easy it is for men to abuse power without legal restraints and balances.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Are We Younger At 50 Than Our Parents Were?

A friend of mine is beginning his teaching career at age sixty. To me he doesn’t look sixty. That maybe because I am in my early fifties. At fifty, do we look old to our children? Do we look as old to them as our parents looked to us when we were young and they were fifty?

When I look at pictures of my parents or their parents (circa 1970) I note that they look old even when they were younger. Perhaps it is because we’ve had it easier growing up in this generation. We are more aware scientifically and anecdotally of how to stay healthy and look better. Many of us had babies later and changed careers later in life as well. My daughter was born when I was 36. That seems more acceptable, even normal, for my generation than for the generation of my parents.

There was a time when people were expected to retire at age 55. I will just be getting my second wind at fifty-five with an expectation that I will have to work to age seventy. Oddly enough this may work in my favor. I believe that my dad began his downhill slide in part because he retired early. He did not take on a hobby, other interests or add or deepen any personal friendships. He slowed down and hung out at his house. His body slowed and his mind followed. Had he kept working he may have fared far better.

I will have to ask my daughter if we are old to her. It is hard to measure since it is impossible to be objective in this regard. I know for certain is that at fifty-five Carrows allows me senior dinners. I don’t know when polyester begins to look like stylish comfortable clothing or at what age my wife will allow me black socks with my sandals.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Lounge Singer

I felt awkward. Not because I was in a bar. I’ve been in bars before though rarely alone. Let me clarify. The bar has an excellent reputation as a burger place. I had time and hunger to kill. So I walked down to the local burger joint. One of the owners recommended the guacamole burger. I sat down with my coke.

“He’s a fan of mine, he loves it when I sing Sinatra,” said the musician. At a table in the corner the owners interviewed him for a job. The musician got up from the table. He walked over to the table nearest me and muttered something to her about being interviewed. I guessed that she was upset at having to sit by herself waiting for him. His hair was black but didn’t fit the age indicated by his face.

Glenda from Sysco foods walked in carrying a laptop. She hugged the woman at the bar. The woman at the bar hugged back. She spoke caringly and stroked Glenda’s exposed shoulder. Having exchanged pleasantries Glenda began leaving. The woman at the bar said, “…we have to be strong.” She continued to sit there with her manicured legs and nails. Sitting, her body swayed to the music. She said hello to an older man within range of her at the bar. He had a Telly Savalas haircut and drank something straight up.

The musician was saying that as part of his contract he wanted to make sure he could get a free drink or two for his buddies. The way he talked everybody was his buddy. He could get them all to come in and do spots during his gig. He knew lots of people. He’d just got back from the Riviera where, “I played with all those guys. All the guys I play with are class acts….” Then I heard him talking about a guy that’s quiet unless he’s on stage—then he’s funny.

I wouldn’t have hired the lounge singer. He was trying too hard. I had the impression that he would do a bad version of Bill Murray doing a bad version of a lounge singer.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Microsoft Terrors

If Microsoft Word were a physical object I would have already tossed it across the room. I am in the process of updating a document which I did not originally create. The problem is that I am not Word savvy. Sure I can navigate around other more difficult programs but I don’t know how to use Word; same is true for Excel. Like a three year old I can color inside a coloring book but if I have to go outside the lines it’s an aggravating chore.

I blame it on my learning style. I am a tactile learner. I need somebody or something (a learning video or simulation) to show me the steps necessary to solve the problem. Fortunately my wife has some experience with word and so is able to show me the correct menu to access.

I am able to figure out InDesign, Facebook and Pinterest but programs that we all use often have me stymied. Perhaps my frustration hearkens back to my math anxiety. In elementary school and junior high math (literally) brought me to tears. Meanwhile in a galaxy far away my daughter is taking pre-calc this year and physics next.

Woody Allen once wrote a story in which he was being chased by the verb ‘tener.’ I hope any terrors in tonight’s sleep do not have Bill Gates laughing an evil laugh in dark caves of silicon.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Holding The World In Wonder

Desensitization is a good thing for humans in stressful situations, not so much for frogs in boiling water. Like any sense or adaptation that is hard-wired in us being desensitized can be either good or bad. For the janitor cleaning the bathroom or the patient with the toothache it is a good thing. The problem is that we can also be desensitized to beauty or brutality.

On your first date with your wife you were in awe of her every breath and her every move. You could not stop staring. After a while her beauty doesn’t hold your attention. Not because it doesn’t exist but because you’ve become desensitized.

As a teenager everything was magical; nature was stunning, girls were incomprehensible and your first paycheck meant you could one day own the world. Years later God’s providences are lackluster, the paycheck isn’t enough and women are still incomprehensible---but now it’s a problem and not a wonderful mystery.

The dark side of the same coin is that we can become immune to brokenness around us. Violence doesn’t stun us the way it once did. Sexualized violence is now a marketing tool. When we see it we barely blink.

The challenge to us in our humanity is to choose newness. That is to say to hold the world in wonder though we’ve seen a sunrise more than two-thousand times. We must find a way that works for each of us to see people as amazing. Seeing my wife in the light of morning I look beyond the out-of-place-hair to that shine in her eyes. We can either be thankful and amazed at the world around us or lose all sensitivity like the frog in the pot.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Customer Service: Serving Angels Unawares

In customer service, they say, you rarely know the customers’ story; who they really are or what they are really going through. An example of this would be the Dr. that came into our store after having a patient die on the table; the customer service he received helped him face the day. The most ordinary people we serve may have amazing backgrounds.

I saw Joey Covington’s picture in the paper today. Sadly he died by car crash at the age of 67. I knew him as the funky musician that came in and ordered a coffee and a latte. He usually came by in the afternoons as he often played gigs til two or three in the morning. I had no idea that he was a drummer for Jefferson Airplane or that he co-wrote Jefferson Starships’ “With Your Love.” He played locally and will be largely missed on the local music scene.

One of my older customers took over a hardware store from his father in Alaska. According to the free library, “During World War II, a period of growth throughout the territory, the fledgling company entered into a contract with the U.S. Army to produce sleeping cots. The Army job gave the building supply company a steady source of income and provided the catalyst for product diversification and expansion.” In the 1970’s, …”Because of continued market growth in Southeast, he opened a new store in 1974, directly across from the downtown location. Sparking the company's expansion was construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which fueled another economic boom and drove up the desire for both commercial- and private-sector projects throughout the state.” He used to come in regularly for latte’s until his wife put him on a budget citing the current administration as the reason.

His new show opens soon on the Bravo network. His bio states that he ‘is a hotelier, designer, art historian and television host with a wealth of knowledge in architecture, the arts, design, people and travel gleaned from 17 years spent abroad and working in different fields, running his own businesses and immersing himself in different cultures.’ He has opened a hotel in Morocco, a business selling furniture and objects from around the world as well as renovating and developing properties in England and abroad.

We have no idea whom it is we serve. They may be well to do hardware store owners or accomplished rock musicians; they may be the maid from the hotel across the street. The idea is that we serve them well. C.S. Lewis once said that we would be overcome if we saw people as glorified or ruined as they will be at their end. One never knows, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. “

Thursday, June 06, 2013

A Cooling Breeze

The good news today was that there was a breeze. Cycling in temperatures over ninety-five is difficult. It’s tough to push hard and it’s tough to stay hydrated. I started out early but it was still to warm to be comfortable. Around ten in the morning a cooling breeze came out of the East. It brought no rain and no clouds but it cooled the air a couple of degrees and dried the sweat as it poured down my face and arms.

We need cooling breezes in life too. Balancing children and finances and work and personal issues gets overwhelming sometime. A breeze coupled with a raging fire isn’t a good thing; but when you’ve spent all week putting out fires a breeze can bring just enough relief to keep you going.

Breezes come unannounced; a talk with a friend, a compliment from a stranger or a personal goal you’ve finally met. God may temporarily remove an obstacle or He may give extra help; financial or a sister or brother, to make the fire manageable.

The good news is that today there was a breeze. They can’t always be counted on but when they come upon us gently it’s a welcome surprise.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Hat Tip To The Old Coyote

I looked at him and he stared at me; each one wondering what we would do if the other gave chase. He was one large (waist high), mangy, old and graying coyote. He sauntered past me; we were the only ones on that highway in the national park. He stood still, turned his neck and looked behind him. The movement and the tilt of his head gave the impression he was waiting for someone. They never came.

Here he is sauntering down the street mid-morning in temperatures near one-hundred degrees. Makes me wonder. Was he waiting for the mate that never showed up? Did he expect an old friend hoping to reconnect with the past? He’d come down from the hills around Barker Dam but there were no easy meals out that way today.

Barker Dam is a natural reservoir which Mr. Barker damned up to collect water for livestock runs early last century. Certainly a coyote could have found a stray sheep to munch on back then. They haven’t run livestock that way for a good long time. Currently there’s no water there either it being a dry year. A good summer can bring sixty percent of the regions’ water with the monsoons; here’s hoping for a good season.

I read that coyote’s are one of nature’s best diggers. They dig deep holes for water both for their pals and in hopes other animals will come for the water as well and end up prey. I couldn’t see anyplace to dig that would yield water. Perhaps rabbit and cacti provide enough liquid sustenance?

He looked to be a loner. Mangy and craggy looking he was majestic too. There he stood walking toward the mountain, turning his head from looking behind to move on toward today’s goal. Thinking on it now I should have tipped my hat to him. I do it now, hat tip to the old coyote.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Cutting One's Losses

The pair were stuck in a very bad situation. Simpson could not climb up the rope, Yates could not pull him back up, and the cliff was too high for Simpson to be lowered down. They remained in this position for some time, until it was obvious that the snow around Yates' belay seat was about to give out. Because the pair were tied together, they would both be pulled to their deaths. Yates made the decision to cut the rope in order to save his own life. Ironically, doing so may very well have saved Simpson's life as well, as he would have died of exposure if he had been left to hang in the strong freezing wind for much longer. -Touching the Void

Cutting a rope to save oneself in the Peruvian Andes is rare. Cutting one’s losses in the course of a normal life is a much more common experience. The process involved in both is the same. You survey the situation. You evaluate the pros and cons. You make the decision in the context of the immediate because you can not know the full extent of the consequences once you’ve severed the line. You take a deep breath, pull back your arm, swing down and slice.

The last slash in my life was my divorce. Fifteen years of marriage incorporated significant time and finances invested in the relationship, various financial investments, sundry furniture and a start-up business. At the end, after the affair and in the legal process of divorce, I looked into the abyss and made the decision. No amount of haggling would make it worth it and hanging in the wind was killing me.

To date the ex-wife and I still own a property which we rent. Its value took a significant hit when the housing market blew up. The mortgage and the investment have been bleeding me dry for the last ten years. I am attempting to get approval for a loan modification; which is similar to being on belay with your enemy. The process is arduous and requires tenacity. The bank’s decision will determine my next step. Letting go of the investment may be the prudent move.

The decision to cut rope and save life flies in the face of all we hold to and all we’ve known. Nerve and sinew, mind and mindset are exposed, fully raw, in the face of the decision. Standing on the precipice the choice must be made. You can only hope that crevasse or Creator catch you when you fall.

Photo courtesy of Mahatma4711

Monday, June 03, 2013

Nor Is There Any Rock Like Our God

Now there was a certain man…and his name was Elkanah….He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.

Hannah’s trial was lengthy and deeply personal. The text says, ‘year after year,’ which to us would mean many Christmases and many New Years Eve’s coming and going with no change in the situation. It also meant that Hannah watched Peninnah’s children growing up while her womb remained closed. Every birthday meant cake for Peninnah’s kids and taunts and barbs for Hannah.

There are those that would have ceased going up to the Lord’s house. They would have caught church on television initially perhaps then slowly any memory of trekking to worship would be forgotten. So too would any deep hope of change in the situation.

One can only respond to, “So, when are you going to have children with Elkanah,” so long. Worst case you will grow bitter but not if you have hope and that hope is built (as Jesus said) on solid ground.

That’s the twist in the story; isn’t it? Peninnah had two children and was caustic and bitter. Hannah was heartbroken and ached but her perspective was fixed on the one who gives hope and changes circumstance. The contrast between the two is drawn in citing Hannah’s heart and God’s focus in the story.

The Lord remembers Hannah and she conceives. God pulls through for Hannah in the end. Not that He’ll do the same thing in the same way for everyone. It’s more about God faithfulness to Hannah and her perseverance and hope. As she sings in her song of thanksgiving, “There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.”

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Why Would Anybody Move To The Desert?

Renault: And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?

Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.

Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.

Rick: I was misinformed.

Jennifer moved to Palm Springs to begin her new job. The first day she arrived the temperature was 121 degrees Fahrenheit. For the next month after work she spent every evening crying at a local bar. Where we live is often determined by the career we choose and the city we opt to live in.

Some come not for the waters but for the lack of them. Though modern science has made significant improvements in medicine there is still a lot that can’t be cured. “The clear air and hot, dry climate continued to attract people seeking relief from lung problems or arthritis. June LeMert Paxton and Elizabeth Campbell wrote of its benefits in their books, ‘My Life on the Mojave’ and ‘The Desert Was Home’. The Pearce and Gehr families opened a rest home for tubercular patients in Pipes Canyon.” I know some that came here with severe arthritis or significant lung issues. The heat and dry air make living for them easier than cold and damp climates. So they come to work or retire in better health and lower pain and discomfort.

My wife came to the high desert because she fell in love with me. I came to the high desert in an effort to save my first marriage. Some move to the desert because it’s two hours from Los Angeles and they can telecommute for part of the working week and drive in for only a couple of days.

We reside near Joshua Tree, the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. As it is on the edge of the park the area initially attracted a large mix of artists and types that love the outdoors. The Morongo Basin has over one-hundred artists in residence; enough to promote a Morongo Basin artist showcase for two full weekends each October.

Jennifer just spent her sixth year in Palm Springs, I’m going onto year number eight. We come for many reasons. We stay because we put down roots, we get comfortable and we adapt. Would some of rather be on a plane to other cities? We think so. The reality is that contentment isn’t dependent on where you live but rather who you are.