Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas - be thankful no matter your situation

Everyone reading this blog have a Merry Christmas. May it be a joyous time filled with love for others and hope for better things next year.

They say that around Christmas time there is more depression and suicides than any other time of the year. It is the time of year for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Each of us have things we can be thankful for and things we could be really depressed about.

I choose to be thankful for my wife. I'm thankful for owning a home rather than being homeless. The tree toppling on my house only breaking some eaves instead of splitting the house in two. Gainful employment where I make a good wage. etc. I choose to remember the joy of giving my wife a car for Christmas, of giving the grand kids and nieces presents.

If I wanted to be miserable, disappointed, and unpleasant to be around I would only have to dwell on things happening in December to be truly miserable. A week and a half ago the windstorms weekend a tree and knocked it on my house. The peripheral neuropathy in my legs has gotten worse and I am now I am using a cane. To top it off, last Friday management decided to move my job location from one where things worked well, to one where there it will be more difficult to do my job, where I will have to carpool just to be able to park, and where I will loose $300-$400 per month due to state income tax.

Why go there? Why make myself so unhappy?

It is true that delighting myself with the things that have gone right will not make the bad things go away, but it is equally true that the bad things do not negate the good things unless I let them. I have to make a conscious choice every day (sometimes every hour) to look at the good things in life and not the bad things.

If I didn't have my faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, this could certainly be a miserable time of year, and a miserable life as well. I chose to try to be thankful all year round and not dwell on the bad of this year or years past. We have to look at the good things and not the bad. This time of year is when I have a tendency to get sick for some reason. However, I chose not to dwell on the worsening neuropathy (and using a cane) this Christmas, getting neuropathy and having to quit pastoring a church last fall, and getting a really bad case of pneumonia one of the previous years.

My hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in my circumstances. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

40 - 50 mph winds 1, house 0.

Last Thursday evening Oregon and Washington had high winds of 40-50 miles per hour in our area. Winds were higher on the coast, and down at Mount Hebo Oregon the wind even got up to 110 mph.

About 9:30 pm Thursday night we heard one loud crack and a tree came down on our eaves and roof. We had to bend down to get out of the house. Fortunately the tree only broke the front eave and a bunch of the gutter. We spent much of the day trying to find someone to give us an estimate to take the tree down from our house and cart it away. They won't be over until tomorrow and the estimator won't be over until Tuesday. It seems like a lot of other people have the same problem from the wind and the rain.

Even though things range from irritating to mildly frustrating we have a lot to be thankful for. We didn't get flooded. We don't have rain coming down in our house. We still have our roof. No tree has totaled our house like trees did some houses. We weren't killed or injured.

Praise God for what we do have and what didn't happen to us. Praise God for our not being injured or killed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My early Christmas present to my wife was a great success!

My wife is like a little kid when it comes to Christmas presents. She has to have at least one present well before December 24/25. This year her early Christmas was a big success.

I got my wife a Digital Photo Frame. You transfer digital pictures to it and then have a slideshow of your digital pictures. You can also include sound and video. The pictures look as good as a printed picture. In fact, it is much nicer than a bunch of printed photographs that you have looked at two or three times and then relegated to a box in a closet somewhere.

With the Digital Photo Frame we get to see pictures of family. We get to see pictures of vacations. We get to see pictures of day trips to take a ride somewhere. We get to see pictures of geocaches. We even get to see pictures of silly people at work. We get to see pictures of our pets.

Setup was simple, especially with the easy start guide that was included in the one we got. There is a lot of memory for many pictures, and there are more memory ports than I know what to do with. The ports include a USB port for my thumb drive, and SD and XD ports for the cards from our digital cameras.

The worst part of the entire photo frame is pretty funny. I will take a break from using my laptop and my slideshow screensaver will show up. Pretty soon I will hear "You need to put that picture in my photo frame". Fortunately with all the memory there is room for lots of pictures.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Carl's Starter never started

It has been over a year since I have baked bread. First, I was trying to cut down on bread to lose weight. Then my wife was diagnosed as borderline diabetic and she had to cut down on everything made with flour. Unfortunately, I never saved some of my starter.

Recently I had enough of being without homemade bread. I could make the bread, cut back on the amount I ate, and freeze the rest. A few days ago, I decided to start the sample of Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter sample I had received recently from and was without success. I carefully followed the instructions, and even had my wife double test the temperature of the water for me. It just sat there no matter how much I pampered it and stirred it for days. When it did not work, I made it thinner and then tried adding warmer water. Nothing worked.

Has anyone used Carl Sourdough Starter with success, and it is it good sourdough? I do not know. I don't know if it is it worth waiting and getting a new sample of Carl's, or should I buy a commercial one, such as from The Baker's Catalog, or one of those San Francisco ones. I live in Battle Ground WA and have not been able to find any place to purchase a starter locally.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Two versions of The Past Through Tomorrow

The other day I was thinking about how advanced that Star Trek (the original series) was in predicting science innovations. Too bad the more recent versions of Star Trek have not been as innovative. The original Star Trek series was like one version of The Past Through Tomorrow. (What we see now and what we may see in the future).

Some of the things science has come up with that were portrayed on TV are as follows:
*Dr. McCoy's hypo spray = needleless vaccination guns used in hospitals.
*Captain Kirk's handheld computer on the bridge = Microsoft's Tablet PCs.
*Captain Kirk's communicator = cell phones minus miniature bomb & locator.
*Motion sensors in ships doors = pocket doors in hospitals & grocery stores.

The other version of The Past Through Tomorrow that comes to mind is a book of short stories of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein. It is my favorite science fiction book and even though there are plenty of other things to read, I have to reread it every year or two.

The short stories in The Past Through Tomorrow work together as a timeline, and the timeline is published in some editions of the book.

Every time I read the book, I find myself sympathizing with the same characters, rooting for them, etc., even though I know about the final outcome of the stories I remember.

I do not like every story, but when was the last time you bought a music CD and liked every song on it?

Even though both the book and Star Trek are written from the perspective of being in the future when it was written, Star Trek is much more perceptive on scientific inventions to come. The Past Through Tomorrow is not only wrong in some cases, it goes in a different direction. Many of the stories are as much human interest stories as they are science fiction stories. The wrong directions really do nothing to detract from the stories.

In the US, as far as I know, the book has always been published in one volume. In the UK, the book was split and published in two volumes. When buying thy book you have to make sure whether you are buying the entire book, Vol. I or Vol. II.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Geocaching; PastorDIC handle

You might have noticed the small yellow, green, blue, and orange banner to the right of this post mentioning Geocaching. That is my favorite hobby. It even surpasses bread baking (although I might be a more active bread baker if my weight allowed it).

Geocaching is a family friendly hobby where you go to find the location of a geocaching treasure, use a GPS (Global Positioning System) such as the Garmin GPSMap 60Cx GPS. The GPS is a special receiver that uses satellites to locate where you are and where the "geocache" treasure is. Once you find the geocache you sign the logbook in the cache, and if you want to, trade something in the cache for something you brought with you to place in the cache. Once you get back home you log your find online. It is a good way to get some exercise, find new places you didn't know where there, and a good excuse to take a nice drive. The treasures are rated 1-5 in difficulty and 1-5 in terrain.

Even though I have 658 Geocaching finds, I haven't done much caching lately. I now have neuropathy in my legs, which is very painful. The doctors are trying to figure out what to do with me since there is no surgery to help. Some days exercise will help the pain, but many days I just hurt too bad to even think about getting exercise.

Many Geocachers I meet ask if I am a real pastor because of my PastorDIC username. I pastored a house church - Divine Inspiration Church (DIC) - and was one of the leaders of a house church network for several years until I developed small fiber peripheral neuropathy. Because of this condition I had to stop preaching and leading church.