Friday, October 31, 2008


Idyllwild loves Halloweeen! Lucy dressed as a unicorn, Bowden was a Samurai, and Jack prowled about like a roaring lion looking for candy to devour. We met our friends the Whites (of course) up by Cafe Aroma with the intention of Trick or Treating together, but that soon proved impractical as our chirrens were moving in different directions and at different rates of speed. We met up with them later at the inn for a pizza dinner though. I used to think that homemade pizza was never as good as pizzeria pizza, but the last few times I've had homemade pizza I found it to be surprisingly more delectable. I'm becoming a homemade pizza kind of guy. What does this have to do with Halloween? Nothing, but it's my blog so I can write about whatever I want. You don't have to read it! Of course, real food always tastes better after feasting on jolly ranchers, tootsie roll pops and such. Thanks for the pizza Emily.

This picture doesn't do justice to the throngs of people who came out for the festivities. I was surprised by two things. The first was that there were more people here for Halloween than actually live in Idyllwild, and the second thing that surprised me was how many of them I knew. I saw a lot of familar faces.
This guy was crazy. Red in the face and with eyes bugging out he was dispensing crazy amounts of candy and with a passion I have never seen before in a Halloween observer. He was surrounded by crowds of screaming kids in front of Idyllwild Heating (I think he's the owner) like a pop idol with his adoring fans. Lucy was too timid to fight her way to the center of the hurly burly at first so I muscled in there with her in my arms. The man was grabbing enormous handfuls of candy and pouring them into the bags and plastic pumpkins in front of him. His eyes landed on poor timid Lucy for a moment and he bellowed, "A UNICORN!!!," and then deposited a night's worth of trick or treating into her bucket. I said, "thanks," but he had already turned toward the shop and was yelling, "more candy! I need MORE CANDY!" ...and the crowd went nuts. I removed Lucy to safety and then dove back in to find Bowden who was literally crawling between the peoples legs, risking his little digits to scoop up butterfingers, smarties, and snickers. I had to use force to remove him because he didn't want to go, but it was for his own good.

Our friends, Dawn and Jason, with their kids were themed after the Wizard if OZ. I think they were the best costumed family I saw tonight. There were a lot of good costumes though.
It was a fun night. Happy Halloween everybody!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008



With Halloween fast approaching, Bowden Tate (three years old) wanted to take you on a guided tour of Camp Maranatha's three spookiest places.
Ranking #3 on Bowden's list is "The Tunnel"
Me: Bowden why is the tunnel spooky?
Bowden: because God made it fooky.
Ranking #2: The maintenance building

Bowden: I think raccoons live in here Daddy.

Me: I don't think so buddy.

Bowden: I think they use these tools to make things.

Me: What kind of things?

Bowden: Fooky things.

...And the Fookiest place in all of Camp Maranatha- Dead Man's Cave

Me: Why is Dead Man's Cave the spookiest place at Camp?

Bowden: Because a dead man built it.

So there you have it folks, and just in time for halloween- Camp Maranatha's three spookiest places.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Charles Krauthammer's Endorsement of McCain

Contrarian that I am, I'm voting for John McCain. I'm not talking about bucking the polls or the media consensus that it's over before it's over. I'm talking about bucking the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama before they're left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years.
I stand athwart the rush of conservative ship-jumpers of every stripe -- neo (Ken Adelman), moderate (Colin Powell), genetic/ironic (Christopher Buckley) and socialist/atheist (Christopher Hitchens) -- yelling "Stop!" I shall have no part of this motley crew. I will go down with the McCain ship. I'd rather lose an election than lose my bearings.
First, I'll have no truck with the phony case ginned up to rationalize voting for the most liberal and inexperienced presidential nominee in living memory. The "erratic" temperament issue, for example. As if McCain's risky and unsuccessful but in no way irrational attempt to tactically maneuver his way through the economic tsunami that came crashing down a month ago renders unfit for office a man who demonstrated the most admirable equanimity and courage in the face of unimaginable pressures as a prisoner of war, and who later steadily navigated innumerable challenges and setbacks, not the least of which was the collapse of his campaign just a year ago.
McCain the "erratic" is a cheap Obama talking point. The 40-year record testifies to McCain the stalwart.
Nor will I countenance the "dirty campaign" pretense. The double standard here is stunning. Obama ran a scurrilous Spanish-language ad falsely associating McCain with anti-Hispanic slurs. Another ad falsely claimed that McCain supports "cutting Social Security benefits in half." And for months Democrats insisted that McCain sought 100 years of war in Iraq.
McCain's critics are offended that he raised the issue of William Ayers. What's astonishing is that Obama was himself not offended by William Ayers.
Moreover, the most remarkable of all tactical choices of this election season is the attack that never was. Out of extreme (and unnecessary) conscientiousness, McCain refused to raise the legitimate issue of Obama's most egregious association -- with the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Dirty campaigning, indeed.
The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.
Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who's been cramming on these issues for the past year, who's never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of "a world that stands as one"), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident?
Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?
There's just no comparison. Obama's own running mate warned this week that Obama's youth and inexperience will invite a crisis -- indeed a crisis "generated" precisely to test him. Can you be serious about national security and vote on Nov. 4 to invite that test?
And how will he pass it? Well, how has he fared on the only two significant foreign policy tests he has faced since he's been in the Senate? The first was the surge. Obama failed spectacularly. He not only opposed it. He tried to denigrate it, stop it and, finally, deny its success.
The second test was Georgia, to which Obama responded instinctively with evenhanded moral equivalence, urging restraint on both sides. McCain did not have to consult his advisers to instantly identify the aggressor.
Today's economic crisis, like every other in our history, will in time pass. But the barbarians will still be at the gates. Whom do you want on the parapet? I'm for the guy who can tell the lion from the lamb.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Today I tossed the dexters and my old pair of flip-flops into "the fill" in the north end. Farewell old friends.

I acquired a new pair of flip-flops today at the community church's thrift store for $1.00. I generally frown on used footwear, but the lady working there assured me that they are "basically brand new." For now, the "State Street" shoes will continue to get the start on work days, but, weather permitting, I am a flip-flop kind of guy and the thrifties will be getting plenty of work.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I often have trouble deciding who to start on my fantasy football team. In my RB/WR slot should I start Thomas Jones of the NYJ's or Marvin Harrison of the Colts? They both have been pretty spotty this year, but all my other guys are on a bye this week.


Should I start the Cowboys at QB with Romo's broken pinky and Brad Johnson at 2nd string or should I go with my very own Redskins with Jason Campbell?

MY KIDS ARE MY SPIRITUAL CROTCH... (and other thoughts following a phone conversation with my brother, Joel)

If the enemy kicked me there it would hurt... a lot. As I take inventory of our society, and note trends which concern me, I can't help but wish my kids were older...less vulnerable...less impressionable...more sober and aware. With every kid I have I feel as though I have become a bigger target. It is so difficult for me to trust the Lord in this area. Their minds. Their hearts. Their souls. They are never far from my thoughts when I consider the future or the current state of things. They seem so fragile to me, but come what may, I must trust them to the Lord who loves them far more than I ever could and who was with Daniel in Babylon. I talk often to my kids about God and also to God about my kids. Both acts are like a balm on the open sore of my worry- a temporary salve which must be reapplied regularly.

Sometimes I feel that I could face these days with a greater nonchalance and a more reckless courage if I didn't have this precious cargo in tow, but I know that is bad thinking. It flows from a cowardice and, more troubling, a lack of faith. God would be honored, and it would bring joy to His heart, if I would trust my "precious things" to his care in the midst of the battle and model for them the courage of a pilgrim and stranger in a hostile land. That would speak far more powerfully to them than the compromised Father of half measures I am tempted to be.

I look to the rock that is higher than me, and I deposit my precious three in the shadow of that rock. May their hearts always hum to the tune of the Lord's will. May they always love the truth and despise error. May the Lord call them to himself undeniably, enjoy their sweet surrender, and seal their souls until the day of Christ's return.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Check out this article I found on the Drudge Report. Pat Buchanan raises some interesting points about what an Obama presidency would mean for the nation.


I kind of wish we could just fast forward to November 5th, and be done with this election, if only to be free of the endlessly repetitive news loop. I am voting for McCain, and that has been my unchanging position for months. In fact, I firmly believe that undecideds are mythical creatures like unicorns and mermaids. They simply don't exist. Deep down, everybody knows who they're voting for. C'mon! You know!

I think Obama lacks a moral compass. His stand on abortion alone negates him from any serious consideration for my vote, but his leftist fiscal policies and anemic foreign policy also don't do much to endear him to me.

I have to confess something that troubles me though. This election has caused me to delight in evil- namely racism. As I sit on my couch bathed in the glow of my television at night, I find myself secretly hoping that voters in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania simply won't be able to stomach the idea of voting for a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. Maybe the latinos won't like him because he's black and maybe Jewish Americans won't show up at the polls in Florida. Is an enemy of my enemy really my friend? I don't think so. Not in this case.

Martin Luther King jr. said that he dreamed of a day when his children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. It is Obama's character that I have considered and found lacking, but that concern has motivated me at times to cheer for the evil of racism in the privacy of my heart. I don't have confidence in the American people to do the right thing and so I cravenly pin my hopes on them to continue in an age old sin. This is no time to stop being racist, guys! Shameful.

The outcome of November 4th will not be a surprise to the Almighty, and my vote will not be a surprise to anyone- I'm for McCain. It is my sincerest hope though that America rejects Obama because he is a bad man with bad ideas, and not because he is black.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


There is just something about a big empty space that draws me. At some point during nearly every workday I slink off to one of the empty meeting halls on the grounds to spend some time alone with God. I love to lay in the middle of the floor or more often I kick off my shoes and walk around in a circle as I do my thing. I can't quite put my finger on what it is I enjoy about big empty buildings. Is it the way my voice bounces off the walls? Is it just the joy of being all by myself? Sliding in through the door into the hush of a big empty space gives me the same feeling I get when I walk out of the glaring sun into the shade or out of 100 degree heat into an air conditioned restaurant. It's relief, pure and simple... but relief from what? I'm not sure.


I am a little concerned that my list of must-read bedtime books has a decidedly masculine slant to it, and will likely be better received by Bowden than by Lucy. Could any of you ladies (or Fathers of ladies) counter balance my tastes by suggesting a few books that would be especially interesting to a little girl, and which I could sprinkle into my list. Sarah has given me some good suggestions.

Friday, October 10, 2008


"We went camping in the living room,
And, though there were no woods,
Imagination supplied the trees
And made it just as good.

While Daddy pitched the tent
Mom lit a fire in the fireplace,
Which cast an orange glow
On the tent and Mommy's face."
The night of the big campout finally arrived, and boy were Bowden and Lucy excited about it. Bowden kept saying, "This is the best night we've have ever had in this house."

The kids ran around for a long time making merry and soaking up the novelty of the evening and the undivided attention of Mommy and Daddy.

Sarah found some nature sounds on the computer, and so we were serenaded by crickets as we roasted marshmallows over a roaring pine fire.

After the marshmallows we herded the two excited little campers into the tent and I read the final two chapters of "King of the Wind," which is the book I have been reading them at bedtime for the past week or so. By the time I got to the last page both of them had conked out. I'll have to tell them what happened tomorrow morning.

Sarah and I sat up by the fire talking for a while.

...and then Sarah went up to our bed and I am about to crawl into the tent.
Going to sleep is the worst part about camping out... or is it camping in? I'm confused.
Good night!


Up at 5:00 and out the door for my Thursday morning men's study. Started work at 8:15 and stopped work at 4:00 pm- went to the dump and and stacked wood for a while in the morning and did mostly office work in the afternoon. After work we all went to Bowden's soccer practice, and then hustled home to whip up some victuals and clean house before our junior high small group came over at 5:45. We had 8 kids, which was less than the 11 we had last week. It really isn't much of a small group, but they are all very well behaved and I come away feeling encouraged usually. Put the kids to bed, and then laid down to read in bed for a while and the next thing I knew Jack was crying and it was 6:00 in the morning.


27f or 5

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Which of these three broad denominational affiliations has the most churches in the American Church List Database:


*and for bonus points, which broad denominational affiliation has THE MOST churches in the database.

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Sarah spent most of the day off the hill with Lisa and Emily doing shopping and such. Thus it fell it to me to drop Bowden off and pick him up from kindergarten. Bowden also "worked" with me in the afternoon until Sarah came back home. I got off work at approximately 4:30. In the evening (sixish) we drove over to the Fredrickson's for our Wednesday night gathering. We rotate where we meet, which is working out to be really fun as well as practical. As I type I am putting off getting ready for my early morning men's study, but I am newly fortified by a cup of coffee so I'm gonna ride that wave until I wipe out into the ocean of sweet oblivion. I bid you adieu and goodnight!

Unknown Amount

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I am giving the coveted Hutela AmaDundar endorsement to John McCain and Sarah Palin.



Worked from 8:30 until 5:45. When I went into town to get the camp's mail I swung by Franz's house to drop off a jar of rose hip jelly as a thank you for letting me pick on his property, and he called me back in the evening to say that he and his wife as well as a doctor friend of theirs had tried it and decided that it was "the best jelly or jam we have ever had." He told me I could come and clean out his rose bushes and he had even scouted out a few other prime picking spots for me. I'm too busy to dedicate any more time to it though. At around 8:30 our new friends Brian and Britney Fredrickson and Dylan and Katie Dachtler came over for dessert, coffee and two games of settlers of Catan. I finished off the evening by making Bowden's lunch for tomorrow- Rocket ship and star shaped pancakes with an individual serving of syrup, juice box and some apple sauce. Got to bed way too late- 1 am. Why do I do this to myself?


13 down 2

Monday, October 06, 2008


Monday is my day off. I spent most of the day making rose hip jelly and cleaning up the mess that ensued. The end result was six jars of beautiful jelly and two jars of syrup. In the afternoon Sarah and I took enchiladas over to the Whites for dinner. We put the kids to bed over there and stayed until 10:30 playing Settlers of Catan. Then we gathered up our progeny and drove home.




Yesterday, after church, Sarah and I took the kids down to the gully by the ball field where there is an enormous wild rose bush covered with bright red rose hips. As soon as we started picking Sarah began commenting that she had seen much larger ones on her walks with Emily. I was reluctant to abandon the bush because they were plentiful and I liked the idea of all of the rose hips coming from Camp Maranatha, but I eventually relented and we loaded up the van and drove to other spots along Idyllwild Creek and Strawberry Creek. Sarah was definitely right and I was very grateful that she persuaded me to go elsewhere. Those little rose hips from our gully were very much inferior to the other ones we found.

We ended up picking most of the rose hips from a spot next to Strawberry Creek. The owner of the land graciously allowed us to pick them on his property, and in gratitude I set aside a jar of jelly for him.

Dennis Cavanaugh, one of our friends from church, saw us picking and stopped to talk for a while.
There are some big beautiful rose hips down by Strawberry creek.
We ended up filling four buckets, which ended up being the easy part of the job.

Sarah's and my fingers were stained and sticky from picking so many.
I spent the rest of the day sitting in a recliner separating the rose hip from the remnants of the blossom.
The end result was seven quarts. I only used four quarts. The remaining three quarts I froze for a more ambitious day.
Boiling the bright red jewels. They kind of remind me of cranberries.

Mashing up the rose hips into a deep red mush. If you had walked into the house at this point it would have smelled a little like rhubarb.
Then Sarah strained the mash through a cheese cloth, and this was the byproduct. It looks a lot like ground beef.
Then I took the strained juice, and added Pectin, lemon juice and sugar (lots of sugar).
Then we canned the finished product, and here they are- six jars of rose hip jelly. I also made two more jars of rose hip syrup for use on ice cream, pancakes and such. I'm pretty proud of this experiment, and it truly is delicious.
Two days eaten up by rose hips so I can eat up some rose hips. Fair trade?