Monday, August 10, 2009

Facebook

I'm not abandoning this blog altogether, but I am officially placing it on ice for a while. If you would like to stay in touch, and I hope that you will, come find me on facebook, which I'm going to try for a while.

Thanks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back from Pepperdine

Just back from Pepperdine and don't have time for a full download. Just wanted to say:

1. It was fantastic. Great time with old friends and meeting some new ones as well.
2. Malibu is still really pretty.
3. Thank you so much to all the people who supported me by attending my class. Special thanks to Tara for gathering a fantastic praise team at the last minute and to the folks who sang. It meant a lot to me. Thank you.

I really enjoyed teaching this year and hope to go back next year for more of the week. I felt like my class went well, though I wasn't one of those who had to listen to me, so I'm probably not the best judge. But I feel good about it.

More soon. Thank you to everyone who was praying for me. Your prayers were heard and God was with me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New sites


My lovely (or "mactastic" if you prefer) wife has recently pointed me to a couple of fun sites I have to share.


First is my favorite: http://thingsiwanttopunchintheface.blogspot.com/ It is somewhat PG-13 with language, but it is darn (I try to keep it PG) funny. Plus, I think this person might secretly be reading my mind somehow. I would say, it just seems like that because these are things that annoy everyone, but then why are there so many people who continue to do/like these things? Enjoy.



Then there is this latest gem: http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/ The above mentioned punch blog links here to share her dislike for food mixtures and I need to follow up on that. Why do so many people believe that taking multiple things they like and putting them together will make something even better? Are these the same people who would drink gasoline because they figure, "hey it smells good, it probably tastes good." (Gasoline does smell good....oh it does so....stop arguing, when you know you love it).
I mean, I love playing basketball, but I don't think it would be improved if I could play ball, eat a sandwhich and run through my yard in my bathrobe attacking shrubs with a samari sword and shouting "there can be only one" all at the same time.....wait, bad example because I do not, I repeate do NOT, like doing that last thing...ever...as far as you know.


The foods from the why you're fat blog also remind me of the Seinfeld episode where George tries to do all his favorite things at once which leads to crumbs in the sheets, the need for a portable TV and an angry girlfriend.


One thing at a time. I mean what is the American fascination with adding meat to other meat. I like meat. I like it as much as anyone I know, but I don't think one meat is better if I put more meat on it. Enjoy each meat for the goodness of that meat. Every meat is special and deserves to be eaten by itself. Unless you're talking about bacon of course, which goes on everything.


This discussion brings me to FOOD RULE 17 - It is not acceptable to simply combine the seperate food items of a complete meal in a large rectangular glass dish, cover it in cheese and bake it all together. You have not created a new food item, you have destroyed several perfectly good ones. The fact that we give this concept a name and serve it relentlessly at Church potlucks, does not make it right.


Basically we have taken what prisons do with their leftovers and said it is ok to serve that for dinner.


It's not.


Take a stand.


Don't get your recipes from prisons.


Ok, I'm done.....for now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pepperdine

Greetings all in blogland. I just got a last minute invitation to go down and speak at the Pepperdine Lectures. I now have one day to come up with a class title and about 2 weeks to come up with a class!!! Yikes. This much I know, it is going to center around our experience up here at Westside putting together our own worship CD and will seek to encourage others to try the whole thing themselves. Past that, I’m not sure yet.

Since I started writing songs, I have had several powerful revelations.

Perhaps the most significant is that writing songs is not as hard as you think. If you are a Christian, there is power and beauty in your faith. All you really have to do is find a way to articulate that power in your own words (it helps of some of them rhyme) and then set it to music. Still sound hard? I really don’t think it is. I don’t mean to diminish the talents of the great songwriters, just to debunk the notion that you couldn’t write a song yourself. With a little help from the truly gifted around us, you might even write something that your congregation would want to sing. From there, you just never know how God might use you or your song.
My class won’t be about how to write music, but more about one congregation’s journey writing music that respects our tradition and reflects what God is doing in us, with some thoughts on how you and your congregation might do the same. I’ll play some music from our CD and depending on who might be down there with me, we might even sing some.

Anyway, I am honored to be invited and excited to attend (I haven’t been to the lectures in years) and I hope I see some of you there.

Let me know in the comments if you plan to be there and maybe we can hook up down in Malibu.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Trust Fund


I don't usually write things out when I am going to speak in public. I make a few scratched out notes and then just go with what comes out. So far, it has worked for me well enough. But at my Dad's memorial a couple weeks ago, I knew I couldn't get away with that. I had some things that I really wanted to say about my Dad and knew that it would be among the hardest things I have ever done. So, this time, I wrote out my remarks in part so I could read them and not really have to think and in part so if it proved too hard for me to do, someone else could read it for me. Turns out I still went off script a bit, but this is close to the remarks that I made.

By the grace of God, I somehow managed to get through it and am very glad I was able to. Many of you have been reading about and praying for my Dad through this blog, though many of you could not be at the memorial. So, I thought I would post what I wrote here. It is a small snippet of the things I could have said about my father, but I thought I would share this with you who have provided me such welcomed support in the last few months. Thank you.

-------

"Deck him Ron."

The words were spit in a hushed whisper into my Dad’s ear. I nervously watched on as my Dad stared across at our red-faced landlord and even at 7 years old I could sense that violence was in the air.

“C’mon. Just deck him. We’ve got your back.”

Dale and Ronnie flanked my Dad on either side like two pitbulls tugging at their leashes. They were huge men who dwarfed my Dad, which was no easy task as you know. They were looking for a fight that would not have been their first to say the least. But my Dad was not interested and I watched as he put his hands out as if to say “calm down, there’s no need for this” and he said a few soft but firm words to our landlord who shook his head, got into his car and drove away, perhaps never knowing how close he came to the worst beating of his life.

“What did Dale mean ‘deck him?’ I asked innocently sensing that I had just witnessed something potentially scary or maybe even kind of cool and very grown up.

“He wanted me to hit him.”

“What? Why”

“He didn’t like the way he was speaking to me and thought I should hit him” my Dad said.

“oh.” I said mostly because I was still unsure what to make of these events and this explanation. Fortunately, my Dad went on to explain.

“But I didn’t want to hit him and did not want to fight. Most of the time you don’t have to hit to settle an argument and it is always better to settle things peacefully.”

I was seven, so I don’t remember if those were exactly my Dad’s words to me that day, but it was something along those lines. That scene has stuck with me as if tattooed onto my consciousness and over the years it has helped save me from many fights that never were.
It is one of the earliest memories I have of my Dad and reminded me that being strong, (and my Dad was very strong), didn’t mean you had to fight.

Many of you may be surprised to learn that my Dad was a very wealthy man. When I was born, he set up a trust fund for me and made regular deposits up until the days when his body had so totally failed him, he could no longer do it. When each of my brothers and sister were born, he did the same for them. When my brother Martin later became his fourth son, he did the same for him.

By the time my father’s body died, (and I choose my words carefully there because my father is not dead. He was with God his whole life and has only moved that much closer to Him now), by the time my father’s body died, the trust funds he had established for me and his other children had grown to a staggering sum. In fact, I can honestly say, I do not know, nor will I ever know the true value of my account.

When I would go to camp or a friend’s house to spend the night, my Dad would say, “remember who you are” to remind me that I was his son and one of God’s children and that I should act accordingly.

When we had a spare room in our house, and often even when we didn’t, our home was open to those who needed a place to stay. When we had extra food at our Christmas table and often even when we didn’t, our family grew for that meal as friends and strangers alike were invited to join us. When someone in the Church was in crisis in the middle of the night, my Dad would go to help them. When I thought myself too good to socialize with the awkward kids at Church or at school (not realizing I was one myself) , my Dad “encouraged” me,…as only he could….to befriend them. And when I was being pushed by my peers to do something I shouldn’t I remembered Dale whispering “Deck him Ron” into my Dad’s ear and remembered that my Dad said, “no.”

I grew up knowing that Jesus loved me and God made me in His own image and that all people were important to God and that meant they should be important to me.

Each time, I saw my Mom and my Dad, invite someone into our home, or go to someone in the middle of the night or reach out to someone no one else wanted to reach out to, or to honor each other in their marriage, or saw my Dad repay anger with kindness, my Dad made a deposit into my trust fund. For you see my Dad was not putting money in an account to be held in trust for me and my siblings. My Dad was showing me how to be a Man and a child of God by teaching me to trust God above all else.

In fact my parents have never had a lot of money. When I entered high school my Dad told me that he wanted me to go to college and would support me going wherever I wanted but he wanted me to know that he could not afford to give me any money to help with college and if I were to make it I would have to do it on my own. When my friends were getting cars for their 16th birthday, I got a Bible. That sounds like a nice story now, but at 16, not as much. I always had enough, but there was very rarely anything extra.

When I was a little older, my Dad would joke that I needed to get a good job and work hard because there would be no inheritance when he died. He had no money and what he did have went to REI.

Just a few months ago, my Dad and I took a trip to Victoria just to get away father and son for one last trip. We talked about the jobs he had and the places he had lived with my Mom. When I remarked at what a wild career path he had, he paused and mentioned that he wondered if he should have done more to provide for my Mom and us kids financially after his death. Maybe he should have taken different jobs and saved more money. Maybe he should have invested more wisely or even at all.

He reminded me again, that there would be no inheritance from him. He had no fortune to leave me. No family business to provide for me and my brothers and sister or the woman that he loved so much and had loved for so long.

In his old age, he had forgotten my trust fund. It is true, there was no money. No stocks or bonds or treasury bills. No gold coins or family heirlooms.

But my Dad was wrong about my inheritance. To me he left things of greater value than money or stock. My Dad spent his whole life investing in people. He built relationships everywhere he went and spent a good deal of his life helping people do the same thing. He loved the people in his family and the church and spent countless hours investing in those people.

Now, those people are his legacy. You are his legacy. We are the things he valued the most and now we have each other to lean on now that he has gone. My trust fund has paid for meals for my family and kitchen remodels and trips overseas and a newly cleaned up yard for my parents. It has bought happy marriages and mended relationships. It has paid for personal strength and support in my hours of greatest need. It pays to support my Mom and give her hundreds of people who love her and would give anything to help her. It has provided security and happiness of the sort that money could never buy.

You are what my Dad has left behind. You are my inheritance and I am what he left you in his will. The things we do for each other are the return on his investment. With every kind word, every lesson, every insight into the nature and will of God, every nugget of wisdom, every hour spent in conversation, every teaching, every meal shared or shelter offered, my Dad was investing in us. Now we have each other and that is a gift more precious than anything else on earth.

And above all, my father left me faith. By teaching me about Jesus and living a life that testified to the faithfulness of God, my Dad gave me eternal life for the future and peace for today.

I will always feel closest to my Dad in the woods where he loved to be the most. In the hours I have spent staring up the trail at his backpack, he shared with me the heart of God. I like to say that my Dad was a prophet because he was gifted with a special insight into the nature of God. Maybe that is part of why he loved so much to be in God’s creation. And as he shared with me in snowbound tents and on forest trails the wisdom of God he left to me the gift of life itself. So now, even in the face of losing my father, my mentor and my closest friend and even in the midst of all my grief, I have peace in the knowledge that God’s grace is sufficient for me today and that Jesus loves me. And that is a treasure no thief can steal and no element can destroy. That is who my father is to me.

When I was in highschool, I went camping with my Dad and Mike Patterson and a few others up on Mount Hood. While we were on the mountain, conditions changed quickly and it became dark and windy and bitterly cold. In the midst of a hurried attempt to find a place to camp for the night, the news stories of a group of students from OES who were lost for days on the mountain flashed through my head. As Mike started digging out a snow cave and my Dad tried to get our tent set up in a terrifying wind, I panicked. I quite literally froze up. My Dad moved quickly, ruining his fingers with frostbite and got me in the tent and in my sleeping bag and safe for the night. He reassured me that we would not blow off the mountain even though I could tell he wasn’t as sure as his words suggested. And of course, he said, “Don’t tell your mother about this.”
He held me close and I felt sure I was safe.

Now when life’s conditions turn on me quickly I will so greatly miss having my Dad to turn to. But as I think about going on without my Dad, I am very thankful that he chose to invest in all of you instead of the stock market. I am very grateful that my Dad left me faith in God rather than a money market account. Now my mom and my family are surrounded by the lives of people my Dad touched. I can think of no greater inheritance.

I hope that I am half the father to my boys that my father was to me. I hope someday they will consider me a close friend like I did my father. Most of all though, I hope to have the good sense to invest in people, so that my boys may end up as wealthy as I am after I am gone.

My Dad was a prophet in the wilderness, or at least Forrest Park. He was a lumberjack, a photographer, a journalist, a principal, a missionary, a teacher, a son, a brother, a husband, a father and my best friend.

If he were here today he might say “don’t stick any beans up your nose.” But he would also say thank you for being a part of his life and if you really want to honor my Dad, love God and love each other, oh and of course, read the book of Job whenever possible.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Memorial Service for my Dad


Just a quick post to let you know that there will be a memorial service for my Dad on Sunday, March 15 at 4:00 pm at Westside Church of Christ. All are welcome. We appreciate your prayers.

My Dad

Today at 11:10am, my father's body passed away. He lived his life with God and is closer to Him now than ever.

Thank you all for your prayers, they have been answered with blessings during a most difficult time. My Dad was at home with my Mom and me and my sister and went in peace.

May God be with us all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

From Tanya

Josh is working too hard and doesn't have time to blog. I thought I would jump in and post an update about his Dad. Ron has just been to his oncologist and it appears his liver tumors have grown significantly since the last CT scan a month ago. They are too numerous to count with the largest being about 6 inches across. They all appear to be growing aggressively.

There is good news in all of this and I am reaching here...so go with me. The tumors have not spread outside of the liver. The doctor felt that they were close to that spreading stage. But not yet. The liver, while compromised, IS still functioning. This is all good news. He is still able to have visitors, still able to laugh at the antics of his grandsons and still able to eat Boston Cream Pie.

The most important thing here is that the doctor gave them additional resources for pain management which should significantly improve things. Kay has worked very hard to keep him comfortable and it takes all her energy to watch him in pain. Lastly, Ron has taken his last dosage of the Nexavar. It seems to have not had much impact on his liver tumors and caused some more unpleasant side effects to boot. There are not many other options to try at this point so now it is our prayer that God, who is so present in Ron's life, consider bringing us a miracle.
We appreciate your prayers. God is good to us all the time but this season of life is a difficult one to bear.