Sunday, December 31, 2006


I was in the process of reworking some of my incomplete poems from 2006 and then I read somebody else's poem this morning and I was deeply moved. The poem is taken from the book "NEW AND SELECTED POEMS: 2006" by Stanley Moss. I don't know if you enjoy poetry like I do and, if you don't, may I suggest you read through the poem below several times and let it sink in. However, there's a quote I wanted to share with you first.

"The poetry of the ages is an argument with God, so it is said; but not many poets attempt it today. Stanley Moss does." --Hayden Carruth

Of course, that is a "blurb" that is meant to sell poetry books, but I love the description of poetry as an "argument with God." I think having an argument with God is a worthwhile endeavor and I highly recommend letting all your truth fly when you're talking with God. Of course, God's going to win the argument, but he is first and foremost a compassionate God and he's going hear you out and change you in the process. I think that's what I love about poetry, the act of reading or writing it changes me in some way.

If you're reading this blog post right now I truly wish you a meaningful year ahead in 2007 and I am thankful to count you as a friend. Anyway, here's the poem that affected me this morning, the poem I want to share with you on this, the last day of 2006 . . . .


I salute a word, I stand up and give it my chair,
because this one Zulu word, ubuntu,
holds what English takes seven to say:
"the essential dignity of every human being."
I give my hand to ubuntu --
the simple, everyday South African word
for the English mouthful.
I do not know the black Jerusalems of Africa,
or how to dance its sacred dances,
I cannot play Christ's two commandments on the drums:
"Love God" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
I do not believe the spirts of the dead
are closer to God than the living,
nor do I take to my heart
the Christlike word ubuntu
that teaches reconciliation
of murderers, torturers, accomplices,
with victims still living.
It is not blood but ubuntu
that is the manure of freedom.

--Stanley Moss

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Child Pleases the Spirit

I just finished my second Brennan Manning book while I was on vacation. It was ABBA'S CHILD. It was not as fantastic as the first one I read, RUTHLESS TRUST, but it was great. I truly recommend it.

To really boil down ABBA'S CHILD, it's about this: There is a battle within us. We should completely identify ourselves as a child, a beloved son or daughter of the loving Abba and the beloved love of the Rabbi Jesus. What is in conflict against this child? That would be our inner-pharisee and the person in us whom Manning calls the impostor.

There is so much in this book worthy of talking about, but I wanted to share one brief passage. You must know that I read this passage right after a friend of mine left me a loving voice mail telling me how honored, proud, and lucky he was to have me as a friend. The message warmed my soul, filled the tank of this feeler, and then I read this passage from Manning. The bold print below is mine because, as I read the words on the page and I heard the words of my friend replaying in my ear, the words that I bolded below seemed bolded to me, they jumped out. Here you go:

The child spontaneously expresses emotions; the pharisee carefully represses them . . . . The issue is whether I express or repress my genuine feelings . . . . To open yourself to another person, to stop lying about your loneliness and your fears, to be honest about your affections, and to tell others how much they mean to you--this openness is the triumph of the child over the pharisee and a sign of the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17). To ignore, repress, or dismiss our feelings is to fail to listen to the stirrings of the Spirit within our emotional life.

That's it. That passage above from Brennan Manning really moved me. Combined with a genuine expression of feelings from a friend, those words were fuel in my soul. Incidently, the friend is a remarkable man that is a member of my home church, Canyon Hills Church. He is just one of the reasons I am so thankful for the wonderful church home I have. As I think of all the remarkable, loving, self-sacrificing, and real humans that go to my church, I am overwhelmed with grattitude for my loving Abba's blessings and expressions of love. Truly, as I think of the names and faces of people at Canyon Hills that do a pretty darn great job of living out the above Manning quote, I am filled with joy and thanksgiving.

This post was written by Doah-child, pictured left, a blogger, yes, but first and foremost, the dearly beloved of the risen Nazarene Rabbi.

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Friday, December 29, 2006


This "Sunset over the Redrocks" of western Sedona, Arizona
was taken by Harvey Stearns.

Like I told you in the post before this, we just spent six nights in Sedona, Arizona. The first four nights we had the kids and the next two nights were just Chrisy and I. It was a grand time. I'm a bit enamored with Sedona now and wanted to write about it and share some photos. The opening photo above is one that I found on-line.

The kids at the trailhead of the Bell Rock/Courthouse Butte Loop.
Sedona, Arizona
(December 19, 2006)

Our first encounter with Sedona was actually last year, December of 2005. Before that I had a lot of misconceptions about Arizona. I thought it was all flat and hot all the time. It's not in and around Sedona. Arizona, come to find out, is sort of like a group of people: you cannot paint it with a broad brush and remain accurate about your generalizations.

Here's another photo I found on-line of a trail near Coffee Pot Rock.

Last year when we went to visit Chrisy's father, he gave us a great gift: a few nights stay in Sedona, a massage at a local spa, some certificates for dinners out, and babysitting! During our kidless stay last year we did some hiking and really appreciated the natural beauty, colors, variety, rock structures, and weather of Sedona. We really enjoyed Sedona, so much so that we wanted to go back this year and show the children this beautiful part of God's creation. That's what we did.

The kids with a bit of Courthouse Butte in the back.
The part on the right behind Max is known as Rabbit ears.

Sedona's average high temperature for the year is about 75 degrees. It's at an elevation of about 4,500 feet so it's a very enjoyable climate year round. The hottest month is July and it's not much different than here where I live in Orange County, about 95 degrees. It's situated in an area that has several national forests around it. By contrast, Phoenix is at an elevation of only 1,117 and is located in a valley. I guess Sedona is considered central Arizona; it's 120 miles north of Phoenix and not too far south of Flagstaff. The natural beauty and views are in this area are truly awe-inspiring. Chrisy and I kept hearing ourselves say to the kids, "Look at that!" or "Can you believe that?" as we drove around. The colors of the rock formations and mountains are always changing depending on your position and the position of the sun. It's quite amazing actually.

Here's Chrisy crossing the creek to get over to the Baldwin Trail.
(December 21, 2006)

Last week while we were there we did two hikes with the kids. The first was the Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte loop. That loop is just a bit over 4 miles. It actually started snowing as we did the Bell Rock hike. That was way cool. The photo off to the right is an arial photo of Courthouse Butte. From this view, Bell Rock would be off to the left. The trail we took actually goes completely around both Bell and Courthouse.

The second hike we did was around the area of Cathedral Rock on the Baldwin Trail. I pulled the photo of Cathedral Rock on the left off the Internet. The Baldwin Trail hike is 3.8 miles. It offers great views of Cathedral Rock which is the second most photographed land structure in Arizona. Second only to the Grand Canyon, of course. Last year Chrisy and I actually did the Cathedral Rock Trial which is more strenuous, but this year we had the children with us. The Baldwin Trail hike was wonderful and a bit more challenging than our first hike. To get there you've got to go across a creek. The kids enjoyed that. During the hike we kept thinking we must have gotten off the trail, but we actually stuck to it pretty well. It was rewarding.

Chrisy and the girls on the Baldwin Trail with Cathedral Rock in the background.

We have totally fallen in love with Sedona and highly recommend it to you.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Trip

Here's a picture that Max took with his new camera.
This is Bell Rock which is one of the more prominent natural structures,
east of highway 179, as you begin to approach Sedona, Arizona.

On Monday morning, December 18th, my family (all 6 of us) got up early, packed-up the van and headed over to the Original Pancake House in Laguna Hills. We got to the restaurant right around the time it opened at 7 am. We ate an excellent breakfast and then headed for Arizona. Late that afternoon we stopped in Anthem, Arizona (just north of Phoenix off the 17) to check out the home of our friends, Darryl & Robyn Brice and to have a quick visit with Robyn as Darryl was working. From there we drove straight into Sedona (south of Flagstaff) and checked into Los Abrigados Resort & Spa. Los Abrigados is right next to and shares a parking lot with the well-known Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village. Since it was already evening when we got there, Los Abrigados, was totally lit-up with their annual Christmas lights festival. As soon as we showed the kids our suite we took them to dinner at the most fantastic pizza place called Picazzo's.

On the side of highway 89, Oak Creek, between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona.
(Wednesday, December 20, 2006)

We spent December 18-22 in Sedona with the kids. Actually, on Wednesday, we drove to the Grand Canyon. The kids enjoyed the snowy drive there and, despite the travel time to and from, it was well worth the day-trip. The other two full-days the kids had in Sedona were taken up by lengthy hikes. On the 19th we hiked around Bell Rock (see Max's introductory photo above) and Courthouse Butte. Then, on the 21st we hiked the Baldwin Trail in the vicinity of Cathedral Rock.

Me and the boys on the Baldwin Trail with Cathedral Rock in the background.
(Thursday, December 21, 2006)

That Friday we drove all four children to Chrisy's father's house in Prescott (northwest of Phoenix and about an hour south of Sedona). After catching a movie by ourselves in Prescott ("Prez-kit" if you don't want to sound like you're from California), Chrisy and I hightailed it back to Sedona and spent two night and three days in Sedona all alone and kidless! Over the course of this vacation we saw five movies together and I squeezed in an additional film by myself while Chrisy was getting a massage! We checked-out of our hotel on Christmas Eve morning, had some killer breakfast at our very favorite place, Wildflower Bread Company, did some shopping, and then reunited with the kids at James and Sherry's house in Prescott that afternoon. We went to a Christmas Eve service at 4:00 p.m. and had a to-die-for Mexican Christmas Eve dinner of tamales and Pena enchiladas (this means that they are not put-together the traditional way; moreover, the chili-sauce was homemade from Chrisy's grandmother's homegrown chilis in New Mexico)! Christmas morning the kids had stockings and presents from Grandpa and Grandma. It was lovely. That night we had a scrumptious full-spread Christmas dinner with roast beef as the main dish.

This is Zoey and her Nana Sherry on the Peavine Trail overlooking
the granite dells in Prescott, Az. on the last full day of our trip.
(Tuesday, December 26, 2006)

Chrisy and I were in Prescott with the kids from December 24-27. The day after Christmas her dad had to work and his wife, Sherry (Nana to the kids), took us on a local hike on Peavine Trail. After that she treated us to lunch at Wildflower again which was, of course, appreciated by Chrisy and I. We drove home yesterday. Our drive home was much better than last year, but it was still very long (about 10 hours). We pulled off the El Toro exit Wednesday evening around 6 pm and had dinner at Don Jose. This trip was such a great experience on so many levels: we all connected as a family and had enjoyable times; Chrisy and I were able to rekindle our enduring love affair; all of us were able to appreciate and visit with Chrisy's dad and step-mom; and, perhaps most importantly, I felt a tremendous sense of God's presence and provision out there in his creation; even many times on the road, through some reading and writing I was doing, I had moments of great clarity and felt the presence of the Spirit. In all, this was a much appreciated and well-spent ten days away from home.

I'll likely be doing some additional posts with some more specifics about the locations we visited. In the meantime, I hope you had an excellent Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006


My deepest sadness for you
is that you lived
without displaying
your emotions
Like a pharisee
or a woman from the
gated area uptown
you always had to
put on your face
You resented me for my
uncensored emotions
but the truth is
I never got to know you
In contrast
I showed too much
of myself
too often
I stood naked before you
You never embraced
my vulnerability
instead I remained
a stranger in need
of your coat

--Shenandoah Lynd


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Five Sentence Tribute: Peter Boyle

My favorite Peter Boyle role was Carl Lazlo, Esq. in WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM (1980), a classic and underrated film with Bill Murray (above). Recently, he was amazing in MONSTER'S BALL (2001). Yet, I'll always remember YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) first when somebody says his name. I just recently started watching some EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND reruns and he was, hands-down, the funniest thing about that show. I met Peter Boyle at a Bruce Springsteen concert in 1999.

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