Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2001 - Never Forget

I was asleep.   It was early morning and the California sun was beginning to stream through the window into my room seemingly hiding the harsh reality that had taken place earlier on that fateful day.

My mom waking me up was the first thing I remembered.  I don’t recall much of what was said, but for some reason, it was urgent.  I pulled my five-year-old self out of bed and came out into our main room.  There, on the TV set, I remember watching the footage of two planes colliding with the twin towers in New York City.   I didn’t know the ramifications of what was going on, but I knew one thing for sure: It was bad.

2900 people died on our soil that day.  Of those 2900, 343 were Firefighters.  Fire Department New York originally numbered 752 employees.  In the disaster, almost half of them died.  The entire attack was simply awful, for everyone killed... everyone injured.

Growing up as the child of a Firefighter has a lot of perks, you could say.  You kind of know your way around all the stations, have met a lot of men who risk their lives to save others, get to eat the cookies, the ice cream, and the other frozen desserts out of the freezer with you dad when you visit him on duty, and ride in a rig as your second vehicle.  (Okay, so the last one is kind of exaggerated!  The dessert is a true story though... many times!)

But growing up in a Firefighter’s family also has its risks.  Firefighting is the most dangerous job out there.  If there’s one thing I remember being said that morning of September 11th, 2001, it was my dad walking out of the hallway and saying, “I’m going to be ordered in to work.”  Sure enough, minutes later the phone rang and the opposite voice called him in. 

I remember something else though, from the days following the attack on the World Trade Center.  A news clip showed a packed street of people running away from where the towers had stood... In the midst of that, there was one fireman, pushing his way against the crowd, toward the site of disaster.  My dad told me, “In the 9-11 attack, everyone was running away, except for one group of people.... the emergency workers ran toward it.”

Last night I pulled out a book that we’ve had for a long time, which commemorates the 343 Firefighters killed after the twin towers were attacked.  This 200 page book has a small line of never ending text that continues along the bottom of every single page, simply listing the names of those who gave all.  But it was this paragraph that struck me last night:

It’s the custom on many Fire Departments, at the funerals of fallen Firefighters, to have them played to their rest by bagpipers.  Sunday after the horror, beside a Hudson ruby-red in the setting sun, as near to the ruins as he could get, a lone piper was playing.  He had no connection to the New York Fire Department; he wasn’t even from New York.  He was a guy from Boston, a plumber by trade, who happened to be a bagpiper and had been moved to tears by the heroism and self-sacrifice of our firefighters.  So he’d come to pay his respects.  At that time the exact number of fallen was not yet known, but it was put around 300.  The piper was playing a minute or so for each man, trying to keep each tribute a little different; plangent riffs on old Scottish and Irish ballads, songs of lost love and the death of heroes and the longing for home.  He’d been playing for six and a half hours.  But each lament was sweeter and more haunting than the last.”

May the memories of those who died that day be a blessing.  May God bless America, protect her, convict her, and cause her to repent.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13....

Today, August 13, happens to be a very important day....

Ya know why?!

Cause it's international left handers day!  

Important huh?

Yeah of course it is!!!

I mean, I'm a lefty, it's awesome to be a lefty, and we need our day!!!

And for some "lefthanderisms"...
The right half of the brain controls the left side of the body... That means that only left handers are in their "right mind"!

You know what... I really like this one! JK 
"Left-handers are more likely to be geniuses - 20% of all MENSA members report being left-handed."

 "Lefties are more likely than righties to really, really hate spiral notebooks."

4 of the 5 original designers of the Mac computer were left-handed.

And lastly....
We were all born right handed... but only the best of us overcame it! JK


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Camp Dwight 2014

Well hello my fine friends!  No, I didn't fall off the earth, land on the moon or something else equally crazy.... just been really busy!  Story of my life, right?

I can say this, I returned last week from probably one of my favorite weekends of the year!  not sure how that works, seeing the year still has 4 months to run? Well, any time spent with so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ is my favorite part of the year!

So we went to Camp Dwight (Which is an awesome family camp) for the first time this year... We actually met the coordinators of the camp and their son's family almost 10 years ago... that was right before we moved out of California.  So yes, we were originally invited way back then.  But... due to scheduling, water problems in our well and about another 100 things, we never went... till finally some good friends convinced us!  And that's where we begin!

And yes... credit for about 95% of these awesome photos goes to my great friends and really great photographers, Evan Smythe and Paul Leavitt.

Just for the extra fun, we took along a couple of great friends from church!  It was a total riot riding out there!!! 

Road tripping... Strang style!  That basically means a whole lot of talking, laughing, joking and building awesome friendships!!!

Hitting the rest stop where we all hung out and got a nice full group shot!

Oh... and this is the part where we don't camp.... Yeah that's right!  We just don't camp!  So we settled for a great rental house.  

I never waste time getting involved in a great game of volleyball!  In all seriousness though, I played somewhere around 8-10 hours of volleyball over the weekend!  It was awesome!

Me!  (But you already knew that, right? ;))

Mr. Burnell Johnson.  The camp was hosted on his property.  He's one of the original Johnsons we met almost 10 years ago.

Dr. Jerry Benjamin spoke several times throughout the weekend.  He had some wonderful things to say and really focused on how Christ should have the preeminence in our lives... And how true that is! 

Friday evening ended at around 1:00 am for me when I finally rolled into bed... Problem is, I had to be up at 5 am the next morning the run the 5k.

 Yes... I photobomed here.... Well, what else are you supposed to do?!

So... the 5k was awesome!!! Absolutely awesome!  I didn't actually train that much for it... being so busy.  But I ended up placing somewhere between sixth and ninth with a time of 21.49.  That was over a minute better than any of my practice times!  I was excited about it!  The funny thing was the altitude... I ran at 3600 feet and boy did it hurt!

Hitting the homestretch!  
A somewhat hideous picture of the finish line!  Okay.. so it's not that bad!!!

And I know you're all dying to know if I beat my nemesis +Kyle Bowes..... Well.. much to his satisfaction, he beat me... By about one or two places!  I know, right... impossible!  I'm still trying to figure out where he cut across the field of hay!  JKJK  Actually, well done Kyle!  Wonderful running with you, and you deserve your shirt!!!

After the 5k, some guys and I jumped in the pond to cool off, and then played a few games of volleyball before the morning meeting... 

Phil and I... possible plotting something... that had to do with.... Oh never mind!!!

My problematic yet awesome friend, Kyle who spent the morning in his tent..... LOL JK

Aren't these guys to awesome!!!
Judah bumped his head a few days before we left.... Which is somewhat obvious!

Saturday afternoon was a ton of fun!  They set up a long slip and slide which we all had way to much fun on! 

Us guys doing something crazy and awesome!

Us guys doing something else crazy and awesome!

Evan, Matt and I got a bit adventurous!  Boy was it fun!

In lieu of a shower, right?!  JK

Saturday evening was a wonderful time of about 15 different performers...
This shot gives some perspective to how many people were there.

This family could SING!!!

We got up to do a few pieces...

Caption: "In case you couldn't tell, I'm single... yeah.. unmarried!"
JKJK I didn't say that!

Eden sang "The Holy City" which was followed by the first ever standing ovation at camp Dwight!

And yes... me at my "always" position while Eden sings... deep concentration....... :P
Seriously though, we've performed quite a bit now, and we have quite a bond!

It was great to see the Boohers again!  We hadn't seen them play since 2004... After that, we had met several of them over the years, so camp Dwight was a wonderful place to reconnect and catch up with them!
And Saturday evening... well we stayed around for quite a while, singing with piano and guitars and having a grand old time!  And somewhere in the middle of all that, Kyle got pranked!  But that's his story! :P

Oh yes.... this is what we did Sunday morning! :P Call us crazy... well.. yes we are!  

Sunday Morning meeting....

And unfortunately, I don't have anymore pictures from our day Sunday... but I can assure you it was filled with a whole lot of awesome conversations, meeting new friends, dancing, singing and having a wonderful time fellow-shipping with other believers.

Yes... these events are the types of things that almost give us a glimpse of what we will be doing for eternity... Exalting Jesus Christ with our brothers and sister in Him... Forever and ever!

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" -Psalm 133:1

Monday, July 7, 2014

Distance running....

No... a 5K isn't actually distance running.  It just looks cooler to write it that way!  :P JK

But I should start at the very beginning (Which just happens to be a very good place to start! :)):  There's this family camp we're going to this summer for the first time and apparently they run a big 5K one of the mornings.  When I first heard it I thought, "oh cool... I should do that."  Time passed, then I look at it and think, "never mind... I'm not going to do that!"  Not like I'm not up to a physical challenge, cause that's not true... I'm just not terribly ready to kill myself training for a race barely a month away... And then my cousin came to town.  We had a great time, and did some running for fun.  My sister says she's going to run it so I'm finally going, "Okay... I have to do this. Wow!"  

I don't know... You always establish running/fitness routine, but never stick to it, right?   I contented myself by saying that swimming long distances does the same thing to your legs that running does: It makes them sore.  And isn't that what it's supposed to do?

And then it gets worse... My friend (And yes, you know who you are!) wants to establish a competition between him and I while we run together... Long story short, we haggled over the details for a while and finally came to the conclusion that the loser is going to come out $15 short.  Now, I'm not a cheapskate or anything, but $15 could buy me like... a CD... or 13 and a half cups of coffee... (Yes.. the coffee is important for me! )

And now I ramble.......

Well, let me just cut it right here and resort to the idiom: "May the better man win!"

That's right, Kyle!  Hope you enjoy running against me!  (And don't worry, I won't put anything on your back or something else while we're running.... while we're running mind you! :P)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's Full of Nothing....

Okay wait.. think about that.  An impossible paradox, right?  Nothing truly comes from nothing... You know, ex nihilo...  But try to fill an empty space with nothing... it can be filled with emptiness....I think... okay maybe it can't!

And now I'm stalling.... Yes... If you have bothered to check this in the past month, you'll see that it lacked... really lacked in posts.  But never fear, people!  I was just thinking about all of you the other day... and trying to think up a time to tear away from everything else and give you some sort of photo update of my life recently... Ah but now the sad part, now is not that time.. But as Mr. Lewis said..."I call all times soon"... Yes, it will be soon.  In the mean time, remember, "Patience is indeed a virtue!" 

So now I've got myself curious.... Can you fill an empty space with emptiness?!? JK

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fall on Me...

In light of my last post (and yes.. I know it's been a long time! ;)) I had been thinking about writing a song about becoming more filled with the Holy Spirit... And guess what? It actually happened!!! Somewhere amidst finishing high school and a ridiculously busy life I got two sessions to write this!  Oh.. well it happened at 12-1 am in the morning!!!

And no.. I don't have a demo of it right now... Like a lot of my other songs!  I really need to crack down and make some quick recordings to share with the internet..... Summer project! ;)

So anyway... hope you enjoy these lyrics!  And maybe you'll get to hear them all someday on a studio release... or better yet someday I can tour through your city!  How's that?! (Well, we'll see where the Lord leads! ;))


Fall on Me   

Verse 1:
Lord, I need Your power
To walk through every day
From the dawning of the sun
Till it’s going down again
Cause without You I will stay
Walking here in no direction
Till life begins to fade

So would you fall on me, make Your presence known
Breathe on me with Your whirlwind
Rest on me as a flame of fire
Oh Spirit of God, please fall on me,

Verse 2:
Lord, I need Your wisdom
And knowledge to discern
The good from evil, the right from wrong
And choose the righteous path
Lord, I need Your filling
To let my voice be heard
Lifted up in praise to You
And make my motives pure

So would you fall on me, make Your presence known
Breathe on me with Your whirlwind
Rest on me as a flame of fire
Oh Spirit of God, please fall on me,

Your Spirit is here to guide me
As day slips into days
Until that final, beautiful day
When Jesus Christ returns