Sunday, July 29, 2007

Looking for 'Mater on the Old Route 66

After the circus we took off looking for one of Nathan and Eli's favorite characters from the Pixar movie, Cars. The producers of the movie were traveling across Route 66 back in the year 2000. Near Galena, Kansas they found an old International Tow Truck, that became the inspiration for the character 'Mater. It is now located at a newly restored 1930s era service station, with a Route 66/Cars gift shop. We took the boys to see the truck.

A Trip to the Circus with our Grandsons

We went to the Shrine Circus with our grandsons this afternoon. I heard that it was supposed to come to Joplin in January, but was postponed because of our snow/ice storm. A good time was had by all:

25 Years After CES

You may not know what CES is. It stands for Christian Elementary School. It is located in Springfield, Illinois. In August of 1982 (that's 25 years ago), our family was on furlough from our mission work in Chile. We moved into a community on the east side of Springfield, in a home rented for us by the Lakeside Christian Church, one of our supporting churches.

Our daughter, Charissa, started kindergarten there, in Mrs. Bridges' class. Another member of College Heights Christian Church, Delicia Bare (nee Jones) was in her class. Charissa's cousin, Christina, was a 1st grader at CES that year.

Yesterday, Christina and her husband, Jesse (I performed their wedding ceremony), were passing through town. Christina is a school teacher. Jesse's company had worked on a job in California, and they were traveling back home. We got together for a brunch at my Mom's house.

They're all grown up now. Take a look at them (Christina & Charissa, left to right)!

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Scooter Left me Stranded on West 7th St.

My scooter broke down on Wednesday afternoon. I had just bragged on how well it was running, when it quit. I had to call a friend, to whom I had just bragged about it, to come bail me out. We put the scooter on the back of his pickup truck, and he drove me home.

Thursday afternoon I tore into the machine. I changed the spark plug, putting in an Iridium spark plug I bought as a backup last summer. I checked the fuel lines, and tried to start it. It almost started, but dumped some fuel on my garage floor. I found the explanation, a screw at the bottom of the carburetor drain tube fell out. I'll find the means to plug it tomorrow, and that should solve my problem.

I'm not much of a mechanic, but at times I have had a small degree of satisfaction by digging in and finding solutions by myself. I'm still capable of taking a job that any idiot can do in one hour, and figuring out a way to take four or five hours to get it done. But I'm learning.

The Cubs dropped game 3 against the Cardinals, and looked Fortunately, the Reds knocked off the Brewers, so they didn't lose ground. I'm going to break tradition and root for the Cardinals for the next few days.

¡Paz a todos ustedes!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Baseball on Oak Ridge Drive

The Cubs are playing in St. Louis right now. I'm thankful for the DVR, as I can watch it at my convenience. About the time the game started, there was a higher priority (hear that, Rose?). We had our grandsons over at the house. Nathan (the 5 year old) handles the bat a little better than Eli (3 years old).

Nathan had a bigger bat than Eli. You can see them both warming up here.

I taught Nathan how to choke up a bit on the bat, which gave him more bat control.

I think I must have pitched at least six innings! We had a great time. I found out that Nathan can run faster than I can, because "little boys can run faster than grown ups!"

Beat Redbirds Now!

The Cubbies are in St. Louis for a 3-game series starting tonight, but I won't be there. I'm glad that all the games will be televised in Joplin! We need to get serious, and sweep out that new ballpark!

A Cubbies blog I read occasionally talks about how Lou has de-Dustified the Cubs. They have played well, despite dropping the last 2 games against eh Cascabeles from Arizona. The Cubs' starting pitching is 2nd in the National League in ERA (and we have not seen any pitchers by the name of Prior or Wood!). Derrek Lee will be back for this series. A-Ram has played great baseball; A-Sor has played well; the Cajun Connection (The Riot and Fonte Not) has been fun to watch. Eamus Catuli!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Convención Nacional Cristiana in Dallas

Last week I attended the Convención Nacional Cristiana in Dallas, Texas. It is a national convention of Spanish-speaking churches affiliated with the Church of Christ/Christian Church, similar in purpose to the North American Christian Convention. I had previously attended the convention in 2005, when it was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but was working behind the scenes at that convention with a group from College Hts. Church in Joplin, as an aid to the Spanish-speaking congregation that meets at Christview Christian Church in Tulsa, where my son was on staff.

This convention I had no organizational responsibilities. I was able to enjoy the convention, as well as to represent OCC. There was a Bible Bowl-like competition, as part of the youth program, and OCC awarded scholarships to the winners. A girl on the 1st-place team (from Dodge City, KS) wants to come to OCC, so that was pretty cool.

Overall, I was very impressed with the convention. The sermons that were preached in the adult sessions I was able to attend were excellent, and demonstrated both scholarship and the ability to "throw down" (as young preachers are wont to say). I migrated back and forth between the youth and the adult sessions. My son was leading worship in the youth sessions, which he did with the excellence I expect from him.

Next year's convention will be held in San Antonio, TX (July 22-24). The local president is Dámaso García, the minister at the Bellaire Christian Church in San Antonio. I first met him in 1992, when a group called RED (Redacción, Edición, Distribución) met together for the first time, to discuss the need for quality publication of Christian books in Spanish. Now, 15 years later, his son, Ismael, works with my son in the planning and execution of the youth sessions of this convention.

I was very impressed with the team from the hispanic congregation at Valley View Christian Church (which hosted the event). Under the leadership of their Spanish minister, David Gallegos, all who attended were well cared for.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Passed My Comps!

I'm in the Dallas area now for the Convención Nacional Cristiana. The convention is being held at the Valley View Christian Church. I'm staying with family members about 20 minutes away in Allen, TX. When I got here, I checked my e-mail, and had a message from my advisor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It said, "Congratulations!"

I've got some paperwork to file now, but I guess I am officially a candidate from graduation for my Ph.D. I'll need to spend some time with him about the dissertation research questions next week before I go to Chile.

Cubs lost tonight, so maybe they'll pick it up tomorrow.

I'm going to bed. God's best to you all!


Monday, July 16, 2007

Go, Cubs, Go!

Since June 3, the Chicago Cubs are the hottest team in Major League Baseball. Tonight they had another come-from-behind win, beating the SF Giants 3-2. Midway through the game, the Cubs made an announcement of a trade that will help them out. They picked up catcher Jason Kendall from the Oakland A's, a lifetime .298 hitter, who is a good catcher, good hitter, and has good speed.

There is a sense on the north side of Chicago that this team could be a team of destiny.

Go, Cubs, Go! Eamus Catuli!

Jason Kendall's bio and stats are available here.

Light Blogging

I haven't blogged much recently. Tomorrow I take off for Dallas, to represent Ozark Christian College at the Convención Nacional Cristiana, a gathering of U.S. based Spanish-speaking congregations. I will be a judge for the preaching competition, where messages are to be bilingual. That ought to be fun! OCC will be awarding scholarships to winners of the preaching and Bible Bowl competitions.

We're overhauling our finances, and cut up our credit cards. We plan to move to a cash only basis (debit cards count as cash). We've been listening to some common sense finance counsel. As far as keeping a credit card back for emergency use, one piece of advice made me laugh out loud. Perhaps you've heard that some recommend that you put a credit card in the freezer (emergency use only). We heard one guy say that in addition to putting a credit card in the freezer, you should fill up a tin can with water, put the credit card in the can of water, and then freeze it. That way, it can't be defrosted in the microwave! LOL!

I don't mean to offend my friends who work in the banking industry, but recently I watched a PBS Frontline program titled The Secret History of the Credit Card. It won a 2004-2005 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. You can watch it online by clicking on the link.

I will go to Chile from August 2-14. I will speak at a Pastors' Retreat in Villa Alemana, Chile August 3-5, and teach a course in Lautaro (Southern Chile) from August 8-12. I'll have just over 2 days to visit friends in Santiago.

The Cubbies are heating up. I'm hoping that the Milwaukee Brewers can feel them breathing down their necks. I still think God will want to reward faithful Cubs fans with a World Series title this year, to avoid the moniker of 100 years of futility!

Hope you have a good day!


Monday, July 02, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

About three years ago, our friend Shirley Woolsey, who at that time was a missionary in Chile, told me about a book that she was certain I would enjoy reading. Khaled Hosseini, an Afghani wrote a book titled The Kite Runner. I kind of filed that away in my mind. Two years ago last month (June 2005), Rose, Kim & I were in Chile, and stayed with the Woolsey family for the last four days we were in the country. Craig Woolsey was reading the book at the time we were in their home. The next to the last night we were in Chile, I started reading the book in their living room, and read about 100 pages. I asked them if I could take the book with me, and promised to air mail it right back to them. They said, "no," so I had to find another way. I remember going to a Books-a-Million store in Joplin, and reading a couple chapters more. I then bought a used copy, probably on, and devoured it. Rose read it. It was a picture into life in Afghanistan. The author, Hosseini, had left his home country and migrated to the U.S. where he made a life for himself, when he was very young. The Kite Runner was based on the author's memory of Afghanistan. He had never returned. Lev Grossman writes for Time magazine, and notes the irony of an expatriate Afghani writing a book about an expatriate Afghani returning to Afghanistan (The Kite Runner) without returning to Afghanistan himself. It was Grossman's article about Hosseini that made me aware of his second book. You can read his article here. Hosseini returned to Afghanistan in 2003, and promptly wrote A Thousand Splendid Suns. When I was walking down an aisle at Sam's Club, I saw it waiting for me, so I bought a copy. Rose read this one first. I started it on my long bus trip from Chicago, and just finished it a few nights ago (after finishing comps).

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a look at the lives of Afghani women, especially contrasting the lives of two women, one older than the other, raised in completely different pre-Taliban contexts, who end up, because of the nation's particular tragedies, married to the same despotic man. The younger was viewed at first by the older as the rival wife, to be fought. A friendship, in reality, a kinship (mother-daughter; older sister-younger sister), was formed. Like Hosseini's earlier book, as a master storyteller, this account is riveting. It is not a pleasant read, but it is valuable.

I had a student who spent a long time in Kabul, working with an NGO. He recommended another book on Afghanistan, title The Book Seller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad. Though written based on the experiences of a non-Afghani who spends significant time there, it also allows foreigners a view from the inside.

I recommend all three of these books. You might want to check them out.

δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ
καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη
ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.


Sunday, July 01, 2007