Sunday, January 31, 2010

The 3:10 to Tucson

Our 3000 km. drive from Mayne Island to Tucson went really well. We stopped to have Christmas with Shelby and family Sunday evening and as you can see above, Maizy and Lulu got right into the spirit of the season. We did lunch with cousin Janice in Eugene on Monday. Our visit with Sheila and David Monday evening included supper with Mark and Dondee and boys… which was a real treat!

Tuesday morning we called Bart Shields (a CUC '64 classmate) to inquire where to buy chains in Grants Pass and while we were there at Les Schwab's he surprised us with a quick “hi” on his way to work. We knew if we bought chains it would guarantee us not having to use them and sure enough, we had perfect winter driving conditions… the highway was bare and only wet in places. No snow or ice. Tuesday was our main push… we went from Roseburg to Loma Linda, which was 1376 km. (860 miles) getting in about 9:30 PM to the Hilton on Waterman.

On Wednesday we had an easy drive to Tucson, so we stopped at Salome, just a little NE of Quartzite, to have lunch with Geri and Werner Seidel… more CUC classmates and helpers on the orphanage project.

After checking into the Comfort Suites hotel,

And unloading the luggage on to a dolly, we unpacked and then went to Costco and Target nearby to stock up the kitchen... and while shopping it started to rain really heavy.

Thursday we enjoyed our first complimentary breakfast at the hotel… which happens every morning in this lobby. The internet here works really fast, so we are both delighted with our hotel.

For our first walking/hiking experience we headed up to the Sabino Canyon Park, where we bought a $20. annual pass... I told Shirley it was our health club membership while we are here in Tucson... and it is only 4 miles from the hotel. So far we have gone hiking in Sabino Canyon every day.

We just love the big Saguaro cactus.

The hills are full of them!

With all the rain and snow on the mountain tops, the once dry creek beds are now swollen and overflowing. This is the waterfall over the Sabino Dam.

We have gone every day for a hike in Sabino Canyon... and every day we take a differnt trail. One day we hiked up the main road thru in the valley floor, which crosses over a stream 8 times... hence 8 stone and concrete bridges. With all the rain here this past few weeks the runoff is still coming off the hills and is flowing over the bridge decks. It isn’t all that deep… it varies from 4-8 inches… but it really feels cold. I was wishing that there was a “Moses” around… which comes from just reading that old Exodus story where the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. Here are some details that you won’t find in the Bible.

Crossing the Red Sea was no small miracle to pull off with 2-3 million people in one night. If they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So, there had to be a space in the Red Sea, about 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5,000 abreast to get over in one night.

Did you ever think about feeding that many people? According to the Quartermaster General in the US Army, it is reported that Moses would have needed 1,500 tons of food each day. To bring that much food each day would require two freight trains, each a mile long!

If they needed firewood to cook their food, this would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day. Just think, they were forty years in transit.

And what about water every day? Just to have enough water to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11 million gallons every day, and a freight train with tank cars 1,800 miles long, just to bring water!

Then there is the problem of finding large enough campground space. Each time they camped at the end of the day, a campground about 1,500 square kilometers… the size of Mexico City. Think of it!

Do you think Moses figured any of this out before he left Egypt? I’ll bet not! You see, Moses believed and trusted in God. God took care of these things for him. So, do you think God has any problem taking care of all of our needs?


Shirley is telling us "This water is sooooo cold!" And I can confirm. She asked me to go back and forth a few times in one of the deepest crossings just so she could try to get a better picture!

This little ball of fluff also had cold feet.

You have likely heard that the early bird gets the worm.
But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese!

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shake it Off

We had such horrific winds here and many, many branches broke off the trees. So, on the first day that we were without power, we did a lot of clean up work.

We picked up at least 10 loads of debris with the tractor and that was just on our circle driveway. We burned them all the same day.

The winds blew the rotten top off the huge tree by the viewpoint bench; just missed landing on the bench.

This past week I was reminded of a parable about a farmer who owned an old donkey who fell into his well. When the farmer assessed the situation he decided that neither the old donkey nor the old well were worth the trouble of saving. So, he called his neighbors to give him a hand and together they hauled dirt to fill in the well, bury the donkey and put him out of his misery.

At first the old donkey was hysterical and thought, “Why are they trying to bury me alive?” But as they continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. Every time a shovel full of dirt landed on his back, he would SHAKE IT OFF!

So that is what he did. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up." This he repeated to encourage himself. He didn’t like the dirt being thrown at him, but he fought off the feeling of panic and just kept SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP! It was not long before the old donkey, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall and walked out of the well.

The very thing that the donkey thought would bury him, actually blessed him!

I’m feeling a lot like that donkey lately. Nothing has gone like we thought it should and the dirt keeps coming while our escape to Tucson continues to elude us. Our transition to change banks, change stock brokers and trading systems and change internet service providers has not gone smoothly. Our expectations were that this could all be accomplished in a few weeks. But with Christmas holidays that ran an extra week for some… and with internet services that didn’t happen fast enough… with power outages that shut down life as we know it, our schedule to leave to go south keeps getting pushed back again and again.

Our last power outage was pretty significant. With winds of up to 120 km per hour, lots of large trees fell across the road, bringing down power lines… the South Gulf Islands were hit pretty hard. Most problems in the past get fixed in 6 to 12 hours. This time it took 36 hours. Over 150,000 people in our area were without power for a day or more. We called BC Hydro every 4 hours to see when they expected we would have power back on. When we passed the first day I decided to go to Victoria to get online. I needed to access the web to finish setting things up before we could feel good about leaving.

Then when I got home and the power was back on I expected the intenet to work. But our new internet service provider was still having problems keeping power on at their transmitter located atop Bruce Mountain on Salt Spring Island. So even though we have power, the internet service has been really a big dissapointment. So, where is the blessing in this adversity? When is the donkey going to get out of the well? It may not be for a while that we can look back and see the good in this situation.

So for the second day in a row we went to Victoria, this time to get a Telus wireless Sierra stick to access the intenet from anywhere. And this little gizmo works pretty slick. It was pretty cool to surf the internet on the laptop on the ferry!

Hello Huston, we have countdown to liftoff! Sunday morning we are going to point the car to Tucson and head on out of here. Maybe the internet will be fixed by the time we get back in two months.

We are looking forward to celebrating a late Christmas with Shelby and family. I made a couple of things for the grand daughters, but only the Crayola Truck passed the Lee Valley quality test and didn't end up in the kindling box.

IBD’s 10 Secrets to Success

Investor’s Business Daily has spent years analyzing leaders and successful people in all walks of life. Most have 10 traits that, when combined, can turn dreams into reality.

1. HOW YOU THINK IS EVERTHING: Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.

2. DECIDE UPON YOUR TRUE DREAMS AND GOALS: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.

3. TAKE ACTION: Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started. Just do it.

4. NEVER STOP LEARNING: Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.

5. BE PERSISTENT AND WORK HARD: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.

6. LEARN TO ANALYZE DETAILS: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.

7. FOCUS YOUR TIME AND MONEY: Don’t let other people or things distract you.

8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO INNOVATE; BE DIFFERENT: To follow the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.

9. DEAL AND COMMUNICATE WITH PROPLE EFFECTIVELY: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.

10. BE HONEST AND DEPENDABLE; TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: Otherwise, numbers 1-9 won’t matter.
From IBD p. A3 January 22, 2010

You can get a free 4-week trial subscription to the Investor’s Business Daily, which has been my best “new find” in 2010. If you are interested in learning about investing in the stock market, give this great resource a try. Take the free online courses... they are truly awesome, even if you were to throw away the rest of the newspaper! But silly me, I love pretty much the whole thing. Their stock research tools are really awesome. The only problem is that there just is not enough hours in the day to read it all, check out all the tools and features, and still do all the other things I know I should do.

"The minute you get away from fundamentals... whether it's proper technique, work ethic or mental preparatioin... the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever your're doing." -Michael Jordan

The sunrise this morning, peaking thru the low cloud was really unusal.

In my morning reading from Desire of Ages a comparison was made between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Pharisees worshipped in grand display of their righteousness and argued loud and long over little details in the law.

In marked contrast... "The Sun of Righteousness did not burst upon the world in splendor, to dazzle the senses with His glory." He was more like the sun coming up in the morning... "Quietly and gently the daylight breaks upon the earth, dispelling the shadow of darkness and waking the earth to life." -DA p. 262

If you have any good quotes that you would like to share with me, I encourage you to pass them along.

"As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another."

-Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To Twitter or Not to Twitter

I welcome any thoughts on why I should sign up for twitter. Like what am I missing? Here on Mayne Island life is so peaceful. There are 900 people who live on this island... there were more people in Costco last time I shopped there. We can go for days and not see another person except Shirley. When we drive to the ferry invariably we see more deer along the road than people or cars. Maybe I need to Twitter a little... and get a new addiction.

Q. Who has the most followers on Twitter:

A. Currently, Ashton Kutcher has the most followers... I heard like 1.6 million... pretty crazy, eh? But he better watch out. I just started my new blog and already have 2 followers in the first week! I think it is going to snowball... maybe like a snowball in Death Valley on a summer day!

Here is a link to 33 wonderful (so-so) pictures of twitter addiction:

Worthless Thoughts

My daughter helped me download several new apps onto my I-Phone over Christmas and the Bible app is one of my favourites. For free I downloaded five different translations of the Bible, and I enjoy reading it in bed. If I wake up in the night I can read several chapters until I get drowsy.

This last week I stumbled across an interesting fact of "twittering" in scripture. Did you even know that the word twitter was in the Bible? I have no idea how many of Hezekiah’s friends were into twittering, but in Isaiah 38:14 it says that Hezekiah twittered. He wasn't feeling very good one day and thought he was going to die. It says,

"Like a swallow, like a crane, I twitter." NAS Bible

Long story short, Hezekiah didn't die right away... God answered his prayer and granted him 15 more years so he could really mess things up.

New Business Idea

I've been a little slow to get into twittering. I'm still learning email. Maybe twittering is more for the younger generations. But I came up with a new idea to develop a similar social networking venue for us old timers... we could call it Muttering. It would be more like what we do most of the time... muttering... repeating ourselves. We say the same things over and over again. With Muttering we could have the illusion that we are reaching more people just like us and muttering to each other. And if it was a real success maybe Google would buy the Muttering Company for a gazillion dollars so they could sell advertising on it. With the growing elderly population it could really be a smash!

Between the rain this week, we have been blessed with sunshine and very mild temperatures. This sunset was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.


One day a classmate told little Timmy that most adults have at least one dark secret and that they can be easily blackmailed simply by saying, "I know the whole truth." Timmy decided to try it out. He went home and when his mother greeted him, he frowned and said, "I know the whole truth." His mother quickly handed him $20 and said, "Just don't tell your father!"

This worked so well for Timmy that he decided to see what he could get from his father. When his father got home, Timmy greeted him at the door and said, "I know the whole truth." His father promptly handed him $50 and said, "Please don't tell your mother!"

Very pleased, Timmy headed out the door to school the next day when he ran into the mailman. He greeted the mailman with his new phrase, "I know the whole truth."

The mailman dropped his mail, opened his arms, and said, "Then come give your daddy a big hug.”

Sometimes Humour Teaches

A Sunday school teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible, Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the scripture. Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the whole Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. Then came the day that the kids were scheduled to recite the 23rd Psalm in front of the congregation. When it was his turn, Rick stepped up to the microphone and said proudly,

"The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."

My Grandson's First Joke

I remember the first time Seth came to visit and he announced he had a joke to tell his Grandpa. He had been hearing me tell jokes long enough, now at almost four years old he was ready to throw his hat into the ring with a joke that he could share. So here it is:

If at first you don't succeed, sky diving is not for you.

Which brought my response,

Q. Why do blind people not sky dive?

It's too scary for their dog.

Then that reminded me of the blind man who went into a grocery store. With his dog on the leash he was swinging his dog around his head in a big circle.

The store manager came over to him and told him to stop. "What do you think you are doing?" he asked.

"I'm just taking a look around."

Do you know the difference between Knowledge and Wisdom?

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit;
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Wishing you all a good week.
This week will be a travel week as we plan to drive to Tucson.
I leave you with the classic blessing of Moses in Numbers 6:24-26.

"The Lord bless you and protect you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year, New Blog, New Name

Winter sunrise from our deck

Most people know the old carpenters adage, “Measure twice, cut once.” I thank my son-in-law, Alan, for suggesting it. When I encountered too many problems trying to work with my old blog, Sherilee suggested that it may be easier to just start over with a new blog and a new name. But what could I call it?

So I asked for help… just give me five minutes of brainstorming and help me to come up with a new blog name. And so Alan, Seth and Sherilee all got their heads together and came back to me with an awesome list of possibilities. Alan’s idea was perfect, “Measure Twice, Cut Once.”

I also liked Sher’s idea “I Did it My Way.” She knows her dad! So I kind of put them both together to come up with, “Measure Once, Cut Twice.” That is more like me. Thank you Sherilee and Alan.

It goes good with, “I’ve cut it three times and it’s still too short!”

Wordle - New Year's Resolutions: "Wordle: New Year's Resolutions"
Click on the picture to make it larger

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst,
for they are sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions!”

There is no doubt more people in North America
have made goals to lose weight in this New Year. WTG!

It’s easy if you can just remember to eat less and exercise more.
As important as it is to eat the right things… less fat, less sugar, less refined grains and more unprocessed foods, I have concluded that it is not as important WHAT you eat, as it is HOW MUCH you eat. Moderation is the key.

This next quote has helped me keep things in perspective.

“Moderation is not about enjoying less, but about enjoying better. It allows me to be the master and not the slave of my pleasures.”

GPS map of my last 13.5 km run around the island.

Shirley got me a heart rate monitor for my birthday, and as a bonus it also has GPS, which not only can measure the distance ran, the time elapsed, the elevation changes, it also has a cool map of your route.

Shortly after we first moved to Mayne Island, we embarked on a long walk to the village center and back, using the circle route shown in the yellow line on the GPS map above. It took us over two and a half hours, since we walked the entire way... and we stopped at the bakery in the village for muffin and hot chocolate! Now that we are both running a lot more than walking, I have knocked about an hour off of that time. Shirley said the other day, "Isn't amazing how the walks we used to take that seemed so far don't seem nearly so long now!"