Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Glorious and Bright Christmas Morn

Another Christmas morn. The day we celebrate the incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the day he was born.  I remember the first Christmas in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  I was the new pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church and I awoke to a fresh blanket a pure snow that had a tint of blue. I was so excited that Christmas morn as it was truly a dream come true. Alas, but today is a glorious bright and sunny day.  No snow on the ground, not even a cloud in the sky, the outside temperature is 55 degrees, but after all, we are in Lake Havasu. 

I was awakened not by the sound of excited children or grandchildren, as the closest child is 600 miles away, but by that familiar sound of Suzi , one of our dogs, making that sound that she is about to vomit in an instance.  You see she has quite a sensitive stomach and if she does not eat every twelve hours she vomits up a yellow bile substance.  So I excitedly jumped out of bed this Christmas morn to find my excited Suzi sitting in front of her special gift for me that she has born.  It's a small puddle of Christmas bile at which I stared at for a while.  I soon cleaned up the mess and fed both dogs their morning ration of dry dog food which was the norm.  They both rapidly ate as if as soon as their breakfast was over then would come the time of opening their presents on this glorious and bright Christmas morn.  But first, the girls, Puggles and Suzi, needed to go outside to find their favorite spots to sniff and do their doody.  Suzi went potty almost as soon as her feet hit the ground.  Puggles found her spot a few seconds later and went round and round.  Soon both pups were leaving another present for me on this glorious and bright Christmas morn.  I did my duty and scooped up the the freshly laid poopies and deposited the smelly bag into trash can on the glorious and bright Christmas morn. 

Come Puggles, come Suzi on to the house, I mean trailer that is our house for the last two Christmas morns and today makes three.  Inside we go and light the fireplace on Netflix, and turn on the Christmas music and sit in front of the tree.  With the fireplace all aglow there are no children with their faces all aglow.  But, hey soon we will be opening our own presents for Dayle and me sent by our kids now underneath our own little Christmas tree.  "Come Dayle! Wake up!  It's Christmas!" I cried.  "Uhhhh I don't want to get up, I'm still tired," she replied.   Understanding that she is still recovering from a bout with the flu I'll just sit by my computer writing this blog to you.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Serving and "Suffering" in Lake Havasu City

I can't believe that its been six weeks since my last update and so much has happened.

First we are truly enjoying the milder weather.  Although we did have a few days where we actually had to wear long pants and a jacket.  There were a couple of days it was too cold to play softball but other than that it is not bad at all.  This is not intended to make anyone jealous, but the weather here is just wonderful.

We have been busy working at the church.  I was the plumber and construction contractor for a couple of projects.  There was one toilet that would not flush completely and one urinal that would not drain and overflowed.  After a full day's work I was able to repair both.

Garage/yard sales are a really big deal here in Lake Havasu.  Stan and Stephanie go yard saleing almost every Thursday, Friday, and  Saturday.  Last week Stan found a beautiful corner desk unit at an estate sale.  He asked me to come take a look at it.  They were asking $300 for the unit.  It originally cost $900 and it was in excellent condition.  We were able to purchase it for $180.  We loaded it up in my truck and drove to the church to put it in the office to replace a 30 year old  homemade unit that had long outlived its beauty and usefulness.  Once we got to the church we removed the old unit, purchased some paint and repainted the entire office.  We rearranged some items, got rid of nonessential stuff, installed the new unit and the office actually looks good. 

Stan is disassembling the old homemade unit.

New desk unit for the church office
Wall painted and desk installed

Once the office project was done which took three days Stan and I began an outside project of building a new shed type covering over the water treatment and supply equipment.  We are still working on it and will complete it soon.

With all this work we still find time to get out for a good hike from time to time.  We always take the dogs and we are constantly amazed of the beauty of God's creation.

Last Monday (12/9) my sister called and was asking for help.  She is still recovering from foot surgery and cannot drive or do very much around the house.  So she asked if Dayle could come.  So gritting my teeth and whining all the way we met my sister and her driver half way and made the exchange.  So, once again, I am without my Dayle.  Hopefully she will come back on Wednesday (12/18).

Speaking of December 18th....this is also the birthday of Jason, our first born.  December 18, 1973.  Wow, we have a 40 year old child!  How did that happen???  Happy birthday Jason!

Well, I got the news the other day from our property management company that our tenant is moving out January 1st.  We had planned on moving back in on April 1st for IRS purposes and to also put the house on the market to once again try to sell it.  Since, it is not feasible to find someone to rent it for three months we will have to have it winterized and put it on the market now.  I won't be able to return to the house to fix it up until February.  But hopefully our tenants took good care of it.  Please be in prayer that our house sells soon!  Even though it has been a source of income it really doesn't provide much once you consider income taxes on the rent and all the property taxes. Also we would really like to get a 5th wheel trailer that is more conducive to our full-time live-in needs.  But we can't do that until we sell the house.  So please pray for us as money is going to be even tighter.  But we are confident that God will provide.

I have not had much teaching opportunity here in Arizona but I am still preparing my sermons for the Independent Bible Church of Port Angeles, WA Men's Retreat which is coming up this May.

I have been playing bass guitar on Sundays with the music group and I am actually taking bass lessons thanks to YouTube.  I am also teaching myself to read music.  I can see a big improvement already.

I am constantly reminded of the promise of the Word that God will never leave or forsake us and that he will meet our needs.  Last month we had some unexpected expenses, and there was a major repair at the house in Klamath that we had to pay for.  But somehow, it was all taken care of.  Our God is truly amazing!

Prayer requests:
1.  For my sister, Andrea, and her recovery
2.  For my preparation for the Men's Retreat
3.  For our house to sell
4.  For ministry opportunities helping churches

Until next time, be Always Serving!

Shelley and Dayle

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Back in Lake Havasu

I arrived back in Lake Havasu City on Wednesday October 30th and parked in the front of Stan and Stephanie's home.  Dayle needed more Jack time so she stayed behind with Stephen, Neeley, and Jack in Sacramento.  She will be flying here on November 18th.

I arrived just in time for the 2013 Bullhead City 5th Annual Fall Classic Senior Softball Tournament.  We played four games already with one or maybe two remaining, depending on our win/loss record.  So far we are one win and three losses.  At least we are having fun.  The funny part is that every team member and on most teams is wearing some kind of "body armor" such as knee braces, wraps, ankle braces, elbow braces, shin guards and one guy was wearing a catchers mask while pitching.  Then after the game we all take ibuprofen, apply muscle rubs,  and put on ice packs.  Oh the pain.

Next week I'll begin working on the church,  Pastor Dennis tells me that he has a "to do" list for me.  Today, I think I will just recover from today's games.  I'll try to get some photos of all us old guys playing ball with all our "body armor."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - is Over

10/8/2013 Tuesday

We went to sleep last night and checked the Hickam AFB flight schedule and there were still five flight scheduled  with the first one leaving at 6 AM and the second at 6:10 AM.  So we got up very early, packed up everything and arrived at the airport at 5 AM.  We checked in and discovered that there were now only three scheduled flights.  The first flight had 35 seats and the second had 8 seats and the third one had 30 seats.  Sounds good, but doing a quick head count of everyone wanting to go to Travis, I counted a lot more people than seats.

The first two roll calls were conducted and of course we were not called.  The next flight was scheduled for 10:40  AM. So we settled in for the four hour wait.  While waiting, more and more people were checking-in for Travis and with us being in the lowest priority, I was getting a bit nervous.  Then we were advised that the 10:40 flight has been pushed back to 8:40PM.  Arrrrggggg, we were not excited about sitting in the terminal all day.  I spoke to the Customer Service Rep and she told me that there are a lot more people checked-in than there are seats and we most likely will not make the cut.

We had to make a decision.  Either wait for the next flight on Thursday, renting another car, getting a hotel room for two nights, and meals or to fly out commercial.  We figured it will be about the same cost to just go home now.  Well, since we probably would not make the Thursday flight either, we found the least expensive flight out of Hawaii.  We were wheels up from Honolulu, Hawaii at 2:11 PM and arrived in Sacramento 5 hours later.

So, our Anniversaries Trip has ended and what a wonderful time it was! We went over budget, especially having to pay for the flight home, but it was worth every penny.  We spent two glorious weeks enjoying God's creation, and all the sights, and sounds, and beauty, and the company of our two best friends, Stan and Stephanie Broder.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 15 - Stuck in Hawaii, still

10/7/2013  Monday

No flights out today.  But we did go to the beach for a while.  The beach is on the Hickam side of the base.  It was real nice and the water was warm.

We had our last meal (we hope) at Schooners Restaurant which is right next to the public entrance to the USS Missouri and the Arizona Memorial. The restaurant is in the Rainbow Bay Marina and offers great views of the marina.
Stan and Stephanie


About to enjoy our "final" meal in Hawaii
 Five scheduled flights tomorrow.  We will be at the air terminal at 0500 (5:00 am).

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 14 - Stuck in Hawaii day 3

10/6/2013 Sunday

Before going to bed last night we again checked the flight schedule and the only flight to Travis AFB had been cancelled.  Next flight is scheduled for early Monday morning and five on Tuesday.  So we extended our Navy Gateway hotel stay for two more days.  We figured that there will be a lot of people trying to get out on the only flight on Monday and we were right. 

So we woke up on Sunday morning, went for breakfast, and then went to the base chapel for worship service.  It was certainly different from what we are used to but it was all good.  The message was on the light side but not bad for an episcopal chaplain.

Later we went to Waikiki and Stan and Stephanie sat and enjoyed the pool at the Hale Koa Hotel while Dayle and I walked the entire Waikiki beach.  We watched the sunset and then had dinner at the hale Koa.  After dinner we walked around and viewed the lights and then went home.
Stephanie and Dayle walking to get a better shot of the sunset.

Waikiki beach - not bad for a cloudy day.
We are just going to take it easy tomorrow, do some laundry, and go to the beach. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 13

10/5/2013  Saturday

We are just getting weary.  We have walked many miles, hiked many trails, drove many miles, and viewed so many awe inspiring sights.  Stan and myself are just plain tired.  But being the troopers that we are we got up and returned the care the Thrifty car rental and we rented a care from Enterprise Car rental right at our air terminal for one day. 

Then we went for breakfast and then drove  around the Pearl harbor naval Base because we wanted to get a better feel of the December 7th, 1941 attack.  I was able to take a picture of the Missouri from the other side of the harbor. 

After our self-guided tour of Pearl harbor we drove north on the west side of the island going to Ke'ena Point which is the most northwestern point of Hawaii.  Once there we will have circled the entire island.  We also stopped at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and looked around a bit.  After barbers Point we completed our trip to Ke'ena Point.  There we took some more photos and walked around the lava flow that went right into the water.  It was very sharp and ragged and there were some great tide pools.

Coast Guard air Station Barbers Point

Ke'ena Point Lava flow

Ke'ena Point tide pool

Ke'ena Point Oahu, Hawaii

We returned to our Navy Gateway Hotel room around 4:30 pm.  We were so tired that we ordered pizza and had it delivered.

We will be waking up quite early to get to the air terminal by 7 am in hoped of getting on the only flight out to Travis.  If we don't get selected for the flight we will try for the one flight on Monday and then there are five flights on Tuesday.  We ought to make one of them for sure!

So it looks like we will not be attending our regional conference on Vancouver, WA on Monday. 

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 12 - "Stuck" in Hawaii

10/4/2013  Friday

Today was a unique day for us.  We again watched the sun come up over the water from our window.  We packed up our stuff and checked out of our condo hotel.  Our flight was not scheduled to begin boarding until 9:40 PM.  So we went and played miniature golf at Bellows Air Force Station which is where we had been staying all this time. 
Miniature Golf and Bellows Air force Station

After an hour and a half of gut busting fun, we drove into Waikiki and did a self- guided walking tour. We spent the entire day walking around, seeing the sights, and going in lots of wonderful shops.  Dayle and Stephanie liked the shops, but they could not buy anything because we had no room left in our luggage.  Then as the sun was setting we ran to the beach and watched the sunset over the water.  This was unique for us.  In the morning we were on the east coast and watched the sun come up, then in the evening we were on the west coast and watched the sun set.   Did you know that a sunrise and a sunset look the same?  Well duh.
A Banyan Tree

Feeding the fish in the Waikiki Marina

A view of the sea pond with Diamond Head in the background.

A shot of Diamond Head from Waikiki.  I took a picture yesterday from Diamond Head toward Waikiki

This is why Hawaii has a rainbow on their license plate

Sunset in Waikiki

After sunset we made our way back to the car and hurried to the Hickam Air Force Base Passenger Terminal to get all situated for our 2140 (9:40 PM roll call) .  Once there we found out that roll call was not at 2210 (10:10 pm)and there are 19 seats available and that there are not even 19 people checked in for those seats.  Yay!  We unloaded the car, took up "residence" in the terminal, and prepared to return the rental car.  We then noticed that a whole lot more people had come into the terminal all with luggage.  Normally this is no big deal in a regular airport.  But at a military terminal it could be a big problem especially because our flight was the only one left going out tonight.  Space Available flights work on available seats and the travelers priority level.  There are six levels of priority and we are the lowest priority.  So we decided to hold off an returning the rental car.  In the meantime while waiting for roll call we found a family that was on the same flight when we came to Hawaii.  He is in the Coast Guard stationed at Sacramento Air Station, they are Christians, and then live literally the next street over from Stephen and Neeley in Sacramento.  Not only that but they have to drive past Stephen and Neeley's house every day.  They even knew our truck and trailer as they have seen it there many times.  We will be hooking up with them when we return.

Roll Call began promptly at 2210 and about 50 people stoop and gathered around.  Then on three names were called for the now nine available seats.  One of those names was this young family who were traveling on leave, but there were only three seats for the family of four so, Anne, decided to fly home commercially as Dan had to be back to work on Monday. 

We, just like everyone else ran out of the terminal and sped off to various lodging places.  We planned on staying on Pearl Harbor Naval Base in we could not get out.  There were only 30 rooms available and we did get two of them for two nights.

The next available flight is Sunday morning and then there are four flights scheduled on Monday.  So, hopefully we will get one of them.  In the meantime we are stuck in Hawaii.  I guess if you have to be stuck somewhere, Hawaii is a good place to be stuck.

Pray that we can get a flight. 

Here is the link to see more photos:  Link to Photos

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 11

10-3-2013  Thursday

We drove the 11 miles to Diamond Head State Park.  We got there early and the parking lot was full and the place was very crowded.  We managed to find a parking space and started up the trail.  It was like we were playing follow the leader all the way up.  But aside from all the people the views were breath-taking.  Diamond Head is a volcanic crater but it was used by the military in WWI and WWII as observation posts and gun placements.  The pill boxes and concrete structures are still there and are accessible.
Walking up the path to Diamond Head
Looking straight down from the top
One of the many breath-taking views
Entering the pill box lookout.
Taken from the very top of Diamond Head with Waikiki in the background

 After and very crowded hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater we drove to Hickam Air Force Bace to check on a flight.  We managed to get signed up for the return to Travis and tomorrow we will arrive to check in and hopefully there will be enough seats available.  If not, we will keep trying everyday until we get back to Travis.  If we don't get out tomorrow we will be staying at Pearl Harbor Navy Base lodging.  Yes, this is the same Pearl Harbor that was bombed by the Japanese which launched us into WWII.

Click on this link for more photos: 

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 10

10/2/2013 Wednesday

Today we got up early again and watched the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean.  Here are a couple of pictures from just outside our room.

Then we went and rented our snorkeling gear and headed to the Oceanic Research Pier which was only a few miles up the road from up.  The area had lots of reefs and it promises to be quite an adventure.  The sun was shining, the water was warm, we had a perfect place to park.  We all put on our gear and into the water we went.  One, two, three of us.  Where's my Dayle?  Oh yes, in my excitement, I forgot that she never did this before and, not to mention, that she doesn't like being in the water.  So I helped her very slowly get into the water and gave her a snorkel lesson.  She was still very afraid and would not let go of me.  Then I got a great idea...i ran back to the car and got the boogie board that Stan rescued from the trash and repaired.  So Dayle was able to hang on to the boogie board and peer into the water and see all the amazing sights.  So Dayle was hanging on to the boogie board and I was pulling her around.  She was so cute every time she saw something I could hear her screaming through her breathing tube,  It was so much fun.  After about an hour she was done.  I brought her back to the beach and I went out.  I was swimming around for a while, but my back started to hurt (thanks to my old LAPD injury).  So I got the boogie board.  Using that boogie board made snorkeling extremely easy and more fun that I ever could have imagined.  We saw many different types of beautiful tropical fish.  We even saw some shrimp.  But the highlight for me was the huge three-legged sea turtle that I followed and played with for about 20 minutes.  It's right front flipper was gone, but it didn't slow it done at all.  Sorry, no pictures.  I didn't have an under water camera.

Tomorrow We plan on hiking up Diamond Head.  And now it looks like there are two flights to Travis AFB on Friday evening, so we might be able to get out then.  If not, the next scheduled flight is Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 9

10/1/2013 Tuesday

Today was going to be a slow and easy day for us.  After that very strenuous hike yesterday our legs were a bit sore.  We had a leisurely morning and then got in the car to go check out a sugar plantation and mill.  We made a couple of stops before our final destination.  One stop was the Macadamia Nut Farm that we stopped at a couple of days ago.  While walking around we walked into a different section that we did not see before.  There we found several of the performers from last night's Chief's Luau--including the chief.  I turns out that this Macadamia Nut Farm is their head quarters and they all life just up the road.  This was Tuesday and the place had very few tourists so we were able to spend some time with the Chief Hansom.  It turns out that he is a real Samoan chief and he comes from a long line of Samoan chief's.  His father, grand father, and great grand father, and great great grand fathers were all chiefs.  He must return to Samoa (American Samoa) because his tribal lands are being taken over and being taxed by the government.  As one of the Chiefs he has a lot of weight when it comes to governmental affairs. He spoke to us about what it means to be a chief and one of the things he said was that a chief is a leader and a leader is a servant to his people.  Sound familiar?  That's a biblical principle (Mark 10:43-45).

We asked him about their religious beliefs and were we surprised!  He said that his people have always believed in many god's but had always knew that there was one supreme god.  In the 1800's Christian missionaries came to his islands and his people embraced Christianity.  In the luau when he speaks of of the "gods" he is referring to his ancient culture.  Then he showed us three small crosses that were tattooed in the small of his back.  He pointed to them and said that they represent the true God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This is pretty much where the conversation ended because a tour bus showed up and everyone wanted to take their picture with the chief.  There is so much more we wanted to ask him about, but that will have to wait until next time.

We drove to the Sugar plantation and mill and found nothing but a couple of old run down building and shops.  There once was a sugar mill here but not any more.  Disappointed we returned home and I did some body surfing in the clear and warm tropical waters.

So not much sight seeing today except for one weird palm tree that looks like a giant hand held fan.  I looked it up and it is called the Traveler's Tree or Travelers Palm.  But it's not really a palm tree at all.  It is native to Madagascar and it is related to the Bird-of-Paradise family.  But it still looks pretty cool.

That's it for today.  Tomorrow snorkeling.  But first we have to make lodging arrangements for the weekend as it looks like we might not be able to get a flight out.   There are no flights on Friday yet, so we have to be prepared.  Oh darn...we have to stay in Hawaii a bit longer.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our Anniversaries Trip to Hawaii - Day 8

9/30/2013 Monday

I woke up this morning feeling food.  So we got an early start and drove a few miles to the Koko Head Mountain trail head.  This little hike to the top of the mountain was only a 3/4 mile little hike...straight up.  The trail is an old trestle track that supplied the old radar station during WW II.
There were warning signs stating that this was an extremely difficult trail.  The signs were right. But it was worth the effort.  Once at the top we noticed that practically every person up there was under 30 years of age.  No wonder we got some weird looks. 
Koko Head Mountain - a view from the bottom
1100 foot rise...straight up
View of Waikiki in the distance

Koko Head cinder cone below

View directly below

That afternoon we went to the Chief's Luau which is considered the best Luau in Oahu.  It was quite a show.  Prior to the show starting we learned how to make head bands out of palm leaves, the girls learned to Hula dance, and we learned how to throw a spear underhand.  Perhaps the most interesting thing was how these tribal chiefs are tattooed all over their body.  Tattooing is their way of recording their tribal history and ancestory.  This is why much of the tattoos are identical.  It still looks like it hurts.  Below are a few photos of the luau and there are more on our Facebook page.
Dayle making a palm leaf head band

Huge tribal member placing head band on Dayle

Stan and Stephanie also learning the art of palm leaf weaving

The girls is a hula dance class

Dinner - a roasted pig

The chief and his daughter, the princess

The extended tongue actually means "welcome."

More pictures and videos are on my Facebook page.  Click on this link to get to the pictures:
Link to our Hawaii photos