Archive for July, 2008
Sitting here in the trailer doing some schedule work for Convergence, our ministry school in Oklahoma, working on a message for Sunday morning and listening to Willie’s Place on XM radio (satellite radio). This is mostly honky tonk music featuring Willie, Hank, Merle, Ray, George and others. Kind of makes me homesick for our other home in Oklahoma.
Item one. Canyon Paul’s #2 birthday was yesterday and Brad and Summer had a party for him on Saturday. It was fun to watch him and all his little friends, including his 3 cousins interact (actually 6 cousins but I refer to the ones related to me). There were lots of young couples with young children many of whom we have known since they were little. Hard to believe CP is already 2. Sure glad we are here to help celebrate.
Item two. The great focus of my current life, truck driving school is coming to close and none too soon. I am pretty tired of the schedule and the intensity of it all. I think I am getting it, finally. I have struggled to pick up the shifting and down shifting using rpm’s and speed. I think I almost have the hang of it but this week will tell. Drove over 100 miles on the freeway Friday and that was fun. Going 60 mph down a very busy freeway in an 18 wheeler was a little surreal. All the pre-trip, driving and skill tests are this week, both for the school and the DOL. I really don’t care about the school certificate, though someday I might need to drive for a big company that requires it, but I do want the Class A CDL. My test with the DOL is Friday at 2:30, so if you think about it, pray.
While this has been a lot more than I bargained for, it had been good for me, no matter what happens. I know a lot of things I didn’t know before, have a greater respect for truck drivers and will be better able to help run our little trucking company. Hard to believe we are in the trucking business, but we are, and it is producing a really nice income, without having to do too much. It really is the favor of our Father on us. I plan to finish the course, do the best I can on the tests and leave the rest in the hands of my Papa. Thanks for your prayers.
Item three. Some of you must remember the bumper stickers and bracelets that many Christians were displaying a few years back with these words: What would Jesus do or said acronimically (is that a word?) WWJD. Never wore it myself but the concept has merit. I saw a really funny bumper sticker as I was flying down the highway in my 18 wheeled chariot that was a take off on the What would Jesus do. It said “What would Scooby do?” I laughed out loud and my instructor woke up and asked me what was so funny. There was just no way to tell him. What would Scooby do?
Item four. This is funny too. One of my top five favorite blogs is Stuff Christians Like and recently it asked the question “Jessica Simpson, Should we take her back?” Read it, it really is funny, in a weird christian sort of way, which is what this blog is about-weird stuff Christians do. Find it here.
Item five. Item five comes via the Internetmonk and worth your time to read. I get so weary of the whole theological debate that really proves nothing except providing a way to not like other Family members. Do we feel better about ourselves when we hold a position so strongly that we will not worship with those who don’t or will not let our young adults gather with those who do not share our particular theological bent? I just don’t get it anymore. While I am not in tune with this writer’s theology, he gets it when it comes to the importance of Family over theology. Read it here.
Item six. Enjoyed another opportunity to preach today and again was able to see old friends who showed up to say hello. The audience was responsive, we laughed some, worshiped some and learned some things about the Father’s love for us. Good times.
Have a great week and thanks for reading the Juniper Tree. I have a really nice readership that seems to like checking back regularly. In another week I plan to get back to more writing.
Beautiful Washington weather; 77, sunny and just plain beautiful. When the weather is good in the NW, like it is now, there is no better weather, any where. A little bump in the weather scheduled for tomorrow.
Item one. Preaching was fun. Love to preach, especially when the pressure is off as it is at this point in my life. I am free, maybe for the first time, to say what I think the Spirit is saying to me without pulling any punches. What a great audience, with many good friends in the house. Thanks Mark for the invite, glad you enjoyed the break. I will be speaking at Mt.View Alliance again next Sunday. Glad to have you if you are interested. Service is at 10:30.
Item two. Learning to drive, back up and understand the inner and outer workings of a heavy duty truck has been up and down. Today was down, the last time out was up. We drove downtown Tacoma, (for those of you in Oklahoma, Tacoma is bigger than OK City) along South Tacoma Way, a very busy business district and then on to I-5 for my first freeway experience. I didn’t handle the pressure very well, missed a number of gears, hugged a curb too tight, and stalled the truck on a slight incline. Yes it was ugly. I intend to do better tomorrow. Two weeks down and two to go. What was I thinking?
Item three. Congrats to my niece, Andrea, who gave birth to twins today. Not sure of the gender but they both weighed 5 lbs 7 oz. My brother Mike and sister (in law) Vicky are the Grandparents.
Item four. Being back in Washington has been great, especially the opportunity to be with our kids and grandkids. All four of the grandsons are terrific, fun to be with and each has a very distinct and pleasant personality. I am biased in every way but their parents are doing a great job with the next gen and I am proud of them all. Being a grandparent is great and I am so thankful we are able to live this life we live that gives us freedom to be here with the kids for this season. I am all in, in the grandparenting gig.
Item five. Congrats also to my niece Katie who was recently engaged. She and her husband to be are in training for career missions in Niger, which I think is in West Africa. Katie is a nurse, a good language student and shows a sincere love for the Father and a love for serving His most needy children. I have not met husband to be, David but I am certain he shares her desires as well. Wedding planned for early 2009. Katie is the middle daughter of Linda’s sister Ann and bro in law, Glen.
Have a great week and if you think about me during the day, when I am out in the 18 wheeler, please pray. I could sure use it as I find it easy to get discouraged with my progress.
It doesn’t seem possible, but this is the 50th edition of the meanderings. I find it hard to do something five times in a row without getting bored or distracted, so it is amazing that I have done this 50 times. Missed a few times so it has been more than a year since the first one. This past week I also crossed the 75K mark in page views on the blog so that was fun to see happen.
I write the View so friends and family that want to keep up with us have a way to check in once a week or so and see where we are and what we are doing. What is weird is having a significant number of people who I don’t know who read it. They must not have a lot to do.
With all the effort expended in school I just haven’t felt like writing anything for the Juniper View. I guess the real re-start from the sabattical will have to wait till August.
Item one. I finished my first week of truck driving school and passed the classroom portion. Between the three tests, the state requires to get a CDL, and the 11 tests the school puts you through, I took 14 tests between last Saturday and yesterday (Friday). I took and passed all the state ones because you have to have them done before you can do the pre-trip inspection test, the backing test and the road test, which I will do in 3 weeks. Just wanted to get them out of the way.
I had no idea it would be this intense to get a CDL. I leave the house at 4:30 in time to be in Tacoma by 5:45 am to start class. Basically you are listening, answering questions, filling out log books, taking tests for 8.25 hours and then I drive another hour plus back here. I am not used to that kind of a schedule and by the time dinner is over I am really tired. For the first few days of the class I had the best score but after the final I fell back a few spots but I passed and now I am ready to get in the truck for the next 3 weeks. It is really good for my mind to do this and actually it it fun, all but the drive back and forth. Thanks to Doug and Jeanee I have a little car to drive that costs a whole lot less to drive than our big diesel pick-up.
Item two. Everyone is having a great time staying here at Mason Lake. Linda is able to spend time with Lesleeand Bill and as an added bonus gets to spend time with Traci and the 3 grandboys. Brandon is off to work early so she is able to be a big help to Traci and really enjoys the boys. We hope to see Brad, Summer and Canyon pretty often too. We had a great time with them over the long 4th weekend. Pray that their house in Utah sells soon.
Item three. The Henri Nouwen devo the last few days has been on woundedness and it has been excellent. Thought I would include the last 3 days for your encouragement and exhortation:
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
Jesus is God’s wounded healer: through his wounds we are healed. Jesus’ suffering and death brought joy and life. His humiliation brought glory; his rejection brought a community of love. As followers of Jesus we can also allow our wounds to bring healing to others.
Our own experience with loneliness, depression, and fear can become a gift for others, especially when we have received good care. As long as our wounds are open and bleeding, we scare others away. But after someone has carefully tended to our wounds, they no longer frighten us or others.
When we experience the healing presence of another person, we can discover our own gifts of healing. Then our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.
To enter into solidarity with a suffering person does not mean that we have to talk with that person about our own suffering. Speaking about our own pain is seldom helpful for someone who is in pain. A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds. When we have lived through a painful depression, we can listen with great attentiveness and love to a depressed friend without mentioning our experience. Mostly it is better not to direct a suffering person’s attention to ourselves. We have to trust that our own bandaged wounds will allow us to listen to others with our whole beings. That is healing.
I am thankful everyday for the friends and family in Washington, Oklahoma and Arizona who have brought so much healing into our lives this last year. I hope and pray that I can be a wounded healer for others the way you have been for us.
Item four. For those of you here in Mason County, my friend Pastor Mark Sartori has invited me to speak at his church July 13 and 20. I am really looking forward to sharing whatever it is the Spirit has for us. If you are interested in coming, the service at Mt. View Alliance begins at 10:30. The phone number there is 360.426.3294.
Gig Harbor, Washington
We arrived back in Washington July 3rd, in time for the Mason Lake fireworks and a long weekend with Bill and Leslee. Brad, Summer and Canyon came and stayed that night and we had a great holiday weekend. This morning (Sunday) we came up to Gig Harbor to go to church with Brad, Summer and Canyon and now we are watching Canyon while his dad and mom go to Nick Cronquist’s wedding this evening. It is really good to be back in the Northwest, but we miss our Oklahoma family and already anticipate our early September return.
Item one. We expect to spend the next couple of months here in the Northwest, spending time with our kids and their families. When we planned this time we didn’t know that Traci and her family would be returning to this area but they will be back here this week and will be staying in the same place we are until they can find a house and get settled. So, not only will we be less than an hour from Brad and his family, Traci and her boys will be right next door to us! It will be a fun summer. Summer and Brad are having baby #2 the end of August so we will be here at least till grandbaby #5 is on the scene. I will have the opportunity to do some preaching and other ministry while we are here and catching up with friends will be a priority but for the next month my time will be taken up with school. See item two!
Item two. Back to school! Tomorrow morning I am beginning a month of school and I bet no one will guess in what field I will be studying. Anyone? Anyone? I am going to school to get my Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Yep, going to be a truck driver.
Here is the story. Whenever the stress of ministry life would get to me I would jokingly say to Linda, “I am going to go be a truck driver”. I have always loved the big rigs and with all the road trips we take, I entertain myself by looking for the various makes of trucks and the different trucking companies going up and down the highways. Being a big rig trucker has always been more of a joke than anything I really thought I would do, but sometimes we get to live our dream.
Since I have not earned any income for the last three years and Linda the last year, we depend on investments to take care of our very small needs. Our Father has met all our needs this last year and our resources have not gone down much, but we have been looking for an investment that would allow us to keep doing life as we have been without getting a full time job. Our Oklahoma friend Daryle, had recently started a small trucking company hauling pipe and “frac” tanks for the oil and natural gas industry that is going gang busters in Oklahoma and other neighboring states. Since he knew we needed to find something to produce more income, he asked us if we wanted to buy a truck and lease it to his company. What a blessing to have a friend willing to do what God had told him to do just to help us!
But what kind of fool invests in a diesel truck that gets 5 mpg when diesel is nearly $5.00 a gallon? It seemed to be a pretty risky idea but the more we talked about it, prayed about it and did research it was clear it was a God thing and so we bought a used Peterbilt truck and a trailer, formed a limited libility corporation called Juniper Tree, LLC, hired a driver and hit the road for Eternal Trucking Service. The price of diesel immediately went up a dollar, but fortunately all of our business is with a company that is full steam ahead to find new sources of energy and they are making big money and so are willing to pay good money to get what they need to keep the “boom” going.
We have a great driver, who came to us in another of those God things and he is doing a great job, making good money for himself and for us and taking good care of our truck, but I felt like I needed to know as much as I could about the trucking business and driving big trucks so I can fill in when our driver needs a day off or someone else in the company needs a break and also know how to care for this little business we have started. Currently we get about 3 trips a week, which is all one driver can do in the hours he is allowed to drive, so I am thinking if I can take one trip a week while we are in Oklahoma, while our driver is taking the required time off, it will give us a little more money and still allow us to keep doing ministry and travelling as we have been. (For a picture of a truck very similar to ours click here.)
So I am going back to school, beginning tomorrow morning at 6am, and when I have finished the course I will have my CDL and be able to live my dream of driving an over the road truck. I think it will be fun.
Item three. I intend to start writing regularly again with some more Kingdom posts, especially focusing on the importance of relating to God as Father. Coming into relationship with God as Father is the greatest revealed mystery of the Kingdom and it will revolutionize your spiritual life. I hope you will follow along with me in the weeks ahead.
It is good to be back. Thanks for reading.