Archive for November, 2007

Let there be music.

 Sayre, Oklahoma

UPDATE 12/1: Linda just talked to Traci in Atlanta and the long ride, mentioned below, has been really hard.  Traci has had no sleep since yesterday morning at 4am (Friday) and Eyob has been throwing up and crying among other issues.  Please pray for them as they still have a long flight into SLC.  They do not arrive there until 5:15pm MST. Then there is the adjustment to the boys and all that with little or no sleep.  There is a lot of stuff in their heads that is from the enemy and made worse by no sleep and a crying baby, so prayer is the answer.  Linda, who is caring for the boys was sick last night too and I am not there to be any help.  I tried to get a flight back early but couldn’t make it work, so she needs your prayer as well.  Thanks for your concern.

I flew back to Oklahoma for a few days and will return to Salt Lake on Monday to meet our new grandson.  Traci, Brandon and Eyob Mark are, as I write this,(Friday evening) somewhere in the early stages of a grueling 26+ hour trip from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Rome (6+), Rome to Washington, DC (11+), to Atlanta and finally landing in Salt Lake City around 5pm Saturday evening.  There is also a more than 5 hour layover in DC.  Try and imagine what that trip would be like by yourself, but then think what it must be like for them to do all that with a little boy who barely knows them and who will undoubtedly see things that frighten him and then to be enclosed in a such a small space for many hours, well, you get the idea. Pray for them.

I am watching the CBS show “My Night at the Grammys” and it has made me thankful for the huge gift of music that the Father has given to us.  What talent, what sound, what lyrics, what amazing gifts the Father pours into people regardless of their view of Him.  Michael Jackson performing “Bad”, Eric Clapton performing “Tears in Heaven”, Allan Jackson “Where were You” the song he says was given to him while he slept, commemorating the 9/11 tragedy. Faith Hill, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand and many others.  The Top 25 performances of the 50 year history of the Grammys, music’s highest award, was the best of the best and I really enjoyed it all.  Green Day’s performance of American Idiot was #1, which would not have been my choice, (that would be Whitney Houston singing the Dollie Parton song she was created to sing “I Will Always Love You”) but it was fun to see and hear some terrific performances by legends in our own time.

The Father certainly did not need to give us this wonderful gift, this gift of music in all it’s variety, style, quality and then to allow anyone, regardless of their belief to enjoy and be blessed by it, is surely the rarest of Gifts.  That there are billions of melodies floating through the atmosphere,  sifted through the heart and soul of millions of uniquely different human beings, arranged in countless numbers of creative ways, so that the result is no two exactly the same, is something that is extra, extraordinary and there will never be an end to this glorious genius.  Words are just not available, to me at least, to describe the wonder of the gift of music.

Is it possible, that this human ability to weave notes and lyrics together in such a vast number of different ways, just happened?

I guess there are very few iPods among my readers.  I was really hoping to see some really eclectic artist lists but alas there were only two and both were very eclectic (see previous post).  Was it the word you didn’t understand or are you all still listening to your 8 track collection?


November 30, 2007 at 9:33 pm 5 comments

Eclecticism on your iPod

 Something different for fun.

Many of my readers probably don’t understand the title of this blog, either because you don’t know what eclecticism means or you don’t know what an iPod is.  However for those of you who do, I thought it would be fun to play a little game called “Eclecticism on your iPod”.  If you look at your artist list on your iPod, perhaps no one else in the world has the same artists in a row in just the way you do.  iPod lists are probably as eclectic as any listing anywhere because we all listen to different artists, so I thought it would be fun to see what your artist list looked like.  Here is a random sampling of mine to give you and idea:

  1. Aaron Neville

  2. Alison Krauss

  3. Amy Grant

  4. Andy Park

  5. The Association

 Just go to any letter of the alphabet and list a few artists.  See how eclectic you really are!

  1. David Crowder

  2. David Grothe

  3. Dean Martin

  4. Delirious?

  5. Diana Ross and the Supremes

 You get the idea?

  1. Harry Chapin

  2. Harry Nilsson

  3. Helen Reddy

  4. Hillsong

  5. The Hollies

That’s about as eclectic as I can make it.  OK one more.

  1. Mark Schultz

  2. Marty Nystrom

  3. Marvin Gaye

  4. Mat Kearney

  5. Matt Redmond

  6. Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts

  7. Michael Card.

Now for the fun.  I would love to see how eclectic my readers are.  Grab your iPod and let your eclecticism fly.  Start anywhere in you artist list and let’s see who has the weirdest assortment of artists (eclectic) in a row, from one letter of the alphabet (make as many lists as you want).  Post them in the comments to this posting and maybe I will give a prize. (for those of you who don’t have an iPod ask your kid or your grandkid for theirs and play along)

I sure hope I have at least one reader who knows what it is to have an eclectic iPod artist list.

One of my most favorite blogs is called “Letters from Kamp Krusty” and it is a unique blend of spiritual insight and off the wall humor.  I am not cool enough to come up with this idea on my own so I thank Brant for it.  You can find his artist list here and his blog here (his post has a bunch more lists).

Let your eclecticism fly my eclectic iPod friends.

November 27, 2007 at 8:29 pm 5 comments

Update from Ethiopia.

We had our first contact from Traci and Brandon in Ethiopia this morning and I thought some of you would want to read it.  You can find it on Traci’s site by linking here:

Or you can find a link on the blogroll on the right side of this blog.


November 27, 2007 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.22

South Jordan, Utah

This is day 5 of our 10 day visit to Utah to care for our grandsons, Sloan and Sean while their parents are in Ethiopia to get their third son Eyob and bring him home to Utah.  I can’t even imagine doing this childcare duty on my own.  I guess you do what you have to do, but I still can’t imagine it. Linda does so much more than I, yet at this mid-point in our childcare visit I find myself constantly wondering when it will be nap-time or bedtime.  We are having a good time but it sure is a lot of work.  Anyone who thinks that staying home to care for pre-school children is being a slacker, has never done it.  Right at this moment Sloan is wiping boogers out of Sean’s nose.  Good times.

Item one. If you had any doubt that men who drink too much and when they are with a bunch of other drunk men do some really stupid things, you might want to read this (here) from today’s Seattle TimesIt would be really stupid funny if it weren’t so stupid sad. Is life not worth anything anymore?

Item two. I am certainly no football expert but I can tell when someone is really good and watching Missouri whip it to Kansas Saturday night I saw one of the best quarterback performances of the year.  Chase Daniel who completed 40 of 49 passes for 361 yards and 3 TDs was almost perfect and as good as any college QB I can remember.  Missouri’s coach, Gary Pinkle, was almost the Washington Husky coach but I think it was Rick Neuhisel who was hired instead.  Any doubt he was the better choice?

Item three.  Here in Utah you can never escape the presence of Mormonism.  As I have mentioned before there is a Mormon church across the street from our daughters house and there is one out the back door too.  A mile away they are building a new temple, which according to real estate people makes this house worth a lot more money.  Signs advertise “temple views” as a means of attracting buyers to their houses.  No where else in the world would anyone pay more money for a house, just to have a view of a temple.  Whatever the people who market Mormonism to the world are doing it is working and working well.  A religion that was once all white and mostly west of the Mississippi, now has more than half of it’s 13 million adherents outside the United States and growing fast in places such as black Africa.  From one temple in Salt Lake City there are now “temple views” in more than 40 countries.

As one Mormon watcher put it, “when a cult grows up it becomes a culture”.  Certainly true here in Mormon Mecca.  (See full Washington Post article on Mormon Africa here)

Item four. When I was a child the highlight of the week was going to the small public libraries in the towns where we lived.  We didn’t have a TV and very few other distractions so we read books.  I have been a reader ever since.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading.  I read mystery novels and other novels, I read theology and other books of a serious Christian nature, I read other peoples blogs and I read newspapers of all kinds, on-line of course.  The Internet has made me even more of a reader, not less, but there is something about having a book in my hands that really can’t be beat for good entertainment.  Since I derive so much enjoyment from reading I found this article from the New York Times disturbing.  A study from the National Endowment For the Arts shows how serious the decline in reading is, and what it costs you in real dollars to not be a reader.  It is never too late to start reading and to start helping your children learn to read. If you have read this far in this blog you have read over 750 words, so, see you are a reader.  Another article in the New York Times lists 100 Notable Books of the YearI haven’t read any of them.

Item five.  Prayer for the week. Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Enjoy your week, wherever you are.


November 26, 2007 at 2:46 pm 3 comments

Traci and Brandon are off!!

Happy Thanksgiving from South Jordan, Utah!

We were all up early this morning and off to the airport at 6:30am.  Traci and Brandon began the first leg of their journey to Ethiopia and to their newest son Eyob Mark.  They will stay in Washington DC tonight and join 5 other couples who are also going to get children at Dulles airport for the flight to Addis Ababa with a stop in Rome. 

Traci and her Mops group collected over 300 pounds of toys, diapers, shoes etc and she and Brandon packed it all into several extra suitcases to take with them.  The back of my pickup was full on the drive to Salt Lake’s airport.  It costs about $50. extra per bag for each flight but most, if not all the extra costs were donated.  It has been a huge project for them and they are so excited to be on their way. Traci has been planning for this day since she was a little girl.

We are watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the boys and settling in to our childcare duties for the next 10 days.  Traci, Brandon and Eyob Mark will arrive back to Salt Lake City on December 1.  It has been a long time since we parented this long so when you pray for Traci and Brandon you might remember us too.  We will have a small Thanksgiving dinner with the boys later on and maybe a little football.  (I stopped at the store for Marie Calenders!)

I wish you all a special day with your family on this Thanksgiving Day.  May you be blessed and know from where the blessing comes.

November 22, 2007 at 11:07 am 1 comment

Monday (Tuesday edition) morning meanderings. Vol.21

South Jordan, Utah

We spent the last two days driving from Sayre, OK to Utah to take care of our grandsons, Sloan and Sean, while their parents go to Ethiopia to pick up their son and our 4th grandson Eyob Mark Armstrong.  So it’s Tuesday and the meanderings are a day late and probably a dollar short.

Item one. I-40.  We rolled out of Sayre after two great services and a Family dinner and drove west out I-40 to Gallup, New Mexico about 600 miles or so.  I-40 runs right in front of Trinity and is the busiest freeway I have ever been on.  I once counted 69 trucks going by in a 10 minute period which means over 400 go by in an hour, 10000 in a 24 hour period and, well you get the picture.  I-40 is the 3rd longest east/west freeway in the interstate system. I-90 and I-80 are longer by a few hundred miles but I-40 is the busiest.  I was driving about 78 mph and I watched in my rear view mirror as a big semi caught up and passed me going away.  Had to be doing 85.  I have never been passed by more trucks on any other freeway anywhere.

Item two. Last Friday was Oklahoma’s Centential.  Our 46th state is the 5th youngest state in the Union, entering November 16, 1907.  Only New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii are younger.  As you would expect there have been multiple big events to celebrate the big 100th.  Linda and I watched some great programming on the Oklahoma Public Broadcasting station, including a spectacular concert featuring a number of top Oklahoma musicians including, Vince Gill, Reba McIntyre, Blake Shelton, Jimmy Webb, and a number of others I can’t remember.  For a small state Oklahoma has a large number of big name artists and a rich musical heritage.  There was a great tribute to the Will Rogers perhaps Oklahoma’s favorite son and the first real stand up comedian.  It was fun to be part of Oklahoma’s centennial.

Item three.  3.47.9  That is the price we paid for the last tank of diesel and the most I have ever paid for any kind of fuel.  The first tank in Sayre was 3.21.9 and between Sayre and somewhere in Utah the price went up .26.  It was still cheaper than both of us flying out here but if it keeps up it won’t be much. Any predictions for how high the price is going to go?

Item four.  Please pray for Traci and Brandon as they leave Thanksgiving Day to go to Ethiopia to pick up their baby (look here for information on their adoption agency).  This is a huge step for them and the culmination of many months of working hard to bring this little guy home.  Brandon has worked hard to earn the money and Traci has worked hard to do all the dozens of little and big details necessary to adopt a child from another country. We are really proud of them. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for them and helped them financially in this venture. Please pray for their safety and for every thing to go smoothly.  I am very proud for this little guy to have my middle name as his.  They will be home a week from Saturday with Eyob Mark.  As I understand it Eyob means Job. Keep your eye on Traci’s blog (here) for updates on their trip to bring Eyob Mark home.

Have a superb week!

November 20, 2007 at 3:45 pm 1 comment

Mike Hukabee update.

You know it is a slow blogging day for me when I write something about politics, (don’t touch that dial) but I am sort of a closet watcher of the presidential political scene because, as usual, the field is glutted with a myriad of candidates all trying to prove they are Christians, love Muslims and are against the war in Iraq, while at the same time not offending those who aren’t Christians, hate Muslims and think that making toast out of Iraq is the clearest of options and since I like to try and sort out the noise from reality for myself, I thought I would run a political blog out today. (whew, a 122 word sentence!)

Back in February I wrote a short piece about a candidate I thought I would keep my I on and now almost 10 months later I still have my eye on him.  If you are at all interested in what I said back then you can read that post here. (did you know if you roll your cursor across the highlighted word you can see the link?  Try it, it’s fun)

Yes, the man is Mike Hukabee and yes he shares the same home town with a former prez named Bill who has an interest in another Arkansasinian (or is it New Yorkian) who is running for the big house, but that is about all he shares with the Clintons.  It is worth a trip to his website if you are at all interested in a president who makes sense and doesn’t really seem to care who knows he loves Jesus and is actually really for and against some real issues.  Even more importantly he has had the same convictions for years and hasn’t changed them at all during his campaign as some of the other candidates seem to do, depending on their audience.

Consider this quote from this mornings Seattle PI: The former Arkansas governor, who claims to be the GOP presidential field’s most ardent opponent of abortion, stood at a news conference amid a group of local evangelical Christians who endorsed him. One was the Rev. Joseph Fuiten, an Assembly of God preacher who is one of the state’s most vocal anti-abortion and anti-gay rights figures.  A former Baptist minister, Huckabee said his faith also has taught him the importance of making sure children have good educations and good health care and their parents have decent-paying jobs.

Don’t hold the Baptist minister thing against him! Besides he is a former Baptist minister, which might be why I like him.

And this: Huckabee said later at his second news conference that although rivals Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have each recently picked up an endorsement or two from prominent Christian and anti-abortion groups and leaders, he has by far the most support from their followers. Huckabee was asked if he thought evangelicals are confused by such endorsements of Giuliani, a supporter of gay and abortion rights; Romney, a former gay- and abortion-rights supporter; and Thompson, who opposes a constitutional ban on abortion. He replied: “I don’t think the evangelicals are confused at all. I think their leaders are.”

I like Mike, (I am sure my endorsement helps him a lot), and I am going to continue to keep my eye on him.  Besides the guy has lost 110 pounds, runs marathons and plays bass in a rock and roll band.  I can trust a guy like that!

Read the whole PI article here.

November 16, 2007 at 8:44 am 3 comments

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