Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at the gun range with my dad, brother and wife.  I’ll admit I was nervous about being at a range with handguns.  After a brief introduction to the range by an instructor and a short gun synopsis by my younger brother, I was firing a 9mm and a 45 at targets 15 yards away.  Not as easy as it looks.  At most exercises, I am able to quickly learn how to succeed.  Generally, I’m a quick learner.

I was surprised even at fifteen yards to miss the target wide or low.  It has a lot to do with how my hands receive the impact as the gun is fired.  I was intently focused on holding it firmly, focusing on the target, etc.  My bro came over and said some words.  “What do I need to do so it will fire more directly?” I asked him.  “Well, breathe,” he said eager to support me.  Be more natural holding the gun and aiming at the target.  It was as if I was focused so much on my task that I forgot “to be” with the gun in my hands.  “Breathe.”

Today, I had lunch with one of my favorite high school teachers and my wife.  After I said a brief prayer for the meal, she invited us to ‘breathe’ and relax.  Perhaps she could sense my anxiety saying a prayer with someone who may not share the same faith.  Maybe she just wanted to lighten the mood.  In either case, I was reminded to ‘relax’.  Sometimes the intensity with which I approach a task, can actually hinder me from “being” in the task.  Kind of a theme these days.  Maybe a truer faith would believe that I will learn and grow, regardless of whether, I believe rightly or do the right thing (I.e. do everything perfectly).  I can still learn, and grow, and breathe.


Global and Living History

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Being that I am visiting my hometown, I took the opportunity today to do something a bit more touristy than I might have done when living here.  Lindsay, my parents and I went and toured Living History Farms about 12-15 minutes from my old home.  Touted as an outdoor museum, LHF stages the major transitions in Iowa farming.

I was most interested in the 1875 town; because, prior to the civil war and industrial revolution, farmers lived in a symbiotic relationship with craftsman of the town.  They would exchange goods and services (such as blacksmiths, broommakers, printing presses, general stores, etc.) for farm produce.   In the context of my book, Alandria, I wanted to understand how the farms functioned in relationship to craftsman.

When the industrial revolution hit, railroads connected industries of the East to the farms through the midwest.  Eventually, the craftsman became obselete.  I was fascinated by the way railroads changed the needs in the towns.  It reminded me of our global economy.  What services, goods, produce do we have to offer the world?


In Uncategorized on July 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Being in my hometown elicits all kinds of hauntings – former friendships, some broken, unattended, while others had been forgotten.  Also, I hear echos of my youth when I pass by a soccer complex, an old apartment, smelling the pre-harvest soil on the edge of town.  Friendships in which I felt alone, people with whom I had been absent, memories that seem to stick.

All kinds of questions fill my head.  Does anything of my future belong here?  In what environment would I want to raise my kids?  How do I live with this richness in my current context in Orange County?  Am I merely intoxicated by a particular season, the summer when all the seeds are bearing fruit and produce?  I remember periods of deep loneliness as well as profound joy and fulfillment.

I came across some exciting ideas today when talking with a friend: 1) owning a winery, 2) growing fresh produce to sell in a local farmer’s market, 3) living in different places and contexts throughout my life.  I’m intrigued by the impact of Michelangelo.  (the artist, not the ninja turtle – I preferred Donatello) I digress.  Leaving cultural artifacts that profoundly impacted cities throughout Italy, Europe and the world.  Creating art that speaks with profound depth.

George Washington Carver

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 at 9:38 am

Yesterday, Lindsay and I returned from Joplin, MO for a visit to her grandmother (aka Nana), her uncle Randy and grandfather, Ed.  I enjoyed seeing a more rural town.  Not only did Nana cook some excellent food, but we got to learn about the canning process (pickles, relish, green beans, etc).  My favorite part of the trip was a visit to the birthplace of George Washington Carver, a scientist, who was famous for discovering 200 practical uses for the peanut, which at the time was not well resourced.  The story goes something to the effect of the following:

Carver prayed that God would show him the purpose of life.  God spoke to him and said, “Little man, you ask too much for your little mind to understand.  Ask for something smaller.”  So, Carver again prayed that God would show him the purpose of human beings.  God responded, ” Little man, you still ask for too much.  Ask for something smaller and be more specific.”  Carver finally asked, “God, what is the purpose of the peanut.”  And God obliged to show him.

I love this story, partly because it confirms my hypothesis that peanut butter is God’s favorite food.  Carver was an amazing man of faith.  He saw his mission as extending his love of studying plants to the poor by finding innovative ways to feed the hungry.  He was immensely resourceful and very prayerful in his exploration.  He was a very well-respected man in his profession and in his faith.  In addition, he empowered many of his students through mentorship and continuing correspondence (aka snail mail).

To Be Told

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm

to be toldThe last two night have been in my hometown, Des Moines.  Even though I have lived half of my life here and half in California, I still consider myself a DM native.  It is where I attended high school, it is where I played the largest portion of my soccer career, it is where I began college.  And in a couple of weeks it is where I will attend my 10-year reunion.

Where to begin with my thoughts?  The plane ride ushered me into Des Moines in contemplative mood.  I have been reading a book called To Be Told by Dan Allendar.  It is about reading our past to discover the God has been telling through our lives and how we can coauthor the future with Him.  Thoughts in this book have led me to consider my family, the mood here, and what I want for the future.  The two week journey will end with a reunion with old school mates.

Tonight, we will have a leisurely dinner followed by a DM Menace soccer game.  I hope all is well on your side of the world.