Archive for October 2003

People seem to be breaking out of the daze they’ve been in around here for the past few days. The fires continue to burn to the east of us, but some favorable weather has helped a lot. We’re actually getting some light rain in some areas. I was running around yesterday looking for a missing horse. There are several hundred of them being temporarily housed at the county fairgrounds. I also went to the doctor yesterday – it seems I have developed a case of the shingles. That sucks. I think I have a mild case, because it’s not as painful as I’ve heard it can be. It’s just uncomfortable and annoying at this point. Sounds like the people who are trying to buy our house are wanting to play hardball with us since we pulled out of escrow. That’s annoying too. I’m working to maintain perspective in all of […]



Michelle and I returned to the ashes of the house where she grew up yesterday. The air all around San Diego county was dense with smoke. It’s kind of like being in thick fog, except with a dirty yellow tint. Michelle walked around, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing when she’d see some random object that didn’t burn. I realized how incapable I am of relating – my family moved at least 11 times before I was 18 years old, but Michelle had never moved once until she married me. We’ve received so many phone calls, e-mails, etc. from people wanting to help. Right now we’re just trying to figure out which end is up. It’s really cool the way everyone is there for us, though. O.k., here’s an experience I had the other day. When I returned home late Sunday afternoon and saw the blackened ground all around my house, a […]



These are challenging days. The fires of Southern California have altered many many lives – ours among them. The blaze that swept through my neighborhood has now consumed over 200,000 acres. I contributed one acre of my own. The flames came to within 20 feet of our house, but the structure was saved. We were evacuated on Sunday morning. We got the cats and a few items of value, and went to Michelle’s parents’ home, about 10 minutes away. Witin a couple of hours we would be evacuated from there also. Before leaving our house, my sister offered for us to come there, about 20 minutes away . . . she too would eventually be evacuated. We were more fortunate than many in that we were allowed to return home by the end of the day. Coming here was amazing. The whole area is black and gray, with only the […]



I’ve admitted before that I’m a pop culture geek. Thus, how could I not like the two new VH1 series – “I Love the 70s” and the follow up “I Love the 80’s Strikes Back”? That’s the show where witty celebrity types remember and then mock the cultural products and people of a given year within those decades. They talk about clothing styles, television shows, movies, you name it. Fun stuff. As I was out mowing weeds on our property this morning, I was thinking something like this: “Hey, what if VH1 did a show called ‘I Love the Christian Ghetto?’” What things would they remember with fondness? What would they mock? What would they have serious disdain for? I haven’t put much thought into what would be on my list, but it would probably include Focus on the Family, Davey and Goliath, WWJD, Jabez, the Gaithers, Left Behind books, […]



Whew! Busy week around here. Mostly busy with the right stuff, but still not 100%. Something happened a couple days ago that pleased me, though. I worked at the coffee shop early in the morning, but business was slow and we were overstaffed, so I got off work early. I had another meeting scheduled for later in the morning, so I just hung out at a table outside and read. I had my Bible out, and was reading a book by Thomas Merton. I was there for about 45 minutes. During that time frame I had something like six or seven decent conversations with different people – all of them were regular customers that I have gotten to know by name since I’ve worked there. In almost every case, they asked what I was reading and we were able to talk about life. Now, let me just say that I […]



Well, that didn’t take long. We signed a contract to sell our house yesterday. Escrow opened today. Heck, the realtor didn’t even have time to put up one of those silly signs in front of our house. We now have 45 days to figure out where the heck we’re gonna call home. Sofas, spare bedrooms anyone?? In preparing to put the house on the market, Michelle and I each arrived at a price for the house. We approached the price from different flows of logic, and came up with the same number. When the buyers made their offer, it was the same number. It’s a good thing. We’re still really bummed about leaving this place, but we know that our home is with one another, and not simply located in a physical building. It’s a lot like church. So many people are hung up on the notion that the life […]



Michelle and I made the difficult decision to put our house on the market the other night. Even as I write, there are people walking through the place, evaluating it for its worth to them. I want to tell them to go away and not come back – even if they come back with a wheelbarrow full of $100 bills. We love living here in so many ways. And yet we know that it’s time to go.



One of the things I enjoyed most about the Unconference a few weeks back was being able to meet and hang out with Palmer. He’s experiencing the grace of God right now in a way I wouldn’t want to, having lost his wife to cancer recently. I’ve rarely sensed the peace of God rest so fully on one person before. Here is an example.



Over the past three months I’ve watched my personal spiritual rhythms take a beating. The easiest thing for me to point to for my difficulties in consistency is my job at the coffee shop. On days when I open the shop, my alarm starts beeping at 3:40a.m. About seven years ago, just before getting married, I took a new job at a local university. Prior to that I had worked a swing shift job, but the new job required me to be at work at 6:30a.m. I found that the best way for me to have a consistent “quiet time” (that’s what I called it back then) with God was to get up at about 4:00a.m. I continued this practice for the most part up until the time I left my staff position with the church this April. These were good times. Despite not being a “morning person” I thrived […]



And a very good weekend it was. Michelle and I enjoyed the Equilibrium experience. A lot of it was your basic intro to the modern/postmodern shift yada yada, but I think it was better than most, since it was in the heart of a pretty postmodern city, and part of the experience included walking around in it. We spent time on the border of Chinatown and Little Italy Friday night. Had dinner at Mona Lisa’s in Little Italy – this is the kind of place where you have a sneaking suspicion that someone might get whacked by the end of dinner. Great stuff, though. We did a walking freestyle meditation in the city’s botanical gardens Saturday morning, hung out in a “session” at Dieter Zander’s place, and then went to the Paige Street center for lunch. As with most other events of its kind, the real value of this gathering […]