Saturday, March 31, 2007


Here is a short review of some of the movies we have watched recently:

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang - This was a clever and funny crime/action comedy with Robert Downey Jr. (looking a bit older these days). However, it had quite a bit of language and nudity in it, so not one that I highly recommend.

Lost Boys of Sudan - A documentary that follows a group of young refugee men from Sudan who are brought to the States to study and make a "better life" for themselves. Poor planning and follow-through on the part of the assistance agencies that initiated the program left the boys largely on their own to sort things out. The perspective of the young men themselves and the challenges and cultural issues that they face were all very interesting.

The School of Rock - A very silly Jack Black movie. I don't remember anything terribly offensive in it. It was okay; enjoyable fluff.

Glory Road - The story of the college basketball coach who first dared to play an all black line up in 1962. The story itself was interesting, but the execution was rather cliche and the characters lacked good development. There are similar stories that are better done, IMHO.

Touch The Sound - Documentary about deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who has an uncanny ability to "hear" sound with her whole body. It is hard to believe that she is really deaf as you watch how well she interacts and collaborates with other musicians all over the world. This is a very slow movie that most people would not enjoy, but would be interesting to musicians or other artists.

Seducing Doctor Lewis - A cute Canadian comedy about a rural town in Quebec that needs to find a town doctor. They go to elaborate lengths to try to coerce a temp. Dr. to stay on.

The Devil's Miner - Documentary about a young boy who works in the mines of Potosi, Bolivia to support his family. This is an excellent portrayal of the struggles of the working poor in Bolivia, their religious beliefs (which are a blend of Catholicism and ancient traditional animistic beliefs). I have been to the mine in Potosi and seen the "devil" of the underground.

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan - Documentary about the early years of Bob Dylan's singing career. He was just a bit before my time and I was completely unaware of the controversy surrounding his switch from folk music to rock and roll. This is long and at times it was hard to follow the chronology as they kept showing scenes from a single concert in London (which was the culmination of controversy). But my opinion about Bob Dylan completely switched from the early part of this two disc set to the end of it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Keith Green

Well, thinking about Randy Stonehill last week gave me a hankering for listening to classic Christian rock. On a recent road trip I popped Keith into my CD player. He was so passionate about his love for God. Here are some sample lyrics.

He'll Take Care of the Rest

You know it ain't no use, banging your head, up against that cold stone wall,
Cause nobody's perfect, except for the Lord, and even the best is bound to fall,
Remember He is de vine, and you are de branch,
He'd love to get you through it if you'd give Him a chance,
Just keep doing your best,
And pray that it's blessed,
And Jesus takes care of the rest.

Yes the Lord said that He'd take care of the rest, He's gonna do it,
He'll take care of the rest, He'll see you through it, yeah.
He'll take care of the rest, the devil blew it,
He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the rest.

Just think about Moses, in front of the burning bush, barefoot on the Holy ground,
You know, he must have been thinking, "hey, what`s an old dude like me,
Gonna tell em all when I go down", go down Moses,
The Lord said, "hey Moe, don`t you worry about your going down south,
I'll be saying every word that comes out of your mouth,
Just keep doing your best, and pray that it's blessed,
Hey Moe, I'll take care of the rest."

Yes the Lord said that He'd take care of the rest, he's gonna do it,
He'll take care of the rest, He'll see you through it, yeah.
He'll take care of the rest, oh, Pharaoh blew it,
He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the rest.

Just believe, and you'll receive, that comfort you need,
You just think about all those lonely people you know,
They've got everything they want, but they have empty souls,
Well, He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the,
care of the rest.

You just think about Noah, toting his umbrella, when there wasn't a cloud in the sky,
All his neighbors would laugh at his catchy raft, and would snicker as he
passed by,
But the Lord said, hey Noah, be cool, just keep building that boat,
It's just a matter of time till they see who's gonna float,
You just keep doing your best, and pray that it's blessed,
Hey Noah, I'll take care of the rest, I'm the weatherman.

The Lord said that he'll take care of the rest, He's gonna do it,
He'll take care of the rest, He'll see you through it, yeah.
He'll take care of the rest, his neighbors blew it,
He'll take care of the rest, Hallelujah.
He'll take care of the rest, only Jesus can see you through it,
He'll take care of the rest, yes, yes, yes,
He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the rest­.
At first glance, this song might appear to be promoting a "God helps those who help themselves" kind of philosophy. But, actually, it is providing an illustration of one of my favorite topics lately: real faith is seen best in obedience. We tend to think of faith as some kind of emotion that we have to generate in order to somehow make God work. Hebrews 11:1 states "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." If we read on, we see all of the examples of great people of faith listed. The common theme among them is that they obeyed what God told them to do. The conviction of things not seen had to do with faith that God knew what He was doing. Heb 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
It was NOT that they anticipated the outcome and felt sure that some miracle would happen. In fact, many of them did not see the good outcome that they hoped for. Heb 11:39 "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised"

I have several friends who are going through hard times right now. And they are displaying this kind of faith when they continue to do what they know God wants of them, even when it is hard. Even when it seems like there may be an easier way out. And God is so pleased with that kind of faith. It is a faith in who God is, His character, wisdom and sovereignty (power). This kind of faith is not always dramatic, but it is real.

Portland tour in 7 hours

Here are some Portland Trivia tidbits for you:

  • The Portland Saturday Market is the largest continuously operating open-air crafts market in the United States.
  • Powell’s City of Books, occupying an entire city block, is the world’s largest independent bookstore.
  • The Port of Portland is the largest wheat export port in the United States.
  • Portland’s Junior Rose Festival Parade is the largest children’s parade in America.
  • Portlandia is the second-largest hammered-copper statue in the world (the Statue of Liberty is the first).
  • Portland’s International Rose Test Garden is the oldest in the nation.
  • More Asian elephants (27 to date) have been born in Portland than in any other North American city.
  • Portland is known as the epicenter of America’s craft brewing renaissance.
  • Portland is home to both the world’s smallest dedicated park, Mill Ends Park (24 inches in size), and the nation’s largest forested city wilderness – the 5,000-acre Forest Park.
  • There are 37,000 acres of parks in the Portland metro area.
  • Portland’s nicknames include “Rose City,” “City of Bridges,” “Rip City,” and “Rivercity.”
  • The Oregon Brewers Festival is the largest gathering of independent brewers in North America.
  • The city of Portland was officially incorporated on February 8, 1851.
  • There is no sales tax in Oregon.

Monday, March 26, 2007

You'd better sit down for this one!

You'll never believe what happened the other day. We are still in shock around here. I heard voices outside. Denis was working out in the yard, so I figured that he and my mom were talking. I was wondering what the conversation was that was taking so long. It turns out that it was our next door neighbor talking with an arborist about that poplar tree of hers. She had it TAKEN DOWN. Unbelievable! The sun is shining and birds are singing happy songs. No more leaves and wormy seed things. The arborist referred to the tree as a cottonwood, so we looked it up on wikipedia. It turns out that poplars and cottonwoods are the same thing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Turning Thirty by Randy Stonehill

Do you remember Randy Stonehill? He was one of the fathers of the Christian Rock genre in music. I first heard his music in college. I'm 40 now, not thirty, but the words are still meaningful:

I've got a house down by the ocean.
The rent is not too high.
And I love to watch the ships come in
and hear the seagulls cry.
And lately I've been taking stock
of all that I've been through.
Oh tomorrow is my birthday.
Feels funny but it's true
I'm turning thirty.

Now I've got a wife who really loves me.
She makes my life so sweet.
And a little baby daughter
who plays games around my feet.
And my world is very different
from lost lazy bachelor years.
But if I had the chance to go back
I'd rather stay right here
turning thirty.

And I have friends who care about me.
They're the best i've ever had.
And they always stood behind me
whenever times got bad.
And I love to play my music
though the road can be at trial.
But every time I walk on stage
it's worth each dusty mile.
Turning thirty.

Well, now thirty ain't like fifteen.
And it's not like twenty-five.
My back's a little stiff
and there're some lines around my eyes.
But I've still got my energy
and I've got most of my hair.
And I'm not too old to rock 'n roll
and I'm not really scared
of turning thirty.
I wrote this song eight years ago.
My, how time flies and so do I.

Oh, the nineties look like tough times.
The world is turning sour.
So I'll keep on serving jesus
and await the final hour.
And though I've often failed him
in these thirty rocky years.
His mercy brought me this far
and his love has dried my tears.
I'm turning thirty
I'll treasure these years.
I'm turning thirty
I'll treasure these years turning thirty.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What a day!

I had such a busy day yesterday. I worked from 8 AM-noon for a coworker, but got tied up with a patient issue until 1 PM. I had an appointment at 1:00, so I had to call and apologize that I would be about 15 minutes late and rush over there. At 1:10 I arrived and met with the manager of a pharmacy about being a corporate sponsor for the American Diabetes Association walk this year. Then I had to go back to work just to finish up the billing aspect of my 4 hour shift. I rushed home and scarfed a bologna sandwich just in time to rush out the door with my guitar for Good News Club at the elementary school 15 minutes away by car. Good News Club ended at 3:30, so I headed back home and started to make dinner. Mid-way through that, I had to put everything in the fridge so I could rush over to my afternoon doctor's appointment. I got a clean bill of health and went to the store for a couple of ingredients that I needed. Home to finish cooking dinner. Check email and blogs, eat dinner and cuddle with hubby watching movie. Whew! I can't believe I made it.

It's a busy week. I am working each day this week, and I always feel pretty fatigued when I do that. I just don't get as much down time as I'm used to. I'm such a wimp. Now I have to go to bed.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


We have some family friends visiting from Washington States this weekend. These are very good friends who have been involved in our lives for as long as I can remember. They lived down the road from us in the small town where we both lived until I was 10 years old. Their family moved away one year before we did, but we have remained always in close contact. We even spent Christmas together each year. Anyway, it's been nice to visit with them. Denis had to work all weekend, so at least I had something interesting to do while he was gone. On Saturday, we drove about 40 minutes to a place aptly named "daffodil hill". I'm not sure what started it all, but obviously a lot of people have planted daf bulbs up here over the years. They are so pretty naturalized into the grassy fields among the trees.

There are a lot of deer in this area. We saw this young one walking along the road heading over to his family who were lounging in someone's yard.

This is the only turkey we saw. My mom has seen a group of 8 in this area in the past.

Mt. McLaughlin is the prominent peak in the Rogue Valley. Here it is peeking over the hills.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Ants go marching

One by one. Hurrah! Hurrah!

Right to the ant trap...

Poplar revisited

Remember that big poplar tree next door? Well, this is the spring version of poplar droppings. They are still falling from the sky. Ugly!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What you can learn from a cat.

I have been assisting my cats, Phoebe and Monica, in maintaining their blog. In the process, I ran across a "cat blog help center" run by Skeezix the Cat. Has anyone noticed that my links indicate whose blog has a new post on it now? I learned how to do that (well, Phoebe learned how) on Skeezix's help center. It's a very cool service called "blogrolling". You can get to it by clicking the "powered by blogrolling" link under my list. Set up a free account, make your link list, set your preferences, get your code and put it in your blog. Viola! It took a bit of work, but it's so handy to know which of my friends has a new post to read.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Yard work day

Denis has been out digging in the dirt. Spring is in the air and we have been talking about new plants that we would like to put in. We have an area planned for a rhododendron (which are classic Oregon plants) and one last rose. This area next to the chain-link fence, we have gradually trying to fill with plants that will block the view of the fence. Next on the list is transplanting our shasta daisy and adding brown-eyed susans and other similar flowers.

I pruned all the roses last weekend - ours, my mom's and the three on my brother's property. Our bulbs have all started growing the the daffodils finally have their faces open. Here are some pictures so that you can live vicariously. :o)

For the Curious

Here is the layout of the three houses on the land that used to be one lot, belonging to my brother. Our house is yellow in the foreground. My mom's is light green in the middle. And my brother's, clear in the front (facing the main street) is gray/blue.

Front yard view

Back yard view.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Latest project

My mom lives next door in a small house on my brother's property. Last year, we had a nice new sidewalk poured leading from her carport up to her front door. It's a great improvement over the cement pavers that Mom had used to construct a make-shift pathway before. However, it wound up creating a dam that stopped the rainwater from flowing down and away from her door. It does rain quite a bit here (maybe you have heard that about Oregon... :o) So, there was my mom outside in the pouring rain, bailing water from in front of her house to around the corner.

Not to worry. Denis found a solution. He bought a small water pump that would fit into a standard size bucket, dug a hole, fit the pump into the bucket with the hose headed out to the driveway. From there the water will run downhill to our city-approved drainage system which pumps out to the street. The system was recently put to the test when we had a few days of rain:

Before turning on the pump.

One minute later

I hab a code!

I finally succombed to the cold that I had been fighting for a couple of days. I took my zinc and vitamin C, but to no avail. I was told to stay home today and I've called in sick for tomorrow. I don't feel awful, but I don't have any ambition to do anything productive... I should take advantage of this opportunity to read something useful for work, or my book for Bible Study next week. But even that seems like too much work! How pitiful is that?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I'm Home

I know, I know. You guys didn't even know that I was gone! I left Thursday afternoon for a work-related conference in Bend, Oregon. The conference was all day Friday and today until the afternoon. All of the nurses that I work with went and we carpooled. We had a nice time together. Bend is a wonderful place, with about 8 mountains visible to the west. We didn't have time to do any exploring, though. So, anyway, now you know why I haven't been around the last few days.

On another note, Wednesday evening Denis and I went to see the movie Amazing Grace at the theater with some people from our church. It tells the story of William Wilberforce who as a young man in the 18th century entered British parliament and attempted for years to abolish the slave trade in England. He persistently promoted bill after bill that were all defeated for years. After 15 years of frustration, he and his friends were finally successful. It was a great story and the driving force behind his passion about slavery was his strong faith in the God who created all men in the image of Himself. Some of the historical details were hard for me to follow (I'm pitiful at history), but the details were not entirely necessary to understand anyway. If this film is showing in your area, I do recommend it.