Wednesday, September 26, 2007



Torrey and I got to go to Disneyland on Monday for free. Free is, of course, always nice, especially when it relates to an expensive thing like Disneyland. Torrey's boss had given money to a fundraiser, and as a thank you, he was invited to dinner for two at Club 33 in Disneyland's New Orleans district. He wasn't interested in the tickets, and since he had been particularly demanding of Torrey around the time he received the invitation, he gave his invitation to us. Included with the invitation was admission for both parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) as well, and even though we weren't able to get off work until 2:00, we still got to go on a whole bunch of rides before dinner. I don't think we waited more than 10 minutes in line for any ride. Oh, and it is Halloween time at Disneyland, which perhaps begins to explain the pumpkin Cheshire Cat and the Candy Corn A's in CALIFORNIA. Torrey loves candy corn.


Then we went off to Club 33, where we had all-you-can-eat tri-tip, prime rib, shrimp, crab, etc., etc. The most interesting part of the whole evening came just as we were leaving the club to go home. As it turns out, the fundraiser was for a church planting ministry being run by someone affiliated with the church Torrey's boss attends. Torrey thought for sure his name sounded familiar, and finally realized that it is someone she had met on furlough in Junior High, and whose daughter had been a great encouragement to her that year. Who would have ever thought that at a dinner with a bunch of strangers in an exclusive club at Disneyland we would meet an old friend? It is a small world indeed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bursting with Goodness


Today Torrey was out with a bunch of girls who were helping Shelley shop for a wedding dress. So when I wanted to take a break from studying, I grabbed my camera and went for a walk. The weather this morning was beautiful. It rained last night for the first time in many months, and the sky was filled with white and gray clouds, with spots of deep blue here and there. Now just two blocks down the road from our house is a railroad track, and separating the track from the street running parallel to it is a row of shrubs. Mixed into the hedge are pomegranates, and I had in mind to take some pictures of the fruit and at the same time check to see if any were ripe enough to bring home as a treat for Torrey – she loves the things. In the Middle East where she grew up, pomegranates are a sign of luxury and extravagance, and as I walked along the tracks, I was reminded of the extent to which God has blessed my life extravagantly. As I searched for ripe fruit, I stumbled upon an opening in the bushes, and there, tucked away from the view of all but the closest passersby was the makeshift shelter of a homeless man. I was immediately struck by the vast contrast between my life and his. Last night, as I lay in my dry, warm bed, I was excited to hear the rain come, but here was someone who’s only protection from the storm is a greatly inadequate assembly of plastic bags strung between the branches of the pomegranate bushes. I so often take for granted myriads of blessings that others live without, such as the roof over my head and a lack of concern for the food I eat each day. God has blessed me so abundantly, that my life is bursting with goodness, like a pomegranate that is split open for lack of strength to hold back its own ripeness. I firmly believe that what God gives to us is not merely for our own pleasure and benefit, but that it ought to be used for the good of others. If we truly consider others better than ourselves, we cannot help but give out of our abundance to those who are in need. As I continued on my way I decided that this was one way that I could use a little of what God has given me to bless another, so I returned to offer the man some assistance. He refused, but today was a poignant reminder of the need we have as believers to be prepared to give of ourselves and of the things we tend to think of as our own for the good of those around us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Baseball and Family

The company that Torrey works for has season tickets for the Angels, and when they have extras that their clients aren’t interested in, they sometimes give them to their employees. So last night we had four tickets to the Angels vs. Mariners game, and we took Shannon and Shelley along with us.


It was fun to hang out with the girls, and the game was interesting too. The pitcher for the Angels hit one of the Mariners early in the game, and throughout the rest of the game there was payback and tension between the teams. At one point, Vladimir Guerrero (Angels player) was up to bat when he had to duck to avoid being hit in the head with the ball. The photo below shows the chaos that resulted from that. Apparently the pitcher and manager for the Mariners were kicked out of the game after the commotion died down.


Here is Shannon, the Angels fan…


…and the girls goofing around under the big A after the game.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Canasta Caliente

Box Cover Print

This summer I exercised my creative powers and I made a deck of cards as a gift for someone in my family. The above image is the cover I made for the box that the cards fit in, and in case you don't know, Canasta means "basket" and Caliente means "hot". The images that follow are the templates that I used to print the cards (I printed them as 4x6 photos, then fixed a basket-weave contact paper to the backs of the photos and cut out the individual cards).

Print 1

Print 2

Print 3

Print 4

Print 5

Print 6

Print 7

Print 8

Print 9

Monday, September 17, 2007

Remembering Yarina

Yarina from the Air

I have started another blog for sharing stories from Yarina. I am hoping that a bunch of old Yarina types will contribute to the site so that we can all remember and enjoy our old stories and some that have perhaps never been told. Check it out here.
And if you would like to contribute to it, email me or leave me a comment on one of the blogs, and I will gladly allow you to do that.

I have also finally compiled my pictures from the reunion in August. You can see them here.

Jon Reid has also posted a bunch more reunion pictures here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Few Photos

I keep intending to write something on here, but between studying, spending time with Torrey and attempting to finish some projects I am in the middle of, I haven't been able to get around to it. So in the meantime, here are a few photos. These were taken on a camping trip to Andrew Molera State Park in the Big Sur area last new year.

Townsend's Warbler


These little guys were all over the campground, so I took some time crawling through the grass to get close enough to capture this one.



There is a grove of eucalyptus trees at Andrew Molera, and when we were there the butterflies were in town, covering large portions of the trees in the park. Awesome.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Exciting News

The Ring

Mark and Shelley are engaged! Saturday night, Mark Hopson got down on one knee and asked my sister to marry him. Quite plainly, she said yes. So now the wedding plans are under way. Congratulations, Mark and Shelley!

The following photos are from Tim and Lydia’s wedding several weeks ago. Shelley went to great lengths to ensure her position as the next bride-to-be, and although Mark also recruited help, Luke ended up being an obstacle instead of an aid. I’m still not sure how Mark managed to beat little Freddy to the garter…

Unfair advantage?

The race is on

And here is a picture of Mark and Shelley together:


Surfin' USA


When the summer began, Torrey and I began thinking that we really need to take advantage of our proximity to the beach by actually going from time to time. But somehow we got busy and spent very little time on the sand. So now we are making up for lost time, with four visits to the beach in the past eight days. Saturday morning we went surfing with Erik and Ryan Floyd, Luke Ardill and Dan Coombs. This was only my third time ever trying to surf, and my very first time to be out in the waves with other people. And there were in fact a lot of other people. When we arrived at the beach we looked across the water to find that there was a solid line of neoprene-clad figures sitting on surfboards, waiting for the next big one to come along. So we gathered up our things and headed out into the water to join the Labor Day weekend crowd. I quickly found that once I caught a wave, my board had a bad habit of nosing into the trough and dumping me into the frothing surf. So I improvised, and instead of catching waves head-on, I began catching them at an angle, which did indeed help me avoid tumbling in the waves, but also served to push me across the line of surfers. After several such attempts at catching waves, Erik cautioned me to be aware of those around me and to avoid cutting the other surfers off. A neighbor (one I had apparently unwittingly angered) quickly chimed in to lecture me about “surfers’ etiquette.” As I continued to battle the surf that day in my heightened awareness of the surfers around me, I slowly realized something about surfers’ etiquette. There really is no such thing. The ocean is just a big playground where the bully, the boldest, fastest guy out there gets his way, and the little guy, or in my case, the big guy who doesn’t know what he is doing, loses every time.