Pages

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Residents of long-term care facilities sometimes have little or no contact with the outside world. Many feel they lack control over their lives. A friendly volunteer who visits regularly can be a bright spot in an elderly resident's day. Many residents are alone and would be very happy to have your visits. This may also help ensure they get good care if someone from the community is looking in on them regularly.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are trained to resolve problems. If you want, the ombudsman can assist you with complaints. However, unless you give the ombudsman permission to share your concerns, these matters are kept confidential.

Our local ombudsman's office investigates complaints and advocates for the rights of long-term care residents in Milton-Freewater, Heppner, Hermiston, Pendleton, Canyon City, John Day, Prairie City, Wallowa and La Grande.

State-wide, the agency oversees 21 districts and 42,000 residents in long-term care facilitiies. Last year, 100 certified volunteer ombudsmen made 9,800 visits to care facilities.

Investigations are based on complaints, concerns or suspicions reported by residents, family, facility staff or other agencies.

The areas of La Grande, Wallowa, Hermiston and Prairie City have the greatest need in the state of Oregon. Currently there are just three volunteer ombudsman available for this entire region. Ideally, there should be at least ten, allowing more frequent and regular visits to care facilities.

Volunteer ombudsman complete an five-day, 48-hour certification training program and are supported with conferences and refresher training. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and undergo a background check.

Read more...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paper, Pen and Ink

Today, more than ever, our daily life depends upon electronic, digitized text. Looking at the tremendous variety and number of computer devices that surround each of us, how can paper-based information be at all relevant, much less vital?

I believe information that is published with ink on paper (or parchment), is much more reliable, and long-lasting than any other medium we know of.

First issue: long-lasting

Although metal, or glass, or pottery could be considered more durable, the practical and realistic characteristics of paper and ink most likely provide longer-lasting archival documents.

The technology and energy to create, store, and retrieve information based on metal or ceramics, including glass, requires much more time and intelligence and care than a simple graphite or ink mark on a notecard. That basic notecard can be kept in a dry environment, even one found in nature, with no human intervention, without degradation.

Second issue: reliability

Because paper-based information can be published quickly, easily, and to a broad audience, mistakes and falsehoods can easily be disputed. Once written or printed, and distributed, a reader (or non-reader!) can physically hold it in their hand, preventing the author from easily revising it. The holder of the paper can write his own article, correcting the mistake and exposing the lies, with proof of the original error in his possession.

Not easily done with E-mail or websites. Unless hackers gain access (actually quite easy to do) or internet administrators use their privileges, the author of a digital document can easily revise, at any time, any portion of his original publication. Little remains that can prove there was a change. Of course, computer users have the capability of downloading information and saving it electronically, but until it is printed on paper, it still is susceptible to easy change or loss.

Why am I thinking about these things?

Here's an excerpt from an article describing the dispute between Islam and Christianity regarding the crucifixion of Christ:

The Great Offense: Was Jesus Really Crucified?

By John Piper

The Qur'an says that Jews were mistaken about the death of Jesus, indicating He was taken up by God unhurt.

"And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger—They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt therefore; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. There is not one of the People of the Scripture [Jews] but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them." (Sara 4, 157-159, quoted from The Meanings of the Glorious Qur'an, trans. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (New Delhi : Kitab Bhavan, n.d.), 91.)

But Mohammed wasn't born until 571 years after the birth of Jesus. Tacitus, born in 55 a.d., was a Roman historian living during the years in which the Christian believers were just beginning to gather in churches.

The testimony of Tacitus contradicts the information recorded by the Qur'an:

"All human efforts . . . of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular." (Tacitus, Annals, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb, accessed 11-26-03, http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/annals.11.xv.html. Italics added.)

It was common knowledge that Christ was crucified. If there were any question that he had died in this way, it would have been eagerly disputed wherever Christians preached. But it wasn't. The fact of his death by crucifixion was not questioned.

Christians openly based their faith on the fact that Jesus was publicly tried, condemned, executed, and raised from the dead. Thousands of people who opposed the faith could have proved it wrong, if Jesus had not died. The resurrection was disputed, but not the crucifixion.

With only electronically created and decoded documents, this historical information could have been deleted, distorted, and easily denied. With the information recorded on parchment, we have accurate and reliable testimony from an eye-witness.

Thank God for paper and ink!

The Blind Side

The best stories in life (and film) have simple plots and complicated, inspiring and intriguing characters.

Disregard your preconceptions, look past the simple plot, and go see "The Blind Side".

A wealthy, white mother and career woman takes in a homeless, hopeless, black teenager from a gang-ruled housing project in Memphis. Although she knows nothing about him, and fully expects him to steal what he can carry, she breaks through his wall of silent despair and begins to care for him as her own child. He completes high school and wins a scholarship to play football for University of Mississippi, "Ole Miss".

The film is based on a true story told by author Michael Lewis in his book, "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game", 2007, W. W. Norton & Company.

I want to see the film again, and I want to buy the video when it becomes available. Here are two reasons:

I Don't Like Football

I've never understood the strategy, except "throw the ball and catch it, or try to stomp on any one on the opposing team." I admit that's a shallow understanding of the sport, but that's where I was, before I watched "The Blind Side" last night.

Sandra Bullock plays the mother, Leigh Anne. The film opens with her giving a play-by-play color commentary of a real football game, focusing on the role of one of the defensive linemen, the left tackle.

For the first time I understood one of the basic strategies of football. The left tackle protects the blind side of a righthanded quarterback, who must twist slightly to the right before throwing the football.

This has been a relatively new development in football strategy, and made the position of left tackle hugely important, earning nearly as much money as that earned by the quarterback, the highest-paid position on the team.

I just might watch a football game this weekend. Even if I don't, this new awareness of how football works, or at least, how a part of it works, inspires me to see parallels in other parts of my life:

Violence cannot be judged on appearance alone. I cannot blindly look at the crushing, brawling conflict of a football game and lightly dismiss it as foolish, or wrong, or useless. There is a reason for it, a need for it, a moral necessity even.

This idea impacts today's issues of gun control, military interventions, community police departments...even child discipline. The motive for an act, the results of an act, must be discerned before the act is judged right, wrong, useless or worthwhile.

This film made me think about that.

Sandra Bullock's character was a bitch, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Please, before you angrily, righteously, shut down your computer, open a dictionary and look up the meaning of "bitch".

Bitch: The female of the canine kind, from Anglo Saxon, "bicce" (1949 Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary). By the 15th century the word was used to describe a bad woman. Why? It is helpful to look at how dog breeders and trainers regard the word, "bitch". Here is an exerpt from an article that focuses on the differences between male and female dogs. (My comments comparing the description to the mother in "The Blind Side" are shown in italics):

Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs

A Guide to Dog Behavior, by Mary Stasiewicz

In some ways, choosing between male and female dogs is a matter of personal preference. However, there are some characteristics which are common in bitches and other characteristics which are common in male dogs.

The following characteristics often apply to bitches:

Independent

Bitches tend to want to be in control of the entire situation. They may come to their owner when they are seeking affection but will often move away when they have had enough.

The mother, Leigh Anne, is an interior designer, shown in the beginning of the film on the phone, dictating requirements of a project to a supplier. She sounds firm, knowledgeable and in control. She makes decisions quickly, she sees the big picture, and she's obsessive about quality and appearance, in life and home.

There are scenes in the film in which the phrase, "Guess who wears the pants in that family?" comes to mind. Although Sean, the husband, is shown later in the film as part of the decision-making at home, and Leigh Anne depends upon him for guidance and support, he also admits to his children and her, that "What she wants and what will actually happen...are usually the same thing."

Leigh Anne is the one who takes Michael, the forlorn black teenager, into their home. She insists that he allow her to buy him new clothes. She confronts Michael's old friends when they threaten him. She pushes the high school football coach aside to forcibly impress upon Michael and his team (grabbing by the shirt, pulling on the helmet, and slapping on the butt) the facts of football. Leigh Anne's first response, in almost all situations, seems to be one of taking control and solving the problem by moving and shaking.

Stubborn

In many packs, a bitch is typically the Alpha dog. Female dogs crave more control of situations and are quick to respond to perceived challenges with fierceness.

Leigh Anne packs heat. She never pulls her gun out of her purse, but her strong words and "in your face" confrontation with bad-side-of-town tough guys who threaten her son leave no doubt: She's going to do whatever it takes to protect her own.

Territorial

Female dogs mark in the same way male dogs do. A spayed female may continue to mark for her entire lifetime regardless of when she is spayed while most males will cease marking behaviors shortly after they are neutered and the testosterone levels subside.

Leigh Anne's home is visually stunning, with beautiful furniture and art placed intimately and comfortably. She has a place, a room, for every purpose, designed and furnished for that purpose. From landscaping to the laundry room, and from great room to guest room, Leigh Anne's esthetic marking behaviors are clearly seen.

Reserved

Bitches are generally less affectionate and friendly than male dogs. This characteristic is noticeable in puppies and becomes more pronounced with age.

This is an interesting generalization. Discussing it with my wife, we couldn't definitely agree that this was true of Leigh Anne, or of women in general. In many senses, this is true, and not true, of men and women. It seems that women tend to be nurturers, quick to provide compassion and affection, while men often are "bottom line" problem-solvers, rather than empathizers. However, women who are leaders also place a higher priority on the need for analytical, aggressive and decisive behavior.

Leigh Anne did show several aspects of making problem-solving a higher priority than compassion and affection. Her first reaction to seeing Michael with her young son was one of suspician and doubt. Later, finding Michael alone on the street, in the rain, wearing only a T-shirt and gym shorts, she wasted no time probing for problems or giving a motherly embrace...she ordered him into her car and directed him to stay the night at her home, no back-talk or excuses tolerated.

Months later, after Michael had become a permanent house guest, he asked her to help him get a driver's licence. She was in the middle of organizing her sewing room, and quickly dismissed his request as unnecessary: he didn't even have a car! But Leigh Anne's compassionate side kicked in...she stopped what she was doing, looked Michael directly in the eyes, and softly asked, "Why do you want a driver's licence?" He shared something from deep inside himself, she listened and gave him warm support.

Leigh Anne's daughter, Collins, was shown suffering silently from teasing and ostracizing at school because of her family's relationship with Michael. Leigh Anne detected Collins' anxiety, and confronted it as a decision-maker, asking Collins to describe her relationship with Michael. When Collins dismissed the situation as inconsequential, Leigh Anne shifted her priority, placing empathy and compassion above solving the problem. She spoke as a mother, inviting Collins to share what she was feeling, affirming her support and understanding.

The film offers a good representation of the complexity of human emotion and ambition. There were definitely instances when Leigh Anne demonstrated a business-like approach to solving family problems. However, Leigh Anne also showed a compassionate side, a weaker, softer, needy and caring side.

Changes in Mood or Behavior

It is also important to note that if you do not spay your bitch, she will come into heat at approximately one year of age and approximately every six months thereafter. During this time, there will be some bleeding as well as a change in mood or behavior. Keep this in mind when you adopt a puppy and make the decision of whether or not to spay her.

I laughed when I considered comparing this characteristic of female dogs to women. The classic descriptor of a women enduring her monthly cycle of menstruation, or the hot flashes and moodiness of menopause, is the rough, vulgar term, "bitchiness". Cute bumper stickers and T-shirt slogans testify to the reputation that hormonal changes in females is cause for extreme wariness for all that may consider interacting with them.

The film included no scenes that implied that hormones were involved in any of Leigh Anne's actions. But with a pistol in her purse, I would indeed tread softly if I were anywhere near her when she feels her pups were in danger!

Go see this film.

It will give you an itch to watch a football game this weekend. It will make you want to redecorate your living room. It may even inspire you to reach out in love to someone completely different from you, just for the joy of it!

Links:

  • Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs: A Guide to Dog Behavior, by Mary Stasiewicz
  • Review, cast, and trailers
  • "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game"
  • Tuohy family helps Sandra Bullock research film
  • Saturday, December 5, 2009

    On Having Long Hair

    My decision to grow my hair long has been relatively recent, perhaps only three or four years ago (sometime in 2006 or 2007). For most people who have known me for a long time, my decision was surprisingly out of character: I have always been outwardly "good" or "nice", quite conservative in social and political preferences, born and raised in a small, rural western town, and a Christian since 1976.

    So, why the decision to grow my hair long? And, perhaps more importantly, why write about my decision to grow my hair long?

    Let me start with my conclusion, just so we can relieve the suspense and get on with the interesting stuff:

    My hair is long because I like it long and I can grow it long and I'm free to grow it long.

    I can see at least four major influences, or assumptions, that have shaped my attitude towards long hair:

  • I don't like getting my hair cut.
  • Long hair for men, in my mind, has ALWAYS been associated with a rebellious and reckless lifestyle...until recently.
  • I'm a Christian, passionately in love with Jesus Christ and completely dependent upon His Holy Word, the Bible.
  • I like having long hair.
  • Let's deal with the easiest one first:

    Why don't I like getting my hair cut?

    I remember my first haircut at the barbershop. I must have been young, perhaps 3-4 years old? I remember my granddad Sherwood with me. I remember the loud, threatening sound of the electric clippers...the cold press of the metal against my skin...the tickle of falling hair...nothing of the experience gave me pleasure.

    I do not remember ever returning to the barbershop for a haircut. All my other memories are of my mother cutting my hair, and how I fought it. I cried, argued, and pouted, but I always ended up sitting still for it.

    When on my own, I had hair stylists cut my hair. I didn't cry, argue, or pout, and usually I actually enjoyed having someone cut my hair, as long as they used scissors, and especially if they washed my hair. But I resent the time and the frequency. It sounds ridiculous to see it written out...it's only 15 or 20 minutes, every five or six weeks, but I just do not like it.

    So, a haircut at the barbershop? Definitely not. Go to a hair stylist? Only after putting it off as long as I can. What's left? I let my hair grow long.

    Now, how about my second concern:

    Why has long hair been associated in my mind with rebellion and recklessness,

    and what has changed that mindset now?

    I attended public school in Vale, a small town in the sagebrush desert of eastern Oregon. I remember first becoming concerned about my personal appearance and attractiveness during my seventh or eighth year of school. Our school dress code strictly limited the hair length of boys to "nothing below the collar". Our PE teacher would often grab any bit of hair that exceeded this length and painfully pull it to emphasize the rule. This rigid length-of-hair-on-boys policy imprinted my mind with the attitude that long hair equals disobedience and disorder. At the same time, it created in me a growing resentment of those in authority who bully and strut.

    Television and film reinforced the feeling that masculine long hair was rebellious, if not evil: only the most outrageous rock and roll bands sported hair reaching their shoulders...only the delinquents and dopers had hair in ponytails.

    This blanket aura of wickedness covered not only long hair, but also beards and mustaches. Friends who grew facial hair were those who would also experiment with alcohol, pot, fast driving and promiscuity.

    All of this "morality" swirling in my mind was entirely independent of any religious influence. I only infrequently attended any church service while growing up. I remember wholeheartedly embracing evolution as the foundation of human origin, and I vocally scorned church, missionaries, and the Bible. My "morality" was based entirely on attitudes taught by the community and school.

    When did this all change?

    The change began in my last year of high school with several defining experiences. One teacher had wildly inconsistent classroom discipline tactics, and I openly defied his arbitrary rules and consequences. The athletic director threatened to suspend from any sports program any student who allowed their hair to grow below their collar. Public support for the Vietnam War had disintegrated, bringing loud protest and instances of civil disobedience. And I graduated from high school and moved away to attend a college. It seems like that last year of high school brought out in me all the distrust of authority and disgust with "normal" that I was seeing in the rest of the world.

    College exposed me to many different people, some good, some bad, some short-haired, some long-haired, some clean, and some dirty. It seemed that the old rule of thumb of "long-hair equals bad" no longer held true. I began to question many of my long-held childish notions, and my lifeview began to change radically.

    The result of that first year of being away from home was that I became a Christian, and I became determined to accept no social mores or religious values unless they were solidly based on God's Word, the Holy Bible.

    Length of hair, whether short or long, became almost irrelevant to daily life, career, or my eternal destiny.

    I began growing a beard.

    I had a beard for a couple of years, met my wife and started a family. The beard remained until I joined the local fire department as a volunteer, requiring my to be clean-shaven for the air supply mask we all carried. That was the first time my wife saw my bare face!

    My decision to grow my hair long came years later. Our children were grown and living on their own. I'd survived a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. One of my favorite movies, "The Lord of the Rings", had several heroic characters with long hair. I was working at a prison, teaching inmates basic skills of reading and math. Many inmates, of course, had long hair, but so did several co-workers whom I admired. All these circumstances combined to stir my mind to consider letting my hair grow long, as an experiment. Would it be a hassle? How would others view me? Would I like it? Are there advantages?

    I decided to try it.

    Now we come to the third concern:

    How can a Bible-believing Christian justify long hair on a man, and why do I like having long hair?

    I am determined to avoid taking Scripture out of context, and I will not base a rigid doctrine on just a single verse. Scripture must be carefully translated from the original language and understood only with careful, honest comparison with all other parts of Scripture. After doing this, I'm convinced that the issue of long hair on a man is on the same level of importance as pants on a woman. In fact, if it will help, here's several issues on that same level:

  • Make-up
  • Jewelry
  • Motorcycles
  • King James Version of the Bible
  • Rent or buy
  • K-Mart or Bi-Mart
  • Baptist or Methodist.
  • If any of these activate your "hot button", you'll likely have the same reaction to the issue of long hair on a man. If you shake your head at the list and say, "What does it matter?", then long hair has likely never been an issue for you.

    If you've gotten this far in my essay, you'll probably not be offended if I offer the following disclaimer:

    I do not write this to convince anyone that long hair on a man is right or even allowed. Conversely, this essay is not written for anyone who has never had a second thought about having long hair. This article is for the few of us who have had honest questions about whether long hair on a man is okay, especially in view of Scripture. (Plus, I'm writing this for my wife, who has often wondered why I've let my hair grow!)

    A quick search of "long hair" in the Bible (ESV) shows the following references: (Scripture references courtesy of Berean Bible Study Freeware)

    "All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long." (Number 6:5)

    This is a strong support for the legitimacy, even the righteousness, of long hair on a man. The entire sixth chapter of this book deals with the symbolism of a person's head, and how long hair (on a man or woman) was a representation of holiness, being set aside entirely for God's use and glory.

    "I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh--- with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy." (Deuteronomy 32:42)

    Other than being a characteristic of "the enemy", this reference has no bearing on the issue of whether long hair is right or wrong for a man.

    "They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads." (Ezekiel 44:20)

    This reference is part of a longer passage dealing with the return of holiness to a nation that had rebelled against God and worshiped false idols. The priests were required to publicly represent purity and holiness, having neither shaven heads nor long hair. As Christians, our righteousness is founded only upon the righteousness of Christ. Nothing we do can allow us to earn or deserve righteousness in God's sight. If length of hair were to be a strong symbol of righteousness for my community, I would honor that symbol, just as I honor our national flag.

    "Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws." (Daniel 4:33)

    In this reference, long hair was a result of dark insanity brought by Nebuchadnezzar's rebellion against God. This was a specific instance in history, with no support for any "no long hair" doctrine found in the New Testament. Looking at this verse alone, long hair is no more a sin than eating grass or allowing your fingernails to grow.

    "After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow." (Acts 18:18)

    This is probably a reference to the custom of the "Nazirites", found in Numbers 6. Shaving or cutting the hair of one's head was the way in which someone proclaimed publicly that their time of special "separateness" was over. A similar instance occurs in Acts 21, where Paul and four others underwent a vow and did not shave their heads until the "days of purification were fulfilled" (Acts 21:23-26). Was it the long hair or the shaven head that best represented sanctification?

    "Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering." (1 Corinthians 11:14)

    This is an illustration Paul uses to support his main argument: Men and women ought to submit to God as Creator and Leader and Provider. His summary thought is seen in verses 11-12:

    "Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God."

    The relationship between man and woman, and both with God, was represented in their culture by the head. A person's physical head represented their ultimate Ruler and Creator. For a man, who was held responsible by God for both himself and his wife, an uncovered head demonstrated a clear link between himself and God...a link of responsibility and accountability. Because woman was created for man, as a helper, the woman best showed this relationship with a head that is covered.

    So, what is "covered" or "uncovered"?

    The Greek word for "covered" is "kata", a prepostion meaning simply down. The word is used often to describe the idea of obscuring or hidden. The implication fits with the context: A man who prays or preaches with his head (face) obscured does not demonstrate dependence upon, or submission to, God.

    For the woman, the word "uncovered" is "akatakaluptos", meaning unveiled. Literally, it means "not down covered-up". Again, the implication fits the context. A woman's relationship with her husband is one of being under his protection: the man is responsible for his wife's wellbeing, which includes their relationship to God. A woman's veil best demonstrates her submission, her agreement, to his responsibility of protecting and providing.

    Paul describes the veil as being similar to long hair. For a woman, long hair can serve as a veil, obscuring or hiding part or all of her face. For a man, long hair could easily do the same, even inadvertantly, so Paul cites a popular custom: women may have long hair and men must be careful not to allow their hair to obscure their face while praying or preaching. Paul's overriding concern throughout the entire chapter is whether a person's heart is completely submitted to God, whether man or woman. The issue of long hair is used only to support this argument.

    Because of this Scripture, I am careful to not allow my long hair to obscure my face, especially when in public. I don't regard it as a command from God, but a good idea that will help the public avoid confusion when they see me. I do not want people to look at me and assume I am a woman, and I do not want people confused by my long hair when I pray or preach. A simple tie allows my hair to be gathered at the back of my head in a ponytail, allowing my face to be clearly seen...by God and country!

    Now, at last, I arrive at the fun part of my argument:

    Why do I like having long hair?

    I have found it to be the easiest way to care for my hair. Although it confounds my wife, I do not feel that I am spending anywhere near the time I used to spend in trying to make short hair presentable.

    I brush my hair when I awake, and before going to bed. I keep it in a ponytail if the wind's not blowing, otherwise I hold it with a simple 3-strand braid. I wash it approximately once a week, and I don't blow dry it.

    With short hair, it seemed like there was just a narrow window, perhaps a week, in which my hair felt like it was presentable. For the week or so after first getting it cut, I always fought a stubborn cowlick and it seemed like the natural part in my hair just didn't want to lay right. By the second week or so, my hair had grown enough to allow me to comb it into place easily, and it stayed through the day. But by the end of the third week it was starting to be awkwardly long, sticking out over my ears, brushing over my eyes...the least bit of wind blew it out of place unless I used gel.

    I have much less hassle now. Of course, during the process of growing my hair long, it went through a time of extreme awkwardness and out-of-control-ness. During that time I wore a cap and used a heavy-duty gel. It took perhaps six months to get through that period to get to a length in which it was easy to tie up on a ponytail that controlled my hair.

    So, having long hair fits with my lifestyle and lifeview. It seems more "natural" than frequent cutting and it allows me more control, and variety, over my appearance. For now, I'm a solid long-hair!

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Portland Police Investigate Scam

    I can easily see this happening in our part of the country. Be very careful when responding to internet advertisements that seem too good to be true, too easy to fake.

    The Portland Police Bureau's White Collar Crime Detail was recently contacted by American Airlines alerting investigators to a possible scam that might be occurring in the Portland area. The Portland Police Bureau has since taken several reports of victims being targeted by this scam.

    The scam is an advertisement on Craig's List or Godaddy that American Airlines is hiring a customer service representative. The ad includes an application and they ask that the person fill out the application and fax it back. After receiving all of the applicant's personal information, including date of birth, social security number and home address, an appointment is set up. When the applicant is gone attempting to attend the appointment, their residence is burglarized and also all of their personal information is now compromised.

    There have been several reports of this scam in our area and American Airlines informed the Portland Police that it recently happened in South Florida. American Airlines also stated that they do not recruit employees this way and the "recruiter" Lisa Wallingham listed in the ad is not sanctioned by the airlines to recruit for them.

    Anyone that believes they were a victim of this scam should contact their local police or if they reside in the City of Portland, please call the non-emergency number at 503-823-3333 to file a report.

    Source: http://www.flashalert.net/news.html?id=3056#news31338

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Agape House

    A Christian mission whose purpose is to feed, clothe and shelter those in need, and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in words and actions. Our vision is to serve the less fortunate by providing material needs for today, and helping to build skills for a better tomorrow. Read more: http://voluntary-reward.blogspot.com/2009/12/agape-house.html

    Turkey a Sucess!

    What a great way of cooking turkey! Moist and flavorful. Cooking time not reduced, but it allows cooking it the day before without sacrificing moistness and flavor. We needed a bigger roasting pan, however...the boiling liquid overflowed, spilling into the oven and igniting! We had family over and had a great dinner! Can't wait for next year!

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Thanksgiving

    Had to work today...got off at about 5:00 this afternoon...we'll have family over tomorrow for a big turkey dinner. Robin's just pulled the turkey out of the oven (after a small fire! No damage, all contained to the oven, but we grabbed a bag of flour to throw on it just in case!)

    Robin tried a new method of baking the turkey, from a blog by Noël Piper (nations-be-glad.blogspot.com):

    1. Thaw the turkey according to packaging instructions.
    2. Optional: Remove as much of the skin as you can.
    3. Rinse the turkey well, inside and out.
    4. Place the turkey, breast down, in the roasting pan. This is upside down from the traditional drumsticks-pointing-up position, but it lets the moisture from the dark meat cook down into the less-moist white meat.
    5. Pour water into the pan, about 1 inch deep.
    6. Cover well, with roaster pan lid or foil.
    7. Bake according to the temperature and time on your turkey's packaging.
    8. It's done when the wings or drumsticks start to hang loose from the body. (Or you can use a meat thermometer).
    9. Let the whole thing cool enough to handle.
    10. Then take the meat from the bones and put it in a sealable plastic container. You can choose whether to slice it now, or just store it in whatever size chunks you get.
    11. Pour over the meat as much of the pan liquid as the container can hold.
    12. Refrigerate, if it's only 1-2 days ahead of your meal. Otherwise, freeze it. Also save the rest of the pan liquid to use later for gravy or soup.
    13. If frozen, defrost the day before the meal.
    14. On Thanksgiving, microwave the meat in the liquid in a covered container. I usually use a slightly lower power setting, maybe 70-80%. If the meat is packed pretty tightly into the plastic container, it will be good to loosen it up, maybe by separating into 2-3 microwavable containers. That way you can heat just what you need, one platters' worth at a time.

    This method is supposed to make the meat very moist. Plus, cooking the turkey the day before the dinner allows the oven to be used for all the rest of the food that needs to be cooked.

    We'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow!

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    The Hermiston Domestic Violence Services

    Supplies Needed!

    Women and men who come to the Domestic Violence Services shelter are in crisis, often leaving their homes with nothing: no extra clothing, nothing for their children, and little or no money. In 2008, the DVS sheltered 189 women for a total of 2,594 nights. 158 children were sheltered for 1,979 nights. 13,840 meals were provided. The following items can be donated to help provide supplies for people needing shelter:
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning supplies
  • 13-gallon garbage bags
  • Paper products
  • Bleach
  • Children's socks and underwear
  • Women's socks, underwear and bras
  • Sweats, all sizes
  • Baby diapers, all sizes
  • Phone and gas cards
  • Frozen meats
  • Lunch meats
  • Frozen dinners
  • Juices
  • Drop items at the DVS office, 240 S.E. Second St, Suite B, Hermiston or call (541) 567-0424 Read more...

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Lincoln City


    Sunset over the sea. A glorious sunset on the evening of our first day at Lincoln City. The weather that day was extraordinarily fine: warm, sunny, calm. The rest of the week was sporadically rainy, but we enjoyed every moment of it all.

    Rainbow north of Lincoln City.

    Ester Lee Motel is on the very edge of a bluff overlooking these rocks on the beach at Lincoln City. Tide pools can be explored during low tide, and interesting stones, shells, and agates litter the sandy area near the rocks.
     
    Posted by Picasa

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Volunteer Training: McNary Education Center

    Volunteer Training McNary Ed Center is planning a training November 20 from 9am to noon for new and potential volunteers! If you are not able to attend, and would like to be trained, please let us know what days of the week you might be available so we can plan another session. Contact: Paula Clark mcnaryedcenter@gmail.com Phone: 509-546-8352 More information: http://voluntary-reward.blogspot.com/2009/10/mcnary-environmental-education-center.html

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    The Sea at Lincoln City

    At the seashore in November...beautiful weather, wonderful company (Robin, my delightful wife), comfortable lodgings (Ester Lee Motel), scenic view of the Pacific Ocean...God has given us a Most Excellent Situation. We've named our in-car GPS navigator, "Maggie", short for Magellan, given to me by Robin for my 52nd birthday, celebrated last week. Our drive to Lincoln City was easy, with several stops for short breaks and sustenance. Weather was rainy in spots, but nothing dramatic. Maggie has served us well...she makes it easy to find convenience stores, rest stops, and gets us back on track if we detour or miss a turn. It rained last night when we arrived at Lincoln City, but today has been absolutely beautiful! Sunny, warm, no wind...beautiful sunset this evening, and I was able to see the "green flash" that I've long heard about. The sun was sinking fast and I snapped several pictures with the digital and then with my Minolta SLR film camera. Just as the last sliver of the sun was still barely above the horizon, I steadied the SLR and focused directly at it, both eyes open, hoping for the "green flash". At the very moment it dropped below the horizon, I pressed the shutter release. My left eye was looking past the camera body, and I saw the small dot of red sun turn green and then it disappeared. The green flash lasted only a fraction of a second, but it was thrilling! Here's a link to a good explanation of this phenomenom: http://www.atoptics.co.uk/atoptics/gf2.htm I probably should not have been looking at the sun through the camera...it's very likely to cause harm to the eye. I didn't think about this because there was a fairly heavy cloud bank on the horizon, obscuring part of the sun during the entire sunset sequence. In other words, "Don't try this at home, kids!" I don't yet know if I got the photo...I'll have to get my roll of film developed. Highlights of today:
  • New binoculars (Tasco 10X55mm)
  • Two scrapbook pages finished
  • Lunch at Mo's (seafood pasta and slumgullion in a bread bowl!)
  • Spotted a seal in the surf with new binoculars
  • Shopping for new clothes
  • Pizza from Gallucci's Pizzaria
  • Wish you were here! Perfectly packed trunk! Stone statue in garden at Mossy Creek Pottery
    A rainbow brightened storm clouds, sunlight made the sea blue, the surf sings an unending song of strength and sovereignty- today the ocean truly is Pacific.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Vange John Memorial Hospice

    Volunteers provide compassionate care for terminally ill people and their families in the Hermiston and North Morrow County area:
    • ministering to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient and family
    • helping in the home, hospital, a nursing home or foster care
    • making patients as comfortable as possible so they can make the most of the time that remains to them
    • helping family members as an essential part of its mission
    • believing quality of life to be as important as the length of life.

    Hospice would not exist without volunteers. Volunteers, both lay and health care professionals, work in all phases of hospice, providing clerical and administrative assistance as well as direct patient and family care. Many volunteers are introduced to hospice through the death of a family member or loved one and find their experience so gratifying they want to give back.

    Read more...

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Seek the Things that are Above

    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4) Paul has reached a turning point in his letter to the Colossians. Everything he's written to this point can be gathered together under the title of "Raised With Christ". Look back at the first two chapters and highlight the major points that support the truth that Christ has raised us from death to life:
  • Given hope in heaven (1:3-6)
  • Sharing in God's light (1:11-12)
  • Delivered from darkness, redeemed and forgiven (1:13-14)
  • Reconciled with God in all things (1:19-20)
  • Holy, blameless and above reproach (1:21-22)
  • Chosen by God as saints (1:26-27)
  • Given treasures in Christ: wisdom and knowledge (2:3)
  • Filled, circumcised, buried and raised with Jesus (2:10-12)
  • Made alive together with Jesus (2:13)
  • Our debt of sin canceled, nailed to the cross (2:14)
  • Triumphant in Christ over rulers and authorities (2:15)
  • Nourished and knit together, growing with a growth that is from God (2:18-19)
  • Read these truths aloud to each other - savor the joy and love that they communicate. It is with these truths in mind that Paul says in chapter three: "...you have been raised with Christ..." Read more...

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Public Policies and Motorcycle Safety

    Two universities in Florida recently analyzed the effect of public policies in reducing motorcycle injuries and deaths. The goal was to estimate the effects of alcohol and traffic policies on fatal and non-fatal injuries. Several striking conclusions were seen: Universal Helmet Laws About 489 lives could have been saved if helmet laws were in effect nation-wide in 2005. The large magnitude of this effect was unexpected by the authors of the study. Helmet laws dominated all other traffic safety policies, highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet to minimize the consequences of a crash. Mandatory Rider Education Programs Programs for training and educating new motorcyclists reduced non-fatal motorcycle injuries, according to result of the study. Higher Speed Limits Interestingly, higher speed limits on rural interstate highways worked in the opposite direction for the non-fatal injury rate. Fewer injuries resulted from higher speeds. One possible explanation may be that states with the higher speed limits also have more dangerous road conditions, so that crashes more often resulted in deaths, rather than non-fatal injuries. Another factor may be the characteristics of rural states, with less traffic congestion, allowing higher speed limits. License Revocation Policies Having laws that revoke or suspend the operators license of traffic offenders actually resulted in higher rates of non-fatal injuries. No explanation was given for this unexpected analysis. The study was unable to account for other important factors that vary from state to state, such as enforcement policies and advocacy groups. The researchers intend to focus now on how the universal helmet policies reduce fatalities and whether the effects change over time. Read more...

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    CareVan

    More than taking people from Point A to Point B, it's a symbol of humble service. Thanks to the CareVan transportation service, patients needing to get to medical appointments at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston do not need to worry about how to get there. The CareVan serves patients who are seeing doctors or services affiliated with Good Shepherd Medical Center and with offices in Hermiston. Transportation on the CareVan is free: funding comes from grants, as well as the hospital's health foundation and other organizations. No fees are requested of patients riding the CareVan, although donations are gladly taken. Read more...

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    100 MPH Motorcyclists Arrested

    In two unrelated incidents on the same day, an Oregon County Deputy arrested two motorcyclists for Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering and Violation of Basic Rule. On the 24th of October, at about 2 pm, the deputy was driving an unmarked vehicle. He observed a motorcycle approach in the oncoming lane, performing a "wheelie", continuing past with the front tire in the air for at least 15 yards. The deputy turned around and followed the motorcyclist, which was traveling at speeds over 100 mph through residential areas and curves. At about 3:30 pm on the same day, the same deputy observed a group of four motorcycles traveling together. Approaching a stop sign, three of the cyclists stopped, but the fourth did not, accelerating in front of the deputy who had the right of way and was attempting a turn onto the highway, cutting him off. The deputy caught up to the motorcycle, estimating its speed at about 110 mph, passing another vehicle in a series of blind curves, in a no-passing zone. The deputy initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver of the motorcycle and his passenger (his wife). The motorcyclist said he had no idea how fast he was driving and was arrested for Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering and Violation of Basic rule (108 in a 55 mph zone). Read more here...

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Plausible Arguments

    Politicians, preachers and peddlers are some of the most persuasive people we may meet. I can listen to an argument or sales pitch and be completely sold on it, and then listen to a different, contradictory presentation and be equally persuaded...who is right? Competitive debate or rhetoric is based upon the art of persuasion, the forceful, charismatic use of words and appearance to move people towards action or emotion. Truth and objectivity are optional for a peddler (or politician, preacher or lawyer). Facts are tools that can be modified, exaggerated, obscured or concealed. The goal is to capture the affections, emotions and minds of the audience. Paul describes four harmful effects of plausible arguments, four different ways that the devil works in the world to weaken our faith and dishonor God:
  • Delusion (Colossians 2:4)
  • Captivity (Colossians 2:8)
  • Judgement (Colossians 2:16)
  • Disqualification (Colossians 2:18)
  • Read more...

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Motorcops Injured by Head-on Crash

    A pickup truck collided head-on with two parked Idaho State Motorcycle Patrol officers near Boise, Idaho, Thursday, October 22, 2009, at about 3:45 pm. The motorcycle patrol officers were parked in the median of Interstate 84. The driver of a pickup left the highway and struck them head-on. News agencies are reporting that it may have been deliberate. Read more...

    Voluntary Reward: McNary Environmental Education Center

    McNary Environmental Education Center McNary National Wildlife Refuge Vounteer opportunities are key components of refuge programs, plans and projects. Plus, volunteers develop a sense of place, knowing that they contributed to the perpetuation of the natural environment through caring and education. Volunteers can serve for long-term or short-term periods. Help is needed for a wide variety of projects: interprtation, education, wildlife and plant surveys, maintenance and resource management. McNary Education Center 509-546-8352 or 509-546-8350 info@nwr.mcnary.wa.us nwr.mcnary.wa.us/Help

    Him We Proclaim

    "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me." (Colossians, 1:28-29) How should a Christian tell others about Jesus? Is everyone a proclaimer like Paul was? Do we, do I, need to change things in our lives to make witnessing of Jesus a higher priority? Paul says that he proclaims Christ through wisdom, and wisdom, with intimate knowledge of Christ, describes the goal of maturity for every believer. The goal of listening to and reading and meditating upon Scripture is to develop clear, practical skill in dealing with the facts of life, and to join together intimately in our minds all that Christ is and desires.
  • Proclaim: to announce publicly, warning and teaching others
  • Proclaiming Christ is important, but not necessarily urgent.
  • Conversion: only the first step in our relationship with Christ
  • Goal of proclaiming Christ: maturity (fully grown or arrived at the finish)
  • Maturity includes understanding, knowledge and wisdom in Christ
  • Understanding: intimately putting together in the mind
  • Knowledge: direct, intimate experience
  • Wisdom: clear and practical ability to judge
  • Proclaiming Christ, warning and teaching others with wisdom, relying upon the power of God's Holy Spirit and striving to help others reach spiritual and social maturity all seem to spring naturally from hearts that are in love with Jesus. What do you feel you need to step to a deeper relationship with Jesus?
  • Prayer?
  • Confession?
  • Bible study?
  • A like-minded friend?
  • Alone-time?
  • Trials?
  • Read more...

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    It Feels So Good to Gripe!

    It feels so good to complain! To have someone empathize with you...for someone who understands the pain and frustration...for someone who can nod in agreement and look amazed at the suffering you've endured. I'm reading Paul's letter to the Colossians and I am noticing how frequently, and passionately, Paul complains. But, in contrast to my complaining, Paul manages to make his griping holy and victorious. How does Paul get away with it? He almost brags about his suffering, but the way he does it, griping glorifies God and encourages his readers.

    THREE KEY IDEAS:

  • PAUL SUFFERED (and griped about it!)
  • PAUL REJOICED (continually!)
  • WE CAN REJOICE (believe it!)
  • "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church..." (Colossians 1:24) The important difference between Paul and me is that Paul connected his suffering with his service to Jesus. My natural focus tends to be on what I'm feeling, rather than why I'm doing what I'm doing. I imagine Paul saying to me, "Turn your gripes can into glorifying!" Read more...

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Lessons Learned: Cager's U-Turn Injures Motorcyclist

    A motorcyclist crashed into a car that was attempting a U-turn on a highway. The 52-year old motorcyclist was northbound on Highway 101, following a Kia Rio, at about 2 pm. The driver of the Rio attempted a U-turn, and the motorcycle hit the car. The motorcyclist was air-lifted to a Seattle hospital in serious condition. The 35-year old driver of the car was cited for failure to yield and treated for minor injuries.

    Hermiston Domestic Violence Service Center: Open House

    Open House
  • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 22, 2009
  • Refreshments
  • Tours of the domestic violence shelters, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, and 5 - 6:30 pm
  • Highlighting services: 24-hour crisis line and shelter
  • For more information, call Mickie Ebert, 541-571-7708
  • Hermiston Public Library: Harvest Party

  • 4 PM, Friday, October 23
  • Story Time
  • Games and activities
  • Pumpkin walk
  • Fishing for pumpkins
  • Costumes welcome
  • Adults and children
  • Goodie bags and prizes
  • More information: 541-567-2882
  • Christ in You

    Reading only the first 26 verses of Paul's letter to the Colossians, it would appear that faith in Christ is a religion. A religion leads one to say, "My relationship with God is based upon what I do, and not do, and what I believe or not believe." A statement framed thusly is a declaration of religion. But the moment Paul writes, "...Christ in you...", my religion is shattered. "Christ in you" defines my condition as depending upon Jesus. My relationship with God depends upon the relation between the Father and the Son. Any good thing in me is an expression of the Holy Spirit allowed to express Himself freely. The glory of my life becomes Christ alone.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Stewardship

    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known... (Colossians 1:24-25) “A stew boiled is a stew spoiled” ? Contrary to how the word may appear, stewardship is related to stew only by a tenuous stretch of the imagination. The bowl of stew that you enjoy on a cold afternoon is named after the act of taking a bath. (from a Middle English word, stuwen, meaning to bathe). The cook “bathed” meat and vegetables in simmering hot water to create your dinner. So what does "stewardship" in the Greek really mean? Read more here...

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Trick or Treating Safety

    Trick or Treat Safety

    1) Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a TRUSTED ADULT when "Trick or Treating."
    2) Accompany younger children to the door of every home they approach and make sure parents and guardians are familiar with every home and all people from which the children receive treats.
    3) Teach children to NEVER enter a home without prior permission from their parents or guardians.
    4) Teach children to NEVER approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
    5) Make sure all children wear reflective clothing and carry a glow stick when out at dusk and at night.
    6) Make sure children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant.
    7) Teach children to NEVER approach a home that is not well lit both inside and outside.
    8) Teach children to stay alert for any suspicious incidents and report them to their parents, guardians, and/or the proper authority.
    9) Teach children if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell this person is not my father/mother/guardian; and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
    10) Consider organizing or attending parties at home, in schools, or in community centers as a good alternative to "Trick or Treating."

    Read more...

    Call in Sick?

    Five quick signs that you should NOT go to work: 1. If you wake up feel pretty icky with a sore throat and the sniffles (which weren't there yesterday). 2. If you're taking medications that may (even slightly) impair your ability to do a good job. 3. If you have a bad sinus infection. 4. If you have pink eye. 5. Bad back pain. Read about it here...

    Voluntary Reward: Sacajawea State Park

    Sacajawea State Park, near Pasco, Washington is a day-use park at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. The area is spread out with a big sky and excellent views of the two rivers as they flow together. The Sacajawea Interpretive Center features interactive displays that tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the experiences of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone Indian woman who accompanied the expedition. The new exhibits relate what is known about her life before, during and after the Expedition. Volunteers play a vital role in sustaining the treasure that is Washington state parks, providing more than 275,000 hours of service each year (the equivalent of 145 full-time employees). Helping hands are needed everywhere for a wide variety of short- and long-term projects, providing interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities for individuals, couples, schools, families, corporations, citizen groups and service organizations.

    Voluntary Reward: Hermiston Public Library

    The Hermiston Public Library features two outstanding programs that depend upon volunteers: ELDERLIBRARIES bring library books to local seniors, disabled, and homebound facilities, serving folks who are not able to come to the library. Volunteers visit with individual residents at an assigned facility. The volunteer selects and takes books to various residents and returns the items to the library on the due date or when the resident is finished with the item. Volunteers may also help by reading to residents who can no longer enjoy reading on their own. Volunteers are also needed for the book shift that occurs once every three months. We have rotating collections that are placed at several facilities. READY, SET, ZOOM! provides free activities, information and educational products to promote the importance of reading to young children:
  • Fun story time and crafts for your preschooler
  • Story time kits that can be borrowed and taken home with your child
  • Elderlibraries won a 2008 Regional Governors Award as an Outstanding Regional Volunteer Program. Ready, Set, Zoom! won the same award this year!

    Urgent:

    Volunteers are needed immediately for the Ready,Set,Zoom program. Without volunteers this program may disappear this year!

    Reconciliation

    For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him...(Colossians 1:19-22) Reconciliation is closely related to making peace. God made peace through a change on His part: the blood of his cross. Reconciliation changed God into a man, able to communicate with, and die for, all mankind. Paul describes all mankind as naturally alienated from, and hostile to, God. But reconciliation changed us to a people regarded by God as holy, blameless and above reproach. Reconciliation with Christ allows us to be ministers of reconciliation to others. We are entrusted with the message of reconciliation. We are ambassadors for Christ. Recognizing His greatness pulls the longing of my heart towards God, yearning for Him to unite, to make my heart one with His heart, to become reconciled with Him. With a whole heart, a reconciled heart, I will brightly express His greatness forever! For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalms 86:10-12)

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Firstborn

    Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine." (Exodus 13:2) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities---all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (Colossians 1:16-18) Jesus is of firstborn importance because,
  • He created all things
  • He is before all things
  • He holds all things together
  • He is the head of the body, the church, the world-wide group of those who belong to Him
  • He is the beginning
  • He is the resurrection
  • He is preeminent in everything!

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Motorcyclist Seriously Injured

    A motorcyclist was seriously injured when his motorcycle collided with a pickup. The 41-year old motorcyclist was southbound on a highway. The 26-year old driver of the pickup drove out of a parking lot, heading northbound, turning into the path of the motorcycle, which crashed into the left side of the pickup. The motorcyclist was transported for treatment of serious injuries. The pickup driver was not injured and was cited for Driving While Suspended and Reckless Driving. Another instance of a stupid cager who shouldn't have been on the road. Read more...

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Voluntary Reward: Hermiston Public Library

    Hermiston Public Library You Are an Essential Piece of our Puzzle! Hermiston Public Library needs people like you to volunteer. Give an hour or more a month?
  • Pick out books for a resident of an assisted living facility?
  • Make a new friend?
  • Read to/Listen to a child read?
  • Straighten books on a shelf?
  • Prepare craft items for Story Time?
  • What do you get back from volunteering?
  • New experiences and skills
  • Service to your community.
  • Volunteer service shows how you care about your town and its residents.
  • On Starting a Business

    On Starting a Business

    Thoughts from Eric J. Wilhelm, founder and CEO of Instructables: www.instructables.com/id/How_to_Start_a_Business_1

    "Starting a business is no more difficult than determining that you have the risk-tolerance and temperament for such an endeavor, and deciding to just take your idea and go for it."

    I translate "risk-tolerance" to mean "don't act out of fear". John wrote that there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Fear of "what might go wrong" or "what if" usually are based on lack of trust in a God Who is in control and Who loves you.

    "Never satisfied with anything, I usually feel flooded with new ideas for products, services, or other great things to build. I want to change everything around me, and everything that I use. This trait is common among the Squids and seems to also be prevalent in others running interesting, successful companies. You can tell if someone genuinely has this trait because they’ll always be happy to find one of their ideas already in existence as it gives them the ability to focus on some others."

    This was a radical thought for me...I would have thought that an inventor would begrudge someone else for "stealing their idea". But Eric's thought emphasizes the idea part of inventing. Someone who is flooded with ideas NEEDS others to carry them out to reality.

    "Keep your tolerance for risk high by keeping your cost of living low. For us, this meant owning few or no cars and biking everywhere, cooking our own food rather than eating out and occasionally eating from dumpsters , getting furniture and tools for free from Craigslist, making everything else we needed (i.e. much of the content of this website), and, for some of us, living in the shop."

    Frugality, or at least economy, is always a good idea. Trent Hamm's website is a good place to start for more information about this: www.thesimpledollar.com

    "If you're really passionate about your work, people will notice and they'll want to talk to you, profile you, and write about you. I think it's misguided to actively seek press; instead publish your work to share it and better connect with like-minded people (this is one of the basic tenants of Instructables), and interested people (including mainstream press) will come looking for you. Obscurity is far worse than any form of intellectual property theft, and by sharing what you do, you are far more likely to attract potential partners and people wanting to help than you are to give something to a perceived competitor. Plus, you'll start to be known as someone who does cool stuff, and that will attract even more opportunities."

    This hits me. More and more I've been taken away by thoughts of writing full time, and that has meant getting more readership to support more advertising to provide more money so I can write full time. But Eric's advice is to simply be passionate about your work. I'm considering now canceling the ads from Google and just concentrating on writing about things I'm interested in...if my readership remains low, at least I'm doing what I want to do. If I happen upon a subject that is more generally needed, readership will increase almost automatically, and then I'll consider how to support full time writing. At this point in my blogs I feel it's inappropriate to load up with ads...almost a mercenary feeling to it.

    "Dating analogies apply: There's no single best way to find and attract someone for romance, and the same is true for investment. It may seem like non-advice, but I believe the best approach is to treat people as you'd like to be treated. Tell your story in the same way you'd like to hear it, being honest about both your optimism and your fears."

    The Golden Rule will never corrode or become obsolete!

    "People ask me all the time if it was hard to start a business. Only the first step of truly deciding to go for it is hard. After that, it's a whole bunch of small things that add up to something great. If you make just a little bit of progress everyday, over time you can accomplish a great deal."

    "A little bit of progress everyday"...that's encouraging to me. I can't write long every day, and some days I can't write at all. My work schedule is grindingly difficult - "Dupont Schedule", 12-hour shifts, 4-nights, 3-off, 3-days, 1-off, 3-nights, 3 off, 4-days, 7-off...the seven days off each month are great, but it takes two of those days to recover from the other half of my month...switching back and forth from days to nights...12-hour shifts - but I'm able to write at least a little most days.

    Image of God

    Jesus is the image of God, writes Paul. What can that mean for us? We have no photographs of Jesus, no portraits were drawn or painted while He lived on earth. Why could Paul have not simply said that Jesus “is the invisible God?” Is an image something less than the real? Is Jesus something less than God?

    15 Ways to Be a Leader

    I subscribe to a great blog written by Trent Hamm: www.thesimpledollar.com Today I am impressed by a story he titled "15 Ways to Be a Leader Today - or Any Day" You've got to read it to get any good out of it, but here's a quick summary to make you thirsty for more: 15 ways to make yourself more valuable to your organization, even if you're a quiet person who'd prefer to just get your work done: 1. Speak up at meetings. 2. Cut out the negative talk. 3. Offer up some positive talk, instead. 4. Volunteer for the tasks everyone's afraid to volunteer for. 5. Look for people who are struggling - and ask them what's wrong. 6. Directly compliment impressive work. 7. Tell supervisors when their subordinates are doing well. 8. Be willing and enthusiastic about team-based work. 9. When you're part of a team, take charge of it - but don't be dictatorial. 10. Make a point to remember - and celebrate - your coworker's life milestones and accomplishments. 11. If there's a problem you can easily solve, solve it. 12. Ask for help when you need it. 13. Suggest events that involve your coworkers. 14. Offer useful, detailed feedback. 15. When asked for your opinion, be honest but don't be cutting. Good stuff! I don't consider myself a leader, and I don't aspire to become one, but most of these suggestions I have seen work in real life, and some of the I even do...they make life with others MUCH more enjoyable. Read more...

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    Overcoming Adversity

    How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:
  • Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
  • Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
  • Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
  • Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
  • Smile and get cracking.
  • The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won. (Paul Sloane) Read more...

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    Rainy Day

    Rain almost all day long today...cold weather forecast for the next few days, at least in the early mornings. I've been riding my motorcycle to work every day to this point...might have to garage it for awhile...when temps get below 40 I'll use four wheels to get to work...warmer than the two-wheeler!

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Blogging My Keep

    Blogging My Keep

    I've just read an interesting article on the very topic I was bouncing around earlier: Can Blogging provide monetary support?

    Trent Hamm publishes a website called "Simple Dollar" (http://www.thesimpledollar.com). I subscribe to his RSS feed and today's column helps me see the issues much clearer. Here are some of my reactions to his article (Some Notes on Do-It-Yourself Self-Employment):

    Trent started his website simply because he loved to write and he felt like his main interest was something other people could relate to. His website, in the beginning, brought in NO income...he wrote because he enjoyed it.

    This fits me. I've spent the last two days recuperating from a strained knee, and most of it was spent writing for the internet...none of it earning a dime. I do have a few ads placed on a couple of my sites, but Trent and I both know that they will not pay anything until I get a few thousand faithful readers. But I simply enjoy it. I easily imagine an audience of like-minded thinkers who enjoy reading my words...but at this point they are all imaginary (except my two Twitter followers...THANK YOU!)

    But that's how Trent started. Just a few friends and family members. But he's a good writer, with an interesting, timely, necessary topic (financial advice), and his readership grew.

    When he had thousands of readers and needed to spend huge amounts of time in writing, researching, and moderating his website, he realized he'd have to go fulltime, and that meant making his website a paying proposition. He chose to do that through advertising.

    He contracts with an "advertising broker" to post ads in exchange for money. Every time one of his pages is viewed over the internet, he gets paid for an "ad view". The pay is very small per view, just a fraction of a cent, but with thousands of readers, opening his website daily, his ad view count climbs into the millions. His column today stated that his monthly income from advertising is somewhere around the $1800 level...he can't be specific because of contractual requirements with the advertisement broker.

    The caveat is that it's not easy. He emphasizes the need for consistent, well-written content that focuses on a topic that lots of people want to understand.

    This is where it gets tough for me...the website I spend most of my time on, this one, is just a collection of rambling, random, sometimes rough essays and notes...nothing organized, nothing focused. Trent points at my kind of column as being patently unsuccessful, money-wise.

    Trent says I must write about something people care about, and I must write daily, and I must write well. That's the only way to draw readership, and that's the only way to make money from advertising.

    I'll end with the paragraph that he used to finish today's article:

    "Yes, you can earn money from blogging, but it’s not as easy as just logging onto the internet and voicing whatever is on your mind. It takes patience, focus, passion for your topic, and some “short order” writing skill."

    Read the entire article: Some Notes on Do-It-Yourself Self-Employment

    Our National Parks: America's Best Idea

    Our National Parks: America's Best Idea

    Watching Ken Burn's documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea".

    I expected it to be a travelogue, showing sights of our beautiful land. It is so much more.

    The history of our National Parks threads deeply and strikingly through all the major social and political issues our country has experienced since the late 1800's: war, exploration, racial prejudice, grazing rights, state's rights, the depression, the New Deal, executive branch versus legislative, beauty, Native Americans, Japanese internment, the arts, welfare...

    These issues didn't simply exist while National Parks and National Monuments were being established...the issues were central to the creation of parks, and the parks were central to the issues. In some cases, the parks changed social and political thought and work.

    Many of the same outcries we hear today accompanied the battles to establish our most dearly loved National Parks: grazing rights, state's rights, species extinction, Native American treaty rights.

    Can you imagine Olympia or King's Canyon or Sequoia being completely logged, farmed, and ranched? Paved roads, dirt roads, private roads, fences, convenience marts, resorts, golf courses?

    I have to be honest and realize that I don't make my living directly from farming or ranching or building, so I'm undoubtedly biased.

    But I can't help hearing the same echoes of outcry against wilderness areas and wildlife refuge areas, and imagining what it would be like if those cries had prevailed in Wyoming and we'd lost the opportunity to preserve precious, fragile parts of our country that should belong to all people in our country.

    The establishment of our National Parks was not a smooth, clean, orderly social and political exercise of noble ideals...most of the parks were established through long, bitter, discordant disagreements, compromises, and political battles.

    I especially appreciated the focus on Harold LeClaire Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    I'd never heard of Harold Ickes...high school and college classes made no mention of him. Yet his work in establishing National Parks included fighting vicious racial prejudice and selfish, commercial interests of big business and state's rights. He was a white, male Republican politician, but he fought for what was right, no matter the skin color or the bank account or the political party.

    Good film.

    Blogging and Webbing

    It is highly satisfying to me to post content on the World Wide Web. I've spent the day updating my blogs and websites, a welcome side-benefit of allowing my strained knee and back to heal today. I know some energetic, smart, and skillful bloggers are successful in supporting themselves, at least partially, by full-time writing on the internet: maintaining blogs, reviewing books and websites, promoting lifestyle changes, supporting others with written resources. To allow my knee to heal, I've spent the last two days resting at home. I've spent most of those hours at my computer. I'm maintaining four active blogging websites, counting this one, as well as a family website. Today I published my first "Instructable", a how-to article with photos and step-by-step instructions, hosted by http://www.instructables.com. I likely will add this site to my daily commitment to writing. None of this work pays, at least not in money. But if it could, I'd do it full-time in a heartbeat!

    How to Cover a Pot Pie Crust for Perfect Baking


    How to Cover a Pot Pie Crust for Perfect Baking - More DIY How To Projects

    Sammy

     
    Posted by Picasa

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Welcome!

    Welcome to my random, sometimes chaotic, rarely profound, Thoughts in Motion!