Saturday, April 30, 2011


Spam, Brown Rice, and Scrambled Eggs
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

I constantly straddle the Pacific.

What I mean by this is that I seem, as of late, to have one foot in the islands and the other foot in Seattle.

I can't help it.  It's in the nature of Hawaiian Odysseus to be double-minded. The journey home, as I alluded to in a previous post (see, has three destinations.  

First, there is a return to the home of origin.  Only in understanding and building a resolution of past conflicts can we be free to journey forward...

To the nuclear one's palace and the residual and maturing adventures of the a gentle settling and acceptance of the precious time one has find the peace of completing the final leg of the trip home...

To self.  

Man's grasp of God can only be meaningful if he can truly come to appreciate why the Creator made him.

Home to self isn't about being self-centered.  It's about tremendous appreciation for creation as an integral step towards appreciation for the divine.

And this is why I wanted to write a post about SPAM today.

The mention of Spam in current circles would suggest to most people that you were referring to the unwanted advertisements that stubbornly appear in one's know, the junk mail of computerdom.  

But Spam originally was developed in World War II as a convenient and economical way of supplying protein to GI's.  It was and continues to be very popular among residents of Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines and other Pacific Rim populations.

Wikipedia does an excellent and comprehensive job of documenting the history and usefulness of Spam, so I will share its link with you in this post.

I'm returning to my nuclear home very soon...perhaps eight weeks from now.  
And when I do, I will be just as double-minded and just as busy straddling the Pacific there as I am here in Seattle.

I will be just as much Spam there as I am here.  Just as much something for those eating steaks to look down upon and make fun of and underestimate to kingdom come.

But I will be, true to my Spammy nature, useful and resourceful and appreciated for the humble and insignificant contributions I make--just like my Hormel predecessor.  And over time, just as God had intended all along, I will have made a difference for the better.

Why?  Because God never considers His creations as less than perfect.

Not even Spam.


Thursday, April 28, 2011


Henry Moore's Vertebrae
At the Foot of the Safeco Plaza Building
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Having frequented the Seattle Public Library, Central Branch (in the background) many times during the last five years, I had often seen this interesting and provocative sculpture.

Last week, armed with digital camera and blogging mindset, I decided to get a closer look at this massive work of art.  It was a good deal larger than I had anticipated, standing perhaps 8 or 9 feet tall.  In doing a bit of research, I learned that the sculpture weighs an impressive eight tons.  (In other words, unless an art thief is from a planet with a red sun, this incredible creation won't be going anywhere soon.)

I'd always wondered what it was intended to depict.  My best guess had been "Seals on a Beach" because of the shape of the flanking pieces.  Just today, after reading several articles, I learned the name of this statue.  it's called VERTEBRAE, a creation of famed sculptor, Henry Moore.  It certainly makes sense to me now...indeed, the female protagonist of the TV series, Bones, would be ecstatic to suddenly come upon these gigantic fragments of backbone.

Just for fun, and because I love to live up to my billing of island hick, I played tourist and took a few pix of the immediate area.  I'm delighted to share these with you.

Safeco Plaza
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

This is a ground view of the building, Safeco Plaza, that hosts the sculpture.  You can see a reflection of the Seattle Public Library in the glass.

Looking Straight Up at the Safeco Plaza Building
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

The photo above was done in Batman mode.  

Let me explain.  

When I was a teenager (Wow!  How many centuries ago was that?), I was absolutely crazy about the Batman television series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo.  I was attending a private school for kids of Hawaiian ancestry, the Kamehameha Schools Preparatory Department.  Batman would air just about the time our dinner was ending.  There were only a few cushy chairs in front of the  dayroom television, so that meant a first come, first serve basis for getting the best seats in the house.

I was such a fanatic that I would attend dinner in my uniform of short-sleeved white shirt, khaki pants, black shoes, and brass buckle belt WITH MY PAJAMAS ON UNDERNEATH.  So, true to the Superman style of changing attire in a phone booth, I was stripping on a dead sprint from dining hall to dormitory day room just so I could get a plush front row seat.

Anyway, I'm wondering now where that nostalgic bit of silliness came from...ah, yes!  I was sharing with you about Batman mode.

For those of you who are old enough to recall (or for those young and resourceful enough to somehow acquire footage of that series), every now and then, there'd be a scene where Batman and Robin had to climb up the walls of a tall building.  

The show was so campy that even a young kid like me could tell that Adam and Burt were hunched over and walking while pulling on a rope as the camera filmed them at a 90 degree offset.  

So, as I stood at the foot of the Safeco Plaza building, I looked straight up and took this photo.  

Oh, my goodness!  I thought.  I'm actually feeling a bit of vertigo.  And then I realized that it was because I still had my backpack on and was in danger of falling over backwards while taking the shot.

The following are more photos of nearby buildings.

Neighboring Skycraper to the South
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Like I shared in a previous blog post, I love buildings that have a lot of glass.

Neighboring Skyscrapers to the Northwest
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

/Enjoying the blue sky?  So was I.  Don't get used to it!  It certainly didn't last.  I can't believe how Old Man Winter just doesn't seem to want to let go this year.

Neighboring Skyscrapers to the Southeast
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

So that was my downtown excursion that day.  I gotta true I as I had once been to my hero, Batman, once upon a teenage time, I honestly thought about Spiderman webslinging his way through this "Valley of the Giants," Seattle's memorable and picturesque dedication to provocative artwork and super-architecture on 4th Avenue.


Sunday, April 24, 2011


Geoduck at Uwajimaya Store
Seattle, WA
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Seriously...or maybe not...what was God thinking?

Wasn't it enough of a heavenly laugh to take leftover parts and create a  platypus?

Whatever the case may be, the geoduck (pronounced as gooey duck). is both a spelling bee favorite and a physical  oddity.

Seeing these huge clams with the massive elephantine siphons for sale at Uwajimaya Store in the Seattle Chinatown/Interntational District made me do people eat these things?

So I Googled it, and this is what I found.

The Chinese consider it a delicacy and more often than not cook it in a fondue-style hot pot.

Geoducks are eaten raw, doused with spicy chili sauce, in Korean cuisine.  It is also sauteed or used in soups and stews.

Like their Korean cousins, the Japanese eat the geoduck raw, preparing it as sashimi, dipped  in soy sauce with wasabi for that great kick-in-the-head  sensation.

Go ahead!  Take a close look at the photo above.  Imagine yourself slicing those bad boys up and then--armed only with a pair of chopsticks and nerves of steel--dipping each delectable porsel of elephant trunk into soy sauce and fiery wasabi.  


Hey, this is a shout out to all of you opihi pickers in Hawaii.  In Asia, geoducks are selling for $168 a pound!  Just think, you could fly up to Washington, dig in the sand for geoducks over the weekend, and make enough money to pay for your round trip.  So what are you waiting for?  Drop those opihi bags, butter knives, screwdrivers, or whatever scrapers you're using and do something more fun and less labor intensive.  Besides, you're working on a sandy beach, not slippery rocks where crashing waves could instantly sweep you  out to sea.

Meanwhile, the image that comes to mind is that of a geoduck scout whose responsibility it is to be vigilant for approaching predators.  He's got his elongated siphon poking through the sand like a rubbery periscope.  At the sight, sound, and tremor of oncoming flipflop-clad feet, he reels in his siphon with a snap and screams,

"Enemy approaching!  DIVE!  DIVE!  DIVE!"


Friday, April 22, 2011


505 5th Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98104

I am not certain what other cities around the country are like (with the exception of Kapaa and Lihue on the island of Kauai, of course), but I am so grateful for the coffee shops in the Emerald City and other towns and cities nearby that offer its customers free Wi-Fi.  

My blogging would have been so limited if accessibility to the internet had not included these exceptional services at the big chains as well as independents.

Today, I am beginning a series of introducing you to just a handful of the coffee shops--mostly Starbucks, Tully's, and Seattle's Best, but also, hopefully, some of the independents as well.

I arrived here at the Starbucks just a few minutes ago and enjoyed an enchilada pie I'd picked up earlier at the Othello Safeway, a little over a half mile from the house I'm renting and conveniently located near the Sound Transit Link Light Rail Station.

A short 16-minute train ride found me arriving at the International District/Chinatown Station.  An escalator ride up to the street level and a very short walk later, I was at the coffee shop.

As I write this at 2:36 PM on Earth Day Friday, there are approximately 40+ people in this shop. Because it is located in the midst of light rail, bus, Sounder train, and Amtrak stations, this is without a doubt one of the busiest Starbucks shops in the greater Seattle area.  

Here, one will find an eclectic mix--students, senior citizens, young parents with their children, streetwise teenagers, yuppies, businessmen in suits, policemen, firemen, security guards, the homeless, the disenfranchised (ex-felons, drug users, those trying to kick drugs except for caffeine), writers, photographers, artists, and one Hawaiian Odysseus.

From my vantage point in the southwest corner of the store, I can see the attractive courtyard through which the above-mentioned bus, link light rail, and train passengers hurriedly pass through en route to and from their jobs, businesses, schools, or shopping activities.

It is a surprisingly beautiful sunny day.  We are, after all, two-thirds into April already, but the stubborn winter has refused to let go...not unlike the way I am with my adult children.

Nevertheless, I'll take it--this respite gift of pleasant and comfortable weather--and exercise my mind and soul as I utilize the energy within this particular coffee shop and share it vicariously with you.

What impresses me most about this shop are the baristas (any employee who operates an expresso machine) and partners (other employees, so-called because they all own Starbucks stock as a perk of working for the internationally acclaimed company)--usually all female and predominantly Asian or Asian-mixed, even a Pacific Islander from my home state--who have to be experiencing a great deal of stress due to the immense crowds that pass through this shop.  But like surfers who see past the dangerous waves and adeptly ride them in an unspoken alliance, these young adults and their personable Japanese male managers casually flow with the ebb and tide of customer surges throughout the day.  

My Hawaiian friend who works here just passed by as I finished the last paragraph.  She called out as she headed down the hallway that she had checked out my blog.

"Oh, that's nice, Uncle!  That's so nice!"  she exclaimed.

"I'm glad you like it, 'Drea!"  I responded.  

And therein is the spirit that prevails within this Starbucks shop.  These busy employess make it a point--and I attribute this to excellent corporate training and great management on Ken's part--to honor and uplift their patrons.

We can only begin to wonder at how this bit of ALOHA SPIRIT affects each customer's day and,  God-willing--permeates the city with atmospheric warm fuzzies.


Thursday, April 21, 2011


On Seattle's 4th Avenue, Looking North
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Thank God it's Thursday!  

At 6:30 AM, my shift was over at the bagel shop, and I quickly made my way over to the bus stop across the street from the all-stop Fred Meyer store in Redmond, WA.  A bit fatigued from a very challenging week and not enough sleep, I was so happy to nestle into my seat and catch a few winks.

About an  hour later, I emerged from the bus like a drunk man.  There was a bar across the street, so I guess I didn't look too conspicuous.  Stumbling around for just a few seconds, I finally got my bearings and headed west from the Chinatown/International District Station. 

I was carrying my umbrella around because the weatherman on Northwest News had said last night that there'd be a good possibility of cold, wind, and rain this morning.  Well, it was a little chilly, but there was virtually no wind, and the sun was out!  I'm so glad I had my camera with me.

Have laptop, cellphone, and camera--will travel! is my new lifetime motto.  Blogging has changed my view of the world.  I'm more attuned to the people, places, and things I once took for granted. Simultaneously, I'm looking for the unusual juxtaposition of X, Y, and Z as well as organized patterns in the universe.  I freeze-frame potential photographs and immediately have key words and sometimes even a complete paragraph in mind with which to construct the next day's blog.

Occasionally, I will even have a comprehensive post mapped out as I commute by bus, train, or foot, especially for the lighter subjects that I draft for the sister blog to this one,

I love the fact that new life has been infused into my blogs with the addition of my brother's gift to me, a hand-me-down digital Fuji FinePix 440 camera with a cracked and inoperable viewfinder.  I wouldn't have wanted nor have understood the high tech parameters of a new and more expensive camera.  The instrument in my hands is a metaphor of me--a broken man utilized by a Creator who lovingly sees the potential, not the damaged goods.  

As we approach that time of year when we celebrate the resurrection, it seems fitting and all the more lovely that both camera and I are rising to our potential.

And as the sun bathes me through a window at the World Trade Center Starbucks located at 2200 Alaskan Way along the picturesque Seattle waterfront, I am delighted to share the following photographs with you.  I never claim to be a professional photographer and I like my mushroomness--you know, the simple, down to earth substance that, even in a pasture full of manure, speaks with a voice of truth.

Qwest Stadium
Home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Compare these day photos, if you will, with their evening counterparts of my last post.

Sidetracked in Seattle
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

I remember experiencing a fleeting phobia about dropping my camera or--worse yet--falling to the tracks below.

King Street Station
(Hawaiian Odysseus Photo)

This is our Emerald City Big Ben.  The King Street Station, once called the Union Station, was built in 1906 and has since gone through several remodels.  Of the eighteen stations in Washington that serve Amtrak, this is the busiest.  In 2010, it was documented to have boarded or detrained 1,850 customers on a daily basis.  It also serves the regional train, Sounder (photo below), at a rate of over 1.2 million riders a year.

The Arrival of a Southbound Sounder
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Across the street and to the east of the King Station, I was inspired to photograph the building below.  I love glass buildings.  Check out the reflection of the King Station spire in the skyscraper mirror.

Multi-faceted Glass Building
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

I took one more photograph, this time facing north on 4th Avenue.  Again, you can compare this day image to its equivalent night image of my last post.

4th Avenue, Looking North
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

See the tallest building in the photo above?  It is the Columbia Center, and it stands 937 feet tall.  That's like three football fields high, folks!  In 2010, I wrote only my third post while sipping a venti Caramel Frappucino at a Starbucks shop located on the 40th floor of this impressive skyscraper.

Starbucks on the Alaskan Way Waterfront
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

I bought a cup of coffee here this morning during my walk.  It's a great place to pause for refreshment and conversation after enjoying a brisk and picturesque walk along Seattle's quaint waterfront.  However, I decided not to stay there to work on this post because tI did not see any plug-ins in this particular shop.

And now I come to the final photo of this blog post.  I took about three photos from this vantage point, but only one showed up  in the camera's memory.  Like I alluded to before, I'm not a high tech kind of guy.  Most of the time, I'm surprised to see what progress I am making just by stumbling along.  Anyway, like the title suggests, like iron ore to a magnet, a Hawaiian will always be drawn to the water.

Shucks!  Where's my fishing pole when I need it?

Puget Sound
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

That's West Seattle in the distant left--more specifically, it is an area called Alki Beach.  In the near future, I hope to do a post about that area.  In the central background, you can see a ferry boat headed southeast across the sound.

Usually, I'm peeved about the weatherman getting it wrong.  But today was a weather prediction mistake for which I'm very grateful.  The glorious sun, at least through a quarter after 1 in the afternoon when I drew to a close in my post, has prevailed!


Sunday, April 17, 2011


Okay, you got me dead to rights.

I have been known to whine and complain and rant about having to work the graveyard shift, especially when I have a 1-1/2 to 2 hour commute by train and bus each way.  

But I must admit--there are some perks.

For example, I get to experience firsthand the beautiful Emerald City lights.

On nights that I work, I get up at 7 PM from--more often than not--a three-hour fitful sleep, take a shower, maybe have something small to eat, and straighten up my room.  

After saying goodbye to a photo of my wife and adult children and petitioning a blessing for each of them, I leave the house and walk about six tenths of a mile to the Othello Link Light Rail Station.  

I remember feeling scared the first few weeks after moving into this neighborhood two years ago. Rainier Valley has long had a reputation for being a high crime area in Seattle.

But the tremendous grassroots efforts of the locals to urge the Seattle politicians to allocate more resources to this area, the resulting surge in affordable home construction, the remodeling of a Safeway grocery store in the Othello neighborhood, and the introduction of the Sound Transit Link Light Rail have all contributed to a welcome transition from what truly was once perceived as a ghetto into a respectable middle-class borough in southeast Seattle.

And, in my humble opinion, it truly does appear as if the crime rate has gone down.

Anyway, I remain vigilant while walking through this neighborhood at night, but I am not paranoid about what awaits me around each hedge or other blind spot.

After leaving the Othello Station, the train ride lasts about 16 minutes and travels through five stations--Columbia City, Mt. Baker, Beacon Hill, SODO (short for south of downtown), and Stadium--before arriving at my destination--the Chinatown/International District Station.

I ride an escalator to the street level and turn left, or in a westward direction, to 4th Avenue S. and S. Jackson where I will catch the 545 Sound Transit Bus to Redmond.

Last night, I paused and took a picture of the street level of this station.  I wanted to capture the Chinese lantern illusion created by the multitude of lamps.

Street Level of Chinatown/International District Station
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Proceeding along, I pass this huge building with a clock at the top.  There is a huge auditorium within, and I have often seen huge crowds gathered here for proms, pep rallies, and other gala events.

Here is a night view of the north facade of this building.

Building at 4th Avenue S. and S. Jackson Street
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Looking west, I can see an even larger building.  This is the King Street Station, once called the Union Station, that serves passengers traveling on both Amtrak and Sounder trains.  Looking much like a Northwest version of Big Ben, this architectural wonder--a throwback to 19th century America--makes my heart skip a beat (of course, having atrial fibrillation facilitates that phenomenon).  

The King Street Station
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

If you look in a southwesterly direction, you can see the majestic Qwest Stadium, home of the Seattle Seahawks.  The Seattle Sounders also play their home games here.  

The open stadium is a magnificent sight during the day but is even more picturesque at night.  It is bordered on each side by gargantuan arcs looking very much like bejeweled jade rainbows.  Certainly, it accentuates in both literal and figurative ways Seattle's clever nickname--the Emerald City.  

Qwest Stadium
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Looking to the right, or in a northerly direction, you can see some of the city skyscape.

Seattle at Night
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Another perk of working the graveyard shift is the ability to leave work early enough to catch a bus and get back to Seattle, a little sleepy-eyed but with enough wherewithal to photograph some interesting urban scenery.  Case in point:  Here is a link to a post I created in Hawaiian Odysseus 2 just before working on the one you're currently reading.

Anyway, here are some interesting shots I was fortunate enough to get before the sidewalks got too congested.

Church on Fifth Avenue
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Or how about this next building?  Three quarters of it looks very much like a regular skyscraper, but its bottom one-fourth defies the law of gravity.  In my perception, it looks very much like one of those large graphite pencils they gave us in grade school standing on point.  Check this out!

Top Three Fourths of Architectural Phenomenon
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Bottom Fourth of Building
An Impressive Architectural Feat!
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Anyway, I'm sure you see what I mean.  I definitely have more passion and drive to take photographs and post on my two blogs than I do working the mundane graveyard shift in the bagel factory.

Hawaiian Odysseus addresses the restlessness of Everyman who hungers for the realization of his potential while being stuck in a dead end situation.

Even so, I recognize and truly do appreciate--even when it seems like I don't--every pebble, rock, or boulder in my path.  

The difference is, I know when it's time to move on.

Okay, just for grins--here's a reprise of the one shot I took this morning when I knew exactly where I was going to post it and what message I was going to convey.

Looking VERY Smart in Seattle!
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Yours in good humor!

Hawaiian Odysseus


Sunday, April 10, 2011


A View of The Sleeping Giant From the Mauka (Mountain) Side
Wailua Homesteads, Island of Kauai
(Photo courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

We were there--my wife, adult children, and I--just shy of four months ago.  And, yes, when you're there in person, everything is greener and bluer and more picturesque than any digital photo could ever depict.

No one photoshops better than God.


Saturday, April 9, 2011


The powerful worship song, MIGHTY TO SAVE, written by Laura Story, encourages all of us to share our personal testimonies.  There is no pressure to perform; there are no expectations to meet.  We simply present ourselves and talk about what God has done in our lives.  God is the One who is mighty to save.  It is His grace, glory, and power that provides salvation.  

In the 2005-2006 academic year, five freshmen at Walla Walla University formed a band with the sole intent of presenting their own unique testimonies through the medium of contemporary Christian music.  Later, they added a couple of co-eds to lead out in the worship singing. Throughout their four years at the university, this group of dedicated Christians blessed thousands of people of all ages in the Walla Walla Valley.

 Here, then, is the group, Five on Fire, with their rendition of MIGHTY TO SAVE.


Friday, April 8, 2011


Mt. Shasta
San Luis Obispo, CA
(Photo courtesy of Ryan)

(Dedicated to my mother, Marion, 
on the occasion of her 78th birthday--
April 9, 2011.  

As a young child, did you ever have an opportunity to ride in the back of a pickup truck and watch something huge--like a mountain in the backdrop--as your vehicle proceeded along the highway away from that object?

I don't have the scientific term for it, but I trust my senses and intuitively knew--even as a little boy--that there was some kind of optical illusion going on.  

By this, I mean I could easily see the things on the side of the highway getting smaller as the truck rambled on.  But the huge mountain in the distance seemed to incredulously grow larger the further away we traveled.  This phenomenon may have something to do with one's visual perception being simultaneously assigned multiple tasks--for example, tracking the large mountain on one level while noticing the objects passing by and looking smaller on another level.  And then, of course, there's also the neutral sky above that one notices but ironically neglects.  

For some reason, it came to mind just now that I never did talk about this phenomenon as a young child.  I waited 58 years to discuss it now in this blog.

Perhaps there's a reason for this.

But, first, let's reverse the direction of our vehicle.

Imagine that you're in the front seat now and that the huge mountain is in front of you--miles and miles away.  This visual works best when you're traveling in a desert or flatland because then the mountain really stands out.  Case in point--the above photo.

Here, then, is the opposite visual effect.  Things in the near and intermediate distance come rushing at you and appear larger.  But the huge mountain in the distance seems to get smaller or at least remains the same size even though your brain is cognizant that you're headed straight towards it.

As a youngster, I always neglected to track where both phenomena mentioned above lost that optical illusion.  

But as a middle-aged writer, I am taking the liberty of remembering and making an observation or two as I wax poetic or otherwise.

The title of this blog--HAWAIIAN ODYSSEUS--suggests a journey homeward.  

For me, the journey is three-tiered.

HOME OF ORIGIN:  First, there is the journey back to my youth.  Only in discovering unlocked treasure chests and understanding the historical and genealogical lessons gleaned but perhaps not resolved at the time can one move forward with increased awareness, wisdom, compassion, and grace.  

This, then, is the phenomenon of riding in the back of the pickup truck.  Our past becomes increasingly important, or larger, the faster we move through the present and into the future.

NUCLEAR HOME:  For me, social and economic circumstances made it necessary for me to be away from my home and family in one part of the state and be relocated in another.  The very writing of this blog was a vehicle (no pun intended) for me to cope with tremendous angst, loneliness, and sadness about the severe psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual struggles I faced in my situational exile from home.  Only by sitting in the back of the truck and making sense of the significance of my past was I able to find the strength and courage to persevere in the present.  

Every adventure, crisis, and obstacle were surmountable only because I kept my eye on the mountain in front of me...the one that seemingly became smaller the closer I got to it.  I could easily have become discouraged, but the good Lord filled me abundantly when I was at my weakest, and I am eternally thankful.  The mountain ahead of me is the reunion with my wife and the readjustment to the nuclear home.  My children are adults and, thankfully, off to a very successful start as they travel on their respective highways through life.  

I made the huge decision this past week to return home about two months from now.  It is a decision that both excites and scares me.  Once again, I find myself in the front seat of that proverbial pickup truck and wondering why that mountain seems to get smaller the closer I get to it.

This is no time to let anything or anyone discourage me.  I AM GOING HOME!

My daughter graduates from high school in the early part of June.  Soon after, she will be traveling to Spain to attend summer classes.

My son graduates with a dual degree in mechanical engineering and business management from graduate school in central California.  I will be traveling there with my wife and daughter, and the prospect of precious time with family and celebration during those four days makes me very happy.

Just days later, I will join some of my siblings, extended family, and relatives in Oregon for a family reunion.  

I have not seen my father, who presently lives in Maryland with his wife, for 33 years.  This wonderful and long-anticipated event would be a culmination of both phenomena cited above--at once, the mountain behind gets bigger the further I travel from it, and the mountain ahead gets smaller the closer I get to it.

HEAVENLY HOME:  Recent events in both our collective and individual lives, dear reader, only serve to provide further evidence that this world is getting older and fraught with more and more ailments.  Prior to this generation, we humans have not been the best stewards of this world.  And so we are confronted with severe consequences.

Increasing lawlessness matches the rapid increase of mankind's knowledge.  We may all do well to heed the lesson of the Tower of Babel.  Politics and judicial decisions at the highest level suggest that man has grown too big for his britches.  The spiritual reverence our country once had for the Creator has fallen by the wayside, and--alas!--we will pay dearly for it.

It is both the mountain that grows larger the more we travel away from it and smaller the more we struggle to get back to it.  

In my humble opinion, it is God growing bigger in His desire to redeem us when we grow apart from Him.  As we stumble back to our feet and turn away from our foolish choices; as we hunger to make it back home...He appears to grow smaller, but it is only His way of saying, "Okay, you've made the choice to return home.  Show Me with all your might how much you desire to get back to My front porch.  Show Me just how hungry and desperate you are...I will be waiting with a hot bath and some delicious lentil soup for you."

I plan to be on that front porch with my ukulele and singing Tropical Rainbow*.

Will you join me?