Saturday, December 29, 2007

A great quote from Bono

"The Left mocks the Right. The Right knows it's right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try to understand each other's point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue."
BONO, lead singer of U2

Friday, December 28, 2007

Going South

Hannah left this morning with Jessica on their way south of the border. She stopped in Nogales AZ to get a PO Box for her move down there and also to shop for some groceries for this weekends orphanage trip. Patty left with a rather large group this afternoon. I will be heading down on my own Sunday morning. The boy I sponsor, Jesus Guadalupe, his birthday is New Years Eve. He turns 12 and I am sure we will celebrate with fireworks and all the things we can't do in AZ.

I am going through sort of a struggle at this time with family stuff. I won't get into it because it is kind of personal, but please do say a prayer to lift my spirits up.

I think Patty has her camera with her so hopefully there will be some great photos of the orphanage when I get back. Tomorrow night I am watching the PPV UFC fight featuring Lidell vs. Silva. Should be a helluva fight and I'm pulling for the Iceman!

Be moved!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Are you born homosexual?

I have always questioned how folks become homosexual. I have heard that people can become that way due to sexual abuse or something tragic that happens to them when they are young. I then read this article that suggests they are born that way. I tend to think that maybe they are but I am no expert on the matter. But if it is genetics, then how can they become something they are not (heterosexual)?

It is just like my alcoholism. I was probably born with the addictive gene and it does tend to run on my dad's side of the family. I was born that way. I can't drink because I tend to like it way too much. But others can enjoy as much as two drinks a day (and it has been known to have health benefits) and that is not a problem for them.

So if it is proven that homosexuals are born that way, then will people that tend to bash them (Yes I'm talking to the church here) back off and accept them for the way they were born?

Here are statements from the British report:
“Opposition to homosexuality reached a peak in the 19th century. What had earlier been regarded as a vice, evolved into a perversion or psychological illness. Official sanction of homosexuality both as illness and (for men) a crime led to discrimination, inhumane treatments and shame, guilt and fear for gay men and lesbians.” (The change in attitudes began with the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 statement that there was no scientific evidence that homosexuality was a disorder. Others health groups followed.)

“…there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation.”

“It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice, though sexual behavior clearly is.”

“LGB people have exactly the same rights and responsibilities concerning the expression of their sexuality as heterosexual people.”

“Although there have been claims by conservative political groups in the USA that this higher prevalence of mental health difficulties is confirmation that homosexuality is itself a mental order, there is no evidence whatever to substantiate such a claim.”

“There is already good evidence that marriage confers health benefits on heterosexual men and women and similar benefits could accrue from same-sex civil unions. Legal and social recognition of same-sex relationships is likely to reduce discrimination, increase the stability of same-sex relationships and lead to better physical and mental health for gay and lesbian people.”

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas to the letter

I'm sitting here at work on Christmas Eve. The weather is calm and the building is eerily quiet. I came upon this article in the East Valley Tribune penned by Michael Grady. Being Christmas Eve and all, I thought it fitting to throw up on my blog. So do enjoy, and I hope each and everyone of you have a Merry Christmas.

Christmas to the letter

Dear Friends and Family:

Sorry our seasonal letter is late. But our trip to Bethlehem, to register for Caesar Augustus’ tax, was more eventful than planned. (Sure glad this “tax” thing doesn’t happen every year!)

The good news is: We have a beautiful boy! Born under difficult circumstances, but little Jesus is doing quite well. (That’s Mary’s name for him. I prefer Dwayne, so this is still under discussion.) Travel advice: 1) Never bring a pregnant woman on a business trip, and 2) If you must do No. 1, DON’T PUT HER ON THE DONKEY! It aggravates the situation in ways I won’t explain.

Our accommodations? … well, the less said, the better. Bethlehem has lovely homes and prosperous people. But come in from another country, and they treat you like you’re some kind of threat. (And if you look or sound poor? God help you.) We found a place just in time — our roommates were not hygienic, but at least they weren’t judgmental. And, later, we milked one.

So, Mary had the baby ... then people started showing up. It wasn’t the most convenient time, to be honest. But these things happen when you don’t have a door. We got shepherds, who were very nice. They just wanted to look at the baby. It was a little awkward, but one of their kids was pretty good on the drum. (It spooked our roommates. But, fortunately, professionals were there to herd them.) Then three fancy-hat guys showed up. They were kings, or so they said. (The shepherds were like: “Yeah, kings. Whatever. Can I try your hat?”) They LOVED the baby! (The goats and drum solos? Not so much.) Everybody kept kneeling, so I kept running out for more chairs. But no one used them, except the shepherd boy, who thought I was expanding his drum set.

First Fancy-Hat Guy gave us gold as a gift. The other two were like, “Uh, gifts! Sure! We brought some!” One handed over some incense, and the other gave us myrrh (a stinky perfume, but Jesus/Dwayne likes to play with the bottle). I shouldn’t complain. It was a nice gesture, and they didn’t have our sizes.

All in all, a lovely evening. (Though, in the future, Mary doesn’t want us to entertain on nights she gives birth.) The only sour moment came when they started arguing about what the birth “meant.” Everybody thought it was important. But some had very precise reasons why, and got upset when the others wouldn’t agree, word for word.

“Look,” I told ’em. “He came, and he’s healthy and here with us now. The rest is just talk.” Then Jesus/Dwayne started crying and they all settled down.

It seemed silly, bickering about words, on a night so blessed with stars.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Clark Brothers Win

They deserved it and this was much better than American Idol.

The Clark Brothers on the Next Great American Band

I was very impressed by these guys.

Family to sue insurer in girl's death

The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient blamed Cigna Corp. on Friday for her death, saying the health insurance giant's initial refusal to pay for a liver transplant contributed to her death.

The Philadelphia-based insurer had initially refused to pay for the procedure, saying it was experimental. The company reversed the decision Thursday as about 150 nurses and community members rallied outside of its office in Glendale in suburban Los Angeles. Nataline died just hours later.

The insurer "maliciously killed" Nataline because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, said family attorney Mark Geragos. He did not say when or in what court he would file the civil lawsuit.

In a Dec. 11 letter to Cigna, four doctors had appealed to the insurer to reconsider. They said patients in similar situations who undergo transplants have a six-month survival rate of about 65%.

Read the full article here

My comments:
I am against frivolous lawsuits. I do not think this is frivolous. This is about Health Insurance Companies and money. This is the USA! This should not happen here. Sure there are some quotes in the article by experts who state that the immunosuppressant drugs "tend" to increase the risk and growth of any tumors. But 4 other doctors in their letter to Cigna said patients in similar situations who undergo transplants have a six-month survival rate of about 65%.

In the end, 17 year old Nataline is dead. This is so wrong on so many levels and I hope Cigna pays.

I have health insurance for myself and my family. It seems that each and every year my premiums go up, up and up...and the benefits go down, down and down.

It's time that these Health Insurance Companies be held accountable for their greedy money grubbing ways.

I was watching the local news the other evening and they featured a doctor who has a mobile medical facility that he drives into areas where there is a lot of homeless folks and poverty. His name is Dr. Randy Christensen. He does not charge for any of his services. Watch the video about his mission here

Be well!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Testicular Cancer Checks

This has got to be the most hilarious, yet clever commercial ever made. Gentlemen, check your balls.

Orphanage Pics from Dec14th-16th

My co-worker sponsors the De La Paz kids

Tamale Party

Ruco (Humberto) & The boy I sponsor...Guadalupe

Miguel David

Juan Ignacio & Juan Carlos and Elsa's son

Juan Carlos

Jose Ricardo

Humberto & Guadalupe

Hannah and Kids

Me & Guadalupe

Guadalupe...the boy I sponsor

Dulce...she calls Patty mama

Angel & Miguel

Monday, December 17, 2007

Orphanage Trip

Patty had to bail out on this trip because she was not feeling well Friday afternoon. If you have read some earlier posts, she had a real bad battle with the flu over a week ago. By Friday afternoon she knew she would not be able to go, and for those that don't know her, it had to really be bad for her to back out of an orphanage trip. When I got back late last night, she was in bed, but awake. She sounded horrible and her cough sounded like I don't know what. She went to the doctor this morning and guess what? She's got pneumonia. She was given a strong antibiotic, and inhaler and some stronger cough medicine with codeine. The doctor told her no work for at least two days which means she won't be going back until Thursday. The antibiotic should be working well fighting off the pneumonia by then.

So now on to our orphanage trip. We left about 6:30 or so and barely made it to the border by 10. Got to the orphanage around 11 PM or so. We had a group of 8 and Robert and his friend Scott and their girls met us there. All of the girls in our group got one of the rooms in the apartment. Robert and Scott and their toddlers got the other room. All of us guys in our group slept on the tile floor in the kitchen. It was really cold, probably in the 20's and there is no heat. But the kids in the orphanage don't have heat either. Just blankets. I did not sleep well that first night. Not really because it was cold, because the sleeping bag I was in kept me warm enough. The tile bothered my hips because it was so hard. But I ain't whining. Those kids sleep in the cold or heat (depending on the season) each and every night without the benefit of heat or air conditioning.

The next morning we were able to distribute gifts to the kids. It was very rewarding to see the looks on their faces and the excitement in their eyes. There were several other groups that came down while we were there handing out gifts to all the kids. We spent the day just loving the kids and hanging out with them. At one point I had a kid on both knees while I was sitting out by the basketball court, with others gathered around me and just hanging on me. The story about Jesus ministering to all of the little children entered my mind. Oh don't worry, I don't compare myself to Jesus, but I just had that picture in my mind of all the kids sitting in Jesus' lap and gathered around Him.

One thing that really touched me involved the De La Paz siblings that my co-worker Leslie and her family sponsor. Leslie gave me a bag of gifts to bring down for them. They did not want to open them in front of us for some reason. But we handed them out and they took them to their rooms. Later that day they showed me a photo album that Leslie had made for them. They had a very tiny picture of their mother that they gave me on an earlier trip. Leslie wanted it so she could have it re-done and enlarged. She made them a photo album with the enlarged picture of their mother, pictures of them with Leslie and Paul and pictures of Leslie and Paul and their own kids. The kids were SO proud of the photo album.

Now on to what nearly brought me to tears of joy (and it WILL bring Leslie to tears of joy). The De La Paz kids handed Hannah a gift bag with gifts for Leslie, Paul and their family. back to someone else. How awesome and touching is that?

Robert and Scott and their girls had to leave Saturday. Us guys got the bedroom that they were occupying and I slept like a rock that night. Sunday was spent hanging out with the kids, observing another group from Phoenix that came to minister to them, and this group also provided a huge tamale dinner to the kids. These kids normally get beans and rice 3 meals a day. Later in the day we did the Pinata party for the December birthdays and I got to watch the boy I sponsor (Jesus Guadalupe) take a swing or two or three and then he cheated and poked it which opened a hole in the Pinata.

I also was able to see the house Hannah will be living in when she moves down there in January. A very nice little 3 bedroom place with a fenced yard. It will be awesome to be able to stay at her place on our monthly trips instead of worrying about another group staying in the apartment on-site and having to fork out money for a hotel.

On the way back we were able to meet my parents again in Tucson, as well as my Grandma and my cousin and her husband. I was able to drop off our Christmas gifts and also enjoy a short visit with them.

I am sure I will have some pictures to throw up on here whenever I can get them from Hannah. I forgot Patty's camera and did not take any, but Hannah takes plenty for everybody.

Talk about doing church man, we did it this weekend. And we did not even step foot into a "church building". We did church by caring for the poor and the orphans. That's what it's really all about. I am learning this more and more on this journey of following Christ.

Be MoVeD!

I have just ordered Jim Palmer's new book Wide Open Spaces. It should be here right before Christmas. I look forward to it because I loved his first book Divine Nobodies. i was reading his blog this morning and loved what he had to say in this quote:

"seriously, my desire is to get the message out that there is a real, authentic, and transformational reality with God beyond the pat answers, simplistic formulas, and endless list of do’s and don’ts, which is too often passed off as “Christianity.” contrary to the too-often spoken or implied message of pop-Christianity, there is more to the gospel of Jesus than being good, doing church, and waiting for heaven when you die."

This comes after a fantastic weekend at the orphanage which I will blog a little about later today. I am searching for my own answers about following Jesus. He was definitely there this past weekend. When all of the kids come running up to me while I am there, jumping on me, hugging me, sitting on my just reminds me of Jesus when all of the little children were around him sitting in His lap. I am not Jesus, but I can love those kids and give them my undivided attention and love just like He did.

Be MoVeD!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Huckaboom and Hillabust

The surprising falls and unexpected gains ahead of Iowa's caucuses

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is teetering on the brink, no matter what the meaningless national horserace numbers say. The notion that she has a post-Iowa “firewall” in New Hampshire is a fantasy, and she is in danger of losing all four early contests, including Nevada and South Carolina – probably to Sen. Barack Obama, who is now, in momentum terms, the Democratic frontrunner.

On the Republican side, meanwhile, the race is shaping up in an even more unexpected way: a contest between two former Northern moderates (Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney) for the right to take on a Southern Baptist preacher, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who believes in the inerrancy of Scripture but not in Darwinian evolution.

National polls still give Hillary a double-digit lead. Those polls mean nothing. What matters now is not the number but the direction, and Obama is movin’ on up at a rapid pace. Little pieces of evidence matter. In Manchester, N.H., the other day, Democratic Gov. John Lynch showed up at the Obama-Oprah rally, ostensibly to introduce Oprah, but, really to cover his bets politically. The newest polls in the state show why: Obama is tied with Hillary, and people are literally exchanging her lawn signs for his. If he can win Iowa – and it remains a big if – Hillary’s campaign could collapse. New Hampshire would almost surely go his way. The Culinary Workers in Nevada might well endorse him, as could influential South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn. Black Democrats have complained for years that Iowa and New Hampshire are “too white.” But the irony is, South Carolina African-Americans I talked to last weekend want to see if Obama can win white votes before they commit to him. There is no better way of doing that than in Iowa and New Hampshire. And don’t forget something else: he has 150,000 online contributors. He can raise cash fast.

Link to full article here

FYI-I'm still pulling for Obama :-)

Two new blogs

I've added two new blogs to my favorites that are absolutely where I am at right now in this journey. Todd is a great guy and is doing the stuff. Check him out at Rag Tags Hope and The Kindness Kitchen. And if you like folk music that is a bit easier on the ears than what I tend to listen to (Dave?), then check him out at

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Encouraging quotes

I stumbled upon Todd's Blog this evening while reading the comments on Jim Palmer's blog. Jim is the author of Divine Nobodies, an excellent book. I am waiting for his new book Wide Open Spaces to come out. Anyhow, it turns out I actually know Todd. It's a small world. Todd's a great guy, go check out his blog. Anyhow, there were some quotes on there that I wanted to put up on my blog because they were very encouraging to me where I am at right now. Here they are.

"One of the worst things religion twists us to do is to try to make others see what we see. When we’re doing that we’re not just loving them where they are, but trying to get them to be where we are. That doesn’t lead to effective loving. In fact you’ll find people pushing you away, and even worse retreating into the defensiveness of their own bondage."

"Perhaps the most difficult thing for us to learn is how to simply love people, being honest with them about the life Christ has shown us without trying to manipulate them. But that is the environment where the Holy Spirit works most easily to open people’s eyes. I know it takes a lot of trust in God’s ability to lay down our need to convince others that we’re right, but it is a big part of learning to live in his life and to share that life with others in a way that promotes his work in them."

I believe these quotes came from Wayne Jacobsen...someone correct me if I am wrong.

Be MoVeD!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Birthday by the Beatles

It's a little late in the day, but everyone say Happy Birthday to Hannah, because really is her birthday.

A great weekend coming up

Patty is herself again. I have not seen her as sick as she was in a looong time. She went to work today but I told her to take it easy so she doesn't have a relapse. The flu can really kick your ass sometimes.

We are headed to the orphanage this Friday right after work. I am so looking forward to seeing Guadalupe and the rest of the kids. We are taking presents on this trip too. It is a blessing to me to give to these kids who otherwise would receive nothing.

I am going to give a big kudos to a special person. I hope it does not embarrass him. But Dave over at ratherthanworking asked me for my address so he could send something for the kids. If you remember back in the summer, Dave also sent me a nice check and we were able to bless the kids with ice cream. A real treat for them I might add. I don't know Dave personally, only through his blog. What I can tell you is that he is a very generous guy and is a man of his word. He does what he says he's going to do. I also enjoy his blog and his writing. He's a very intelligent guy so go visit him. Here's to ya Dave! Hope your Christmas is blessed my friend.

I had a very interesting drive into work this morning. I don't ever really look outside when I get up at 5 am. I just go have my coffee and yogurt, then hit the shower and off I go. When I opened the garage door I was pretty shocked. I couldn't even see the houses across the street. Pea Soup Fog! A rarity in The Valley of the Sun. The sky had cleared after all the rain and the winds were nil...a very good meteorological condition for fog to form. It made the commute a little slow, but it was actually kind of nice, if not a bit eerie.

Tonight I am going to enjoy dinner with my "healthy" wife and then sit down and watch the WEC (World Extreme Combat) fights that are on live from Las Vegas this evening. Just like the UFC only they feature the lighter weight guys. Good times man!

Be MoVeD!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rainy, cool and loving it

So the past couple of weekends have been wet and cool. I am actually enjoying it as we do not get rain very often here in the Valley of the Sun. The only gripe I have about it is the drivers here in the Phoenix area. They drive like idiots. But there is nothing I can do about that so I'll quit complaining about it.

Patty came home from work Friday feeling like crap. Remember when I was sick a little over a week or so ago? Well I guess I passed it along to her, only she got it way worse than I did. She has literally been in bed all weekend and is still there today. She called in sick to work this morning. I took her to urgent care Sunday morning and as we were walking down the stairs from our bedroom to the family room she slipped and fell. Luckily I was right behind her and she caught herself and did not hurt herself at all. The doctor said her chest did not sound good so he gave her an x-ray, but that turned out okay. At first he thought she may have pneumonia, but his final diagnosis was the flu. She has a fever, body aches, congestion, nausea and general "I really feel like shit" stuff. She was prescribed Tamiflu, and some cough syrup with codeine. I hope she feels better soon so say a prayer for her today.

Saturday I went to the Amadeo Youth White Elephant Christmas party at the Howard's home. It was wonderful, had great fellowship and I got to see how competitive Angela is. You've got to see it to believe it. Then I went home to watch the Ultimate Fighter Season finale. There were two great fights in the 3 hour show.

I forgot to mention that I picked Ben up on Friday to take him along on one of my work trips. We went to a rain gage out at Ashurst Hayden Dam and he came along. It was fun shooting the bull with him and we went to lunch at a local diner in Florence right near the prison. The food was fantastic.

Going to the orphanage this weekend. Can't wait for this trip. We will be bringing down the Christmas gifts. I always look forward to my visits down there as the kids bless me so much and I hope that I bless them while I am there.

Patty and I will be getting together with Mark and Susan B. sometime before New Years to talk about what we want to do with the Youth Group. We are blessed with some really great kids in this group.

Be well, be blessed and be MoVeD!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New Children's Books, Just in Time for Christmas

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ken Fong says:
"The old paradigm of evangelism was a transactional sharing of the gospel. I would try to get people to intellectually agree with me. But the new paradigm is different, an approach in which I invite you to walk alongside me, examine my life, and see evidence of the truth, and hopefully there will be something compelling that you see. It's a no-strings-attached invitation to enter my life as I follow Jesus."

-Ken Fong is the senior pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Taken from "5 Kinds of Christians" in the Fall 2007 issue of Leadership journal. To see the quote IN context, you'll need to see the print version of Leadership. To subscribe, click on the cover of Leadership on this page.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Conversation vs. Preaching

A lot of churches turn people off because the church won't allow anyone to question them. The church is right, all the time. A lot of churches will automatically disregard someone if they question something. Why is that?

I have found that it is much better to develop a friendship with someone instead of preaching at them. I have been having a conversation with 2 younger men. They are both in their 20's. One is an athiest and the other is agnostic. We share a common denominator and that would be our musical tastes. Both of these guys know my belief. They know that I am a christian, they know of my church and how active I am in it.

All three of us attended a concert not too long ago. They were asking me questions about Jesus and why I believe what I believe. They also said that there was a difference in me from other christians that they know. They respect me because I don't knock them for their belief and I do not judge them. They told me some stuff that has been said to them by other christians that turns my stomach. I know that not all christians are like that, but I would say that a lot of them are.

Instead of judging others by what they believe, become their friend and converse with them. let them explain why they believe what they believe. It is not my job to convert someone over to what I believe. That is God's job. I can only show others love and friendship through my actions, and God will do the rest.

I strive every day to do something nice for someone. Do I fail? Absolutely! But I keep trying. Do something kind for someone this week. If you can, do it every day. Let me know what it did for you. I can tell you this, when I do that, it brings joy to my heart to show kindness to someone.

Be MoVeD!