Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bye Babe

My daughter and her new husband drove off this morning. They're moving to Phoenix.

It has been an interesting experience for me. I basically moved out of my parents home when I left for college at age 17. I didn't give it a thought. Alexis is 26 this year and has been in and out of our home since she first left for college. Even while she was away - as far as India and Hungary - she retained a tether to her parents home. Now, she has moved out on her own and her bedroom is empty.

All of the things that I didn't think about when I left home are weighing on my heart now. I wonder how far away from us she'll be when she has children. I don't want to not be a part of their lives. I worry about whether she and Christian will find paths that fulfill God's yearnings for them. I worry that they will have difficulty finding a community of friends and especially a faith community. I worry that Phoenix will not be a positive experience for them. I just worry about them. I already miss her and she's only been gone a few hours.

At the same time, I know that they are adults now and that they need to make these steps to find the path that is right for them. I know that this is an important part of their formation... and mine. I need to be able to let her go ad trust that she will make the choices that she needs to make and move in the directions for her. And I need to begin moving towards the next phase in my life. Our son is still at home, but one of these days he will leave too and Cheryl and I will need to find new ways to be together without our children immediately in the relationship.

on we go.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have a lot of respect for Andrew Sullivan and read his blog almost every day. I think he summed up what needs to be said about Obama after the speech this evening.

This is his commentary on the speech

It was a deeply substantive speech, full of policy detail, full of people other than the candidate, centered overwhelmingly on domestic economic anxiety. It was a liberal speech, more unabashedly, unashamedly liberal than any Democratic acceptance speech since the great era of American liberalism. But it made the case for that liberalism - in the context of the decline of the American dream, and the rise of cynicism and the collapse of cultural unity. His ability to portray that liberalism as a patriotic, unifying, ennobling tradition makes him the most lethal and remarkable Democratic figure since John F Kennedy.

What he didn't do was give an airy, abstract, dreamy confection of rhetoric. The McCain campaign set Obama up as a celebrity airhead, a Paris Hilton of wealth and elitism. And he let them portray him that way, and let them over-reach, and let them punch him again and again ... and then he turned around and destroyed them. If the Rove Republicans thought they were playing with a patsy, they just got a reality check.

He took every assault on him and turned them around. He showed not just that he understood the experience of many middle class Americans, but that he understood how the Republicans have succeeded in smearing him. And he didn't shrink from the personal charges; he rebutted them. Whoever else this was, it was not Adlai Stevenson. It was not Jimmy Carter. And it was less afraid and less calculating than Bill Clinton.

Above all, he took on national security - face on, full-throttle, enraged, as we should all be, at how disastrously American power has been handled these past eight years. He owned this issue in a way that no Democrat has owned it since Kennedy. That's a transformative event. To my mind, it is vital that both parties get to own the war on Jihadist terror and that we escape this awful Rove-Morris trap that poisons the discourse into narrow and petty partisan abuse of patriotism. Obama did this tonight. We are in his debt.

Look: I'm biased at this point. I'm one of those people, deeply distressed at what has happened to America, deeply ashamed of my own misjudgments, who has shifted out of my ideological comfort zone because this man seems different to me, and this moment in history seems different to me. I'm not sure we have many more chances to get off the addiction to foreign oil, to prevent a calamitous terrorist attack, to restore constitutional balance in the hurricane of a terror war.

I've said it before - months and months ago. I should say it again tonight. This is a remarkable man at a vital moment. America would be crazy to throw this opportunity away. America must not throw this opportunity away.

Know hope.

I know who I'm voting for...

Obama tax cut

Here's a quick little page that gives you an idea of what will happen to your taxes if Obama is elected. Bottom line for the vast majority of Americans... you get a tax cut.

Check out your tax cut

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well, I finally got to see this year's Steelers team on television last night. They won, but I'm not sure that they should have. The blew a bunch of opportunities and the offensive line continued to fail at protecting the quarterback. That doesn't bode well when sportswriters say they have the most difficult schedule of anyone this year.

Byron Leftwich looked good as a back-up QB and if he continues to play like he did last night, Charlie Batch may not have a job once his collarbone heals. The new runningback - Rashard Mendenhall - looked great when he could hold onto the ball. He fumbled twice, both times wen it seemed as if the Steelers were moving the ball well. Both times, the Vikings recovered.

And what is up with Roethlisberger's hair?

All in all, I'm looking forward to the season.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's All about the Economy

Well, it isn't, obviously, but it certainly is an issue that is important.

Obama has been criticized as planning to raise your taxes while McCain will cut them... the LA Times the other day published this chart, showing how your taxes would be affected if either candidate's tax policies were completely adopted.

Unless you're in the top 20% of incomes, you get a larger break with Obama. Now, if you're in the top 1%, then McCain is definitely the man fr your pocketbook.

And speaking of the top 1%... you've no doubt heard McCain's comment that he didn't know how many houses he owns. Here's a video to help him out...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Georgia on my mind

with the wedding last week and an impending move, I've had a bunch of blog entries building up and just waiting to be posted.

The situation in Georgia is one and I think represents one of the larges and most impactful costs of the Iraq debacle. The quotes from McCain and Bush would be laughable were the situation not so grave... "In the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations," and "Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century" And there is the problem. We invaded 2 other sovereign nations and continue to occupy them both. Add to that torture and the blatant disregard for the rule of law and we have lost any moral authority that we had in the world.

family values

My friend, Bob Cornwall, shared this video from Matthew 25 on his blog Ponderings on a Faith Journey.

true that

Alexis & Christian

My little girl was married on 8/8/08 (yeah... I had to miss the opening exercises of the Olympics). I wanted to be only the dad so I didn't take any photos and was waiting to blg until somebody sent me some. These photos were taken by my brother-in-law, Bob.

The wedding was wonderful. It took place at First Baptist of Santa Barbara They have a breath-taking setting and enough room to host the number of guests we were expecting. The service was perfect with music by Thomas Leeb, Jessica Mireles, Jamie Green, and Stephanie Katavolos. Our friend, Larry Phillips came from Schenectady, New York to perform the ceremony. Friends and family came from all over including a maid of honor from France. It was just wonderful.

Folk stayed around for a few days and some of us went on a wine tour, others did a whale watch... and we laughed and cried and drank lots of wine together.

a few more photos...

Alexis and Christian

and our family...

Alexis and Christian are moving to Phoenix in a little more than a week. I'll miss having her nearby terribly but I am so happy that she and Christian are so in love and so committed to one another.

the "A" word

I've been thinking a lot about the rick Warren interviews of McCain & Obama. In general, I was pleased with the format but it was obvious that the questions that were asked and the way they were framed slanted the event towards McCain. One piece really stuck in my craw.

Warren asked about human rights for fetuses which was really about abortion and even described abortion as being a holocaust. McCain's answer was "at conception," which drew a lot of applause. Two questions came to me... if this is really a holocaust, why have you done nothing to stop it? And, do you realize the implications of your statement?

Frankly, I find the Republican stance on abortion disingenuous at best. They held all three branches of government for 6 years with a "pro-life" president, a "pro-life" Supreme Court, and "pro-life" legislature and didn't do anything to even lower the abortion rate let alone make it illegal. Why? The cynic in me says they want the issue as a wedge in election years. If it was illegal, they'd lose the wedge. Then what? No, they don't want to make abortion illegal because if they did, they would do something about it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

West Beach

We didn't make the cut... but thanks to everyone who voted for Jamie. Next time!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Obama ads

This is the way that politics should be done...

Now I know the criticism is that this is all well and good but how? And that isn't a bad criticism. Still, just raising real issues and positive dreams is so much better than character attacks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Dear readers, as you all know, I play guitar with Jamie Green, an amazing singer songwriter here in Santa Barbara. Well, the local independent paper, called amazingly enough, The Independent, is sponsoring a music festival on the beach in September with Ziggy Marly, Natasha Bedingfield, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. A local act will play the main stage.

The contest for the main stage begins with a popular vote. The artists who can generate the most votes TODAY get to play a preliminary show where the act for the main stage will be chosen. Will you all please go to this site, scroll down and choose Jamie Green and vote for us? You must vote for three artists. You can vote as many times as you like today to help us make the first cut. The artists are in alphabetical order so scroll down to Jamie's name and click her along with two others (maybe my friends Fingersmyth, Andrew Jackson, The Hoagland Conspiracy, or Rob Raede or anyone else at random), and then be sure to scroll to the bottom to click on the cast your vote link.

Friday, August 08, 2008


In the midst of all of the craziness around our wedding - joy and stress, hope and fear, promise and more promise, I am reminded that life is not always so joyful and the issues we are facing are a blessing in every way. The problems that the wedding has presented are such small blips in life. Other problems are not blips.

This is a bit of the story of Gwendolyn Strong. The Strongs are a young family who live in Santa Barbara about whom I have learned.

You can help make a difference, if not for Gwendolyn, then for other families facing the same grim news of a diagnosis of SMA. Sign the petition for congress to provide needed funding to find a cure for this disease.

To learn more about Gwendolyn, check out the family blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I haven't posted in a while... and there is a reason.

My daughter, Alexis, is getting married tomorrow. All I can say is that I'm beginning to understand why certain cultures avoid having female children. I love her to death and I am incredibly proud of her but I really wouldn't want to do this again financially, emotionally, or any other way.

I have got soooo much new material to blog about and once things quiet down I'll try... except two weeks after the wedding we're scheduled to close on our condo and then move.

And Alexis and Christian are planning to move to Phoenix although neither has a job there yet.

On top of all that, we're doing a small construction project at the church that has had one interruption after another and it needs to be finished by August 25 so we can open our nursery school in the fall.

If we had tried to plan a summer with more stress than this one, I don't know what we could have changed short of a serious illness or a death in the family. Pray that neither of those happens for us and we will have made it through all of the craziness.