Monday, July 29, 2013

Grand-kids Join the Workforce

It has to happen.  Grand-kids grow up and become adults.  But somewhere in-between they are neither kids, nor adults... or maybe they are both kids and adults at the same time.  Michelle, 18 years old, is driving her own car (a gift from her generous Uncle Mike and Aunt Mary) and Evan, 16 who is now driving with his learner's permit, accompanied by a parent.

Michelle will enter Azuza Pacific University in September.  But for now, both went out seeking work, walking right in and asking the boss... and both landed jobs on the same day a week or two ago.

Michelle is working at “PacSun,” (Pacific Sunwear of California) in the mall.  She gets a discount on clothes, and then is encouraged to wear them and kind of models them as she waits on customers. Sorry, guys! The mannequin is not for sale. Eat your heart out!  

When Tim and I dropped by on a recent afternoon the place was swarming with customers and they must have had at least 3 girls and a couple of guys working on the floor.  Michelle's a people person and enjoys her work.  

Evan is working at O’Brien’s Grocery Store near home as a bag boy and everything else.  He loves it.  And I think he may probably out-work most others. His mother recently caught him rounding up grocery carts in the parking lot... after working hours... ha.  He does everything with enthusiasm.  

Last Friday and Saturday, while my sons, their Uncle Ron and Uncle Mike were still visiting, both Michelle and Evan happened to have time off. Only Evan had to start work at 4 PM on Saturday. 

So after our day of hiking on Friday (see previous blog) we all took off for another adventure on Saturday.  

Would you believe we drove up to Lake New Melones where we had reserved a powerful ski-boat for 7 people?! We got there before 10 AM and were soon on the lake with a tube to ride. What a blast! The water temperature was delightful.

Yes, even I rode the tube! Tim let up a bit on the speed for me.  I had to encourage him to power up!

The fun is when you do circles and figure eights with the boat forcing the tube to whiplash into incredible speeds crossing the wake and tossing you into the air while you hang on with all your might.

Ron, who tends to challenge earth's law of gravity, tried to stand up on the tube, which of course, is impossible.  

 I only regret I didn't get a picture of him flying off into the lake.  

Digital cameras are great, but they too often don't click the instant you tell them to.  

The empty tube is airborne.

We circled around to give him another chance.  It is very hard to climb onto the tube from the water.  I think the finger in the air means "I surrender!"

Here is Evan "looking cool" under the umbrella.  

A little later his Mom took him back to town to go to work, while we finished the day relaxing.  

"Cool Ralph"

God is good!  All the time!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hiking at Tuolumne Meadows

It was my 3 son's idea. 

Let's get together and do something fun!  So Mike (standing left of Michelle) flew down from Seattle and Ron (next to Mike) drove up from Santa Cruz.  Hiking is in our blood, so here we are... ready to head for Tuolumne Meadows at 8,900 ft. above sea level in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  

We stopped at a view point and Mike and Evan took off running.  I caught Evan in mid-air as he leaped to the top of a large rock.  

I wished I could do that!

Our first hike was to Ludens Lake only about a mile from the highway.  Many of the trees were enormous.  Such beauty was stunning!  

How long does it take a monkey to scamper up a tree?  About 5 seconds!

When we first moved to Cordoba, Argentina, our three little sons soon became famous, or was it infamous... for climbing trees. It must run in the family. Darwin must have been studying the Hiatt clan.  My brother and I always played high in the trees when we were kids. 

At lake's edge we found a log just long enough for six.

Tim carries his tripod and camera every-where.

"Reflections" taken from Tim's position across the lake.

Cheryl had decided to stay home, but as always the thoughtful one, she packed us a great picnic lunch; hamburger patties, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, delicious potato salad, chips, fruit and home made cookies.  

When we arrived at Tuolumne Meadows this tempting rock mountain called out "Climb me!"  We left Michelle resting in the car. 

Okay, I admit I was the last to arrive at the top. 

Leave it to Tim!  He lined us up on the mountain top. aimed his camera at us and yelled, "Jump!" 

Then he set his camera on ten second delay and ran up the mountain to get into the picture.  We tried it several times, but somebody, usually me, always jumped too early or too late.  

We laughed so hard we could barely jump any more.
What do you expect at 8,900 ft?  And 81 years?!

In all... it was great day enjoying one another's fellowship while taking in God's awesome scenery.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Weeping for Wilson

Today is "Friends Day" in Argentina.  The custom is to send greeting cards to your friends or give them a call. 

Lidia Masalyka, an Argentine pastor’s wife and excellent writer, sent me her “Friends Day” devotional.  It came with the title “Weeping for Wilson.”  With Lidia’s generous permission I am borrowing her title and quoting a part of her excellent homily below.

Lidia writes:

Who doesn’t remember the above scene in Tom Hanks’ film “Castaway?”  Tom plays the survivor of a plane crash who alone on an island decides to search through the wreckage of the plane. He finds a volleyball with the brand “Wilson” on it.  In the craze of his loneliness he finds himself talking to his “friend,” a mute and immobile sphere that he names: “Wilson”.

When the tide comes in, it carries the ball away.  In his desperation he weeps and swims out to rescue it.

What a great way to describe that we have not been created to live alone on an island!  God made us to be social beings with the possibility of making and maintaining relationships more distant than our immediate family.  The company of others is necessary for us.

Our need for “others” confirms us as persons.  It is the “other” that gives us value.  For this reason the survivor quickly gets tired of talking to himself (monologue) and seeks a dialogue (speaking to someone else) although it seems to us funny to talk to a volleyball.  Normal conversation, of course, requires another person.  We need each other.  We cannot live without each other.  Without friends life loses its flavor.

Great stuff, Lidia! 

Today I give thanks to God for you, the reader… my friend.  True… I may live very far from you and not be able to see you except once a year or less.  But you are still my friend.

Sometimes you send me an email.  When I receive it I see your face inside my mind, I enjoy your smile and I am encouraged to carry on.

When you reach 81 years old you start thanking God for younger friends because at this age you get invited to lots of funerals.

Almost three years ago I lost my best friend.  Her birthday was the 14th of this month.  Although I know that the separation is only temporary, nonetheless one suffers the vacuum.  And I confess that like Tom Hanks role in “Castaway” who talks to a volleyball named “Wilson”, sometimes I catch myself talking to a portrait of my best friend named “Frances”.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ya Gotta Meet this Gal

Faith Hiatt Reynolds is my first cousin.  She is 98 years old and as sharp as any 25 year old. I visited her in her nice senior facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, where she only recently moved from her home in the little town of Vernonia near where my father was born.  

When I bragged that my sister, Carol, was still driving at 90 years old, Faith launched into a full-fledged lecture about the evils of putting other people at risk by driving when you are too old.  So I had to back off and admit that on longer trips Carol let's her daughter drive... ha.

A more distant cousin, Millie O'Conner, lives close by and keeps in contact with Faith.  Millie helped me arrange this delightful visit and joined us there

You guessed it!  I am in the middle of enjoying a "family-and-friends-visiting-type-vacation" which has taken me back to my roots in Portland, Oregon.

Faith is the daughter of my Uncle Elmer, who was one of my father's 10 brothers.  My Grandfather William Frank Hiatt, a circuit ridin' preacher and his wife Malinda had only 3 girls.  But they had ten boys!  I'm sure I have Hiatt cousins with their kids that I have never met all over Oregon and Washington.

Faith told us that when she was 45 her daughter received her college degree.  But Faith had never been able to go to college... so now she did at 45, graduating with a degree in education... and becoming a school teacher at age 48.  And I have no doubt that she was a good one, too.

I couldn't resist shooting a picture of this portrait that stood on Faith's dresser.  Now that is a hat! I assume that the mountain of feathers on top were of wonderful colors, but the person that tinted her face so nicely couldn't do much with dark feathers.  The pretty lady under the hat is Faith's mother, Ethel Maude Galloway Hiatt.

From there I visited my Sister Joanne and her husband Don Stradley in the hills near Yamhill.  

They wave goodbye after we had enjoyed lunch and a great time together.  Don and Joanne are delightful Christians and have been successful in winning their neighbors for Jesus.  

They are a few years older than I and now in their retirement years have purchased this hillside farm where they raise llamas.  Why not?

As I drove out their 1/4 mile long driveway I shot this view of their barns.

I am staying in Boring, Oregon with Frances' sister Nancy and her husband Arlan who is busy splitting and stacking wood for their heat during the coming winter.  

Isn't God good to give me such a wonderful family?!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

What is this picture saying?

I took this photo with a 35 mm slide camera. To reproduce it here I had to project it on a screen and take a digital photo of the screen. 

No need for a windshield in this 4 cylinder Federal truck.  Even when in better condition I'm sure you couldn't get up enough speed to suffer from the wind. 

Sometimes pictures speak.  What is this one saying?  This image will bring both joyful laughter and tears of sadness to some of us.

I had met him before, but really didn't know Cocholo until 1982.  He is best known by his nickname "Cocholo," but his real name is Justo Jose Urquiza.  He had driven this truck many times.  In fact he tells me that he had worn blisters on his right hand time and again trying to hand-crank the engine to start it.  

From age 14 and for 20 long years Cocholo worked at the edge of the Lujan River for the Schneider brothers.  The Schneiders, German Argentines, are Methodist Christians and were almost like family to him.  They are the owners of a large sand barge ship that sails almost daily far into the Paraná Delta to dredge sand from the river bottom, then returning, they pump it out and store it on their property in the little town of Dique Luján, selling it for construction purposes.

Cocholo and his parents lived on one of the islands of the delta.  In fact, he was born on an island much further out in the delta.  Now at 14 years old he would row a little boat 30 minutes to his work in Dique Lujan and then 40 minutes rowing home against the current.

His parents had been converted years ago through the efforts of a Pentecostal church that, for a limited time, sent a boat with evangelists into this huge maize of thousands of islands covering hundreds of square miles.  But as a young man, Cocholo wanted nothing to do with the Gospel.  He married Lilia, a charming young lady, and they moved into the town of Dique Luján.  

Sister Chiona, a lady pastor, started a tiny Assemblies of God church near their home and when their marriage was in trouble they surrendered their lives to the Lord.  Eventually they had three children, Claudio, who is shown sitting in the wheelchair was 12 years old in this picture, Valeria 9 and Jimena 6.  The little girl chauffeur is Marcelo Schneider's granddaughter, Lucia.

Even now I suffer tears when I see this photo.  For Claudio was a talented, vibrant boy who suffered a deadly disease that showed up at about 8 years old when he began to stumble when he walked.  The slow, advancing muscular atrophy began at the extremities and slowly worked toward his vital organs.  We prayed fervently for his healing, but by 11 years old he could no longer walk. He was good at graphic arts and would paint pictures and play the electronic drums for worship until finally his hands and fingers could no longer respond.  At 23 years of age he was carried into the arms of Jesus where he can now walk and run.

In 1982 we had just purchased the Messenger of Peace boat.  I was a total novice at boat-man-ship.  I understood nothing of the treacherous dangers of the delta island rivers.  But God had introduced me to a whole new world of lost people through a lay pastor, Misael Nieto.  These people lived in isolation and often total poverty 5 hours from the nearest shore by commercial bus-boat.  They had almost no Gospel witness.  Now finally we were prepared with a vehicle to reach out to them.  

The Schneiders owned a marina with stacking storage for boats.  They agreed to rent us a place to store the Messenger of Peace.  

I remember the first time I drove the boat with Frances out to Dique Lujan for storage and showed it to Cocholo.  She was a pretty thing with 280 horses of inboard power!  

The photo shows us loading the Messenger of Peace with groceries, one bag for each needy family that we planned to visit that day.

Neither Frances and I, nor Cocholo and Lilia, had the slightest clue about what the Lord had in store for many of these precious island families.  

So now that I have started I'll probably have to continue this amazing story.