A Christmas Carol

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Walt Disney would be blown away.

It is Disney entertainment on a whole new level.  Carolyn and I watched it on her birthday… at the IMAX, in 3D.

It lived up to the original intent… show-casing Dickens’ language, the immortal phrases, the passions and the timeless human issues.  Best of all, the blessings of “keeping Christmas.”

I’ll be writing more this weekend.  Stay tuned.


See it in 3D if you can.

(Be forewarned, it may be intense for the youngsters.)

Unveiling of the Scrolls

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It was an amazing night.  Legacy Church along with the Museum of Biblical and Sacred Writings unveiled the twenty four foot long Isaiah Scroll.  It was an amazing night.


LeaderFOCUS – Dead Sea Scrolls come to Orange County


Musings on Creativity

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I logged in to Starbuck’s WIFI as I waited for a friend.  The log-in web site popped up, offering me a video under the title “Nurturing Creativity.”  I couldn’t help myself.  I clicked the play button.  You may know more about Elizabeth Gilbert than I do.  But I was drawn in to her talk… and could not stop.  Her insights are well worth the listen.

Check it out.

Picture 4

Protected: To Everything a Season

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Thanks for the birthday greetings!

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It’s been a remarkable serendipity to have received so many kind words and best wishes on this yet another birthday.  (FACEBOOK got the word out!)  I must say that among my favorites was to hear three of our seven grandchildren (two more coming) sing their own rendition, one at a time, of the traditional “Happy Birthday” song.

The years pass more quickly now.  Each year brings its own surprise.  Twists and turns continue.  But our faithful God continues to lavish his grace and loving-kindess… with purpose, direction and friends.

Gran Torino

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I was thinking about the movie during my workout this morning. I identified five discussion points in the story…. Around the themes of family, work, friendship, love, home.

  1. Walt Kowalski’s family models the splintered American family: a veneer of cordiality, but contentious, distant, disconnected, annoyed. The Hmong family next door is a cultural contrast where children are welcomed and the elderly respected.
  2. Walt’s work ethic is reflected in his collection of well organized tools, the condition of his Gran Torino and the essence of the message he passes down to his adopted son, Thao.
  3. Walt’s two friends are his barber and a local building contractor; and then Sue Lor, the Hmong girl from next door who reaches out to him.
  4. Walt’s loss (the death of his wife) is something he bears alone. He sees the gang-bangers as an affront to everything he cares about, but he passes along the high value of a love between a man and a woman to Thao.
  5. He keeps his home and garden in good repair – and teaches Thao to do the same. It catches on in the neighborhood.

Religion is another element – both the traditions of Catholicism (sermonizing, memorial service, confession, etc) and the religion of the Hmong people play a role (baby dedication, “reading” by an elderly holy man).

But perhaps the most compelling element is the sacrificial death… More meaning to explore.

Dueling Santas

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While working out early this morning, I listened to an edition of This American Life that was hilarious.  These guys are master story-tellers.  Apparently, a national association of Santas came together for mutual support and encouragement – but as it grew, the Clauses got embroiled in turmoil over control, power and turf wars.  As I listened, I could not help but draw significant parallels between what happened to the gathering of Santas and what has happened in way too many churches.  If you are a veteran of church wars, as I am, you’ll recognize the cast of characters.  The only difference is, really, these guys all wear red suits, white beards and black boots… and red caps with white trim.

It gives real insight into how denominationalism in America came to be.

It’s well worth a listen.  You can listen free on line, or download the podcast for $.99 via iTunes when it becomes available.   Here’s a link to the free on-line broadcast.

Act 3 starts about 22 minutes into the show.

Here’s their summary of the piece –

Act Three. Santa Fight Club.

A tale of two Santas. There’s Tim Conaghan, a full-time professional Santa with a big belly and a real flowing white beard. And there’s Santa Nick-he too has a belly and real white beard. But the story of Santa Tim and Santa Nick is not like most uplifting Christmas parables. Instead, it’s about two men, very much alike, who came to lead rival factions in a bitter Santa civil war, and came themselves to be arch enemies. Josh Bearman reports on the political schism that’s overtaken the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas. (27 minutes)

Barrett in IRAQ

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Barrett’s team got a visit from FOX NEWS.  They spent the better part of a week with the newsman who was expressive in his amazement over the progress our troops have made in Fallujah, which had been an Al Quaidah stronghold.  The report was aired yesterday, Thanksgiving day.  Sadly, it was cut somewhat short because of the terrorist attack in India.  You can see the video report, but you’ll have to endure the short commercial first.  Here are two links:


Friends Church on NBC News

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Michael Oku, a high profile NBC correspondent, was in Yorba Linda looking at the damage from the fires last week.  He found the home of some members of the Friends Church in Yorba Linda.  He spent several hours with them.  This report made it on Saturday evening, on the national news feed.  Pastor Phil Hotsenpiller leads a group of the Chene’s friends in prayer.


Yorba Linda Fires

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We were not planning to be on Fire Watch here in Orange County today… but as the morning passed to afternoon, the smoke thickened.  We realized that the fires raged, threatening the homes of a number of friends including…

  • Janet and Larry Woessner – who live in Brea just off Carbon Canyon Road (on the north side).  Fires came through the canyon, close to their house.  As of 2pm, they were still in their house, ready to evacuate.
  • Steve and Kristin Mayberry – also in Brea.  They live in Country Hills.  The flames came all the way to Lambert Road near Valencia.  They had not evacuated, but were concerned for Katie and Phil, who live in the path of the fire that passed Brea Olinda High School and crossed the 57 Freeway heading west.
  • Rick and Laura Alvord were evacuated.  The flames threatened the house.  There was no evacuation order up on the hill, but all the neighbors packed and got off the hill post haste.  Their neighborhood has been the focus of arial shots live on KNBC television.  A map will show the houses burning at the time of this posting… click on this link.  Thankfully, the Alvord’s house was not one of them.

Here’s the LA Fire Map.  You’ll see the Alvord’s street in the burn area.

We’ll stay tuned.

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