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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fishing & friends

I love fishing!  It’s one of my favorite ways to spend time.  I really enjoy being out on the water and being in nature.  Being in the boat, fishing pole in hand and waiting for the “bite” to happen is so fun.  The feeling of a fish taking the lure, the pole bending over is magical; it’s hard to explain to someone who has never fished before.  
This last Saturday, I was blessed once again to be out on a boat fishing with friends.   We were fishing for salmon in Tillamook Bay.  It was a beautiful day; the weather was perfect, clear, sunny about 70 degrees, no wind until the afternoon.  As I looked around I see the beauty of creation.  The bay, the hills with trees, the sunrise, all amaze me.  How is it possible to not believe that this was all created by God.  It all speaks to His glory and creativity.  But I guess that’s a discussion for another time.
As we fished there was stories told of fishing glory in the past, stories of funny things that have happened long ago.  On this day I was blessed to be fishing with a guy I have fished with several times before.  GI is 84 years old and one of the funniest people I have ever met.  I always enjoy time spent fishing with GI.  GI is one of those guys who has a million funny stories.   He has lived through some very funny stuff.   GI’s stories remind me of Patrick McMannis or Robert Fulghum.  If you have never read any McMannis or Fulghum books I strongly recommend them.  
On this day I see something else that is beautiful.  It’s the relationship between my friend Donald and GI.  Donald’s father passed away within a month of GI’s son passing away.  These two men have developed a relationship that is so cool.  Donald is like a son to GI and GI is like a father figure to Donald.  Their relationship is beautiful!  These two guys are living life together.  As I watch and listen to them, I think to myself; what would this world be like if every young man had an older man to live life with, a man to give guidance and share experience with.  I think the world would be a far better place.  I am blessed to still have my father living.  But I still think to myself maybe I need to start excepting applications for an older man to live life with.  I love my dad, but have heard all his funny stories.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Aunt Sue

It was a Friday night, my mother had just called me and informed me that my Aunt Sue was not doing well, she would be passing away soon. Mom asked me if I wanted to go see her in the hospital and say good bye to her.  I told mom that I would rather not, I wanted my memory of Aunt Sue to be of when she was healthy and happy. Mom asked me, if she asks for you will you come? Of course was my answer, there would be no way to deny that request.

I feel that I should pause my story and tell you a little about who I am writing about.  When I was little my mom worked full time as the manager of a woman's dress shop.  It would be my Aunt Sue who would watch me during the day while mom was working.  I would say she was my day care provider but that would be an insufficient definition of what she did for me.  I would spend years in my Aunt's home, She treated me like her second son, the third child she never had.  It was in her care that I accepted Christ, learned to ride a bike and have a ton of great memories.  My Aunt Sue lovingly helped raise me, she truly became my second mother.  Aunt Sue was also the matriarch of the family after Grandma Dietz passed away.  She was also the party planner, there would be no family gathering that Aunt Sue did not have a part in planning.  And at those gatherings game must be played, games she planned.

When I got the news that my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer it would be Aunt Sue that I called to see if we could set up a family prayer time.  Her answer was leave it to me, I will round everyone up.  And that she did, with only a days notice she gathered the family for prayer.  Aunt Sue was a wonderful example to me of what a loving mother, wife and child of God are.  Over the years after I grew up and had my own children it would be Aunt Sue that I would go to for advise and wise counsel. I am convinced that her wisdom at times was not her own.  As I said before she was a devoted follower of God.

OK back to the story.  It would be only a couple hours after my mom asked me if I would come if asked that I got the call, she is asking for you.  I found that I was scared to go, frightened by what I might see.  This woman is one of the "rocks" in my life.  How will I know what to say?!?  What I I say something stupid?  But as I promised I went.  The drive to the hospital was a long one, it would be a good time of prayer for me.  I asked God for wisdom.

When I arrived on the fourth floor of the hospital, the intensive care unit I was asked by a nurse who I was there to see.  When I told her my Aunt's name she gave me the room number.  She also without saying it let me know that the restriction of visitors was lifted anyone was welcome to come say good bye.  When I arrived at the room, I found it was full with family and friends of Aunt Sue.  I was ushered to her bed side.  When she saw me, I could tell she was happy I was there.  With the help of an Ipad she talked to me.  With some effort she typed "my second son". Reading that was both painful and joyful in the same time.  It felt great because I have always felt like I was her second son the youngest of the kids.  But there was pain in knowing that soon my second mother would be passing away.

We were told that they would be taking out the breathing tube that was keeping her alive.  She would pass away soon.  I spent several hours at the hospital, I found myself on wanting to leave.  I wanted to spend every moment I could near my Aunt while she was still here on earth.  I would left the hospital very late and return the next morning.  The next morning the breathing tube was removed by the doctor. We had been told that Aunt Sue would probably not be able to talk and she would probably pass quickly.  When the tube was out Aunt Sue began to speak.  And speak she did!  Aunt Sue would go on to address everyone in the room by name. She would give them words of encouragement and advise.  I should say that by this time there was about 20 people in the hospital room.  Aunt Sue would go on to give a sermon from her hospital bed. She spoke on unity and love.  She reminded us to not worry about the small stuff.  We were told to keep our eyes on God, focus on Him.  As Aunt Sue laid there dying her heart was for others.  Her last words I will hold dear in my heart.  It became very clear that no one wanted to go, they all wanted to be with Sue. They all wanted to hear what she had to say.

I had come full circle, I did not want to come to this place but now I would not leave.  What I saw in that hospital room was not an Aunt losing her life but the love of God.  I watched as her husband my Uncle Gary sat next to her.  I witnessed my mom and her two other sisters sitting around Aunt Sue holding her hands and patting her.  What I was a witness to was the loving kindness of the living God. A husband, three sisters, kids, grand kids and a lot of other family were helping my Aunt Sue go home. I have come to understand that what I saw was Holy. It was from God.  And I believe with all that is in me that God was present in that hospital room.  Aunt Sue's last day was a day full of singing, prayer and a challenging message from Aunt Sue.  I left the hospital only after Aunt Sue kicked me out. She told everyone to leave, go home get rest. She would pass away later the next morning.

I write this mostly for myself, a record of what happened.  A record of a place and time when I encountered the love of God.  While I am very sad my Aunt Sue passed away.  I stand amazed at what I witnessed her last day!  There was so much beauty and love, it was amazing!!  For me I will continue to try to live my life in a way that would make my Aunt Sue proud because if I am doing that, I am doing fine.  I do look forward to the day I see my loving Aunt and the others who have gone before again!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

People Watching

Who knew one of the greatest lessons in life would be learned while at a youth event in Fort Collins Colorado.  It was July 1986, I was 15 years old, my teacher was a girl from my youth group.  I don't remember her name but I will never forget the lesson she taught me that day in the cafeteria.  It all started with her asking if I want to hang out.  I said heck ya, she was cute! Anytime spent with her would be fun for sure!  So we went to a bench and sat.  After a few minuets of nothing happening I asked "what are we doing"?  Her answer "we are people watching".  She said it like it was a sport.  I could not figure out what she was talking about, people watching?!?  What is that?  She told me to watch someone and try to figure them out, what they were doing, where they were from, what they are thinking about ect.  The better the story you can come up the better the people watching.

After about 10 minuets of intense people watching another girl from the youth group sat down and joined the people watching group.  The two of them appeared to be excellent people watchers, they knew every thing about every one.  Before I knew it I was sucked into the game.  See that person he seams upset, maybe his girlfriend is cheating on him.  And that guy, he's a mess I think he stayed up all night.  We talked about everyone we saw.  The stories about the others in the cafeteria went on and on.  I am guessing we were wrong about everyone, but it was fun watching.

A couple weeks ago I took my daughter Ananda to Super Bounce so she could play on the inflatable structures.  Ananda was having the time of her life.  Me I was waiting with all the other parents, hoping the hour would go by quick.  Then as I looked around the room and saw all the other parents people my people watching skills kicked in.

I quickly realize there are several types of parents.  There is the book reading, leave me alone parent.  This parent doesn't look up much, if a kid starts screaming they keep reading.   This parent seams to believe that their child will always be fine. Then there is the hoverer parent.  You know the type that will not allow their child out of their sight. This parent stands by the giant inflatable toy and watches the kid's every move.  This is a mom who is constantly asking the kid if he or she is ok.  Like the kid can get seriously hurt falling on a inflated rubber toy. But should something happen she is ready with a first aid kit in her purse. Poor kid can't breath without mommy's help.

Then there is a hyper competitive dad; this guy turns the giant blow up obstacle course into a competition.  This guy breaks out his iphone and starts timing his kid with the digital stop watch app.  This guy is fun to watch because to get a accurate time he must run along the outside of the thing to be at the end when his kid pops out.  I am sure this kid will care he shaved off 2 seconds from his first time.  WOW! Geez dad. Let the kid play and have fun. Your son is not preparing for the Olympics at the local Super Bounce. 

Then there is the social butterfly parent.  These moms have never met a stranger, just a friend they haven't met yet .  These moms are setting up "play dates" for their little angels with the total stranger in no time.  In a way, I admire these people. To them there are no evil people with bad intentions.  I guess I am way too jaded to be one of them.  Guess it would help if I actually liked people.

So after an hour of hanging out at the local Super Bounce with Ananda, I was reminded of how much I enjoy people watching.  People are crazy and funny and if you watch them long enough they will make you laugh.  As for me, I find myself somewhere in between a hoverer and an uninvolved parent.  I want to spend time with Ananda, I want to see her having fun, but I also know she needs space to have fun on her own and be independent.  And if she gets hurt I will know it's serious when the crying reaches the second hour.  Well the family is home now so off to people watching in my living room.  I know these people are nuts.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The dash

This last weekend I celebrated Memorial day as I do every year with a trek around Salem decorating the graves of the family members who have passed away.  I really do enjoy this time. It's neat in a way to see the graves of family members who died more then a hundred years before I was born.  Though I never knew these people they are a part of me.  As I decorated each grave I noticed the same thing on each head stone, the dash between birth date and date of death.  That dash is the life they lived.  The dash is the time they spent alive, living their life.  So I got to thinking, what was the dash?  What did they do, what did they enjoy, who were their friends?  So many questions came to mind.  I would love to be able to spend time with each of these people and get to know them.  I then realized why I enjoy Memorial day: it's not that I am mourning the death, it's that I am celebrating the life.  I celebrate the dash!

This did get me thinking about myself.  What is my dash?  Am I living my life to the fullest?  Am I bringing honor to my God and trying my best to be a fully devoted believer?  So many questions to answer and such a small brain to work with.  I know this for sure, I want my dash to have benefited others.  I want my dash to have been about a love for my family and a devotion to my God.  I know for certain my dash is imperfect it's a broken work in progress and only with God's help will it get better.

Celebrate the dash...it's a gift from God!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It sucks having someone tell you your attitude sucks.  It's sucks more when they are right and your attitude is bad.  So my attitude needs some improving; this should be a quick and easy fix!  Ya right.... I am finding this season of life to be very dry.  I know what it means to be happy, and I know I'm not sad or upset but my spirit is out of balance.  It's kinda like when you load a top load washing machine and put to much stuff on one side.  When the washer gets to the spin cycle it makes a lot of noise and bounces around.  The machine is doing nothing wrong, it's just been loaded incorrectly.  The loader of the machine did not take enough time of get the clothes put in balance.  So when the machine is jerking around and sounding like it's going to explode the user will stop it and make an adjustment.  If this is done right all is fixed, the machine returns to normal function and completes its job.  I can't believe I just used a washing machine as a reference for my spirit!  I hope it makes sense to anyone reading this.  A side note, I use a LG front loader machine and love it!

So now I am at the place where I need to stop the machine of me and reload.  I do know why I am out of balance I have let things become more important then they should be.  I have added to much, work, worry and other things that are distractions. I have forgot to add it what's important, prayer, praise and leaning more about my Savior.  So here I am out of balance, with a tired and dry spirit.

I originally wrote the part above on 7/15/11 and never posted it.  For some reason I could not bring myself to post it.  Today I was again reminded that the junk in my life can get in the way.  My attitude can take a fast nose dive because I forget what is truly important.  I again am at a place where co-workers are telling me my attitude sucks.  For a person who places much value on what others think it's tough to hear.  It's funny how something at work can really effect your outlook on life.  I struggle to remember what is important and what is only temporary.

I struggle to write this; for some reason this is the hardest post I have ever written.  I know my enemy wants to see me frustrated and hurting, because that's when I am at my weakest and most ineffective.  My thoughts become dominated by frustration and anger and I forget about the good stuff in my life.  So today what started as a rough day at work with some time spent in the boss's office has got me thinking and working on how to be happier.  I know this will not be a fast process and there are no quick fixes on how to be happy and forget the junk.  I know that I serve a God who is far bigger then any of my problems and it's His desire that I turn my troubles over to Him.  My prayer for today is:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as He did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.  Amen!

If I find a quick fix for attitudes I will let ya know.  For now I continue to learn and grow   ~ Rick

Sunday, December 4, 2011

80 kids

I have learned something new, I am a very self centered person....its all about me.  So how did I come to this life changing realization?  Well, here goes....I try to spend 1 weekend a month volunteering my time at church running the sound board.  So this was my weekend.  As I started the weekend I prayed that God would honor my serving him.  I prayed that He would be blessed by my service.  I went as far as praying faith with out works is dead....see God my faith is still alive, I am working for you!  Yup I prayed that.

So yesterday I began my weekend at church.  I would be there for 1 rehearsal and 5 services.  During the rehearsal I starting feeling that my prayer the night before might have missed the mark.  The first service was great went very smooth (always very important when running sound).  During the second service my feelings and attitude really changed.  What was the reason for the change?  80 kids.   This weekend the kids choir was leading worship.  As I watched and listened to these small children sing worship songs I hit me, to enter into heaven I must become like them.  These kids are a perfect reflection of what God wants from me.  Matthew 18:3 "I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"  NIV.  

As I watched the kids I was struck by how pure their worship was.  They were told they were singing to God and they did just that they sang out.  As the kids sang there were hand movements, when they raised there hands in worship it hit me, it looks like 80 small kids asking to be picked up by there parents.  I felt inside myself....YES, that is exactly what it is, a child reaching out for his or her parent.  I think this is what God sees when we raise our hands in worship.  His kids asking for his attention, wanting to be picked up.

By the 5th service I had come to know that I had told God I was working for him and he should be happy with my service.  When the truth is God does not need me, I was at church this weekend because he wanted to teach me, He had a lesson He wanted me to learn, a opportunity for spiritual growth.  I think I got the lesson, trust in God as a child trust's its parent.  I can take Ananda and put her on a table and tell her to jump into my arms and she will do it trusting that I will catch her, she has total faith in me.  God wants that from his me.  When Ananda is hurting she cries out for me and Melissa, knowing we will come and meet her need.  God wants this from me.  When Ananda gets excited she dances with joy and sings out, God wants this from me.  So at 40 I guess I need to become more like a child.  The 80 kids this weekend blessed me in ways they will never know.  I hope we will do more kids choirs at church, there might a another lesson to learn.

~Rick    as always feel free to comment

Monday, November 21, 2011


I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!  the countdown has begun, 34 days and counting.  I love the Christmas / holiday season! I am not sure when we officially enter the "holiday season" but its here for sure.  I looked out my window at work and today for the first time this year I see the holiday star thingy the city hangs on the street lights.  So the holidays are upon us, its the magical time of year that for me ramps up to Christmas.  On my drive home tonight I gave in and started listening to Christmas tunes.  I figured if the city was ready to say its Christmas time who am I to deny it.  I do have to admit that about a month ago I spent a day listening to Christmas tunes at work.  I kept the iPod dock volume very low to not get caught by a coworker, but the guy who lives in the office next to mine busted me with a "is that Christmas music?!?"  Sucks being caught when your doing something weird.

This time of year is so special, I love the Christmas trees, gifts, lights and all the other stuff that goes into Christmas.  I love singing along to Christmas music who doesn't like White Christmas by Bing Crosby?  Its a classic!  My love for this season goes much deeper though.  I remember all the Christmas's that have past.  I remember the Christmas tree's that were so carefully decorated and all wrapped presents under the tree.  I can remember the smell of the tree and the food my mother was cooking.  What other time of year do people make candy and give it away as gifts.  How could you not love that!  I remember the people that we would spent time with at Christmas.  It was the one time of the year when I would see all of my family.

Its funny when I think back I don't remember what the gifts were just that there were a lot of them.  My family has always made a big deal out of Christmas.  In thinking back I can remember my parents watching me and m little brother as we unwrapped our gifts.  There was always a look of pride and love on their faces.  When my kids came along I learned what my parents were feeling, it's so cool to watch your kids unwrap gifts!  I wonder if this is what God feels when people "unwrap" the gift of salvation.

This season is about so much more then the trees, lights and gifts it's about the birth of Immanuel "God with us".  This is the reason for Christmas to celebrate the birth of a Savior.  The greatest gift my parents gave me was to teach me about Jesus.  My parents ave lived their lives showing me what it means to follow God.  I love the fact that I come from a strong christian home.  I hope my kids see this in me.  I want my kids to see me living my faith.  I hope my kids see me when I pray and hear when I worship, I hope they know how much I love my creator.

I am so excited the holidays are here and once again I will be with my family and get to enjoy the Christmas tree and music.  Presents will be given and received the house will be decorated and once again I will attempt to make Christmas candy.  So far I have had no success with this, but I will try again it's Christmas how could I not.  I hope everyone enjoys this season and remembers what it's all about.