Friday, October 17, 2008

Childlike Faith - Part Two of Two

When I was about eleven and my sister was ten we decided to ride our bikes to Dash Point State Park at the West end of Federal Way, WA. It was a eight mile ride and it ended up being a pretty easy ride.

After being there a while it was time to head home. We then realized that the ride home was mostly uphill. Just getting up the hill inside the park looked steeper than we had remembered when we came down.

We had not brought money or food for our trip. We thought about calling my parents collect but vetoed that idea for we didn't want to show failure.

I had not accepted Christ yet but my sister had, she said lets pray about it. She bowed her head while I stared into the sky. She asked for Gods help in getting us home.

A few minutes later our neighbor Mr Nakada and his two young sons drove into the parking lot in their pickup with a camper on top. We hovered at the park for a while to get the nerve to ask them for a ride home, and to give them time to enjoy the time they had come to the park for in the first place.

After a while our tummy's were getting hungrier while the ride home started appearing more and like a mountain leg of the "Le Tour De France".

We finally asked them if they would give a ride home and they agreed. We put our bikes in the camper and the kids jumped up into the sleeper above the pickup cab while my sister and I rode in the passenger and center seat of the cab. We asked Mr. Nakada if he would let us out at his house so we could ride home on our own.

Last week I told my parents about this event.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Childlike Faith - Part One of Two

In July I gave a humor presentation at a talent show, see end of this post for copy of that presentation.

Al Erisman, the retreat speaker, heard my presentation and this week asked me to expand my ten minute presentation to thirty five minutes and speak at a morning breakfast. My talk will be in Seattle at a KIROS event on November 21, 2008.

The title of my talk will be:

Bring Your Child-Like Faith to Work:
Find, Fizzle and Follow.

Planning ahead I decided I needed to put some more childhood stories in my presentation. Here are a few:

While I was growing up my parents started buying Volkswagen buses. We had a 1960 two-tone army green one, a 1966 white over blue and then a 1971 white over red one. The vehicles below are taken from VW websites, not the actual vehicles we had.

The reason I show these pictures is that on each of these rear engined vehicles there is a storage area above the engine and behind the third row of seats. This area we called "the trunk" and my younger sister and I enjoyed riding back there on trips. Actually we enjoyed it unless we were asked or told to ride back there.

These vehicles came in handy for our growing family and we seemed to move a lot. We had moved seven times before I was five, when my parents bought their first house (we moved in Memorial Day weekend 1964).

Shortly after we moved in I was riding in "the trunk" and prayed that we would live in this house forty years. Four years ago my parents had a "homestead" party on Memorial day to Celebrate their forty year anniversary of answered prayer. Today, they are still in that home.
Back in that day nobody wore seat belts and we were fine to sit in the trunk unprotected. Looking back it was the only prayer closet that if you got in an accident one would become a projectile.

Shorty after that prayer my sister Renee, one year younger, and I were sitting in the trunk discussing life when we discovered that all our older siblings all had younger brothers and sisters, yet we did not. We decided to remedy this and prayed that we would get a younger brother or sister.

My parents were not trying to have children, but my younger brother Irwin was born the following January. When he was born Renee was upset for she told me she had been secretly praying for a sister.

Nine months later my mom was telling the neighbor, Lita Sippy (calling her Mrs. Sippy just didn't sound right) that she was pregnant with another child.
Lita asked my mom when she had found out and she said "yesterday". Lita then said "that is strange, for your daughter Renee told me three months ago that she was soon going to have a new sister". My younger sister, Ione, was born six months later.

Copied from my July 10, 2008 post titled Tahoe Christian Singles Event

"During the Saturday night talent show I presented the material below:

When I was growing up I was very competitive with my siblings. When I was nine I went to a Bible camp and at an alter call I observed my eight year old sister raising her hand …, so I also raised mine.
The leader asked the two people who raised their hands to come forward, I felt very uncomfortable as I walked down the aisle. When we got to the front he used us as examples. Looking at my sister he said “some people come to Christ crying” and looking at me, “and some people come to Christ smiling”.
Three year later at another camp, this time a family camp, at an alter call I was the one crying. My shirt could hardly contain the tears as I moved down the back row, past many other twelve year old boys, and down the long aisle to the front.
There were approximately a thousand people in the sanctuary as I slowly came forward. When I got to the front a pastor greeted me and asked me to sit with him in the front row and discuss my decision.
At the exact time I was making the biggest decision of my life, my fourteen year old sister, who was sitting about five rows back, decided to tell me something. She shouted out, loud enough so everyone could hear, “I knew you were faking it”.
When summer ended I started Junior High School. It was a hard transition for me for I had always been the tallest kid in every one of my elementary school classes. Whenever they took school pictures I was always the token boy in the back row with all the tall girls.
When I looked around, that first day of seventh grade, I was amazed that somehow I was just an average height kid. This started to bother me enough that I decided that it was something I should bring to the Lord.
That evening I prayed I would be six feet tall when I woke up in the morning. At the time I had so much faith that God was going to say yes to my prayer request, I slept diagonally on my bed, so that during this miracle I wouldn’t injure myself”.
Today I am 5' 11" "

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Moving Van" and "Otto Parts" - Part Two of Two

In the spring of 2007 I got reacquainted with Van and have been meeting regularly for lunch and/or coffee and talking occasionally on the phone. He is now married and has four kids.

Van was going on a back packing trip with his oldest son and wanted to get in some hiking before the trip. He called me and said he was interested in hiking part way up Mt Si and would I like to join him, the plan was to go to the 2.5 or 3.0 mile marker. The total Mt Si hike is four miles with a 3,100 foot elevation gain. I invited my 6, 7, 8 and 9 year nephews and niece to join us.

When we started up the hill the goal was to only go part way, but the competitive spirit got the best of us. Our goal soon became to make it to the top. Van took the lead and I was the sweeper.

Trying to keep the children between us was a chore. One kid at a time would fall back and start whining. By the time we got to the top three of the four had taken their turn complaining. After three hours we made it to the top. When they got to the top they all forgot all their troubles and had tons of energy.

On the way down I made the mistake of not telling them that we all have to stay within sight of each other. One of the boys decided he was going to be the first one to the car and took off, the rest of us couldn't keep up with him.

I finally had the oldest boy carry my pack and I took off after the run away. I was worried for his safety and keeping my uncle responsibility. I soon learned that I am not as fast or agile as I used to be. My goal was to catch him and tell him a few things and maybe a spanking. Hikers coming up were yelling at him to stop and then yelling at me for letting him get away.

I didn't have to worry about spanking him for the ground did the work for me. He ran around a couple and fell. When I arrived the couple had stayed near him. We washed off the dirt and put bandages on the knee wounds. He then stayed very close to the rest of us.

At the end of the hike, at the trail head we took the pictures below, (sorry for the picture quality, they were taken on my cell phone). The "run away nephews" didn't want to get into the picture. When he later walked by the same sign I snapped his picture.

Van, two nephews, myself, and niece.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Copy of another Blogger's Post - Sex

Today I read a blog post by "Llama Momma" at

I decided it needed to be seen by others.

"Monday, September 8, 2008
the one where I talk about sex
Cameras were everywhere on that first day of school. Parents hovered like the paparazzi, snapping photos and waving. And when the kids went in, the crowd dissolved into a mixture of tears and happy dances. (I was one of the Moms doing a happy dance, by the way.)

As we walked home, I chatted with neighbor, who had taken the day off work to commemorate the day. Her husband is a stay-at-home Dad.“What will you do with your day?” I asked. Both of her kids were in school all day for the first time.“Oh, I don’t know,” she said.

“You can go to lunch! You can take a nap! You can have loud sex during the day!” I joked.“Now why would we want to do that?” She asked, as if I had suggested pulling her toenails out one at a time.

To keep romance alive. Because your husband looks good to a lot of bored housewives on this playground. Because you can. I think all of these things as we part ways.In our sex-saturated culture, it seems that married sex is an oxymoron.

Chrysalis is hosting a conversation today on Marriage and Romance.

After eleven years of marriage, I’ve got a few things to say about romance and how it evolves and changes over the years, especially when children come along. But I’ll keep my advice short and sweet: one way to keep romance alive in your marriage is to have more sex.(This is the part of my blog where I try to forget that my dad reads it. And my grandpa.)

But really. Next time your husband winks at you across the dinner table, don’t roll your eyes. Wink back. Marriage is not meant to be a miserable endeavor. Flirt. Have fun. Have sex. And see if the romance meter in your home rises."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Moving Van" and "Otto Parts" - Part One of Two

In 1989, oh so long ago, I went on a road trip with a friend Van. I knew him from a Church singles group, he is now married and has four kids. Our first Stop was Crater Lake, Oregon.

Then Reno .

Then around Lake Tahoe.

We saw the Ghost town of Bodie, CA.

On the Fourth of July we ended up in the little town of Lee Vining (population 488). This town is sandwiched between Mono Lake and the east entrance to Yosemite National Park (see map above). This town has only two roads, Highway 395 and a parallel, two block long, residential street.

On the fifth of July we would be going through Yosemite and then on to my relatives in San Jose, while Van visited a friend of ours that worked at Mt Hermon Christian Conference Center near Santa Cruz, CA.

The whole reason I am telling you this travel log is this holiday afternoon we had time to kill. We decided to throw a Frisbee to each other on this small towns residential street.

We were throwing it back and forth to each other, neither of us knew how to do fancy throws or catches. and having an OK time. It was kind of hard for I thought, "everyone else back home is celebrating this holiday with picnics while we were filling our time throwing a Frisbee in a rural town in east central California.

Four small local boys, aged 5, 4, 3 & 2, were watching what were doing and somehow what we were doing appeared to be more interesting than what they were doing. Finally the five year old, Jose, asked if we would throw it to them.

None of them had ever thrown a Frisbee before and we began attempting to teach them. We would say "Jose throw it to Roberto", or "Julian throw it to Juan", etc.

They had a lot of trouble with this new toy, their past ball throwing motions made this disc throwing action difficult. Actually the two year old, Juan, was the best thrower.

We threw the Frisbee around with them for a about a half hour when Jose asked us what our names were. I responded, "This is Van and my name is Otto". They started laughing so hard that they couldn't remain standing. They rolled around in the street laughing so hard that they couldn't control their tears. They decided to call us Moving Van and Otto Parts.

We finally got back to throwing the Frisbee and they had the greatest time saying, "Roberto, throw it to Moving Van", "Otto Parts throw it to Julian", "Moving Van throw it to Juan" or "Jose throw it to Otto Parts". They would all laugh every time they tossed the Frisbee.

Our hands were getting worn out from this throwing motion, our fingers were red, puffy and sore. We didn't care for it was so amazing for us to interact with these kids that couldn't stop laughing and giggling. Both Van and I had smiles on our faces as we threw the Frisbee around.

All good things must come to an end and finally their parents came out and told them they were going to be going into the big city of Bridgeport to watch the fireworks that evening. As they drove off they yelled out the windows, "Good bye Moving Van and Otto Parts".
We were disappointed that the boys had to leave, it was no longer fun just throwing between the two of us. We soon ended our game.

We had a wonderful trip but what we most remember was the Frisbee tosses with the four kids in Lee Vining that called us "Moving Van" and "Otto Parts".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mailbox Peak - Labor Day Hike

A hiking group that I am involved in had a hike planned for labor day to climb Mailbox Peak, about forty five miles east of my home. The posting for the hike said this:

'Says Ira Spring about the hike to Mailbox Peak: "The trail is rough and varies from steep to very steep to awful steep.'

Here is a good article that describes this hike:
Here are the hike details:
Distance: 6.0 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 4000 feet
Hiking Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Most difficult"

In addition the Washington Trail Association had this to say about this hike:
"Mailbox Peak is not typically the sort of hike that is chosen for the casual hiker's easy outing. The summit, which has an actual mailbox at the top, is reached by a rugged trail that climbs three miles and gains over 4,000 feet, sometimes at a grade as steep as 40 percent.The steep, rugged character of the trail makes it one of the most difficult hikes in the I-90 corridor. Mountain climbers, local hikers and even firefighters have lugged heavy packs up and down for conditioning for decades."

I (Otto) was tentative in attempting this hike. On Sunday I talked with someone who had done it before and my competitive drive kicked in, "If Suzi can do it, I can do it".

Not knowing for sure if I was going to go, I did not drink a lot of water the night before or the morning of.

As I drove to the carpool location I thought "what am I doing". Fortunately the first 1/4 mile is pretty gradual. As I walked this initial part, it gave me that feeling you have when you are going up a roller coaster, with the unknown ahead.

Then the true climbing began, I was the slowest of the crew. The others would kindly take multiple breaks to let me catch up. I soon started quoting the Lord's Prayer to keep myself going. Each step was a huge effort.

I brought along adequate water but consumed it quicker than expected and had to borrow from others, (thanks Rick and Bob). After nine previous hikes this summer I felt I should be able to make this, with only minor difficulty, boy was I wrong.

We finally made it to the top.

Rick took picture

(Bob, Liz, Vic, Eric, Linda, Jonathan, Sara, Mark, Suzi, Nancy and Rick) Otto took picture

It took us two and a half hours to get to the top, and then stayed a half hour for lunch.
I am thinking maybe an hour to get down. To come down I was advised to tighten my boots so my heel was held to the back of my sboot and my toes wouldn't ram into the front. I bent down to tie the left boot, having no problem. In attempting to tie the right boot I slowly fell over. I felt like the Arte Johnson Laugh-In tricycle skit.

On the way down, stepping down rocks and then tree roots was very cumbersome. I learned that "Roots Are Not My friend", the second you touch one your boots become like skate boards. It took us two hours to descend.

Once at the bottom my legs felt like rubber, and they were very sore. That evening my legs became almost useless.
The next day it was hard to keep my balance, my thighs were painful and walking down a hill or stairs sent pain alarms to my brain. Three days later I am finally able to walk without a lot of discomfort.
It will be a while before I do this hike again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dear Abby and Ann Landers

In my August 13th post I mentioned Dear Abby and Ann landers:
“I used to collect interesting advice columnists answers to questions sent in (Dear Abby and Ann Landers etc). As their daughters took over their gigs and as time has passed I have found that I rarely read them for the questions and answers are too liberal for my liking.”

Coincidently last night I read an article in the September 2008 Focus on the Family magazine in the “thoughts from Dr. Dobson” section. The title was:

“Dear Abby, What are you teaching our children?
Many of you probably grew up reading the “Dear Abby” column, which appeared in newspapers since 1956. It was originally written by Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips, under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. Phillips retired in 2002, but the column continued under the tutelage of her daughter, Jeanne Phillips.

I’m sorry to report that while “Dear Abby” remains the undisputed champion of advice columns, in recent years, both prior an subsequent retirement, its reputation as a source of solid, homespun, traditional wisdom has been seriously tarnished. In 2007 the Culture and Media Institute conducted a study revealing an ongoing trend toward advice that is steeped in postmodernism and incompatible with biblical teaching. For example, 30 percent of Abby’s columns in 2007 dealt with sex, and 53 percent of those columns offered distinctly nontraditional views on sexual morality.

Specifically,”Dear Abby” does not encourage unmarried adults to abstain from sex, and she rarely finds adultery to be wrong. Abby also fails to tell to tell sexually active teens to cease their promiscuous behavior, and she finds homosexuality to be perfectly acceptable. In 2007 alone, the column also demonstrated a permissive attitude toward a wide range of questionable sexual behavior, including stripping, nudism, and cross-dressing.

The Culture and Media Institute summarized its study of “Dear Abby’s” 2007 columns this way: “as many as 20 million of Abby’s readers are under the age of 18. Millions of young men and women are forming their views on sex and relationships under the influence of a libertine advice and columnist who is advancing anything but traditional values.” For the full contents of the study, see

Abby reportedly receives more than 10,000 letters and e-mails every week. Her responses run in 1,400 newspapers worldwide every day, reaching 110 million readers daily---nearly three times the combined daily audience of ABC’s, CBS’s and NBC’s news programming. It is regrettable that a column that continues to be revered by millions of readers has, over the years, increasingly embraced the lies of moral relativism. Now, more than ever, those of us who espouse biblical principles must be discerning in the cultural voices to which we listen.”

I had also noticed the same moral slide in the “Ann Landers” column over the years. The original author, Esther “Eppie” Pauline Friedman Lederer (The identical twin sister of Pauline Phillips) morally slid faster and further than her sister’s column. When Eppie Lederer died in 2003 the Ann Landers name retired. Her daughter Margo Howard soon started writing under the pen name of “Miss Prudence” in syndication and in “Slate” on the internet.

The same comments by Dobson about Dear Abby could be applied to Miss Prudence’s advice as well. For many years one of my local papers, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, carried her column. I remember one day thinking, "I can’t read this anymore". Shortly thereafter the paper cancelled her syndication. Frequently, a provocative titled article from “Miss Prudence” shows up on my internet home page, and I ignore it. The few times I have looked at it confirms how damaging her advice is.