Posts Tagged ‘commentary’

January: Challenges may come, but we can overcome them.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Well the holidays came and went at our home pretty quietly. Renee and I spent the holiday as a couple minus our son for the first time in his life. He stayed at the LA Dream Center to allow many of the other interns a chance to visit their families. We missed him, but did call him later in the day. It is always good to talk to him on the phone as we are usually exchanging brief e-mails. He still loves what he is doing there. So much so that he applied for and was accepted into the one year internship program which will start at the end of his 4 month internship the last week of January. He was granted a $600 scholarship, but still needs to raise the remaining $900 to cover his room and board for the year. Several family members and friends have already donated to help him. If you want to help, just contact us and we can make sure he gets any donations.

On New Year’s Eve, my truck refused to start when we were headed to church. We had it taken to the shop the next day to have a fuse and relay replaced. The following Friday, it refused to start again and had it taken back to the shop. They determined that the PCM(Power Control Module) had a short and needed to be replaced. Due to it being a special order part, it is still in the shop as of this writing. Monday morning there was some seepage coming out of the trap in the back yard. I ran a snake up into the house and down into the septic tank to no avail. My next thought was to check to see if the line had disconnected from the tank as this occurred when we first moved in due to settling of the dirt around the tank. After digging down to the line and following it to the tank, I discovered no leakage or disconnection. So I set to digging up the tank. I found the first of two covers immediately as it was just past the junction. I unearthed it and called for a truck to come pump the tank. While waiting for the truck, Renee and I attempted to unearth the second cover. Three hours and a twelve foot trench later we gave up finding it. We decided to let the septic guys dig it up and pay the extra charge. They used a probe and found that the tank was installed at a 15 degree angle meaning we missed finding it by a mere 3 feet. The guys took care of the tank and we proceeded to fill in the hole/trench we had dug since they filled in the one they dug.

I hope your year hasn’t had as interesting a start as ours has. If so, don’t lose heart. The greater the opposition, the greater the victory. Challenges may come, but they don’t determine the final outcome. Hope each of you have a great 2012 and that you overcome any and every challenge that comes your way.

Chasing his dream

Monday, September 26th, 2011
Los Angeles Dream Center

Los Angeles Dream Center

Several years ago, Jesse related to his mom that he dreamed of openning a rescue mission and soup kitchen in the big city. This morning, we dropped him and two pieces of luggage off at the LA Dream Center where he will begin chasing that dream. He will begin a four month internship with the option of extending his stay after the four months are completed. We were introduced to his supervisor and learned a little bit about his initial responsibilities. He will be working for the kitchen and will be making runs to local grocery stores to retrieve food that will be used on site or redistributed to families that have no food for their children. He will also be working with feeding the homeless on skid row.

We helped him take his luggage to the room he will be sharing with another intern arriving today. They will both go through orientation before beginning work as part of the Dream Center. We exchanged a few hugs and left him to do the work that the Lord has laid on his heart. It is odd to come home and know that he isn’t living under our roof for at least the next four months and possibly more. You pray your child finds something that will ignite their heart and inspire them to greatness. We have done our part for now and we will see where his destiny carries him going forward. My lovely wife dedicated 18 years of raising him, training him and even homeschooling him as he grew. We shed a few tears upon returning home, not because we don’t want him to chase his dream, but because a chapter in his life and ours has closed. He launches out to let down his nets for a catch and we find ourselves with an empty nest.

If you would like to support him in his ministry, he has put together a sponsorship letter explaining how you may contribute to the great work he will be doing with the LA Dream Center. We will update you on his many exploits going forward and ask your prayers for him and us as we go through this transitional time in our lives.

Download: Jesse’s Dream Center Sponsorship Letter

My morning 10 years ago

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Unlike most the world, I wasn’t impacted by the events of 9/11/2001 immediately upon hearing and seeing the events taking place in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. A few days prior, I received a call from my mom that my father was in dire health after suffering a stroke. I withdrew from seminary in Kentucky and on the night of 9/10/2001, I loaded my family into the car and we headed for Florida not knowing when or if I would return to school. We drove through the night arriving around 4 am in Lakeland, FL.

We awoke a few hours later to see the horrible scenes of the Twin Towers unfolding on TV. My mind, however, was on racing to hospital to see my father. We arrived to find him completely paralyzed on the left side and unable to do much as he was left handed. His mind was sharp, but his body wasn’t cooperating. I watched with him on the hospital TV as the towers fell and I had to explain to him it wasn’t a movie. My brother was across the country unable to come because of flights everywhere being grounded. I spent the next couple days at the hospital helping dad to eat and trying to get him transferred to an agressive stroke rehabilitation facility. The doctor was concerned about blood on his brain and recommended surgery to relieve the pressure, but offered no hope the paralysis would end. Dad agreed and underwent surgery as we and our church family in Kentucky prayed. Miraculously, dad began moving his left arm in the recovery room and would walk out of the hospital on his own power a few days later.

That horrible day will always remind me of my father as my emotions were so wrapped up in caring for him at the hospital. I didn’t feel the impact of the tragedy that befell our nation until months later when watching a TV special about what took place. Today, as I listen to names being read, I remember my father who left us on 9/17/2009 and the loss of so many that fateful day when horrible men with horrible thoughts took so many from their families. Time does heal wounds, but scars remind us of pain once incurred. Tears fill my eyes and the memory of that morning will always endure in my mind. Condolences to all who lost loved ones that day or in the military service as a result of their commitment to protect our land from men of evil intent.

Off on his great adventure…with another to follow.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, we dropped our son Jesse off at his school to join his classmates, history teacher and a number of parents on a two week trip across Europe. They will be visiting Rome, Paris, Normandy and London during their time overseas. It was the culmination of 6 months of asking for help from family and friends, selling off his childhood (his words), and doing odd jobs. We told him he would have to raise the money himself if he was to go. It was a test of his faith and the Lord came through for him. It is a wonderful experience for him and it will broaden his worldview.

Though I joke about when he moves out, I found myself pondering what lay ahead for us. He will be graduating in a few more months and has plans to begin a 4 month internship in Los Angeles. Jesse and I sat outside the church building Sunday afternoon while Renee attended a meeting and joked and laughed together. The realization is setting in that the boy we raised is soon to be off on another adventure, life. Our time with him in our home is dwindling despite Renee’s wish that he stay until he is older. I left home two weeks after graduating high school and returned 5 months later for a year before leaving home for good at 19. Renee married me at 18 while she was still in high school and moved out.

Now it seems, we will have an empty nest as Jesse spreads his wings and embraces his destiny. It is an accomplishment that we are glad he has achieved, but also one that is bittersweet. We are now entering the post-parenting part of our lives. We will always be there for him, but he won’t need us as much or be around our home as frequently. As he graduates high school, we graduate as well. There will be grandkids at some point, but we aren’t in a hurry for them to arrive. Enjoy your great adventure son, we are so very proud of you and will await what lay ahead on your journey and ours.

2011 – A year to be thankful for

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

On the first day of 2011, I felt impressed to express my thankfulness each day via Twitter. I am going to say what I am thankful for each and every day of this coming year. In this life, I have so much I take for granted and so much to be thankful for that goes unexpressed. I think I could stand to be more thankful so I intend to do just that. 2011 – a year to be thankful! If you want to read each of these tweets, follow me at www.twitter.com/Hairy_Baldman.

The benefit of a friend

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Over the past two weekends, we have been very fortunate to spend time with our two longest and best friends. We traveled to San Diego to celebrate the promotion and graduation of my best friend Jim Ritch on May 23rd. Jim has attained the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer(E-9) and finished his Masters degree. I have known him since Drivers Ed class back at Barstow High School in 1982. We struck up a friendship that saw me enter the Army while he married and had two beautiful daughters. Years later, I would be out of the Army as he began his Navy career. Through it all, our friendship has remained close. He lost his mother and this past year I lost my father. We have watched our children grow and now he is a grandfather. I am so very grateful that we have remained close.

This past weekend, we received a surprise call from Renee’s best friend, Michelle Daley. Like Jim and I, they have been friends since high school. We spent Saturday hanging out in Palm Springs together. After they graduated high school, we followed Michelle to Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, TX. While we were youth pastors, she came and spoke to our youth group. She later spent Thanksgiving with us in Tulsa, OK at a trying time in her life. We attended her graduation from Dallas Baptist while we were visiting from Kentucky. We also flew out to spend some time with her and break in her Chocolate Fountain. Mmmmmm!

The greatest benefit of each of these individuals in our lives is the constant knowing that they are there for you. Proverbs 18:24 states: “A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Thanks for sticking by us over the years Jim and Michelle. Many have come and gone, but you have remained faithful. We are both so very glad to call you friend.

When people leave your life…

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Maybe you have had someone that passed away or someone walked out with no explanation. Someone you consider a friend stops returning your calls. In some cases, you are prepared due to an ongoing illness or maybe friction in your relationship. No matter what the reason be it known or unknown, you are left wondering what to do from that point on. You have an obvious choice to be bitter, angry or depressed, but that is not the best choice. Does getting angry at someone solve anything? In fact, it only hurts you as they go about their life without a second thought. Bitterness as well only hurts you. Along with depression, each of these things affect you and those who have chosen to remain in your life.

I choose to think of good things, of happy memories and experiences shared that cannot be taken away. I refuse to let them be tainted by current circumstances. Do I wish things were better? Of course, but I am not in control of them. When my father passed away without saying that final “I love you,” I remember all the times he said it over my lifetime. When my childhood friend refused to return calls, I remember the fun we had growing up and appreciate the memories. When my sibling decided he no longer wants to talk to me, I remember the fun and adventures that helped make me who I am. When I open my heart to someone and they close the door on their side, I refuse to slam mine in anger, bitterness or depression. I would rather show too much love than not enough. Lord, help me to love as you loved, expecting nothing in return.

Weekend Update

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Friday night, Jesse drove us to dinner and then went to a movie night at his youth group while Renee and I went grocery shopping. Saturday was a wet and dreary day spent switching between coverage of the mudslides in LA and the blizzard in DC where my brother is working. When I went to check the mail during a break in the rain, the street was like driving on a freshly frosted cake. Our yard was a series of 1-2 inch puddles. That evening we watched a DVD before calling it a night.

Sunday began quietly with clear blue skies. After reading the paper and little of a Star Wars novel, I decided to check the fluids in Jesse’s truck and run it a little. I discovered that it was leaking antifreeze and we were off to Autozone to obtain a replacement for the leaking part. We were able to fix that without much trouble and then I resumed reading the novel until the Super Bowl began. I thought the ads this year were not so good, but was pleased that the Saints won. I didn’t like when Drew Brees left San Diego, but was glad to see him and the long-suffering Saints and city of New Orleans get their celebration. We finished the evening watching Undercover Boss which was ok, but won’t last long.

January update….We are still here

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

So a new year has come and with it some new things and some of the same. Jesse is now the personal chauffeur for the Zeliff family as he has to get more practice driving. Anytime we go somewhere, he drives and is getting more confident with each trip. He still manages to scare either Renee and I, but he is getting better. We did nothing special for New Year’s Eve and celebrated at the house when the clock struck midnight. This involved drinking some sparkling grape juice and then off to bed. The next day we watched the Rose parade and then took all the Christmas decorations down and packed them away for the rest of the year.

This past weekend, I watched the NFL playoffs and once again saw my beloved Chargers crash and burn. Same result as every other time they have entered the playoffs. I am angry and bitter now about how it ended, but come the fall I will have renewed hope that they might finally secure a championship. It is strange how one can get so wrapped up in the efforts of grown men that you don’t know simply because they wear the jersey of your favorite team.

Thankfully, my faith rests in one who eternally won. He defeated death and hell and will reign for all eternity. And the cool part of that is He did so once and for all. My sports teams may fail and let me down, but the Creator of Heaven and Earth is always faithful and victorious. I hope everyone reading this is doing well and that you know His love for you is so great that He stretched out His arms and died for you.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8

Pomp and Circumstance – 25 years later

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Class of 1984 Barstow Aztecs

Class of 1984 Barstow Aztecs


Twenty-five years ago, the Barstow High School Class of 1984 marched across the stage to receive their high school diplomas and launch out into life. We were full of dreams and hopes not knowing what lie ahead, but ready to leave BHS behind. I remember thinking how, like almost every student, I looked forward to leaving the campus behind and enjoying what I would do with my life. I wrote in my senior plans, “I plan to stick around Barstow for a year and then go down to San Diego State.” I was going to study Broadcast Journalism and become a television news reporter. Things didn’t exactly work out that way.

Two weeks after graduation, I was on a Greyhound bus bound for San Jose, CA. My best friend was living in a transient hotel and had a job lined up for me. I went to work for Bentz Tool in Campbell, CA as a Grinder’s apprentice. I was laid off after two weeks and eventually landed a job at a plating company in Santa Clara, CA doing shipping/receiving. I eventually moved back home to live rent free and worked mowing lawns/trimming trees around Barstow. I got tired of that, visited the recruiter and signed up for the Army to get out of Barstow.

I would eventually be stationed in Alaska where I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Reassigned to a post in Texas, I left the Army and married my wife. Our journey took us to Bible school in Dallas, youth pastors outside Ft. Worth, back to school in Tulsa, on to more school in Kentucky, before returning back to California.

I never figured, 25 years after graduation, I would be working back in Barstow and living in the desert again. I am not complaining as I have a great job and actually enjoy being in the desert. The town I desperately wanted to leave at graduation is now the place I provide for my family. I go to restaurants I loved growing up and see people I have known since grade school. I enjoy the smell of rain and work helping people understand the desert. Who knows what the next 25 years will bring? I have enjoyed the last 25 and trust the Lord to direct my steps in the next 25.