Thursday, August 25, 2011


The phone rang but I ignored it because I was writing a description of Mozart's "Eurobot" composition in order to place it in a music library. Then I heard the phone speaker say the word "Tribune". Oh! Maybe they want to publish my article about the Arboretum! If so, I will have a free membership coming. I dove for the phone.

A deep friendly voice spoke faster than I could process. He introduced himself as " the general", and said something about "Chicken Soup".

A general? Chicken Soup?

"Yes, Chicken Soup sent us some information on you, and we'd like to interview you about your recently published article."

Me? An article about my article? How could that be interesting? But he thought it would. So I agreed to meet him at Longden school, where I work.

Later we sat in front of the office on a long low bench built for little people. I gazed across the grassy field. He patiently held a pad and pencil, and asked me lot's of questions.

The more questions he asked, the more I wanted to talk.

"How much room do you have?" I asked.

"All the room you want."

"Okay, I'll tell you about my dirt bike."

When the interview was over, we walked around the school looking for a good spot for a picture. After about 12 shots, Lafayette decided on the one you see.

"Now that we're done, can I interview you?" I asked.

Lafayette gave me lot's of writing tips, especially relating to journalism. He has been with the Tribune for 12 years, and he is also a professional photographer.

Thank you Lafayette!

In order to read the article, click on the picture and put on your glasses. The white spots are where I took out my last name for privacy purposes. I couldn't find it on-line. If you want to read it let me know, and I'll type it out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hinds' Feet on High Places

One of my favorite allegories (the other being Pilgrim's Progress) is Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. "Much Afraid" travels to the high places with the help of the Shepherd, but the journey is not always smooth, and has difficult places along the way. For a few moments today I dipped into the book and re-read this part.

Much afraid awoke with the first light of dawn, and getting up, walked to the entrance of the cave. In the cold light of early morning she could not help telling herself that a scene of utter desolation lay before her. As far as the eye could see was nothing but empty plain and sea, with lowering cliffs above her and jagged rock below. The pleasant wooded country which they had left was out of sight , and in all the vast area upon which she looked she saw not a single tree and scarcely a stunted bush.

"How desolate," thought Much-Afraid, "and those rocks beneath look very cruel indeed, as if they are waiting to injure and destroy anything which falls upon them. It seems as though nothing can grow anywhere in all this barren waste."

Just then she looked up at the cliffs above her head and started with surprise and delight. In a tiny crevice of the rock, where a few drops from the trickling waterfall could occasionally sprinkle it, was a single plant. It had just tow or three leaves, and one fragile stem, almost hairlike in its slenderness, grew out at right angles to the wall. On the stem was one flower, blood red in color, which glowed like a lamp or flame of fire in the early rays of the sun.

Much-Afraid stared at it for some moments, noticing the wall which completely imprisoned it, the minute aperture through which it had forced its way to the light, and the barren loneliness of its surroundings. Its roots were clamped around by sheer rock, its leaves scarcely able to press outside the prison house, yet it had insisted on bursting into bloom, and was holding its little face open to the sun and burning like a flame of joy.

As she looked up at it Much Afraid asked, "What is your name, little flower, for indeed I never saw another like you."
"My name is 'Bearing-the-Cost,' but some call me 'Forgiveness.' "

The flower went on to explain. "I have borne and have not fainted; I have not ceased to love, and Love helped me push through the crack in the rock until I could look right out onto my Love the sun himself. See now! There is nothing whatever between my Love and my heart, nothing around to distract me from him. He shines upon me and makes me to rejoice and has atoned to me for all that was taken from me and done against me. There is not a flower in the world more blessed than I...."

I love this picture of when our life seems difficult and barren. God's face still shines on us. There is less distraction from him. We find our joy in Him alone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Memories under the Myrtle Tree

Under the Crepe Myrtle trees with smiles and tears we honored the life of Larry Winans.
His great-grandchildren posted a sign for us to remember his love for growing things.
Friends and family gathered in his backyard. Larry started his life here, in this small cozy home, at 10 days old. My father (above right) remembers playing in this back yard with his first cousin, Larry, when they were children.
Elsie, Larry's mother, sits in the white chair listening. She is 98 or is she 99 now? She is in good health.
Larry's son Bruce stands near his 2 youngest sons. Little Josh opened the afternoon by reading the 23rd Psalm. His young confident voice stilled our hearts.

The Mayor of Maywood said a word. He and Larry struck up a friendship when the homes on this neighborhood street were (and still are) endangered of being torn down to build a school. Many homes have been leveled on the street. Due to Larry's efforts, his own home and the house next door still bravely stand among the ruins. (mayor is pictured in 5th pic posted--in white shirt on left)

Below are pictures, lovingly posted by Larry's children.
We were treated to a heartwarming slide show of Larry's life put together by his daughter-in-law, Marian.
Friends stop and reflect.
I'm happy to get re-acquainted with cousins, Dana and Julie. Our grandfathers Merrill and Clarence were brothers. I was also able to meet Jessica, Larry's special lady friend.

Larry's passion and work involved design and preservation.

Many old homes thrived under his care. His son, Bruce and son-in-law Marlin often worked together on projects.
One of the most memorable projects was being a part of the restoration of Angels Flight a funicular railway originally built in 1901.
View of Angels Flight in the Bunker Hill district of Downtown Los Angeles (above)
Above, is an award for their commitment and effort.
Pictured: Marlin and Bruce

Larry at work.

Later in the afternoon my younger son took my camera and snapped these:
An old drill press, probably belonging to Larry's father.

Succulents tucked into old wooden shelves.

A purple chrysanthemum in a pot.
So lovely. Surely...crafted by the hand of God.
Next to the house is a huge plumeria that was given to Larry's parents as a wedding gift in 1930. Marlin gave me a cutting.
At home, my oldest son, planted it for me in our yard. A gentle reminder of Larry.
Flowers are still hanging on the vine, smelling sweet.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Visit to Mariners Church

I took a 2 day vacation and visited my parents. On Sunday I attended church with them. Below is the chapel at Mariners church at 8:45 a.m.

Spread over 25 acres Mariners is one of the largest churches in Southern California. Actually it looks more like a community. (That's mom and dad waving below)
(pictured below) This is where baptisms take place.On one Sunday, several months ago I watched as about 20 young people were baptized.

My parents are helping at the doughnut table. People donate $1.00 for a doughnut and the funds are going to help children in Africa who are without parents due to AIDS. So far they have had over 200 people stop by. Right now, there is a lull until the next service lets out.

This is part of the main building. Looks small right? Well the inside seats 3200 people. The auditorium is a-symetrical in design with a flat main floor and terrace seating at the rear. They have dramatic lighting and stage design. The music is very contemporary. But the chapel (see first picture) has a service for those who love the old hymns.

Although sometimes an eyebrow or two is raised by the style of this seeker-friendly church, one should know they are generous givers to the less fortunate and their preaching is not fancy or fluffy--it's directly out of God's word, the Bible, straight and strong.

Another view of the baptistry. (above)

There are beautiful walkways and it's not unusual to discover a scripture verse for encouragement. It's a very peaceful place. Well...except for all the children. But that's a good problem. They have a large grassy field in the middle between the buildings where children can play with giant frisbees, hula-hoops or whatever else they've come up with. Parents are out there with their kids, in between services (and sometimes during the service!) having some family time. It's nice to watch parents playing with their children.

I should have taken a picture of the families in the field, but I was too busy helping mom and dad with the doughnuts!

In about a week I should have more pictures up of my jam-packed 2 day vacation!